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Eye Contact?

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#1
I find I can't make eye contact with people when I am talking to them. I usually look down at the table or off to the side. It's not because I have social anxiety, I just find looking at them straight in the eyes very distracting (since it's not natural for me to do it) and it's hard to focus on what I'm saying if I'm looking them straight in the eyes. However, I've found that I do look people in the eye when they're talking to me, so it's not really a problem with the eye contact itself, it's just speaking and making eye contact simultaneously that's tricky for me (haha.) Also: I know most people don't make eye contact if they're frightened or lying, but that's not what I'm talking about--just in regular conversation with a friend or colleague.

Anyways, I was wondering if any of you guys did anything similar to this, or if it was just me? I think I've noticed a few (although not many) people who do the same thing as I do, so I was wondering if it had anything at all to do with personality type.

:kilroy:
 
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#2
You have a very low self-esteem or you're a liar.

Since I was kid, I always stare people right on their eyes, eventhough they're far older than me.
 

SLushhYYY

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#3
You have a very low self-esteem or you're a liar.

Since I was kid, I always stare people right on their eyes, eventhough they're far older than me.
This is nowhere near true.

I know for a fact that my inability to perform eye contact is caused by my need to "search" my brain for the thoughts that I am communicating. It makes it a lot easier to formulate my thoughts for some reason.

I only make eye contact when I am sincerely listening to somebody else talking. It helps understand the emotion of the situation etc. But when I'm communicating I care not what the other individual is thinking, therefore my eyes wander to find the explanation.
 

Tony3d

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#4
If you are making eye contact when they are speaking, but not when you are speaking, you are sending subconscious body language that is telling them that what they have to say is more immportant and they are more dominant than you.

I would suggest working on that in any sort of business aspect.

But anyways, you will probably find this 2 part article interesting

http://artofmanliness.com/2012/02/05/look-em-in-the-eye-part-i-the-importance-of-eye-contact/


But back to the question, I have always been bad with eye contact, but my very recent fascination with body language has led me to doing everything I can to do much better, and as well learn ways to read and project subconscious thoughts through eye contact and other forms of body language.

All I can really say is just keep trying to make eye contact with everyone you see, even if they are just passing by, until it doesn't feel akward anymore.

I am currently in the middle of this process. I hope within a few more weeks I will be naturally giving good eye contact to everyone.
 

Tony3d

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#6
You sound...not sure that you can do it. :phear:
Well, I want to be able to master eye contact and body language, not just be proficient at it, so it may take a lot longer than I am hoping.

It is not a matter of me doubting if I can do it, but how long it will take me.
 
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#8
Well, I want to be able to master eye contact and body language, not just be proficient at it, so it may take a lot longer than I am hoping.

It is not a matter of me doubting if I can do it, but how long it will take me.
You are being defensive now. :D

Ahahaha sorry, I'm good enough in interpreting people's emotions by their gestures and micro-expressions. I'm also studying the emotions behind the words, I can't see your expressions but I can see it a bit from your lines.

:elephant: :elephant: :elephant:
 

Tony3d

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#9
You are being defensive now. :D

Ahahaha sorry, I'm good enough in interpreting people's emotions by their gestures and micro-expressions. I'm also studying the emotions behind the words, I can't see your expressions but I can see it a bit from your lines.
I was not deffensive before, I was just explaining further into my thought process to see if I could get an interesting response.

I like to clarify, that is just how I roll.

But ironically, even though my first comment wasn't deffensive, this comment here is in fact 100% deffensive... lol
 
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#10
I was not deffensive before, I was just explaining further into my thought process to see if I could get an interesting response.

I like to clarify, that is just how I roll.

But ironically, even though my first comment wasn't deffensive, this comment here is in fact 100% deffensive... lol
:elephant: :elephant: :elephant:
 

SLushhYYY

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#12
If you are making eye contact when they are speaking, but not when you are speaking, you are sending subconscious body language that is telling them that what they have to say is more immportant and they are more dominant than you.

I would suggest working on that in any sort of business aspect.
Dominance is irrelevant. Have you ever met an alpha INTP?

Business deals with relevant knowledge.
 

Tony3d

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#13
Dominance is irrelevant. Have you ever met an alpha INTP?

Business deals with relevant knowledge.
Not any business I have been a part of, the people who get promoted are the ones that can show that they are dominant (subconsciously) not the ones that can answer all the questions but are socially akward.

