The Levels of Eye Contact

The Levels of Eye Contact

Share & Comment

Eye contact is important, especially in dating and gauging people’s attraction to you. Everyone should have a basic understanding of what each person is eye-coding them in any given situation, and it doesn’t take a cryptographer to figure it out. Or if it does, then fuck it, I’m that cryptographer. Here is an entirely overly-analytical, and only-kinda-joking guide to the levels of eye contact and what they mean:

Level (-1): No Contact (Intentional) - Beyond the lowest level of eye contact, this is when someone is not only not making eye contact with you, but they-re consciously making an effort to NOT look at you. In the heights of sexual intimacy, Level (-1) is subterranean. It’s a person’s way of saying, “Get away from me, creep,” without, you know, actually saying it. This eye contact (or lack thereof) is typically reserved for the horny mouth-breathers who stare at a girl’s tits, obnoxious drunk guys in full-on bro-mode, the crazed ex-girlfriend stalker, or any other potential rapist in one’s vicinity. Level (-1) eye contact can also occur within a conversation. So just because he or she is responding to you verbally doesn’t mean you’re out of the gates yet. Put simply, if someone is intentionally making an effort to NOT look at you, they’re not interested. It’s the anti-intimacy. The non-verbal cue for “Give it up…”

That or you have some mustard on your face.

Level 0: No Contact (Unintentional) - An unintentional absence of eye contact signals a lack of knowledge you exist. It means nothing other than they haven’t noticed you. Either they’re busy and focusing on something else, or you’re about as intriguing to look at as grandma’s new wallpaper.

Level 1: Glance (Unconscious) - An unconscious glance is that moment when someone looks up at you and then immediately looks away, although they’re not aware of what they’re looking at. It’s basically when their eyes are wandering around and coincidentally meet yours for a moment and then continue wandering. The key here is that he or she not aware of them meeting and therefore nothing is registering to them as particularly interesting or enticing in that moment. Just like Level 0, this level of eye contact is neutral and there’s not much to take away from it. Most people aren’t paying attention to what they’re looking at most of the time.

Level 2: Glance (Conscious) – The second level of eye contact is the first type of eye contact where you’ve possibly made a positive impression on a person. This is when your eyes and theirs happen to meet and then they look away immediately, except they look away consciously, whether it be shyness, awkwardness, or disinterest. Body language studies claim that a person who breaks eye contact with you by looking down is intimidated (i.e., attracted) and a person who breaks eye contact by looking to the side is indifferent (i.e., not attracted). I have no idea if this is true or not. But if someone breaks eye contact with me quickly and intentionally, it’s usually a polarized response: she’s either attracted and is momentarily made self-conscious by my presence, or she is uninterested and is avoiding making contact. Most people are not comfortable holding eye contact with strangers, what would signal the interest here is that their eyes were drawn to you in the first place. So it’s not the breaking it so much that is important, what’s important is that they consciously looked at you.

Differentiating between Level 2 eye contact and Level 1 eye contact is subtle and hard to do consistently with any sort of accuracy. Although you do pick up some acuity over time. It’s impossible to ever be 100% certain what her intentions or reasoning are, so I assume every woman who makes eye contact with me is attracted until proven otherwise.

A good exercise for someone who is new or shy is to practice never breaking eye contact with people before they break it with you. Walk around all day and make eye contact with people you find interesting or attractive. You’ll feel uncomfortable making eye contact with strangers, but that’s the idea. Keep doing it until it feels natural. It will help your confidence.

Level 3: Glance and a Half - Level 3 is the first level where interest is conveyed, ever so slightly. Like the other lower levels of eye contact, the glance and a half is subtle and difficult to notice without a lot of practice. It’s when someone looks at you and breaks eye contact as they normally do, but they hold the eye contact for a split second longer than is normal. I’m talking maybe 1/4 of a second longer. Whereas Level 2 eye contact may last half a second, Level 3 will last 3/4 of a second. It’s subtle, it’s short, and it’s unconscious. Humans are wired to spend more time looking at things they find attractive on an unconscious level. So in their mind, they’re still breaking eye contact with you, but in practice, they’re actually looking at you 50% longer than they would normally.

