“You cannot expect to have a winning personality unless you have an eye that is not afraid to look straight at a person. Look into the mirror and think of something pleasant. Note the effect in your eyes. Practice in this way will give you a magnetic eye.” -Theron Q. Dumont, Advanced Course in Personal Magnetism The Secrets of Mental Fascination
They say that the eyes are the window to the soul. When someone is happy and cheerful, we call them ‘bright-eyed’. Similarly, when a person is depressed and defeated you will notice a dimness in their eyes as if there were less life in them. We can tell the difference between a fake smile and a genuine smile just by looking at the person’s eyes. You can learn a lot about a person by looking in their eyes and also by the amount of eye contact you receive from them.
It is important to make good eye contact to develop magnetism. People who make good eye contact are considered to be confident and trustworthy. Those who don’t avert their gaze from you when you have a conversation aren’t trying to hide anything.
People who make good eye contact have intimate conversations. They give you their full attention and you can tell that they are really listening to you, and it will make you feel valued and you will value that person in return. How do you feel when you’re talking to someone and they start looking at their phone and answer you with a “mhmm, yeah”? Or maybe they are paying more attention to what’s going on over at the next table than they are to you. That kind of behavior makes you feel important and maybe even makes you not want to continue on the conversation with that person. Little do they know that they are diminishing their personal magnetism and making you less attracted to them.
Its an animal thing in some cases. People who feel more dominant and higher-status make very strong eye contact. They are very confident and aren’t victims of fear. Lower-status individuals tend to avoid eye contact out of fear of confrontation. They don’t want to be considered a threat and get tested by others because they don’t think they can handle it. Sometimes the strength of eye contact is how we feel each other out on the dominance hierarchy. In fact, when you break eye contact you should break to the side as breaking eye contact by looking down is a signal of submission or lower-status, which is not the kind of signal you want to send.
Notice how you think that someone may be lying or hiding something from you when you talk to them and they can’t look you in the eye. Notice how you respect people with a strong gaze and notice your lack of respect for those who won’t look you in the eyes when they speak to you.
Notice these things in yourself as well. When you can’t look someone in the eyes are you afraid? Do you feel weak or lack confidence? Are you afraid that they will see the truth in you that you’re trying to hide? If you find that you have a difficult time looking people in the eyes when you speak to them, then its time you started asking yourself some questions and start practicing making stronger eye contact.
Of course, if you find yourself avoiding eye contact because of insecurity, then just trying to make more eye contact by itself isn’t going to help you very much. You need to get to the root of that insecurity and do some inner work, and once you work that out, you’ll find that making strong eye contact will become easier and easier.
A strong gaze puts power behind the words you say. Imagine your significant other saying, “I love you,” while looking deep into your eyes. Its intimate, their gaze doesn’t waver and you feel the genuineness in their words. Then imagine them saying the same thing to you, but this time they aren’t looking you in the eyes. Their eyes are kind of bouncing around the room, and they can’t bring themselves to look you straight in the eyes as they say it. Think about the difference in how you felt while imagining each scenario, and then imagine other scenarios and how the difference in levels of eye contact create a difference in how words are received.
There is is an appropriate amount of eye contact. Don’t stare at people and creep them out, and don’t ‘mad-dog’ people either and make them think you’re looking for a fight. The importance of tack comes into play with eye contact as well. Its not necessarily what you say but how you say it, and that includes your use of eye contact.
Be balanced with the amount of eye contact you make. If you’ve just met the person, start softly until they develop a sense of comfort around you. If the person you are talking to you is a nervous or insecure type, then strong eye contact straight off the bat can increase those feelings. Go for naturalness and feel out each situation. Sometimes more eye contact is good and sometimes less is better. Its not necessarily about the quantity of eye contact, but more so about the quality of it.
When you make eye contact, hold your gaze on one eye at a time and shift your gaze from eye to eye at a natural pace. Breaking eye contact is necessary, you don’t want to freak people out, so break eye contact after a sentence or two. Making eye contact when you speak is more important then it is when you are listening, but finding a balance is key as making eye contact with another person when you are listening to them will make them feel valued.