tag:letsmakeeyecontact.posthaven.com,2013:/posts Let's Make Eye Contact 2015-07-14T02:49:15Z Joshua Beeler tag:letsmakeeyecontact.posthaven.com,2013:Post/880827 2015-07-14T02:46:06Z 2015-07-14T02:46:07Z Person 7: Jamee

Last weekend I went to Valparaíso with just a backpack, no computer, and no plan.

It was exactly what I needed.

Right away I made a new friend at the hostel, Jamee.

We went out that night and hung out again on Sunday.

We had a great connection and in particular I enjoyed making eye contact with her throughout the weekend.

Before we parted ways I asked her to make eye contact with me.

It was so easy. "Not awkward at all," as Jamee said. I agree.

Joshua Beeler
tag:letsmakeeyecontact.posthaven.com,2013:Post/878849 2015-07-08T23:23:32Z 2015-07-08T23:23:32Z Fascinating! (Letter from a Fan)

"Hi Joshua,

My name is Ron and I took one of your cards from a coffee shop...

I just wanted to say that what you are doing is courageous, and I tend to be an extrovert. What a cool thing to do!

I wish you great success!


Joshua Beeler
tag:letsmakeeyecontact.posthaven.com,2013:Post/878671 2015-07-08T15:35:15Z 2015-07-08T15:35:16Z How to Ask

"I have a request."

*brief pause*

"Will you make eye contact with me for 60 seconds?"

I like many things about this ask:

1. It's not as abrupt as simply saying "Will you make eye contact with me for 60 seconds?" with no prior intro.

2. It doesn't frame the request as being part of an experiment. I prefer not to refer to this as an experiment, because it makes the action seem less personal and less intimate. Saying it is an experiment also hits at my purpose, and I prefer to not discuss why I am doing this until after they agreed to do it with me, or not.

3. Although it's not a goal of this project to get people to say "yes" to making eye contact, saying "I have a request." first, with a pause, then making the request, puts the other person into the mindset to hear and respond to a request, which I think will make them more likely to say "yes" to it. Without this setup, they may be needlessly surprised by the unusual and bold request.

Joshua Beeler
tag:letsmakeeyecontact.posthaven.com,2013:Post/874936 2015-06-29T02:22:51Z 2015-06-29T02:22:51Z Person 6: Giulia

Today I am visiting the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes and Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (MAC) in Santiago, Chile. After looking at all the artworks I stop in MAC Café for a rest and té. Being in the beautiful building and surrounded by artworks is making me feel inspired and I realize/remember/own that I am an artist. I think about my projects and remember this one, LMEC, which has been dormant for months.

The past few days I've been struggling. With being ill, with enthusiasm and motivation, with confidence and awareness, with many things. I have forgotten some of my tools for feeling good, thinking positively. But today in the cafe I remember LMEC and realize that this project is art, my art. It's experiential art, temporary art, performance.

The guy who served me in the cafe speaks English, so I decide to ask him to do LMEC with me. I could ask one of the girls who work here, but I know he speaks English and that will be easier in terms of getting "back on the horse." I am already nervous when I realize that I am going to do this. It's an "old feeling" I realize I haven't felt in a while. Recently I've been re-watching Game of Thrones while I've been home sick, and I recall an inspiring Ned Stark quote about being brave, which I write in my journal, and get up to do this.

But the fellow is gone. In the bathroom, or something. I pay my bill and the girl who helps me speaks some English. I made brief eye contact with her when I walked in, and it was good. She is friendly and seems kind. I ask her if she'll make eye contact with me (in English, and also testing my Spanish) and she says "yes" right away. She asks me what it's about, and I tell her we'll talk about it after.

I set the timer on my phone an we begin. (I'm out of the habit of carrying my the gym timer I usually use for this exercise.) During our eye contact she speaks once, and looks away once, aware of customers entering the cafe. But we continue. We both smile once. I enjoy this feeling, this connection. I forget to note the color of her eyes, or anything in particular, really, because I'm just enjoying this experience.

At least a minute passes. I know it's been longer than 60 seconds and begin to suspect that I set the timer incorrectly. I check it, and sure enough I didn't actually set it.

