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What Does Prolonged Eye Contact Mean From A Man To A Woman?

As cliche as it might sound, eyes really are the window to the soul! 

Eye contact is vitally important in communication. It is a form of nonverbal communication that can give us deeper insight and understanding into someone else’s emotions and desires and, at the same time, help us convey ours. 

Using and understanding different types of eye contact may aid us in being stronger communicators, help us sense what others are feeling, and affect our social behavior. 

Think about the last time you gazed lovingly into someone’s eyes, caught a stranger looking at you, or someone stared at you in rage. Without saying anything, strong messages were conveyed from one person to another which may have affected the way you both felt and behaved. 

Taking all of the above into consideration, it should be obvious then that intense or prolonged eye contact between a man and woman has a deeper meaning. 

Below we will take a look at the different meanings of prolonged eye contact. 

Key Takeaways

  • Eye contact is extremely important in any relationship but especially in a romantic one
  • Prolonged eye contact can mean a variety of things. Understanding these meanings will help clarify where you stand with someone 
  • Learn how to establish and maintain effective eye contact with someone 

Reasons Why Eye Contact Is So Important

Some people may think that maintaining eye contact during a conversation is simply about respect. However, studies have revealed that there’s far more to prolonged eye contact than that. Below we look at a few of the reasons why eye contact is so important in any conversation or relationship.

1. It builds a connection

Scientists have established that maintaining eye contact with someone will cause the same neurons to fire in their brain that are firing in yours. So whatever you’re feeling, they’re likely to feel, too. Therefore, direct eye contact with your loved one will increase feelings of love, joy, security, empathy, and understanding. 

Eye contact also helps partners feel heard and understood in a relationship and in conversations. Furthermore, research has found that people find others more attractive when they make eye contact. 

2. It increases attraction and intimacy

Eye contact with the right person can increase feelings of intimacy, attraction, and arousal. Humans have been shown to respond to prolonged eye contact on a physiological level, so much so that intense eye contact can get you in the mood for lovemaking. 

Couple having coffee on the street

3. It helps your partner remember what you’re saying

If you want your partner to remember what you’re saying or emphasize the importance of something you’re sharing with them, make eye contact. 

Research has shown that even a 30% increase in eye contact during a conversation will help people retain more information than if there was no eye contact. So, the next time you want to discuss something important with your partner, do it face to face as opposed to telephonically or over texts.  

4. It helps us read our partners

Steady eye contact helps us read between the lines and pick up on nonverbal cues or things that are being left unsaid in relationships. By enabling us to do this, it gives us better insight and understanding into our partner and their emotions. 

Regardless of what might be said, you can tell how your partner is feeling just by looking in their eyes – there might be an extra sparkle or, even, an extra look of disappointment and sadness. 

Eye contact can also help us pick up on any lies or deceit in arguments or, on the contrary, build trust and honesty with our loved ones. 

5. Eye contact can cause you to fall in love

Research has found that men who stared at a woman for 8.2 seconds or more were likely to feel like they fell in love at first sight (however, the same isn’t true for women). This goes to show just how effective and powerful eye contact can be. 

What’s the Meaning of Prolonged Eye Contact? Is It Flirting?

Prolonged eye contact can have a wide variety of different meanings and is an incredibly powerful tool when you know how to use it correctly. 

Eye contact plays a role in the way others perceive you, what they remember about you, and how they feel about you. More so, making eye contact can help you get a message across without ever having to use any words.  

1. They’ve noticed you or are checking you out

If you’re out in town and notice a stranger looking at you intensely, or, perhaps, you notice them looking at you several times, this is more than likely because they’re paying attention to you or are checking you out. They might look at you several times as a way of catching your attention or they might be trying to figure out how best to approach you

If you’re interested in getting to know them too or you think they’re attractive, locking eyes might encourage them to come over and introduce themselves. 

2. They’re interested in the conversation

If someone respects you and is interested in what you have to say, they will maintain eye contact and listen attentively as you speak. More than that, maintaining eye contact with someone while they speak is the polite and respectful thing to do. 

