Using Eye Contact Attraction To Build A Relationship
By: Sarah Fader
Updated August 28, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Nicole J. Johnson
Are you looking for that one secret weapon that will help you form and maintain a relationship easily? Well, there's no secret weapon, but there is one thing that can make a big difference, and that's eye contact. Believe it or not, holding someone’s gaze can say a lot about your interest in them.
Maintaining eye contact is a powerful form of communication for humans. In cinema, the initial moment of eye contact between two potential love interests plays an important role in the plot. After all, the eyes are often considered the windows to the soul.
You can use this information to your advantage as you get to know someone and try to build lasting bonds with them. Using it to improve your dating life doesn’t hurt either.
Before getting into detail about eye contact attraction and its role in relationships, it’s important to note that this article generally applies to people who are neurotypical. People who are neurotypical do not display any atypical thought patterns or behaviors, whereas people who are neurodivergent (like people with ADHD or autism) do. Sometimes people who are neurodivergent avoid eye contact altogether, or engage in direct eye contact for longer periods than someone who is neurotypical might. This is not wrong or bad, just different.
Eye Contact And Attraction
It can be important to maintain a steady level of eye contact when communicating with others. People like being noticed. They like feeling important, even to just a small group, or only one other person. Simply put, most people like some external validation. Using eye contact can convey your interest in what someone else is saying. For many people, it’s a sign of interest when people maintain eye contact with them while they listen to them talk. Holding someone’s gaze is one of the easiest ways to acknowledge to another person that you notice their existence and consider them a valuable human.
So it's no wonder that making eye contact with someone immediately boosts your attractiveness in their perception. People tend to like those who like them. Not only that, holding eye contact is one of the most effective ways to deepen a relationship with someone.
The Science Of How It Works
It’s easy to understand why eye contact is so important to human relationships. It's all about our evolution. Human eyes are designed to attract attention, to draw another's gaze to ours. Did you know that we are some of the only primates with white eyes? Our eyes not only see, but they are also meant to be visible and be seen by others.
Studies show that making eye contact helps people to remember what you say and do. In fact, when you couple eye contact with body language, it makes them pay even more attention to you.
Maintaining eye contact also encourages people to be more honest with you. And that can be a big advantage when you're building a relationship with someone. If you want to know what kind of emotions someone is feeling, looking into their eyes can give you a lot of information. It's pretty hard to lie with your eyes.
This isn't just about building romantic relationships either. Physical actions don’t talk alone without some level of eye contact. Maintaining an appropriate amount of eye contact (that doesn't mean staring) is beneficial to any relationship, including those with children, friends, colleagues, and clients.
Levels Of Eye Contact
Maybe you're not particularly good at reading people's eyes or making eye contact. You're probably better than you think, but there are some easily recognizable levels or types of eye contact. Once you realize what they are, you can be better prepared to understand the nonverbal messages people are sending your way. And once you know what they're (not) saying, you can formulate an appropriate response of how to interact with them.
Intentional Lack Of Eye Contact
When someone is intentionally avoiding eye contact with you, that's not a good sign in the relationship category. If this is someone you already know or are already in a relationship with, intentionally avoiding making eye contact is a sign that something is wrong or they are keeping something from you.
Try not to jump to conclusions though. It may not mean something as serious as, "They're cheating on me and haven't told me yet." It could be as simple as, "They have a cold and feel bad that we'll have to cancel our date." Breaking bad news can be nerve wracking for some people. If you already know the person and don’t notice unintentional eye contact avoidance, it's time to talk and find out what they're feeling.
If someone you don't know yet is avoiding your gaze when you try to make eye contact, that means they're uninterested and don't want to talk to you. They want you to go away. This can even be the message they are sending if they are verbally talking to you. If they are saying words but not looking at you, they probably don't want to be having a conversation with you. Find someone you have a better chance of getting along with.
Unintentional Lack Of Eye Contact
Don’t feel bad if someone is engaging in an unintentional lack of eye contact. In fact, this level of eye contact may not be as bad as an intentional lack of eye contact. It could simply mean they're not aware you are there. If you don't know them, it's reasonable for them not to notice you.
The Unconscious Glance
This often happens with strangers. Someone looks up, your eyes meet, and then they look away. It may have just been an accident of your proximity to them. Sometimes, this is a great opportunity. You can try "accidentally" catching their gaze again and see if they smile or seem open to talking. But most people who make accidental eye contact don’t have any interest in flirting with you.
