body language question

While attending the funeral of an uncle recently, I was re-aqauinted with a cousin that I haven’t seen for quite a long time. During our conversation about families and such, I noticed that every time he spoke he closed his eyes. At first I was kinda put out as if he was just brushing me off. However I realised that he did this with everyone he spoke to!
I have heard that some people do this to help with speech impediments and such, but I don’t recall him ever having any problems of that sort at all while we were growing up.
Am I being too sensitive or is he really the snob that kind of behavior seemed to indicate?

BTW he was not the son of the uncle that had passed.
Just kinda curious…

Extreme shyness?
A really bad headache?
Speech impediments that he developed after you left?

A family friend used to look at a spot about a foot over your head when she spoke. When she finished speaking, she’d look back at your face. I suspected that there was a teleprompter up there. She was aware of this habit, but didn’t know why she did it. She was looking over my head when we talked about it. She was very short. :smiley:
Snobbish people close their eyes when they talk?

BTW; I read somewhere, awhile back, that ‘body language’ has pretty much been proven to be bunk.
I dunno.

my friend wriggles his foot when he’s lying. Every time.

He doesn’t know I know it, so it’s kinda funny. :slight_smile:

Yes, I believe in body-language.

A good tip if you struggle to keep eye contact is to focus between the persons eyes when speaking to em. You don’t have to look in their eyes but it appears to them like you are.

I know a woman of 50+ with ADD. When we speak, it’s hard for her to maintain eye contact. We’re good for a few minutes of conversation, but I can actually see the change in her after that. Her eyes will drift to a spot over my head, and it’s a struggle for her to keep the conversation going longer than five minutes. My guess is she’s distracted by the eye contact, for whatever reason.

Anyone got a cite for that ?

Some of it may be bunk but I’m not too sure, you can definitely pick up something from peoples movements. Maybe it’s just when they’re acting differently from normal.

As to the OP, I’ve no idea. I’d guess it’s a concentration thing … dunno.


I get distracted by eye contact. I cant think clearly unless I’m looking away. Anyone else find that?

People tell me that I often close my eyes when I speak. And, honestly, I never notice myself doing this. It must be so unconscious that I can’t even catch myself doing it! I don’t know why I do it…it’s probably when I’m collecting my thoughts or something.

For the longest time, my dad thought I had a drug problem because of this. I think he still does…

Go watch a Hugh Grant movie. He closes his eyes a lot when talking directly to a woman.

I concentrate on a conversation better if I’m not looking someone in the eye, so to accommodate the US culture I have to work at this pretty hard, especially on things like job interviews. I tend to look up or to one side and often am not conscious of it until I stop talking and return to the person’s eyes.

I think looking people in the eye when you talk is a cultural artifact, because animals take this as a sign of aggression. I have heard that the Japanese think a lot of eye contact is impolite.

Well, SpaceDog, I tried. All I could find was this. Not much.
The article I read (it’s been a while) was after the Simpson trial, and concerned all the talk about his body language. In short, the author wrote about how much we want to believe and how easy it is to fake body language. Sales people and lawyers (among others) train themselves to project a false set of body clues to others.
So maybe saying “bunk” was a slight overstatement ;), but I tend to exaggerate anyway. So shoot me. There I go again.
There’s a lot of info out there on just how to do i

I never realized that I had a habit of closing my eyes until I took an acting class, I think that it just has to do with nervousness and concentration.

Yes, when I was in high school, we were part of a “foster home” program for exchange students, and a girl from Japan stayed with us for 3 weeks. (We still e-mail each other, actually.) I wanted to know what people from other cultures, especially one so different from US, would think of Americans. She said that eye contact with people is really hard for her- apparently in Japan and some other Asian countries, direct, sustained eye contact is considered rude and aggressive behavior, like you’re challenging what the other person is saying. She always either looked down or to the side when she talked to people, and would quickly flick her eyes up to yours occasionally. I also met this guy at my university once who was giving a lecture on wolf social behavior, and he NEVER looked anyone in the eye; he was always flicking his eyes around rapidly. When somebody asked him about his, he said it’s from working with wolves- eye contact is a direct threat. We all thought this was mildly creepy and Ted Bundy-ish, but I guess in the “natural world”, those are the rules.

