I had very bad social anxiety about making eye contact which peaked in my college years. I avoided eye contact back then because it freaked me out and gave me severe panic attacks. And as a result – well, you know- what you avoid and fear becomes worse – and it became a real hindrance to me.
Sometimes even after the fear of something is gone, it’s easy to revert back to old behaviors. I noticed this recently with making eye contact with people – specifically people in stores and at checkout, but also when someone is walking towards me and we exchange hellos.
Here are some really useful tips for How To Make Eye Contact that I wrote awhile back. If social anxiety makes eye contact hard for you, read this article and use these simple tips.
Making eye contact is not frightening to me anymore, because I built myself up to doing it following the tips outlined in the post above. I did it again and again and again.
Gentle exposure therapy, and consistency. Meeting other people’s gaze at every opportunity until it no longer made me feel scared.
The nice part is after I lost the fear, I didn’t even think about it anymore. That is one of the wonderful things about overcoming social anxiety symptoms- once you lose your fear about it, it goes away. It might feel like it takes forever, but it really does go away!
So it bothered me when I noticed lately I had fallen back into the pattern of avoiding eye contact. Recently when I was going through the drive though at McDonald’s I noticed it. The girl said thank you, I said thank you – I took the food and smiled at her. But I didn’t look at her. There was no element of anxiety, I just didn’t look at her.
It was subtle and I’m glad I caught myself. Negative behavior habits die hard i guess 😉
I’m grateful I’m not anxious about making eye contact and that is just me avoiding it. I think if I hadn’t caught this early perhaps it would have become a fear again.
Going to go back out there and work on making eye contact again.
I wish you peace,
Update: I am much better now. I recommend & use the 60 Second Panic Solution. Please if you are suffering, get started now & reclaim your life from fear and anxiety! Click here to learn more.