Eye Contact: Don't care, Don't know, Afraid, etc.

Page 1 of 2 [ 25 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next


Why do you avoid eye contact?
Poll ended at 11 May 2018, 1:14 am
I didn't know it was important. 5%  5%  [ 3 ]
I don't care about it. 4%  4%  [ 2 ]
I am overwhelmed by it. 51%  51%  [ 28 ]
I'm afraid to do it. 15%  15%  [ 8 ]
I make appropriate eye contact. 7%  7%  [ 4 ]
I make excessive eye contact. 9%  9%  [ 5 ]
Other (I don't ever see people) 9%  9%  [ 5 ]
Total votes : 55

wrongcitizen
Veteran
Veteran

Joined: 22 Oct 2016
Gender: Male
Posts: 696

11 Apr 2018, 1:14 am

Hello, just made this poll because I'm curious to know how the rest of you perceive eye contact. I haven't made that many polls so it may be confusing. Below is a quick explanation of each option:

1. I didn't know it was important: You either recently learned about eye contact or you never knew making eye contact with someone was a valid part of communication. You don't avoid the gaze of people but much of the time you are unaware of it's importance in communicating with non ASD individuals.
2. I don't care about it: This essentially means that you both understand the importance of eye contact and you have enough confidence to engage in it but you don't because you are apathetic towards it, and the social needs of others which warrant it. In another words, you only do it when you want to do it.
3. I am overloaded with information: When you look into someone's face, there are messages and information is being sent across through social cues but they are either unintelligible or there are too many to respond and you get overwhelmed. You avoid looking at someone in the face if they are looking at you because you become nervous.
4. I am afraid to do it: Like above, but instead of avoidance out of overstimulation you avoid because you are afraid of the other persons perception of it, afraid of getting manipulated, or are afraid of ruining a social bond due to the other person perception of your action as "creepy". You avoid eye contact because you fear the other persons response.
5. I make appropriate eye contact: You make the necessary amount of eye contact with people and you have never had trouble with this social cue. Essentially, you communicate nicely with people and the majority of your issues with communication or with ASD in general is somewhere else.
6. I make excessive eye contact: You make too much eye contact and you find that you may scare people, or you used to make excessive eye contact because no one told you not to do that. Or perhaps you were just looking at the person as they spoke to hear them most clearly.

Obviously there are more options and I could write this a lot better, but I'm most interested in knowing your thoughts in the parameters I've posted. I really just want to know if the avoidance of eye contact is due to fear or due to lack of understanding by learning what the majority thinks. Thanks for your participation, if you do decide to do so.



Joe90
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 23 Feb 2010
Gender: Female
Posts: 20,799
Location: South-East England

11 Apr 2018, 4:04 am

I make appropriate eye contact naturally when around people.

But I intentionally avoid eye contact with passing strangers on the street, A, because I don't want to know if they are staring at me or not (if I catch someone staring, it makes me self-conscious), and B, I don't like making others feel self-conscious. Although most people seem to want to be stared at, there are still people out there that feel exactly like me (social anxiety), and I'd rather be a person that doesn't make them feel self-conscious.

But there are exceptions with making eye contact with strangers:-

-I'll make eye contact if a person looks familiar or I think I know them
-I'll make eye contact if a stranger asks me for directions or makes small talk, etc
-I'll make eye contact to a cashier or bus-driver, etc
-I'll make eye contact if I think somebody's talking to me but are on their phone instead
-I'll make eye contact if someone is showing themselves up in public, because something in me is interested in deciphering what they are feeling by facial expressions

Basically, I just avoid eye contact when passing strangers, simply because I have no reason to look. But I voted "I make appropriate eye contact" because that is mostly my instinct.


