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Published on August 25, 2017

Subtle Eye Gestures That Can Help You Earn the Trust of Others

Subtle Eye Gestures That Can Help You Earn the Trust of Others

Human beings are the only primates that show the whites of their eyes. This gives us a unique range of possible signals that we can communicate with just our eyes. By knowing what different eye signals mean, and how to make those signals, we can more effectively get others to trust us and like us instantaneously.

Contracted Pupils versus Dilated Pupils

    You may have noticed that your pupils contract (get smaller) or dilate (get larger) when your mood changes. When you get excited about something, your pupils can actually dilate up to four times their original size – that’s pretty drastic!

    Conversely, an angry or negative mood can cause your pupils to contract a lot. You probably have angry coworkers or friends who complain to you: next time they do, notice how their pupils become “beady” or like “snake eyes.”

    Say you want to dilate your pupils on purpose to convey your interest or excitement in what someone else is talking about. How can you do this intentionally? Thankfully there’s an easy trick: Un-focus your eyes, blurring your vision as much as you can. You’ll know you’re doing this correctly if your eyes feel very relaxed.

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    Make the “eyebrow flash”

      The “eyebrow flash” is an unconscious eyebrow raise that lasts about 1/5 of a second: it’s a subtle but effective gesture that signals a long-distance “hello!” Normally, you don’t raise your eyebrows to greet a random stranger you pass on the street. But if you do want to get to know a stranger, try this friendly and simple gesture! You’ll likely find that they’ll return the eyebrow flash and smile; some will even come over to strike up a conversation.

      Keep your eyes open and avoid frowning

      It’s easy to allow our resting eyes to half-close and our faces to droop into a frown, especially when we’re preoccupied with something. But recent studies have found [1] that these habits make us appear as though we’re tired and in a bad mood. People associate exhaustion with poor cognitive performance. So it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that if you don’t look alert, people will unconsciously assume that you’re less intelligent.

      Long story short: Keep your eyes looking bright and that face smiling!

      Use low OR high eyebrows to signal authority or submission

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        Low-set eyebrows signal authority. John F. Kennedy had what are known as “medially down-turned” eyebrows, which gave his face a permanently authoritative (and concerned) look that appealed to voters.

          If you don’t already have low-set eyebrows, but you want to project authority, you can make your eyebrows thicker. This will shorten the distance between your eyes and the eyebrows and thereby create the illusion you have low set eyebrows.

          By contrast, you can take advantage of high or arched eyebrows to signal submission or sexiness. Scarlett Johansson’s eyebrows, while thick, are high and arched. If you don’t already have high eyebrows and want to signal sexiness, consider getting them sculpted or shaped to achieve this look.

          Narrow your eyelids and focus your gaze to establish authority

          Many of us need to project our authority from time to time, whether it’s as a manager speaking to employees or a teacher speaking to a large class. If you have naturally soft eyes, but want to project authority, practice the “Power Stare.”

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          Try not to blink excessively while you maintain eye contact. Narrow your eyelids and focus closely on the other person. By doing this, you are demonstrating that you are utterly unintimidated, and that you are establishing your dominance.

          In fact, this is exactly what predatory animals do just before they strike their prey. While you probably plan to use this gaze in the workplace or in much calmer social scenarios, the effect can be useful from time to time.

          To signal submissiveness, lower the head and look up

            Just as it can be useful to establish power and dominance, it’s equally important to know how to signal submission. Animals do this too in different ways: dogs sometimes expose their bellies to show that they are not trying to pose a threat to other, larger dogs. Projecting submissiveness is a method of gaining another person’s trust.

            If you want to try it out, lower your head just slightly and look up. This makes your eyes appear larger and more “innocent” or “childlike.” It’s easier to do this if you’re shorter than the other person, but if you’re the taller one, you can also try it out while you’re seated. Just make sure not to overdo this one – it can look less than subtle!

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            Don’t blink too frequently or too slowly

            Both over-blinking and under-blinking can be warning signs to others. People under pressure will often dramatically increase their blinking rate, while people who blink very slowly are unconsciously signaling that they are bored or feel superior to you. Strangers and friends alike will pick up on these signals. If you want to gain someone’s trust and respect, blink at a regular rate to show that you trust and respect them too.

            To establish strong, peer-to-peer rapport, hold eye contact about 60-70% of the time

            More than this can be unsettling, while less than appear overly meek. 60-70% is the sweet spot for an extended gaze that creates intimate feelings. This will encourage people to like and trust you.

            This is why you might find it hard to trust a nervous person who meets your gaze less than a third of the time. Think about this for yourself: you might be the kind of person who avoid eye contact, but make the attempt to hold enough to gain another person’s trust.