If logic tells me I should be an alpha, then an alpha I will become. Though I have learned that adding value to others is a better way to be successfull than trying to show that you are of higher value than them (which is my take on being an alpha).

Being competitive seems illogical, showing that you are not submissive and showing that you care about people and making them feel more comfortable around you seems like a great strategic advantage in this little game we call life.
 

Ink

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#14
I only look people in the eyes if I feel like having an emotional connection with them, which is much less than most other people. I am excellent at stare-downs though.
 

GREYGREY

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#15
Well.... Yeah I find myself doing the same thing.
I'll look in a person's eyes when listening... But not always.
I may turn my head away but bring ear closer as a subtle gesture that I'm still listening.

Hard to explain... But I guess it just goes with the whole head in the clouds syndrome. Always staring off while talking.

But agreed... Its a bad habit.
And if anyone needs to start reading body language books its us I suppose lol.
I read the Body Language for dummies.. Well skimmed it.
And its amazing how much extra nuggets of information you start noticing.

Can't remember exactly... But speech is only like 10 percent of convesation.:confused:
 

Niclmaki

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#16
I can keep eye contact if they're looking back at me. If not it feels like I'm trying to "stare them down."
I find this odd, because I rarely use names when talking. If I do use names, it's always first their first name - and not a nickname. Using a nickname just seems silly. :storks: I'm confused now.
 

Roni

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#17
I find I can't make eye contact with people when I am talking to them.. it's hard to focus on what I'm saying if I'm looking them straight in the eyes.
People of all types will usually break eye contact when they try to recall something. There's even a learning style test that relies on this, suggesting whether someone looks up, down or to the side when answering a question about yesterday's lunch indicates a visual, auditory or kinesthetic learning style respectively.
Also, it's been shown that children who avoid eye contact while considering their responses to questions are more likely to answer correctly than children who maintain eye contact.

These moments happen more often for Ti/Ne types as they absorb the new information from the conversation and assimilate it with existing ideas.
It's interesting you have this problem while talking. Are you trying too hard to act extravert, thinking and speaking at the same time?
Most chit chat requires no thought at all - there's no need to think about what you're saying because it's just meaningless noise.
In deeper conversations it's okay to take them time to think before you speak. Once your answer is composed it's easier to make eye contact while you're delivering it.

This can appear rude - glancing up looks like an eyeroll, glancing aside looks like distraction - so developing an alternate "thinking face" is a good idea. Saying "um" while you think is inelegant, but it does the trick. A visual "um" could be closed eyes or a big breath. Some company may even let you get away with "stand by, I'm processing your request."


However, I've found that I do look people in the eye when they're talking to me.
This will earn you forgiveness from those who took offense when you broke eye contact to think. ;)
I have some trouble with this now but it has nothing to do with type. I'm going deaf. If there's a lot of background noise I have to look at someone's mouth when they speak.

Also: I know most people don't make eye contact if they're frightened or lying
This is a non sequitur derived from the western cultural norm of making eye contact to signal openness. In practice it's almost never true.
Liars are very good at looking people in the eye, using the cultural norm to support their deceit. The frightened will frequently stare, either assessing their danger or signalling aggression.
People from many islamic, asian and australian aboriginal cultures avoid eye contact as a sign of respect. Western women, in situations where eye contact may signal openness to a sexual advance, look away to avoid flirting.
And, as above, people break eye contact when they're thinking. Some people will infer deceit from thoughtfulness but personally I'm happy to let this happen - I take it as a sign they're thoughtless and deceitful themselves.
 

crippli

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#18
I don't know. I have not found many people that can keep eye contact with me for long until they have to stare away, or if they are drunk, kiss me.

I don't keep all that much eye contact, but it's mostly to be nice, so they are not intimidated. If it becomes unnaturally long, I may start to stare, just to see who will brake first.
 

ObliviousGenius

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#19
This is one of those INTP traits that has never applied to me. I stare people right in the face when I'm talking to them or if they're talking to me. I usually look away for a split second to think while they're talking but I revert my focus right back at them. If I'm interested in them or what they have to say I'll stare too much; something I'm usually conscious of trying to avoid.

I don't have any problems with it at all.
 
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#20
Yeah, for me it's really multifaceted.

