What Does It Mean When Someone Doesn’t Make Eye Contact With You (13 Possible Meanings)

Williams Shakespeare once glorified the eyes as a window to our souls, and he couldn’t have been more right. If you doubt this, try looking at a photo of your younger self, something from when you were a child. 

I’m sure you will notice the sparkle in your eyes; perhaps, they held wonder, innocence, and pure joy. As we grow older, there is a difference. Our eyes look wiser and, sometimes anxious for what the future holds.

This shows you how much you can deduce about a person from just looking into their eyes. As humans, we rely heavily on both words and body language to understand each other, and our first place of focus is usually the eyes. Therefore, when a person is unable to maintain eye contact, it seems strange and awkward. Perhaps it’s anxiety; they have something to hide or are trying to communicate with you without words. 

On that note, in this article, I will take you through 13 possible reasons why a person may be avoiding eye contact with you. 

13 Possible Meanings Why A Person Doesn’t Want To Make Eye Contact With You.

1. Superiority Complex

When a person refuses to maintain eye contact with you, it could be that they see you as inferior to them. Meaning they believe they are better than you, and as such, you do not deserve their full attention. Their refusal to look at you is a power move that signifies that they want you to know that they control the conversation, and they will give you their attention whenever they feel like it. 

Remember, healthy eye contact should fall somewhere between 50 to 70 per cent of a conversation. Anything more than that can come off as creepy, and anything less means the person is distracted, uninterested, or dismissive.

2. They want to avoid a connection

Sometimes, a person can refuse to make eye contact with you because they want to avoid a connection. This is common when people in a relationship are quarrelling. For instance, the husband may have made an inappropriate statement that upset his wife, so now he is trying to apologize with their eyes. 

However, the wife is not having any of that, and she’s probably not ready to discuss it, so she avoids making eye contact with him altogether. When we maintain eye contact with someone, it shows that we want to connect with that person. So, a person’s refusal to look back can be interpreted as their refusal to encourage that connection.

3. Low self-esteem

On the end of the spectrum of those who avoid eye contact because of superiority complex are people with low self-esteem. A person with low self-esteem will avoid looking at you in the eye because they feel unimportant. Furthermore, they believe what they are saying sounds stupid, and it is not important.

People with low self-esteem often feel intimidated by people who are loud or extroverted. Not to compare humans to animals, but imagine an intimated dog; it bows its head and sometimes tucks its tail. It is a primitive survival instinct which means the person thinks less of himself and wants to avoid a confrontation at all cost.

4. Psychological issues

According to this study by Helen Uusberg, Jüri Allik, and Jari K Hietanen, they observed that Neuroticism is related to direct stare avoidance. Therefore, individuals with a high neuroticism level are more likely than average to avoid a person’s gaze. Furthermore, they are also susceptible to experiencing feelings of anxiety, fear, and loneliness. 

This proves that people like this struggle with maintaining eye contact because they fear getting embarrassed by other people. They experience social anxiety, and this anxiety prevents them from having healthy communication with other people. 

There are ways you can go about making such a person feel comfortable, like giving them an honest compliment or two to boost their confidence. It will help create a positive and safe atmosphere for them, thereby reducing their anxiety.

5. They are unhappy

they are unhappy

We have all had bad days at one point in our life and sometimes, you want to experience the sadness alone. Depending on your lifestyle and job, it can be challenging to get through such moments without at least one person asking if you are alright. So, your best bet will be to avoid people as much as you can, and if that fails, you avoid making eye contact. 

I remember going through a terrible breakup while working as a customer service representative. I struggled with maintaining eye contact with customers because I did not want them to see how red my eyes were from crying. Sometimes, this is how a person may be feeling; they are having a bad day but do not want you to see the pain in their eyes.

6. They are angry

Anger serves as another reason why a person may be avoiding eye contact with you. When a person is angry, they may choose not to say many words, but you will notice that their body language says a lot more than you can imagine if you pay attention. 

Signs like a shift in their gaze, body weight, and lack of eye contact indicate that they are not thrilled by the conversation and would like to end it.

By not making eye contact, they are showing their disinterest in whatever you have to say. This is why people roll their eyes when they are not interested in a conversation. It means they will rather focus on anything but you.

7. They are attracted to you

Finally, here is one positive reason why a person can choose not to create eye contact with you. It is possible that they like you but are not ready to make it known to you or those around you. 

I’m sure we’ve all been in situations where we are out with friends, and a guy across keeps looking your way. 

However, when you turn to look back at him, he shifts his gaze elsewhere. This can be an example of someone who likes you but is unsure of how to approach you. Perhaps, his hesitation stems from the presence of your friends and his uncertainty in your reaction.

