What does it mean if someone can't look you in the eye?
When speaking emotionally, I stare, but otherwise I don't since I'm deep in thought.
I once had a woman whom I briefly dated a couple of years ago break it off due to the fact that I did not always look at her when speaking.
I find that there is no absolute consensus on eye gazing and such in regards to demeanor, intentions, emotions and such. Everyone is subject to the newness of life situations and no one can insert predictable behavior patterns into every situation possible.
I do this occasionally but it almost always has nothing to do with the person in front of me and everything to do with what’s going on in my mind/psyche. If there is a lot on my mind, if I am sad about something, if I feel the person will read into my expression or lack thereof, or see the anguish or sadness in my eyes as having something to do with them/not liking them. Some people take everything personal and I think it can be a protection mechanism from certain people who pick up on your emotions through eye contact and either think you don’t like them or become judgemental as in “something must be wrong with them-they must be hiding something from me” and start making things up in their mind about the person. Usually 9 times out of ten, people are so far off from the truth.
therefore I would say it’s a lack of trust before anything.
Individuals who have difficulty reading nonverbal body language and social cues, especially those on the autism spectrum, often don't make eye contact.
I used to have that problem when I was younger and not look at people when they were talking to me. Eventually I learned to make eye contact when my dad would yell at me for not making eye contact during social interaction.
On the defensive, nervous the answer will cause disagreement or upset.
I must add: because I was surrounded by several spoken languages as a child, I look at a persons mouth to denote the inflection and such, especially when they speak a language with an accent or speaking a language other than my native tongue.