One of the most powerful means of communicating with others nonverbally is by calling up your most piercing, incisive eye contact.
I sometimes also call this the “death stare” or the “predatory look.” It’s the ability to stare into someone else and make her feel as though you’re staring directly into her soul... sizing her up... preparing to DO something to her, though she can only guess at WHAT.
This is one of those things that can be extremely effective wielded properly – it can shoot sexual tension through the roof, make you physically intimidating even to men twice your size, and communicate “I mean business” to anyone and everyone like nothing else really can (although it can also send you directly to creepy guy land if you aren’t careful how you deploy it).
Early on in life, I learned that not everyone had this ability – in fact, few did. A high school English teacher of mine described it as “the ability to stare at someone and put fear into his heart just with a look.”
But you can also use it to put warmth, arousal, inspiration, or just about any other emotion into another person’s heart as well.
That same high school English teacher of mine described this as
something you either have, or you don’t... but I’ve heard that said
about LOTS of things I’ve gone on to learn or teach, and I’d be
surprised if this is any different.
I’ve never tried to teach this before because I didn’t really know how to teach it... at least for me
personally, it’s something I’ve
always had (from the day I was born, according to the stories).
However, in the interest of giving it a good crack – because it’s an awesome power if you can attain it – I’d like to try.
A surprising amount of your environmental processing power as a human being is devoted to watching for eyes. As examples, I’m sure you’ve probably had the experiences of:
Turning your head suddenly to the side and meeting the eyes of someone looking at you. You weren’t consciously aware of this before seeing those eyes, but you don’t normally swing your head around to the side, and the reason you did was because your brain gave you an “alert” signal when it picked up – probably with very limited sensory information – that someone was staring at you
Staring at someone’s eyes from a very far distance away, somewhere you’d suspect they would never notice you, and having them turn your direction and look right at you, dead in the eyes, anyway
Those are two example of people (yourself and others) paying sharp attention to eye contact signals even when said eye contact is deep into their peripheral vision and probably only hinted at by tiny shreds of sense data to their subconsciousnesses.
Now imagine how much you’re conveying with your eyes to people up close who are looking straight into them. Uh-huh – it’s how trained professionals use eye contact to tell when someone’s lying and how trained fighters and poker players learn to read others by paying attention to subtle eye contact tics, as well as to deceive others by telegraphing false or misleading information with their own eyes.
Why’s eye contact so universally important to human beings? Likely because, as visual creatures, we’ve evolved to pay close attention to the organs (eyes) others use for sensing their environment and planning their next moves as well. This seems to be a trait that applies at least among higher order mammals; try it with a dog or a cat, and pay attention to how they take note of when you’re staring at them (or pay attention to how sometimes you whip your head around and notice one of them staring right at you). Anecdotally, this doesn’t seem to hold true with birds, reptiles, fish, or less intelligent mammals like rodents; seems to be an “intelligent, visual mammal” thing.
Uses for Piercing Eye Contact
There are several uses for good, solid, piercing eye contact. These include:
Deep connection: if you want to communicate sincere deep connection, piercing eye contact is one of your most effective tools in doing this. You can use this at certain moments (typically, the most meaningful ones) during deep diving to communicate that you really “get” what a girl is saying and really build up the emotional connection with her. You’ll use this too to communicate that you are a warm person, and when inspiring her.
Sexual arousal: due to both mirroring and signaling, using piercing eye contact to create sexual arousal in a woman you’re talking to is a powerful use of this ability. Because people mirror the emotions they detect in others, anyone you’re giving piercing, aroused eye contact to will naturally mirror this back to you; if she is also interested in you, this emotion will be exciting to her (and off-putting or creepy to her if she isn’t). Additionally, this clearly signals your interest, which ups your attainability, communicates clear confidence and sexual intent, and allows her to feel comfortable letting her guard down around you if she feels similarly.
Calming the vibe: when someone is overly excited and you want to calm her down, smiling serenely and staring at her with piercing eye contact can go a long way toward soothing her emotions and bringing her down from “wild and crazy” to “sensual and intimate.”
