James Borg on the window to the soul – the eyes, from his book “Body Language”.
Cut-off Eye Activity
Some people display a tendency to close their eyes while speaking. It may be a general habit or happen only when they’re answering a question The MP Anne Widdecombe spends a lot of time speaking with her eyes closed (she’s improved a lot).
The eyes will close for a blink but remain closed for a few seconds before opening again. The process is repeated throughout a conversation. Do you know anybody who does this?
Is it endearing or annoying? Margaret Thatcher was prone to this eye activity in the early stages of her reign as Prime Minister, but latterly the image advisors moved in and she almost eliminated it from her interview. In many cases it’s the body effectively “shutting up shop” to block an unpleasant encounter or pressurised situation that the person is under.
In other cases it’s simply a person’s way of blocking out other sensory activity in order concentrate fully on their thoughts. But the important point is that to the listener it can irritating and send the wrong message – whether it’s done for adverse reasons or purely as a mannerism.
Again, look for supporting cues to ascertain the emotional state of the person (clusters). If other gestures show irritation, you can be sure that this is another subconscious signal that gives you some idea of the person’s negative state. If it’s done in isolation, with no other clues, it’s probably just a mannerism (but nonetheless irritating to you!)