How Eye Contact Differs Around the World

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How Eye Contact Differs Around the World

Your eyes are the window to your soul – or so it’s said. But, that window may be saying different things in different cultures. Here’s a quick trip around the world and what eye contact means in the various places and cultures.

USA. Go bold. In the USA, direct eye contact is a sign that you are truly interested in what the other person is saying. The downward glance that avoids eye contact shows disinterest. A direct gaze shows confidence and is considered a good thing. When it comes to flirting, the USA women and men can do it all. There’s flirtatious sideways glances and winks are acceptable in addition to that straight on “I’m interested” look. Your eyes can do your talking for you in American – without much risk of offending!

Western Europe. Eye contact in countries like Spain, France and Germany mimics the standards of the United States. When you are conducting business, maintaining eye contact is considered polite and expresses interest and trustworthiness. However, when it comes to flirting – especially in romantic Paris and France – the direct gaze at a stranger of the opposite sex is very acceptable, even if the person is a stranger. A man may be showing appreciation of the person’s beauty. But, be careful. If you return that direct eye contact, you’re saying that you are interested, too.

The Middle East. There is a similarity of the appropriate eye contact in most of the Middle East although the cultures definitely vary. Eye contact is both less common and less appropriate. The laws of the Muslim religion impact eye contact. Only the briefest glance – if any – is permitted between men and women. A long glance can be interpreted as “adultery of the eyes” and punished. However, steady eye contact between two people of the same sex is a way of saying “I’m truthful”. If traveling in the Middle East, avoid direct eye contact with the opposite sex but don’t be afraid to give a person of the same sex a steady look. And, be prepared to see beautifully applied eye makeup even if the woman is wearing a hijab.

Asia, Latin America and Africa. This may be a strange grouping of areas, but in each of them their interpretation of eye contact is similar. When you make extended eye contact, it is likely to be thought that you are showing disrespect or even challenging the person’s authority. Brief and off-and-on eye contact is more acceptable in these cultures. When a Japanese woman avoids looking at a man, she’s showing respect and being polite. She’s not showing a lack of confidence. In Latin American, when a man ogles a woman, he is as likely to be showing admiration for all females as for the individual woman.

No matter how you use your eyes in your culture, you want them to be beautiful. And, it’s your eyelashes that frame your eyes and show off their beauty. So, make those lashes really wonderful and throw out the mascara. Visit a professional eyelash extension salon and get the eyelashes of your dreams – naturally thick, sexy or, even, glamorous if you chose a jewel-toned color. Eyelash extensions make the most of your eyes. You’ll even wake up feeling and looking beautiful. Every glance – long, short or sideways – is going to have a beautiful explanation point.

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