Thursday, June 20, 2024
82.9 F

Because You Are Polite

by Ginger Philbrick

Hello again, Dear Teen!

In the last column, the subject was the importance of a smile—specifically yours. It is the first feature on your face that someone who is approaching you notices and it sets the tone for the interchange.

Can you guess what the second thing people notice is? Here’s a clue: you have two of them and they aren’t your ears or your nostrils—a word I have always found amusing for those holes at the end of your nose. Of course, it is your eyes.

Whether brown, blue, green or a combination of colors, they are important for more than our precious vision. They are also communicators of our interest in the one to whom we are talking.

Do you sometimes feel awkward about looking right into another’s eyes? Some instances when it may be uncomfortable are when you are introduced to an adult, or when talking with an older kid who you admire, or perhaps when you are trying to say the right thing to someone on whom you have a crush.

It is certainly not unusual or weird if you do feel awkward at those moments.  Many of us are shy or we feel that it is a sort of invasion of privacy, that we may seem as though we are staring. Being allowed to study the cleanliness of our shoelaces at those times might seem much more comfortable.

Despite all of that, though, it is so important that we learn how to make eye contact. If we don’t, and our gaze shifts downward or to the side when face to face, it could appear we aren’t interested in talking to the other person. It could also give the impression that we don’t really know or believe what we are talking about. And we do indeed “look” awkward.

To make the conversation more comfortable, try looking just a little above the eyes, at the eyebrows and the bridge of the nose. Shift your glance every few seconds across the three points. It will seem to the other person that you are looking directly into their eyes. Of course it is not rude to look to the side every now and then, but most of the time your attention should be directed on the eyes area of your conversation partner.

As with all the tips on the good manners that we are talking about, practice makes them easier and, soon, they will become second nature. Thank you for “trying them on.” Meanwhile, I’ll be “seeing” you—get it?

Ginger Philbrick is the owner of Because You Are Polite LLC. You are invited to email your manners questions to her and she will respond as time and space allow. You may contact her at

Rappahannock Record Staff
Rappahannock Record Staff
From the Rappahannock Record news team
Previous article
Next article

Follow us on Social Media

Your Local Weather

clear sky
82.9 ° F
88 °
79.7 °
61 %
0 %
88 °
94 °
98 °
89 °
79 °