Defeat the Stare-Down





Introduction: Defeat the Stare-Down

Most of us have experienced it ... someone is trying to cow you or impose their will on you through direct eye contact. They're relying on your instinct to avoid confrontation and look away, making you the "loser" of the confidence test.

Whether you think so or not, you've just given some interpersonal power to the other person. Whether it's a salesman, drill instructor, police officer, con artist, or cult recruiter, you're one psychological step behind in this battle of wills. (Note: it may under certain circumstances be wiser to let a police officer feel he/she has control over you. Cops are not as nice when they feel threatened or disrespected.)

This is a simple trick that allows you to disconnect from the uncomfortable eye contact without "conceding" the match.

Soften your gaze and direct it between and slightly above the starer's eyes. Try it on a friend and you'll see the difference — there's no connection, no feeling of intrusion because there's no true eye contact.

You can now converse more comfortably without giving your would-be dominator the satisfaction of making you break your gaze.

Body language: avoid excessive hand gestures, as they can be interpreted as nervousness. Hand gestures, when used, should be sharp, assertive and in a downwards motion. Don't show your palms to the other person, this is a submissive gesture. Watch politicians giving speeches to get the idea of the kind of hand gestures you should make ... they're professionally trained to appear confident and "alpha" at all times.

Final note: anyone (other than perhaps a police officer doing his duties) who uses nasty manipulative techniques like this is probably not a good person, and does not have your best interests at heart. The best reaction may be to stop talking to them, because they might have more tricks than this one.



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    A few months ago, my brother gave me the icy stare (more like a glare) because I asked my elderly father a question. I gave my brother a look of total confusion, and he continued to glare at me for the next couple minutes. My sister was also present and witnessed my brother's behaviour. I tried my best to ignore him. Later my sister told me I didn't do anything to deserve his treatment, which made me feel a bit better. I was caught so off guard by this behaviour, that I didn't confront it. Now, family get together's are very uncomfortable. My brother won't acknowledge me in any way and will look right through me, and refuses to talk to me. If I ask him a question, or try to engage him in conversation, he pretends he didn't hear me, and won't even look at me. I find myself walking on egg shells around him, as does the rest of the family. At this point, when my father passes away, I don't hold out hope of any relationship with my brother. Hard to believe his 5 year old behaviour belongs to a 57 year old man!

    Seriously though, staring down a baby is totally different from staring down a jerk. Why are they so creepy? Any suggestions?

    STARING CONTEST! shoot, i lost!

    Damn the baby beat ME!

    You have been watching news radio haven't you? You know the TV show... I'm outdated. LOL

    This baby is so ugly! I feel sorry for its parents.

    That's what I thought too. Or maybe a bindi.

    It's fun to stare down teachers that are jerks. ESPECIALLY in class because it'll mess them up, if your good enough. Plus allot of times they have gotten pretty good it so it's a challenge.