View Full Version : Eye contact


Mrjello
02-28-07, 06:45 PM
ever sence ive been on my meds and also a little before that ive noticed... i really cant keep eye contact i have no idea why but when i look into thier eyes and they look back i cant keep it for more them maby 2-4 seconds because idk i just freak out or something i just NEED to look somewhere else... only person ive ever really been able to keep eye contact with was my ex g/f of a year or so and sence im back in the dating game and finnaly on meds i could really use some answers and advice here thanks a ton in advance

MS0178
02-28-07, 10:08 PM
MrJello~~this is a common problem in a lot of people really. Honestly, it is just something you have to practice and get comfortable with. From the other side, breaking eye contact is a signal of weakness (dont get me wrong, Im not calling you weak). Perhaps it is just the thought of it being uncomfortable that is making you nervous. Practice practice practice. I had the same problem, and I had to keep focusing on keeping the eye contact. It helps me to focus directly on one eye of the other person, then switch back and forth. That way your eyes are still moving, but you are maintaining eye contact. Good luck amigo!

Zach326
02-28-07, 11:00 PM
I go through the same thing, my eyes love to wander.

if i make eye contact i have to be 'thinking about' making eye contact which is distracting from the conversation.

This is a tough one actually :D

I think I recall a rather large thread on this subject, i'll take a look for ya.

Zach326
02-28-07, 11:01 PM
http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=25830&highlight=Eye+contact

large indeed - 52 replies

I may re-read it as well.

have fun ;)

bandie08
03-01-07, 08:43 AM
I have the same problem with eye contact when people talk to me I usually look at the ground or at other people.

McHuman
03-05-07, 02:44 AM
I read recently somewhere that autistic minds (which ADD minds arguably are) incorrectly percieve eye contact as a threat of violence, even from the most well-known loved ones.

I have the same problem and its also focal in my search of meds.

Strattera -- eye contact is EASY. I fell in love with eye contact after taking strattera.

Dexedrine works better for me but destroys eye contact ability, I've wondered if an anti-anxiety drug would help and want to find out.

netsavy006
03-05-07, 02:22 PM
In my best opinion, it takes time and practice to get good at it. For me I had to practice really hard to get better and better at doing it. Maybe you should practice with people you are familar with and work your way to doing it to people you don't know as well...

It takes time but it did work for me. Best of luck,
Andy...

Miriam
03-09-07, 08:33 AM
I second McHuman's comment. Strattera cured my eye contact problem overnight. It feels like it's calming out the restless feeling we get that make us HAVE to look away.

You say you notice this problem more since you went back on meds. Maybe your meds aren't very well balanced out right now and this is a sign. Sometimes a combo can be good-- some people take Strattera with a small dose of stimulant. Why don't you talk to your doc about this and see if he/she has any ideas.

You'll get it down... good luck!

Didi
05-03-07, 12:58 AM
I have a form of high functioning autism and no matter how comfortable I am with a person, I can't look them in the eye when I am talking to them. I don't know what it is, I just find it to be very intimidating. My chem teacher INSISTS I look him in the eye when I am talking to him, and he makes a big deal about it, but I just can't do it. Even when I was medicated, it didn't help with the eye thing.

McHuman
05-03-07, 01:03 AM
What is it you have, Aspergers or something else?

DaniJ
05-04-07, 10:07 PM
This is interesting...
I have noticed that I can not keep eye contact with people very long. I literally forget what I am saying. In order to keep the thoughts flowing smoothly I am looking all over the place, but keep returning to their eyes frequently, so it gives the illusion of eye contact.
I've often wondered if other people notice this about me when I'm talking to them.

What is Startatta? A medication?

Swede63
05-04-07, 10:19 PM
Strattera is a fairly new non-stimulant medication used to treat ADD

Paws13
05-06-07, 02:31 PM
ever sence ive been on my meds and also a little before that ive noticed... i really cant keep eye contact i have no idea why but when i look into thier eyes and they look back i cant keep it for more them maby 2-4 seconds because idk i just freak out or something i just NEED to look somewhere else... only person ive ever really been able to keep eye contact with was my ex g/f of a year or so and sence im back in the dating game and finnaly on meds i could really use some answers and advice here thanks a ton in advance
I know exactly where you're coming from. There is nothing I hate more than eye contact; it makes me completely nervous. Not only eye contact, but just people staring at me. I just want to scream "LOOK SOMEWHERE ELSE, WILL YOU?!"

