Do You Recognize Eye Blocking?

Have you said something offensive to someone and didn’t realize it?  Have you brought up a subject that for whatever reason they don’t want to talk about?  If you do that often, you may already recognize the common body language cue Eye Blocking.Scott-Rouse-Body-Language-Expert-Nashville-Eye-Blocking

It shows up in several different forms from putting their finger tips to their forehead to rubbing their eyes.  Sometimes, they’ll take off their glasses and run their open hand down their face from the eyebrows all the way down to the chin.  You’ve probably seen it but never realized what it meant.  We talk about Eye-Blocking in-depth as well other other body language cues surrounding this at, if you’re interested.

From a psychological point of view, it’s similar to closing you eyes and looking away when you see a truck on course to run over a pedestrian.  You can’t instantly zap yourself away from what you believe will be, in a matter of nano-seconds, a horrifying scene.  So, your brain quickly takes over, closes your eyes, and turns your face away from the action.  You don’t realize it, but you’re executing eye blocking behavior.

That’s an extreme case obviously.  However, that type of eye blocking is similar to what you do consciously when someone begins telling you the deal you’ve worked on for 5 months has fallen apart for the 3rd time.

There are several studies that show people who are blind from birth will often exhibit eye blocking behavior when they get bad news or information similar to the crumbling deal example above.  Why would they do that?  It suggests eye blocking may be inherent in every person’s genetic make up whether they can see or not.

At your next meeting, get together, lunch, or family meal, look for eye blocking behavior.  Here are the most common eye blocking behaviors to look for…

When you see someone:

  • rub their eyes
  • squint real hard
  • close their eyes for a second or a few seconds too long
  • look down, or away, rotate their head, then look back at the person who is speaking
  • put their hand on their forehead and massage it a little
  • cover their eyes with their hand

As always, keep in mind these cues don’t mean for sure the person is offended, upset, or frustrated.  They simply suggest those things may be in play.  Do you remember the last time you saw any of them?  Let me know in the comments.  I want to hear about your experience.

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