If you would like to become:
- More confident
- Achieve better intimacy
- Become less shy
- Become less dodgy/shady
- Become more trustworthy
And a whole host of other benefits…
Then you should pay attention to what I have to say.
So what’s this magical thing that I can help you with that will give you all of the above?
It’s practicing eye contact.
Here’s a little backstory:
Eons ago (okay maybe about 2–3 years ago), I couldn’t look at anyone in the eye.
I had this tremendous shyness (fear?) of looking at anybody in the eye. When chatting with anyone, I would regularly dart my eyes about, or look through the person’s head or look somewhere else.
Yes, I was that bad.
I would rather look at the floor (and pretend there was something interesting) than to look at anyone in the eyes.
And it wasn’t just the female gender though.
It was for both.
I couldn’t look at either guys or girls in the eyes.
To cut the backstory short, I discovered that I lacked social skills (plus all those dodgy body language, insecurities and lack of confidence…)
So I decided to work on it.
And eye contact was one of those that I chose to work on.
I had absolutely no regrets doing so.
While I cannot directly attribute any ROI (lol) to what I’ve learnt and practiced, but I can guarantee you that it has made me feel more confident and perhaps more trustworthy.
All because I could look someone in the eyes.
And not look around like I had something to hide.
If you are having trouble with maintaining eye contact for a long time (or even have eye contact with someone in the first place…), I have good news.
I am going to share 4 (yes, four) tactics you can do right now to “perfect” your eye contact skillz. (I have personally tried and used them to great effect — that’s why I’m sharing this with you.)
1. Grab a partner
Just like going to the gym alone is infinitely sadder (and less motivating) than going with a workout buddy… You need a partner.
An “eye contact” partner.
Somebody who is willing to practice eye contact with you.
It can be your girlfriend/boyfriend, a good friend or whoever. (Gender doesn’t matter.)
As long as he/she is willing to do so.
After you’ve found the willing scapegoat (ahem):
Sit the person down in a quiet place so that you guys won’t get distracted.
Mutually agree with each other that this is totally not awkward
Like going to the gym and lifting your weights in sets and reps, this is what you have to do:
C. Set a timer.
D. Look at each other’s eyes for 5 seconds. Rest.
E. Look at each other’s eyes for 10 seconds. Rest.
F. Look at each other’s eyes for 30 seconds. Rest.
E. Look at each other’s eyes for 1 minute. Rest.
And carry on for as long as you need. (I’ve done 5–10 minutes before.)
This is to acclimatize you to looking at another person’s eyes without feeling awkward. Yes, you’ll initially burst out in laughter because of the extreme awkwardness. Remind yourself that this is good for your future, and carry on without laughing. (It is possible.)
BONUS TIP: If you’re feeling confident enough, start looking at each other’s eyes and attempt to carry a normal conversation. You’ll discover how hard it is at the start. Maintain the eye contact without taking your eyes off of your partner.
BONUS TIP: We have a tendency to start staring when asked to maintain eye contact. Don’t. Soften your gaze and switch from one eye to the other periodically. Don’t look at your partner as if you want to fight. This will take some practice though, so feel free to use as much time as you need.
2. Practice with strangers in low-stakes situations
What are low-stake situations?
Low-stake situations are scenarios where you do not care about the outcome.
An example of a low-stake situation is ordering your coffee at the nearby kopitiam. Do you care whether the kopi lady likes or remember you?
Most probably not.
And that’s where you can start practicing your eye contact.
Maintain eye contact with the auntie or uncle when ordering your kopi.
Once again, try not to stare them down as if you want to fight. Soften your gaze, look at them gently (but maintaining eye contact) and do whatever you wanted to do anyway (order drinks, order food etc.)
The reason why we do this in low-stakes situation is so that you can practice with confidence. In order not to jeopardize your future career or love life, you do not want to practice a new behaviour in front of them.
So practice new behaviours in these low-stake situations, get used to it before transferring them to high-stake situations.
3. Treat eye contact like a competition
Now that you’ve gotten some practice with your partner and some random aunties and uncles…
It’s time to step up your game.
This time, I want you to start looking at strangers in the eye.
Yes, strangers that you come across every day.
At the bus interchange. On the MRT. While shopping. In line to buy food. Etc.
And here’s the trick:
When you make eye contact with someone, BE THE LAST TO BREAK IT.
When you and another person lock eyes, the other person should be the one to break eye contact first.
Treat it like a competition.
The loser is the one who breaks eye contact first (okay, but you’re the only player
This will train you to be able to maintain eye contact with another person for longer periods of time.
Without being shy.
Without fear of being judged.
(This will also build up your confidence.)
Plus, you’ll realize (after a while) how BAD everyone else is at maintaining eye contact.
4. Get someone’s attention without gestures
Okay, this mission is optional, but should you choose to accept it…
You’ll reach “master” level of eye contact-ism.
Okay, I’m kidding but if you just want to go further in your eye contact practice, this is what you can do.
Get someone’s attention with ONLY eye contact.
Without using any motions, gestures, body language or whatever, get someone’s attention with eye contact.
The best place to practice this imo is at a restaurant.
Try to get the attention of a waiter/waitress with PURELY eye contact.
It is tough, but not impossible.
You don’t have to do this, but if you like a challenge, you can try
That’s 4 tactics for you to try in the new year to improve your eye contact as well as your confidence.
I hope you can walk away learning and practicing something that will CHANGE your life.
And I hope I played a part in helping you with that.
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