In general, the unconscious glance is neutral. The person's eyes are wandering the area, and they just happened to fall on yours for a moment. It doesn't mean anything. Except that humans are predisposed to looking at human eyes.
The Conscious Glance
A glance means that a person makes eye contact and then immediately looks away. It's looking away immediately that signals some form of verbal communication. The problem is that the conscious glance can mean opposite things.
The person may look away after catching your gaze because they are attracted to you, and seeing your eyes meet theirs makes them feel momentarily intimidated or self-conscious.
Unfortunately, you can't always assume this is the case. A person may also consciously remove their eye contact from yours because they are not attracted to you. In that case, the two of you meet eyes, and they break eye contact because they are indifferent to your presence. You may be able to read their other body language to cipher out which one of these it is. Or you could try making intentional eye contact to see if they respond positively or avoid your gaze.
The Lingering Glance
Over time, you may be able to distinguish between quick or unconscious glances and those that last a fraction of a second longer. These lingering glances are the first sign of someone finding you attractive or interesting in some way. It's subtle. The person won't be staring at you.
A person who gives you a lingering glance may not even realize they are doing it. Humans simply look longer at things they like. But if you notice this glance, it's not a bad idea to try to start up a conversation if you want.
The Second Glance
If you're paying attention, you may notice that some people who accidentally make eye contact with you will look at you again after breaking eye contact. This is often a clear sign that they find you attractive. Of course, it's also possible that they are not consciously aware that they keep looking at you. That's okay. Their unconscious or distracted mind is still gravitating towards something it finds interesting, and that may just be you.
Intense Eye Contact Attraction
Intense eye contact that indicates attraction is called gazing. When someone gazes at you, they maintain longer than usual eye contact. This usually means several seconds of them looking at you. They want you to notice that they are looking!
You’ve probably noticed by now how powerful eye contact can be. Beyond this, a person may add smiling to their eye contact. Gazing and smiling is a clear sign that someone would like you to talk to them. The longer they continue smiling and gazing, the stronger their interest likely is.
Using Eye Contact Attraction To Flirt
Understanding those levels of eye contact gives you a lot to go on when it comes to flirting and trying to start a relationship. First of all, figuring out what eye contact actually means can help you understand whether a situation is worth pursuing or not. Eyes don’t indicate the potential of a relationship alone.
Second, learning the basic science behind it allows you to build a strategy for flirting with eye contact. The best way to do this is to practice making eye contact with everyone you pass that seems interesting or attractive to you. Don't worry too much about the results. Start paying attention to how people react to your eye contact.
If you notice any second glances or long gazes when you're making eye contact, then you're doing eye contact attraction the right way (and presumably noticing people who are into someone like you).
You shouldn't stare at anyone, but if you're interested in getting to know them, make slightly prolonged eye contact. Pay attention to whether they respond. And if you get a smile, absolutely start a conversation with them.
Keep in mind that limiting your eye contact is like making someone work for your attention. And this can be a good thing. You don't want to come off as too quick to make a connection with just anyone. So make a balance between giving them "the look" and then looking off somewhere else.
Can You Tell A Lot About A Person From Their Eyes?
Whenever someone looks into your eyes and makes eye contact, they see how you feel in a given moment. And likewise, you are seeing what other people feel as you look into theirs. If you're willing to pay attention, yes, you really can tell a lot from a person's eye contact.
Building Your Relationship With Eye Contact
Beyond those glances and gazes that indicate interest, there is a deeper level of eye contact. This type of eye contact is what you see when someone who loves you looks at you. This is established relationship eye contact, and it makes pretty much anyone who receives it feel good about themselves. It means someone else is paying attention to them and likes what they see.
If you have trouble making eye contact with others, it can get in the way of forming lasting relationships. Of course, it could be that you have to know someone better before you can hold eye contact, and that's okay. If you want help feeling more confident about eye contact and approaching people, a professional therapist can be useful in reducing social anxiety.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does eye contact always mean attraction?
Eye contact conveys a number of emotions, including both attraction and anger. Making eye contact with someone is a great way to get an idea of how they're feeling. When it comes to attraction, the level of eye contact may be the most obvious sign of attraction of them all. If someone is holding eye contact for longer periods of time, this is an example of eye contact in attraction. Gazing eye contact is powerful and it can indicate attraction. On the flip side, prolonged eye contact can also indicate discomfort or hostility. Judge the true meaning of eye contact by the circumstances around you. There are different types of eye contact, and different levels of eye contact as well. The way someone is looking at you with their eyes and the length of time they are looking at you, can clue you in as to how they are feeling about you.
