Kammeyer: Keep an Open Mind on Eye Contact

Author: SF State Campus Memo
May 10, 2021

Lecturer of Communication Studies Jennifer Kammeyer discussed how to talk to people who don’t make eye contact in a Huffington Post article. Kammeyer says it’s important to keep in mind that norms about eye contact vary. “Not all cultures have the same norms around eye contact, so it is important to keep an open mind as to why a person is not making eye contact,” she said. “In many Asian cultures, it is disrespectful to make eye contact and respectful to show you are listening by keeping your head down just a bit and nodding ever so slightly. I also find that in the American subculture of technology engineers and some scientists that eye contact is not perceived as necessary.” When interacting with someone who might be avoiding eye contact for cultural reasons, it’s best not to jump to conclusions. Instead, Kammeyer says, “use good judgment and follow their lead.”