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 Gaze avoidance

 

Techniques > Resisting persuasion > Gaze avoidance

Method | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Method

When a person is trying to persuade you, they may well hold your gaze, looking long and sternly into your eyes.

If you are put off by such acts, then simply do not return their gaze. Do not play their game by not even beginning to look them in the eye.

A neat trick you can use that makes you seem to be looking them in the eye but which will be far less uncomfortable for you is to stare at the point between their eyes or maybe their forehead.

Sometimes it can be useful to look at the other person and look away, signaling submission, perhaps when you are in a situation where you need to let the other person appear superior.

Example

I go to a company meeting where a peer tries to show the boss how important they are by staring down others during debates. I look at their forehead, which seems to be rather wrinkly (I actually feel sorry for them). When they look at the boss, they do not try this staring game, of course, only glimpsing at her to see which way she is looking.

Discussion

Staring is an act of dominance based on primitive instincts where the first person to look away loses (you can also see animals do it). Looking away is the reverse: an act of submission.

The other time when staring is not aggressive is when it is a romantic act, where you are effectively saying 'I am so attracted to you, I cannot look away'. Lovers can thus be seen gazing deeply into each others eyes. Flirting is also done a lot with the eyes, looking at the other person then looking away when they look back.

See also

Authority principle

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