Intimidation: should you find yourself in a direr situation, piercing eye contact given threateningly (typically, paired with an underlook [tucked chin], lowered eyebrows, and a frown or grimace) will back down most belligerents, as these usually expect their opponents to fold and are normally startled and off-balanced to find the opponent angrier and more confrontational than they are themselves.
What About the Risk of Creepy/Scary?
If you’re worried about being seen as “creepy” or “scary”, take time to read the article on creepiness and see what causes this and how to avoid it: “How to Not be the Creepy Guy.”
You’ll get labeled “creepy” with strong eye contact if you also use it with incongruent behavior, including:
Piercing but shifty eye contact (furtive looking back and forth, as if sneaking glances but fearful of being discovered or confronted with return eye contact)
Excessive staring without talking (especially if you spend a lot of time looking at her before you ever approach her and say “hello”)
Incongruent behavior with strong eye contact – for instance, using piercing, sexual eye contact but then coupling that with asexual nice guy conversation
You’ll get labeled “scary” with strong eye contact if you:
Wear angry facial expressions
Are short, terse, blunt, and mumbley when you talk with women
Avoid these things and instead couple piercing eye contact with sexy facial expressions and clear, attractive behavior (e.g., flirtiness instead of nice guy stuff) to come across as an attractive man with your eye contact.
There are a handful of elements to this, and they’re going to sound a little ambiguous, so I’ll try to be as precise in describing them as I can be. They are:
- Gaze focus
- Gaze intensity
- Facial positioning and expression
Let’s talk about each.
Your gaze focus is what you’re focused on when using eye contact. We’ve talked about this a bit in some of the other articles on eye contact before:
Your gaze focus is what you’re looking at when you’re looking at someone... and how frequently you break that focus.
Generally speaking, you want to be looking directly at the bridge of her nose, right between her eyes when going for piercing eye contact.
You may also at times opt to stare into just one eye – staring into the right eye gives you a very aggressive feel, while staring into the left one gives you a weird kind of uncertain feel (I get the sense that guys being called “creepy” stare into people’s left eyes more often out of an effort to avoid confrontation, but only end up weirding them out, actually).
Sometimes staring into the right eye can be very sexually inviting IF she’s already extremely comfortable with you – essentially, the threat of violence gets translated into a “threat” of you simply taking her sexually, which is quite exciting for most women.
Another option is “broadening your focus” such that you are taking
in her whole face. This means your eyes are held more loosely, with the
tip of her nose more or less in the center of your vision, though you
see her entire face. This is less a “piercing gaze” and more of a
“distracted gaze”, if you want to switch from “intelligent, incisive
desire” to “animalistic, unthinking desire.” You will seem to be no
longer consciously paying attention to her when you do this, and purely
thinking about her in a distracted, carnal way. This one’s good to use
if she is going on and on about something and you want her to shut up
and get more sexual.
You do not want to:
- Gaze back and forth from one eye to the other
- Look down (except strategically to build intrigue)
- Break eye contact more than she does, unless you’re the one
This is important. If you let your eyes wander or DON’T hold your gaze such that it feels like you’re “boring a hole in her head”, you let your focus break off, and the power of the stare is nil.
You must be focused on either the bridge of the nose (usually), or the right eye (occasionally, for heightened focus when you want to communicate not just focus but challenge – I challenge you to resist me, if a woman, or I challenge you to fight me, if a man), or sometimes (if she’s just going on and on and you want her to clam up and act sexual) broadening your focus to take in her whole face, with her nose at the center.
Your gaze intensity is how hard you are focusing on the thing you
are focusing on. This is extremely
detectable to others.
In you, it’s simply a minor muscle change in the eye – you can feel it when you do it – and a sharpening of your focus on a small area with the fading away of peripheral vision outside of it.
To others, it simply seems as if you are intently, intimately focused on the subject of your gaze.
