Michael Ellsberg’s popular “eye contact parties” bring singles together for two minute gazing sessions, followed by cocktails. Guess which is the icebreaker?
Michael Ellsberg: There's two scenarios with romance. One is the very first impression; then there's the date once you’ve connected and you’re going on a date. And these two scenarios are very different.
The first impression, it is really possible to overdo the eye contact. If you’re just staring someone down, they’re going to feel really uncomfortable. They’re just going to feel oppressed by your eye contact and it’s not the impression you want to make for a first date. For the flirting kind of initial stages of connecting, it’s important to have a flirtatious eye contact. You’re flirting, so you want to make eye contact, but you don’t want to make it too intense. There's a lot of power in sort of making some eye contact and looking away a little bit, making eye contact, coming back, lingering a little bit, then maybe looking away. That flirtation of the on again off again really has a lot of power--just like you hear about people who are like hot, cold and that really creates obsession, it’s the same thing with eye contact. It’s very effective for both men and women.
However, once you are past the initial first impressions, once you have some rapport, say you’re on your first date, on your second date, so long as there is rapport--and tha's my assumption here--if the date's not going well, then no amount of eye contact is going to save it. But, if there's generally a good rapport on the date, it’s really hard to overdo eye contact. Very few things create and sustain that electric, magnetic sense of attraction more rapidly, more powerfully than eye contact.
It is very powerful stuff. That's why people are afraid of it. People are very scared of eye contact precisely because it’s so powerful. It brings up so many emotions. It creates such an electric charge. Well, that's the electric charge you want on a date. So, learning how to be very comfortable with prolonged eye contact is a great way to make your date sizzle. That's the most powerful way I've ever known.
Directed / Produced by
Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd