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Eyeballs: the 30-second game to build empathy and emotional intelligence

When I was 14, I was profoundly introverted and found it incredibly difficult to make eye contact with anyone. Even the slightest bit of eye contact caused me immediate social anxiety and made me feel like my eyes were going to bleed. This lack of eye contact severely crippled my ability to form social bonds with the people around me, and for years I teetered on the brink of depression.

To overcome this, I devised an extremely simple game that I could practice every day in order to condition myself to be a more positive, sociable, and empathetic person. I called the game “Eyeballs.”

How to Play

The premise of the game is simple: count the number of people you can make eye contact with in a given day, whether walking down the street, through hallways, or in interpersonal conversation. Each day, your goal is to make eye contact with more people than you did the previous day. It’s that simple.

For advanced practice, try smiling at the people you’re making eye contact with, and count the number of returned smiles. Or try being the last one to break eye contact in each encounter. You’ll likely be surprised how quickly your interpersonal dynamics begin improving.

Why is it important?

There’s a whole body of scientific research on human microexpressions which we can get better and better at detecting (and displaying) simply by making more eye contact. People’s faces are huge repositories of social information, and conditioning yourself to make more eye contact and spend more time looking at people’s faces will help you become light years more successful in building friendships, relationships, and professional connections.

To deepen your understanding of human body language, check out the following:

  1. The Ultimate Guide to Body Language
  2. Understanding Microexpressions
  3. How to Read Body Language to Reveal the Underlying Truth in Almost Any Situation

About the Author…

I’m Steve Dean, an NYC-based online dating consultant.

I offer customized consultations to individuals who need help with dating & relationships, as well as dating sites who need help with product strategy and growth.

I like to write and podcast about dating, relationships, and how to get connected to awesome jobs, roommates, and events. If you’d like to keep tabs on what I’m working on, you can follow my Patreon page, or connect with me anywhere:

Patreon | Quora | Twitter | LinkedIn | Instagram



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Steve Dean

Steve Dean

Dating Industry Consultant & Relationship Coach, | Host of Dateworking Podcast