Body language is extremely powerful, and is as important a communication method as the spoken word; but how does eye contact attraction work, and how do you know if somebody is really attracted to you by looking at their eyes?
What does it mean when a person cannot hold eye contact?
The term ‘shifty’ is widely used to describe someone with ill intent. What this really means is that the person is unable to hold or maintain eye contact, and their gaze keeps shifting. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are up to no good but is a primary indicator of discomfort.
If you are talking to someone who never meets your gaze, looks at you very rarely, or is constantly distracted, the chances are that there isn’t a great deal of potential. On the other side, how can you be sure whether someone is really interested in you through their eye contact?
In the modern era with so many of us glued to our electronic devices, holding eye contact and a deeply personal conversation with another person shows a strong attraction that cannot be replicated or easily imitated.
Where do we learn body language from?
Eye contact is borne from childhood, where the gaze of a mother bestows a feeling of warmth and safety on their child, long before they have the ability to speak or otherwise communicate. We can portray every emotion through our eyes – some people being better able to do so intentionally than others – from sadness, happiness, trust, and love to content.
Animals are a prime way of exploring the power of eye contact. Your dog cannot talk, but you can tell everything about how they are feeling from their body language and eye contact. For example, a naughty dog will very likely take great pains to avoid meeting your gaze and will stare at anything but you!
The same communication patterns apply to humans. When somebody likes you, they will be focusing all their attention upon you and will want to absorb everything you have to communicate.
Holding a long, deep gaze with another person can be an intense and highly vulnerable experience. This sort of contact is not to be forced and comes with a profound connection of non-verbal communication.
When you are meeting somebody new, or in the early stages of a relationship, how do you know their eye contact is genuine and whether it shows attraction? And most importantly, how should you construe messages from it?
What do different periods of eye contact mean?
Long periods of eye contact denote familiarity and a deep connection. If you and your partner find each other lost in one another’s gaze, this is a sign that you are aligned with one another and have found somebody with whom you can share every vulnerability without hesitation.
Shorter but intense periods of eye contact are more likely in the fledgling stages of a relationship, when each person may feel a strong attraction but be hesitant or too shy to show it. If somebody looks directly into your eyes, but then repeatedly reverses their gaze only to return to your eyes again, it may mean that they like you but are feeling nervous.
If this is a connection you wish to pursue, make sure to acknowledge that they are communicating their attraction. Think about how to make the situation more comfortable and assure them that the attraction is mutual.
A person who cannot keep their eyes off you, who is perhaps talking with somebody else or who you do not yet know but constantly returns to looking at your eyes is likely to be expressing a deep physical attraction to you. It, of course, isn’t socially acceptable to stare fixedly at somebody who you do not yet know, but a strong physical attraction is hard to ignore.
If you notice somebody repeatedly flicking their gaze back to your eyes, take the time to introduce yourself. The chances are that they will leap at the chance to turn their eye contact into a conversation!
When should you not make eye contact at face value?
There are markers of caution to be taken, since having some knowledge about eye contact and the feelings this can deliver leads to it being potentially manipulated by a person who understands the power of eye contact.
A salesperson making long and unwavering eye contact likely knows this will make you feel more connected. They are very possibly using body language to try and make sure they make a sale!
Likewise, people are not machines and there may be somebody extremely attracted to you who suffers from crippling shyness and may find it impossible to make eye contact for fear of rejection. This is where your intuition starts to matter.
Eye contact is not a science since our social interactions and the bodily manifestations of attraction vary between people, cultures, and personalities. Whether you can skillfully read one’s eye contact and other non-verbal cues or not, you probably already know if a person is attracted to you. So you just want to find a way to quantify that to pluck up the courage to make your move or to take things to the next level.
How to move forward!
Trust yourself! Whilst body language can be studied, it is a knowledge we all have within our subconscious. So, the next time that special person meets your gaze and you both find it hard to break away – you know what to do.