It is an old common expression, "The eyes are the windows to the soul", and we take that as kind of a cute spiritual idea and I am sure that spiritually it is. But it turns out that scientifically, this is truer than you know!
Watch this, Jonathan Kellerman did a study where he sat down two opposite sex couples and merely had them stare into each other's eyes for about 20 minutes. At the end of the twenty minutes the couples expressed feelings of intense attraction towards the other person and actually, some of the couples even ended up getting married! (Kellerman,1989).
The implications of this are incredible. So as I was reading this study I was trying to think up reasons why this could be and I actually stumbled upon another study done by Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen at Cambridge University. What he did was he took pictures of people expressing different emotions and then he cut out the eyes from the pictures and showed just the strip of the eyes to other people.
Strangely, the people were able to tell an incredibly wide range of different emotions such as "friendly", "relaxed", "hostile," "worried," and even such things as "desire for you," and "desire for someone else". ALL FROM JUST LOOKING AT THE EYES.
And here is the best part. Scientists have no idea how this is possible. Oh and by the way, women were much better at discerning what expression was what than men were ;-) As usual.
So now you have gotten a slight glimpse into the power of the eyes. But let's continue onto our discussion for today- eye contact. We have been evolutionarily programmed to read emotions from other people's eyes (hence the reason why babies hate it when we wear glasses, because it hinders their ability to read us. Did you ever have that?
And eye contact is one of the trademarks of the socially savvy within our society. I actually have gotten a lot of people writing in asking me about how to properly maintain eye contact and therefore I am hoping that this article will help you all learn the different ideas, methods and a few tricks for using your eyes for more than looking.
Maintaining Proper Eye Contact
Very simply put, when we talk we as humans maintain 40-60% eye contact. When we listen to people we maintain 80% eye contact. (And if you don't then you should.) (There is an exception for Japan, Asians and South Americans- they actually look at your throat which can be quiet disconcerting to the inexperienced traveler.) (Argyle, 1972)
Here are some numbers to keep in mind :
- The average gaze length: 2.95 seconds.
- Mutual gaze: 1.18 seconds.
However, that will change if you like the person. Watch this. When we are attracted to somebody we will look at them more, they pick up on this fact and they look at us more because they think we like them which makes them like us. We inherently like people who like us! Another fun thing that happens is this. The next time you suspect that somebody is attracted to you, watch their pupils. What is going to happen is if they are attracted to you then their pupils will actually dilate! The reason is because the pupils will dilate to try to take in more of you and of course this will also happen when we see a beautiful scene or a flower or something that will like.
Something else that's cool is that look at a magazine cover. The chances are very good that the woman's pupils will be dilated...and the funny thing is that the people that photo shopped the photo were the ones to put that in there. Unless the woman was attracted to the photographer ;-)
OK, so here are the bottom line rules for Eye Contact:
1) When Listening: Make sure to keep your eye gaze on the person for 80% of the time.
2) During general interactions, in order to gain rapport with the person you want to keep eye contact for about 60-70% of the interaction, and like I mentioned before this will also make it that the person will come to like you (whether in a sexual sense or a regular sense depends on the interaction).
Where to Look
So obviously keeping eye contact is easier said than done because we have this desire for our eyes to be moving, constantly scanning the persons face. Again, this is because we are trying to continuously read the person's emotions! So there are three basic types of eye glancing that I am going to illustrate for you here that will hopefully help you really solidify your eye contact abilities. (And then the rest of the article is actually a mixture of some really fun tips and tricks that you can start using immediately!)
1. The Social Gaze:
The social gaze is very simple. You look from the right eye, to the left eye, to the nose and back to the right eye. Sometimes you will look at the mouth as well or the eyebrows but rarely will you venture out of that area. This is a very good way of telling that the person you are with likes you as a friend. This is done during 90% of the time that we are looking at the person (so remember, we keep eye contact for about 60-70% of the conversation- so during 90% of that 60-70% we are doing the Social Gaze.
2. The Intimate Gaze:
This is a fun one and pretty much everybody denies doing this but studies have shown that pretty much everybody does this!
When you are talking to somebody you are attracted to here is what will happen:
a) From far away, your eyes will go to their eyes and then believe it or not, to the pelvic region. The groin. So when you are walking up to somebody from a distance that you might be attracted to you will go from their eyes or face down to their groin area.
b) When the two of you are close together it will be a triangle from the two eyes down to the chest and then back to the face.
