Why I Avoid Eye Contact in Lifts

If you’ve ever encountered me in the lift, you’d realised that I’ll just enter the lift and not make any eye contact. I might not even notice you in the lift, even if you’ve tried waving at me. Well, you have to wave very violently to attract my peripheral vision, or at least call out my name.

There’s a good reason for this.

Picture taken from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lift_symbool_(NS).jpg
Picture taken from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lift_symbool_(NS).jpg

Last year, I was severely traumatised by an incident, that I have since made the resolve never to make eye contact with anyone in the lift.

What happened was this: I took a lift in one of the campus buildings to go from the ground floor up to the third floor. The lift was quite spacious. You could fit about 15 people comfortably inside. When I entered the lift, I was the only one inside. But then, I noticed someone coming, so I pressed the button to keep the lift door open, and proceed to take a few steps back, to lean against the wall.

As the person entered the lift, I accidentally made eye contact with him. And instantly I regretted it.

This person was a weirdo by any definition. He wore a long sleeve white shirt, with his black pants pulled up high above his waist, exposing his socks. He had long hair, but he had it all combed backwards with a lot of hair cream (same style as Tony Tan). He wore thick nerdy glasses and the upper jaw of his teeth were constantly sticking out of his mouth.

Upon making eye contact with me, he walked up to stand so close to, so close that his body was about 5cm away from mine. He was so close, I could smell him!!! AHHHH!!!

It was an empty lift!!! There’s so much space in there, but he chose to stand right next to me. There wasn’t anyone else other than the two of us! I was freaked out.

Anyway, the lift door closed, trapping me in the lift with him.

He tiptoed to bring his face near to mine, and began speaking to me: “Good morning. How are you? Do you work here? How long have you been working here? Where are you going?”


I couldn’t really escape because he too was taking the lift to the third floor. So, for the duration of the of lift going up three floors (at excruciatingly slow speeds), I had to entertain his conversations, and tolerate him standing ultra close to me.

In my head, I told myself: “Why?! Why did you make eye contact with him?!”

I’m pretty sure this horror wouldn’t have started if I didn’t make eye contact. I immediately vowed never to make eye contact with anyone in the lift ever again lest something horrific like this repeats itself.

While nothing bad happened to me, the experience was creepy enough to traumatise me. I still see this weirdo on campus every time I go near that building or – gasp – at the bus interchange.

He’s definitely a weirdo… He’s always wearing the same white long-sleeve shirt and black pants pulled high above his waist. It’s as though his entire wardrobe consists of nothing but white shirts and black pants.

Every time I see him, I immediately look away out of fear that making eye contact with him would bring about yet another creepy space-invading conversation with him.

Making eye contact with people in the lift can bring about traumatising experiences where you’re trapped for the duration of the lift ride. Don’t make eye contact.

Curiosity killed the cat when it made eye contact with a sumo wrestler, who proceeded to invade the cat’s personal space and traumatised it to death with creepy conversations, bad breath and bad body odour. The cat has since vowed to live its last life in regret over making eye contact.

Even if you’re curious to see who’s entering the lift, don’t! You won’t know if you’re going to invite weirdos to invade your personal space. And if you’re one of those weirdos who enjoy creeping people out with awkward conversations in the lift, don’t! Go away! Take the stairs.

So, the next time you see me avoiding eye contact and ignoring you in the lift, now you know.