I find that, like you, my attention is best when I'm looking away from a person's face. People distract me, and there's so much information to absorb when looking at them, especially when looking in their eyes while trying to convey something abstract. Obviously I bring my eyes back to the person after wandering a bit. If my mind is wandering, I don't look at the person when listening to them -- if I look at them I start daydreaming or thinking about whatever it is they're doing with their face. >_>

I also notice that eye contact can be really draining for me in certain situations. If I'm already tired and I'm in a Fe-driven situations (like meeting a person for the first time or speaking to someone of higher... social standing I guess?), eye contact is so draining. Then again, Fe usage is generally draining anyway.

I know quite a few people who let their eyes wander when they talk, though. It's not specific to INTPs imho. I think the motivations are specific though, especially when it comes to what function is being used. :)
 
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#21
for me, i learned to do it out of necessity. i used to have low(er) self esteem and i wouldn't look at the person while speaking, but i think the way i started out was by doing a death glare kind of thing. but eventually it came more naturally to me. in a way (i don't know how to explain it) i don't really focus on their face too much, instead i just listen and nod when i follow or agree, keeping a straight face (until some sort of emotional reaction is expected, then -insert emotion here-). and then while speaking to someone, eye contact helps me gauge their reaction (admittedly im not as good at this as an Fe-dom, but i try) so i know what to say and what not to say.

it comes with practice, and understanding that its a useful social tool might help push you to learn to practice it. its not so much a personality type (MBTI to be more specific) thing. it might be the reason why you didn't get much practice beforehand, but once you start practicing, it'll be uphill from there.

just don't come off as a creep and be all O_O when speaking to someone lol
 

Satan

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#22
I can't look people in the eyes, it's just incredibly awkward to me.
 
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#23
I can't look people in the eyes, it's just incredibly awkward to me.
Anyone named Satan ... I wouldn't want you to. You'd be giving me the "evil eye.":phear:
 
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#24
In conversation with someone I think this is the way it goes:

(1) If they are talking I look at them. Not only does this show I'm listening but I can read them in case I want to interrupt or they are finished. If they are looking at me while they are talking, I get the feeling they are looking for my response. Then I look away if I'm not ready. Eye to eye either shows great interest or is distracting if that's not the case.

(2) If I am talking I don't want to look at them if I don't want to be interrupted as long as I'm thinking what to say. If they do interrupt, I go back to (1).

If someone is talking but not to me, I only look at them for the same reason as watching TV: to better take it in. If I'm not interested I look at whatever I want to.
 

kvothe27

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#25
I become overstimulated very easily. The presence of other people tends to overload my mind. Eye contact is especially bad. It makes me incredibly uncomfortable. It's not that I fear them. I have a great deal of trouble interpreting the intentions of others and eye contact can be viewed as an invitation to friendship or something else. I don't know how to handle people who want to be my friend or more, so I refrain from making eye contact. Moreover, socializing usually results in me making a large investment in analyzing such social contact, so it usually ends up being a giant waste of time.

I used to force myself to make eye contact, but this doesn't usually help with much of anything. I only really need to make eye contact when I'm interviewing for a job or talking to someone who may have some influence over my future. Otherwise, I'm done with forcing myself to make eye contact. It's no benefit to me and I'm done trying to prove myself to a lot of people who don't matter.
 
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#27
@kvothe27 or anyone.

I'm confused. When one goes out in public there are many things to see and look at. Why would one look at anyone unless they can't see you looking or you want to make contact ... as when you look at your grocer? But same things for others. They are not supposed to be looking at you unless they have some reason. If I don't like their reason, I'm not going to look back ... I'm ignoring them. If I'm curious as to what they want, I have to look at them to acknowledge. BTW, looking is not the same as staring or leering.
 
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#28
I become overstimulated very easily. The presence of other people tends to overload my mind. Eye contact is especially bad. It makes me incredibly uncomfortable. It's not that I fear them. I have a great deal of trouble interpreting the intentions of others and eye contact can be viewed as an invitation to friendship or something else. I don't know how to handle people who want to be my friend or more, so I refrain from making eye contact. Moreover, socializing usually results in me making a large investment in analyzing such social contact, so it usually ends up being a giant waste of time.

