Body Language: Eye Contact
Humans are not the only animal that finds eye contact important. Staring at a cat conveys aggression. A slow blink conveys love. All the posturing male animals perform is a waste of time unless they have an audience watching their moves.
Especially on first meeting, good eye contact conveys that you are confident, trustworthy, and in control. It can express admiration if accompanied with a smile. Good eye contact is a general indicator of self-esteem. Though, lowering one's eyes can be a sign of respect in some parts of the world.
Eye contact during conversation conveys interest and connection. Engaging in eye contact shows that you are truly interested. Breaking eye contact can signal it is someone else's turn to talk.
A gaze can tantalize, mesmerize, and hypnotize.
Refusing eye contact can mean yourr character is angry, sad, guilty, or embarrassed. Keeping one's head down or averting a gaze can be a signal of insecurity, deceit, or low self-esteem. Widened eyes or narrowed eys convey shock, disbelief, and anger. People blink more when they are uncomfortable.
A person covers his eyes when he does not want to see something or is afraid that someone will see an emotion he does not want to reveal.
Eye blinks, winks, fluttered lashes, etc.can be a flirting game. He looks at her. She looks at him. They both look away. He chances a longer look. Does she look back and hold contact? Should he approach? The answer often lies in this exchange of glances.
Fast blinking can indicate agitation. Slow blinks can indicate shock or exhaustion.
The first part of the body a character looks at can reveal a lot about them. Do a male character's eyes always focus on a woman's chest? Does a female character always look at a man's ring finger?
Staring is generally considered rude or stalker creepy, but could signal surprise, startle, disbelief, trying to remember where you saw someone, or noting something out of place.
If someone's gaze flits around the room, they are either looking for someone specific, or could be a spy, or cop on the job. Sherlock Holmes is the master of noticing small details others miss. A trained observer can tell a lot about another person with a single glance.
Gazes can convey entire conversations and serve as signals.
Public speakers and performers are taught to look out into the audience, picking specific people or cues, moving from one side of the room to another to make everyone feel included.
Eye contact can become a battle of aggression. He who looks away first, loses.
Normal eye contact for one culture could be considered rude to another. In Muslim countries, eye contact with women is discouraged. Intense eye contact between people of the same sex can mean the person is sincere and telling the truth.
In the hierarchy of Asian cultures, subordinates should not make eye contact with superiors. Lowered eyes can be a sign of respect.
In some African cultures, prolonged eye contact is considered aggressive.
Utilize gestures appropriately, particularly when writing about specific geographic locations. Do your research. If you are making up a completely new word, decide what the normal parameters are and keep it consistent.
The eye roll, while it is physically impossible, is a term that is generally accepted in American culture. Technically the orbit rotates within the eye socket. However, that is akward. Most people don't care if it is technically correct. They know what it means. Just don't use eye rolls in every chapter.
Eyes close, fill with tears, open wide, blink, wink, and scrunch. Eyes cannot travel, roll, graze, skewer, etc. It is one's gaze that moves. Make sure you do a search and kill for the word eye and replace it with gaze when appropriate. Make sure the eye movement is essential to the scene and is not overused.
Next time, we discuss lying.