3. They want to convince/persuade you of their views

If someone wants to convince you or persuade you to believe in what they have to say, they will maintain constant eye contact. More often than not, this can be a reassuring sign that what they have to say is real and true. 

Politicians often use prolonged eye contact as a way of persuading audiences. Similarly, someone who is trying to get you to believe in what they have to say will use prolonged eye contact. Eye contact might also be used when someone is trying to get a better understanding of what you have to say. 

4. They’re trying to make a good impression 

If you’ve just met someone, are on a first date, or the person you’re speaking to is genuinely interested in you, they will maintain eye contact as a way of making a good first, and lasting, impression. 

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5. They’re flirting with you

There are various types of eye contact that are used when flirting, including: 

  • The extended gaze: this form of eye contact is a look that lasts longer than usual but is different to a stare. The extended gaze is usually accompanied by a loving smile or warmth in the eyes. 
  • Peeking: these are usually quick, but noticeable, glances which indicate someone is checking you out 
  • The long-distance gaze: This look is usually shared between two strangers who are separated by some physical distance  

6. They’re talking about you

If you catch him looking at you from time to time while talking with someone else, it might be because they’re gossiping about you. Usually this would be accompanied by the group of people talking in hushed tones and trying to get a glimpse of you without you catching on or noticing. 

If you do catch on and happen to lock eyes with him, he’ll probably look away fairly quickly afterwards. 

7. They’re falling for you or are in love with you

In a relationship or an intimate union, if your partner stares lovingly into your eyes it’s likely because they’re falling for you or are already in love. This type of prolonged eye contact usually only happens later on in a relationship where mutual trust has been formed and you’re confident around one another. 

Furthermore, if you lock eyes with your loved one in this manner, it shows you’re prepared to be vulnerable with them. This likely means that the connection between the two of you is deepening and things are going somewhere. 

8. They’re trying to seduce you

Sexy couple on the beach

Eye contact can be a very powerful, nonverbal, seductive tool. It’s a great, fun way of communicating your sexual desires without saying anything. 

In fact, locking eyes with someone you’re interested in is so powerful it can even stimulate sexual arousal. This, of course, is only the case if you’re interested in the other person, find the other person attractive, and/or the eye contact is accompanied by flirting.

So, the next time you have romantic feelings for someone or feel strong sexual tension between the two of you, simply making eye contact and using nonverbal cues can communicate your thoughts and desires.  

9. They’re lost in their own thoughts

From time to time a person can get so lost in their own thoughts/lost in a daydream that they don’t even realize they’re staring at you. If you feel this is the case, asking them a question about what you’ve been saying might snap them back into reality.  

10. Prolonged eye contact can be a way of asserting dominance

Research has shown that if you want to assert dominance in a situation you should maintain eye contact between 80% and 90% of the time. 

Furthermore, maintaining more eye contact when you speak and less when you’re listening is another way of showing dominance. In this scenario, eye contact helps a person establish their status/position within society. 

If he’s trying to assert dominance or show interest in you, pay attention to his eye contact as well as his body language. He’s likely to look you in the eyes, stand or sit up taller, and face you directly if he’s trying to establish authority.  

11. They’re trying to drop hints

If a shy guy stares at you it’s likely that he’s trying to drop hints that he’s interested in you, wants to talk to you, or likes you. By looking back at him and giving him a smile it might encourage him to come over and introduce himself.  

12. They’re serious about what they’re saying

If a person is serious about what they’re saying and they want you to know that, they will stare intensely into your eyes when speaking. By doing this they want to avoid any possible misunderstandings about what’s being said and want to make sure you’re listening to them. 

Depending on the situation, this look can invoke feelings of security and trust. Other times, it can invoke feelings of fear and anxiety. Whatever it is, if they give you this look, they’re serious about what’s being said and you should probably believe them. 

