Eye Contact and Self Esteem

Do you think eye contact, or lack of it, is linked to self esteem?

If you are interacting with someone and they have troubling looking you in the eye, is it a sign of their self esteem, or is it maybe something about you personally?

If you have trouble looking people in the eye, how do you feel it relates to your level of self esteem? 

Do you have poor self esteem yet are able to look people in the eyes with no problem?
  • 25 Commentsby Likes|Date
  • I don't think self esteem and eye contact are so closely connected. If I were you I would not worry about this so much. Eye contact does convey confidence but it is not essential to appearing confident. Personally I think eye contact is great when meeting someone, but while you are talking it is not essential to be looking that person in the eyes.
  • I think they are related a little bit but constant eye contact is also kind of creepy. I think self-esteem is more related to how comfortable you feel like talking with other people. I could be super uncomfortable but still be maintaining eye contact. People can tell easily if you are uncomfortable, it shows in your mannerisms and tone of voice. 
  • The two are connected, a confident person has no problem keeping eye contact.  It is very distracting to be looking at a person, talking to them and they are not returning the eye contact. If you are scanning the room and looking in up down and around the person you are talking to feels like you are not listening to what they are saying, you are not interested in what they are saying or in them. You are sending a message when you look a person and give them your full attention.  There have been times when I have wanted to scream at the person that is not looking at me "hey you I am over here look at me not the ceiling".
  • Well, if the person is always looking at their feet instead of daring to look me in the face, I get a bit uncomfortable talking to them. Sort of annoying. I appreciate someone who is not scared to have eye contact when talking -- of course, creepy staring is something quite different, but eye contact? I once had a discussion with a poet who told me he appreciated that I did look him in the eye, because so many others just looked away when he looked at them.

    I do think it takes a certain level of self-confidence to keep eye contact through a conversation (not constant and not insisting, just there). I think it's also just nice.
  • I think so. I mean I have really low self esteem and I really don't make eye contact with that many people throughout the day unless I absolutely have to.

  • In my case, I cannot look people in the eye who are of higher
    authority than me like a boss or a principal of the school for example or who
    are newly introduced to me or strangers. I don’t feel I have low self-esteem
    but it might be because I respect them and are a bit shy to look them in the
    eye. But it doesn’t mean that if I can look someone in the eye, I don’t respect
    them. If I can look someone in the eye then I am comfortable with them and sort
    of trust them. 

  • When you look into peoples eyes while you are talking to them it seems like it is common to look away. I always make certain that I am looking at the persons' eyes when I talk to them all the time. I just know it as a sign of respect.
  • I don't really have low self-esteem. Actually, I think of myself as eccentric and different from others, but I consider it in a good way. I really don't feel like I'm superior or inferior to them. I just think that most people and I are not on the same page, and I'm fine with that, because I like it, and I don't care about what people think about me anyway. And yes, I could look at someone straight in the eye.
  • I used to force myself to maintain eye contact for at least 3 seconds because I was very shy. It's a skill that can be learned, and most personable people,  even if they don't admit it, often practice the skill consciously themselves. Just don't stare too long and remember to smile with your eyes.
  • I do feel that people that have a hard time making eye contact can lack self-esteem, but these cases are not very common as most people I know don't have this problem.
  • I do not make eye contact with everyone. I don't know why but I have noticed that there are many people that do not make eye contact.  Sometimes the problem is I am listening attentively to what someone is saying, maybe they speak in a low tone or maybe I am just really trying to focus on what they are saying to me. I don't think people think it odd, often times you can sit side by side and just be listening and talking and there is not a constant eye contact then.
  • This is a wonderful topic. Yes, maintaining eye contact is sure sign of self-confidence. People who fail to maintain eye-contact in job interviews,  are seen as less confident and are estimated to suffer from low self-esteem. Actively engaging your interviewer indicates him/her that you are confident of your preparation and confident of your ability. 

    Also, those who maintain constant eye-contact, face least bullying and trolling at workplace.
  • Oh, "some" of these comments make me extremely sad.  I think more compassion is necessary when people are not looking you in the eye.  Screaming at them or thinking someone has low self esteem is such a low caliber reaction.  I speak from experience because my daughter is autistic and this has happened to her.  So, yes, it is a touchy subject for me.
  • Since I can remember I've had issues keeping eye contact for too long, I grew up in a dysfunctional home, and skipped so many days of school.  I didn't know how to properly socialize with kids my age.

