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Eli

Oh, Eye-Contact

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Eli

I realized just how severe my issues are with making eye-contact on my wedding day. I knew it was kind of bad, but when I was standing in front of my soon-to-be husband as we recited our vows, I struggled to hold his eye. In fact, the majority of the ceremony, I watched his mouth. For the fifteen minutes of being the center of attention and professing my love for another human being that felt like a thousand years, my husband's mouth was my safe place. I tried looking up at him a handful of times, and I would look away every time, involuntarily. It's like something tickling the back of your throat; you can have all the intention in the world to not swallow or cough, but your throat makes that decision for you in the end. What part of me is making that decision?

I guess I remember it surprising me, because I had known him at that point for five years, and am closer to him than I've ever been to anyone. I thought that in time, it would improve, even if just a little, and it really hasn't. Although, I will say it's better than conversations with everyone else. I can't describe how difficult it is to focus on what someone else is saying, because for the duration of the conversation, much of my focus goes to the eye-contact dance. How long should I look him directly in the eye? What face am I making, am I being creepy? When do I pause to glance somewhere else, and for how long, and where do I glance, and what face am I making,and what are my hands doing? Nod your head, like you know what he's been talking about.

I'm pretty sure I seem kind of creepy.

When I am making eye-contact with someone, time itself seems to slow down and sharpen; it's like experiencing life in HD. And it's so vivid, and so over-stimulating, I will do anything to smoothly end it. Damn you, eye-contact.

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HalfFull

I'm often fine looking at someone when they are speaking to me, but as soon as I'm speaking the eye contact falters, because their gaze literally distracts me so that I'm unable to remember what to say, so looking away for most of the time is the only way.

I don't know if you've looked up tips, but this may (or may not) help.

http://www.wikihow.com/Look-People-in-the-Eye 

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Nesf

A couple of people here have described it as two same poles of a magnet trying to come together, and that's exactly what if feels like. When I'm talking to someone, I keep looking at their face and then glancing away, but apparently that's not normal eye contact, you're supposed to maintain eye contact for a few seconds while they are talking, but I find that really difficult.

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Gone home
14 minutes ago, Nesf said:

A couple of people here have described it as two same poles of a magnet trying to come together, and that's exactly what if feels like.

Thats what I used to experience. It was once impossible, but its not much of an issues these days ... tends to be excessive eye contact now.

If anyone googles an image search on ... 'eyes direction' ... its can provide some interest regarding observing eyes

Edited by Going home
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Ben

I've managed to train myself into it over the years. Body language and eye contact are very important things for me - an open posture and good eye contact show confidence and honesty. Now I know that rule doesn't really apply to us, but I still like to show willing to the NT world. If I know someone is also on the spectrum then I know not to bother. 

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Nesf

I find it hard to make and maintain direct eye contact, but I do try to look at people's faces when they are talking to me, at their nose if not their eyes. i don't want to give people the impression that I'm not listening to them or being rude or dishonest, which is what people apparently think if you don't give eye contact.

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Eli

 

6 hours ago, Nesf said:

I find it hard to make and maintain direct eye contact, but I do try to look at people's faces when they are talking to me, at their nose if not their eyes. i don't want to give people the impression that I'm not listening to them or being rude or dishonest, which is what people apparently think if you don't give eye contact.

Yes that's what I often do. I shoot for the forehead. If anyone notices or thinks it's weird I've not been told. I haven't actually researched why this is a common issue, but I do wonder why it feels so wrong. 

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Nesf
10 hours ago, Eli said:

Yes that's what I often do. I shoot for the forehead. If anyone notices or thinks it's weird I've not been told. I haven't actually researched why this is a common issue, but I do wonder why it feels so wrong. 

I'm not sure why it is exactly, but people with anxiety disorders or low confidence also have the same issue. Perhaps it's due to feeling exposed and vulnerable. Also, it's hard to concentrate when someone is looking directly into your eyes.

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DavidTheWitch

I think this is something you need to train early....

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fairytattgirl

I find myself feeling as though I am starting whenever I make eye contact and wonder if I make too much or too little. I am a Senior Team Member at work so talk to mangement, advise my team etc (i hate it). The past few days I have had lots of meetings and I noticed that when I get engrossed or have to talk I lose eye contact. I also know the whole body language thing. I cross my arms alot without thinking. As for wrong facial expressions everyone including my partner is always going what's wrong cause I look upset or mad when Sometime I am really fine

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Aspergolfer

I find eye contact difficult to say the least, & nystagmus doesn't help.

