Mouth Lookers and the Connection Illusion

Adrian Hanft
2 min readAug 6, 2016

My girlfriend told me I was do it wrong. How was I supposed to know? They don’t teach this stuff in school.

Molly discovered my flaw when she asked me, “What are you looking at? Is there something on my forehead?”

“Your forehead? No, I was just noticing how beautiful your eyes are.”

“What? Stop it, you are looking at my forehead.”

“Uhh. Seriously, I am looking you straight in the eye.”

“Stop joking, you are looking at my forehead. That’s better.”

“Now I am looking at your lips.”

“No, you are looking at my eyes. Why would you look at my lips?”

“Because you are talking.”

“So every time I thought you were looking me in the eye, you were really looking at my mouth?”

“I guess so?”

“You are supposed to look people in the eye when they talk.”

“Really? That’s seems weird.”

“No, Adrian. You are weird.

There were plenty of reasons for Molly to dump me, but I think this was at the heart of it. Even when we were eye-to-eye we were disconnected.

Moments like this are the worst and they happen all the time. You think you are tracking with someone, and then it goes off the rails.

A co-worker calls you by the wrong name.

Your joke falls flat.

You are getting to know someone and they casually bash your favorite music, candidate, or phone brand.

You leave a meeting thinking you are in alignment, but in the follow-up you discover misunderstanding.

Your original work is rejected because someone can’t recognize your skill.

You realize you have been reading the data wrong.

You uncover one of the 3 lies someone tells every ten minutes.

Disconnection. When it happens you can feel the energy drain out of you.

If you aren’t careful these moments can become doom loop triggers. You might decide to end a friendship. Maybe you quit your job. You might compromise your work to satisfy opposing opinions.

Or perhaps you have the humility to accept that you are weird, that you are faking being normal most of the time. Disconnection isn’t the problem, it is just that real connection is extremely rare. Don’t stop searching for it.

Thanks for reading. Last week I was on vacation, but normally I talk about weird stuff like this every weekend. If you see eye-to-eye with my mouth, consider following me. Stay creative.



Adrian Hanft

Author of User Zero: Inside the Tool that is Reshaping Dystopia