Better Beliefs for Eye Contact!

This blog entry was one that was moved from my old NLP Forum. Mike DeBusk had asked:

When I look into someone's eyes, I feel the same way as I would if I were looking into the window of their house. I feel as if I might be intruding. This is obviously (no pun intended) not an accurate or useful belief. I'd like to replace it and I don't have a better one to put there. If you're comfortable with holding eye contact with people you don't necessarily know intimately, what do you believe that makes you feel OK, or even good, about it?

Cool question. I have very different beliefs about eye contact.

I think people are secretly (sometimes not so secretly) crying out for more "real" and genuine intimacy in their lives, and eye contact is one of the great ways people can get it.

I do think it can be perceived as intruding if people feel like they're getting the wrong kind of eye contact.

And I think it can be one of the greatest "unconscious communication" gifts you can give someone... to award them the perfect kind and amount of eye contact.

So when I look into someone's eyes, I engage in a balance-finding exercise... to calibrate the right combination of...

  • duration of eye contact to deepen intimacy/rapport... before looking away (most guys max out at 3 seconds, most women require at least 7 seconds...)
  • frequency of glance-aways: not enough, and it's creepy; too much, and you're not connected or intimate.
  • duration of glance-aways: not enough, and you seem too easily distracted; too much, and you're disinterested.

Also, when you combine eye contact with certain other things, it can deepen any effect -- including the ones you don't want to cause, as well as many of the effects you DO want to cause. Consider these, for example. As you're maintaining eye contact, try one or more of these together:

  • change your state to one of greater nurturing, or greater contentment.
  • start smiling wider -- a genuine smile -- fast or slow.
  • tilt your head *slightly* forward, along with a *slight* head tilt to the side, and add a smile or not.

Here's another thing you can use to aid your eye contact games: There's a really neat effect that can be achieved by flaring your eyelids for a half second. It feels a little like a gentler version of bugging your eyes out a bit -- but only for half a second. The effect is that your eyelids open just a hair wider, making your eyes look bigger, showing more of the whites of your eyes, and since you're showing more of your eye's surface, this usually allows your eye-contact partner to enjoy momentary twinkles in your eye(s).

I suspect you'll be pleased with the results!

Author: Jonathan Altfeld