EYE contact is hard to get right at the best of times, but with people wearing masks it’s trickier than ever. Here’s how to not look creepy or mental.
When to avoid it
Most of the time. People are absolutely mad for a bit of eye contact at the moment, but the last thing you want is to accidentally start a conversation or, worse, a friendship. Keep your eyes down at all times unless you want people to actually say hello to you. Which you don’t, unless you’re a psychopath or a Northerner.
When to prolong it
If you think there’s a chance of romance or some sexual frisson going on, prolong that stare. It may come across as creepy but you’ve got to chance your arm sometimes. If you secretly fancy the woman on the checkout at Morrisons give her at least five seconds of eye contact that says, “I’ll be back for you when this is all over. And they have pasta back in stock.”
How long is too long?
If you’re one of those intense people who’s fine with eye contact, otherwise known as ‘nutters’, you may be tempted to look at someone for too long. If someone looks visibly scared, maybe look away occasionally. Practise not overdoing eye contact by looking into a mirror and checking you do not have the mad stare of Hitler.
When to shut your eyes and keep them closed
Whenever some weird relative like Auntie Carol is offering more unwarranted, witless opinions on anything to do with coronavirus, Brexit or foreigners. It’s rude, but looking at her while she speaks will just encourage her.