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#307496 - 10/21/09 09:32 PM Reaction from stranger's stare
nevragan Offline

Registered: 10/23/08
Posts: 907
Loc: NC
Today I had a stranger on the street give me the oddest reaction to her stare. When she looked at me, the first thing that came to mind was that I'm not worthy of her. I assumed all that from a 2 second look someone gave me. I will admit the reason why I looked at her was she was good looking to begin with. And no I didn't get caught checking her out. What bothers me is my instant reaction to her. I should be thinking "Wow, she looked at me" instead of not being worthy.

My T has me doing an assignment on facial expressions from other people and my reaction to them. We are trying to reprogram my response to a more positive one. I had a father growing up that made everyone walk on eggshells just to be around him. I had to be on high alert with him because of his anger. I learned from a young age that reading his face was the best way to stay out of trouble. I guess what I'm trying to get at is that I can't hold a stare with someone else I don't know. My eye contact is a split second and then I'm looking some other direction. I don't see how I'll ever meet new people at this rate. Does anyone else have trouble with simple little things like eye contact and strangers? And if you did, how did you get past this hurdle?

#307502 - 10/21/09 10:02 PM Re: Reaction from stranger's stare [Re: nevragan]
DJsport Offline

Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 1742
Hi, Nevragan.

Yes, I do. Major time. I am learning to think more positively about myself and others.

My T is having me make the same observations and my reactions. She wants me get used to my feelings even if they are negative.

How I act on the feelings will determine any outcome. I am finding my gut reaction is my true feeling and that person is probably NOT someone that is good for me. I interpret my reaction as bad.

Just a thought....


Live to your fullest potential

Never make someone a priority if your only an option

#307535 - 10/22/09 01:55 AM Re: Reaction from stranger's stare [Re: DJsport]
ericc Offline

Registered: 01/05/08
Posts: 1988
I do this, even more so in the past. I make eye contact easier now but certainly still have trouble sometimes depending on where things are at for me "inside".

DJ, I had issues with that myself in regards to the gut reaction. I think I have actually pretty good intuition if I "listen" to it. But I have gotten myself into bad situations because I had to be "nice" or for that matter I just wanted some sort of acceptance. I keep my distance my more these days and it takes a lot more for me to let some people in.

As far as making eye contact goes I think it can just get easier. I have learned to be more comfortable and fluid in such things, meaning that the eye contact doesn't need to be held it can come and go and just sort of do its things. This one is tough because you sort of have to think about it but then sometimes it feels forced. Sometimes it is just natural and happens. Some days I just don't give as much eye contact for various reasons.


#307546 - 10/22/09 03:14 AM Re: Reaction from stranger's stare [Re: ericc]
Trucker51 Offline

Registered: 05/21/08
Posts: 2826
Loc: Denver, CO
Years ago I had a speaking part in an elementary school play, and the teacher taught us how to speak and make eye-contact in front of an audience. It was a technique that served me well until I didn't need it anymore following my recovery. She taught us to focus on the back wall of the little theater where the play was being held, then while holding that focal depth, look back at the audience, and they would appear blurry and out of focus. Once I got good at it I could easily use the same technique on the street by just focusing behind someone then looking right through them. If I ever lost my focal depth, just a quick glance away at anything further away could easily restore my focal depth beyond my conversational partner. The best part is that almost nobody will be able to tell what you are doing either.

Eye contact indicates a level of sincerity to many people, and the appearance of anxiety of or fear of eye-contact is one of the symptoms that those who might take advantage of us look for. Once we effectively deal with our shame and begin to improve our self esteem and self-confidence, eye-contact will become much easier to initiate and hold, and you won't need the old stage trick any longer.

Give it a try, and see if it will work for you,


"We stay here, we die here. We've got to keep moving". Trucker Mark

#307557 - 10/22/09 04:11 AM Re: Reaction from stranger's stare [Re: Trucker51]
dark empathy Offline

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2847
Loc: Newark, England
Reading this topic, I had a few loopy thoughts, --- sorry if they're unhelpful, but I'll put them here just in case they aren't.

I pysically cannot make eye contact. I don't mean this in an emotional sense, I mean it literally! my vision is such that in order to even see someone's eyes I have to be standing worryingly close anyway.

i've developed several methods of telling people's emotions otherwise, ----- some of them a bit weerd, --- such as my non verbal general emotional sense but i'll think about that later.

What I tend to use instead of eye contact issomething I think of people handling skills. It's a combination of reading other's emotional reactions, speaking in an engaging way, and being generally open.

Just speaking slowly, and calmly helps, as does making some kind of under control verbal joke, ---- Ie, saying something slightly surprising which puts people at ease, but desn't go to the extreme of making me look like an idiot.

For instance, I remember one day when I'd had a really rough session with my T. I rather fancied some chocolate cookies from the bakery.

At that point I didn't want to tal to anyone, and my natural inclination was to point, grunt and slam down money. Sadly, I can't point, ---- heck I didn't even know if they had said cookies.

So, I walk in, and the rather board lady behind the counter asks me what I want.

"Hello, ---- I need chocolate!"

she then laughed, and stated they had chocolate cookies, and thus I got what I wanted, and left her with the impression that I was a fairly pleasant fellow.

the one time this fails, is with distance contact, ---- Ie, in a pub, or restaurant or similar. Also because English people are A, less extravert, and B, less prone to think someone carrying a white cane is actually a human being than americans seem to be, it tends to mean problems.

On the pluss side if someone does take the risk and talk to me, I have found methods of keeping them talking and making a good impression.

this is not false, or forced, or anything similar, ---- I've practiced it for so long it's become fairly natural, ---- if slightly tiring at some points, ---- though there was a point when I was 18-19, that I had to physically think very hard about it.

Rather disturbingly, this is also why people seem to have the weerd idea that I'm extremely confident, because people associate verbal eloquence and emotional reading with compitance.

So, my advise to people for not using eye contact is to practice speaking and voice skills and the art of conversation, ---- perhaps public speaking, or performing could help?

for the non verbal emotional business, ---- I'm really! not sure how this works, or even what it is. I can only describe it as a general sense of a person's feelings, even without talking to them, ---- before they've spoken.

I'm not sure if this is just my mind subconsciously picking up on various cues I miss, theramones (a theory one friend of mine has), some kind of weerd esp thing or something else.

I can't really give advise on practicing it though, sinse I'm not completely sure how it works myself, ---- pluss, as i've said before, it utterly fails me in the case of my friends, or anyone who has positive feelings towards me.

sorry about the long ramble, ----- and eually if it'f people find it a load of random rubbish, I do hope someone gets somethin useful from it though.

#307655 - 10/22/09 11:50 PM Re: Reaction from stranger's stare [Re: dark empathy]
nevragan Offline

Registered: 10/23/08
Posts: 907
Loc: NC
After reading the replies here, I realized that I pick up on other people's negative facial expressions like an expert. I can pick up if someone is having a bad day, is pissed off, hurt or worried. What throws me for a loop is everything else that is positive related like general happiness. I have trouble processing what their facial expressions mean. It is like they are speaking a foreign language that I haven't learned yet. Guess this will take some time and practice to learn. Thank you for the replies, they were helpful.


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