What does eye contact mean to a guy?
When you make prolonged eye contact with a guy (especially steady eye contact), he can interpret this as a sign of interest, attraction, or aggression. The reason for this is that making eye contact for longer than a normal glance is an indicator of some form of interest. Eye contact is a powerful tool when it comes to getting someone’s attention.
When the interest is related to flirting and attraction, couples may lock eyes and hold eye contact as if they were hypnotized by each other. Prolonged eye contact usually tells a guy that you're interested in getting to know more about him. In certain circumstances, eye contact conveys that you want someone to come and talk to you.
What does prolonged eye contact mean from a man to a woman?
When a man maintains strong eye contact or tries to lock eyes with a woman, it can mean that he is attracted to her, interested in her, or possibly upset with her. The tone of the situation can give you a clue to the reasons behind the steady eye contact. A few seconds of eye contact and attraction are not the only reasons a man will hold eye contact with a woman. Sometimes a man will make eye contact because he is interested in something a woman is doing or wearing.
How do you tell if someone likes you by their eyes?
When people see someone they find attractive, they may make strong eye contact to convey their interest. Eye contact and attraction are evident when a person of interest continues to maintain eye contact with you even if you look away. Learn more about dating, flirtation, and eye contact by talking to a relationship expert. They will be able to tell you about the levels of eye contact and how eye contact can convey messages.
How do you tell if someone is attracted to you sexually?
Holding eye contact with someone and gazing into their eyes can be the beginning of a mutual sexual attraction. When people see someone they find attractive, they are naturally inclined to give the object of their affection their full attention. Talking to a relationship expert or therapist can give you more insight into how eye contact and sexual attraction work together, and how certain types of eye contact signals different things depending on the level of eye contact that occurs.
How do you tell if someone secretly likes you?
Eye contact and attraction can be mutually exclusive. Don't use eye contact and attraction as the only method to determine if someone likes you. There are many kinds of eye contact. While you can sometimes gauge if someone likes you by the look in their eye, remember people can be making eye contact with you for more than one reason. It is thought that eyes are the windows to the soul, so eye contact can convey messages, but it doesn’t always. In other words, eyes don’t lie. However, you can still misinterpret what someone is saying with their eyes. This is where clear communication helps.
Sometimes you may catch someone at a moment of eye contact, but this doesn’t mean they are interested in you. Instead you may look familiar or they may be scanning the room in search of a friend. Talk to a licensed relationship therapist if you're having trouble making intimate connections.
How do you know if an attraction is mutual?
People who are skilled at the mastery of eye contact may be able to pick up on a mutual attraction by maintaining a level of eye contact with someone they're interested in. Eye contact can convey a number of emotions. When it comes to dating, flirting, and attraction, eye contact signals a great indicator of mutual interest. If you find that you're having trouble creating the relationships you want, a relationship therapist can teach you new ways to create attraction and build healthy relationships in your life. They may also be able to inform you about each level of eye contact, and what they mean, as well as when you should be breaking eye contact.
When a woman holds your gaze what does it mean?
Maintaining a certain level of eye contact is one of the ways that a woman can indicate her interest or attraction. Our eyes don't lie. Holding eye contact with someone can tell you a great deal about how they are feeling -- if you're tuned in. A relationship expert like the therapists at BetterHelp can teach you how to read the body language of eye contact and improve your relationships. They can also inform you about how eye contact conveys messages and what they mean.
How do you tell if a woman is attracted to you by her eyes?
When someone is making eye contact with you, they're usually trying to tell you something. When it comes to attraction eye contact, a woman will often try to maintain eye contact in an effort to create attraction (or to gauge if the attraction is mutual). Maintaining eye contact is one of the primary ways that both women and men use to convey the stirrings of attraction.
How do you know if a man is hiding his feelings?
If you're used to your guy maintaining eye contact with you -- and this changes -- there may be something he isn't telling you. This doesn't mean his lack of eye contact is related to anything negative. Lack of eye contact has nothing to do with attraction, eye contact can be related to emotions, pain, preoccupation, and many other factors. Speak with a therapist to get to the bottom of your concerns about your relationship or lack of eye contact.
How do you tell a man is attracted?
When a man feels attraction for someone, he will usually make eye contact. This eye contact lasts longer than normal and will often turn into an interested gaze. This prolonged eye contact is an indication that feelings of attraction may be developing. If you want to learn more about how to read male body language and eye contact, talk to a professional.
