Study shows eye contact is not needed for enjoyable conversation

There are also cultural differences.

There are lots of reasons not to judge other people or jump to conclusions about them based on behaviours you are used to/not used to.

Most of the time I actively think about having an appropriate amount of eye contact in conversations. But if we are talking about something that requires me to actually use my brain then I might not have spare cycles to devote to that, in which case I’ll decide based on the situation whether it’s more important to think things through or manage other people’s feelings.

Which means that when I am making eye contact with them it means I find our conversation trivial enough to not have to think about it and/or I am handling them with kid gloves. Turns out eye contact doesn’t always show respect!


Oh my god, that’s me 100%. Also sometimes I feel like people use eye contact to manipulate you, and being a generally nice person who hates being rude, I hate that sense that someone is abusing my kindness to get an edge over on me. And conciously or not I feel like people use eye contact in that way.


not feeling a lot of respect and mutual connection here


Throughout much of Indigenous Australia, an averted gaze is a sign of respect. Direct eye contact with an elder or other authority figure is seen as insolence, and excessive eye contact with an equal is a good way to start a fight.


I am right now picturing a pissed off cave woman berating her husband for staying out late with his buddies “hunting mammoth” while she was picking berries and doing other things he apparently thinks he’s “too important to do”.


You must have other fascinating opinions. I can’t wait to see more of them here.

I’m sorry that not everybody can meet your arbitrary expectations.


Well said.
Many people think that the eyes are windows to the soul. Noooo. The eyes are windows to the retina.

Many people believe that it is harder to lie to someone, or that they can tell if you are lying when you stare them in the eye. Those people are all-day suckers, leaving themselves wide open for deception and manipulation. I’ve known people who could look you square in the eye and tell the most obvious, bold-faced lies. The sort of people who can also breeze right through polygraph (“lie detector”) tests.

Many people take for granted that eye contact is a “normal” form of behavior, but it is NOT at all normal - or natural - for all of us.

My family and friends have had to get used to the idea that I am an extremely introverted person who falls somewhere in the autism spectrum, at least as far as verbal, face-to-face communication goes. We are not all alike, nor can we be, nor should we be, nor do we want to be. Get used to it, people.

For my extrovert friends: what makes you think I want to be like you?
For my “eye contact” friends: STFU. (And yes, I make a point of staring them in the eye when I say that.)


Eye contact arrogance, a category of what I’ve always called “extrovert arrogance”, where extroverts assume that they are somehow “normal” and that everybody should be like them.

Not everybody thinks or feels the way YOU do. Think about that.


I grew up in France some time ago. People do look at each other in France, but the concept that “eye contact is important and if you cannot sustain it you are probably autistic” struk me as a novelty around 2000, when I first learned about it. For me, it is another of the strange concepts we imported from America.


I wonder if anyone remembered to ask a blind person’s opinion?


I spend most of the time pretending to listen to people because I’m thinking “left eye to left eye,” “nod,” “looks like a laugh would help,” “left eye don’t blink!” I can’t listen because I have to entertain them so they feel good about wasting my time with this charade.

It’s like the narcissism of our culture can’t even bear that another human being might need to direct their fucking eyes in a particular way to process whatever the fuck is being said. NO MOMMY MEEEEE LOOK AT MEEEEEEE!!!

Also IMO every time some one is too eager to look into your eyes, that person is manipulative and dangerous. Normal people don’t need that, I’m tired of enabling these assholes. If you want me to look in your eyes then shut your mouth or accept that I’m not listening I’m only staring at you and making faces so that the “baby” smiles back at me and eventually leaves.


Before my first job interview I got some advice to look at the other person’s nose and have been doing so ever since without a problem, when they are talking. My problem is maintaining eye contact when I am talking. I always find myself looking away from the person I’m talking to, which kinda bugs me as I don’t want to appear like I’m not interested :frowning:


I usually look to the side of their face, over the shoulder… Can’t look at faces at all…
I suppose, a lot of social problems I have can be attributed to that…

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Now there is a thought. I think you are right, but I will try to observe interactions around me in the coming days, because you may be well be onto something.

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Interestingly, irrelevant hand gestures automatically kick in.


I have strabismus and making sustained eye contact is difficult. When I do, it often leads to an over-the-glasses look people find condescending, but which is necessary to make my eye muscles Do the Thing. I had a teacher in 5th grade make me cry over failure to make eye contact but as an adult, you get what I give you or you are entitled to fuck right off.


You’re going to hear from a few people on the autism spectrum, and their allies.

You should pay attention to those responses.

For n+1, I have been using this trick of looking at people’s mouths instead of into their eyes for as long as I can remember. Yes, it really does make them more comfortable without making me uncomfortable, so I consider it a total win.


True for many Native tribes here in the States as well.


We needed a study for this?! Haven’t people ever had a wonderful telephone conversation? (You know, back when telephones were high fidelity, low latency, reliable ways to transmit voice and other sounds without being overcompressed and clipped.)