If this sounds unfamiliar to you, try this as an experiment:
Pick up a pencil or other small, thin object lying around you
Hold it about a foot away from your face
Focus on the pencil’s eraser or other terminal point
First, keep your focus light / fuzzy, with attention to the other environmental details around you – you’re somewhat gazing at the pencil, but you still have a lot of attention elsewhere
Now, narrow your attention sharply to just the eraser. Stare at it as hard and as focused as you can. Let the rest of the world fall away, so that the only thing in the world for you is the pencil eraser. This is an intense gaze
This is the kind of intensity you want to use when going for piercing eye contact. Stare at the bridge of a woman’s nose or into her eye intently like this and she will feel as though you are looking through her soul.
Pull back the intensity a little bit if you are doing the “whole face gaze” to create a sense of distracted arousal, but don’t remove so much intensity that it feels like you’re paying attention to the outside world again.
The goal with gaze intensity is to communicate that the thing you are looking at it is the ONLY thing you are looking at. If other things happen in the environment around you, you will not even notice them (actually, you literally won’t). So this does take some level of confidence and commitment to whatever you’re doing and whomever you’re speaking to.
You’re saying, “I am no longer scanning the environment for danger or opportunity. I am EXCLUSIVELY giving ALL of my attention to YOU.”
To a woman who likes you, this is very exciting.
To someone who dislikes you, it is very intimidating.
Facial Positioning and Expression
The positioning and expressions you wear on your face go a long way toward determining how your gaze is interpreted:
For instance, if you try to use elegant expressions/positioning, such as keeping your chin parallel to the ground and looking poised and aloof, while also mixing in intense eye contact, it either seems haughty and socially intimidating, or pensive and discerning, depending on the rest of the interaction.
Normally, for generating a sexual response or an “I am ready to fight you” response (in a competitor) with piercing eye contact, you want to use an underlook; that is, you want to bring your chin down slightly so that you are looking up from under your brows.
To create sexual arousal, you will couple strong gaze focus and intensity with:
- An underlook
- A playful/impish smile
- Slightly droopy eyelids / bedroom eyes
- Slightly lowered eyebrows
To create intimidation, you’ll couple strong gaze focus and intensity with:
- An underlook
- A frown or grimace or snarl
- Squinted, skeptical eyes
- Much lowered eyebrows
To create deep connection, you’ll instead go for:
- Your chin held high and majestically
- A placid, calm mouth, neither smiling nor frowning
- Open, discriminating eyes
- Neutral eyebrows (neither up nor down)
To create warmth, you’ll do the same as in deep connection, except:
- You’ll smile warmly
- You’ll raise your eyebrows ever so slightly to communicate
And that’s it.
Practicing Piercing Eye Contact
If this is new to you, I’d recommend practicing in front of a mirror or, better yet, if you have a computer with a camera, practice staring into the camera lens as if it was the pupil of your conversation partner and taking a picture of yourself with your emotion of choice (arousal, intimidation, etc.). That’ll let you see what you look like and adjust and refine.
I’d also suggest doing the pencil exercise, as I notice that gaze intensity seems to be the part that most people struggle with. They seem to be able to pull off gaze focus and facial expressions/positioning fairly quickly, but gaze intensity a lot of people do not “get”.
My running theory is that most people are too used to scanning the environment to stay alert for both threats (some big guy is coming to fight you; some car’s about to crash into you; some object is hurtling toward your head) and opportunities (a girl even cuter than the one you’re talking to is walking by). You have to let both of these go when you’re talking to someone you want to do this with. You really cannot be concerned with anyone else but him or her.
That last one is going to be as much mental training as practical training, but the pencil exercise will help. Once you know how to train yourself to intensify on command, I suspect that will make you a lot more conscious of when you are gazing intently versus when you are not, and will help you become more aware of the mental states you’re in when in each (e.g., scanning for threats/opportunities, vs. not) and help you to adjust your internals so that they line up with what you’re trying to do – that is, you train yourself to stop worrying about small chance outlier things and instead focus intently on the person you’re with.
As an added bonus, this last part does a LOT to increase how seriously people take you – because instead of YOU seeming like some insincere person who talks to them but whose eyes are always saving a little extra bandwidth to search for something else, you’ve adopted eyes that say, “I am paying attention to NOTHING but you, because you are THAT important to me,” and that’s one of the rarest feelings (for most people) in the world.