Why do some people avoid making eye contact when speaking?

I heard that when you lie you avoid making eye contact. But in other cases, there are some people who just never make eye contact when speaking. I also notice some "higher ups" never make eye contact when speaking to their subordinates. Why is that?

26 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Hey, I'm currently working on my bio-psych doctorate, and I've found that people, who are not good liars, avoid eye contact while lying but anyone that has much social experience knows that you have to make eye contact if they don't want to be found out. People tend to say that when someone isn't making eye contact then they are lying or they have low self-esteem, this is because most cultural standards are European based and this is usually the case in many European countries. But this is a completely one-sided approach, making it a vast generalization, Native American's, for example, are taught to listen to the words that people are speaking so looking into a person's eyes doesn't add anything to a conversation and in fact takes away from it in many ways. When someone is speaking a good listener will think about the words that the speaker is saying, their thoughts become focused on the subject at hand, but having to make eye-contact disrupts the flow of thoughts so it's harder to focus on what's being said because the listener begin to focus on the individual speaking and not what they are saying. It is therefore considered disrespectful to make eye-contact in many cultures while speaking.

    I have really bad ADD and a memory condition, when I look into someone's eyes it erases what is on my short-term memory so what I've said to you so far is much more obvious to people like me that have experience with many different groups of people. Also, when accessing certain parts of the memory the eyes look up and to the side, so the supervisor could be remembering what they need to say and do, they could come from a different culture (or follow the beliefs of the culture) or it could have to do with who they learned managerial skills from.

    There is a limitless amount of things that a single trait, like amount of eye-contact could mean, that's why it is important to look at the big picture. People who think they are good at detecting lies will be quick to tell you that if a person scratches their nose, or something of this nature, then they are lying, but it really means they are nervous. People get nervous for all kinds of reasons, that's why it's all about context. Humans are amazingly complex organisms, so try to avoid listening to other people's generalizations aha.

  • leash
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Avoiding Eye Contact

  • suez
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Sometimes people can be shy and it is hard to keep eye contact; I have cataracts so I have to wear sunglasses all the time, but when I talk with people I sometimes squint one eye.

    Some people will say that when you don't make eye contact that they are lying; I think if that is going to be part of the equation then there has to be a question that would require an honest response.

  • 4 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.


    Why do some people avoid making eye contact when speaking?

    I heard that when you lie you avoid making eye contact. But in other cases, there are some people who just never make eye contact when speaking. I also notice some "higher ups" never make eye contact when speaking to their subordinates. Why is that?

    Source(s): people avoid making eye contact speaking: https://biturl.im/L9rrx
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  • 1 decade ago

    It is true that some people can't make eye contact when they lie.

    Some people are just very shy or socially awkward and feel overwhelmed so they don't make eye contact.

    In some cultures it is considered very disrespectful for women or subordiantes to look parents/authority in the eye.

    IMO if a "higher up" doesn't look a subordinate in the eye it is because THEY have low self-esteem and feel awkward telling someone else what to do.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I had a friend who was too empathic and got all used up over-communicating with people stopping looking in their eyes killed a lot of extraneous communication. Another friend cant look anyone in the eye because he feels too shy - Some people its because they fear intimacy or intruding on anothers private space- Most good liars these days have heard of that old give away and so they have practised - YOu will only find first-time liars making this mistake - they are probably the ones who go red as well.

    The higher up s maybe because they are showing that they dont need to - or maybe they are ticking them off and its easier fro them not to look.

    Body language isn't a precise science you have to keep testing it out in different situations each of us has our own body language with its own particular meanings

  • 5 years ago

    I find it harder to think about what I'm trying to say when I'm making eye contact because now my concentration is focused on someone's eyes and not my words. Whether it is a lie or not has nothing to do with where I'm looking.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Some people find it uncomfortable generally. Especially if they want to be somewhere else (in a rush, don't like the person, etc). Some people find it uncomfortable generally (socially shy, or aspergers or autism famously find eye contact hard).

    It can be that they don't see the person as equal status or interesting enough to merit eye contact (in terms of higher status to lower status) - their minds may be somewhere else... there are numerous reasons not to make eye contact. Lying is only one of them.

    And on that point, some people relentlessly maintain eye contact when lying which - appart from being creepy - is just as much as a give away (our eyes generally flick around the face). Some people are good enough to fake eye contact well when lying.

  • 6 years ago

    Some liars have tells, for example looking up to their left and back at you while talking is an indication of a lie. In some cultures when speaking to adults, you are not supposed to look up or in the eyes of the adults, so their are multitudes of reasons and America is becoming a large melting pot. Also for some, looking at someone straight in the eyes is a very intimate thing, and I dont know about you, but I try not to get very intimate with every person I talk with lol. =)

    • Chris5 years agoReport

      This isn't always true. This is very dependent on their brain dominance. A man named Paul Eckman has written a few good books that helps explain this

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Well, it's true that if somebody is lying to you, they will avoid making eye contact. If you're meeting that person for the first time, maybe they're just shy. If 'higher ups' don't make eye contact with subordinates, they may think that it's not worth making eye contact, and are too snobbish.

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