Look Me in the Eye

Just a brief note on something I learned this summer.

Growing up, I was always told by teachers and others that if a person didn’t look you in the eye, they were lying. I couldn’t understand how that could be true. My parents were liars par excellence, and they ALWAYS looked everyone in the eye.

I’m not entirely sure if that’s why I wouldn’t look people in the eye when I was talking, or not. I never really thought much about it except it frustrated me that people were so incredibly stupid to believe something so verifiably untrue. It’s probably why so many people are so easily conned. Which, of course, is exactly what my parents do.

Reading Subliminal this summer I learned that this supposed social norm for Westerners is quite far from the truth. Whether a person looks another in the eye has nothing to do with honesty. It has to do with the person’s perceived social position. Basically, I can’t look anyone in the eye when I speak because I feel I am beneath them. I also look them straight in the eye when they speak for the same reason.

Pass it along. Maybe put a few politicians out of work. 😉 And maybe you won’t be so quick to believe that person promising you the impossible simply because you were taught that a liar can’t look you in the eye.

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