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I have one eye and feel self-conscious during eye contact with strangers. How can I improve the situation?

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I have a question regarding eye contact with random strangers. I was born with one eye (right eye) and I have a prosthesis in my left eye.

Lately, I have realized that when I look at someone, I look at them with my right eye, so my head is slightly tilted when I look at them. I think this could be an evil eye sort of stereotype, where I look at them totally with my right eye and maybe intimidate them. When I am far away, they don't seem to notice.

I tried your positive thinking download and it actually seemed to help my vision a bit. But what would be some helpful tips for making eye contact with strangers? I feel self-conscious with my eyes!

This question was submitted by 'Seth'

mark tyrrell

Mark says...

Hello Seth and thanks for your question. I'm happy the positive thinking download helped you.

Like anything that should be taken care of unconsciously, eye contact can dominate our consciousness when we become too conscious of it but all we really want to be focussing on is the other person. One helpful tip regarding eye contact with strangers is to think about timing - well, think about it until you don't have to think about it anymore because it becomes instinctive.

Research done many years ago found that maintaining eye contact for longer than 7 seconds makes many people feel uncomfortable. So, looking at someone for 7 or so seconds, then looking away for a second or so (which is what we do when we process information), feels more natural for most people than too little eye contact (which makes people appear either shifty, untrustworthy, or lacking in self-confidence) or too much eye contact (which makes people seem aggressive, overly domineering in some way, or very flirtatious, depending on context). So remember the '7 second rule'.

As for tilting your head, other people may or may not be affected by this. But since you are aware of it, you might start to consciously correct it a bit – again, until such time as all this becomes automatic. The whole thing about eye contact is that it needs to be forgotten about consciously most of the time. You might also find the 'Making Eye Contact' download useful.

All best wishes,


watch icon Published by Mark Tyrrell - November 16th, 2014 in

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