A lot of people I encounter while walking down the street tend to keep their eyes either down on the sidewalk or looking around you when you are walking by them. When I am in a cafe I see the same things, people don’t like to look into your eyes when having a conversation, I usually take this as a general rule. Does anyone else notice this? Is anyone the one always looking away? What do you think this says about your overall mood or personality in general? And is it accurate?
I know that I do this a fair bit, and the obvious assumption to make is that it indicates some sort of shyness, which seems to me accurate, but I’m not really qualified to say. In fact, for all my noticing of my own habits, I’ve never actually paid much attention to whether other people do the same thing.
I’d like to know what people think of the person who always keeps their eyes down or averted, because I’m one of them. I don’t have a problem making eye contact in conversation, and would consider it rude if others didn’t extend the same courtesy. But when you’re walking down a sidewalk or a hallway, are you supposed to make eye contact with everyone you pass? I honestly don’t know what the correct thing to do is most of the time, and it’s sort of awkward for me. Should I look at this person? Should I smile? Should I keep my eyes down? Should I look around? Is that weird? What should my eyes be doing when I pass someone I don’t know?
It can indicate shyness, I guess, but I’m not trying to be shy; I just don’t know where I should look.
I’m always scanning my environment as I move through it, not necessarily with the goal of making eye contect, but just to know what’s going on around me. If I hear an unexpected sound or some movement catches my eye, I look deliberately to figure out what the cause is. I don’t avoid eye contact, and I look at everybody. I’m not sure how this fits into your scheme.
I do notice that very few other people do this. When I raise my head in curiosity over a new thing, almost no one else does. Most people seem to be almost zombie-like in their tunnel vision toward the route directly ahead.
During a conversation, people who don’t make eye contact convey to the other person that they are hiding something or lying - whether or not that is actually the case. I make solid eye contact to people I am speaking to.
I will also make eye contact with and smile at people in general when I’m in a store or walking down a street. This comes from years of retail training and I’m afraid it’s stuck.
I don’t mind be looked at in the eyes and will try to make eye contact when I am walking down the hall or sidewalk.
I always take my cue from the other person. As we approach I’ll look at their face and if they are looking at my face then as we get closer I’ll say “Hello” or whatever but if they are looking down or off to the side then I just look straight ahead and do not say anything to them as we pass.
I take people looking away from me as we pass as one of two things. They are shy and that’s ok, or they do not want to be bothered which is also ok.
When I am at work or out walking on my usual path, down to the Junior High School and back, then I am much more likely to be looking at other people in the face and saying “hi” to them then I am when I am at the store. The reason being I am much more likely to see those people again some day.
As to Stauderhorse my advice is, and what I do, just take a quick glance at the other person as you approach them. If they are not looking at you at that moment then just pass on but if they are then a quick smile and “Hi” is always nice.
With the exception of being on a very busy downtown Chicago street, I attempt to make eye contact with each and every person that I pass or that passes me. It’s my attempt to remain as aware of my surroundings as possible and that the only people I’m aware of who make solid eye contact with everyone they see are either cops or crazy people and nobody tends to mess much with either. I have noticed that very high upper percentages will not make eye contact back, or will immediately look away. A great deal of my public persona suggests “not a mark, do not fuck with this person” and it’s done on purpose.
I don’t mind being looked in the eye, but I’ve noticed that I tend to not look at people in certain situations.
Recently I was on a trip, and we were staying in a hotel offering the free breakfast buffet. In this crowd of people all scrambling towards the trough, a little girl asked me where the milk was. I didn’t know, but I looked in our immediate vicinity, and then suggested she might try looking next to the cereals. A moment later, I scanned the small room and realized I didn’t know which little girl I’d spoken to. All I could say for certain was that she was young, white, and female. When I analyzed it further (I hate being so unobservant), I realized that I had avoided looking at her because I thought she might be embarrassed or nervous (although she wasn’t) and I didn’t want to intensify it. I don’t like seeing people embarrassed, so I…don’t. Rest assured, if you are screwing something up, I am consciously Not Looking At You! (Likewise, if you are saying something you probably shouldn’t, I probably Didn’t Hear You.)
Walking down the street, I don’t make eye contact. I’m in my little world, and I’m fine with everyone else being the same. At work, I make eye contact in the halls, since I know those people (and usually smile, wave or say hi), but a lot of people don’t. In conversations, I make eye contact, but I avert my eyes often enough to not to the intense lizard-stare thing that some people do.
