Look Me in the Eyes

We were shaking hands goodbye– but he didn’t let go.  “I have to tell you something.  We’re friends, right?”

“Yes.”  He finally let my hand go and continued to explain.

 “When we were shaking hands, you weren’t looking at me.  You were looking behind me.  Is there someone more interesting there?  More important?  Look, I know you.  I know that you’re not that kind of person.  You’re too kind and thoughtful and caring to be like that.  But your body language is telling people that you don’t value them.  When you shake hands with someone you need to look them in the eyes. 

What could I say?  Of course I apologized.  He wasn’t being mean.  He was trying to be helpful. 
Still.  His words (helpful as he said) were embarrassing. 

Was he right?  I thought about it.  It didn’t take me long.  I could replay the last few moments of saying goodbye to him and shaking his hand, in my mind.  And I could feel my eyes looking at the crowd behind him. I did do that.  I do, do that.  I do.

Why?  Well, after thinking, I dunno, I reflected deeper. 

Is it possible, that I’m just shy?  I was extremely shy as a child.  Haven’t I outgrown it?  Do people ever outgrow it?  Of course they do, but is a part of me still afraid of people?  Well, it is possible. 
What can I do about it?  Just look people in the eye, Silly.  Well, yes. 

Is it also possible that I wasn’t paying attention to him and was looking for someone more interesting?  I don’t think so.  I was leaving, not staying. 

Well, whatever!  I hearby resolve to look people in the eye. 
                        I will give the person I am talking to all my attention.
                        I will make them feel attractive, interesting, and valuable.
                        I will engage them for as long as needed.
Actually, my resolution willprobablly improve the quality of my interactions with others.  And that’s certainly a good thing.  Eyes may not literally be windows to the soul, but they do speak emotionally.  I hope my eyes speak sincerety, honesty, and kindness.  And with a smile!  Smiling eyes are the best conversational accessory. 

But I have to look at you to convey all this.  And that’s what I resolve to do.

P.S.  It's been a couple of weeks now since I made this resolution and you know what?  I'm looking people directly in the eye but most of them do not look me in the eye!  Most of them look down.  

Why do you think?


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