My friends turned to look at me. “Huh?” said friend #1.
“Your eyes. They’re all shifty. Look at me when you’re talking.” I looked at friend # 2. “You, too. What is up with you guys?”
A few years ago, I met up with two people, one who happened to be my best friend for years. The other was friend #1’s love interest, at least for the moment. Friend #1 had sort of adopted this “shifty-eyed” look from friend #2. They couldn’t look right in your eyes when they were talking. In fact, they couldn’t look into each others’ eyes either when they were speaking to each other. I thought that was really weird.
Friend #2 said to me, while looking everywhere but directly at me, “Your gaze is too intense.”
“My gaze is too intense,” I repeated, a little confused.
“Yeah.” He looked at me and when I looked at him again, he quickly looked away. “It makes me feel… naked.”
“What?” I chuckled.
“No, he’s right,” said friend #1. “When you look at someone, it feels like you’re looking right into their soul.”
I’ve never had trouble locking eyes with someone I’m speaking to. Even strangers. Maybe especially strangers. In fact, I think of it as one of my better traits. I’m a very private person and there are things about me only a select few are privy to. So while I’m looking into someone’s eyes, I’m letting them know that it’s okay. They have my undivided attention and they can trust me, without giving away too much about myself. And it works. I know stuff that mere acquaintances and even total strangers have themselves divulged to me. But maybe it’s still a bit disconcerting for some.
The only time I’ve never been able to look somebody in the eye is if I happen to have strong feelings for someone and they don’t know it. Eyes are the windows to the soul after all. And while I can guard my emotions pretty well, a more observant person can read my eyes like a book.
I haven’t had to worry about that in many, many years, though.