australian culture and customs

find out how australians do things, how we see the world and the world sees us

Look me in the eye! Eye contact

Cats Eyes

Cats Eyes (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

In many cultures it is very rude to look someone directly in the eyes if they are older or have a higher status than you. In Australia (except in some aboriginal cultures) it is considered very rude NOT to look someone in the eye when they are talking to you or telling you off. If you don’t look us in the eye when we are saying something important, or reprimanding you, we think you are ignoring what we are saying and being defiant.

Looking at someone when they are talking to you in a class or conversion is also an indication that you are truly listening.  We teach kids in Australia that you listen with your eyes as well as your ears.


One comment on “Look me in the eye! Eye contact

  1. Tatjana
    April 18, 2017

    We were doing a lesson on cultural awareness (Oxford English for Careers) and there they insisted we shouldn’t (the correct option “mustn’t”) look someone in the eye and maintain eye contact. I was astonished since I know that is not the case. The context was rather unclear but thanks to your post, I’ll clarify it to my students! Thank you!

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