After the eye contact we talk about it a little, I share with her why I do it. I ask to take her picture and she consents. We exchange names. Her name is Giulia (Julia), she is Italian, and she lives here in Santiago. I give her a card for the blog and we hug when I leave.

A pleasure to meet you, Giulia. Thank you very much for getting me started again. I really needed this.

Joshua Beeler
tag:letsmakeeyecontact.posthaven.com,2013:Post/874921 2015-03-17T15:00:00Z 2015-07-14T02:49:15Z Person 5: Ting

I was at a cafe in Buenos Aires.

At the table next to me was a girl, who I noticed when she came in after me.

After my beer I left the cafe.

But while walking down the street I knew I had wanted to speak with her, but I didn't.

So I turned around and went back.

I walked into the cafe and approached her table.

I asked her if I could sit down and she said "yes."

I asked her to make eye contact with me an she agreed.

Afterwards we talked for a bit, I took her picture, we exchanged contact info, then I left.

Proud of myself.

Later, we would see each other again when my beer was on tap at a nearby bar.

Joshua Beeler
tag:letsmakeeyecontact.posthaven.com,2013:Post/813801 2015-02-20T19:46:56Z 2015-02-20T19:46:56Z Person 4: Emily

Full City Coffee House, Palermo Soho, 10 AM

I walk into the coffee shop right as they open, order a coffee, and sit down.

Shortly after that a girl walks in and orders a coffee. I know I have to ask her to make eye contact with me.

I ask her directly and she says "yes" with a tone of uncertainty and perhaps caution in her voice.

I explain the timer and the parameters of the experiment and she confirms that she'll do it.

When she asks me why we're doing this I tell her I'll tell her after.

After our eye contact I explain my motivations. I also make an effort to ask her about her experience. She says she was a bit uncomfortable, especially not knowing how much time was left. She kept thinking about the time. And she just woke up and hasn't had coffee yet so... Well, you know how it is.

She agrees to let me take her photo for the blog. Thanks, Emily!

Joshua Beeler
tag:letsmakeeyecontact.posthaven.com,2013:Post/813799 2015-02-20T19:40:03Z 2015-02-20T19:40:05Z From AurorA to Buenos Aires

I don't approach anyone else for LMEC at AurorA.

The event is over and now it's back to Buenos Aires.

Joshua Beeler
tag:letsmakeeyecontact.posthaven.com,2013:Post/813798 2015-02-20T19:38:05Z 2015-02-20T19:38:34Z Persons 1, 2, and 3: Adrian, Josefin, and Nicole

I'm at AurorA, an event inspired by Burning Man, and I figure this is the perfect place to restart Let's Make Eye Contact.

Honestly I've been nervous about doing it here in Argentina. My Spanish isn't very good, and I've been scared to get vulnerable and be uncomfortable by approaching for LMEC interactions where a language and cultural barrier is very likely to be present. The fear in my mind has held me back from jumping into LMEC here in Buenos Aires.

But a festival, especially one where the Burning Man ethos is present, makes it easier.

One of my campmates, Josefin, inspires me to start today. During the conversations we've had I've really enjoyed her eye contact. She's very present, and her eyes are inviting, especially when she's smiling. I want to experience eye contact with her it in a more focused way without the distraction of words.

First I need to replace the battery in my timer and reboot it after almost two months of non-use. Adrian, another campmate, gives me a battery. After I fix the timer I ask him to make eye contact with me. He's game, so we sit down in the grass and do it.

Next I return to Josefin, invite her to participate in the experiment, and she consents. After the timer beeps we talk for a while about eye contact.

Later in the day I ask Nicole to make eye contact with me. She's so cute and I really enjoy the occasional eye contact we've had here at the festival. But she usually has sunglasses on, so I don't get to see her eyes much, and I'd like to see them more. I've also never asked anyone to participate in this exercise with their face painted. I ask her and she agrees to do it.

Now that I've asked three campmates, all of whom speak English, my next step is to take this practice out into the AurorA community and invite participants who are strangers and who may not speak English well.

Joshua Beeler
tag:letsmakeeyecontact.posthaven.com,2013:Post/813788 2015-02-15T15:00:00Z 2015-02-20T18:42:22Z Welcome to Season 3 - Buenos Aires!

