Eyes can reveal a lot about you, even more than you assume. They’re the windows to your soul that store your biggest secrets. So, what is your body language trying to tell the other person when you keep looking down?
Just because you’re being quiet, it doesn’t mean that you’re not communicating with those around you. Nonverbal communication is a thing and more and more people are trying to decipher the meaning behind it.
When you stand with your legs wide apart and open shoulders, looking straight into the person you’re talking to, you’re showing everyone around you just how confident you are. When you keep fidgeting and touching your neck when you speak, you reveal that you’re nervous.
Your body communicates in ways you don’t even think of and it’s the same with your eyes. When you’re unable to maintain eye contact during a conversation, know that there’s a reason why that happens.
Everyone else around you may know why you’re looking down, except for you. So, let’s change that.
What is your body language trying to tell when you keep looking down?
You may think that not holding eye contact isn’t a big deal. You’re not doing anything wrong and more importantly, you’re not doing it on purpose. In reality, that’s exactly why this behavior has a meaning behind it.
Since you’re doing it unconsciously, it signifies that your body is trying to tell you something. It’s sharing your secret even though you don’t want anyone to know it.
But when words fail to verbalize your emotions, your body comes to the rescue. It speaks for you without saying anything and that’s why it’s so important to be aware of the message you’re sending into the world.
Here’s what it means when you keep looking down during a conversation.
1. You’re shy or insecure
Would you say that you’re a shy person? Do you feel uncomfortable in unfamiliar situations? If that’s the case then it’s logical that your body is going to express these emotions.
Even though you’re attentively listening to what others are saying, you can’t maintain eye contact with them. You don’t feel comfortable doing it so your body finds a way to protect you.
By looking down, it’s trying to tell others to keep their distance because you don’t feel confident enough. And even though you’re not aware of it, everyone around you gets the point.
2. You’re upset or nervous
When you’re talking to someone but you fail to keep eye contact with them, your body will make the other person feel like you’re upset or nervous about something. They will sense that you’re trying to hide your real feelings as you don’t feel ready to express them.
Something is going on inside of you and your body knows that you don’t want to talk about it. So, it tries to protect you by looking away, even though you’re in the middle of the conversation.
3. You’re submissive
Dominant and confident people tend to take control of every situation. They’re natural-born leaders who don’t take no for an answer. If you know a person like this, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
On the other hand, submissive people do everything exactly the opposite. They tend to look away when talking to someone, they cross their hands as a way of protecting themselves and they look for different ways to calm themselves down.
So, when you’re having a conversation with someone and you keep looking down, be aware that the other person will get a feeling that you’re a submissive type. If you don’t want others to feel that way about you, then you’ll have to work on your eye contact skills.
4. You’re lying or hiding something
How many times have you had a conversation with someone only to feel like the other person is lying to you? Do you get this feeling simply because they can’t look you in the eyes while talking?
We all feel like the other person isn’t being honest when they fail to maintain eye contact. So, when you do the same, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that people feel that way about you.
People believe that eyes hide our deepest secrets and desires. So, when you look away during a conversation, it suggests that you’re hiding something. Even if that’s not what you’re actually doing, you can’t blame others for feeling that way about you.
The years of evolution have taught us that we shouldn’t trust those who can’t look us in the eyes when having a conversation.
5. You’re not interested
When you’re having a conversation with someone who keeps looking down, you immediately assume that the other person isn’t interested in what you have to say. If they can’t look you in the eyes, they must be bored, right?
This is a normal human reaction since we’re all looking for feedback when chatting with someone. You want to be sure that the other person is listening to you; you want to know that you’re not wasting your time.
So, when you notice someone looking down while you’re talking, the chances are that you’re going to leave the conversation. The same will happen when you do the same while the other person is having a chat with you.
People want to know that their words are being heard; they don’t like to feel like they’re being ignored.
Why is it important to maintain eye contact during conversation?
Whenever you’re talking to someone, you want to feel like the other person is present in the conversation. I’m not talking about physical presence since standing in front of someone isn’t the same as listening to what they have to say.
Maintaining eye contact will show the other person that you’re carefully absorbing each word they share with you. Plus, they will be able to tell how you feel about a certain topic.
For example, your face will lighten up as soon as you hear something exciting or you may clench your eyebrows as a sign of disapproval. These are all important facial cues that the other person is looking for. But when you keep looking down, they don’t get a chance to figure out what’s going on in your head.
As you can see, keeping eye contact is such an important part of communication. And being unable to keep it can reveal a lot about you.
How to stop looking down when talking to someone?
Whenever you’re having a conversation with someone and you catch yourself looking down, snap out of it. With a few corrections, you can easily change your body language and how others perceive you.
So, let’s see what you can do to make that happen.
1. Don’t let the other person make you feel insecure
It’s easy to change your attitude when you’re talking to someone confident. Even though you’re usually not an insecure type, the personality of the other person can change the way you act. So, instead of open posture and direct eye contact, you end up looking away and hiding in your own body.
The best thing you can do to prevent this from happening is to work on your confidence. Keep reminding yourself that another person can’t endanger the way you feel about yourself.
2. Keep your chin up
If you know that you have a tendency to look down while talking, then you have to remind yourself to raise that chin high up. If you’re holding a piece of paper in your hands, make sure to keep a small note on the top of it which says “Head up!”
This way, you’ll force your body to change its attitude. So, every other time you’re giving a talk or having a conversation with someone, you’ll make sure your chin stays up.
In the beginning, it won’t be easy and it will take you a lot of energy and commitment to stop looking down. But as time passes, it’ll become easier to practice this behavior.
At some point, it’ll come naturally and you won’t have to force yourself to do it. Once that happens, you’ll instantly realize how much more confidence you have.
3. Work on your conversation skills
Some people simply don’t enjoy having a main word in a conversation. They don’t feel comfortable talking in front of others, especially in front of a larger group.
If you feel the same way, know that there’s nothing wrong with you. Some of us simply aren’t the best speakers and that’s okay.
But if your job requires you to give presentations often or to negotiate deals with different clients, then you should start working on your conversation skills. Just because you’re not naturally born to do this, it doesn’t mean that you can’t become better at it.
You can practice talks on your own or in front of close friends who make you feel comfortable. Remind yourself to keep a positive attitude about this whole thing and sooner or later, you’re going to master the art of talking in front of others.
Once that happens, you’ll no longer struggle with maintaining eye contact.