It depends on my mood. I think my default is to neither avoid nor seek out eye contact, but I definitely have days where I feel on top of everything and actively seek out eye contact. Equally, I have days where I really just feel introverted and actively avoid eye contact unless absolutely necessary.
I almost never make eye contact with people I’m talking to, and certainly never just random people walking down the street. It’s extremely difficult for me to do, and generally hurts if I manage it. I like to think that I fake it pretty well in conversation, though (by looking at their foreheads, or in their direction but not actually focusing on their face).
At work, with my friends, where I live, at school, at the place where I grew up and most other places where I’m comfortable, I follow the norm - look people in the eye while I’m talking to them or listening.
But, damnit, I can’t do the same in crowds. I’m agoraphobic, I look wonky (193cm, 65kg but with big thighs and a hourglass-waist) and I’m unfortunately self-conscious about it in public. So I just get where I’m going and keep my eyes up and straight ahead (scanning the crowd to avoid collisions) or keep my head down. I feel like people are looking at me, but I hear that’s a normal paranoia.
Only while dancing.
It’s one of the things I find harder when speaking with Americans, there the usual etiquette is to look directly into people’s eyes, while in Spain “look at me when I’m talking to you, young lady” would mean “look at some spot above my right shoulder.”
I don’t like being ‘eyeballed’, but I don’t mind being looked in the face when talking with someone. The distinction is subtle.
A guy I knew couldn’t stand not being looked in the eyes. He was your typical ‘captain of industry’ full of bluff and bluster. He told me he didn’t trust people who don’t look him in the eyes (a not so subtle condemnation of me). I forget what my reply was, but in my head I was thinking, “good for you, I don’t trust people who are untrustworthy, I wonder which of us has the best system?”
I used to never look people in the eye when I spoke to them. But it was pointed out to me, by a Psychologist, that that is easily misinterpreted and discomfiting behaviour. It can make people mistrust you.
So I forced myself to make eye contact much more often. Not an intent gaze, though, just more frequently during the conversation, often enough to keep their attention.
I find that when people look at me in the eye for long lengths of time, it makes me uncomfortable, and for different reasons than when they don’t look at all. A happy medium is a good, and the most common, behaviour.
I have a couple of friends who rarely look at people in the eye, looking around at walls and other things around the room, with sometimes as much as a 60 degree difference between their eye direction and who they’re speaking to. Until I get used to it, I find it quite off-putting.
I’ll always look in the eyes of people I’m interacting with, I have no discomfort about that at all (but will take cues from them about how much they expect me to break eye contact during the conversation based on how often they do it - some people don’t like maintaining for long periods).
When I’m out and about? Never, why would I? If I’m just walking past people in the street I have no reason to look at them (beyond checking them out - hubba hubba), of course if I need to interact with someone or vice versa I will straight away look at them to demonstrate I’m engaged with them.
Some people think it’s rude not to hold eye contact with other people, but I think this is a silly made-up rule that goes against our biology-- it’s a fact that many apes get aggressive when they’re looked directly in the eyes for too long by strangers, and personally, I feel that when someone does it to me.
If it’s someone I don’t know, I feel like I’m being stared at, scrutinized, sized up, and it makes me extremely defensive. In conversation, I find it very unnerving to have unbroken eye contact-- to me, it is far more natural to make eye contact sporadically, avert elsewhere, and return every so often. Otherwise, it’s just too intense. There needs to be some eye contact so it feels as if we’re connecting, but too much is just creepy and puts me on edge.
Yes. I look people in the eye when I speak to them and I like it when they do the same.
I don’t really mind if they don’t, however - it’s not a big deal.
I like being looked in the eye if it’s just a polite hello, a quick nod while passing someone on the street, a smile when someone does something nice for me (opening doors, lets me go first, etc.) or a conversation I’m engaged in. However, I deliberately avoid eye contact with most people when in a bad mood or in the event someone is hitting on me. Which doesn’t happen nearly as often as it used to when I was younger and hotter. I guess there are some benefits to being older and more wobbly.
I have a major, major problem looking people in the eye in intimate situations. In fact, in all the years I saw a therapist, I was much more familiar with the light switch on the wall than I was with the actual therapist. I hate confrontation of any kind. Gives me panic attacks.
When it comes to passing people on the street, I don’t have too much problem with making eye contact. In fact, I do great in interviews. But when it comes to getting REAL with somebody, I will talk to your shoes.