Is eye contact a sign of love?
Eye contact can mean different things depending on the circumstances. If you're in a relationship and you find you're making eye contact and gazing into each other's eyes, prolonged eye contact or "gazing" can be a sign of falling in love. Learning more about the signs and symptoms of falling in love including eye contact and body language can lead to more fulfilling relationships.
How do you tell if he likes you by his eyes?
People often say the eyes are the window to the soul. When someone is making eye contact with you, you can get an idea of how they may be feeling about you. Prolonged and intense eye contact is often a sign of deeper interest. If you're not sure what eye contact means and you want to know more, talk to a relationship expert to learn what eye contact means.
How do you tell if someone is into you?
When someone is deliberately trying to make eye contact with you this means they are trying to get your attention. The reason for the eye contact may be because they find you attractive. In other cases, eye contact can indicate something else. Learn to understand the motivators for eye contact before jumping to conclusions about how the person making eye contact with you if feeling.
How do you tell if a girl secretly likes you?
Eye contact is usually the first indicator that a girl is starting to like you. If you find someone trying to make eye contact with you more often, she may be trying to communicate her interest in you by making deliberate eye contact. Talk to a relationship expert to learn the secrets of relationships and eye contact.
Can you fall in love just by looking at someone?
Falling in love and attraction is based on physical attraction and several other biological and social factors. Many people describe their first eye contact with their significant other as the moment they "knew" they were in love. While eye contact can be an indicator of love -- under the right circumstances -- making eye contact doesn't always indicate attraction.
What happens when you stare into someone's eyes?
When someone makes prolonged eye contact with you, the response can be positive, negative, or indifferent. People will sometimes make eye contact in the course of everyday living. In this case, eye contact is often indifferent.
If someone is attracted to you and making eye contact, this can be a positive indicator of attraction -- if the feeling is mutual. Prolonged eye contact can feel uncomfortable (and even hostile) when the people in question aren't comfortable with each other.
Can you tell if someone loves you by the way they look at you?
People often use eye contact in attraction at the beginning of a relationship. Many relationships have started by making eye contact with the right person -- at the right time. Learning the basics about attraction, eye contact, and relationships can help you to better understand eye contact attraction and build better relationships. The licensed relationship experts at BetterHelp can give you a unique perspective on dating, relationships, and eye contact.
Is making eye contact flirting?
Holding someone’s gaze while engaging in some type of verbal and physical communication can count as flirting. Of course, making eye contact with someone does not always mean that they are flirting with you. But if you are having a conversation with someone and they are maintaining steady eye contact with you, that usually means they are at least interested in what you have to say. Flirtatious remarks or subtle touches could indicate that they are flirting with you.
Will a guy avoid you if he is developing stronger feelings for you?
Sometimes, men grow anxious around women they have developed feelings for, especially if they are naturally shy. However, guys who are interested in you will typically find some manner or excuse to stick around you. Even if they are shy, they might try to gain your attention rather than avoid you.
What do guys find attractive in a girl?
Sometimes, it’s a natural tendency for women to try to mold themselves according to what they think men find attractive in potential partners. This causes them to attempt to find out the secret to what attracts guys to women. While men do find traits like a good sense of humor and a polite personality alluring, there is no singular standard that they abide by. Learning how to become confident with yourself can help you live a happier life while attracting other like-minded people to you.
How many seconds of eye contact is necessary for showing interest?
In order to make appropriate eye contact with someone without blatantly staring at them or feeling intrusive, it is important to hold eye contact with them for about 4 to 5 seconds. Holding an appropriate level of eye contact is imperative for showing interest in what a person is saying without feeling like you are staring at them.
What are common eye contact signals between people in various relationships?
Eye contact conveys a number of emotions and signals between people. Sometimes a person might initiate eye contact with someone to get them to quit talking. Other times, they may initiate eye contact to convey their interest in you.
Which mental health disorders affect a person’s ability to maintain eye contact?
Some people struggle with making eye contact with others. This could result from social anxiety or a lack of confidence. Sometimes, avoidance of eye contact is indicative of a mental health disorder such as ADHD or autism. However, it is important to note that not everyone who struggles to make eye contact has one of these disorders. When a person stops making eye contact don’t assume they have a condition or mental disorder.
Can maintaining eye contact during intimacy improve my sexual health?
Focusing on maintaining eye contact can positively influence you and your partner’s sexual health. In fact, maintaining eye contact can make a person feel special and even aroused. However, if you are only relying on eye contact don’t do that.