Looking into someone's eyes when talking

#1
It's one of those small funny things that we don't really think about.

But there's kind of a pretty massive difference in interpretation of this action between cultures. Like diametrically opposite.

In western cultures, its a sign of good listening to look into someones eyes while having a conversation.

In eastern cultures, it's a sign of defiance or aggression or power.

Personally, even though I've been raised in a western culture (australia), born into an eastern household (chinese)... it's always felt more natural for me to look away.

In fact, where it gets funny is that, if I find myself looking into the eye of someone, I'm actually listening less; I'm concentrating too much on my own facial expression.

To compensate, I tend to have conversations at the same time I'm doing something else, giving me a sound reason to not look at the person. I also find it to be much more casual and relaxed this way... I mean, shit, who has a sit down, face to face talk for anything less than serious nowadays anyway?


But what does the rest of GAF think? What kinda culture do you come from? And what exactly do you look at when you look a person in their face when talking? Left eye? right eye? nose? Can people tell when you're looking directly at their shnozz instead of their eyes? Maybe the mole on their face?

How do westerners tread that fine line between staring and looking?

Does it make much of a difference to you? Do you note when people are looking at you or away from you... does it matter?

*EDIT*
AH GODDAMMIT. Wrong forum. I'm going to blame the new tabs on this one. Not quite use to them yet.
 

GDGF

Soothsayer
#5
I always look into the eyes of the person I am talking to. It's funny though, that some people can't take that. Makes them feel uncomfortable for some reason (like you're staring into their soul :lol) I always considered it a sign of respect though.


(didn't even make a gaming side joke :)
 
#7
Zaptruder said:
It's one of those small funny things that we don't really think about.

But there's kind of a pretty massive difference in interpretation of this action between cultures. Like diametrically opposite.

In western cultures, its a sign of good listening to look into someones eyes while having a conversation.

In eastern cultures, it's a sign of defiance or aggression or power.

Personally, even though I've been raised in a western culture (australia), born into an eastern household (chinese)... it's always felt more natural for me to look away.

In fact, where it gets funny is that, if I find myself looking into the eye of someone, I'm actually listening less; I'm concentrating too much on my own facial expression.

To compensate, I tend to have conversations at the same time I'm doing something else, giving me a sound reason to not look at the person. I also find it to be much more casual and relaxed this way... I mean, shit, who has a sit down, face to face talk for anything less than serious nowadays anyway?


But what does the rest of GAF think? What kinda culture do you come from? And what exactly do you look at when you look a person in their face when talking? Left eye? right eye? nose? Can people tell when you're looking directly at their shnozz instead of their eyes? Maybe the mole on their face?

How do westerners tread that fine line between staring and looking?

Does it make much of a difference to you? Do you note when people are looking at you or away from you... does it matter?

*EDIT*
AH GODDAMMIT. Wrong forum. I'm going to blame the new tabs on this one. Not quite use to them yet.

There was a thread about this extremely recently in OT.

Edit: Not it's own thread but it was covered here
 
#9
I'm not so sure about this. I've been in eastern countries (Japan, Hong Kong) and western countries (The Netherlands, France) and for me the rule seems to always keep eye contact when the other one is looking. It seems awfully rude when the other one is looking and you're not. But if the other person is looking/pointing at something while talking, you're not really supposed to keep staring. Natural instincts to follow what the other person is looking at I guess.

If you have to try and focus on your facial expression then you're doing it wrong. When I'm making a conversation I'm not going to work on my poker face :O

Plus the only way I can really tell if someone is smiling is by looking at the eyes.

Oh, and if a girl is reaaaally doing her best to get eye contact for long periods, even in non verbal moments, then the girl is usually interested in some way xD

Things that are completely wrong:
In eastern cultures, it's a sign of defiance or aggression or power.
The hell.

I'm concentrating too much on my own facial expression.
That's a very insecure thing to do.

I mean, shit, who has a sit down, face to face talk for anything less than serious nowadays anyway?
A lot more people than you think...

But what does the rest of GAF think? What kinda culture do you come from? And what exactly do you look at when you look a person in their face when talking? Left eye? right eye? nose?
Nose??

How do westerners tread that fine line between staring and looking?
Staring is when you observe and not react in any way. Looking is when you match in behavior.

Does it make much of a difference to you? Do you note when people are looking at you or away from you... does it matter?
Way too technical of a way to look at people, man.
 
#11
personally i can''t have eye contact that long. don't know why.. it's just too much for me. i can't concentrate if i have to make eye contact...

but i do the ocasional look at the eyes in a conversation just so people feel like i'm really speaking to them.. some are so fucking high on eye contact.. like it matters.
 
#12
J Tourettes said:
There was a thread about this extremely recently in OT.

Edit: Not it's own thread but it was covered here
Yeah... I don't like catchall threads.

I mean, you want me to dig through 7 pages to find one or two posts that may or may not relate to my target of inquiry?

Why when I can just post a single thread and garner a few (sometimes many) responses to a specific topic of my choice?
 
#15
When I talk to someone I find myself looking at their mouth more then their eyes.... It feels odd to talk to someone eyes locked imo. :-/
 
#19
Zaptruder said:
Yeah... I don't like catchall threads.

I mean, you want me to dig through 7 pages to find one or two posts that may or may not relate to my target of inquiry?

Why when I can just post a single thread and garner a few (sometimes many) responses to a specific topic of my choice?
You could've used the google search box and typed 'eye contact' and it would've taken you straight there.

Just sayin'
 
#20
J Tourettes said:
You could've used the google search box and typed 'eye contact' and it would've taken you straight there.

Just sayin'
I'm looking for GAF opinion and discussion, rather than yahoo questions or whatever random site that comes up.
 
#22
Yeah, I suck at eye contact. However, there were many instances when I'd be self-conscious about doing it, specifically when I had my concession stand job. I'd make eye contact with the boss and also the customers.

Normally, if I feel like I've been staring too long, I'll glance to the left or right, as if something has happened, and look back.
 
#25
I like to look around when I talk to someone, but occasionally look them in the eye for a few seconds to let them know I'm listening or see if they are.
 
#29
Well if you find you cant make eye contact then you probably feel guilty about something, or maybe have self esteem issues.

Or maybe you just dont like the person.
 
#30
I did think this was an interesting topic when applied another way (to gaming) - why is it that many games don't have eye-tracking at the very least or eye movement?

There's a lot of that 'dead eye syndrome' where characters are speaking to others and then bloody looking away to something or doing nothing. :/
 
#31
Wrong forum!


But I find it hard to look people in the eye when speaking to them. They say the eyes are the window into the soul. But in Western Culture it means you're lying or you're not confident if you don't look someone in the eye.


....
 
#34
I don't notice when someone looks away for a few seconds while talking but I surely notice when they will not look at me. I've always considered it a sign of weakness or abuse if someone cannot look you in the eye to be honest and I think that's how most westerners see it.
 
#38
This actually can be a sign of Aspergers. Myself and my son both have it and it is unbelievably difficult to look someone in the eye when speaking with them :lol . I just look at the floor, or behind someone or even at their mouth...just not the eyes...