Considering how much we humans communicate through our body language, many of us are pretty bad at reading it.
We’re constantly giving each other non-verbal signals, but we often struggle to interpret them.
Eye contact is a big one of these.
We spend our days either making or avoiding eye contact with other human beings, but half the time we’re none the wiser as to what all those signals actually mean.
And when it comes to romantic vibes between men and women, the meaning behind eye contact can be even harder to decipher.
So, if you’ve found him holding your gaze, perhaps on a regular basis, you’re probably wondering how you should be reading it.
Of course, prolonged eye contact can mean different things in different situations, in friendly or professional relationships.
But we’re going to focus on romantic relationships, or relationships that you think might have the potential to become romantic.
This isn’t a foolproof guide to eye contact from a man, but it should help you to figure out what he’s trying to communicate to you, whether he’s conscious of it or not.
Eye contact is, as we all know, a very intimate thing, and it’s a big part of flirting.
If we want someone to know that we’re flirting with them, eye contact is very important.
It’s normally teamed with a flirtatious smile, too.
So, if a guy has been making direct eye contact with you whilst you’re speaking to him, and has given you a cheeky smile and maybe even told a joke or two, it might be his way of making it clear that he’s flirting.
And, of course, flirty eye contact isn’t restricted to when you’re actually speaking to someone.
Lots of guys will stare or glance your way in an attempt to catch your eye to figure out whether you might be interested in them before making their first move.
But it’s important to remember that just because a guy flirts, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve got any intentions to take things further. Women do it too.
People sometimes flirt to get something they want, because they enjoy the thrill of it, or because that’s just their default way of interacting with the opposite sex.
If we’re attracted to someone and we’re shy about it, we’ll often go into awkward mode and avoid all eye contact.
On the other hand, we might not be able to resist making eye contact with the person we’re attracted to, but out of nervousness, we still won’t give away any other signs of attraction, like smiling.
And, it’s also true that if a guy is attracted to you and confident about it, they might use eye contact along with smiles, or maybe even a wink, as a way of letting you know that the attraction is there.
If you think they might be attracted to you but are unsure about it, trying returning their eye contact and smiling at them. If they turn red or smile back, there’s a good chance that there’s an attraction there.
3. Deep interest in what you’ve got to say.
Eye contact isn’t always down to sexual attraction.
Far from it.
If a man is giving you intense eye contact whilst you’re speaking, they may well find you sexually attractive, but that might not have anything to do with it.
It might just be that they genuinely find the things you’re saying to be deeply interesting, and are listening intently so as not to miss any of it.
On the other hand, it might be that they are attracted to your intelligence, in which case the eye contact has a double meaning.
We’re so used to people being distracted when we speak to them these days, with one eye looking over your shoulder and the other on their phone screen, that we can find this kind of eye contact a little overwhelming, but don’t shy away from it.
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4. An attempt to communicate something.
If a guy that you’re not having a conversation with is giving you prolonged eye contact, perhaps from across the room, it might be that they’re trying to get your attention, and tell you or alert you to something non-verbally.
Catching someone’s eye is an effective way of getting their attention, you just might struggle to figure out exactly what it is they’re trying to tell you.
If they nod in a certain direction or raise their eyebrows, then they’re definitely trying to tell you something.
So, we’ve established that eye contact can mean a lot of positive things.
But it’s not always positive.
Eye contact is a tool used by manipulative people too.
They take it a step further, which is sometimes known as hypnotic gazing.
They’ll probably team the prolonged eye contact with doing or saying something to test where the boundaries lie.
It might seem like they’re trying to express their love for you or seduce you, and it’s easy to fall under the spell of someone who uses these techniques.
It’s a step toward trying to control your thoughts and actions, which is a big part of any emotionally abusive relationship.
But something deep down should warn you that this behavior isn’t right.
If that’s the case, try to give yourself some space from them. Take a little break from the relationship and check in with yourself to see how you’re really feeling about the situation.
6. A show of dominance.
Even in our modern society, we still have an awful lot of work to do before we achieve gender equality.
Lots of men still feel like they need to show dominance in order to attract women.
Lots of those horrendous programs that are designed to help men find themselves a girlfriend teach their subscribers that if you’re not showing dominance through your body language, you’ll never succeed with the opposite sex.
It’s total rubbish, but unfortunately, it’s still a pretty widely held belief.
Eye contact is, by its very nature, a dominant form of body language.
It’s intense and is normally something we do deliberately, and if the person we’re making eye contact with doesn’t meet or hold our gaze, then it can seem like we’ve won.
If you’re in a relationship with a man and you find them trying to use eye contact to beat you into submission or assert their power over you, you’ve got grounds for concern.
7. An absent mind.
Although eye contact is normally a deliberate, conscious choice, sometimes we can make prolonged eye contact with someone by mistake.
I’m sure you do it all the time. I certainly do. I completely zone out, my mind focusing on something completely different, and I no longer even see what I’m looking at.
I sometimes suddenly snap back into the real world and realize that I’ve been looking directly at someone who’s curiously or nervously returning my gaze.
So, there’s always the possibility that they’re not trying to make eye contact with you at all.
Not sure how to tell if that’s the case? Well, if they eventually look away and then don’t look back at you again, that may well be what happened.
Trust your gut.
There are times when we misinterpret eye contact, normally because we believe what we’d really like to be true, rather than calmly and sensibly assessing the situation.
But something deep down inside you will always let you know what it is a guy is trying to tell you when you lock eyes.
Trust your gut instinct, and you can’t go too far wrong.