About a year ago, one of my male friends began showing interest in me and we occasionally began hooking up at social events hosted by friends (this only ever happened under the influence of alcohol). We did very little communicating outside of the setting of our friend group, and did not want to make anything serious out of it seeing as we would be leaving for college in the fall. Our relationship did, however, end up being sexual. The only times we spoke throughout the academic year were when we came home during breaks and hung out as a group, and this is when I began noticing something. Whenever he is telling a story to our group of friends (about 6 people), he only maintains eye contact with me. It is as if he is only speaking to me, he will not look at anyone else. I am not the first person to notice this, seeing as everyone else feels slightly awkward given the fact that he barely acknowledges their presence when he is speaking. What could this say about how he feels in relation to me? Could this mean he feels as if I am the dominant person in the room, or that he is genuinely concerned with my opinion of him?
Thank you for sending this to us. Obviously it is hard for me to know for sure, but my guess is he may not be fully aware of it. After years of studying groups and the reactions of people in them I have learned that people are often unaware of their actions and reactions. You may want to read an article about how unaware folks can be in group here.
I would simply talk to him about it. It may be time to find out more about how he feels about you — and you about him. If you’re having a sexual relationship with him discussing his eye contact should not be a problem.
Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.
APA Reference Tomasulo, D. (2018). Eye Contact in a Group Setting. Psych Central.
Retrieved on May 24, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/07/13/eye-contact-in-a-group-setting/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.