Is it Rude to Look Someone in the Eye?

Is it rude to look someone in the eye? 

We all do it, and for most people, it is something completely normal. 

But, how do people really feel about it? Read on below and find out!

Is it Rude to Look Someone in the Eye?

Generally speaking, it is not rude to look someone in the eye, especially when you are talking to them. 

What may be seen as rude is looking someone in the eye so long that it becomes a stare, rather than a look.

Whether or not is it rude to look someone in the eye depends on several factors; the person’s culture, your culture, the situation, and much more. 

How Rude Is it?

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On a scale of 1 to 10, looking someone in the eye rates 5 on the rude meter. Looking into someone’s eye is one of those things, you need to have common sense about in the moment. 

Some people feel extremely uncomfortable when people look them in the eyes, and at their face, up close and personal.

If someone feels uncomfortable, you may want to avoid holding their gaze directly (eye to eye) for anything more than a second or two at a time. 

Why is it Rude?

It is rude to look someone in the eyes of their culture deems it rude, and you should respect that if you are aware of it (or as soon as you become aware of it). 

In many cultures, looking someone in the eyes is a direct challenge or form of disrespect, unless they have addressed you first.

Why is it Not Rude?

It is not rude to look someone in the eyes if you know each other, or even if you are just meeting each other for the first time. 

What is rude, though is looking into their eyes for too long at one time. Never look someone in the eyes for more than a few seconds unless you are flirting or want them to feel uncomfortable on purpose.

Other Options to Do Instead

There is no reason to look someone in the eye if it makes them uncomfortable. Instead, you can wait for them to look you in the eye, and hold their gaze. When they break away their gaze, do the same.

Common Questions

Where is it rude to look people in the eyes?

It is rude to look people in the eyes, in some cultures, anywhere outside of your home, when you aren’t spoken to. In western culture, looking people in the eyes is not rude anywhere, except for maybe church or courtrooms.

Why is it rude to look someone in the eyes?

Sometimes people feel uncomfortable, challenged, or threatened when you look them in the eyes. If you know someone doesn’t want to make eye contact, it is rude to force them (unless you are a law enforcement officer, or someone’s spouse or parent).

Who should you not look in the eyes?

You should look your children, students, teachers, parents, siblings, and others in the eyes. Basically, you should look everyone in the eye, especially when they are talking, in western culture. Cultures around the world have different philosophies on whether or not you should look people in the eyes.