How To Get Anybody To Talk To You

I find it frustrating because I know exactly how you feel”, I told her. 

 She shouted back,
 “If you know exactly how I feel, then you should leave me alone!”,

She slammed shut her bedroom door.

My plan had gone horribly wrong

I was 19 years old and in my first year of university. Jenna was my flatmate.
In that warm way that sometimes happens, she and I had bonded within seconds of meeting. 

I always like to think of that as your souls bumping.

On this particular night, we’d been out at the local student bar with my sparky friend Alice. I’d engineered it, wanting these two beloveds of mine to spend some time.

The evening was awful.

Whilst Alice chatted away, Jenna removed herself from the conversation.
She physically manouvered her body, so that it looked as if she didn’t even know us.

I could tell what was going on. That didn’t make it any less embarrassing.


Her self-defeating (and entirely wrong) belief

When we left the bar, I called Jenna on it.

Do you like Alice?”

Yeah. Whatever. She seems nice.”

Then why were you making every effort to act as if you didn’t want to be there?” 

I was just trying not to be rude. It was so obvious she didn’t want to talk to me.

She didn’t get an opportunity! You need to give people the chance to include you, not block yourself off before they can”.

If someone isn’t looking at you when they’re talking, it’s because they don’t want you in the conversation”

That’s JUST not true!”

You don’t get it!”

This is about where you came in.


The actual truth of situations like this (and how it can help you)

I used to feel like Jenna.

I spent most of my teenage years similarly removing myself from conversations my more confident friends were involved in.

(No one wants to talk to The Boring Girl – remember?)

At some point between then and going to university, I realised a very empowering fact:


Even confident people can be bad at eye contact.

If they’re stingy with it – it’s not you, it’s them.

                                 (tweet that!)


Once you realise this, you can stop taking it personally when someone doesn’t look at you.

It doesn’t mean that they don’t want to talk to you.
If they didn’t want to talk to you, they would move somewhere else. They would body block you, not just eye-contact block you.

If you yourself are good at eye contact, you can even start to feel a bit sorry for them.
Which can help you feel more confident.


The trick that makes them look at you

This is going to sound weird, but just trust me.

If you’re in a small group and one person isn’t making eye contact with you:

 Just keep looking at their eyes.

That’s right:

 you need to maintain eye contact with them, in order to have them reciprocate.


Now, I am of COURSE not talking about a serious, Hannibal Lecter-style creepy stare.
Or close-up smitten-eyes.

But adopt the kind of soft gaze you would be giving this person – if you were one of the few people she was flicking her gaze between as she spoke – and she will eventually start looking back at you.

On the few occasions it doesn’t work, you will at very least feel like you were part of the conversation – not an intrusive outsider.

This will feel weird at first but once you get used to it, it will come more naturally.
Plus, when you get a result, you’ll feel  a rush of acheivement. And a little bit like you’re a hypnotist.


Over To You

Have you ever found yourself eye-contact excluded by someone? How did it make you feel?
Did you assume they were trying to shut you out of the conversation?

Let me know in the comments below! (click on “thoughts”, or right here!).


You rule,

xx (Yes Yes) Marsha

PS want to know my best-ever client secret – and get even more advice, tips, plus stories that I won’t put on the internet? Come and join the Yes Yes Family – it’s free! Just pop your details in below:

Photo credits: meghannash, kidicarus222, Anonymous Account, prawnpie and Daniela Vladimirova, all via Compfight cc


  • Rachel

    Reply Reply July 5, 2013

    Hehe One of my friends kept gazing behind me as she was talking to me – I rapidly realised I was standing in front of the kitchen window and since it was dark outside and brightly lit indoors, it was essentially a mirror.

    Solution: “, stop looking at yourself in the window when you’re talking to me.”

    Only works when your friend already knows that they’re a narcissist. Probably still works when they don’t, but if they don’t…I’d probably just go closer and examine their face as if there was something wrong until they wondered what I was doing. :D

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply July 5, 2013

      Ha! I have a friend who is totally unashamed about that. You have to make sure to NEVER be near a mirror when you’re with him.

  • Leigh Clements

    Reply Reply July 5, 2013

    I have had this happen, and as someone who is just naturally talkative and loves to connect with people, I found it very hard to deal with – even assuming, just as your flatmate had, that the other person didn’t want to have a conversation with me. I’ll be thinking about it differently from now on.

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply July 5, 2013

      Glad to dispell that myth!
      It’s definitely nice when you realise that you don’t have to take it personally.

  • Solveig

    Reply Reply July 5, 2013

    Very true! And we always think is something wrong with *us*…sigh

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply July 5, 2013

      Yes! It’s much more fun when you realise it’s *they* who are socially challenged, not you!

  • John Handelaar

    Reply Reply July 7, 2013


    Or, ya know. Could be anything on autistic spectrum past ‘dyslexia’. Most of us don’t look you in the eye because if we do we can’t actually hear you any more.

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply July 7, 2013

      I hear you – but I’m not talking about people who can’t look *anyone in the eye, more about people who aren’t generous with sharing their eye-contact around beyond the one person who asked the question/the person they know best
      – usually, because it doesn’t occur to them that that would leave the non-looked at person feeling isolated.
      (also hi!)

  • Mary Koppes

    Reply Reply July 15, 2014

    This post was exactly the insight/pep talk I need today! I recently moved to a new, small town to be with my beau who is a long-time resident here. When we run into people they always talk to him and not to me. He often forgets peoples name so he doesn’t introduce me out of embarrassment for spacing on someone’s name he’s known many times for years and I end up feeling really excluded. I love this suggestion and I need the encouragement to stay with it, inviting yourself into the conversation rather than waiting on others who have their own reasons for avoiding eye contact. Thanks!

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply July 16, 2014

      Mary, I’m so glad you found this helpful. One of my best friends is *dreadful at introducing me to people (she just never remembers to) and for years it was hard – until I learned this trick and gently introduced my way into the conversation. I’ve since learned that it’s VERY rare that people aren’t game for having you join in too.

      (by the way, I just released a video on how to remember anyone’s name, if you wanted to pass it onto your sweetheart:, if he’s interested)
      (ps LOVE that you called him your “beau”)

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field