Is it Rude To Avoid Eye Contact?

Avoiding eye contact has long been considered rude in many cultures around the world, yet in others to make direct eye contact with individuals is nearly sacrilege.

So, which is it? Is it rude to avoid eye contact or the opposite? Read on and find out below!

Is it Rude to Avoid Eye Contact?

In western society and many cultures around the world, it is indeed seen as rude to avoid eye contact. More specifically, avoiding eye contact is seen as either shifty or insulting behavior. 

Looking someone in the eye is a sign of respect, awareness, focus, and trustworthiness. To avoid eye contact is hence seen as sketchy.

How Rude Is it?

Avoiding eye contact rates 5 out of 10 on the rude meter. There are very few worthy reasons to avoid looking someone in the eye in western society, but there are indeed a few (you are nervous, you like the person, don’t like what is being said, and more).

In other words, avoiding eye contact isn’t always seen as rude. In some cultures, it is proper to avert your eyes unless addressed.

Why is it Rude?

In some cultures, like those found in the west, making eye contact with every person you meet in the street is considered proper etiquette. In those places, avoiding eye contact is seen as questionable if not rude behavior.

Why is it Not Rude?

In certain countries around the world, making eye contact with people is a direct insult to them. In these places, avoiding eye contact is polite and correct general behavior.

Other Options to Do Instead

There aren’t too many options to do instead of avoiding eye contact in places where it is rude, aside from simply making eye contact. 

One clever option is to wear dark or mirrored sunglasses so that no one cal tell whether you are attempting to make eye contact or not. 

Donning an eye patch is another great disguise to use, but you’ll still need to worry about where your one “good” eye is looking.

Common Questions

What does it mean if someone constantly avoids making eye contact?

The main takeaway from someone constantly avoiding eye contact is that they don’t want to engage with whoever or whatever it is they won’t look at. Not making eye contact may also indicate that they are simply interested in something else, or have a general lack of interest in whoever they are avoiding eye contact with.

Is it ok to not make eye contact while someone is talking?

It is ok to not make eye contact with someone while they are talking, but only for seconds at a time. The majority of the conversation should include eye contact from both parties, that way it is clear that both people are present and interested in what is being said.

What type of people avoids eye contact?

There is no one “type” of person that avoids eye contact. People may avoid eye contact for various reasons including that they are nervous, they like the person they are avoiding eye contact with, or they don’t like what the person is saying is a few of the most relevant.