13. It’s a way of establishing a connection

If a person is trying to connect with you, whether as friends, business associates, or on a romantic level, they will make use of prolonged eye contact. In most cultures, eye contact is a form of respect and a way of making another person feel heard, seen, and important

14. Prolonged eye contact can be a way of building trust and signifying honesty

When confronted about a situation, if eye contact was held, people were more likely to be truthful and honest than if no eye contact was made. People are inherently also more likely to trust those that are able to maintain eye contact in a conversation than those who aren’t. 

15. They’re trying to get you to like them

If someone is desperate for you to like them, you’ll notice them looking at you often and even trying to make eye contact with you. They will do all of this in an attempt to get noticed and recognized by you and maybe even win over your respect.

16. He’s trying to manipulate you 

Beware of the hypnotic gaze people might use when they’re trying to manipulate you. People who are manipulative might use extended eye contact to their own advantage because they are aware of the power it holds. 

They’ll stare into your eyes while asking you to do something for them and even though it might not be something you feel totally comfortable with, you might feel spellbound and do it anyway. 

How to Establish Eye Contact with Someone?

Establishing and maintaining eye contact with someone can feel intimidating, especially if you’re a shy person. However, learning to do so will dramatically improve your relationships and the way others perceive you. The 5 below-mentioned steps will help you steadily improve on this skill.

1. Make eye contact before you start talking 

When you walk into a room or meet a stranger, take the lead by making eye contact immediately and couple it with a smile. This is a great way for people to take notice of you, remember you, and even want to get to know you better.

2. Hold your gaze for 4 to 5 seconds at a time

Sweet couple smiling at each other

Try and work towards maintaining eye contact for 4 to 5 seconds at a time before breaking contact again. When you do need to break contact, look to the side instead of looking down. The general rule is that you should maintain eye contact 50% of the time while talking to someone and 70% of the time while listening to them. 

3. Choose where to focus your eyes

If looking someone directly in the eyes feels too stressful or overwhelming, choose instead to focus your eyes just above their eyes, between their eyes, or even look into one eye instead of trying to look into both. 

You can also draw an imaginary, inverted triangle that connects their two eyes and mouth and shift your focus, every 4 to 5 seconds, to a different point on the triangle. 

4. Don’t move your eyes around 

If you want to break eye contact, do so slowly. Moving your eyes around too quickly can make you appear nervous or intimidated. If you do want to momentarily break eye contact, make sure you show the other person that you’re still engaged in the conversion. 

5. Remain engaged and attentive

Remaining engaged and attentive is important in any conversation and there are a variety of ways you can do this other than establishing a direct gaze or deep eye contact. Some of these ways include: 

  • Nodding in acknowledgment 
  • Asking questions about what’s being said 
  • Keeping your body language open and receptive 
  • Re-establishing eye contact every few seconds 


Can eye contact be seductive? 

Yes, eye contact can be an incredibly seductive, nonverbal form of communication. You can use eye contact to show your interest in someone and communicate sexual attraction. Intense eye contact has even been shown to stimulate sexual arousal.

What does a lack of eye contact signal? 

A lack of eye contact can be damaging to a relationship. When you don’t maintain eye contact with your partner it can signal a lack of interest or desire and may make your partner feel unseen, unheard, unimportant, or overlooked.

That being said, there are a variety of other reasons why someone might avoid eye contact, including: 

- They may be nervous or uncomfortable 
- They may be shy 
- They’re feeling guilty or are trying to hide something 
- They’re ignoring you or don’t want to engage with you 
- They’re thinking deeply about what’s being said
- Social anxiety

How can you improve your eye contact if you’re a shy person?

- Start off by setting small and manageable goals for yourself e.g. make eye contact with family members and friends at first and then move onto strangers
- Try to hold eye contact for 4 seconds at a time and build up from there 
- Focus on the other person’s eye color 
- Remove your sunglasses - these act as a crutch! 
- Make eye contact from the get-go 
- When you break eye contact, look sideways instead of down


Based on the above, we are able to see that not only does prolonged eye contact have a variety of different meanings, it’s also incredibly important in a romantic relationship. Learning how to establish and maintain eye contact will help you improve your relationships, enable you to communicate better, and help you read others more accurately.

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