I can’t look at people without staring. How do NTs get enough information about a person to look away so fast? Or am I not supposed to be taking in information? Is that the point, that I don’t know them so I shouldn’t be looking at them?
I don’t completely understand how NT eye contact works. I think that one thing it’s for is confirmation that someone is paying attention.
Like, they think that glances verifying that someone is looking in their direction confirms that the person they’re talking to is paying attention. And that they’re noticing them and reacting to them specifically and not just speaking generically.
It can also be used as a request for attention. Like, looking at someone’s face can mean “I would like to talk to you,” and returning the glance can mean “Ok, talk to me.”
A slightly more intense version of this means “I find you sexually attractive and would like intense attention.” Returning that kind of eye contact in a fleeting way can mean “I also find you attractive, and I’m bashfully flirting back.” Returning it in an intense way can mean something along the lines of “Wow, you’re hot. Let’s enjoy our intense mutual attraction.”
Intense eye contact can also mean “I am trying to establish dominance.” In that convention, whoever breaks eye contact first loses.
Avoiding eye contact when someone is attempting to initiate it can signal, in various cases:
- That you’re afraid of that person
- That you’re embarrassed or ashamed and don’t want to face them
- That you’re avoiding them for some other reason
- That you’re intentionally insulting them by snubbing them and ignoring their requests for attention
Those are the primary things I know about how eye contact in English-speaking NT culture. (Eye contact has dramatically different connotations in some cultures.)
Do any of y'all know of other uses of eye contact? Or things I’m getting wrong?