But the thing is, I have friends who love eye contact, and will keep tapping me until I look at them. I also sit near these kids I don't like in my science class, who know I don't like eye contact, and don't stop staring. It drives me crazy!

Proud2BAteacher
05-06-07, 05:54 PM
I see this with my students all the time!

Crazygirl79
05-07-07, 08:36 PM
I think some people avoid eye contact because they are shy and in some cases it has nothing to do with any particular disorder! although I've noticed in other ADDer's that eye contact is more limited than in those who are Non ADD.

I have SID and ADHD (I'm not Aspergers or Autistic) but when I was younger eye contact was an issue for me as well and I remember the horrid sensory feeling I got when I did give eye contact and I also remember everyone around me making a really big issue about it and I found myself giving eye contact just to please others, since I've gotten older it's improved a lot but I find my eyes do flitter around (as I'm very easily distracted) and I'm not fully giving eye contact and I'm glad to say that it no longer gives me the discomfort that it used to when I was younger.

Selena

Calicogirl
05-07-07, 08:55 PM
I love looking into people's eyes and smiling brightly, just to watch their own eyes light up in spite of themselves. There are some people that I can see the basis of their thoughts in their eyes. And I seemed to have a key ability to understand their nature when I look into their eyes.

It is a contact sport really. You should gaze into your loved one's eyes for about 15 seconds without saying anything and see if you can feel what I call "a connection". It is a flutter of the heart thing and it is really neat.

Crazygirl79
05-07-07, 08:58 PM
Calicogirl.

I think the "romantic" eye contact is a little different to the general eye contact...I think almost anyone even those who have trouble with eye contact have engaged in this particular "sport" at some time or another.

Selena

Calicogirl
05-07-07, 09:19 PM
Just trying to be helpful with the posts that stated they were going to try with loved ones. :(

Crazygirl79
05-07-07, 09:22 PM
Calicogirl.

You WERE being helpful!!!!! I was just saying that people in romantic situations seem to have more eye contact when in love.

Selena:)

shysmile
05-10-07, 11:05 AM
Ohh gosh.. the eye contact thing. I can last about 3 seconds before I start to feel extremely uneasy and have to look away.

This topic reminds me of this class I took when I was a teen (I forget what exactly) but in it the teacher had us do these exercises where everyone in the room would pair up and we would have to sit in chairs turned towards each other and stare into each other's eyes and not say anything for a whole minute. I was squirming like crazy while everyone else was just calm and normal as if they were just watching TV. That's when I first realised I was weird. :faint:

McHuman
05-10-07, 05:42 PM
Ohh gosh.. the eye contact thing. I can last about 3 seconds before I start to feel extremely uneasy and have to look away.

This topic reminds me of this class I took when I was a
What this is reminding me of is the fact that, now that I'm on an SSRI instead of Dexedrine, as it turns out depression is more why people suck at life as opposed to ADD, I make eye contact not just because I kinda wanna, but its like an automatic response and doesn't feel the tiniest bit uncomfortable.

Calicogirl
05-10-07, 09:19 PM
What this is reminding me of is the fact that, now that I'm on an SSRI instead of Dexedrine, as it turns out depression is more why people suck at life as opposed to ADD, I make eye contact not just because I kinda wanna, but its like an automatic response and doesn't feel the tiniest bit uncomfortable.Oh I have big bouts of depression. And its getting worse not better with age.

McHuman
05-11-07, 06:34 AM
get yourself an SSRI, they are AWESOME!

umami
05-11-07, 06:10 PM
It's interesting to read that other people have a similar problem that I have often faced. Before starting Adderall XR, I wasn't able to maintain eye contact more than a few seconds, despite understanding its importance in verbal communication.

For me, though, this problem was more about an inability to process the content of what someone was saying along with his/her facial expressions and formulate a response to what was being said.

I would often lose my focus on what was being said or frequently draw a blank when it came to replying to multiple sentences that were spoken to me. It helped me to look away because processing/getting distracted by facial expressions was no longer an issue; i just ignored facial expressions.

On Adderall, however, I have noticed that I have no problem maintaining eye contact and communicating verbally... undoubtedly, it has done wonders for relationships inside and outside the workplace.

supersomeone
12-05-07, 11:23 PM
lol i have noticed that i do that to .I usually look at there hands or what ever they are holding.I do not think that I was always like that .When i keep eye contact I feel like we are staring at each other it is weird.I try to keep eye contact just so that they know that i am paying attion to them

4gotAgain
12-05-07, 11:25 PM
i either cant look at someone or i stare into their eyes. I think I'm searching for a response or trying to figure them out. People's eyes tell you alot about the person they are. Well they do to me.

sconard82
12-07-07, 07:18 PM
I used to avoid it when I was young, but I basically starting forcing myself to do it so it has become second nature now. It's to the point where I feel weird if I'm not making eye contact with random people when I'm walking around.

