So much has been written about the eyes that it's difficult to know what's true, and what's poetry. We've already unlocked and decoded several meanings of different eye movements, but that barely scraped the surface of how they eyes communicate. Whenever you're in doubt about the hidden meaning behind words spoken to you, maintain direct eye contact as it is likely to give you hints that the words don't. By maintaining constant eye contact, you can be sure that you won't miss key communication signals that you would miss by just listening. The one thing that many people fail to understand is that nonverbal communication is just as important as the spoken word, perhaps even more so when dealing with poor communicators.
As a kid, your parents probably chided you about staring, because 'it's rude', but the truth is that staring simply means that something has captured your interest. When you stare, your eyes get bigger and you become almost transfixed by the person or object at which you're staring. Blinking slows down, as you're so riveted that your body won't allow you to break the stare. Sometimes though, staring indicates shock or doubt, especially when hearing terrible or surprising news. Staring at nothing in particular, however, is a sign that a person is lost in his or her own thoughts. Sometimes though, staring is just being rude or aggressive. Standing face-to-face with another person and staring them down is an intimidating movement, intended to exercise dominance over another person or prove yourself a threat.
Squinting at a person or object generally means that you are unsure of the facts presented to you, or evaluating the truthfulness of a statement. Sometimes, a squint is just to focus your eyes or adjust to bright lights, but often it means more. When someone is lying, he or she will often squint to shield their eyes from the prying glare of the person to whom they are lying. Just as people sometimes shift their gaze to avoid being called out for lying, sometimes they will squint to hide the intent displayed in their eyes. When unsure that they're being told the truth, most people will squint to indicate that they don't believe you. Often, this squint accompanies a sideways glance, which says, 'I'm intrigued, but not entirely certain you're telling me the truth. Be careful that you don't read too much into the squint, because sometimes it indicates that a person is simply tired rather than untruthful.
Unlocking the meaning of nonverbal eye communication can be difficult, as its human nature to search for a sinister meaning in all movements and gestures. While most of the time our energy is focused on body language because of a certainty that the other person meant to slight us, some eye movements are meant only to be playful and flirtatious. Winking for example, is one of those eye movements that has no sinister meaning, but can be considered conspiratorial. Sometimes a wink between people is to indicate an inside joke, that only they understand. Other times a wink is used to urge another person to play along in a charade or practical joke on another. However, the most common use of the wink is to acknowledge another person, very similar to greeting someone, 'hello'. This wink though, is often reserved for a flirtatious greeting among intimate partners, or a budding romance. When looking for nonverbal clues, focus on the eyes, as they are sure to give you the answers you're looking for. Sometimes it isn't what the other person is doing with their eyes; it's how they use them that's important. Everyone knows how important eye contact is to show respect and listen to others, but eye contact or lack of, is just as big a signal as staring or winking. Simply maintaining eye contact during a conversation lets a person know that what they have to say, interests you, whereas a lack of eye contact during a direct conversation says, 'I have no interest in what you're saying'.
Eye contact has so many subtle nuances that sometimes it's difficult to tell what it means. For example, glancing at someone (particularly of romantic interest), breaking that eye contact and then glancing again, is a common signal to show romantic interest. It is often intended that after this stare, one of the parties will approach the other. Maintaining eye contact for a long period of time can sometimes intimidate the other person or make them feel uncomfortable. Be careful of this by noting how frequently eye contact is broken during a conversation. While it is important to maintain eye contact during a conversation, intense eye contact may scare or intimidate the other person to end the conversation early.
Although many people are still unfamiliar with body language, there are plenty of people who've gone to great lengths to study it. Those who study this lost art have taken it upon themselves to project the image they want people to have, through body language. Maintaining eye contact and using it to manipulate a situation or a person is becoming a common occurrence, as we interact with people who don't necessarily share our culture or societal norms.