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Why can't I look at people's faces?

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Hyglotzomer Pidgians

Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2009
Messages
9
Location
Alaska
Hi,

I've noticed recently that I find myself unable to look into people's faces when they are talking to me. I'm a pretty sociable person, i'm not socially inept in any way, because I have a lot of friends and aquaintences.

But, even people who I am completely comfortable with, like my good friends and even family, I find that when they are talking to me my eyes cannot meet their's and hold it. I look around or concentrate on looking at something else instead.

There's this kid I like, and he likes me too. We were talking the other night at a CAP meeting, and he was looking right at me when he was telling me about how to do something, and I tried looing at his face, but couldn't, so I looked everywhere else and tried to distract him.

I thought maybe it was because I might have an issue with having a relatively low self-esteem. I don't hate myself, or think that I deserve the worst, but I don't exactly think the highest of myself either. This may stem from something that happened when I was little. Not going to go into details, but I have a feeling it's impacted the way I interact with people now. I don't mean to, I just feel awkward when looking at people who are looking back at me.

Any advice, insight, or explanations are appreciated.
<3
 
T

Twylight

Guest
It's the human element
You could probably look into the eyes of a dog or any animal
It's quite normal to look people in the eyes occasionally
Try and look occasionaly in to your own eyes in a mirror
 
shaky

shaky

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 2, 2009
Messages
7,596
Location
Warwickshire
I've had this problem all my life. I can only seem to look into the eyes of my brothers, and then not always.
It's a trait that is found in Aspergers syndrome, although I don't have all the symptoms to be called that myself.
It feels like you're looking right into someone's soul to look into their eyes and it feels like they are looking into yours. And sometimes it feels like their look burns right into you. It feels way too intimate a thing to do with anyone unless they are family or partner. It is frustrating because I know other people look at each other just to start conversations and to show interest, but if I looked at someone in the eyes it would be tountamount to saying 'Will you have sex with me?' which is way too much.
 
P

pinky

Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2009
Messages
24
Location
Earth
hello,
you mentioned in your post little about that something happened when you were a child, can you tell me in detail? other than that when someone fails to maintain eye contact, it can be due to lack of confidence, low self esteem, and it could be the reason of guild feelings for something...
 
A

Ainsworth

Guest
i had the same problem, i would look at peoples mouths instead, the plus side is i can now lip read at hundred paces :LOL:

i think i tended not to look into a persons eyes because of self worth but also because when i am going in one of my rages at a person they become my focus and their eyes is very much my focal point. so maybe see it as a behaviour that is wrong for me, so try not to do it. :unsure:
 
Isobel

Isobel

Well-known member
Founding Member
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Dec 26, 2007
Messages
114
Location
south London
might it have something to do with concentration? Is your mind bent on distracting you for some reason? I ask because I can get a bit like that when I've got too much else on my mind.
Take it EASY, it'll work its way out.
 
A

ann

Active member
Joined
Oct 20, 2009
Messages
40
looking someone in the eye!

Hello - I've only recently realised that I find this difficult. I've also wondered about aspergers - which is how I've just been diagnosed with BPD. I have a lot of features but psychologist said it's more down to a frightening childhood.

I remember my mother saying 'look at me when I'm talking' and feeling terrified by her black black eyes and feeling that I would burn up completely.
Yes, I was very very scared of her - this maybe where my problem originated.

I have a lot of difficulty with relationships too.

I know that people like me may try and look someone in the eye and feel really uncomfortable doing this. Sometimes this can lead to staring.

Try noticing how other people do eye contact. They don't hold it for long (unless they're lovers!!) They look briefly then look away and repeat this.

I've been surprised by how beautiful people's eyes are. Also that if, usually at the end of an interaction, I dare to look them in the eye - I'm surprised to see that they look friendly.

Maybe practise fleeting eye contact in whatever you think is the safest way eg you may find it easier with someone you know or with a stranger. Notice when it's easier

Anyway - just some wittering .

bestest wishes
 
J

jamesdean

Guest
Its proberly because people lie to you n they say that if a person cannot look you in the eye then they are not telling you the truth you have been hurt n to not get hurt again you fear looking into a persons eyes because you fear that they are lying to you,I dont look @peopleoften outside of my comfort zone for fear of hurt,Ilivemylife more so on perception Iwilltry to get a feelof things yet pre breakdown it was my job to understand people,their minds n how they worked I was in the hospitality industry(catering). Now a days I'm a terriablejudgeof character when having to decide if Ilike someone fromlooking @ them or hearing a driscription of someone.Sorry to go so deep JD
 
