How Long Can You Hold It?
The other day I was sitting in this coffee shop downtown. It is on a pretty busy street, and despite being deep into autumn, the weather was sunny and kind of warm. So I decided to sit outside and watch people walk by. I also had a book with me that I had bought recently, so I was switching between reading a few pages and then watching folks walk by. It was one of those lazy, relaxing days where you don’t have anywhere to go, and you aren’t in any hurry of getting there.
I saw this guy come walking down the street that looked a bit odd. Something about him, but I wasn’t sure what. Maybe it was his gait, or the way he allowed his eyes to linger on those he passed slightly longer than socially appropriate. Nobody else seemed to notice him. As he got close, I became more and more interested in seeing exactly what he was all about. Perhaps he’d try and lock eyes with me. It’s always interesting when that happens.
I’ve read many different reports and theories on why it is so difficult for people to maintain eye contact. There is a myth that here in the East, it’s not socially appropriate, but I haven’t noticed any differences that in the West. People seem to hold eye contact here just as much as other places I’ve been.
One theory that makes the most sense is one that explains our natural reluctance to hold eye contact is evolutionary in nature. When Jane Goodall set off to study the great apes, she learned very quickly not to hold eye contact with them. And if you ever visit the zoo, and want to have some fun, pick a monkey, chimp or ape and hold eye contact with him or her and see what happens.
On a primal level, it seems that holding eye contact is a direct threat or challenge to another’s authority. That seems to be very much the case here. In sales books they teach you never to be the first to break eye contact during negotiations, and if you absolutely must, look away sideways rather than down. Breaking eye contact by looking down is an obvious sign of submission.
I’ve also read in many seduction guides aimed at men that when making eye contact with females, if she looks down and away, then that’s a good sign. If she looks away sideways then it’s a sign that she isn’t that interested or impressed by you. Of course, it goes without saying that if you are a guy, and are flirting with a girl, you should never be the first to break eye contact, at least in the first stages of flirting. Later on, after rapport has been established, you can play all kinds of eye contact games.
I remember once I was relatively long train ride, maybe twenty minutes or so. There was a particularly attractive woman sitting directly across from me. The first thing I noticed was her big fat wedding band, but that didn’t stop her and I from playing some pretty entertaining eye contact flirtation games during the train ride. I would look up, and she would be looking at me. We would hold eye contact just a hair longer than normal, one of us would smile, and look down and away. A couple minutes later our eyes would catch again, and the same thing would happen. A brief, barely perceptible smile, and a slow break in eye contact.
I never spoke with her, and I think that would have ruined the interaction, but that sure is a better way to pass the time than burying your head in a newspaper or a cell phone.
If you are guy, here’s an experiment you can try, that will give you some really electrifying results. It’s kind of tough to do this but it’s really fun. Go to a strip club (yea, a strip club) and sit in front, where you have to tip the dancer for every song. (I didn’t say this was free!). Instead of staring at what most guys stare at (if you know what I mean,) look only into her eyes, for as long as possible. Have a relaxed, open, safe look on your face, and absolutely refuse to be the first to break eye contact. Because she is a professional, she likely won’t be too shy, so you’ll end up holding eye contact with a fairly attractive (possibly naked, depending on where you live) woman for a long period of time. The emotions that this will evoke are astounding.
It’s been said that when a man and a woman hold eye contact for more than thirty seconds, they are either fighting or making love, so this can have some really interesting results. If anything, it will give you a huge boost in self-confidence.
I used to know this guy that was absolutely terrified of making eye contact with cute girls, until he tried the above method a few times. It helped his self-esteem and self-confidence immensely.
If you are female, and would like to get the same result, just find a place where you would have a captive male whose eyes you could gaze into for an extended period of time. Be careful you don’t send the wrong message. Most guys can quickly fall in love with a girl that holds eye contact long enough. Believe it or not, that’s all it takes for most guys. Some extended, direct, friendly (not desperate or needy) attention.
So when this guy finally came rambling towards me, he swept his gaze across the people around until his eyes met mine. He stopped dead in his tracks, as if he was shocked, then I saw some recognition spread across his face. I didn’t recognize him at all, so I was curious what he saw in me. He lifted his finger and pointed at me, and said:
“The days of treachery are coming to a abrupt and final ending. The times of reluctance must give way to the times of engagement. Those that avoid will be avoided, and those that connect will be connected. The choice has been, and always will be yours.”
He then lowered his hand, and shuffled along as if nothing happened. That was quite an interesting experience. A few people around me looked me for some kind of explanation, but I just shrugged my shoulders and went back to my book.