8. They don’t like you

Ouch! I know this stings because we like to think of ourselves as wholesome and lovable beings. So reconciling this possibility with the image we have of ourselves can be challenging and sad. However, this does not stop the possibility that someone avoids eye contact because they do not like you from being a valid reason. 

Before you get so gloomy, sometimes, it has nothing to do with you. The person may be jealous of you, or you probably remind them of someone they dislike. Furthermore, another thought to have in mind is your outfit. Perhaps, what you are wearing looks weird, and they can’t help but steal glances at you.

9. They are hiding something

We are guilty of telling little white lies now and then. Sometimes, they are with the best of intentions, like when you and your friends plan a surprise bridal shower or birthday for a mutual friend. 

It is also because we are trying to avoid having a conversation that could be triggering your partner. Irrespective of the level, you will notice that we tend to avoid eye contact when dishonest.

We do not want to make eye contact because we fear that the person we are lying to might see through us. I guess this is why when our mothers tried to catch us in a lie, they would insist that we look them in the eyes and repeat what we said earlier.

10. They are not interested in what you are saying

they are not interested in what you are saying

Instead of sporadic yawns or ending a conversation, some people prefer to convey their lack of interest in a topic by avoiding eye contact. This does not necessarily mean that you are boring; it could be that they do not like the topic of discussion or have nothing to contribute. 

One way to know if this is how they feel is by observing their body language. Are they nervous while darting their eyes? If not, then they are uninterested. If you notice a person you are talking to is behaving this way, try changing the topic by asking open-ended questions. This will get them to talk about something that interests them.

11. They feel guilty

When people feel guilty about hurting you, they struggle with maintaining eye contact. They cannot look at you because they know you are unhappy, and it will make them feel worse about themselves. You may be familiar with this instinct as a child after doing something wrong, and your parents are scolding you. You try to avoid their gaze and put your head down.

When a person puts them down, they are probably experiencing something emotional like guilt and shame.

12. They don’t want to give you the wrong impression

As women, we tend to be more aware of our body language than guys. This behaviour transcends to the way we move, dress, talk, and sit. So while avoiding eye contact can make a person have a negative feeling about you, staring also gives off signals. 

For instance, you may feel like another lady is staring at you from across the room when in reality, they are probably thinking. However, once they notice you are looking back at them, they break eye contact. This could signify that they were not staring at you consciously, so they look away because they do not want you to have a wrong idea.

13. They are in deep thoughts

The direction with which a person faces while avoiding eye contact can help determine the meaning behind their actions. For instance, we understand that a downward gaze is an emotional move to represent shame or regret. In the same vein, an upward look could mean the person is thinking or trying to put their thoughts together.

People tend to look away when they are thinking or talking about something they are not sure about. This unconscious behaviour serves two purposes. First, it shields them from feeling embarrassed, and secondly, it helps them think without your face distracting them.

FAQs

What does it mean when a guy doesn't make eye contact with you?

When a guy is avoiding eye contact with you, there are two prominent meanings that you can draw from it. First, it’s possible he likes you, but he is shy. He is an introvert who does not know how to interact with ladies. Second, he could be cooking up a lie, so watch out.

Is avoiding eye contact a sign of guilt?

Avoiding eye contact is not always a sign of guilt. While guilt is one of the many reasons people avoid eye contact, it is not the only sign. Other causes include psychological issues such as neuroticism and social anxiety and a lack of interest in what you say. 

Either way, by paying attention to the person’s body language and the direction to which they tilt their head, it will be easier to narrow down the signs.

What does it mean when someone looks away while talking to you?

Ideally, when a person looks away while talking to you, it is a sign of disrespect. It means what you have to say does not interest them, and as such, you do not deserve their attention. However, there are other possible reasons why a person will look away during an interaction. They may be trying to put their thoughts together, so they need to focus away from your face.

Do guys avoid eye contact if they like you?

Not all guys are as daring as we would like them to be. Sometimes, they are also shy and scared of embarrassment. This is why a guy might avert his eyes when he likes you. He is unsure if you share the same feelings, so he might hesitate to make his interest known to you.

What does it mean when a guy holds eye contact?

A guy holding eye contact with you could mean several things. Top of the list is his need to show dominance. I know it may seem childish, but guys do this a lot when trying to prove their confidence. The idea is to look at you until you get uncomfortable and look away. 

In Conclusion

When it comes to human interaction, communication goes beyond the words we say. Our expressions and eye contact convey emotions, anxiety, and unspoken messages. 

I hope you enjoyed going through this list and can see the many reasons behind why someone will refuse to maintain eye contact with you. As usual, I look forward to reading from you and don’t forget to share.

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