This is a follow-up to my earlier post: https://wordsofhisheart.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/teaching-eye-contact-as-a-foundational-skill/.
No doubt I’ve made some people uncomfortable with my own efforts to improve my eye contact, but I think it’s been far more positive than negative.
In contemplating the importance of eye contact and how it is fading from our culture, I’ve started making an effort to make eye contact with the people I come in contact with.
I’ve noticed a real difference in the way I greet my husband based on whether I make eye contact with him or not.
I can be looking around and casually say, “Hi, Honey how was your day?” That’s nice. Usually I get a quick short response and then we go our separate ways.
Contrast that with dropping everything, “Hi, Honey. (Wait for his eyes to meet mine, and then I maintain eye contact, smile.) How was your day?” Hmmm. Connection. He has my full attention, I have his. Real communication about his day; he asks about mine.
All for the price of a little eye contact.
Looking cashiers, waitresses, church members, friends, neighbors, etc. in the eye catches them off guard at times, but it is rare that I walk away from them without a smile on my face and on theirs. People like being paid attention to. If I’m in the line for groceries, I’m going to have to talk to the cahier anyway, why not look her in the eye? It costs me nothing, and I’ve achieved not just a transaction but a connection.
How many times have I talked (or listened) to my children and never made eye contact with them. Contrast that to my conversations, especially with my stormy 10-year-old, when I look her in the eye and smile warmly. Not only does eye contact cause me to focus my attention, it communicates something that cannot be communicated well with words. It communicates, “I’m in this with you, you are worth my full attention, and I’m interested in what you have to say.” How much better our relationships would be if we could convey this message more often!
Think of one person you will be coming in contact with today, and pledge to look them in the eye each time you speak to them. It could be your child, your spouse, your boss, anyone. How does it make you feel? How did they respond? Any revelations?