We all do this to show interest in one another and we all pick up on it. We give two quick glances and then we go to the face and despite everybody's denial about this, a psychologist named Gangstand has studied interactions between the sexes using hidden cameras in public places and has found this to be true.
3. The Power Gaze:
This one is very simple to learn. Right eye, left eye, middle of the forehead. You know where the purported third eye is supposed to be? Well that's where you are going to look during your eye gazing endeavors. It is fascinating to watch this work. By doing this you are automatically putting the person under some type of invisible pressure and so long as your gaze does not go below the eyes that pressure will remain there. So if you want to quickly control somebody and put immense pressure on them this is a good way of doing it. (This also works wonders for getting somebody to shut the hell up. Do this and they will do it almost instantaneously?)
Some Fun Tricks:
- When two people meet and lock eyes, the person who looks away first becomes the weaker of the two. That is why you can get into power plays of who can keep eye contact the longest. But be warned, catching some bodies eye and refusing to turn away can start a fight all by itself. So use this with caution.
- Lowering the head and looking up is an incredibly powerful seductive gesture and really makes men like women. The reason is because when this happens it makes the woman's eyes really wide which unconsciously reminds the man of a child and releases a flood of chemicals that give him the feeling that he needs to protect her. (Pease, 2004)
- Grabbing a man's attention happens to be very easy: Meet his gaze and hold it for about 2-3 seconds and then shyly look away and down. Monika Moore of Webster University actually did experiments that showed that when you, the woman, believe that you are catching the guys eye, you actually are not. Most men are not hardwired to pick up when a woman is catching his eye (because yes yes, men are stupider) and it might take up to four times for the guy to realize!
- When you finally do catch the guy's attention, do an eyebrow flash- which means simply raise your eyebrows slightly and widen your eyes. You can do this instinctively and it goes a long way towards making the guy feel comfortable and safe enough to come over to you.
- 70% of Liars actually maintain very strong eye contact. The reason is because when we are trying to recall information (i.e. Tell the truth) our eyes are going to flit around in our heads trying to recall different bits of information. A liar who is not trying to recall information has no reason for his eyes to go searching and therefore his eyes will remain on yours.
Men evolutionarily see in a circle whereas women see in an oval (hence the reason women love shoes- because they believe that men can see them. We can't.) And therefore it is easier for a woman to check out a man without him noticing it; however a man, because of the way he sees has to check out a woman in steps. So while a woman can check out a man from his head to his torso and then slightly shift her eyes down a fraction of a millimeter and see his belt to his shoes, men have to check a woman by first going to the head, then the chest, then the stomach, then the crotch, then the legs. And because of these men get "caught" way more often than women.
WOMEN OGGLE AND CHECK OUT GUYS WAY MORE THAN MEN DO! But because of the evolutionarily preprogrammed way that women see, they never get caught.
Blinking is not a good sign. When somebody is blinking a lot there are several different reasons:
a) they are lying about something (They are stressed. We blink more when we are stressed.)
b) They don't like you. By blinking a lot they are trying to kind of erase you from their vision.
c) It can further mean that they feel superior to you! So Alan Pease gives a great idea in his book,
The Definitive Book of Body Language. If you see this person blinking a lot or having their eyes closed etc then while their eyes are closed just shift slightly to the right, so when they open their eyes you will have seemed to have vanished and this will really confuse them and give you the upper hand in the interaction.
If the persons eyes are shifting around not holding eye contact while you are talking then that means you are boring them and they are unconsciously looking for an escape route! A great way of making sure this doesn't happen is that wherever you are try to position yourself in a way that makes it that they have to look at you exclusively (for instance, when you are sitting down to dinner try to have them face a way where they only can focus on you- so they would be sitting facing the wall.) Just make sure not to be rude and have your eyes darting around.
Here is my own personal technique that I use constantly. You can easily hold onto someone's attention with your hands. Let's say you see that somebody's attention is waning and they are looking to the side. All you have to do is subtly move your hands by their eyes (obviously closer to your body but in their line of sight) move your hand slightly and then slowly bring your hand back to the center of your body by your face. What is going to happen is that the human eye is naturally attracted to movement, so by catching the eye with your eye you can then lead the human eye back to your face. This can also be done with a pen etc...but I prefer my hands since I rarely forget my hands in my other pants.)
Well there you have it. I have given you the specifics of eye contact, exactly what is to be done during the different interactions as well as some pretty cool tips that you can start using. I hope you enjoyed.
And Never Forget, Start Now !!