Hey folks, Let's Make Eye Contact is back, this time in South America!

This season will take place in Buenos Aires.

Instead of running for 30 days the season will run until I've approached 30 people.

I'll also probably have to learn how to say the "introduction script" in Spanish.

Otherwise the format remains the same.

Here we go! Welcome to Season 3!

Joshua Beeler
tag:letsmakeeyecontact.posthaven.com,2013:Post/783861 2014-12-10T18:32:00Z 2015-02-20T18:44:13Z End of Season 2

Season 2 is over! Here are the stats:

Days Elapsed: 30

Days Skipped: 11 (i.e. days on which I did not approach anyone)

Bonus Days: 0 (i.e. days on which I approached multiple people)

People Approached: 19

Day / Night Approaches: 9 / 10

Indoor / Outdoor Approaches: 17 / 2

I mostly approached people in coffee shops. Next was the climbing gym and bars. I also approached two people at home, one while riding a bus, and another at the office.

I was not rejected by anyone I approached.

Noticeably, there were many more days when I did not approach anyone. There were a variety of reasons for this. I got my tongue pierced near the end of Season 1, and while it was healing it was difficult to talk. I was self-conscious of the difference in my voice and that made it more challenging to approach people. I was sick for a few days and didn't make eye contact with anyone during that time. Also, the battery in the timer died and it took me a few days to replace it. Instead of approaching people without the timer, I simply stopped the practice. And for several days I just didn't do it. Either I was too busy or couldn't find the right person or the right setting or just didn't want to do it.

I'm taking a break from the eye contact experiment for a while and intend to pick it back up again in South America.

Joshua Beeler
tag:letsmakeeyecontact.posthaven.com,2013:Post/781013 2014-12-09T21:58:13Z 2014-12-09T22:08:31Z Day 60: Cedric

Bus #10, DTLA, Morning

I'm sitting in the back of the bus on the right side. An older, tall black man, dressed business casual, with a short goatie, bald head, and rectangular glasses boards the bus and sits in the window seat in front of me. This is my man. I wait for a while, then move one seat over, so now I'm on his left side and behind him. I lean forward and

Me: "Excuse me."

"I have a request."

"Will you make eye contact with me for 60 seconds?"

His brow furrows, he looks away and then back at me.

Him: "What?"

"No one's ever asked me this before."

"Is this for something?"

Me: "Yeah, it's a project."


Him: "Why?"

Me: "I'll tell you after."

Him: "This is strange."

He decides to do it anyway.

He turns in his seat to face me more directly and I start the timer.

I like his eye contact. But we only make it about five seconds when he looks away and says

Him: "I can't do it."

Me: "That's OK." I smile. "Want to try again?"

Him: "Nah."

Me: "No problem."

"Thanks for giving it a try."

"I'm going to give you this for doing it with me."

I hand him a card. He takes it and looks closely at the card.

Me: "That's my eye."

He looks closely at me. I smile.

Me: "Doing this gets me out of my comfort zone. It gets me to talk with people who I otherwise wouldn't know what to say to them. It's an unusual thing. Making eye contact is vulnerable and intimate, especially with strangers. It's unusual and people aren't used to it. Many people don't even do this with their significant others for 60 seconds without talking. I like to see, just, how people react, if they'll do it. And, surprisingly, most people do it!"

"I'm Josh."

Him: "Cedric."

Me: "May I use your first name and photograph on my blog where I write about this?"

Cedric: "No."

Me: "Not even first name?"

Cedric: "Well... First name is OK."

Me: "OK."

"Would the photograph make you uncomfortable?"

Cedric: "Yeah, I think so."

Me: "OK, no problem."

I ask him what he's up to today. He's going to see his doctor. We talk for a little while about flu shots. He asks me what I do, and I tell him I'm a programmer. I tell him that I'm often in front of the computer all day, not talking to anyone, and this practice gets me talking to people. He smiles and seems to like that. He asks me if my supervisor knows that I take time from work to do this. I tell him that I am my own boss, so, "Yes, my supervisor knows. He's sitting right here." We both think that's funny.

My stop is coming up. I pick up my backpack and wish Cedric a happy and healthy day as I exit the bus.

