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picard
06-01-2008, 11:47 AM
Do Asians from mainland look at a person directly in the eyes during conversations?

In some cultures, direct eye contact is consider as provocative challenge. In north America, people prefer direct eye contact in conversation.

Is there any difference between Asian culture and American culture regarding eye to eye contact in conversation?

paloma
06-01-2008, 11:58 AM
Not everybody in North America does direct eye contact, picky. Most Native cultures do not. I don't know if it's the same for the First Nations in Canada or for Aboriginals in Australia.
This is why talking to my professors is hard for me. When I am with people younger than me or in less formal settings, I can manage, but I feel all hinky about it with someone who has authority over me. If a professor or pastor makes eye contact with me, during a lecture or sermon, I feel so shy and I have to look at the ground, and I am not normally shy.

xqzmi
06-01-2008, 12:12 PM
i do not always give direct eye contact. it depends on who the person is. i have found a way to just generally look into the person's face so they know i am paying attention (or faking it sometimes, like my family).

Ricecooker
06-01-2008, 12:55 PM
This is why talking to my professors is hard for me. When I am with people younger than me or in less formal settings, I can manage, but I feel all hinky about it with someone who has authority over me. If a professor or pastor makes eye contact with me, during a lecture or sermon, I feel so shy and I have to look at the ground, and I am not normally shy.

Awwwwwww, bless;)

picard
06-01-2008, 01:49 PM
for the men, indirect eye contact mean he is indecisive. He can lose on job promotion or not getting a job.

Nordic
06-01-2008, 03:36 PM
I always look at people in the eyes when I talk to them. If I don't it is rude of me. All Asians I have talked to have looked me into my eyes.

Vinceroni
06-01-2008, 04:33 PM
The confusion, I believe, comes from one specific situation:

When you are being reprimanded/scolded by someone in a position of authority over you, such as a parent or boss.

In Chinese (and most Eastern) culture, you're expected to look down to express remorse and respect for the person speaking to you.

In Western culture, you're expected to look back at the person speaking to you in order to express that you are paying attention to what they are saying.

In either culture, if you look anywhere else, you're being disrespectful.

In normal conversation, most people look directly at each other. If you do otherwise, it's as if you're not paying attention to them.

bosox
06-01-2008, 08:02 PM
This is true about old school Asians especially when taking to older person. I was like this until freshman in college, one of my professor gave me such shit about not looking him in the eyes during the conversation I forced to change my attitude. Of all people he was a Korean too but I'm glad that he did because I agree with him that it's a lot more engaging to talking to someone with an eye contact.

Jerms of Endearment
06-01-2008, 08:24 PM
Hmmm...interesting topic. I have been reminded by guy friends that I have a tendency to not look into their eyes while they are talking with me. This happens less with female friends. It's kind of weird - in a business environment, looking into the eyes of someone (whether male or female) while talking with them is perfectly normal for me. However, with close guy friends (and even occasionally with some female friends and at times, with my wife), they tell me that I seem to talk and look up and diagonally. After being told this, I do realize that I do this. It's not like I am deliberately staring at something else, or something else has my attention - I just tend to think better when speaking when I am looking into outer space. My brother came by to visit the family and myself this weekend, and I took him and my son out to dinner on Friday night. Honestly, even though we sat in the restaurant for 2-3+ hours and had an animated conversation going, I don't remember actually looking at him. I do, however, remember what my dinner looked like, in great detail.

I think part of it, if I may be a bit introspective here, in talking with with male friends is the way I was brought up - guys don't really get into intimate or personal "feeling-driven" conversations, and so perhaps not making eye contact is my subconscious way to keep the conversation on a macho, non-emotional level - I am not justifying it or making a value judgement here - just relaying my suspicions as to why I do this. I don't really mean to not look into people's eyes, though, and certainly do not intend anything rude by it, but I do recognize that in North America culture, eye contact is very important. Definitely something I'll need to continue to work on...

creamofcow
06-01-2008, 09:55 PM
I like to look all around when talking to someone, but I consciously try to make an effort to look at that person every few seconds because when people don't look at me, it appears that they're not interested in what I have to say... which is just plain impossible. :rolleywhistle:

