The wondrous world of eye contact

flirting eye contact

When you look someone in the eyes, you immediately know what they want to say. You feel sadness, passion, fear, or love. Eye contact often says more than a conversation every could. The eyes don’t lie and offer an unfiltered emotion. It’s pure and vulnerable, and you can learn a lot from it. Find out what it means to look each other in the eyes for a long period of time and learn how to make eye contact in this blog post.

What does eye contact mean?

It’s a fact that something happens in your body and mind when you make eye contact with another person. You feel uncomfortable, understood, emotional, or maybe even uncomfortably alert. All these feelings come from somewhere and have a deeper meaning.

Most important means of communication

Almost 90 percent of all communication is non-verbal. We practically say everything with our body, mimics, posture, and eyes. Eye contact has always played an important part in communication, if not the most important. While it’s easy to tell lies with words, it’s much harder to lie with the eyes. The eyes are a source of information and are the key to connection. Countless researches show that babies who make eye contact with people for a longer period of time have increased brain activity. It also turns out to be essential for their social skills and capacity for empathy later in life. In short, sending and receiving signals through the eyes is an essential part of human communication.

Connection through eye contact

Eye contact is interpreted in various ways in different parts of the world. For example, in a number of Asian and African countries, making eye contact with older people is not allowed. In the animal kingdom, making eye contact with another animal means confrontation and danger. In western society, we mainly associate it with passion and discomfort. When you look each other in the eyes for a long time as a couple, you can guess where it leads. Strangers who make eye contact usually experience it as uncomfortable or as part of flirting. But what happens if you consciously look a stranger in the eye for a long time without saying anything? Artist Marina Abramovic from New York put it to the test.

”In the animal kingdom, making eye contact with another animal means confrontation and danger.”

Every day for three months, she looked museum visitors straight in the eyes for as long as possible. After a while, she became more and more emotional. She started to feel the emotions of those other people as if they were her own. The visitors regularly started crying or laughing, or indicated that they felt understood by her. These touching moments show that you can create a deep connection with someone by simply making eye contact. The only condition is that both parties have to be open to revealing their inner world.

Facial distortions and hallucinations caused by maintaining eye contact

The example by the New York artist is intriguing, but the Italian researcher Caputo went a step further. Through research, he wanted to show that maintaining eye contact with another person for 10 minutes results in hallucinations. According to him, long-lasting eye contact distorts your face and changes your perception of space and time, like with hallucinogens such as LSD and 2CB. It turns out… that it’s true! The participants’ brain activity changed and they started to hallucinate in various ways. Some people noticed small visual distortions, while others saw animals or other faces. So, looking each other in the eyes doesn’t just create a connection or allows you to get to know someone better, but also changes the subconscious.

The attraction of eye contact

Apart from a means of communication, emotion catcher, and natural drug, eye contact also offers something else: love. When you flirt with someone, you mainly use your eyes to let your partner or crush know that you’re in the mood. Also, you can learn quite a lot about each other through your ‘eye conversations’.

When does eye contact mean flirting?

There is a difference between flirting and staring at people in a creepy way. For example, some men think they’re flirting with someone on a train or bus, while they’re actually staring at a particular person for way too long. Making flirty eye contact is usually a short moment when two paths cross. It often happens on the train or bus, at work, or in a shop. You often immediately recognise the eye contact as flirting because it comes with a genuine smile. When the person you’re making eye contact with smiles back or shyly looks away, you know that that person also experiences it as flirting. If there’s no response or the other person looks annoyed, then the eye contact was anything but flirty. You can often see in their body language whether the eye contact was an accidental look or a positive response to your attempt at flirting.

How do you make eye contact?

A logical follow-up question is: how do you make eye contact? In other words, how do you attract the attention of your crush, so you can flirt with your eyes? The best way is to do it as spontaneous as possible. Don’t just stare at that person passively until they look back at you, but spread it out over multiple short moments and combine it with a short remark or smile. In most cases, your attempt will be answered with a remark or smile as well. When that person doesn’t feel the same way, you won’t get much of a response. However, occassionally it happens that the other person does like it, but is too insecure to respond to you.

Also read: Celebrate! Embrace the single life

What does looking away mean?

Looking away is often associated with rejection. Sometimes that’s correct, sometimes it isn’t. Looking away after eye contact means that the receiver is experiencing too many emotions. Looking away is in that case the most logical reflex to decrease that emotional burden. Looking each other in the eyes is vulnerable, pure, and unfiltered. It makes sense that people have trouble making eye contact. Not everyone is always ready for that. Sometimes you’re open to it, but sometimes it startles you when you’re not in the mood for an emotional connection. Shyness also plays a role in that.

”Looking away after eye contact means that the receiver is experiencing too many emotions.”

So don’t immediately feel rejected when someone looks away after making eye contact. Does that person always or almost always look away? Then they are probably not as open to it as you are. If that person is your partner, it’s important to talk about it with them. Making regular eye contact with your partner creates a connection. Not just during sex, but also in other moments.

Dilated pupils during eye contact

Large pupils have always looked very attractive. Positive feelings cause your pupils to dilute, which means that you’re perceived as more attractive to the person you’re making eye contact with. Negative emotions have the opposite effect. So if you look into someone’s eyes, you can tell if they experience the eye contact as something positive or negative. But don’t focus on this too much. Other factors like light, medication, and drugs have a huge influence on the size of someone’s pupils as well.

Love at first sight

Perhaps you’ve experienced a situation where a stranger suddenly and intensely looked into your eyes and you immediately fell in love. At the gym for example, or on the train or in a pub. These moments are better known as love at first sight. Experts say that this isn’t real love, but an infatuation based on attraction. You experience that ‘wow-feeling’ because of the setting, the energy, and the appearance of that person. Hormones, the season, your relationship status, and the moment of the day influence that feeling as well. And we haven’t even mentioned alcohol yet! Still, it is and always will be a special moment when you immediately feel butterflies after looking a stranger in the eyes for a millisecond. This again proves the power of our eyes.

In what situation is eye contact the most important to you?

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