How Eye Contact And Attraction Are Linked
Updated July 28, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: 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 straightforward 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
; your 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. Meeting and holding someone’s gaze can get their attention in almost any situation. 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, as a general rule, if you fold the arms and lean back when someone is talking to you, it can communicate being closed off to their ideas or even hostility towards the person. On the other hand, eye contact is an incredibly powerful way to show you’re listening and make a person feel open to your intention.
When you make eye contact with someone you are attracted to, it communicates intentionality. You are purposefully telling them you are looking at them and reading their body language to see if the attraction is mutual. More than any other form of body language, eye contact communicates intent, focus, and attention. In this way, eye contact makes people see your intentions for the conversation and whatever kind of relationship springs forth after that. The power of eye contact is that it has the power to communicate both attraction and indifference.
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 eye contact behind that winning smile shows the difference between a good candidate and a great one!
The Rest Of The Story
We've discussed how eye contact can get you noticed and communicate attraction, but what next? What else can eye contact do for you?
Once you have the person you are attracted to, eye contact plays a role in communicating. Keeping eye contact while talking with the person is an excellent way to indicate you are listening, comprehend, and pay attention to them. Eye contact communicates continued interest and that you have chosen them to be the focus of your attention.
Also, eye contact attraction dramatically enhances the likelihood that the person you’re talking to will understand you better. A study conducted recently showed that eye contact makes people more receptive to what they’re being told. Listeners at a lecture were exposed to different levels of eye contact as researchers measured indicators of their interest (such as reciprocated eye contact) and the information that the listeners were able to retain from the lecture. During the course of a lecture, eye contact increased retention of the material that was being taught. The listeners found the lecturer more attractive, having focused eye contact, so they listened more intently. This is thought to show the link between the attractor and opening fundamental understandings of human interaction and communication. So, eye contact profoundly impacts how well a speaker and listener can communicate their messages clearly.
However, the science of eye contact isn’t the only place to look for examples of how eye contact and movement help people communicate. 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 attracted to them and enjoy your interaction.
Sometimes, it can be not easy 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 role 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? Why is it love at first sight and not first conversation? 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. There’s a reason love, at first sight, happens when someone meets our gaze: the power of eye contact goes both ways.
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. Eye contact makes people more receptive to new information, and big eye contact can have a very persuasive effect. The power of eye contact extends past age-old eyes and love; eye contact can be powerful in all aspects of life, from career to family life.
When we are attracted to someone, we may seek 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 gazing 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.
Eye Contact And Relationships
They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul. People’s eyes tell us a lot about them. 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 minds (so to speak), we can look them in the eyes. There is so much that can be learned from someone’s gaze, based on the direction they’re looking at and their eye gaze and movement.
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 gazes 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, know them, and still want them to know you. Eye contact can make people feel known and loved since eye contact creates and deepens bonds and attachments.
Eye contact is an immensely effective way to build intimacy in any relationship, whether it is a romantic relationship, a family relationship, or a close friendship. Research has shown that children who were shown and practiced making eye contact from an early age were more closely bonded to their families. And, in couples therapy, a popular exercise is to spend time just looking into each other’s eyes since intimacy can be so effectively communicated through the eyes.
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. While there is consciousness heightened by eye contact, you’ll also have to talk to the person you’re attracted to. 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. Eye contact coupled with this verbal communication makes for more effective communication.
Healthy relationships take more than body language. They take holistic 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 way 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.
“Sessions with Natalie are very insightful and give practical advice on implementing new habits and changes. Be prepared to engage and be challenged to think in a different way. I know that my partner and I can already see improvements in our relationship and feel more positive about working through our issues together.”
“Austa has been wonderful thus far. She has helped my partner and I during an unimaginably difficult time... She has also guided us in communicating effectively and setting appropriate boundaries in our relationship. I was hesitant to pursue counseling at the beginning, but I truly believe that it is making a difference for our relationship. Austa is easy to talk to and she is a great listener. I would wholeheartedly recommend her as a counselor.”
Eye Contact Matters
While we 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 become 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, show attraction, and 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 in a relationship. Let your attraction be known and open up those windows to your soul.
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