Sa225
01-11-08, 02:38 PM
I look at peoples mouth when they are talking to me. Or is that usual? When I have eye contact with them I look away after a while and become embarrased.

bandie08
01-12-08, 12:25 AM
I always look down because i find that when they look at me in the eyes i find it kind of threatning

Iluvpoptarts
01-16-08, 09:00 AM
We are not supposed to keep eye contact for more then 3 seconds. Human nature.
People that make too much eye contact freak me out srsly.. I need my space.

Mohawk1984
01-18-08, 10:51 AM
I used to avoid it when I was young, but I basically starting forcing myself to do it so it has become second nature now. It's to the point where I feel weird if I'm not making eye contact with random people when I'm walking around.

Lol me to! Its not like im paranoid, but I become paranoid after not ,making eye contact. Its so mechanical to walk past a member of the species without a look of recognition. Not even animals, heck not even insects do that. I think its a sign of a failing society.

Even with people you know, most of them are not able to look you in the eyes without looking away after 3 seconds wich is caused by paranoia I think

Mohawk1984
01-18-08, 10:56 AM
We are not supposed to keep eye contact for more then 3 seconds. Human nature.
People that make too much eye contact freak me out srsly.. I need my space.

"not supposed to" freaks me out, who told you that? what a sad sad state of afairs. What does freak out mean? Why does it make you feel awkward?

Iluvpoptarts
01-29-08, 01:16 PM
"not supposed to" freaks me out, who told you that? what a sad sad state of afairs. What does freak out mean? Why does it make you feel awkward?


I watched a show in the discovery channel..
Basically they said its a natural thing to look away and its hard to maintai direct eye-contact for more than 3 seonds.. and people who look into your eyes too much make you uncomfortable/awkward..
ANywayz.. I do look into people's eyes! just not too much direct contact you know/?... I guess i should work on it...

radicaljams
01-30-08, 01:21 AM
ever sence ive been on my meds and also a little before that ive noticed... i really cant keep eye contact i have no idea why but when i look into thier eyes and they look back i cant keep it for more them maby 2-4 seconds because idk i just freak out or something i just NEED to look somewhere else... only person ive ever really been able to keep eye contact with was my ex g/f of a year or so and sence im back in the dating game and finnaly on meds i could really use some answers and advice here thanks a ton in advance

I'm like the total opposite of you. When I take my meds, I can focus intently on something. When I don't take them... well, I kind of stop paying attention every 10 seconds or so, lol.

kwalk
08-29-08, 06:50 AM
looking people in the eye, especially when they're talking to you, shows/means your listening.

phenyl
09-12-08, 04:02 PM
It's probably anxiety. I have this problem too, with or without Focalin, although it's better now after a course of cognitive behavior therapy for social phobia and panic disorder.

Focalin can make it a tad worse when it's wearing off, but I've got oxazepam for the times when my anxiety is acting up. A benzo would help if it's an anxiety rooted problem. I'm not sure if it's different if it's autism related.

reesah
09-12-08, 05:22 PM
looking people in the eye, especially when they're talking to you, shows/means your listening.

huh, I usually look at people while I talk and look away when they speak. seems like they do this too.

cultural thing maybe

speedo
09-12-08, 05:45 PM
Here is the explanation for why some people find eye contact to be intimidating or to cause anxiety.

Researchers say that in some people (like some of those who are autistic), eye contact triggers an instinctive threat response, that is, in some people the brain instinctively interprets eye contact as threatening.

I remembered reading about that when I was researching it so I thought I'd share what I learned.

So, if you find that eye contact bothers you a bit, relax and don't worry about it too much because you are not alone. Several people on this forum have mentioned workarounds for eye contact problems in this thread.

If you look into it a bit closer, some people with adhd have poor eye contact mostly because they are distracted a lot...so there is sometimes more than one reason for poor eye contact.

ME :D

ArtfulDodger
09-15-08, 06:14 PM
It's interesting to read that other people have a similar problem that I have often faced. Before starting Adderall XR, I wasn't able to maintain eye contact more than a few seconds, despite understanding its importance in verbal communication.