I used to force myself to make eye contact, but this doesn't usually help with much of anything. I only really need to make eye contact when I'm interviewing for a job or talking to someone who may have some influence over my future. Otherwise, I'm done with forcing myself to make eye contact. It's no benefit to me and I'm done trying to prove myself to a lot of people who don't matter.
don't force yourself to make eye contact. but you should make an attempt to make eye contact. understand that eye contact is a useful tool in many ways. conversation is a lot more than just words. you can pick up the other persons emotion such as discomfort, and also you can see if a person is genuine in what they are saying (from the bad liars, at least.) you can use this information to steer a conversation to achieve your goals.

eye contact doesn't have to be constant. in fact, it shouldn't be unless the conversation is intense or you want to show the person (usually a boss, interviewer, w.e) that you are giving them 100% attention. if you have a problem with giving even a few glances during a conversation, just learn to relax. i think the reason you have trouble interpreting the intentions of others is because of the lack of external information to base interpretations on. (i used to have this problem so thats what it was for me, at least) eye contact is an example of "external information", which is why i think it's pretty important to have as a tool

so what do you do? don't start by interpreting so strongly. i know it's the INTP way, but when socializing, its best to observe first. in order to do that, let go, pick up cues, and when you have enough to work on, then make the judgements. use Ne to gather information and don't use Ti so strongly (initially) or else you will have created your own version of the person in your head before getting enough actual information about the person. this happened to me with this girl i liked where i kept making judgements in my head with lack of information from the outside world (more specifically, from her). dont end up creating a false reality like i did :o
 
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#29
I don't trust people who make continuous eye contact while they are talking to me.
They are trying to sell me something.
 

pernoctator

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#30
don't force yourself to make eye contact. but you should make an attempt to make eye contact. understand that eye contact is a useful tool in many ways. conversation is a lot more than just words. you can pick up the other persons emotion such as discomfort, and also you can see if a person is genuine in what they are saying (from the bad liars, at least.) you can use this information to steer a conversation to achieve your goals.
I think the fact that people like kvothe27 (and probably most of the rest of us) exist, who need to "make an attempt" to make eye contact, invalidates the very reason you give for doing it. If I cut myself, I don't have to make a decision or put forth any effort to make blood rush to the wound. It just happens. That's how people know what happened when they see the red area on my skin. The theory of body language similarly depends on the assumption that it's an innate subconscious process, and we're proof that that assumption is premature.
 
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#31
I think the fact that people like kvothe27 (and probably most of the rest of us) exist, who need to "make an attempt" to make eye contact, invalidates the very reason you give for doing it. If I cut myself, I don't have to make a decision or put forth any effort to make blood rush to the wound. It just happens. That's how people know what happened when they see the red area on my skin. The theory of body language similarly depends on the assumption that it's an innate subconscious process, and we're proof that that assumption is premature.
just because some people need to "make an attempt" to make eye contact doesn't mean it's completely invalidated. maybe some types of people are more prone to showing body language, i don't know. but from my experience, it has been useful. body language may not be "innate", but it is definitely present. i think it's just a good thing to have in your arsenal (that sounds so wrong :p) admittedly, i don't know much about body language but looking someone in the eyes (or face) helps me extract more information from the person than i would by just listening to them. but do as you please, this is just what works for me :slashnew:
 
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#32
This is nowhere near true.

I know for a fact that my inability to perform eye contact is caused by my need to "search" my brain for the thoughts that I am communicating. It makes it a lot easier to formulate my thoughts for some reason.

I only make eye contact when I am sincerely listening to somebody else talking. It helps understand the emotion of the situation etc. But when I'm communicating I care not what the other individual is thinking, therefore my eyes wander to find the explanation.
Damn! I think that's right on!!! I never noticed that, but yes! When I am talking to someone, I will generally ONLY look at them when they are the ones talking--not to say I enjoy looking at them, I don't like that either, but when I try to make a conscious effort to involve eye contact, that is usually the extent to which I can do it. I hate looking at people when I talk to them. I thought for sure it was from the comments I've always received about my eyes being big.... to the point where, people constantly say to me, "Oh, I'm sorry I didn't mean to scare you"... because they think i'm widening my eyes out of surprise. It got to the point where I stopped looking at people because their innuendos or generally rude comments about how big my eyes are (and not in a flattering way), piss me off.
 

kvothe27

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#33
@INeedToPee

I've studied body language and it's true you can tell a lot by observing it. I still don't like doing it. It's not how I naturally communicate because I'm easily overstimulated. This results in my brain shutting down during the conversation, which negates the purpose of observing body language. Such observations are useless to me if I cannot do anything with them during the conversation. All I can really do is analyze their body language after the conversation. Now, this has a tendency to cause me to construct false realities. I cannot help but generate a multitude of explanations over some small bit of data. In order for me to have a conversation that flows naturally and isn't a lot of empty noise, I must look elsewhere.
 