            Consider avoiding dark-tinted glasses as well, especially when you’re trying to establish a strong relationship with another person – either business or personal. The sunglasses will make others feel you are either staring at them or trying to avoid them.

            Reference

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            Brian Lee

            Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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            Published on July 13, 2018

            Striving Towards Secure Attachment: How to Restructure Your Thoughts

            Striving Towards Secure Attachment: How to Restructure Your Thoughts

            What if you could discover some tools and methods that could improve your relationships? What if by gaining a little knowledge you could understand your relationship dynamics better and give them a boost up?

            By learning what secure attachment is and how to restructure your thoughts, you can become more self-aware of your relationship dynamics. After becoming more aware, you can then take a few steps to make them better than ever. That’s something that many of us could benefit from.

            When we hear the term secure attachment, our mind typically goes to a relationship. And that’s exactly what it’s about.

            In this article I’ll discuss the concept of secure attachments in more detail and how restructuring your thoughts can help you strive towards achieving better relationships.

            Relationships are a hugely important part of our lives and whatever we can do to improve them is a good thing for everyone involved.

            What is attachment theory?

            Let’s do a quick overview of what attachment theory is. This will provide a good foundation for the rest of this article.

            The esteemed psychologist John Bowlby first coined the term attachment theory in the late 60’s. Bowlby studied early childhood conditioning extensively and what he found was very interesting.

            His research showed that when a very young child has a strong attachment to a caregiver, it provides the child with a sense of security and foundation. On the other hand when there isn’t a secure attachment, the child will expend a lot more developmental energy looking for security and stability.

            The child without the secure attachment tends to become more fearful, timid and slow to explore new situations or their environment.

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            When a strong attachment is developed in a child, he or she will be inclined to be more adventurous and seek out new experiences because they feel more secure. They know that whoever is watching out for them will be there if needed.

            Bowlby’s colleague, Mary Ainsworth, took the theory further. She did extensive studies around infant-parent separations and provided a more formal framework for the differing attachment styles.

            How attachment develops

            Simply put, attachment is an emotional bond with another person. Attachment doesn’t have to go both ways, it can be one person feeling attached to another without it being reciprocated. Most of the time, it works between two people to one degree or another.

            Attachment begins at a very young age. Over the history of time, when children were able to maintain a closer proximity to a caregiver that provided for them, a strong attachment was formed.

            The initial thought was that the ability to provide food or nourishment to a child was the primary driver of a strong attachment.

            It was then discovered that the primary drivers of attachment proved to be the parent/caregivers responsiveness to the child as well as the ability to nurture that child in a variety of ways. Things such as support, care, sustenance, and protection are all components of nurturing a child.

            In essence a child forms a strong attachment when they feel that their caregiver is accessible and attentive and there if they need them; that the parent/caregiver will be there for them. If the child does not feel that the caregiver is there to help them when needed, they experience anxiety.

            Different types of attachments

            In children, 4 types of attachment styles have been identified. They are as follows:

            • Secure attachment – This is primarily marked by discomfort or distress when separated from caregivers and joy and security when the caregiver is back around the child. Even though the child initially feels agitated when the caregiver is no longer around, they feel confident they will return. The return of the parent or caregiver is met with positive emotions, the child prefers parents to strangers.
            • Ambivalent attachment – These children become very distressed when the parent or caregiver leaves. They feel they can’t rely on their caregiver for support when the need arises. Even though a child with ambivalent attachment may be agitated or confused when reunited with a parent or caregiver, they will cling to them.
            • Avoidant attachment – These kids typically avoid parents or caregivers. When they have a choice of being with the parent or not, they don’t seem to care one way or the other. Research has shown that this may be the result of neglectful caregivers.
            • Disorganized attachment – These children display a mix of disoriented behavior towards their caregiver. They may want them sometimes and other times they don’t. This is sometimes thought to be linked to inconsistent behavior from the parent or caregiver.

            What attachments mean to adults

            So the big question is how does this affect us in adulthood? Intuitively it makes sense that as a child, if we have someone who will be there when we need them, we feel secure. And on the other end of the spectrum, if we aren’t sure someone’s going to provide what we need when we need it, we may become more anxious and fearful.