For me, though, this problem was more about an inability to process the content of what someone was saying along with his/her facial expressions and formulate a response to what was being said.

I would often lose my focus on what was being said or frequently draw a blank when it came to replying to multiple sentences that were spoken to me. It helped me to look away because processing/getting distracted by facial expressions was no longer an issue; i just ignored facial expressions.

On Adderall, however, I have noticed that I have no problem maintaining eye contact and communicating verbally... undoubtedly, it has done wonders for relationships inside and outside the workplace.

This is exactly my problem. I just can't process what someone is saying if I'm looking at their eyes/face because I can't cope with understanding the two different sets of information at the same time. I have to look away to work out what it was they said. I have avoided eye contact all my life and it used to be out of shyness/perceiving it as a threat, but upon trying to get over that, I realised it actually made holding a conversation difficult for me.

Good to know meds may help with that. It's quite frustrating as people seem to think I am ignoring them/not listening to them/not interested if I am not looking them in the eye. I comprehend what people are saying best if I close my eyes to get rid of other distractions while they are speaking, but that is definitely not socially acceptable!

dagoflip
09-16-08, 12:04 AM
Don't worry!
I used to be the same way. Then I started to realize that glaring in peoples eyes helpped me build confidence.

Shai
09-20-08, 05:16 PM
looking people in the eye, especially when they're talking to you, shows/means your listening.
That's what people think it means but in reality eye contact has very little to do with whether someone is listening. I actually listen much much better if I don't look at someone in the eyes at all. That way I can concentrate on what they are actually saying. Whenever I look people in the eyes for any extended period I lose my train of thought if I'm talking or if they're talking I forget about what they're saying. Eyes are just incredibly distracting, probably more so for people with ADHD. Here's a quote from the Wikipedia article on eye contact: Dr. Gwyneth Doherty-Sneddon was quoted[13] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye_contact#cite_note-aversion-12) as having said, "Looking at faces is quite mentally demanding. We get useful information from the face when listening to someone, but human faces are very stimulating and all this takes processing. So when we are trying to concentrate and process something else that's mentally demanding, it's unhelpful to look at faces."I hate the stereotypes associated with eye contact or lack of eye contact. I have a hard enough time following conversations as it is without having to stare people in the eye the whole time. That is just impossible.

Juliak
09-27-08, 10:22 AM
i feel really weird when someones talking to me and they're looking at me like, "why won't you meet my eyes?", and i look up and then look away. but they usally keep looking at me while they're talking and i can't figure out how they can look at someine for so long. its really weird then i fell weird again because i reply and i can't look at them.
that made no sense at all.:D

Kunga Dorji
11-06-08, 06:39 AM
i feel really weird when someones talking to me and they're looking at me like, "why won't you meet my eyes?", and i look up and then look away. but they usally keep looking at me while they're talking and i can't figure out how they can look at someine for so long. its really weird then i fell weird again because i reply and i can't look at them.
that made no sense at all.:D


To understand use of eye contact in real life - look at films. Look at each of the interactions. How does a guy show interest in a girl? How does a person evade a difficult question? How do friends greet each other? How does a tough guy stare down the villains?

If movies are not believable they will not sell, and actors are very skilled at imitating characters and situations. Use this as your catalogue of normal behaviours and next time you have a difficult situation ask yourself did your approach to eye contact affect the outcome.

These skills are learnable- even with quite bad ADHD.- but sometimes you just cant produce them on cue. In the end though you will perform the lessons you know ( and in truth the important ones are probably hard wired into your brain at birth) much better if you can attend to the interaction. If it is someone you really like you will do OK but in most other situations the medication will help greatly.

When my medication is wearing off it is all "remember to insert spontaneous smile here", "add eye contact for that really interested touch", " speak clearly" until inevitably it ends up- " now I've lost track again- what on earth were we talking about. " At this point the person usually thinks I am not interested in them and the interaction dies. Once I have the next dose I am back to the real me- talkative, interested, focussed, motivated. I know how Cinderella felt with that midnight deadline- but I am delighted to be good almost all of the time. I just have to watch out about my coach turning into a pumpkin.

strengthouweak
02-26-12, 04:58 PM
My issue with eye contact leads into a problem with lust. When talking with another girl, I find when I can't look into their eyes, my staring leads more towards their chest or other parts of their body. Even with just a bigger than average shirt/sweater hole or seeing a fitting shirt or sweater gives me trouble.

