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“The eyes are the messengers of the soul” said Adrian Furnham Ph.D. Eye contact has mixed concepts and can be viewed as either awkward or a form of sincerity.
Consider two people in a crowded room whose eyes continuously tend to meet; immediately the uncomfortable lookers jerk their gaze away. This situation is deemed as awkward. On the other hand if the two’s eyes were to meet and remain for a second or two with a bashful ambience then it would be considered a more positive interaction.
Furnham said, “Extroverts look more often, and for longer, at their interlocutors than introverts do. The confident, the bright, and the socially dominant look more, while it is the opposite for the socially anxious.” The eyes are sensitive because they provide unspoken information about a person. Those who are confident are not afraid to look someone in the eyes because they have nothing to hide. They are comfortable with who they are and tend to be the leaders of conversation. Many times they “are regarded not only as exceptionally well-disposed by their targets, but also as more believable and earnest.”
In relationships eye contact is key to showing that the partners can be trusted. As previously stated, eye contact makes someone “more believable and earnest.” Those with a strong relationship have more trust and have less to hide from one another, making eye contact more comfortable and normal. “There is more mutual eye contact between friends than others… Lovers really do gaze more into each other’s eyes.” Furnham also explains that the length of the gaze between two individuals determines the importance of the relationship. If a gaze is shorter it means the most important aspect of the conversation is the content or the words. On the flip side with longer gazes a person is communicating that there is more importance in the relationship rather than just the words that are said.
The eyes are like windows that expose outsiders to the reality of one’s life. It is more comfortable to talk with someone side by side while performing a task than to be sitting in front of each other. However, eye contact is key to a strong relationship and can be the ticket to a more confident lifestyle.
Furnham, Adrian. The Secrets of Eye Contact, Revealed.