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Aurore
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06 Aug 2008, 10:43 pm

It feels really intimate. I used to only be able to do it with people I loved, or was in a really active conversation with. Since I've been working on it, I've become better at making eye contact with strangers...and it seems to have a weird reverse effect on me. As in, when I make eye contact with a stranger, I become emotionally attached to them. It's uncomfortable. Anyone else have this experience?


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Ryn
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06 Aug 2008, 11:21 pm

I didn't even know that eye contact was a normal part of interaction until last summer. I've always generally looked at people's mouths or their general face area, and I guess that gives the impression I'm looking them in the eye. Before then, the only time I ever looked at someone full force in the eyes was when I was in a confrontation and I wanted to be forceful.


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Justthatgirl11
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06 Aug 2008, 11:34 pm

It feels so weird. Too much, too intense. It freaks me out and I want to cry. My dentist today tried to force eye contact (in a joking, funny way) but I ended up talking to a ceiling tile instead of him or the hygienist.

When I was 16 or 17 someone asked me, "Why do you watch ppl's mouths when they talk?" I figured out that I was being weird, so I tried to force eye contact, much to my discomfort for the last 15 years.


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pandd
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07 Aug 2008, 1:16 am

It's an emotional jolt, like when I unexpectedly catch sight of a huge spider close by (spiders frighten me, completely illogical but true none-the-less). It's very intense, very distracting, and (ironically) makes me feel like I do not where to look. It also feels over-intimate, like talking to someone who has no clothes on.

I am able to mimic eye-contact behaviours (although not consistently, for instance if I am tired or the environment is too stimulus-dense or unfamiliar, or I am nervous...etc my performance deteriorates accordingly), quite well I feel, but I'm not able to consistently keep track of a conversation when I do it, my ability to express myself also deteriorates, and it is also very stressful and exhausting.



Angnix
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07 Aug 2008, 4:20 am

One of the non-autistic traits I have, I look people in the eyes, but not the whole conversation.


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RustyShackleford
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07 Aug 2008, 6:03 am

sgrannel wrote:
I've had dogs growl at me for doing the eye contact thing wrong. A person will not necessarily give the kind of honest feedback a dog will give! I think many are uncomfortable with eye contact because of not knowing what this form of nonverbal communication is saying. Maybe it's better to avoid it than to do it wrong.


Unfamiliar dogs tend to see eye contact as a challenge, you can get away with it with your own dogs, assuming they submissive to you.

Eye contact is really hit or miss for me. If I am feeling confident I try to meet people's gaze or at least look at the bridge of their nose. If I am not feeling very sure of myself I tend to be looking around the room or at the floor; basically anywhere but at the person I am speaking to! I tend to over compensate sometimes and stare directly at people's eyes, especially if I am a bit over excited. I have no idea how people interpret this. I love looking at peoples irises though, they are so pretty.



SquishypuffDave
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07 Aug 2008, 6:15 am

It doesn't actually cause me physical discomfort, but I find it difficult to focus on making eye contact and talk at the same time. I can look them in the eye when they're speaking but not when I answer them, but I look back straight afterwards.



ooOoOoOAnaOoOoOoo
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07 Aug 2008, 11:16 am

My eyes are all over the place and I am not even aware of it.



kitty2
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07 Aug 2008, 11:30 am

I have glasses I can hide behind. Handy! 8)
And I the tip my friend gave me works really good too. Just look between the eyes on the forehead and people think you make eye contact and pay attention.



sonny1471
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07 Aug 2008, 11:44 am

It's actually very hard to describe. I just feel REALLY uncomfortable and kinda scary to do. I'll do it when I'm forced to but I look away as soon as I can. I've learned to just look at someone's mouth when they're talking to me. If they are far enough away, the person never notices. If they're up in my face (which also freaks me out) I'll make a point of looking away quickly or rubbing my eyes a lot.



GuyTypingOnComputer
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07 Aug 2008, 11:50 am

I make eye contact about half the time when someone is talking to me. When I am talking, I have to look away in order to form a coherent sentence. In both cases, any eye contact is forced.

I never really thought about how it feels to make eye contact. I guess I will have to monitor and see. Off the top of my head, I would use the word "startling" to describe how I feel when eye contact is made and I didn't expect it. When I make eye contact it takes over my thoughts and I lose the conversation and my prior train of thought. I start trying to think about what the other person is thinking.



SabbraCadabra
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07 Aug 2008, 12:31 pm

I don't know how to describe it, it just feels...wrong...like I'm tresspassing or intruding, and I have to quickly look away before they notice, or they'll think I'm being rude. I usually pretend I was looking at something else, behind them.


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07 Aug 2008, 12:38 pm

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KaneR
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07 Aug 2008, 12:52 pm

I can keep eye contact if i have been talking to someone for along time. But if its at the start of a conversation i just find it scary to keep eye contact especially when i'm talking. But when someone else is i tend to look at them then look away for abit then do the same process.



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07 Aug 2008, 1:16 pm

I haven't done eye contact in a while, let's see if I can still describe it...

Short eye contact can be reassuring, a look that says, 'go for it' or 'I'm with you.'

I usually don't make eye contact for more than a few seconds. It feels physically uncomfortable. I also get this completely unrational feeling that, if they look into my eyes they can tell what I'm feeling, or worse, thinking. eye contact tells too much about the person. someone earlier said that it is intimate. For me, it is too intimate. I feel that it reveals too much about me.

I generally look at or around the mouth. It also helps me understand what the other person is saying, as I sometimes have a bit of difficulty understanding people.

I must say, It is a relief knowing that other people feel the same way about eye contact. It is one of the few parts of NT conversation that still escapes me.