I was talking with an office manager the other day about one of her new hires. She said that this young woman was doing a good job with her training and was getting along well with the rest of the staff. But, there was one thing that was really bothering her about her newest employee, she would not look her in the eye when speaking with her.
I asked her if she had talked to her employee about this and she had not. She said that she did not want to put her on the defense since she was just getting to know her. As we were talking together we Googled “possible reasons people cannot look others in the eye when speaking to them.”
We were both a bit surprised at what we found as we had always heard that when people cannot look you in the eye they must have something to hide, and this not always correct.
Here are a few of the reasons we found that might hinder others from looking you in the eye when speaking with them.
- When people have social anxiety issues looking others in the eyes can increase their anxiety.
- In some cultures looking someone in the eyes is a sign of disrespect.
- If someone is suffering from low self-esteem they may have a difficult time looking someone in the eyes when speaking.
- When some people speak their minds are very busy thinking and they tend not to look at the person with whom they are speaking.
The information in the article linked below gave this manager a good sense of why her new employee may not be looking her in the eye when they speak. She was glad that we talked and Googled about this as she thinks it saved her from drawing the wrong conclusion about her new employee.