QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Please remember, this column is designed to help the consumer seeking
behavioral-health information, and not intended to be any form of psychotherapy or a replacement for professional, individualized services. Opinions expressed in the column are those of the columnist and do not represent the position of other SelfhelpMagazine.com staff.
I have always been shy, especially when it comes to talking with
girls. Though I have gotten a lot better, I have trouble maintaining eye
contact. Sometimes I try to focus on a certain point to make it easier, but
then I end up staring into one of their eyes and feel weird. I want to change
my behavior and build my confidence so that this becomes easier.
You seem to be very motivated to change and have made some
significant progress in overcoming your shyness. Your self-consciousness
about maintaining eye contact may be affecting your progress. Perhaps you are
trying too hard to maintain continuous eye contact. Continuous eye contact is
difficult for many people. Most often, we look at someone when we are
listening, and tend to intermittently maintain eye contact when we are
speaking. We tend to connect, look away as we think, come back, look at the
bridge of their nose, look away, come back to eye contact, etc. It is not
necessary to maintain direct, eye-to-eye gaze for an entire conversation.
Over time, it becomes easier to maintain contact for longer periods. Perhaps
you shouldn't be so hard on yourself. You are overcoming years of shyness; be
patient with yourself.
Dr. Edward A. Dreyfus is a Clinical Psychologist,
Marriage, Family, Child Therapist, and Sex Therapist. Dr. Dreyfus has been providing
psychological services in the Los Angeles-Santa Monica area for over 30 years.
He offers individual psychotherapy to adolescents and adults, divorce mediation,
couples counseling, group therapy, and career and vocational counseling and
assessment.His book, Someone Right For You, is available in the Amazing
Dr. Dreyfus can be reached at: (310) 208-5700.