try looking at the bridge of their nose, that might not make you as nervous as look straight into there eyes
I go through the same thing everyday. Only difference is that I don't care if it looks weird! It just freaks me out to look into people's eyes. :S<br />
Apparently, there's a trick you could try: look at people's noses when you talk to them. It looks like eye contact and only you will know that it actually isn't!
Then maybe you should go see a psychologist or counsellor if it really becomes a problem in your interactions with others. CBT might do the trick...
What is CBT?
@KnighOfJustice: then maybe you really need it! Never mind getting embarrassed- what's worse? Getting embarrassed about your family knowing about your issues or having to put up with these issues- possibly for a long long time? You are apparently still 16-17 or whatever, so think about job prospects if social interactions are a difficulty for you.
@AvalonWeiss: wiki it. It stands for 'Cognitive Behavioral Therapy'.
I understand because I have clinical anxiety and it looks like you may have it too. Look at embarrassment from a hierarchical perspective. What's worse: getting embarrassed in front of family, or getting embarrassed in front of future partners/potential future employer(s) and co-workers? I didn't get therapy until last year and I really really regret putting it off because of embarrassment. I'm 27 and I'm still at uni mainly because of the whole embarrassment issue! You need to prioritize.
It sucks that you are letting your anxiety rule your choice of occupation though. Something like being an accountant would suit me better instead of becoming a speech therapist, but I refuse to give up on my preferred job. That aside, you could maybe wait until you get the kind of job you are comfortable with and then pay for your own therapy and not tell your family?
I know I've said it about a million times, but you would really benefit from therapy. You sound exactly like me. :S
I wouldn't say I'm an underachiever myself- you're probably not giving yourself enough credit for the things you do RIGHT. Anyway, good luck with everything. I hope you will be able to get the help you need a.s.a.p.
You have to practice and you have to experience the entire face when you look at them not just their eyes.
Why not ask your family physician? Maybe he can refer you to someone you can talk to about this. For me it was just a learned behavior. find it's easiest when I'm relaxed with someone else and we're having a good conversation. Making eye-contact doesn't mean anything, you know? No one will feel threatened by you or take offense. If they do the problem is their own, not your's. I hope some of that is helpful for you.
I completely understand you. I cannot make eye contact either. Even if I know someone well, it will be as you said, 1 to 2 seconds before I must look away, and if I don't know someone then I cannot make eye contact. If I go to a store, I look away and make eye contact with no one. It just feels weird and I am way to nervous.
practice with a mirror- try making eye contact with yourself