The Importance Of Eye Contact

The Importance Of Eye Contact

Taking a deeper look at a fundamental component of having quality, in-person exchanges.

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Nowadays, having a conversation with anyone not being paid to or paying to talk to you has become a fight of man versus machine, man versus nature, or mere man versus mind. Whether the spoken-to individual is answering a text or email, is looking around at passing scenery, or simply has his or her mind wandering aimlessly, I have found that it has become an increasingly difficult task to get others to not only hear what one is saying but to actually listen. The key to ridding in-person conversations of the ubiquitous "Uh huh," or repetitive "Yeah?" is rehabilitating, as a culture, the long-lost art of making eye contact.

In many parts of the world, eye contact is considered disrespectful or even "too intense" for regular day-to-day discussions. For example, in China, eye contact is made as a sign of disrespect, to indicate an individual is angry or is meant to challenge another. It is appropriate for an individual of higher authority to make eye contact with a subordinate, but never the other way around. Similarly, in Japan, children are taught to carry a "soft gaze" toward another individual by looking at his or her neck and always avoiding the eyes, so as to not appear rude while also having one's attention directed toward that person. In the United States and much of the West, however, being able to maintain strong eye contact is just as—if not more—important than having a firm handshake, both for professional and personal situations, yet has been diminished to near extinction by generations of people too caught up in listening to respond rather than listening to understand.

Eye contact, although it can sometimes be too intense or intimidating for a given situation, conveys so much more than just one's attention. As the adage goes, "The eyes are the windows to the soul," because they show emotion, interest or lack thereof, the way others are impacted by what is being said, flickers of thought, intention, personability, and respect. Intense, unbroken eye contact can signify one's desire to persuade, or can indicate profound interest or, conversely, immense dislike for an individual or for the conversation in general, while softer, friendly eye contact can reveal one's positive feelings toward another, and can add a layer of trust and warmth to both work-related and friendly exchanges.

Among men and women, young and old, sustaining eye contact after initial introductions has become a rarity, but especially among young adults engaging with one another. It was not until I was on my first date with my current boyfriend, who made sure to maintain eye contact through each story I told and memory we laughed about, that I was able to differentiate between past exchanges with my peers and the one I was having at that moment. Few things are more disheartening than looking across the space between another individual and I and finding that he or she is mentally elsewhere, so being made to feel like what I was saying mattered, was interesting, or at least was worthy of undivided attention not only made the other person more appealing to me, but also significantly improved the quality of the interaction as a whole.

It has been found that those who do not make eye contact with others do so for a variety of reasons. Most often, an individual may be hiding something or masking his or her true feelings, but it was also studied that eye contact is avoided more when an individual makes a sarcastic comment rather than a sincere one because of the indirect, joking nature of what may be passive-aggression. The most common reason for a lack of eye contact, however, is based in insecurity, as people do not want others looking too closely at him or her so as to not see a lack of or minimal self-confidence.

Whether one chooses to believe the "windows to the soul" expression or not, it is apparent that, if anything, one's eyes do reveal more about one's character and an internal state of being than almost any other physical attribute. Individuals who are kind, compassionate, genuine, and who lead lives of integrity have somewhat of a radiant glimmer or sparkle in their eyes, while those who maintain blank, lifeless expressions are almost always commensurately (and unfortunately) severely conflicted inside as well.

As a culture, we must consciously decide to no longer fear the judgments or gazes of others, regardless of the level of authority, age, familiarity, or status. The more we choose to accept ourselves and work on our self-confidence and in-person communication skills, while also being open to others, the easier it will be to push self-created discomfort and awkwardness aside, and look what may be one of many people's greatest fears in the eye, without hesitation and maybe even with a little conviction, too.

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21 Lies College Students Tell Their Parents

I can almost guarantee that you have used at least five of these.

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Let's be honest. College is the best time of your life for a lot of reasons, and maybe you should not tell your mom all of them when she calls. I can almost guarantee that you have used at least five of these, and the others — maybe you should try next time!

1. "I can't talk now, I'm in the library."

Typically used when the student is too hungover to talk.

2. "Gotta go now, I'm walking into class."

Then hit play on Netflix.

3. "I think it might be food poisoning."

Was it the food, or all of that alcohol? Your symptoms sound more like a hangover to me.

4. "No, I didn't just wake up."

It is 4 p.m. and, yes, you did.

5. "I need more money for laundry and food."

Meaning, "I need more money for things I don't think you will give me money for."

6. "I never skip class!"

When we use this one, it usually does not refer to anything before 11 a.m.

7. "I studied all night for that test!"

