Can eye-contact make you fall in love?

If eyes really are the window to the soul, can gazing into them help speed up a soul-to-soul connection? I take a look at the scientific evidence to find out how to harness the eyes to find new love.

As a dating coach, I’m always thrilled when I hear ‘their eyes’ in answer to the question ‘what do you like about them?’

When a client says this, I know we’re onto a winner and I could be getting an invitation to the wedding soon.

We humans won’t just gaze into anyone’s eyes – there has to be a particular je ne sais quoi that creates the look of love. After all, eye contact is probably the most intimate action you can participate in without physically touching someone.

So if you’re on the shy side and avoid making eye contact, then wonder why you’re dating life isn’t on fire, this could be the missing piece of the puzzle.

Considering up to 80% of what our bodies take in is filtered through our eyes, it’s no wonder eye-contact is so important in dating and love. After all, there are more neurons in the brain dedicated to vision than the other four senses combined.

Luckily science backs me up on this and there are decades of research into how eye-contact and intimacy are linked.

The science of eye-contact and intimacy

Way back in 1970, a study by Zick Rubin that found people with a stronger connection on the love spectrum also held eye contact for significantly longer periods.

According to Rubin’s findings, most people in conversation give eye contact anywhere from 30 to 60% of the time (i.e. not that much).

Couples who are in love, though, look at each other 75% of the time when they’re talking – and are far slower to break eye contact when interrupted.

Inspired by this research, in 1987, Stony Brook social psychologist Arthur Aron conducted an experiment with a group of strangers.

You might know what happened because, a few year ago, the research came back into the public consciousness when a New York Times Modern Love column, ‘To Fall In Love With Anyone, Do This‘, by Mandy Len Catron went viral.

“A heterosexual man and woman enter the lab through separate doors,” she wrote. “They sit face to face and answer a series of increasingly personal questions. Then they stare silently into each other’s eyes for four minutes. The most tantalizing detail: Six months later, two participants were married. They invited the entire lab to the ceremony.”

Catron put the 36 questions to the test with a friend, complete with four minutes of intense eye contact on a bridge at midnight, and – spoiler alert – the two fell madly in love with each other.

According to Aron there are two big factors to falling in love through eye contact:

Number 1: the other person is reasonably appropriate and desirable

Number 2: there is reason to think they might be interested in you.

The first is easy – do you like what you see? The second is where the magic comes in; eye-contact is a way of feeling deeply connected. You know it yourself – that feeling you get when another person is interested in you makes it so much more likely you’ll fall for them.

Want to give it a try?

I’m so convinced of the power of eye-contact that I’m hosting a speed dating event with a twist. Join us on 16th May in Bermondsey for a night of speed-date-sketching. This is a chance to truly SEE the person in front of you and notice the subtle beauty of an ear or mouth. No sketching ability needed – just open minds and eyes.

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