Is it Rude to Not Make Eye Contact?

In most cultures, making eye contact is acceptable to some degree or another. 

Some cultures prefer brief eye contact, others prefer to hold eye contact for the duration of your conversation.

But, what about the opposite? Is it rude to not make eye contact?

Read on below and find out the truth behind this intriguing question!

Is it Rude to Not Make Eye Contact?

Not making eye contact isn’t exactly rude in many cultures, though it is often associated with avoidance or dislike.

In other words, if you don’t make eye contact with someone (especially someone who is trying to communicate with you face-to-face), your lack of eye contact may be taken as a warning sign.

The nature of your relationship with said person, the location, how many people are present, and other various factors, of course, come into consideration as well (as to whether or not your lack of making eye contact is rude or not).

How Rude Is it?


On the rude meter’s scale of 1 to 10, not making eye contact rates 7

The primary reason not making eye contact rates more than halfway up our rudeness scale is that it only takes a moment to make eye contact with someone.

Failing to make eye contact may be seen as disrespect, lack of interest, feelings of superiority, disdain, or simple avoidance of said person in general.

That said, if you are otherwise polite, there is little to be viewed as rude behavior. More often than not, people who prefer to not make eye contact are merely shy.

Why is it Rude?

Not making eye contact with people, depending on the circumstances, can be a major sign of disrespect, displeasure, or dislike. 

In these cases, the person you avoid eye contact with is likely to find your avoidance at least a bit rude and uncalled for.

Failure to make eye contact may also be done out of fear, annoyance, or other reasons. 

Common Questions

Why don’t people make eye contact?

There are a plethora of reasons people choose not to make eye contact from time to time. For example, some folks are simply shy, while others fear the judgment of others or just don’t like someone. 

Additional reasons people don’t make eye contact is that they are from a culture where it is rude, they are avoiding a conversation, or they are trying to hide something.

Does it mean someone likes you if they don’t make eye contact?

Sometimes when a certain individual chooses not to make eye contact with you but is otherwise friendly towards you, it may be because they in fact have a crush on you.

That said, never assume that random people who don’t make eye contact are doing so because they like the way you look (or your personality for that matter).

Why type of people have a habit of not making eye contact?

There are several types of people who habitually fail to make eye contact with people on purpose. 

For starters, people who like you, or dislike you, may feel more comfortable not making eye contact with you. 

Likewise, if someone is upset with you, gets overly excited around you, or is attempting to avoid discussing something with you, they are highly likely to avoid much eye contact with you.