I’d like to think of myself as a friendly person. Not necessarily outgoing or forward, but friendly. Being friendly, for the most part, implies interacting with someone you might not know that well. I mean no one tells you to “be friendly” to your best bud, because of course you will. I always try to make an effort to be nice and welcoming to people when I first meet them, because, well, isn’t that common courtesy? It’s just the way I am.
The only problem there is making eye contact. Everyone knows what it’s like to have to make eye contact with someone; we all had those spontaneous staring contests as children. You look into another person’s eyes for an indefinite amount of time, but after several seconds, one of you bursts out laughing. I have more self-control than that at my age, but the feat is none the simpler. There are a few problems I have with the acute skill of making eye contact with people:
- I can’t look at both of the person’s eyes at the same time. It’s hard enough to focus in on one of them, you can’t possibly expect me to look at both at the same time! It feels extremely awkward, so I usually end up glancing away. Then I come back, thinking maybe I just need to try again. Nope. Same problem: it’s one or the other. Which one do I look at? Do they think I’m lying or extremely nervous because I keep switching back and forth? It’s just too much of hassle, if you ask me.
- The other person has no problem with it. This is the worst feeling. You’re trying to have a conversation with a person you just met, when all of a sudden you realize they are staring into your soul. I don’t know about you, but whether I’m talking to a friend or an acquaintance, I look them in the eye once or twice, but a lot of the time I’m looking away while I speak. It’s not because I have an aversion to their face; it’s simply that I can’t focus on their eyes as well as the words I am trying to form and spit out. I’ve come across someone before who made nonstop-hardcore-extreme-constant eye contact with me while we spoke. What, are you trying to prove that you’re better at this than I am? You can take first prize, because I won’t even try to fight you for it.
- There’s always the awkward, I-didn’t-mean-to-look-at-you-but-we-both-did-at-the-same-time eye contact. This is the opposite of the purposeful eye contact required at interviews and public speeches. Seriously, does it get any more cringe-worthy than accidentally glancing at a random person, only to find they have done the same to you? I’d tell you to always be on the lookout, but unfortunately doing so would only increase your chances of an unwanted situation. It can happen anywhere, anytime, with anyone. My classes can get pretty boring while we take notes, so every once in a while I decide to lift my head up and take a look around. Of course, even though I’m not even trying to get this person’s attention, each time I look to my right he looks to his left. Whoops! Sometimes this can be used to your advantage, though. With a few carefully timed quick glances, you might be able to tell if he or she is looking back on purpose. (But use caution: results may vary.)
- Sometimes even I can get carried away. It’s easy to stare into someone’s eyes is you find him or her attractive. Speaking from a girl’s point of view, I can tell in .5 seconds how I feel about a guy if I just look into his eyes. At this point it’s practically always “Uh, nope. Not at all.” Having a boyfriend changes your perspective. But every so often I see a picture of a celebrity I’m obsessed with (*cough* Joseph Gordon-Levitt *cough*) and it’s hard not to daydream about him staring back. If I’m talking to someone and I happen to be fond of the color of their eyes, I might stare for too long, thinking about aesthetic qualities instead of the conversation (which relates back to my second point). Talk about being awkward!
So, eye contact is not my thing. Maybe it will be one day. Do you grow into it? Is this skill acquired with time? Who knows. I want to know what your embarrassing “eye contact” stories are! Life’s not perfect, and neither are we! Leave a comment below so we can all get a good laugh today. Thanks for the support, love y’all!