Over the years I’ve gotten a lot better at looking people in the eye when I talk to them. Sometimes I find myself looking away and have to bring my gaze back to the person I’m talking to, but looking people in the eye isn’t as uncomfortable as it was a few years ago.
I can’t exactly explain why looking people in the eye is so difficult or uncomfortable, but I think it has something to do with the intensity of looking into someone’s eyes. “The eye is the window to the soul.” I think that when people look me in the eye I feel that statement very much sometimes, like they are looking inside me and that feeling is very uncomfortable. It makes it feel like your insides are churning and you can only get relief by looking away.
I think now that I understand why eye contact is so important, it is easier to look people in the eye when I’m talking to them. Although it still is uncomfortable looking someone in the eye, my understanding of the purpose of eye contact makes it more bearable and makes me feel more comfortable with it. I think I also focus more on the conversation and what the person is saying so eye contact isn’t in the forefront of my mind.
I also don’t think that this is something I could have overcome by just deciding one day to start looking people in the eye. I think that it was a combination of becoming more comfortable with conversing with people and with making a decision to improve my social skills. Looking people in the eye was just another aspect of improving my social skills and I slowly got better at it by practicing looking people in the eye when I talked to them. Sometimes it was only for a few moments in a conversation, but I now can look someone in the eye for a full conversation and only look away when it is appropriate to do so.