Are Women Overdoing Eye Contact on Dates?

Mar 31, 2021


Today’s blog topic is likely to stir some controversy. In most life situations, we’re told that direct eye contact is the way to go. In most cases, this is true, for instance, to show confidence in a job interview. But when it comes to a date, is there such thing as too much of a good thing? Are women getting carried away with making too much eye contact to the point of goo-goo eyes on their dates?


I’m going to share the unpopular but potentially helpful food for thought that yes, some women take this too far on dates. Let’s envision your typical dinner date. You might be seated across the dinner table from one another.  Many women tend to overdo eye contact in this context, by gazing deeply into his eyes. If you are staring into his eyes across the dinner table all night, at an animal level, he is going to feel like he is prey and you are a predator chasing him. (At some subconscious level in his mind, you are now running after him with a butterfly net trying to impinge on his bachelor freedom; that might be a little extreme, but you get the idea.) Ever watched a predator focus on prey? The first way you notice that a cat wants to go after a bird is the cat's intense stare at the bird. If you exhibit this behavior towards a man, it will make him feel like he wants to get away, at an animal level. (Notice that when a cat is relaxed, for instance, there is no intense eye contact or starting. The cat might look at you, but it’s not with intense focus. I want you to borrow a little of the relaxed-cat type of eye contact and stay away from the cat-about-to-pounce eye contact.)


So what do I want you to do instead? Alternate eye contact with smiling as you glance around the room, glance at the painting on the wall, glance at the flowers, visually take in the room.  This allows him to relax in your presence because your focus on him is not intense. It serves you both better by letting him close the gap to get your attention a little, as opposed to you chasing him with constant intense eye contact, which scares men off. You aren’t avoiding eye contact (which would show lack of confidence) but you also aren’t gazing deeply into his eyes either (which is going to make him feel shifty and uncomfortable). You want something in the middle.


I hear someone now asking “Fine Coach Cori, but doesn’t direct eye contact indicate you are listening attentively?”  Here’s where I want you to pay close attention to a difference between the sexes. In general, women talk to one another with intense focus and attunement to eye contact and listening. Women are used to that intensity. Men are not used to such intensity and may even find it off-putting. Men don’t require or even necessarily appreciate your intense focus on every word they say. Men in general tend to become more self-absorbed if you hang on every word they say. 


Life tip and example of how you may have already seen this play out in the past: If a man is ever boring you with pontificating on some subject that doesn't interest you, ask yourself if you are using body language (are your toes pointing at him?) and using a lot of eye contact as though you are listening attentively. If you are, it is often the case that you think you’re just being polite while he thinks your eye contact/body language is a green light to keep talking on and on about himself because he thinks your rapt attention is showing that you want to hear more. Disengaging your focus from him will 9 times out of 10 get him to snap out of it and return to a two-way conversation rather than dominating the conversation. (It's amazing how much communication is non-verbal... subscribe to our newsletter if you would like to hear more of these tips.)


At the end of the day, I hope your take away to aim for intermittent eye contact on your date, and make a mental note to avoid “gazing deeply into his eyes” (which is also known as staring, and don’t all of us pretty much universally feel uncomfortable being the subject of a stare?)


- "Coach Cori" McGraw  at the Love Academy for Women



In any area of life, it helps to have a mentor. Dating is no different. 

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