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The Art Of Eye Contact: 5 Awkward Encounters And How Best To Handle Them

Whether you’re interviewing for a job, courting a mate, or closing a sale, strong eye contact is a must.

Yet for most of us, the unsettling anticipation of making eye contact discourages us from venturing outside so long as sunlight illuminates the hideous human eyeball.

In fact, due to fear of eye contact, ninety seven percent of the human population has morphed into nocturnal animals. Predictably, this has resulted in the breakdown of most institutions, with humanity’s very existence hanging in the balance.

I am here to tell you, humanity can be saved.

There was a ten year period in my life when I emerged from my house only in the dead of night when a stranger’s ominous gaze could not be discerned.

But today, I can confidently look into another person’s eyes—no matter how beady or vacuous—with zero apprehension. How did I get here? By following a blueprint for fearless eye contact—a blueprint grounded in science, natural law, and God.

By mastering The Art of Eye Contact, you too will no longer be gripped by intense anxiety when compelled to lock eyes with anyone—be it a stranger, a spouse, or a Subway sandwich artist.

Let’s look at cases where eye contact is imminent and explore the strategies that underlie The Art of Eye Contact.

5 Common Eye Contact Encounters

Pedestrians Walking Towards You

The most frightening type of eye contact is with a stranger with whom you’re about to cross paths.

Confronted with this nightmare scenario, most people either stare straight ahead or pretend to look at their watch or phone—anything to avoid meeting the person’s eyes. Those audacious enough to engage with a fleeting glance, experience an accelerated heartbeat and extreme precipitation.

Rarely, will your eye contact be reciprocated by a warm smile or a friendly nod. More likely, you will be pierced by ophthalmic daggers.

Consider the common scenario of someone walking out of a liquor store just as you’re walking into it to rob it.

Most people are so stressed right before entering a place they’re going to rob, that they dart their eyes away from any passerby, which only serves to exacerbate anxiety and foster suspicion.

By the time you pull out your 40 caliber firearm and point it at the store keeper’s face, you will exhibit tells of nervousness and fear, increasing the risk that you will fuck up the robbery.

Here’s the superior alternative. Just as you’re about to pass each other, put your hand out to block his path, and with smiling eyes say that you saw him drop something inside the store. He’ll reply, “oh really?” and without thinking about it, walk back inside. As soon as he does, pull out your gun, and yell for everyone to get on the floor and place their hands behind their heads.

This simple eye contact hack will ensure that you aren’t rattled by the paranoid thought that the person whose eyes you avoided meeting figured out what you were up to.

Coworkers

Making eye contact at 9 a.m. with coworkers is exhausting and infuriating—it’s also unnatural.

Prior to the advent of the modern office, everyone worked in one of three industries: lumberjacking, blacksmithing, and cobbling.

These were inherently solitary professions with no coworkers, and therefore, no coworker eye contact.

It’s true that lumberjacks sometimes worked in teams. However, there was an unwritten rule that if a lumberjack attempted to strike up a conversation with a fellow lumberjack, he or she would be sentenced to death by drowning. Besides being an unwritten rule, it was also a written rule codified in all religious texts, as well as most municipal bylaws.

This was always evolution’s and God’s master plan—for people to work and die alone—until, that is, the modern office turned evolution on its head and rebelled against the Lord.

Today, we are forced to look into our coworkers’ eyes and squirm in existential agony.

And locking eyes with a coworker whose wife you had relations of the sexual nature with the night before can be particularly uncomfortable.

In this situation, your primary goal is to throw off any suspicion that you had fornicated with her spouse. To accomplish this, smile widely the second you see her, and as you stare directly into her suspicious eyes, say:

“Hey Maggie, do you know if anyone slept with anyone’s wife last night? Because I sure don’t!” Then wish her a nice day, and walk away whistling a happy tune.

Elevator

Riding inside a windowless box with complete strangers is understandably uncomfortable. No wonder most elevator riders pointlessly stare at the floor buttons or their pornographic magazines.

But what if a fellow rider breaks protocol and decides to make eye contact, noticing the egregious amount of cocaine residue sprinkling out of your nostrils?

At this point, avoiding eye contact is just about the worst thing you can do to erase the stranger’s suspicions that you’ve been up all night doing cocaine.

Rather, the strategic course of action is to stare back at your interrogator and nod while not blinking for as long as you can. This will drive him to quickly avert his eyes, and assume you’re a lunatic who does cocaine.

Bartenders

Stumbling into a bar at eleven in the morning on the tail end of a three day bender makes good eye contact difficult to pull off. First, it’s hard to focus your bloodshot eyes, and the added pressure of knowing you might be denied service is another aggravating factor.

In this all too common scenario, the solution prescribed by The Art of Eye Contact is to rush to the front of the bar, and as you clumsily straddle the barstool, instead of slurring the drivel you would normally slur, yell, “I just escaped a fire!!!”

This method is effective because escaping a fire explains both bloodshot eyes and disorientation. On the other hand, it may not explain the stench of alcohol emanating from your every pore. Therefore, the safest bet is to start a fist fight the second you enter any establishment at a time when it is not socially acceptable to be intoxicated.

Cashiers

Approaching a cashier when checking out of a store ranks as one of life’s most stressful moments—and not just when you’re robbing the place.

Unfortunately, I just now realized that the Art of Eye Contact fails to address cashier eye contact scenarios that don’t involve robberies.

But when you are about to commit a robbery, pull your gun out before making eye contact. The adrenaline rush caused by gripping chrome will create the dual effect of alleviating eye contact anxiety, while terrifying the person on the receiving end of your psychotic glare.

As I already alluded to, there’s only one logical explanation for why human eye contact is such a treacherous chore—it defies human nature. And yet, eye contact is imperative for building rapport across ever sphere of human interaction.

This paradox engenders tremendous collective anxiety that yearns for relief—a relief accessible by mastering The Art of Eye Contact.

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About The Author
Eugene Slaven
Eugene Slaven
This article was originally published on HumorQuotient.net, a relentlessly original humor site founded by Eugene Slaven, author of the comic novel A Life of Misery and Triumph and the political thriller The Sorghum Saga. For freelance writing inquiries, please email [email protected]. Social: LinkedIn; Twitter; Facebook.
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