Do you find it easy to look other people in the eye when you talk to them?

Believe it or not, this one skill can make a big difference in how many close friends you make!

Researchers have discovered that one of the most striking differences between people who are socially confident and those who are shy, is that confident people have much more frequent eye contact with their conversational partners.

Many shy people never make eye contact at all, tending to look downward or away, instead of looking at their conversation partner’s face.

Most North Americans, especially Caucasians, prefer to have a lot of eye contact when they are talking with someone.

When a person doesn’t make eye contact with them, North Americans tend to assume that person is hiding something. The very phrase “shifty-eyed” connotes a person whose eyes dart around the room, implying that they are untrustworthy.

When you are speaking with someone who is from a culture that prefers a lot of eye contact, be sure to keep looking at that person frequently while you are talking, even while you are wondering what to say next. You don’t need to use a piercing stare, a friendly gaze will do.

If it really bothers you to look directly into another person’s eyes, you can look at the person’s face without focusing solely on the eyes. If you gaze generally at the eyebrow area or the bridge of the nose, this is close enough to the eye region that you will appear to be looking at the person’s eyes. You may find that it eases your own discomfort if you let your vision go slightly out of focus.

Whenever you are in conversation with someone, keep the majority of your focus on the other person. If you glance around the room too much, or look too frequently at other people, your conversation partner may assume that you are bored, or that you are looking around for someone else you would rather talk with.

If you have difficulty knowing exactly how to make eye contact, you can benefit from practicing in front of a mirror, or with another person.

Don’t stare at other people too intensely however! A very intense, unblinking start can make your conversation partner feel very uncomfortable. It can be very unpleasant to be on the receiving end of an intense stare, particularly at close range.

You can lighten the impression you are making by smiling more often, nodding, and by gazing at the entire face as well as the eyes. In addition, you can frequently glance away for brief periods.

Practice looking at your conversation partner’s face while you speak, and mix in lots of smiles and nods, occasionally glancing away while you speak and while you listen.

This will show that you are friendly, interested and approachable.

When other people get the sense that you are really paying attention to them and that you enjoy talking with them, they will be much more likely to want to have more conversations with you.

About the Author

This article is taken from the new book by Royane Real titled “How You Can Have All the Friends You Want – Your Complete Guide to Finding Friends, Making Friends and Keeping Friends”  If you want to improve your social life, download it today at