It took me a while to start picking up on Level 3 eye contact. Level 3 happens most often when they are consciously focused on something else, such as on their cell phone or talking to somebody they’re with. They don’t realize that they’re looking at you as long as they are. Any eye contact from Level 3 and above from a woman will get me to strongly consider approaching them.

Level 4: Double Glance – Here’s a good habit to get yourself into once you’re able to maintain eye contact with people walking around. Any time you make eye contact with someone attractive and they look away, keep looking at them for another few seconds. A percentage of them will look at you a second time. In my experience, this is a clear sign of physical interest. This from a woman almost guarantees an approach from me, and 95+% of these approaches are received warmly.

What’s funny is that even on Level 4 eye contact, most people are not conscious that they’re doing it. I’ve approached women who have looked at me twice in a row and I mentioned that I saw them look at me, and they seriously didn’t remember looking at me. I’ve even said, “We did an eye contact thing. We made eye contact like three times in a row, you didn’t notice?” And they didn’t… or they were lying scumbags. Either way, just goes to show how most people are off in their own little world not thinking about any of this stuff. Regardless, the unconscious mind is always seeking out things it finds interesting or intriguing, so if their eyes keep falling on you, it’s a sign.

Level 5: The Gaze – The gaze is the last level that can occur unconsciously although it’s usually conscious. This is when someone looks at you and just keeps looking at you past the normal “look away” moment. This is a solid 2-3 seconds of eye contact without them breaking it. When undesired, this becomes the infamous “creep stare.” But in the cases of desirable people looking at you, this is why it’s so important to get in the habit of being able to hold eye contact, because otherwise you’ll miss out on all of the people giving you Level 3-5 eye contact. The gaze is a clear and large sign of interest. You’d be pretty dumb to pass up this signal.

Level 6: The Smile – The sixth level of eye contact is The Gaze plus a smile. If the gaze is a clear sign telling you that they’re interested, throwing a smile on top of it may as well be a neon flashing billboard. If an attractive girl gives you Level 6 and you don’t approach her, not only are you an idiot, but you’re probably afraid of women and have some serious anxiety going on. Approaching a person gazing and smiling at you should be automatic.

Level 7: The Eye Fuck – This is someone who makes eye contact, holds it, smiles, and then never stops. They just keep staring and smiling, and staring and smiling, sometimes for minutes at a time. Eye fucking is the first level of eye contact that makes the leap from “interested/curious” to “they want to have sex with me.” Eye fucking doesn’t withhold any intentions. It’s about as much interest as one can possibly display through eye contact alone. If you get eye fucked by an attractive person and don’t act on it, you’re probably blind or mid-seizure. I can’t think of any other reasonable explanation.

When undesired, the eye fuck is exceedingly creep. If you’re a man and you regularly eye fuck women who do not reciprocate or smile back, then you likely have pepper spray in your near future.

Eye fuckers will often end up approaching you if you don’t approach. Although many of them will give up if you don’t approach for a few minutes and assume you’re not interested. If you’re a man and a woman is eye fucking you, the hint should be clear: she wants you to talk to her.

Level 8: Dreamboat – The dreamboat happens when someone has fallen for you. This is when you wake up in the morning to her staring at you with that dreamy smile like she’s drunk or stayed up all night sniffing glue. It’s the way two people look at each other when cuddling and making cutesy noises while rubbing their noses together. The dreamboat almost never happens before you’ve had sex with someone, and if it does, they’re either Amish or it’s a giant red flag. Usually it starts happening after a month or two into a new relationship, although it can happen in as little as a couple nights together (or in rare circumstances, one).

Assuming the feeling is mutual, the Dreamboat is amazing. It’s the most validating eye contact a woman can give you. Centuries of literature and million-dollar films have thrived off of what the Dreamboat stare signifies. It’s what we humans are obsessed with on some level. And whether we like to admit it or not, it’s what most of us are after in the long-run. So when you find it, enjoy it.

