How to avoid eye contact, of course

Social phobia: Please don't make eye contact

But why is spontaneous eye contact with strangers so painful and embarrassing?

Perhaps because eye contact with someone is something very intimate. I use it to create a connection and closeness to a person and signal to them: I am devoting all my attention to you. It's just stupid if you don't want that at all and everything is just a coincidence. Eye contact then quickly turns into something confusing that pulls us out of our own thoughts or, even worse, one perceives it as an intrusion into one's own privacy. What is this person staring at me? What does this person want from me? Up to and including: Oh man, do I have toothpaste on my face again?

It's hard to say: "Excuse me, please, I didn't even want to look at you"

From an early age we are taught: “Don't be rigid like that! That's rude! ”And it's not even a conscious stare. Still, it's so uncomfortable as if you had stepped on someone's foot with full force. But it is difficult to say here: “Excuse me, please! It was not on purpose. I didn't want to look at you. "

I first realized that this is a pretty German problem when I was in Chile after graduating from high school. Every morning I took the bus to my work for 40 minutes and it was quite normal for people to look at me - or just stare at me - non-stop. Even if the eyes met briefly, nobody avoided my gaze. Many were much more pleased about the short contact and smiled at me. So it was never rude, but rather a sign of interest. And at the same time very liberating to be able to look everyone in the face without fear.