If by "studied all night" you mean you watched TV shows in the library, then, yes, all night.

8. "Everyone failed that test."

And by everyone, I mean me and my friend who did not go to sleep until 3 a.m.

9. "I'm walking home from breakfast with my friends."

Yeah, OK. You are just lucky she cannot see last night's outfit and the high heels you are carrying. We know where you have been.

10. "Potbelly's is a restaurant."

I mean, they may sell tacos, but I'm not sure I would call it a restaurant.

11. "I go to Cantina's for the Nachos."

I hope that is not the only reason but, hey, you do you.

12. "The $40 charge on the card from last Saturday? That was for school supplies!"

Yeah, right. It was for a new dress.

13. "Nobody goes out on weeknights, especially not me."

We all know grades come first, right?

14. "I can't remember the last time I went out!"

Literally.

15. "I make my bed regularly"

About as often as I clean the bathroom.

16. "I did not say 'Margarita Monday,' I said I went to 'Margaret's on Monday'!"

Following the use of this lie, do not post any pictures on social media of you with a margarita.

17. "I use my meal plan, and eat in the dining hall all the time."

As you scarf down Chick-fil-A.

18. "I eat healthy!"

For those without a meal plan who have to grocery shop on their own, we all know you spend $2 on a 12-pack of Ramen noodles and the rest on a different kind of 12-pack.

19. "No, I don't have a fake ID."

OK, "John Smith," and where exactly in Wyoming are you from?

20. "I'm doing great in all of my classes."

We use this one because you cannot see our grades online, anymore.

21. "I did not wait until the last minute to start on this."

We all know that if you start a paper before 10 p.m. the night before it is due, you are doing something wrong.

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12 Reasons I'd Rather Hang Out With My Dog Than People

Dogs > people.

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Anyone that knows me hears me say multiple times that I prefer dogs over people. They are just overall better creatures compared to most humans. They love us unconditionally, they are adorable, they are funny, and they make life all the more enjoyable and exciting. Whether it be a quiet weekend night in with them watching a movie or going on a vacation or adventure, they are much better companions than most people.

They give so much love in their lives that they sadly use it all up in a tiny portion of a human lifespan. They are pure and loving beings that I would 100% rather hang out with than the majority of the human population. Here are just some of the reasons why life is better with them than people.

1. They love you most.

Madi Fuertsch

Just that look of absolute adoration makes one rather hang out with their biggest fan, compared to going out with humans that are just okay. Knowing you have someone that loves you as much as your dog is just better than anything else.

2. You can look like whatever you want around them & they don't care.

Madi Fuertsch

Onesie? Don't care. Sweatpants with a baggy t-shirt? Don't care. They love you no matter what your wardrobe, unlike people.

3. You can be 100% yourself.

Madi Fuertsch

You don't even have to try to act cool around them because they know you for the loser you are and love you regardless. They have likely seen you sob over a movie and dance to a favorite song.

4. You can be lazy.

Rachel Norris

If you just want a relaxing evening in, who better to include than your four-legged fuzzball. They are down for whatever and that includes absolutely nothing.

5. Or do something active

Madi Fuertsch

On the other hand, they can be a great motivator to keep active and stay healthy considering they need exercise. You may not love your body as much as them, but you will sacrifice to make sure they stay in tip-top shape. Who knows, maybe you'll learn to enjoy it.

6. They are perfect adventure buddies.

Madi Fuertsch

No one else is better to take on the world with. They are the best companions for the little or the big adventures and make it all the more exciting.

7. And car ride companions.

Suzanne Fuertsch

Car ride buddies are the best to have and they are 100% better when they have an adorable, loving face.

8. They are cuter to look at.

Madi Fuertsch

You're a monster to not think dogs are just beyond adorable, especially when compared to humans. Sorry not sorry.

9. They are better snuggle buddies.

Madi Fuertsch

Humans are nice to snuggle and all, but they just don't have that feel that dogs have. Snuggling a dog makes it feel like everything else in the world will be okay.

10. You are the center of attention.

Madi Fuertsch

No one gives you a bigger confidence boost than a dog. They just love you and always pay attention to what you are doing, making you feel like the coolest person around.

11. They make you laugh.

Madi Fuertsch

Dogs being so darn cute, make everyday activities and adventures funny. Some have a certain look, or a certain quirk that they just always do, or maybe even just their face in general. Either way, dogs make laughter so much more frequent.

12. Life is much more exciting with them.

Suzanne Fuertsch

They take on life with such excitement and they bring that contagious excitement on to you. I mean we were simply standing in line for food, but he made it all the more exciting and fun because of his expression and personality.

I'm going to go hang out with my dog now...

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