If someone is boring me though, I think I look directly at them more -- I'm looking for clues to see if they really think they're being interesting or if they're leading the conversation somewhere. In those cases, I start to think obsessively about looking in their eyes... I start wondering how am I supposed to look at both eyes at the same time, do I look at just one eye at a time, in between their eyes? :confused:

smokedance10
06-01-2008, 10:51 PM
If someone is boring me though, I think I look directly at them more -- I'm looking for clues to see if they really think they're being interesting or if they're leading the conversation somewhere. In those cases, I start to think obsessively about looking in their eyes... I start wondering how am I supposed to look at both eyes at the same time, do I look at just one eye at a time, in between their eyes? :confused:

I do that too....but only if I have been talking to someone for a while cause its difficult to keep up the intensity of looking someone in the eyes for a long period of time. At least it is for me. I always try my best to look someone in the eyes. I see it as sign of respect but I'm not offended by someone who looks off to the side when talking to me because everyone is different. As long as they are paying attention.

loulou
06-02-2008, 07:15 AM
I think looking away is a sign of unease when talking to someone, I wouldn't say it's necessarily rude but it puts you in an inferior position because you are showing a sign of discomfort and it's probably best to still look at the person even if it betrays you're nervous: at least you come accross as able to face up to a challenge.
regular eye to eye checks are better than 100% eye contact which is a bit off unless you are trying to get someone to bed! You may freak them out in the process if you are too intense in your stare.
it's appropriate to look down if you are being reprimended, or better still, look up from having your head a bit(very slightly) down, both acknowledging you position of inferiority at that moment while showing focus on what is being said.

focusing on the face with the odd eye check is enough though, no need to worry too much about eye to eye contact: I only do if I'm trying to pull and would take it in the same way if someone was looking straight into my eyes for more than 2 sec!

xqzmi
06-02-2008, 08:36 AM
i do not think there is anything superior or inferior because of this type of communication.

like, i hate looking directly in the eyes of a medical professional when i am annoyed, pissed or overwhelmed. sometimes, i also do the same with anyone else because i am so pissed, i do not care what they think, how the feel...anything. i just want that person out of my sight. it really depends on the person and situation. if that person is nagging or bugging me, they will get some horrible glances or glares.

i agree that not concentrating on eye to eye every second of the conversation is almost not worth it. it is like someone is trying to or forcing you to pay too much attention to them. sometimes they do not deserve it. lol.

once, i was on an interview...the manager managed to spend about 97% of the time not even looking at me or in my direction at all. i was so pissed off and thought that he was so unprofessional.

loulou
06-02-2008, 11:09 AM
i do not think there is anything superior or inferior because of this type of communication.
like, i hate looking directly in the eyes of a medical professional when i am annoyed, pissed or overwhelmed. sometimes, i also do the same with anyone else because i am so pissed, i do not care what they think, how the feel...anything. i just want that person out of my sight. it really depends on the person and situation. if that person is nagging or bugging me, they will get some horrible glances or glares.
i agree that not concentrating on eye to eye every second of the conversation is almost not worth it. it is like someone is trying to or forcing you to pay too much attention to them. sometimes they do not deserve it. lol.

once, i was on an interview...the manager managed to spend about 97% of the time not even looking at me or in my direction at all. i was so pissed off and thought that he was so unprofessional.


well, as we are debating the pros &cons of acting a certain way, I'd say that certain attitudes will put you in a good or bad position, and therefore one could say a superior or inferior position, in the worse case scenario.
For example, if you are nervous and showing it in an interview, you will be in a disadventageous position to someone being calm and collected. Being unable to look someone in the eyes will show a serious weakness and unability to interact with others confidently therefore putting you in an inferior position in the world of social interaction. This doesn't (obviously) make you inferior as an individual, but gives you a minor social handicap. So does shyness.

xqzmi
06-02-2008, 03:24 PM
yes, if one is nervous and all. if a person is on an interview, it does not matter much if the person looking for the job is that nervous. it is up to the manager or whomever is interviewing you to be professional and to try to look you in the face, no matter what. it is not like we are really discussing certain jobs where that does not matter. lol. if the person being interview tries harder than the person doing the interview to have some kind of eye contact, i would think that the manager or whomever the person might be is purely stupid. the interviewer is not wasting their own time on an interview that is and would be going no where.