Fear of Looking into the Eyes – Is It possible to Overcome?


A person who is afraid to look into the eyes of his interlocutor or a casual passer-by does not give the impression of a strong and self-sufficient personality – on the contrary, he looks weak, fearful and unsure of himself. According to psychologists, the fear of looking in the eyes is closely related to the fear of communicating with people (social phobia), and its development is due to anxiety about the assessments and opinions of others. Sometimes fear to meet looks is called ommatophobia, a disorder characterized by fear of the eyes.

Causes of Fear and its Manifestation

In most cases, the reluctance to look people in the eye is caused by the fear of interacting with them, the lack of integrity and self-doubt. Shy, modest individuals are also afraid of meeting their views with interlocutors or strangers because of a possible negative assessment. It is known that a person suffering from social phobia is afraid to look at others. Catching someone’s eyes on himself, the patient begins to feel very anxious and think about how he looked at that moment and how he was appreciated. Sociophobes put too much effort in order to make a good impression on everyone, but at the same time they are confident that this will never happen. It is especially difficult for the patient to look into the eyes of people at the time of the conversation. In order to avoid unpleasant sensations, a social phobia constantly puts aside eyes or lowers its head. A “clash” of looks may cause the following symptoms in a patient:

Such individuals often use dark glasses or a hood hanging over their eyes as peculiar means of protection.

How to Stop Being Afraid of People’s Views?

There are several techniques that help to fight with fear to look in the eyes of the interlocutor:

  1. Conscious retention of sight. This technique is characterized by purposeful keeping of eyes on the interlocutor. At the same time, it is necessary to remember all the time that you cannot take your eyes off, and try to keep it on a person for as long as possible. For a start, relatives or friends may become interlocutors so that the exercise does fear of looking into the eyes causesnot cause too much difficulty. The hold time should be increased gradually. If you look in the eye it becomes very difficult, you can move the eyes to the nose, eyebrows or lips.
  2. “Auditorium”. Using this technique, you need to imagine yourself as a person in the auditorium, and the interlocutor – a participant in the performance. At the same time, it is necessary to think about how comfortable and safe the position of the person waiting for the start of the show is.
  3. Active listening. You can try to relax, having fully penetrated into what the interlocutor is talking about, and focusing only on his words. Attentive listening makes the look more natural and calm. Using such a technique, it is necessary to remember that in this case, the assessment is directed only at what the interlocutor says.
  4. State of complete confidence. This technique includes the constant retention in the head of the thought of their own confidence and self-sufficiency. You can imagine a certain image of yourself that seems most attractive, or recall a situation from the past, which was accompanied by a feeling of complete confidence. It is recommended to repeat mentally: “I am confident in myself,” “I am not afraid of anything,” “I am calm and relaxed.”
  5. “One eye”. To reduce anxiety and restlessness during the conversation, you can pay attention to only one companion eye.

A person who is afraid to look into their eyes should also use a few tips:

  • Training in front of the mirror. To gain self-confidence and not think about what can look ridiculous in the eyes of fear of looking into the eyes treatmentthe interlocutor, you should more often look into the eyes of yourself, standing in front of a mirror. You can also work on speech and voice to reduce the likelihood of unwanted situations.
  • Work with a partner. For training conversations, it is worth trying to find a person who has a similar problem and work with him in a pair. With the understanding that the interlocutor is experiencing the same feelings, it will be easier to talk.
  • Getting rid of the complexes. During conversations with friends or when meeting with strangers should try not to think about their shortcomings and complexes. As a rule, self-doubt individuals tend to exaggerate their problems. It must be remembered that people may not even be aware of the presence of a particular deficiency in their interlocutor and be of a much higher opinion about him. It is known that each person first of all thinks about how they will evaluate him, and only then he evaluates others.


If you can not cope with the problem on your own, you need to seek help from a specialist. The most effective method of solving the problem “I can not look people in the eye” is a cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy. This type of therapy is also used in the fight against social phobia. Work involves the patient’s gradual habituation to situations that cause fear. This method contributes to the formation of the correct attitude to the reactions of others to their own behavior, the restoration of self-esteem and increase self-esteem. In the course of the patient’s work, new attitudes are formed in relation to events causing anxiety and alarm.

A person who finds it difficult to look people in the eye will not get rid of his problem simply by closing his hood or lowering his head. When he looks away and hides from his fear, new fears come to him – did he not seem to others around him weak and notorious when he hid his eyes cowardly? First of all, such a person needs to struggle with low self-esteem and self-doubt, since this problem can subsequently lead to the complete avoidance of social interaction.


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