a question about eye contact before a kiss
November 9, 2011 4:58 PM   Subscribe

You know that long look that often precedes people kissing for the first time? I have trouble holding that look long enough for the kissing part to happen.

I haven't dated a whole lot, but once I get into an established relationship, this isn't a problem. But I'm single right now and have recently been on the receiving end of a couple of long looks from a very cute guy (I'm a woman). When he's not looking at me like that, I'm absolutely positive that I would like to try kissing him. But when he is, the look gets so intense that it sort of hurts and I end up looking away and breaking the moment.

I'm sure that my response is partly due to nerves, because I like him enough that the stakes feel kind of high. So my brain jumps quickly from, 'What if it's not a good kiss?' to "DOOOOOM!' But it's also a sort of automatic physical reaction like twitching your hand away from a hot stove burner. Even in non-romantic situations, people look at me hard enough sometimes that it feels like they're putting their hand down on an open nerve. I've found that not wearing my contacts mitigates the intensity of people's looks in my day-to-day activities, but it doesn't help much when this guy is looking down at me like that.

So, is there a way to fight this physical reaction and make myself look at him long enough to find out if he's actually thinking about kissing me? Or is the only solution to this problem to cowboy up and just tell him I like him?
posted by colfax to Human Relations (27 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
Best answer: If you have to break eye contact, look at his mouth then return to his eyes. Gives you a break from the intensity, but let's him know where your mind is. Or just stop staring and kiss him first!
posted by cecic at 5:04 PM on November 9, 2011 [10 favorites]


So, is there a way to fight this physical reaction and make myself look at him long enough to find out if he's actually thinking about kissing me? Or is the only solution to this problem to cowboy up and just tell him I like him?

You could just kiss him.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 5:04 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Best answer: Here's your script:

"When you're looking at me like this, I'm absolutely positive that I would like to try kissing you."

I believe saying that would a) earn you a kiss and b) earn you a spot in the Kissing Hall of Fame.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:04 PM on November 9, 2011 [11 favorites]


Smile and start leaning in.
posted by oinopaponton at 5:05 PM on November 9, 2011


Either be coquettish and look down for a sec before meeting his eyes again, or lean in and kiss him.
posted by DoubleLune at 5:07 PM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Best answer: You could also try making another kind of contact if eye contact is too intense for you. Take his hand or put your hand on his arm. He'll get it.
posted by mumblingmynah at 5:07 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Best answer: When there's no proper conversation happening and you're looking at each other (with or without salivation), gently put your hand onto his hand/arm/shoulder and shift approx. 1/2 inch closer to him.
posted by selton at 5:13 PM on November 9, 2011


Without knowing the context of your interactions I'm not sure how to advise you beyond making yourself seem receptive to a possible kiss, so nthing the suggestions above, especially the ones where you decrease the physical distance between you and smile.
posted by sm1tten at 5:13 PM on November 9, 2011


You stare at his mouth until he kisses you.
posted by jabes at 5:15 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Best answer: Yes, there is a way to fix this -- I've taught it to execs. Practice eye contact -- hold for 1 minute, then 2, and so on -- with a couple three willing friends. Practice!
posted by thinkpiece at 5:17 PM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Best answer: Use other senses!

Look -> kiss is too much of a jump. You gotta touch first (not weird sexual touching), just simply touch his arm, see how he responds, scoot closer, touch his hair, face... let yourself be touched too. Hearing is powerful too, lower your voice. Come closer and whisper in his ear! Content is irrelevant, what counts is tone. Let him whisper in your ear too. All this releases endorphins, and calms down the stress hormones pumped out by your rational mind. Happy kissing!
posted by Tom-B at 5:20 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seconding the touching and whispering. Once you calmly enter his personal zone, he should be quite sure of what is happening. Some guys just get afraid to make the first move in case it gets misinterpreted as bad/proves they weren't reading you right.

And, no, I have no personal feelings or experience with such matters.

Really.