_________________
Female
Aged 31
On antidepressants
Have ASD, ADHD and anxiety disorder
Empathy score: 61 out of a possible 80. (High)


SaveFerris
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 3 Sep 2016
Gender: Male
Posts: 14,690
Location: UK

11 Apr 2018, 5:15 am

I would like to think I make enough appropriate eye contact so it is not noticeable. Eye contact can be really uncomfortable for me due to reason 3 & 4 ( I think I may overthink my eye contact too much which only adds to the stress involved ) , the only times i don't force eye contact is with medical professionals , I couldn't give a stuff if they see me in my natural state.


_________________
R Tape loading error, 0:1

Hypocrisy is the greatest luxury. Raise the double standard


Daniel89
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 5 Oct 2017
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,592

11 Apr 2018, 5:41 am

I find it rude.



ToughDiamond
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 15 Sep 2008
Age: 68
Gender: Male
Posts: 8,282

11 Apr 2018, 6:58 am

I voted 2 but it's mixed with a bit of 3. I wouldn't call it apathy exactly, in my case. When I think about eye contact I can feel quite enthusiastic at the thought of all that potential communication, the face as a picture worth a thousand words. I don't see it as anybody's social need, there are many channels for communication and eye contact is just one of them. I've noticed in myself that if somebody won't look at me, I can pick it up as coldness or disinterest. But it depends. Sometimes the content of what they're saying shows they're relating to me. And I know that appearances can be deceptive and that some people just can't do eye contact.

My main problem with it is that I just forget to look at people, and if I look at them as long as I gather I'm supposed to, it's a distraction I can do without. So I tend to do a compromise. I try to remember to shoot the occasional frendly glance as I'm speaking. I feel the benefit when they do that with me, but if they take it too far I soon start feeling invaded and suspicious.



EzraS
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 24 Sep 2013
Gender: Male
Posts: 27,828
Location: Twin Peaks

11 Apr 2018, 7:21 am

I've never really made eye contact. I barely even look at people when they talk to me. Sometimes I will look at their mouth because I fixate on teeth and also to sort of lip read to understand them better.



magz
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator

User avatar

Joined: 1 Jun 2017
Age: 36
Gender: Female
Posts: 10,759
Location: Poland

11 Apr 2018, 7:26 am

I just direct my body to a person I'm talking to and glance at them every now and then. I often do things with my eyes closed, opening them only for quick glances if needed.
Luckily, it is ok in my culture.


_________________
Let's not confuse being normal with being mentally healthy.


ravXVl
Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

Joined: 20 Mar 2018
Gender: Male
Posts: 34

11 Apr 2018, 8:59 am

I make eye contact just fine, though I avoid making it with strangers on the street. I'm quite "starry eyed" and people sometimes think I'm mentally ill or drug-addicted when I look at them.



SplendidSnail
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 2 Jul 2017
Age: 40
Gender: Male
Posts: 887
Location: Canada

11 Apr 2018, 9:48 am

I don't think these options are mutually exclusive. I personally would vote both #3 and #4 if I could.

However, I could easily imagine someone else who:
-Doesn't understanding why it's important
-Is overwhelmed by it
-Is afraid to do it
-But still makes appropriate (or even excessive) eye contact

All at the same time.


_________________
Level 1 Autism Spectrum Disorder / Asperger's Syndrome.


AceofPens
Velociraptor
Velociraptor

User avatar

Joined: 8 Jun 2017
Gender: Female
Posts: 439
Location: United States

11 Apr 2018, 4:38 pm

It's hard to say. I don't mind eye-contact unless I'm already overwhelmed by my environment. My main problem seems to be that I don't consistently remember to do it when listening to people. I know that it's important, it's just not a natural priority. If I'm not consciously socializing (i.e. in a formal setting with doctors or other professionals), I often don't look at the person at all. I'm told it gives me a distracted air, which is unfortunate because it's at such times that I'm really concentrating on the person who's speaking.


