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gaze of death

A judge rules that the X-Men are not human and inadvertently causes me to repost an old entry.

Beware the gaze

Converstation of the day:

scene: Person visiting in my office. We are making small talk while he waits for a file.

Person: You have a very disconcerting habit.

Me: What's that?

Person: You don't look people in the eye when you are having a conversation with them.

Me: Eh, it's that whole "Gaze of Death" thing.

Person: hmmm?

Me: Yea. If I look at someone too long they burst into flames. Just a small, weird power I was born with.

Person: You're a....mutant?

Me: Mmhmm.

Person: So....how's Professor X?

Me: Doing good.

Person: Ok, send him my regards.

Me: Will do.

And once again, I evade a discussion about how I don't look at people when I talk to them.

(originally posted on October 23, 2001)


That's actually a really common trait among Americans. When listening, you look at the person's face. When talking, you look around, at your hands, at the desk, at their face, then back to the wall, around and around.

I often find myself looking elsewhere when talking to someone.

Actually, Keith, that's often an indication that you're lying ;-)

I find that people tend to respect you and your opinion more if you can look them in the eye and hold their gaze while talking to them. Not looking them in the eye makes them think you don't know what you're talking about, (at least, that seems to be my experience) so they don't buy in to what you say.

I think this definitely comes into play as a woman working in an office where ALL of the upper-management, and a good deal of my co-workers, are male.

Although, I think that gaze of death thing COULD come in handy with a few "problem children" around the office.

I've been told that I have a very disconcerting habit of looking people right in the eye when I carry on a conversation. For some reason it unnerves them. Maybe I have the "The Gaze of Nervousness"? (if anyone has a better name for it let me know )

A lot of times, it's a confidence issue. In periods of my life where my confidence was highest, I could look in someone's eyes. Otherwise, no.

There have been some studies done on this, I think. Of course, not everyone who doesn't make eye contact is lying or suffering from low self-esteem. Just some of us. But which ones? ;D

My take is that it's an East-Coast thing -- or more specifically, a NJ/NY thing. When my ex and I (both originally midwesterners, but having lived many places) moved to central Jersey from SoCal, the first thing she said was, "They don't look at me when they talk to me!"

This was generally my experience in Jersey and New York (and not just the City), in contrast with Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, California, Washington, North Carolina... anyway, I'll stop now.