(mfe) This is my third post about the German stare, (Here are the other two:  and ), but I think it makes sense to add another topic to that discussion, just because it might get you into trouble in some countries. In the other blogs, I alread explained why the “German Stare” is not at all an offensive, and especially not intrusive action.
Metoo and the stare
But in the wake of the #Metoo debate, especially American companies are starting to introduce policies that are far from European or other countries’ daily experience. According to the Independent, Netflix has joined a variety of companies in the USA that define rules for looking at somebody. For most Germans, even calling this a “Harassment Training” might be difficult to understand, since Europeans usually believe it is a courtesy, good manner and polite to keep full eye contact with somebody as long as you are talking to him or her. In most European streets or public transport it is considered “strange behaviour” if somebody evades the eye contact. Some of my rural Bavarian friends would even go so far to call it “junkie behaviour”, because they think drug addicts do not want to make eyes meet.
On the contrary, if you come from a cultural background that for example prohibits women to look into the eyes or face of men, Germans might consider you as weak, insecure, introvert or even kind of autistic. But that may cause cultural misunderstandings in other countries, and it’s often hard to anticipate them: Complaints may range from the aforementioned harrassment to disobedience.
Don’t look at your manager!
It gets worse if you are applying for a job, because cultural backgrounds make people connect different things with different behaviour: German advice for application contact tells applicants to look into the eyes of the managers, but warns them at the same time to not look directly into the eyes of a superior manager longer than a short glance when in the Asian world:
“While direct, open eye contact symbolizes attentiveness in Europe, in some countries it will be interpreted as challenging or dominant. In China or Japan it is seen as a lack of respect, whereas in Egypt it is a symbol of respect, albeit only between men.” 
There is even a section on this in Wikipedia‘s article on Eye contact (a really good read), and Vivian Giang of Business Insider gives good hints. Personally, I think they take the right spin, and that is why I wrote this blog post: What matters is the awareness of the topic and the cultural differences that come with it. Just like Vivian writes:
“But how do you know how much eye contact is too little or too much? And where do you actually look when you’re looking someone in the eye? According to Sayler, the appropriate amount of eye contact should be “a series of long glances instead of intense stares.“