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Author Topic: Eye Contact  (Read 1113 times)

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Offline Jaracove

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Eye Contact
« on: August 22, 2013, 07:22:03 AM »
Hello

I find it terribly uncomfortable to maintain eye contact when speaking with people. It restrict me in that I don't go out much at all, and I simply cannot work. I avoid all social gatherings and at 45, I'm starting to become aware of a lot of lost opportunities.

It's worse when I'm the listener, because when I'm not talking (active), when I'm listening (passive), I'm not in control of the situation. I have to sit there, looking at the person's eyes, and it's terrible.

I'm seeing a therapist and it's going well, if very slowly. Some days I feel I can conquer it, some days I feel totally hammered by it.

I start over analysing things, like; do I look at the left or right eye, what about both? Do I blink now or later?

The fear is that they'll notice and say something along the lines of 'You are weird', or 'You creep me out with the way you look at me'.

Anyone else get this, any advice?
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Offline Cuchculan

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Re: Eye Contact
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2013, 02:40:05 PM »
Easy fix would be just to keep nodding and saying yes every minute or so if listening. To do that you don't always have to be looking the person in the eye. Out of a ten minute conversation I would say at least 10 times to look at them directly. It would be a starting point. Nobody spends the whole conversation just looking at the other person. I am talking people who don't have problems here. It is normal to look away the odd time. Use a few hand gestures. As you are doing this you can smile and look at your hands. As if you are demonstrating something. It will all take time. To be honest the bulk of people in life are not actually looking directly at you when talking to you. They are looking beyond you. It is something everybody does. Who really wants eye contact all the time? It doesn't have to happen. Just here and there in a conversation. That is all you need to do.
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Offline Inner hippie

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Re: Eye Contact
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2013, 04:09:50 PM »
I have this too.  Funny thing is I never tied it to my anxiety until recently.  It started years ago.  It is definitley worse if I am the listener.  My husband says I look at one eye then the other.  Rapidly.  Once I realize I am doing it I become very uncomfortable.  It makes it difficult to pay attention, process, retain the information because I am so distracted with what the person must be thinking.  And with trying NOT to do it.  The closer a person is to me the harder time I have.  I know if I could just relax I would be ok.  Wouldn't we all, right?!!!!!
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Offline Jaracove

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Re: Eye Contact
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2013, 04:12:21 AM »
Yes, the looking at one eye then the other is a problem too. I've been told to concentrate on the one eye, their left eye, because the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body, and that's where emotions and sensitivity stem from

Weird, but there you go

I've become expert at all the little tricks like nodding, pretending to be distracted by things now and then etc, but the uncomfortable feeling is still there.

Really tough on times.
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Offline Aphrodizzy

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Re: Eye Contact
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2013, 09:21:08 AM »
I have this problem too. I'm really bad about looking around or looking up when I'm talking to someone. I have to force myself to look into people's eyes and listen to what they are saying.
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Offline Philtered

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Re: Eye Contact
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2013, 06:11:22 PM »
I have a hard time looking at eyes as well, I tend to act like I'm busy looking around, or glance at my watch or look at their lips instead. I don't know what it is but I can't help it.
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Offline Wolfboxer

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Re: Eye Contact
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2013, 06:40:58 PM »
I know when I was little I never looked anyone in the eye for like 5 seconds.  I was shy and a bit quite but over time from having a person in school help me it was sorta easy. Now its still hard every once and a while. I listen to people very well just when I talk and into it my eyes wonder at times. I don't mean to seem like I'm not engaged I guess its a habit. But I have came a long way.
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Offline wound

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Re: Eye Contact
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2013, 11:33:32 PM »
I find eye contact to be really nerve-racking. Though, over time with someone who I become comfortable with it does become a little easier with a few breaks every few seconds or so. When it comes to meeting someone new/being introduced to someone, a total stranger looking at me to make eye contact or when trying to hold a conversation; making eye contact usually gets my heart racing and my palms sweaty. I mainly stick to just looking away and nodding, I fear that sometimes I come off as I'm not listening at all or just not interested altogether once my eyes trail away or I look down. Another method I use is looking like I'm doing something else but still listening. Smiling or anything like that is totally out of the question also, I have a really hard time being able to smile back.

All in all it's really hard when trying to be assertive or just social with someone.
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Offline Quetzal828

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Re: Eye Contact
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2013, 01:30:46 PM »
I have the same problem. Sometimes, I start to feel uncomfortable with eye contact and then feel like my eyes are watering. I worry about whether the other person will think I'm tearing up. The worry just causes me to blink rapidly, which in turn causes my eyes to water more. I find it helps to ignore my inner banter and just focus on what the other person is saying. If I'm really feeling panicky, I'll try refocus my attention on some other part of my body -- an arm or leg, for example, and focus on relaxing the muscles rather than tensing them. Also, another trick is to just look at someone's forehead or the bridge of their nose. They will think you're making eye contact, but you're really not.
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Offline Jaracove

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Re: Eye Contact
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2013, 01:41:22 PM »
I find it helps to really focus on what they're actually saying. Also, I take quick breaks by looking at their mouth for about a second. That's what folk do anyways, so it's ok. Don't look at their chest like I used to as women tend not to like that!

When I was at the doctors the other month I became aware that I had just had a conversation with her for about an entire minute before I started getting edgy. However, I also became aware that during that conversation, I was only looking at her right eye throughout the entire time. And, it was very natural as well. So I learned that day that looking at someone in just the one eye is perfectly normal. Unless you're close up, then you're just flicking back and forth between each eye

/ramble over
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Offline TressaDras

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Re: Eye Contact
« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2013, 08:41:13 AM »
I have serious eye contact issues.  One thing I've got going for me is that without my eyeglasses, everything is kind of fuzzy.
So anytime I know I'll need to make eye contact, I simply take my glasses off.
In my brain I have myself trained to do heavy thinking with my glasses on and any socializing with them off.
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Offline volante

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Re: Eye Contact
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2013, 01:35:53 PM »
Hi Jaracove

I know EXACTLY what you are talking about my friend.
Read 'Sorry I cant Stop' on my Blog, you will not be disappointed!
   Trust me,i've been there, it's a big confidence issue.
       All the best and I hope it helps you.
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All are welcome to read my personal Blog

www.panicattackandanxietystopped.com

Offline Jaracove

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Re: Eye Contact
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2013, 05:05:51 PM »
I read it volante, very interesting, I can definitely relate

I'm Cancerian too :)
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Offline neliss32

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Re: Eye Contact
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2014, 03:51:20 PM »
I have this.  I do well when am comfortable with the person or become comfortable.  Could be medications I take make it hard to focus.  When I upped my paxil I started forgetting my work schedule. 

 
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Offline bigbootyalliNOTjudy

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Re: Eye Contact
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2014, 07:05:43 PM »
OMG I hate eye contact too. I dread it. I always freeze up & it's like awkward, I don't know what to 'look' at & then I probably look like a creeper for staring because I'm deep in thought about what I'm looking at. I get frozen.
I'd rather not look at someone in the eye so much when I'm listening. It just gives me a weird, awkward feeling.
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