People often use eye contact when flirting. It might come naturally, or it can be a little more intentional to show interest in someone. Learn some of the different types of eye contact that might occur when someone is flirting and what they can mean to help you feel more confident on the dating scene.
Knowing the ins and outs of how people flirt with the eyes can help you know if someone is flirting with you — and it can also help you if you want to convey an interest in someone you've had your "eye" on for a while.
Types of Flirting With Eye Contact
Like any type of flirting technique, eye contact isn't just black and white. This type of flirting takes many forms and people will often employ more than one type of eye contact flirting.
The extended gaze type of eye contact is a lingering look that lasts longer than the conversation or the usual look. Accompanied by a small smile or warmth in the eyes, the extended gaze is different from a disturbing stare. To avoid staring, always send comfortable body signals like an easy stance or tilt of the neck along with your extended gaze.
Peeking is taking short, brief glances that are more demure than the full-on extended gaze. Peeking is surreptitious yet noticeable. Peeking eye contact is a good warm-up for other, more intense eye flirting. (Teens often use this type of flirting.)
Long-distance eye flirting occurs between two people who may not know one another but feel an attraction. Often described as sparks, kismet, or "love at first sight," the long-distance eye flirt is often seen in movies. Flirting with your eyes across a distance can occur repeatedly over a long period or just for one poignant moment.
Your stare can indicate, "Look at that silly thing!" or, "Do you believe this is happening?" and create a shared moment between the two of you. After you have locked eyes, glance at something else (perhaps a customer in line at the coffee shop rattling off a ridiculously long order for a customized drink), look back, and give a grin.
It's as if you're both in on a joke; if the other person laughs, nods, or rolls their eyes as if to say, "I know — how silly!" it's a good sign of a quick connection.
The Eyebrow Lift
You'll raise your eyebrows when encountering someone you know or find attractive — this is an unconscious facial gesture and generally puts other people at ease (even if they don't realize it).
When you lock eyes with the other person, subtly raise your eyebrows — doing this too overtly can make you appear shocked or bemused, so keep it small. It should be a subtle movement, but it's an inviting one.
This is a good eye contact method for flirting if you're ready to start talking to the person because it can help put them at ease, and this may help them feel comfortable approaching you for a real conversation.
Full Body Gaze
Full-body gazes begin with an extended gaze and are followed up by a longer look over the mouth, down the body, and back up to the eyes. This type of eye contact is usually considered brazen and highly sensual. The person may respond with a similar gaze or appear to blush.
How to Use Eye Contact Flirting
If you want to send the object of your affection a clear signal, then try eye contact. It is a simple way to flirt and you can do it almost anywhere.
- Think about where you will next see the person you are interested in.
- Plan what type of look you will use.
- Say nothing if possible and stand still, yet in a casual manner. If you're nervous, engage in a conversation with a friend while you wait for a clear moment.
- Without turning your body, turn your head to your love interest. Wait for him or her to return your look.
- Look deeply, but not too intensely. into his or her eyes. Add a smile or some type of gesture to your look. Gestures like tapping your lips, stroking your cheek, and twisting your hair are typical movements that accompany a good eye flirt.
Is Staring Always Flirting?
It's important to use the above tips and not simply stare blankly. Staring takes on less of a flirtatious feel to it when the stare isn't accompanied by the appropriate body language or a softness of the eyes. Stare blankly for too long and your intended recipient may think you are simply daydreaming or trying to place their face to remember where you know them from.
What to Do When You Make Eye Contact
You successfully make eye contact with the other person and they're looking right back at you. What now? This is a good time for a little smile, a small head nod of acknowledgment, or if the other person seems locked into your gaze comfortably, it may be time to walk up and say hello.
Successful eye contact is as much a conversation (albeit non-verbal) as an initial exchange of pleasantries; don't be apprehensive about starting up an actual conversation after connecting via eye contact.
Rejected Eye Contact
To avoid social embarrassment, it's good to know when to cease and desist with eye contact flirting. Too much of a good thing can make you look like a stalker or too pushy. Allow plenty of time between eye flirts and let the other person have the opportunity to consider your "offer."
If your eye contact receives a frown or if they avoid you, then you know your advances are not probably welcome. Stop eye flirting if this happens.
The body language you use with your eye contact is important. Avoid these inappropriate gestures when making eye contact:
- Rubbing your tongue over your lips
- Rubbing your groin area
- Making silent mouth movements
- Pointing at areas of the other person's body
Practice Makes Perfect
Eye flirting is a powerful way to get the attention of someone you are interested in. With some practice, you can master the technique of flirting with your eyes, or have a better idea of when someone is probably trying to flirt with you. Don't discount the power of your eyes; they can say so much without you ever even saying a word.