Monday, 28 January 2013

Reading people’s eyes in romance novels- a big fat lie!

    Ever since I started reading romance novels I’ve seen statements like, “Her eyes were sad” or “Anger flashed in his eyes” or “Her eyes glittered with mischief.”

   After reading about how all of these characters could ‘read’ people’s eyes I took to looking deeply into people’s eyes to see if I could read their emotions or see any glittering going on.
   What I found in people’s eyes were black pupils, colored irises and sclera. Not a single emotion to be found. I asked a friend if she could read people’s eyes and she said yes (I thought she was lying, but I didn’t call her on it just in case I was wrong).
   I have come to accept that I can’t read people’s eyes. What I can do is read their expressions. It’s not as romantic but when you don’t posses a skill you must improvise.

Are emotions really reflected in the eyes or is that a narrative myth? Let me know your opinion (and if you can read people’s eyes let me know what you see exactly).


  1. I do think a person's eyes can sparkle. Maybe with mischief or desire. I imagine it depends on the person. A personality can shine through for some, not for others, but when it does their whole face, including their eyes show emotion.

    I don't think I can see sadness, etc., but eyes can be tired, bloodshot and dull in their color for sure.

    Maybe I am a romantic but I do think our eyes are windows to our soul :)

    1. Thanks Debbie. I agree about the eyes being the windows to the soul. It's just that I can't see it, really wish I could though - I'd probably have more patience with people.

  2. I think an emotion can reflect in people's eyes. In the picture above I'd say the woman is happy, she's smiling. Her eyes are bright and the shape suggests she's got a mild smile on. Perhaps she's posing for the picture, but I think when we're angry our eyebrows knit and there's a sharp look to our eyes. And tears can glitter lingering in eyes just ready to spill out, when we're sad our eyes reflect that as well.

  3. Thanks Zrinka. I think what you beautifully described is more of a facial expression of the eyes. Would you be able to look into someone's eyes who had a neutral expression and tell what they were feeling?

  4. I agree with you, Nana, that mostly what we describe in our written works as reading people's eyes are physical expressions (furrowed brows, squinting, half-closed lids) but I also agree with Debbie. She says eyes can look dull and bloodshot. Dialated pupils certainly reveal a lot. (Iridology allows a person to read the irises to get medical information. Talk about reading a person!)

    I think that you can read eyes by using a bit of intuition. Trust your inner voice when you connect with a person, whether it's their eyes, a tilt of the head, or a Mona Lisa smile, to tell you more about them.

  5. Thanks for stopping by and commenting Carol. Iridology-cool. I have to look more into that.

  6. I do think you can read a person's eyes when you know him/her very well. Like when you are intimate with the person, for example. Mainly because you know each other so well and can second guess the person's emotions or predict them, such expressions are easy to see in the eyes. At least I know when my husband is angry or full of mischief just by reading his eyes.


I love reading your comments.