Reasons for Avoiding Eye Contact: Too Little Ability
to Connect or Too Much?
It may well be that some (or all?) autistic children and
some (or all?) of the ever-expanding population of people
being classified as belonging somewhere on the autism spectrum,
however far along toward “normal,” have a similar
problem. They avoid eye contact. But avoiding eye contact
may also be a sign of “too much” connection
to others, not too little.
As a child Susan avoided eye contact with others as much
as possible. Why? Two reasons. One, she could see in the
eyes of others what they thought of her and that was too
painful to see. Two, others could sense that she was “reading
them” and they did not like her looking in their
eyes. She knew that too.
Even today, Susan, who has no innate difficulty making
eye contact, is careful not to do it too much. Her eyes
seem to read too much and others have some sense of that,
so it makes them uncomfortable. Making others feel uncomfortable
is not polite and doesn’t win one friends.