One of the revelations about working out I am autistic was much I had got this eyes thing wrong. I don’t do eye contact. I have actually tried, since I’ve learned more about autistics and eye contact. I experimented on my sister. (I didn’t tell her). I managed a not very lengthy couple of seconds before my eyes slid down to her mouth (my favourite viewing point when forced to have a face to face conversation) then her boobs. Not that I am particularly interested in my sister’s breasts (that would just be *weird* 🙂 ). It’s just another point I end up on when I’m trying to look at people who are talking to me. I swear every conversation I’ve had with my GP has been directed at some midpoint between her collarbone and her navel. The trickier the conversation, see, the trickier it is to even attempt looking in the vague direction of someone’s head.
Also, the problem, occasionally, with looking at mouths is that I am doing this, and listening, and there’s other noises, I get stuck in this feeling that someone is too close to my face and meaninglessly hawhawhawing at me and then everything goes a bit weird. I reckon one of the reasons I can’t pack in smoking because those ‘oh I’m going for a fag’moments are utter gold when running out of restaurant with too much noise and too many mouths for a moment amongst the quiet cold night.
It was only when I learned more about how important a lot of people think eye contact is that I realised how long I’d not been doing it, or doing a pastiche of it. And that maybe that was why people sometimes seemed uncomfortable with me. And why I felt some things work for me, conversationally, more than others. The reason I ended up talking so much and so well to my boyfriend before we got together was because we met through a walking group and walked side by side, then travelled together a lot, side by side in the car. I am good at side by side. I like side by side. You just have to chuck the odd glance in the right direction and hope for the best.
Another thing I’ve realised is that when novelists write ‘he looked into her eyes and saw it was the truth’ they actually, like, totally full on mean it. THIS HAPPENS. People look into other people’s eyes and discern emotions! Imagine! I thought it was a literary device to move the plot forward. 🙂
Now I know this thing about eyes though, it helps me to do a better job of what I should be doing (which helps at work) but it also means that I understand a lot of uncertain social fear and how I work better. So. That’s nice to know.