But… if the feeling is not mutual, if the Dreamboat is a one-way street, it’s not always such a pleasant experience. Unrequited love is no fun for anybody. Nobody likes to break a heart and make those eyes cry. Just be honest and upfront, break things off with respect and dignity, and hope that her eyes don’t morph into…

Level 9: The Crazies – The 10th and final level of eye contact cannot be explained as much as experienced. When you experience The Crazies, a person doesn’t even have to be present to see them. They haunt you. They’re everywhere and nowhere. It’s the guy who wakes you up by banging on your window at 3AM crying that you never called him back. Or the girl who faked being pregnant because she thought it’d get you to get back together with her. Or the guy who carved your name into his arm as a birthday present. They’re the eyes that look at you in earnest when they says they want to quit their job and move to Tahiti so that you two can be together perfectly alone forever. The Crazies signify delusion, hopeless emotion, and the complete loss of a grip on reality. The Crazies often come with a restraining order.

People who have seen The Crazies and lived to tell about it, do so with a level of humility and despondence.  Most have dealt with their share of irrational and dramatic relationships. Some have perhaps witnessed The Crazies for fleeting moments — an enraged girlfriend who ran around at him with a baseball bat, the guy who left her 43 angry voicemails in one night — and these people pass these stories of insanity around almost as a badge of honor. But those who have seen the depths, looked into the eyes and seen the true amorous insanity behind them, like any true veteran they prefer to keep the pain and horror stowed away in their hearts, not to see the light of day. They say all is fair in love and war, and in certain places and at certain times, the two don’t feel so differently. And like any war story, living it and telling it do neither justice.

 

Print Friendly

Did you like this article?

Every couple weeks I send out a newsletter with new articles and exclusive content for readers. It's basically my way of keeping in touch with you and letting you know what's going on. Your information is protected and I never spam.

Subscribe below to stay connected.

48 Comments

Leave a Comment

  • Reply

    Seele

    5 months ago

    This is seriously over-analyzing stuff.

    • Reply

      Zachary

      6 weeks ago

      I was in science class with a girl i liked, and once we must have held eye contact for at least 6 seconds. She was covering her mouth, so I couldn’t tell if she was smiling or not. Eventually, I broke eye contact. So, is this level 5.5, or wtf is going on here?

  • Reply

    Dr Feelgood

    5 months ago

    Another thing I haven’t read anywhere else so far, awesome! I will try to be more aware of this in the future.

  • Reply

    RickS

    5 months ago

    Level 5: I find that if a girl is holding eye contact with me and not smiling, it feels really awkward and uncomfortable. (This is only for girls I haven’t met yet; obviously it’s different if we’re talking, then it just happens naturally).

    • Reply

      Mark

      5 months ago

      I’d say this is something you should work on. Getting comfortable holding eye contact is important. With women and in life in general.

  • Reply

    Tim

    5 months ago

    Amazing. Seriously funny and really good advice too. Although if you’re a guy who is always trying to figure out which category each girl fits in to then Seele’s right and it’s overanalyzing.

  • Reply

    phazer

    5 months ago

    Kind of agree with Seele on this one. Looking a bit too much into this. Eye contact is important but this reads like a mystery method handbook

  • Reply

    chumpta

    5 months ago

    disagree with everyone saying this is over analyzed. levels -1 – 6 need to be easily recognizable if you’re out and about. More importantly you need to notice your reactions to each of these levels.

    IMO this is the best thing I’ve ever read on RECEIVING eye contact. They are definitely strong signals giving you information about how well your approach will be met.

    • Reply

      sofakingrad

      3 months ago

      true statement, can honestly say ive experienced these leves. just sayin
      IMPORTANT ; THIS ARTICLE FAILS TO MENTION THAT U MUST LOOK AT GIRLS FROM AFAR/FARAWAY AS THEY ARE APPROACHING YOU

  • Reply

    Paul

    5 months ago

    I agree with both Seele and chumpta.

    “It’s impossible to ever be 100% certain what her intentions or reasoning are, so I assume every woman who makes eye contact with me is attracted until proven otherwise.”

    This mindset will take anyone far. Why not always assume the most positive position? It can’t hurt as long as you don’t get attached to the outcome. All about flowing with everything.

    Good stuff.

  • Reply

    Mark

    5 months ago

    Much of the article is written for fun. Although there is legitimate advice sprinkled throughout, this is not something you should necessarily be copying down and studying on weekends. I assumed the references to “mouth-breathers” and “bro-mode” early on would make that clear. Just like one shouldn’t need advice on how to manage “eye rapists” or “the crazies” either.

    Lighten up guys. It’s girls we’re talking about. It’s supposed to be fun (and funny).

