Negotiating the roundabout on a main road near my home, when I’m on my bicycle, is tricky, especially in peak hour traffic. Not only do I need to pick the right lane, and be assertive in my use of arm signals, I have to be careful gauging the intent of the cars and trucks coming toward me.
Eye contact is everything. If I can’t establish eye contact it means they haven’t seen me; I need to then be prepared to take evasive action to protect myself—response and recovery then fill my thoughts of immediacy.
Eye Contact, Socially
It is no different socially. Eye contact is still everything, not so much for our physical safety, but for our relational safety—the cohesiveness of our fellowship and the credibility of our rapport.
A lack of eye contact in conversation is often linked with a few things, perhaps low self esteem, guilt or shame, or for cultural reasons, to name just a few. It is generally considered a negative thing, however, possibly bringing trust into review, and perhaps doubt.
It’s So Easy to Do
Like anything, once we’re aware of the need to change or modify behaviour it becomes easier; we then only need the confidence and courage to act—then to focus a moment at a time to continue on our better way.
The great thing about lots of eye contact is it communicates sincerity, warmth and engagement; relationship outcomes become much better as a result.
And there are many more personal benefits.
Focus today on giving lots of eye contact and you might be surprised at what extra you might also hear and therefore, understand.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.