    As a result I had trouble keeping eye contact during most of my teenage years and well into my twenties.  I just felt awkward if the eye contact lasted to long.  Got so sick of certain idiotic comments, like for example a comment a so called psychologist made:  ''Why don't you look at me in the eye while are you telling me this?  Are you ashamed or lying?''. God, and they are the so called professionals...

    Thing is... some people just don't feel comfortable keeping eye contact for too long, specially if they don't know the person so well.  I actually think I even do that with people I know well, the more comfortable I feel with said person the less pressed I feel to keep eye contact for too long. Maybe the fact I suffer from ADD plays a big role... I'm often doing other things while talkng to people, like playing around with objects or my hair.

    Some people are just not into eye contact that much, nothing to do with confidence, some people are just like that. 

    pattyjoan Some of the comments here were a bit harsh, people should learn not to judge to quickly... I hate it when people jump to assumptions too fast.
  • I'm not sure. I know people that judge the character of another by whether they look them in the eye or not. People on the receiving end should certainly be compassionate about it because there are so many issues that could cause this. Regardless of why somebody doesn't make good eye contact I think it would behoove them to learn to anyway if they are able to. Making eye contact can lead to being more assertive and feeling better about oneself. 
  • I'm not too sure either. Some people have high self-esteem but, don't like eye-contact. Perhaps they are nervous around people? I think there's somewhat a correlation between eye-contact and confidence levels but, only up to a certain point. I'm not too sure about this matter...
  • I think self confidence and looking somebody in the eyes can be linked. Especially when you first meet a person anyway. Keeping eye contact all the way through a conversation can be a bit awkward though.
  • I generally don’t have a problem maintaining eye contact with people, but I’ve found that it does waver when someone is making me uncomfortable. It might be linked somewhat to confidence, but maybe not to self-esteem as much. There’s a fine line. And in certain cases it may not really be a factor, so I do agree people should be more compassionate about a lack of eye contact.
  • It could be either. If they do not trust you or if they are wary of you or the information you are providing them with, then they may have trouble maintaining eye contact. Alternatively, if they lack confidence or have low levels of self-worth of self-esteem then that would also cause them to have difficulty maintaining eye contact. However, I think on most occasions, it's usually the latter unless the person is genuinely intimidated by you.
  • Having eye contact or not is definitely a sign of self esteem, but I would also like to point out that many confident people that don't want to seem narcissistic prefer to leave the impression of them being underly confident than acting like some "smart ass". 
    But generally, yeah, I agree with your point. We should seem confident all the time, especially in front of strangers. Let's leave a good opinion behind!
  • I'd want to clarify an issue or two here. Maintaining a steady eye-contact with a broad smile is good and speaks volumes about your confidence. However, just in order to be perceived as a powerful and confident person, if you stare in the eye, constantly, sternly and artificially, you'll be found out easily and are viewed as a paranoid personality. A proper eye contact is maintained, while listening intently and is supported by appropriate body language. Mere staring can be seen as a paranoia or lack of confidence.  
  • I sometimes have trouble looking people in the eye, but I don't have a low self-esteem. I'm just shy, but I respect myself as a person and have a realistic view of myself. Though at some people this might be linked to low self-esteem. 
  • I have a hard time looking people in the eye. I do have some self esteem issues but I am also shy so I don't know what the cause of it is. I can  look people in the eye for a while but then I get uncomfortable and have to look away.
  • It's a really interesting topic. I don't think they're necessarily related in any way, but they could be related. I mean, I have difficulty having eye contact, sometimes I can and sometimes I can't it's because I find it hard understanding at the same time I'm looking at a person. I'd rather stare in space, it's better to me to concentrate. It could be out of self esteem problems sometimes though, where people think they look down at them all the time.
  • for me, if i'm not looking into someone's eye, it usually a lack of my self-esteem. in fact, i went much of my life not making eye contact due to insecurity, so when i started trying to do better at this, i had to really start reminding myself to make eye contact. still have to remind myself today at times.
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