Whether you’re on a date, in a job interview, or just talking to a friend, you’re supposed to make eye contact.  But if looking people in the eye makes you feel nervous, here’s an easy trick:  Just stare at their mouth, nose, or forehead instead.

A new study in the journal “Perception” found people can’t really tell if you’re looking them in the eye or not, as long as you’re looking at something CLOSE to their eyes.

Researchers had four-minute conversations with about 50 different people, and used special glasses to track eye movements.

In half of the conversations, they looked people square in the eye.  For the other half, that stared at other spots, like their mouth or chin.  And it turns out we can’t really tell the difference.

Both groups thought they were making eye contact . . . even when the researchers were staring at one of their EARS the whole time.

They also rated the conversations as equally enjoyable, no matter what.  So if you’re more comfortable staring at someone’s NOSE while you’re talking to them, go for it.

The only time it might not work is if you’re up close.  Like if they’re only a foot away, they can probably tell.