_________________
I have not the kind affections of a pigeon. - Ralph Waldo Emerson


Trogluddite
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 2 Feb 2016
Age: 50
Gender: Male
Posts: 3,075
Location: Yorkshire, UK

11 Apr 2018, 8:26 pm

I think mostly for me it just takes too much conscious attention to do it, which distracts me from paying attention to other things (the actual words being said, for example.) I also get distracted by things in my peripheral vision very easily (e.g. a TV screen behind the person I'm talking to.) Quite often, I de-focus my eyes to reduce the amount of information that my brain needs to handle. If (friendly!) people notice that I seem to have gone into a trance, I just let them know that it doesn't mean I'm not paying attention - it's the exact opposite; I'm trying extremely hard to follow their words. I'm reminded of a quote from the book Why I Jump, written by an autistic teenager; "I'm listening to you with all of my senses."


_________________
When you are fighting an invisible monster, first throw a bucket of paint over it.


Edna3362
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 29 Oct 2011
Gender: Female
Posts: 8,167
Location: ᜆᜄᜎᜓᜄ᜔

11 Apr 2018, 9:57 pm

Importance of eye contact depends on the culture.
From where I live, it's not as emphasized compared to western cultures.


I myself had been more clueless than discomfortable about it first.
The 'importance' of eye contact I've found first involves jaywalking and faring rides, not the nonverbal communication and the so-called body language that conveys trustworthiness. :P

Overall, I don't care. In practical terms, it's almost meaningless for me to do it. Unnatural. Unless;

The most natural way I ever give eye contact to someone is more of a glare than what constitutes as 'socially appropriate'. So yes, the more pissed off I'm, the more likely I actually do eye contact.
And my most socially appropriate way I ever done eye contact is usually more tense, on serious terms and context than anything else. So yes, I'd do a more socially appropriate eye contact if I'm likely the one who's doing the confronting towards someone. Or in any highly situational setting overall.


My socially-chatty-extaverted-side of myself doesn't actually do much eye contact. I don't do much eye contact if I'm happy or in a really good mood. More so if I'm too lax and without a care in the world.
Otherwise, it's distracting. Annoying. Unnatural. As annoying as sensing a person's presence when I'm not in a real mood for human contact.


_________________
Gained Number Post Count (1).
Lose Time (n).


StampySquiddyFan
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 19 Jul 2017
Age: 17
Gender: Female
Posts: 3,754
Location: Stampy's Lovely World

12 Apr 2018, 2:54 pm

SaveFerris wrote:
The only times i don't force eye contact is with medical professionals , I couldn't give a stuff if they see me in my natural state.


Interesting. I have never even looked in the general direction of medical professionals, much less made eye contact. Typically I would look in the direction of the person, but it's like you said- I couldn't really care less if they want me to make eye contact or not, and it is way too overwhelming and anxiety provoking just being there anyways.


_________________
Hi! I'm Stampy (not the actual YouTuber, just a fan!) and I have been diagnosed professionally with ASD and OCD and likely have TS. If you have any questions or just want to talk, please feel free to PM me!

Current Interests: Stampy Cat, AGT, and Medicine


sunshinescj
Pileated woodpecker
Pileated woodpecker

User avatar

Joined: 16 Mar 2014
Age: 21
Gender: Female
Posts: 183
Location: Ohio, USA

12 Apr 2018, 3:20 pm

With family and friends it is fine. With everyone else it doesn't quite feel like sensory overload but it just feels unpleasant. Almost like I can feel a gauge filling before I need to look away.



MrMacPhisto
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 20 May 2007
Age: 35
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,187
Location: Chatham

13 Apr 2018, 1:00 am

Depends how well I know the person. If I don’t know the person that well I may not use much eye contact. But if I am more familiar with the person I start using more appropriate eye-contact.



random23
Hummingbird
Hummingbird

User avatar

Joined: 30 Jan 2013
Gender: Male
Posts: 21

13 Apr 2018, 5:05 am

I find it very hard to look in someone's eyes while talking or listening because I'm unable to concentrate on both of those things simultaneously, so I usually only make eye contact for a very short period of time (maybe like a second). When I force myself to make eye contact I often forget when it's time to look away again and end up staring at the person. I'm more willing to make (occasional) eye contact with people I'm comfortable with since I feel less intimidated and exposed around them.