I sometimes close my eyes while speaking if I’m trying to remember or visualize something complicated.

I think too much direct eye contact makes a lot of people uncomfortable . . . probably has something to do with their parents saying, “Don’t stare so much! It’s rude!” and then slapping them in the back of the head.

Usually I take a lot of eye contact as something that goes either with conflict or intimacy.

When I want to give the illusion of giving eye contact, I’ll stare at the person’s nose or between their eyebrows.

I often flick between looking at someones’s eyes, their mouth, and elsewhere when conversing. I’ll tend to look at their mouth ocassionally when they are talking. I find if you maintain eye contact with someone too long they either find it agressive or flirtatious, depending on the person and the situation.

When lying or uncomfortable I will pat a cat if one is available. I know I do this, but I can’t stop it. I don’t lie anymore (I’m thinking back to when I was living at home), but if I’m in an uncomfortable situation (argument with wife for e.g.) I’ll grab a cat and start patting away.

Eye contact…this is a “topic” that comes to the forefront of my mind when someone does NOT look me directly in the eyes when I’m speaking with them. I see it as a way of saying, “I’m not just HEARING (words going in one ear, out the other) what you’re saying, but I’m LISTENING (taking in, analyzing, trying to understand) what you are saying.” This does not happen to me very often, but when it does, I get the impression that the person is intimidated by me for some reason. I find it hard that anyone would be intimidated by me, since I’m just a tall, lanky guy that is always smiling. I find that smiling while I’m talking puts other people at ease and kind of makes them smile back. Of course, I don’t ALWAYS smile, I mean, you don’t want to be talking about the death of someone or some horrible event and then have this goofy grin on your face. Anyway, eye contact is very important to me…the most recent time I actually noticed someone NOT making eye contact with me was about 6-10 months ago…one of our product vendors (for the local cable company) was talking to me about something, his name was Chris. This guy seemed pleasant enough over the phone and in person, but he would not look at me straight in the eye for more than a fleeting glance, then shift this way and that. It was kind of annoying, because I swear I was gonna start getting dizzy soon, heh heh! I thought to myself “Never trust a guy with shifty eyes!” I brought this up to my supervisor, Eric, who mentioned that he noticed the same thing. I finally decided that maybe he was just uncomfortable in the unfamiliar surroundings…maybe he had issues, or something. He was over-weight and had to walk with a cane, maybe it was an embarrassing kind of thing for him, I don’t know. I’m not one to judge others, as we all have our faults, Lord knows I have enough of my own.
Someone mentioned that body language is bunk? I think not…I would have to say my opinion differs about that. When someone furrows or arches their brow, can you not tell that they may be puzzled about something? How about when they turn red and ball their hands up into a fist, get all rigid and have their eyes bulging…don’t you think that they’re mad, maybe? Either that, or they’re seriously constipated. If I’m speaking with someone at close proximity and they fold their arms over their chest, I think to myself “Hmm, maybe I’m too close and I should back up a bit.” When the person is sitting back in a chair, relaxed, with a grin on their face while they’re talking to me, I think that they’re comfortable in what we’re speaking about. When they say the word “Yes.” and shake their head “No.” or vice versa, then something is not right. I’m no psychologist, but you don’t have to be one to plainly see that body language is definitely real…otherwise, they never would have made a game show named after it, heh heh!

That’s true, a number of people (esp. politicians) attempt to decoy their real intentions by broadcasting a set of fake signals.

In the end, it’s your skill (of picking up non-verbal cues) vs their skill (of faking said cues). No set of acting is perfect; there are many subconscious signals a person gives out that not even he is aware of.

So no, it’s not bunk. It just depends on how perceptive you are against fakes.