    • Reply

      Traindom

      5 months ago

      Haha. Your readers are so focused that the funnies go over them (myself included). I guess that’s a good thing hah. It must kill your fun when you have to tell us it’s fun.

  • Reply

    Fluffy McGee

    5 months ago

    “The Crazies”
    - That’s fucking awesome, now I have a new phrase to play with ~

    • Reply

      Kim

      5 months ago

      Fucking awesome.. until you have to experience it. Then it’s scary shit :/

      • Reply

        Fluffy McGee

        5 months ago

        They do make for great stories though ~

        The best I heard was a girl who put her ex-bfs couch in the street in front of his new house and took a shit on it… then left a note on it “here is your couch back”

        I have been largely spared from the crazies in my time, for which I am thankful for ~ ~ ~

        • Reply

          Mark

          5 months ago

          I had a client once who’s ex-girlfriend stabbed him… yes, like literally stabbed him.

          Heard another one where a girl hit herself in the face repeatedly and threatened her boyfriend that she’d tell the cops that he did it.

          • Fluffy McGee

            5 months ago

            Oh shit, worst I had was a girl who threatened to run down the street naked and tell the cops I was trying to rape her… but other than that I havent had any bad ones…

            Stabbed is pretty god damn bad though… thats tough to beat… not that it’s a contest or something…

            *Tucker makes it to the gates of hell and is greeted by Satan*

            Tucker: “Oh wow, I made it!”

            Satan: “Welcome the gates of hell Tucker! Congratulations btw! You are going to receive the most prestigious award tomorrow night for most fucked up dating experience in the history of mankind! I still can’t believe she threw it in the garbage disposal after she cut it off man…

            Jesus, I gotta go check that replay one more time, me and the boy just couldn’t stop laughing…”

            Jesus: “Sup Dawg…”

            Satan: “Oh no not you… it’s just a figure of speech… oh and btw, we don’t serve beer here…”

            Tucker: *”#!*”!#!*!”#**#!**!”#*

  • Reply

    General G

    5 months ago

    Shouldn’t we invent some nerdy pick up terms for this?
    So for level 7 (the eye fuck) one could say “this HB 8.25 HSE-HD was TEFing me all the time, but I couldn’t overcome my AA!”

    • Reply

      Fluffy McGee

      5 months ago

      Ask Neil Strauss, he seems to have an acronym for everything ~

  • Reply

    Nero

    5 months ago

    For the peps that take this too seriously. You shouldn’t base your decision to approach a girl or not based on her eye contact. Sometimes her eye contact can reveal her level of initial interest but its not always accurate. If the girl truly interests you, don’t let her level of eye contact stop you. Just my 2 cents

    Interest read though, girls who do make eye contact usually are more receptive.

  • Reply

    Scorcher

    5 months ago

    I once had a girl I was walking by look at me, look away, look at me, look away, look at me…
    ,I initiated it but I wasn’t looking away, this lasted about 5 seconds. What would you call that?

    • Reply

      Fluffy McGee

      5 months ago

      *Girl walks by and looks at Fluffy…*

      *Fluffy gives her a big silly grin*

      *She looks away momentarily… then looks back and giggles*

      *Fluffy feels a heightened level of adrenaline in his veins… should he approach or not?*

      *She looks back again, turns her head and giggles to her girlfriend*

      *Fluffy walked too far and blew the approach so he takes a trip to the toilet*

      *He reaches down to unzip his pants and discovers his fly was down and his superman underwear was visible through the crack the entire time*

  • Reply

    Eugene

    5 months ago

    I’ve even said, “We did an eye contact thing. We made eye contact like three times in a row, you didn’t notice?” And they didn’t. Just goes to show how most people are off in their own little world not thinking about any of this stuff.

    Man, that sounds so negative

  • Reply

    Chris

    5 months ago

    I laughed, I cried, I considered previous experiences and banged my head on the wall in frustration.

  • Reply

    Traindom

    5 months ago

    The old PUA in me got excited when I saw the format of this. But I also knew it was going to be a satire >.<

  • Reply

    BetaToPUA

    5 months ago

    I remember posting to a pickup forum earlier this year how I found it really hard to hold eye contact with random girls when out an about. It’s really not a problem now which highlights just how much my confidence has increased.