S

sadnblue

Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2009
Messages
10
I can totally relate to this. For a l;ong as I can remember I have never been able to look people in the eyes when I'm talking to them. I look at the floor, or at a window, or the wall...anything but them :confused: I have no idea why...but i can so relate to you :hug:
 
Neferakhet

Neferakhet

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 13, 2009
Messages
86
Location
Beyond the Styx
I think you shouldn't worry too much about that.It does not necessarily mean that you have low self-esteem or lack of confidence in my opinion.The reason I think like that is I had a friend(she was a girl) who couldn't look anyone in the eye,even if she could,not for too long but her eyes kept looking at every direction except for the other person's eyes.And that girl had great self-confidence and high self-esteem as well.

On the otherhand unless I'm horribly disinterested,when talking to someone I always make eyecontact,up to the point of non-blinking staring and I doubt that I have self-esteem in the first place.

My point is do not exaggerate this issue on your mind.And don't force yourself to look at other people's eyes if it makes you feel anxious.There is much more to social relations other than eyecontact aspect.
 
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ghost

ghost

Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2009
Messages
16
Location
Sheffield
I'm exactly the same, I can make eye contact for about a second then immediately look away feeling really uncomfortable and will look anywhere but that person's face. I think it's quite weird and I worry that people notice and think it's weird!
I also have a problem with touching people, like on the arm or whatever, during "normal" conversation and don't like it when they do it to me.

I think for me it's maybe a problem with being intimate or feeling connected to another person
 
J

justsomeguy

New member
Joined
Nov 16, 2009
Messages
4
I've been battling with this off and on for years. The best way to deal with it is to accept it, and focus your mind on the present. Typically the uneasiness comes when you are looking at them, but you are thinking of them looking at you. Maybe I'm wrong in your situation but this is how it affected me. Honestly, what are you thinking when you talk to people? I noticed that I was thinking of entirely too much. From what I look like from their perspective, to I wonder what they are thinking of me, to what will they think if I show a nervous tick?

Breathe.

Your not going to help anything by overthinking any situation. Practice mindfulness. Practice how YOU feel. How is YOUR breathing? What is your body doing?

The funny thing is, a lot of the time the person across from you will be thinking some of the same things. So here we all are, looking at ourselves from eachother's eyes. I rarely have this problem anymore. Sometimes, in really tense sitations it still comes back to visit, but I just breathe. And I focus on my own body, and stay out of my head.

I hope this helps you.
 
H

Hyglotzomer Pidgians

Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2009
Messages
9
Location
Alaska
Thank you all so much for your input and experiences, it really made me feel better about the whole situation.

In the past couple of months, I've found myself to grow a little more maturely and a little bit different. I'm more lax and accepting of everything, like my life has slowed down a beat or two, and I can sort of just look at it from a distance.

I had a conversation last night with one of my really good friends who I haven't spoken with in forever. She had a lot of stories to tell, and I found that I was able to listen and react at just the right moments, and keep great eye contact, not a creepy stare or anything, but a relatively normal gaze. It felt amazing, as the conversation is so much more enjoyable when I am focussed like that. And it felt normal and comfortable, I liked it. And, when I went home, I could easily remember more of what was said!

I now know that, eye contact really isn't needed to make a great conversation, just a really relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. I feel so uplifted, and look forward to more talks like that one with anyone!

To everyone who has the same problem, and might not have it resolved yet, I'm sorry if you can't find the means to fix it, as I have no advice to give. It's like a feeling, not a lesson, and I hope you guys find it to be that way, too.

:grouphug:
 
Lion Heart

Lion Heart

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 24, 2009
Messages
739
Location
kent
i have this problems too :( ,i am still trying to get over it myself so i have no advice for you sorry.

i no one thing,i will beat it in the end thats all i can say.
 
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telemetry9

Guest
This is a problem that sometimes only gets worse.

It is part of anxiety and mental illness but can be treated very effectively by finding out about a local anxiety management course.

It IS important to look into other people's eyes as this alters your relationships with people and strangers. They are less likely to trust or bond with other people who don't give them eye contact.

I understand how hard it is to do as I had this problem myself for many years but CBT helped me a lot in this regard as well as anxiety management.

Please don't ignore this problem and get the help you deserve - it won't go away on its own. Maybe for a time but it will come back to haunt you and the treatment is really so simple.

robert.
 
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