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Eye contact rewarded with a smile

Yes, I am well aware that a tragedy occurred in Virginia on Wednesday, and we continue to pray for the families and friends of WDBJ TV crew members, Alison Parker and Adam Ward. We lived in the Roanoke area for eight years and still have family there. I have blogged about senseless shootings before. You can read my thoughts on that at NotAgain! They haven’t changed since that blog was written, about the Virginia Tech shootings.

I had planned to write a blog that might make people smile, and I think perhaps we need that today…

Last weekend, I watched a baby, maybe 6 months old; pat his dad’s arm, in hopes of getting his attention. Dad was paying attention to the person speaking, but he took a moment and looked at his son. Oh my goodness, that little boy’s entire face lit up with a smile!

The look on his face before hand was a little uncertain, perhaps wondering if dad would look at him. His dad was rewarded with a look of pure joy from his son, from the simple act of making eye contact with him.

I believe eye contact is important. In most cases, it shows you value the person enough to look at them. I understand, in some cultures, or situations direct eye contact can be perceived as threatening, so I would suggest you follow the proper behavior for your situation. However, in most cases, looking at someone can make a big difference.

Just think, if you are having a conversation with someone who is often looking around or, even worse, on their phone. Do you think that what you are saying is of value to them? Do you feel that they respect you? Probably not. I know I wouldn’t. Imagine how someone you are speaking with feels if you are the person not giving them your full attention.

I try to look at people when they are talking to me. I usually look at total strangers when I walk by them. Many times they are looking away, but when someone looks at me, I smile and say, “How are you,” or “Good morning,” or “Hey,” whatever seems appropriate. Sometimes they ignore me, or grunt a response, but many times, their face lights up like that little boy’s, and they smile back at me. Talk about a win-win, two people smiling. Sweet!

Go ahead, make eye contact with people, you may be rewarded with a smile!

*Pam Horton is a certified Stress Management coach in the Raleigh area.*

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