    A few months ago in a bar I didn’t approach a girl who eye fucked me. I think it’s because there’s an expectation I should close in that set so if I didn’t I’d feel like I’d really fucked it up. I spent a while kicking myself over that one. Next time I got strong eye contact from a girl I made sure I approached, and this time got laid.

  • Reply

    TheSwede

    5 months ago

    This IS funny. Did I ever tell you what I called the various levels of eye contact? 9mm, machine gun, M16, sniper….same concept. Always provides me with fun on a night out. Tellin’ ya, though, there’s a lot of truth to this post. Girls enjoy subtle shit.

  • Reply

    Tim9000

    4 months ago

    With Level 5 eye contact (i.e. gaze) while walking past a woman traveling in the opposite direction on the sidewalk, I get the saying ‘hi’ part but I’m almost always alongside her by that point, and most of the time we’re both walking at a moderate pace, so in 1/2 a second I’ll actually be behind her with her back turned to me. Any tips for how to stop them without making a sudden (and thus potentially scary) movement, or calling them from behind?

    • Reply

      Mark

      4 months ago

      Ummm… say it faster?

      Just say it, the worst that’s going to happen is she’ll just keep walking, which she was going to do anyway.

  • Reply

    ChinaBoy

    3 months ago

    Lol….really good read.

    But intentional avoidance of EC can be a good thing…if a girl is really attracted she sometimes wants to hide it.

    What I have found out personally that the ultimate IOI is “Quiet and attentive”. The girl is usually shy, stifled, nervous, gives you the puppy eyes.

  • Reply

    Ricco

    3 months ago

    How about level 5 EC from a girl hanging on another guy? It happened to me last week and can’t stop thinking about this situation. Maybe I just look like an alien ;)

  • Reply

    Thatoneguy

    3 months ago

    I find that for me girls never give me the gaze when I’m walking by them but when in a setting of any sort I’ll receive the gaze and it’s always accompanied by a smile. The gaze and smile basically go hand in hand. I’m gonna start looking at every girl walking by me but i doubt they’ll give the gaze as you call it.

  • Reply

    Tuan

    2 months ago

    I didnt read everything but I laughed my ass off when i read “the eye rape”

  • Reply

    BrightEyedGirl

    2 months ago

    Fun article to read! Being female, it’s interesting to see your perspective on eye contact…Does your evaluation apply to men, too?! An amazing guy, an acquaintance, and I have sporadic contact on a 10 month project, ending in June, and I’m trying to figure things out, since the project would make it awkward to date, and we haven’t gone past casual/friendly emails. In person we have had several electric moments since day one, including intense eye gaze during a recent meeting.

    He was stealing glances all meeting (lol, cute! :) One time I caught him looking, and we held gaze for ~5 seconds. Maybe technically a 5.5 level, but it felt like a 9. My heart was pounding and it was actually like time stood still. No smiling, nothing sexual, but it felt very intimate. Mutual? I’m not positive… But “ok, now we both know we like each other” seemed clear. Although he still hasn’t mentioned going out, so I began to wonder if I simply had something on my face! Lol! The other day our paths crossed unexpectedly. When our eyes met we had a “lightning bolt” moment. He actually stopped dead in his tracks! Unfortunately, I was occupied in conversation, so I just smiled and waved hello casually. He hovered a few moments like he wanted to chat. Unable to extract myself quickly enough, he awkwardly turned and left. Sounds promising… But here’s the thing: He is so amazing, and he must see how women react to him, right?? So why would he EVER be nervous around me? Maybe it’s a bad thing, not a good one. In my gut, I somehow believe he is really into me, but then I talk myself out of it.

    Hopefully he’s patiently waiting until the project is over to ask me out. Until I know either way, I rehash that gaze: Ok, so was he checking my interest level? Or telling me he knows I’m into him and it’s mutual? Maybe trying to figure out why I got all dolled up… Oh SHIT, did I have pesto in my teeth? …Fuck.

    Ok, guys… So what’s going on here, and what’s the final verdict on that intense gaze?

    • Reply

      Curry

      1 month ago

      He is shy like me and is a little bit much scared of the future where the posibilty of rejection comes, so stop waving and looking and go to him asking for some stupid question about the job and se what happens then. if not wave a farewell forever.