Joshua Beeler
tag:letsmakeeyecontact.posthaven.com,2013:Post/780993 2014-12-09T21:40:27Z 2014-12-09T21:40:27Z Tweaks

Here are some tweaks I am thinking about making to the practice moving forward:


I want to have more unique conversations with people. Most interactions involve the participant asking why I do this, and I give the same-ish answer every time. And the conversations I have with people usually cover topics that branch off from my explanation of why I do this. Both of these these facts are to be expected. However, there are two aspects of these conversations I'd like to change:

  1. To have the answer for "why do you do this?" be more clearly articulated. I'll probably write a Why? post in which I polish up that response.
  2. To do a better job of engaging participants. I want to take more an authentic interest in them and learn about them. This feels like small talk practice, but I want it to be different because I want to actively engage with the other person, to be excited to have the conversation instead of seeing it as an annoying drag. I think asking them questions (that I actually care to hear the answers to) is the way to do this. Questions like:
    1. Why did you agree to do this?
    2. Have you ever done anything like this before?
    3. What is your experience making eye contact with people? Do you do it often? Do you enjoy it?
    4. How did this experience make you feel?


I want to push myself to approach people in more unusual interaction scenarios, where I suspect the likelihood of rejection is higher.

My to-do list includes:

  • bus
  • bus stop
  • table of 2 at a bar
  • table of 3 at a bar
  • table of 4 at a bar
  • people in my office (never introduced, and already introduced)
  • street corner (while waiting to cross street)
  • someone who's in the middle of walking somewhere
  • someone waiting outside of restaurant to be seated
  • someone hanging out in Little Tokyo plaza
  • house party
  • grocery store shopper
  • motorcycle shop customer

Joshua Beeler
tag:letsmakeeyecontact.posthaven.com,2013:Post/780968 2014-12-09T21:24:01Z 2014-12-09T21:59:05Z Upcoming Changes: Revisited

Here's a look at how the intentions set forth in the Upcoming Changes post have worked out:


I briefly experimented with composing the photos with the participant on the left side of the frame, but it feels awkward and unnatural, so I abandoned it. I still place the participant on the right side of the frame.



I don't say this is an experiment anymore.

Introduction / Pitch

This has changed a lot. I usually greet the person and get their attention with something like "hi" or "hey" or "excuse me" (sometimes I skip this altogether) and then go straight into "will you make eye contact with me for 60 seconds?" No more "I have an unusual request" or "I'm doing an experiment in which..." lead-ins. I like this new, succinct pitch. My experience shows that people are willing to do this even when it isn't explicitly framed as an experiment.

Name + Photo Ask

I haven't changed this ask, at least, I don't think I have. I've been having trouble remembering the conversations I have with people and can't recall if I have a usual way of asking this. Sometimes I think I say "[something|another thing] I ask participants is if I can use their first name and photograph on my blog where I write about this. [May|Can] I take your photo?" and sometimes I think I say "may I use your name and photograph on my blog where I write about this?" That request feels discontinuous to me. I still want a better segue but haven't given it much thought.


The new leave-behind cards have been working great!

A few changes in the next batch:

  1. Make the text larger so people with poorer eyesight can read it easier.
  2. Change the paper type so the cards more readily accept pen ink. (I can't write on the current batch.)
  3. Consider adding the http:// prefix to the URL to make it clear that it's a website. (Not sure this is an issue.)
  4. Consider adding my email to the card instead of just having it on the site.
  5. Consider changing to a full-sized business card instead of a mini card.
Joshua Beeler
tag:letsmakeeyecontact.posthaven.com,2013:Post/780959 2014-12-09T21:09:58Z 2014-12-09T21:10:20Z Day 59: Albert

Wolf & Crane, 10:55 PM

It's quiet when I enter. It is, after all, Monday night. I sit at the bar with my laptop, order two pours of Japanese whisky, and set to work on blog posts for Bushido Brewery. This is the spot where I intend to initiate eye contact today.

I look around to see who's here. There are three groups of people in the place, each group is a couple or a group of three. And there's a 40-something Asian guy sitting at the end of the bar. I consider approaching one of the groups or asking the Asian guy (I haven't asked many Asian guys yet) but choose to wait and work for now.

