Eye contact and movement are a very important part of nonverbal communication. Different types of eye contact and movements have different meanings and interpretations which sometimes differ from culture to culture. In some countries, children are taught not to make eye contact very often especially with the elders as it’s a sign of rudeness and in other countries, avoiding eye contact is considered as a sign of dishonesty. Apart from the interpretations of eye contact and movement differing from place to place and culture to culture, the same eye contact and movement can have different meanings in different situations and their meaning also varies from person to person. A girl lowering her eyes in front of her parents usually means that she is feeling sorry or ashamed of something. It is an apologizing gesture; whereas the same eye movement in front of a boy can be interpreted as the girl feeling shy.
Eye contact and movements can say a lot about a person’s attitude and personality. It is usually noted that an honest person always looks in the eye of the person he/she is communicating to; a dishonest person on the other hand tries to avoid eye contact at all costs. Some people have smiling eyes; when they smile, their smile reaches their eyes and brightens them up. Usually, people with this kind of eye contact and movement are very happy-go-lucky and optimistic with fewer worries in life (or they tackle the bad times also in a positive way).In contrast to them, some people have dead-looking eyes; their smile remains confined to their lips and they are usually not very enthusiastic. A person who stares a lot is usually a suspicion-prone person and a person who narrows his eyes a lot is usually a pessimist.
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Incidentally, the meanings of eye contact and movements are highly varied from one place to another. In some countries, a woman is supposed to keep her eyes lowered as making a lot of eye contact and movement is considered flirtatious whereas in other places, keeping one’s gaze down is considered as a sign of low confidence, poor self-esteem, and a weak personality. Furthermore, looking away from a person while speaking is a sign of disinterest and dishonesty in most parts of the world. Then again if a person has a habit of making eye contact and movement a lot while speaking, it’s sometimes taken as arrogance and rebellion.
Eye contact and movement is also a very efficient way of expressing one’s emotions. It’s true that the eye is the window to one’s soul. It’s easy to guess if someone is lying, sorry, happy, suspicious, hurt or uncomfortable, etc by looking into that person’s eye.
Different countries have different pros and cons regarding eye contact and movements. In American states, it’s common to glance at strangers or even smile at them and greet them. They make eye contact if they are open to a conversation and are feeling comfortable with a person and avoid eye contact if they want to be alone and maintain their personal space; whereas in other countries, glancing at strangers is considered as suspicious and uncivil but avoiding eye contact is taken as a sign of showing respect and reverence to a person. On one hand, maintaining eye contact while talking is considered civil, glaring at someone or gazing at someone for a long while without any reason is considered alarming and dangerous.
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The practice of using eye contact and movement to display one emotion has been used in many dance forms. If a person keeps shifting his/her gaze from here to there nervously, that usually implies that the person is scared or lying, or apprehensive. Different eye contact and movements can be used for conveying different emotions. Blinking of eyes very often or fluttering of eyelashes is considered flirtatious and a smothering gaze is usually an indicator of love. A wide-eyed or round-eyed gaze means that a person is surprised or shocked and rolling one’s eyes implies exasperation or disbelief. Eye contact and movement like winking one’s eye is a sign of naughtiness and looking at someone from the corner of one’s eye indicates suspicion.
Almost all the emotions felt by us can be communicated with the help of eye contact movement. The only point to keep in mind is to control one’s eye contact and movement according to the place and culture one is residing in presently, lest one is misunderstood.