This is kind of a mixture of add and osd, (which I have trouble w/ both) and being socially polite (controlling lust). I don't want to think lustful thoughts or use talking as a purpose to fuel this. add (seems to act to make me uncomfortable with eye contact), and osd (seems to fuel my feelings of uncomfortableness and arkwardness. When my eyes drift to inappropriate places. Like I said, I don't intend to think these things. I want to look at others as family but it seems that I have a nasty combo that makes this difficult.

This is an issue, I really need help with. In doing interviews with women in the business world. I already had a problem with this, and in order to think that I was not staring at her in the wrong way, I pretty much stared at the floor during most of the interview and she said that not giving her eye contact is pretty much what messed up the interview.

I am aware that this basically has more to do with a personal christian question, but I feel that there is a huge component with osd and add. and the lust part can be looked at as proper social skills.

Have any of you experienced this or can relate to any of this? and/or do you have any advice for this problem?

-nyr0c-
02-29-12, 01:22 AM
Actually, I find it pretty funny that I've been kicking myself with this same issue for awhile. I don't think it's so much an ADHD thing; I know people without ADHD who do this too. However, I think those of us would with ADHD would LIKE to get distracted by something else so we don't have to make eye contact. I find it close to imposible to make eye contact with someone when I'm crying or when talking about something emotional, but in everyday conversations I think I'm getting better. I'm on Straterra, but I don't know if that has anything to do with it. Sometimes I don't even realize I'm not making eye contact with someone, and when they call me out on it, I don't even feel slightly guilty about it. Weird? Maybe.

Of course, I can't assume that everyone with ADHD dislikes making eye contact. But I will admit to being one of them =D.

Buzz23
03-01-12, 12:06 AM
I have found that staring at a person's forehead is much less distracting to me than actually making eye contact, and it is easy enough to transition to eye contact when necessary. (Foreheads are very interesting to look at)
Mostly my friends just assume that I'm listening to them until I stop responding to their questions entirely.
Other people just assume I'm bored or uninterested, and it can actually be useful in cutting a boring conversation short. ;)

addysted
03-01-12, 11:31 PM
Unfortunately, I have the same problem with eye contact. I guess it is a sign of weakness. :)

rickymooston
03-09-12, 11:32 PM
ever sence ive been on my meds and also a little before that ive noticed... i really cant keep eye contact i have no idea why but when i look into thier eyes and they look back i cant keep it for more them maby 2-4 seconds because idk i just freak out or something i just NEED to look somewhere else... only person ive ever really been able to keep eye contact with was my ex g/f of a year or so and sence im back in the dating game and finnaly on meds i could really use some answers and advice here thanks a ton in advance


I dont have social anxiety disorxer but i used to get in trouble for. Ot looking at the person i was talkung to.,
This kind of behaviour most ppl dont think about and they just do it.

What are your meds for. Did you discuss this problem with ylir doctor.

strengthouweak
03-18-12, 12:21 AM
I dont have social anxiety disorxer but i used to get in trouble for. Ot looking at the person i was talkung to.,
This kind of behaviour most ppl dont think about and they just do it.

What are your meds for. Did you discuss this problem with ylir doctor.

talked over with therapist, who is a really nice guy, and doesn't have that whole, what you want to talk about thing going on. He gave the advice that was mentioned before to look at another part of the face. I don't know if I would consider that the best choice but it seems like the only good answer so far. I am on generic wellbutrin 75ml and it seems to be goin' ok.....

rickymooston
03-25-12, 07:46 PM
I see. Well, perhaps I wasn't thinking when I answered you.

Obviously, your therapist gets paid for a reason; i.e., don't take the advice of somebody without SA and no knowledge of SA over a trained therapist familiar with your condition.

I do know, some aspects of my ADHD I can sometimes somewhat override some of the time but I can't override all of them as far as I know.

Glad to hear you are doing better.

Tylerlee17
04-16-12, 07:58 PM
When I was in high school I never had the eye contact problem, but now at 25 I find that I feel like I'm being rude or just weird when keeping eye contact even when the person is speaking directly too me! Except when I know the person very well and feel comfortable around them. I've been on meds since i was 6, so don't feel alone.

kuhan1923
05-01-12, 09:21 PM
Eye contact is a question of confidence, not whether you have ADD or not imo. Try taking a martial arts class, or going to the gym on a regular basis, it'll distill confidence in you, and really help with keeping eye contact with other people.