I don't...
posted by Samizdata at 5:22 PM on November 9, 2011


If maintaining eye contact is too intense for you, and you're too nervous to make the first move, you could make a small smile, look down or to the side with your head positioned in such a way that says "kiss me" and let him do the rest. It may seem a bit coquettish, but I've read much Victorian literature to think it'd be lost on him.
posted by loquat at 5:23 PM on November 9, 2011


Best answer: I think as long as you break the eye contact but simultaneously step up the touch, invade his space, it comes off as "come hither" but coquettish. So you're sitting on the couch next to each other, he's giving you the look, you look away kinda "aw shucks" but don't flinch, and put a hand on his thigh, and if he doesn't initiate right that second, look back, look away and touch again, etc.
posted by slow graffiti at 5:27 PM on November 9, 2011


If you can manage the gut-wrenching nerves that might accompany it, Cool Papa Bell's solution is for sure the most stylish!
posted by WidgetAlley at 6:06 PM on November 9, 2011


Yay kissing! It's the best! So, you are in fact within kissing distance when he's giving you these looks, sitting next to each other or what have you? I don't think there's real way to "fight" that intense feeling; I highly recommend withstanding it as long as possible and if the intensity of it makes you gasp or giggle I think that's all the more charming.

And like everyone says, you can break eye contact without breaking the moment. Stay present, turn your body toward him, and stop yourself from making nervous chit chat about other things. Enjoy!
posted by dahliachewswell at 6:23 PM on November 9, 2011


Look as long as you can, then incline your head slightly down and to the side. Move in slightly--close enough to be in kissing range. Tip your head back up, glance at his eyes with your come hither look, then drop your gaze to his mouth. You're in the perfect position to avoid bumping noses when you start to mash lips.

If that doesn't do it, grab his ears, close your eyes, and suck face.
posted by BlueHorse at 6:30 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


THIS IS WHY PPL KISS WITH THEIR EYES CLOSED
posted by yarly at 7:29 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Best answer: Oh man, you are victim to what my college friends and I called "boy face." It happens, we deal with it. In fact, I'm sure females have a version of this face, too, it's just that my friends and I were reacting to certain guys we'd kissed... and boy, did knowledge of the phrase "boy face" FREAK OUT some of our male friends.

Great advice here, so you should be covered, but I think my response would be a combination of the coquettish look down and back up and staring at his mouth. Hopefully this gets you over the hump soon and he just freaking kisses you already.

Boy face!
posted by AthenaPolias at 8:42 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Best answer: A good way to deal with anxiety is to have a procedure. I look to the eyes for 2 seconds then to the mouth then to the eyes. Alternatively, when eye contact is difficult, stare at the bit of the nose in between the eyes. When you stop feeling anxious, you you won't need to do this but this is a crutch until then.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 11:52 PM on November 9, 2011


stare at the bit of the nose in between the eyes.

I use this strategy a lot for dealing with too-much-eye-contact.

It also sounds like you're putting too much pressure on that initial kiss. The first kiss can be brief and exploratory -- just a second or two, long enough for the thrill of first contact to course through both of you.
posted by endless_forms at 6:09 AM on November 10, 2011


So, the reason why this happens before a kiss is that it's awkward on purpose - the point of it is to create a kind of awkward tension that can only be broken by kissing. So, when you get uncomfortable, it's time to lean in for the kiss.
posted by Ragged Richard at 11:35 AM on November 10, 2011


Response by poster: Thank you all for your answers! You make me feel less like a weirdo for not being great at this. And Cool Papa Bell, that is a very good script, but I'm not sure I'm brave enough to say it.

Also, for context, the two of us have been hanging out--just the two of us--and having meals together and going on a lot of rambly walks. And most recently, on one of our walks we paused on a footbridge to look at this great old building, and when I turned back to him, he wasn't looking at the building. He was looking at me.
posted by colfax at 12:01 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


magic 8 ball says ... outlook good!
posted by yarly at 12:03 PM on November 10, 2011


I want a kiss right now!
posted by thinkpiece at 1:38 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure I'm brave enough to say it.

"To believe yourself brave is to be brave; it is the one only essential thing." -- Mark Twain
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:40 PM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Crikey. The worst part about being single now is the lack of kissage. I would punt a baby for a makeout session right now.
posted by Samizdata at 5:58 AM on November 13, 2011


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