  • Reply

    Dmitriy

    1 month ago

    I think the girl I like eye fucked me for like 40 seconds or even longer. It happened at the lunch, I was sitting in the cafeteria and she sat on the table opposite mine so she can look at me(at least I think that’s why she did it). After I finished my lunch i started looking around because i was bored. Then i noticed her making an eye contact, at first i thought that was unintentional but she continued staring at me. I liked her for a long time but she had a boyfriend so i didn’t really talked to her because of that. But i was comfortable looking back at her. We were looking at each other for at least 40 second, then i looked away because my friend asked me something, the girl looked away too but soon our eyes met again. I wanted to go talk to her but she has a boyfriend(that’s why i don’t understand why she did it, if she has a boyfriend why was she looking at me for such a long time? if she liked me why didn’t she talk to me on the class I had with her?). So as i said soon our eyes met again and we continued staring at each other. I think we did this like three or four times in ten minutes. What should i do? She is really pretty and i am afraid that i will say something stupid(because i am Russian and don’t speak English fluently yet and she will never talk to me again.

    • Reply

      Curry

      1 month ago

      The question is do you want YOUR girlfriend looking at other men for a to long time ?

  • Reply

    someasiandude

    1 month ago

    What happen if everybody stares at you constantly? I’m asian and whereever I go people always seem to stare at me like I’m a gangster when I’m not one. I don’t dress baggie, but I do have a shave head, a goatee and tattoos. And I hate it, is like they never seen an asian dude before.

  • Reply

    mona lisa

    1 month ago

    I got a question been out the dating seen for a while like 17 years. I met this guy been talking for 2 months. We never could get together so we chatted on the phone. finally we said ok so we met at a hotel . Instantly I noticed as soon as we locked eyes right when we seen each other it seemed good normal. well we get to the hotel do the thing lay there and talked well he did most the talking I layed on his chest looking at him I started feeling like he was avoiding looking at me he talked and looked at the ceiling i guess well he finally did turn and we locked eyes for so many seconds then i smiled and just plopped my head on his chest. while he we talked he did rub my arm and leg while talking we both were nervous that was clear. then we did it again. can I ask why it seemed hard for him to look me in the eyes.

    • Reply

      ksabunny

      8 weeks ago

      @Mona Lisa. my gut says he can’t make eye contact with you because he’s cheating. Meeting you in a hotel room = cheating… and could never meet up = cheating.

  • Reply

    Leon

    23 weeks ago

    Wow, I’ve never read anything so horribly inaccurate and biased it makes me very concerned that this is at the top of Googles search results for eye contact phobias. First of all, you should never assume someone isn’t making eye contact with you due to some kind of sexual issue. Often times its a lack of confidence, or possibly even a trust issue.

    If you meet someone in the first category, go ahead and tell them that it’s OK for them to make eye contact. Chances are they will meet you with a great deal of relief.

  • Reply

    Arianna

    17 weeks ago

    Me and this guy were smiling and talking with different groups of people and we met eye contact and smiled. But I gave him a double glance smile, and saw that he was still smiling at me when i went to look the second time…

  • Reply

    v

    13 weeks ago

    Definitely intriguing…

  • Reply

    lol

    10 weeks ago

    the cashier smiles at me all the time

  • Reply

    s

    9 weeks ago

    The CRAZIES… HA HA

  • Reply

    Kristi

    3 weeks ago

    I know exactly what he’s talking about. I am so aware of the effect of eye contact. I have been smiling at everyone and men have fallen at my feet!

    I am having so much fun. I dare you to go make eye contact with everyone. And if you think some one is cute don’t look away. And even add a smile. It feels good. And I receive a lot of smiles as well. :)

  • Reply

    brooke

    2 weeks ago

    If you intentionally dont look at a guy like i did today when he looked at me while walking past me, maybe its because you ,sorry i was having a bad day and felt sick and this guy walks past who i have seen before and might like (if i knew him )but considering how i feel i intentionally look away, the question for me is why did i notice from the corner of my eye him become angry towards me. I think he presumed i thought that he liked me and considered me presumptuous when the truth is i liked him but i feel really sick today to handle looking at him. Whats the answer to that.

  • Reply

    Mackenzie

    3 days ago

    Does “the gaze” still count if the guy is your best friend but it didn’t happen when we were chatting or anything, we just made eye contact for about 6 seconds, no smile?

Leave a Comment