How Eye Contact And Attraction Are Linked
Updated November 15, 2019
Reviewer Dawn Brown
There are many ways to convey attraction to someone. Some ways are overt, such as classic gifts like candy or flowers. We may gravitate towards the person when we see them, attempting to spend as much time around them as possible. Other times, we may be straight forward and use our words to tell someone that we find them attractive.
Some ways of conveying attraction are more subtle than others. Your body language can display attraction in minute ways. Voice inflection is another small way we show our attraction. Doing the little extra things for the person, we are attracted to is yet another way to handle our attraction.
Eye contact can be overt or subtle, depending on the person and situation. Eye contact can display interest, attraction, and curiosity.
Eye Contact Is Often The First Step
If you are in a bar, coffee shop, bookstore, or any other public place and you see someone you find attractive, your beginning move, if you want their attention, is to try and catch their eye. Eye contact, even just a momentary, fleeting contact, can communicate a lot in a short amount of time.
Eye contact in this setting signifies an interest in getting to know the other person. It can be an invitation to approach the person and get to know them. Eye contact is a technique used when attracting women or men. Getting someone's attention with eye contact can often lead to a better interaction rather than approaching someone with no prior contact.
Eye Contact Communicates Intent
Body language generally communicates a person's thoughts and attitudes in unspoken ways. For example, fold the arms and leaning back when someone is talking to you can communicate being closed off to their ideas or even hostility towards the person.
When you make eye contact with someone you are attracted to, it communicates intentionality. You are purposefully telling them you are both looking at them and reading their body language to see if the attraction is mutual. Eye contact, more than any other form of body language, communicates intent, focus, and attention.
This communication can be seen outside the world of attraction in job interviews, for example. If you don't make eye contact with your interviewer, they might perceive you as not listening or paying attention. However, with direct eye contact, you communicate focus, intentionality, and confidence.
The Rest Of The Story
We've discussed how eye contact can get you noticed and communicates attraction, but what next? What else does can eye contact do for you?
Once you have the attention of the person you are attracted to, eye contact continues to play a roll in how you communicate. Keeping eye contact while talking with the person is an excellent way to indicate you are listening, that you are comprehending and that you are paying attention to them. Eye contact communicates continued interest and that you have chosen them to be the focus of your attention.
Eye contact isn't the only way to show continued interest, however. Again, other body language cues help communicate a continued attraction. Things like body posture, slightly leaning towards the person and smiling all let them know that you feel an attraction towards them and that you are enjoying your interaction.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to see that you are reading men's body language of attraction correctly. Body language isn't only about attraction; it is also about social posturing. The man may be putting on an aloof persona or a sense of bravado to project a specific image. In cases like this, eye contact (or the lack thereof) can be highly telling of the man's true intentions.
The same goes for women. Often socialization and cultural expectations of how a woman is supposed to act can cause her to perform a roll rather than be genuine with body language, or even verbal language. Here again, eye contact is a marker that is hard to fake and, therefore, can give insight into a person's true feelings.
Eye Contact And Attraction
What is it about eye contact specifically that communicates attraction? There are a few benefits of eye contact that come into play here.
Eye contact helps us read the person so we can react accordingly. Imagine if you were talking to someone you thought was attractive, but they were wearing mirrored sunglasses. You may be able to talk to them, but it would be a bit of an unbalanced conversation because you would have very little information to go off to help you see if they are interested or not. You would have to rely much more on the tone of voice and body language. Taking away the eyes takes away a considerable way in which we communicate non-verbally.
Eye contact also helps us remember what is said. A 2006 study found that when a salesperson looked at the camera more during a video presentation, the people that saw the video were more likely to recall the information. When we are attracted to someone, we may be thinking about seeking to start a relationship with them. For this to happen, there needs to be more than a one-off encounter. So, it is vital to get to know the other person by remembering what they have said, what they are interested in, what they like about you, and so on. Eye contact can help us remember these details with greater clarity.
When eye contact occurs, the body releases a small dose of the chemical Oxytocin. Oxytocin is often called "the love hormone," and is associated with social, sexual, and emotional bonding. A hormone is released when we look into each other's eyes that help us create stable bonds. This hormone's release is excellent news for people who are attracted to each other. You can have bonding time over dinner just by having eye contact.
Eye Contact And Relationships
They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul. We certainly act as if they are. When we don't want people to know what we're thinking, we tend to avoid their gaze. When we want to open up to someone and invite them into our mind (so to speak), we can look them in the eyes.
Eye contact matters far more than merely an initial attraction. When we are looking for a long-term relationship or are seeking to strengthen an existing relationship, keeping the practice of eye contact can help form a foundation of open and honest communication.
Eye contact can be a great way to strengthen the bond between you and your partner. As we have said, the release of Oxytocin creates bonding and the feeling of being in love. It is a great way to communicate to your partner that you still want them, still want to know them, and still want them to know you.
Going Beyond Eye Contact
While eye contact can be a great tool in attraction, it takes more than some flirty eyes to cultivate a dating relationship. Verbal communication is always the best route. It is crucial to work towards being upfront about your intentions, being honest about your desires, and being open to what the other person wants and needs.
Healthy relationships take more than body language. They take wholistic communication, effort, and the willingness to change and compromise. It can be tricky to navigate them alone. Cultivating healthy relationships is where a licensed therapist can help your relationship, whether it is just beginning, or you have been together for 50 years.
Therapists can help you move beyond vague connection tactics and go deeper into your bond together. Working through conflict and finding a resolution, both partners are happy with is one of the ways a relationship therapist can help. Therapists can also help you work better together, amplifying each other's strengths, and supporting each other where there is room for improvement.
Couples therapy is a way to move beyond, relying on attraction only for the foundation of your relationship. Relationship therapy is a way to go deeper, be more intentional, and create a foundation that can weather any storm.
Eye Contact Matters
While we do want to have deep, meaningful relationships, the attraction is essential to keep cultivated no matter how long you have been with your partner. Keeping the attraction factor up can keep the relationship fun, fan the initial spark into a flame, and help the relationship from becoming stale.
Keep practicing that eye contact. You and your partner can enjoy it, have your bond strengthened, and enjoy a flirtatious aspect of the relationship as well.
Even if you're not in a long-term relationship, remember that eye contact is a great way to flirt, to show attraction, and to get the person's attention. Eye contact opens you up to the possibility of a happy relationship full of vigor, life, and a strong bond between the two of you.
So, use your eyes, no matter where you are at in a relationship. Let your attraction be known and open up those windows to your soul.