A little while passes and a large group of Asian friends comes in. For a while they are to my left, the girls sitting at the bar and the rest standing. We're sitting close, and the girl to my immediate left keeps grazing my left arm with her arm or with her back when she's facing away from me. I consider asking her to make eye contact, but don't. Eventually the group grows larger and moves to a table. Later, another girl from the group comes up to the bar to order shots. I greet her and consider asking her to make eye contact, but again, don't.

During this time another solo Asian guy - about my age? - entered the bar, sat a few seats to my right, and has been ordering whiskey drinks. He seems friendly, and talks with the bartender about whiskey selection and cocktails. When he's not doing that he's keeping to himself and using his phone. This is my guy.

I am leaving soon to catch the bus, which only comes once per hour at this time of night, so this interaction needs to happen now.

"Hey. Will you make eye contact with me for 60 seconds?"


He orders a glass of water. I pull out the timer and start it. Just as we begin it's clear he has the hiccups. D'oh! Oh well, we're going for it.

He hiccups throughout our eye contact. It's kind of funny. I smile, he smiles. He has a friendly, kind energy about him. He makes it all the way through the 60 seconds, hiccuping regularly. What a trooper.

I give him a card and learn that his name is Albert. He says that he knew this was for some kind of project when I asked him. He tells me that he often finds himself in awkward situations, so this - making eye contact while having hiccups - is not a big deal. I ask him if he makes those awkward situations or stumbles into them, and he says "both." I think that's funny, and am interested to know more about him and the kinds of situations he gets into.

It's time to run for he bus. I snap his photo and invite him to email me if he wants to get a drink sometime.

Joshua Beeler
tag:letsmakeeyecontact.posthaven.com,2013:Post/780615 2014-12-08T07:00:00Z 2014-12-09T04:18:08Z Day 58: Jenelle

Blacktop Coffee, 5:40 PM

"Will you make eye contact with me for 60 seconds?"

My introductions are getting shorter. Breaking the ice probably doesn't get more succinct or direct than this.


Excellent! I've found another participant who jumps into LMEC with great enthusiasm.

I was preparing to sit in the chair across from her, but I move to the chair next to her. This is LA, and there is a shoot happening outside of the coffee shop where we're sitting. Despite it being dark outside, the whole street is lit up with very bright lights, and I don't want her to strain by looking into the lights.

I give her the run down: one the timer starts, no talking and no looking away. You can blink, smile, laugh, and breathe. You can take a drink of your coffee if you want.

She takes a sip of her coffee twice during our session.

After our eye contact I give her a leave-behind card, ask her name (Jenelle), and if I may take her photograph for this blog.


We sit and talk for a while. During our conversation I articulate a new thought: that I sometimes become grouchy at the prospect of making small talk with people and this practice is proving to be an effective way for me to get around that and engage people, especially strangers. It immediately provides us with something meaningful to talk about other than "where are you from?" and "what do you do?"

I also articulate my desire to engage a diverse selection of people with this project and my desire to push myself into more vulnerable situations (asking people who appear to be busy or on-the-go, asking people in new environments, approaching more groups). I am doing a pretty good job of hitting diversity here in LA, where it's easier because it's more culturally and ethnically diverse than the Pacific Northwest, but I think I can push the vulnerable situations more.

After a very pleasant conversation I snap her photograph and head out to meet a friend for dinner.

Nice to meet you, Jenelle!

Joshua Beeler
tag:letsmakeeyecontact.posthaven.com,2013:Post/780606 2014-12-07T01:00:00Z 2014-12-09T03:14:37Z Day 57: Elinor

go get em tiger, 3:45 PM

"Hey. Will you make eye contact with me for 60 seconds?"

She takes off her sunglasses.


"Awesome! I have a timer set for 60 seconds and when I start it, no talking and no looking away."

"OK! Tell me when."



Our eye contact is dynamic. At times our connection is playful and lighthearted. There's a slight smile. A silent laugh. Then it's serious, contemplative, bearing more weight. Straight lips, penetrating eyes. A subtle nostril flare. Then a bigger smile, a quick glance to the left.


I give her a leave-behind card and tell her how pleased and surprised I am that she agreed to participate.

She introduces herself as Elinor.

