Making eye contact

When you’re talking to someone, do you always make eye contact? Or do you find that you can’t look them in the eye for too long and quickly divert your eyes? I fall into the latter category and I finally think I know why.

It started a year or two ago when someone mentioned to me that I don’t always make eye contact when they’re talking to me. I didn’t even realise I was doing it until it was brought up. I then started trying to make a conscious effort to look someone in the eye when we were talking. It was working but I realized that I was losing what little self confidence I had in the process. You see, I am an extremely shy person. And it only came to me recently, that I have some social anxiety too.

What is social anxiety?
“Social anxiety is the fear of social situations that involve interaction with other people. You could say social anxiety is the fear and anxiety of being negatively judged and evaluated by other people. It is a pervasive disorder and causes anxiety and fear in most all areas of a person’s life.”

Eyes are the window to the soul. So, people with social anxiety will have a difficult time maintaining eye contact. It has nothing to do with you but just their social anxiety kicking in.

I realized that while I was focusing on maintaining eye contact, I was losing track of what I wanted to say, thus having to think harder about what was coming out of my mouth. I couldn’t maintain eye contact and still say what I wanted to say without stumbling over my words. This has led to me being more self-conscious and having an even lower self-esteem.

I found the following article, that talks about how to overcome eye contact anxiety. I’m going to be trying some of the fixes and hope I make a little of progress.

I don’t make eye contact because of my social anxiety, low self-esteem and shyness.
Not because I LIKE you and get nervous around you.
Not because I’m not interested in what you have to say.
Not because you’re not visually appealing.
Not because I’m hiding something.
Not always because I’m having a bad day.

Am I the only one that can’t always make eye contact?