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  • Writer's pictureGemma

Eye Contact and Difficult Conversations

Pretty much everyone has heard the term that your eyes are the windows to your soul. I cant confirm this statement to be true but there is science behind the behaviour of your eye movements and if you have studied NPL (Neuro Linguistic Programming) you will know that to gain access to certain areas of your brain you need to reposition your eyes to certain directions. Our eyes are more than just a means to see.

I want you to think for a minute about a difficult conversation that you have recently had to initiate with someone and then think about how awful it felt to look that person in the eyes while you said whatever it was that you needed to say. If nothing springs to mind try thinking about your kids eyes when you talk to them about something that they have done wrong - I bet they struggled to look at you while you were speaking.

Difficult conversations are a part of living so if you are purposely avoiding them then you are definitely making a situation harder for yourself in the long run. The result of doing this means that you are either compromising yourself - your morals, your time, your money, your health or your happiness, or you may be misleading the other person therefore you are compromising them.

One simple step that you can take to ease a difficult conversation is to either remove or reduce your eye contact. I do not suggest looking away, wearing a blindfold or hiding around the corner but you can physically move from a face to face position to a side by side or back to back one. When we walk side by side it instantly removes confrontation and the ability to hold continual eye contact therefore reducing your view of what they are expressing on their face whilst you deliver your information. Sitting back to back reduces your view even further but it also holds you connected to each other as you physically touch. Sitting back to back is a good move to use with kids if you know that something is wrong but they don't seem to want to talk about it. It is also ideal for a conversation that you are embarrassed or feel awkward to have but hope you remain close to that person once you have said your peace. If the conversation is not going to be received well I would suggest standing back to back not sitting.

Conversations are just the trading of words but we all know that there are some statements that are hard to hear like breaking up with someone or passing on bad news so be mindful of the receiver of your words as obviously somethings need to be said with eye contact and an understanding heart.


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