I chose Elinor specifically because of her sunglasses. I wanted to know if the sunglasses were indicative of an unwillingness to have this kind of interaction. I wanted to know if they were an intentional disinterest in a vulnerable interaction. I had a suspicion that the likelihood of a rejection would be higher from her because of the sunglasses, because of what I thought she might be communicating by wearing them. I thought her big, dark glasses communicated a "please leave me alone" message. I wanted to test that assumption. To my surprise I found a more enthusiastic participate in her obscured eyes than I've found in the uncovered eyes of many other people.

We have a great conversation that touches on many topics.

She tells me how she was able to participate in this vulnerable interaction because of it's limited duration. It's only for 60 seconds. It's a safe space in which to be vulnerable for a limited, bounded period of time. It similar to how she can let herself be vulnerable in the recording studio for the duration of a song. She knows that an end to the vulnerable time is coming. Same with our interaction.

I tell her how I've been doing this practice in other cities (Victoria BC, Portland) and how, so far, in Los Angeles I get more responses of the "What? Uhhh... This is weird."-type. Yet, despite that, Angelinos are participating. No one has yet rejected me in LA.

Elinor is from New York City. Hah! Here I am in Los Angeles making eye contact with another New Yorker. She tells me how eye contact is common in NYC and how a New Yorker can tell if you're trying to front or pretend to be someone you're not. A New Yorker uses eye contact to see if you're being authentic or not.

She tells me about her experience singing blues to prison inmates, and how being authentic with them is key to connecting with them. Elinor makes eye contact with the inmates, sees the person in each of them, and allows herself to be vulnerable so that they can see her. By doing this she can establish a connection with them. The inmates don't have people who make eye contact with them and see the person; just the prisoner, the criminal.

She says that I must have many interesting actions, and postulates that the most interesting are the "no's" - right? "Actually, the "no's" are usually not that interesting. They're usually short, straight-forward interactions," I tell her. There's usually not much conversation when confronted with a "no." The "yes's" on the other hand can be very interesting. Some aren't. Some interactions are as minimal as possible while still being a "yes" - merely responses to my prompts and nothing else asked or shared. The bare minimum. Other times a LMEC interaction is the beginning of a friendship.

We talk about the difference between creating boundaries and walls. It takes a lot of energy to be open to making eye contact with everyone all the time when out and about. I am often like this, open to making eye contact, actively seeking it out, in fact. It doesn't seem to be possible to do it all the time, even if everyone else were to be open to it. It takes a lot of energy to do this, and sometimes you have to stop to recharge, to keep some energy to yourself, to take care of yourself, and create a personal space for yourself even whenn, especially when, surrounded by other people.

She wants to send me a picture instead of taking one now, and I'm on board with that.

We hug, and she leaves the shop, bound for an acupuncture session.

Joshua Beeler
tag:letsmakeeyecontact.posthaven.com,2013:Post/780014 2014-12-05T17:37:00Z 2014-12-09T01:58:12Z Day 56: Casey

Cafecito Organico, 9:30 AM

Today is a brew day and I know I won't be going out much. While at the coffee shop this morning I intend to make eye contact with someone and get it done.

I look around before and during my drink and spy a few potentials. One is a middle-aged man, scruffy short beard and glasses, sitting with his friend, another guy of about the same age with long straight brown hair, talking about jury duty, sounds like. He swears a lot when he speaks, which is interesting, I don't hear people talk like that often.

The idea of interrupting his conversation gives me pause and I hesitate to go over to him. On the other hand, I am quite interested to know how he'll react to my proposal. But not quite interested enough, because I delay going over to him, and eventually he and his friend leave.

Now I'm heading out, and it's "do or die" as I survey the scene. I discount people engaged with books or study, and see a guy sitting by himself amongst the chairs along the side of the street. I approach him and sit down in the chair next to him.

"Pardon my interruption. Will you make eye contact with me for 60 seconds?"

"Who are you?"

I smile. "It doesn't matter."

"Are you a journalist or a reporter?"

Still smiling. "No."

He's wary.


"I tell you after we do it."




Great. His interest outweighs his suspicions.

Our eye contact is relaxed, focused, and easy. I think about sending him energy for him to have a great day.