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#34
@INeedToPee

I've studied body language and it's true you can tell a lot by observing it. I still don't like doing it. It's not how I naturally communicate because I'm easily overstimulated. This results in my brain shutting down during the conversation, which negates the purpose of observing body language. Such observations are useless to me if I cannot do anything with them during the conversation. All I can really do is analyze their body language after the conversation. Now, this has a tendency to cause me to construct false realities. I cannot help but generate a multitude of explanations over some small bit of data. In order for me to have a conversation that flows naturally and isn't a lot of empty noise, I must look elsewhere.
just to clarify, the eye contact isn't constant and shouldn't be forced. if you feel overstimulated, look away. a few years ago, i didn't like looking at people when i spoke (unless we were close). some people thought i was intimidated by them (and i was socially, to an extent). now, when i talk to people, i take glances and look away when i need to (like when formulating thoughts, like some said before). im honestly not sure what helped me make eye contact more frequently but i think improving my confidence might've helped. don't know if theres a correlation though..practice definitely helps. maybe take several glances here and there, dont think too much of them if you feel overstimulated. it wasn't an overnight change for me, and i doubt it would be for anyone
 

Tunes

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#35
I have issues with eye contact, the only person that I really try my best to make eye contact is my father because it psychically upsets him if I don't. Even with my close friends i have issues making eye contact with. It's just very uncomfortable to me and I am not entirely certain why. I have tried to work on making it a more natural thing to do for me, but with no success. I tend to stare at a persons nose or area between their eyes to simulate eye contact if i need to, otherwise i look away. Although I could make natural feeling eye contact with the only girl I've ever had feelings for.
 

EyeSeeCold

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#36
This is one of those INTP traits that has never applied to me. I stare people right in the face when I'm talking to them or if they're talking to me. I usually look away for a split second to think while they're talking but I revert my focus right back at them. If I'm interested in them or what they have to say I'll stare too much; something I'm usually conscious of trying to avoid.

I don't have any problems with it at all.
Same. It seems natural to hold eye contact for awhile then look away to process what's being said. To me it shows interest.

I find it's easier with strangers or other people that aren't very familiar or close with me. Otherwise I tend to do something similar to what Index says.

Yeah, for me it's really multifaceted.

I find that, like you, my attention is best when I'm looking away from a person's face. People distract me, and there's so much information to absorb when looking at them, especially when looking in their eyes while trying to convey something abstract. Obviously I bring my eyes back to the person after wandering a bit. If my mind is wandering, I don't look at the person when listening to them -- if I look at them I start daydreaming or thinking about whatever it is they're doing with their face. >_>
I relate to this too. It's like sensory overload or something:
It's usually the case that when I'm looking you in the eyes, my mind is somewhere else; and if I'm not looking at you, I'm intensely concentrating on your message.
 

pjoa09

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#37
I stare at peoples mouths. Because it sort of helps listening I think. I mean you read subtitles in english while watching a movie in english don't you?

What if it's a woman you are talking to? Stare at her tits?
 

koan

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#38
I stare at her tits. But I can get away with it more often.

I look at people while performing customer service because I know they are more likely to accept what I'm trying to sell them if I look them in the eye and tell them I recommend it. When it's time to do our fundraising campaign, they have a harder time saying 'no' if I'm looking at them when I ask... which means I have to ask them for money for a shorter time period by meeting our target earlier. Aside from that, I look people in the eye when I want to assure them I mean every word I'm saying and it is important that they discern my honesty. I've been set up by gossip a number of times, because of the industry I used to work in and there is no way of protecting your reputation unless you are willing and able to look at someone directly and state what are, in your mind, facts. Even if the odds stand against you, looking them in the eye will always haunt them if they choose to disbelieve. I can't pull off deception by staring. I have to believe what I'm saying. That's why compulsive liars convince themselves that they are telling the truth. I can't convince myself. I either am or I am not. I have no interest in lying. Others are not the same.
 
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