How to Make Eye Contact and Create Connection

Ralph Waldo Emerson quote photo | Dianna Bonny PhotographyTragedy offers a front row seat to human nature and one thing I started noticing in the early aftermath was how we avoid eye contact. What is it about allowing others to peer through the “windows to our soul” that is so difficult?

Long before my life changed, I used to struggle mightily with sustaining eye contact, always awkwardly looking down or to the side when speaking to others. I was a well practiced gaze averter, perhaps trying to mask my insecurity. During those first few weeks after my husband’s death, I found myself closing my eyes frequently as a way of managing contact with the outside world, because it was easy to feel overwhelmed, and by simply lowering my lids, I found tremendous relief.

Then, I started observing the way others reacted to my situation and noticed that many people simply could not look me in the eyes. Often times, it indicated more than just a discomfort with the topic, and alerted me to listen to my intuition and led to interesting discoveries.

Our eyes are powerful tools for interacting with the world.

A couple of years ago, I worked with a speaking coach and he asked me to do two interesting exercises.

First, sit facing another individual, knee-to-knee and just stare into each other’s eyes for twenty minutes. No speaking, just looking. The first few minutes were filled with a lot of nervous giggling and fidgeting, as we settled in to our discomfort. Once that quieted down, I couldn’t decide if I should try to smile the entire time or relax my face, but eventually it just became about the looking, deeper and deeper into the other person’s eyes, and the rest faded away.

The next exercise was to look into my own eyes in a mirror for twenty minutes and it was a similar experience, perhaps less fidgety. The trick is to look into your eyes as though you are gazing at a beloved child. No inner critic allowed.

I came away from both of these practices with a deeper level of comfort around eye contact. I think it is an art, much like truly listening to someone. It begins with being comfortable in our own skin, and then shifting the focus of every vibrating molecule in our being toward the human in front of us.

Easier said than done in this distracted, busy world, but if you have ever had the blessing of someone truly looking into your eyes or fully listening to your words, then you know it can be life changing and a worthy gift to share.

Genuine eye contact might be one way to reverse the unfortunate prognosis that sociologists have made about our culture: human beings are attention starved and in desperately in need of someone to listen sincerely to the truth in their souls. Here we are with all this wired connectivity, yet we have become lonely, isolated islands.

Try making eye contact with yourself first and then turn that love outward to the world. Perhaps it will be like the butterfly effect and create a global hurricane of human connection. Wouldn’t that be a marvelous change?

Sending love and hope for connection,



Who is Dianna Bonny?

Hi, my name is Dianna Bonny. It’s my mission to candidly share my journey with you. For me, it’s all about the healing: to create a radiant healing energy for others who have befallen a similar fate. Together, we can forge beautiful lives of belonging and connection. Thanks for joining me today! I look forward to hearing from you.

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