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not around here anymore

I am really bad at making eye contact. I know it makes me look awkward and perhaps ill mannered, but it makes me so uncomfortable I just cannot do it most of the time.

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RiRi

In a general sense, I feel that I can make eye contact when I have to, at least I think I can. I have felt it as an obligation to do so because I think that's the NT thing to do. However, it is extremely difficult. Often times I've found myself trying to make eye contact, but being unable to pay attention to what the person said because I'm too preoccupied with the eye contact making. When I don't make eye contact because I just feel too uncomfortable to do so, I try to nod or do some indication that I'm listening.

What's weird is that other day I was talking to someone and I was making eye contact fine, at least I think I was, but when I told them that I'm autistic, I felt like I needed to make less eye contact because I felt like the person wouldn't believe I'm autistic. I think it was stupid to do that actually and also because I felt it was obvious I was exaggerating it. So it probably had the opposite effect. She probably figured it out that I was exaggerating it. 

Apparently, I can make eye contact sometimes. I feel maybe I can make it more so with people I'm more comfortable with. However, I have been told that when I talk I glance (make eye contact briefly) and then look away quickly. All of this, of course, happens subconsciously. So maybe I'm not perceiving it correctly and maybe with that person I was doing the same thing. Maybe my eye contact was already poor so I didn’t need to exaggerate it. Or maybe I wasn't and my eye contact was good. I just feel I was stupid to do that, though. To this day, I still continue to overanalyze the incident. 

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Gone home

I'm not sure any of it matters.
Not enough and you are hiding something (shifty) ...... too much (staring) and you are aggressive :lol:
Middle ground is a mystery I'll never get


 

Edited by Gone home
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RiRi

@Gone home I know what you mean. I've struggled with looking for too long. At times I don't even know where to put my eyes when I'm outside because everywhere I look there is someone, someone who might think I'm looking at them. Then when making eye contact, there's the issue of which eye to look at. I've seen in soap operas they look at both eyes sometimes so I don't know which one and then I feel awkward looking at both eyes or staring at one for too long. lmfao 

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Gone home
On 11/10/2017 at 11:15 PM, RiRi said:

@Gone home I know what you mean. I've struggled with looking for too long. At times I don't even know where to put my eyes when I'm outside because everywhere I look there is someone, someone who might think I'm looking at them. Then when making eye contact, there's the issue of which eye to look at. I've seen in soap operas they look at both eyes sometimes so I don't know which one and then I feel awkward looking at both eyes or staring at one for too long. lmfao 

It is bizarrely difficult to get used to looking into someones eyes and initially does require alot of will  and determination.
It was like trying to join two same poles of a magnet for myself. At one time it was impossible no matter how hard I tried..

I agree that initially its hard to know which eye and even which part of the eye to look at.
It takes time before the focused tunnel vision relaxes into taking in the landscape - rather than focusing on a particular small detail.
I tend to micro focus anyway so it can be an issue that comes and goes  .... 
I don't view myself as an actor so am not overly bothered anymore.
Suspicious or needy types tend to view not looking = shady ... or looking = staring /aggressive.

Its noticeable that some other peoples eyes tend to dart around a bit but suppose some of that might be what they are accustomed to environmentally / momentum wise.

I can easily look into eyes now but my eyes tend to linger too long while processing what I'm seeing. 

When younger I skimmed the book 'how to win friends and influence people by dale carnegie' ... not the sort of thing I'm really into, but it did touch on the theoretical significance of handshakes and eye contact etc..
Also the 'use your head and use your memory books by Tony Buzan' touched on significance of observed eye direction which helped give me an interesting reason to look into eyes. (google image search 'eye direction lying' ). Also researching iridology, EMDR therapy or any other eye stuff can help with motivation to study/look at eyes ... 

Unless its a interest I'm not sure its useful being overly aware of your own eye contact levels - it just contributes to pointless anxiety which breeds pointless insecurity which just gives other people another excuse to take a negative view.

Its an odd phenomenon and I'm not sure whats its all about really ... preventing overwhelment? protecting ones vulnerabilities? fear of the unknown? boredom / lack of interest?
I no longer really care

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