After the timer beeps I give him a card and explain my motivations. He has a smile on his face now, his conversation is animated, and his caution is gone. I suspect he won't consent to the use of his photograph, but I ask anyway. "Sorry," he says. He's not comfortable with me using his photograph. "There's nothing to apologize for," I tell him. This is about what he's comfortable with, and if he doesn't consent, we don't do it, end of story. He seems pleased and relieved at how I've handled this.

His name is Casey.

Joshua Beeler
tag:letsmakeeyecontact.posthaven.com,2013:Post/780013 2014-12-05T07:30:00Z 2014-12-09T03:18:20Z Day 55

Today I choose not to make eye contact with anyone.

I'm interested in doing it, but I just don't prioritize it.

Joshua Beeler
tag:letsmakeeyecontact.posthaven.com,2013:Post/779503 2014-12-04T07:30:00Z 2014-12-06T04:10:40Z Day 54: Jeffrey

Far Bar, 10:15 PM

The fellow sitting to my left has been there for a while (15 minutes? 30 minutes?), has been drinking his beer veeeerry slowly, and has been on his phone the whole time.

I'm done with my beers and my dinner and I'm ready to leave. Before leaving I sit back down in my seat and turn to him.

"Excuse me. Do you have a moment to do something unusual with me? Will you make eye contact with me for 60 seconds?"


"I'll tell you afterwards."


I explain the timer and ask if he's ready. When he is, I set the timer on the bar and start it. This way I'm not holding it in my hands and thinking about it during our session.

Our eye contact is easy and pleasant.

I give him a card. We talk. His name is Jeffrey. I share the answer to his "why?" I tell him that I'm interested to see how people respond to this experiment now that I'm in Los Angeles. I expect that they will be more suspicious, less willing participants. Turns Jeffrey is from NYC, not from LA, and is only here for a few days. He thinks that people in NYC may be surprisingly willing participants because people in NYC encounter odd (unusual) behavior all the time, and perhaps LA will be similar to NYC in that way. I am not sure. I guess we will find out!

After a pleasant chat I get Jeffrey's permission to use his name and photo for the blog.

After a pleasant conversation I leave the bar. We both have a smile on our face.

Joshua Beeler
tag:letsmakeeyecontact.posthaven.com,2013:Post/778470 2014-12-03T05:00:00Z 2014-12-04T02:39:09Z Day 53: Vince

Wolf & Crane Bar, 7 PM

Hanging out and having drinks with my coworkers, I notice a tall, good-looking black guy wearing a baseball cap down the bar from me. He's talking to some people I know and while he looks really friendly, I also have no idea how he'll react if I ask him to make eye contact with me. So I approach him and do it.

At first he says "no." I push him a bit, though, and he agrees to do it. He wants to know why, like most people do, and I tell him I'll explain it after. I walk back to my seat to get my timer. He doesn't know how to react! He thinks it's weird, but he's going to do it anyway. We begin, and he starts to say something, then remembers the no talking rule. Making eye contact with him is so easy! He's a natural. 60 seconds goes by like that. *snaps fingers*

After the beep we talk about the experiment and I introduce myself. His name is Vince. I give him a card. He seems to be at the bar with Danelle, who watched out eye contact session, and we all talk for a bit. He doesn't want me to use his photograph, but his name is OK. Before I return to my friends I give him a hug.

What an interesting interaction! This feels "very LA" to me. I anticipate that people here in LA will be less open to the eye contact experiment. Yet, even though Vince didn't know what to think about it, and was very vocally unsure about it, he did it anyway.

LA is going to be interesting.

Joshua Beeler
tag:letsmakeeyecontact.posthaven.com,2013:Post/778465 2014-12-02T05:00:00Z 2014-12-04T02:31:34Z Day 52

Today I'm mostly at home brewing beer. I only go out briefly to Home Depot.

I don't invite anyone to make eye contact.

Joshua Beeler
tag:letsmakeeyecontact.posthaven.com,2013:Post/778464 2014-12-01T05:00:00Z 2014-12-04T02:30:21Z Day 51: Courtney

Today I fly from Seattle to Los Angeles and wait until the last moment of the day to ask someone to make eye contact.

I prefer to ask a stranger, but I missed those opportunities, so I ask someone who I just met a few hours ago, Courtney.

