Often we Aspies have difficulty making eye contact, knowing when to and when not to stair. I have developed a routine when in casual conversation, so that the other party does field uncomfortable or that I’m doing something unexpected.
The Eye Count: While I’m talking I count: eyes, 2, 3, 4 / mouth 2, 3, 4 / elsewhere 2, 3, 4 then I start over. I throw in a forehead every so often. What happens is that I look the person in the eye for four seconds then I look at their mouth for four seconds, then somewhere else for four seconds then I start the cycle over. This approximates what a typical person does without thinking.
If I five nonstop eye contact the person feels like they are being “drilled”. It’s too intense. I used to just watch people’s mouths the whole time so that it was easier to understand what they were saying and that made some uncomfortable. The gaze of neurotypical folks naturally drifts around as they talk and they just don’t realize it.
Once you get in the habit of doing the Eye Count it will become an internalized process that won’t take as much conscious thought. Then it’s time to move on to Advanced Eye Count. While you are counting you listen for verbal cues to change what you are doing.
“My boyfriend broke up with me” or some other sad or happy revelation means you look near some one’s eyes and do a facial expression of sympathy. Most women will want eye contact at the points in the conversation when they reveal something of emotional importance. Men also, but if you are having casual conversation with guys, you can get away with very little eye contact. Just look some where, anywhere, and ask questions about football or something. When they say, Hey guess what or I have to tell you something, then you give eye contact to initiate the next step in the conversation, but it usually doesn’t have to be long.
UNLESS, you are in a confrontation, then you give non stop unwavering eye contact.
Ultimately, you can develop a routing way of using your eyes when speaking that will be pleasing to the neurotypical and manageable for you.
When you are with your spouse or close friends then you can relax a little and not be so disciplined about you eyes.