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            As an adult, we tend to wind up in one of three primary attachment types based on our childhood experiences. These are secure, avoidant, and anxious. Technically, there is a fourth one, anxious-avoidant, but it is quite a bit less common. They are described as follows:

            • Secure – When you have a secure attachment, you are comfortable displaying interest and affection towards another person but you’re also fine being alone and independent. Secure types are less apt to obsess over a relationship gone sour and handle being rejected easier. Secure types also tend to be better than other types with not starting relationships with people that might not be the best partners. They cut off the relationship quicker when they see things in a potential partner they don’t like. Secure attachment people make up the majority of the attachment types.
            • Anxious – Folks who have an anxious attachment style typically need a lot of reassurance from their partners. They have a much harder time being on their own and single than the other styles and fall into bad relationships more often. The anxious style represent about 20% of the population. It’s been shown that if anxious attachment styles learn how to communicate their needs better and learn to date secure partners, they can move towards the secure attachment style.
            • Avoidant – Avoidant attachment style represents approximately 25% of the population as adults. Avoidants many times have the hardest time in a relationship because they have a difficult time finding satisfaction. In general, they are uncomfortable with close relationships and intimacy and are quite independent. They are the lone wolf type person.
            • Anxious-avoidant – The anxious-avoidant style is relatively rare. It is composed of conflicting styles – they want to be close but at the same time push people away. They do things that push the people they are closest to away. Many times there can be a higher risk of depression or other mental health issues.

            Here’s where it gets really interesting:

            Move towards secure attachment

            The good news is that it is possible to move from one style to another. Specifically, it is possible to move towards a more secure attachment style.

            Now as you might imagine, this is not an easy or a quick process. Like any type of big change where you are attempting to alter such a deeply ingrained mindset, it takes a strong will to accomplish.

            The first step is developing an awareness of your attachment style. The next step is to have the desire and drive to move your attachment style towards the more secure style.

            If someone with an anxious or avoidant style has a long term relationship with a secure type, the anxious or avoidant person can slowly get brought up more towards a secure style.

            The opposite is also true, they could bring the secure person more towards their attachment style. Therefore, you have to be conscious of your type and if you want to move more towards secure, it takes persistence.

            Therapy is an option as well. Anxious types many times need to work on their self-esteem, avoidants on their connection specifically and compassion.

            How to restructure your thoughts

            Ready for the way to do it? Here we go:

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            For the Avoidant Style

            As with any type of change on such a deep level, the first step is awareness. Realize you have an avoidant style and be aware of it as you have interactions with your partner(s).

            Try to work towards a place of mutual support and giving/taking. Try to lessen your need for complete self-reliance. Allow your partner to do some things that make you a little uncomfortable that you would normally do yourself.

            Don’t always focus on the imperfections of your partner. We all have them, remind yourself of that.

            Make yourself a list of the qualities that your partner has that you are thankful for.

            Look for a secure style partner if at all possible, they would be good for you to be with.

            If you have a tendency to end relationships before they go too far, be aware of that and let it develop further.

            Get into the habit of accepting and even instigating physical touch. Tell yourself that it’s good for you to have some intimacy. Intimacy can help you feel safe and secure.

            And over time you can realize that it’s okay to rely on other people.

            For the Anxious Style

            For the anxious style, the #1 thing to work on is learning to communicate needs better. This is a huge issue for the anxious style.

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            First and foremost if you communicate your needs more clearly, you will have less anxiety, that’s already a big win. This will also allow you to better assess if a potential partner is good for you.

            Try to bring your feelings more to the surface and most importantly, share them with your partner. Remember that secure attachments typically communicate pretty well, this is what you are working towards.

            For the Anxious-Avoidant Style

            The anxious-avoidant is a very small percentage of the attachment styles. Since this type tends to be anxious in the relationship AND more or less a loner, the key here is working hard to be very self-aware of your actions.

            Use the parts of striving towards secure attachment from the anxious tips and the avoidant restructuring of your thoughts to consciously work towards being more secure.

            When you find yourself pushing someone away, ask why. If you feel worried that your partner is going to leave you, again, ask yourself where this is coming from. Have they shown you any reason to believe this? Many times there is no real evidence. In that case, allow yourself to calm down and try not to obsess over it.

            For the Secure Style

            Since the goal is to move towards a more secure attachment style, there isn’t much needed here as you might imagine.

            Something to be aware of is being in a relationship just because it’s “okay”. Don’t stay if it’s not a good place for you and your partner. If your partner is of an anxious or avoidant attachment style, stay mindful to not start developing characteristics of those styles.

            Strive towards Secure Attachment

            As we wrap things up, you’ve probably developed a good idea of the benefits of secure attachment. If you don’t currently have a secure attachment style, here are some benefits of restructuring your thoughts more towards this style:

            • Positive self esteem and self image
            • Close and well adjusted relationships
            • Sense of security in self and the world
            • Ability to be independent as well as in relationships
            • Optimistic outlook on life and yourself
            • Strong coping skills and strategies for relationships and life
            • Trust in self and others
            • Close, intimate relationships
            • Strong determination and problem solving skills

            If you are an anxious or avoidant style or the combination of anxious-avoidant, it is possible to move towards a secure attachment style.

            It takes self-awareness, patience and a strong desire to get close to being secure but it can be done. You will find that putting the effort into it will provide you with more open, honest and satisfying relationships.

            Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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