The eyes are the window of the soul, so the saying goes. Here are four things yours might be saying about you without you even knowing it.
Your eyes: you stare with them, wink with them and roll them. You use your eyes to communicate your thoughts and feelings every single day. Whether you’re aware of it or not, your eyes can speak volumes about who you are and what you feel.
Recent findings from Allergan’s A Look at Eye Language online survey of 1,019 adult Americans reveal that approximately half of respondents (53 per cent) say the first facial feature they notice about another person is their eyes.
Patti Wood, a body language expert with more than 25 years of experience in human behaviour, says our eyes can convey all sorts of messages — both intentionally and unintentionally.
“Eye language is the messages we send to others with our eyes,” Wood says. “Eye behaviour can include rubbing the eyes, extended eye contact, averted gaze or eye shifts. Our eye language can say a lot about us, revealing our emotions, confidence level and, at times, even if we’re telling the truth.”
Curious as to what your eyes are telling other people? Wood provides four examples in which your eyes might be giving away more than you intended.
You’re taught early on to look at someone when they’re talking to you. It’s a sign of respect and shows you’re listening. However, according to Wood, if your gaze becomes a continuous, unrelenting stare throughout an entire conversation, it may signal to the other person that you’re trying to assert your dominance. This can be problematic in many situations, particularly in the workplace, so make sure you’re being attentive without being aggressive.
Certain conditions can alter your eye contact. Sometimes, you send messages with your eyes without realising it. For example, Chronic Dry Eye disease symptoms, such as redness, itching, burning or watering eyes, can send the wrong message — one you don’t intend.
Liars look away? Not always. You’ve heard the old saying that a person who looks away is lying. But in many cases, that isn’t true. Research shows the eye contact you make while lying is partially determined by your personality. Wood says introverts tend to have more trouble maintaining eye contact while lying whereas extroverts may go over the top and increase eye contact while lying more so than they would otherwise. Additionally, Wood says that an action like rubbing your eyes can convey a lack of interest, fatigue, disagreement or disbelief in the speaker — or even deceit.
The amount of eye contact you display can show how you feel about things. Research shows that eye contact can demonstrate attraction or attentiveness. You actually make more eye contact with people and things you like, and less eye contact with people or things you don’t. Wood notes that our eye language makes us look at things that are new or interesting, especially faces, or look away from things that we find distasteful. So if you’re curious about how a certain person feels about you, pay attention to how much they look at you.
When it comes to non-verbal communication, your eyes are one of the most expressive parts of your body, even if don’t realise it. In fact, Wood says research shows we can read not only the six basic emotions — sadness, disgust, anger, joy, fear and surprise — but also more than 50 different mental states such as curiosity, interest, dislike or boredom, in another person’s eyes.
That’s why it’s important to pay attention to your eye language. Don’t send out a message you didn’t intend.