I knew she would say "yes." I haven't known her for long at all but I can tell she's just that kind of person. She says "yes."

We're setting close to each other and her eye contact is very focused. Remembering what I took away from the open eye meditation I focus on loving her for 60 seconds.

Joshua Beeler
tag:letsmakeeyecontact.posthaven.com,2013:Post/778460 2014-11-30T05:00:00Z 2014-12-04T02:27:02Z Day 50

Today I'm driving from Portland to Seattle and preparing to live out of a suitcase again.

I don't do LMEC with anyone.

Joshua Beeler
tag:letsmakeeyecontact.posthaven.com,2013:Post/778458 2014-11-29T05:00:00Z 2014-12-04T02:10:18Z Day 49: Todd

After climbing this morning I walk over to See See and order a coffee. When I sit down at the bar the man to my left makes eye contact with me and smiles. I ask him if he has a few free minutes (he does) and then if he'll make eye contact with me (he will) so we do.

Then we talk about his experience making eye contact with his Russian neighbors. He tells me they make unusually strong, unbroken eye contact when communicating. I am looking forward to interacting with more Russians and looking out for this behavior.

We also discuss the pleasant social side effects of this experiment, how I'm interacting with people who I wouldn't know how to approach without this ice breaker, and how I'm learning to put aside my assumptions about people based on their looks and outward behavior as those assumptions get proven incorrect again and again through my LMEC interactions.

Todd gladly allows me to use his name and photograph.

Thanks, Todd!

Joshua Beeler
tag:letsmakeeyecontact.posthaven.com,2013:Post/778452 2014-11-28T05:00:00Z 2014-12-04T01:52:46Z Day 48: Kelly

Today there's a big Thanksgiving gathering at the house where I'm staying.

Since I'm not going out, I set the intention to ask a guest.

As usual, I know who I want to ask when I see them, and tonight there's no denying that it's Kelly.

I catch her before she leaves. I forget to have my timer with me when I ask her, so I run to my room to fetch it. We sit on high bar chairs for our eye contact session. I think she's really pretty so it's great to gaze at her. My friend Mike comes over not long after the timer starts and attempts to interrupt us, and I shoo him away with a "nuh-uh" wave of my finger.

This session is the first session since my open eye meditation class and now I'm bringing something new to LMEC: instead of abstractly focusing on creating a space for the other person to be as vulnerable with me as they want to be, I'm attempting to do that by actively loving them and sending them positive energy for 60 seconds.

After the timer beeps we talk about my motivations for asking her in particular (because I'm attracted to her, and I tell her this) and for engaging in the practice generally. She allows me to take her picture, and after a few tries we get one she likes:

Joshua Beeler
tag:letsmakeeyecontact.posthaven.com,2013:Post/775855 2014-11-26T19:40:00Z 2014-11-27T22:04:35Z Day 47

Tonight I use a pin to reset my timer, and it works again!

No eye contact today, though.

Joshua Beeler
tag:letsmakeeyecontact.posthaven.com,2013:Post/775854 2014-11-26T07:40:00Z 2014-11-27T21:58:00Z Day 46

The battery in my timer has died. I replace it, but it still won't turn on. I need to find a pin I can use to push the reset button on it.

Without the timer I'm not inclined to ask anyone to make eye contact.

Amazing how a simple little logistical issue like this puts the experiment on pause!

Joshua Beeler
tag:letsmakeeyecontact.posthaven.com,2013:Post/775807 2014-11-24T19:43:00Z 2014-11-27T21:55:35Z Day 45

Today I am sick and don't make eye contact with anyone.

Joshua Beeler
tag:letsmakeeyecontact.posthaven.com,2013:Post/775805 2014-11-23T19:43:00Z 2014-11-27T19:44:19Z Day 44

Today I drive out to Forest Grove to tour a sake brewery and visit a beer brewery.

I don't make eye contact with anyone today.

Joshua Beeler
tag:letsmakeeyecontact.posthaven.com,2013:Post/774128 2014-11-22T19:22:00Z 2014-11-27T19:43:28Z Day 43: Open Eye Meditation at The Movement Center

Today I am going to an Open Eye Meditation class at The Movement Center.

Joshua Beeler