Communication mistakes are more likely to happen when you’re not making eye contact. But what about making too much eye contact and you’re wondering if that’s weird? You’ve probably been in so many conversations that you didn’t catch all of because instead of listening you were timing how much eye contact you were making. Also wait, how much is too much eye contact? Stop worrying about that – here’s how to listen better:
It’s so easy to zone out and get distracted by something else, specifically when you’re trying too hard to look like a normal person making eye contact and then you suddenly wonder how long you’ve been honing in on this other human’s eyeballs and if that makes you a freak. But stop that and try to just be a part of the conversation.
Listen to Learn, Not to Be Polite
Listening is just as vital to communication as speaking. It’s a two-way street. Approach the conversation as a way to learn about the person talking and not thinking about how much prolonged eye contact you should be making. Though of course, you don’t want to stop making eye contact and risk signaling something that you don’t want to. Shit, now you have no idea what they said and you are being awkward.
Quiet Your Agenda
To become a better responder, you need to fully retain what someone just said, but that’s not possible if you’re just thinking about what you’re going to say next. Sit in the moment with the person and their eyes–wait no sorry, their words. Wait no, you’re staring again and now you have no idea how long it’s been. Now you’re just gazing at someone and you have nothing to say.
Stop Mentally Counting How Many Seconds of Uninterrupted Eye Contact It Has Been
Not only is it rude to dissociate like that when someone is talking to you, but it’s literally an impossible task because it feels like it’s been forever. Has it been forever? It’s too hard to participate in a conversation and count second by second. You should have started a timer.
Just Repeat The Last Word That You Heard Back?
It’s a nice trick to make it seem like you were listening and trying to get on the same page when actually you counted 14 seconds of uninterrupted eye contact and that must mean either you want to murder them or fuck them? Not sure.
Truly listening is going to make you more connected with anyone in your life, which is why these skills are so important, especially now during a time when it feels like we’re all disconnected from each other. Also, you could eliminate this entirely by being alone and only texting someone so no one has to look at each other. That is probably easier.