Last week, I noticed that one of the Google searches that led to my blog was “INFJ stare.” My reaction was, “We have a stare?” I immediately posted the question to Facebook and performed a Google search of my own. One of my friends sent me this image of the dreaded “INFJ Death Stare:”
Apparently, only non-INFJs consider this a “stare of death.” We INFJs don’t really think about it much at all until someone points it out. But other types do notice. In one forum I found, an ISTP asked, “What’s going on in your head when you do it? Why do INFJ girls stare at me after every other thing I say? It makes me feel like I’m creeping them out or something, but they continue to talk to me regardless how creepy I may/may not be.”
What’s Going On Behind The Stare
Among INFJs, the consensus is that we don’t meant to give you a death stare. It’s simply our default thinking expression. The INFJs who know that they stare actually spend quite a bit of time trying not to creep people out with it. We’re awkward enough as it is without having to worry about people asking why we’re giving them the death stare.
This isn’t the same thing as “resting bitch face.” People don’t generally describe the INFJ death stare as being rude or angry. It’s just hard for other people to read. And once I’d read several comments along those line, I realized I do indeed have an INFJ stare. I just didn’t realize it at first because the people who’ve asked me about it generally describe it as “spacing out.”
Even though there’s a “J” in INFJ, we’re a Perception-Dominant type Introverted intuition is a perceiving function, and that’s what we lead with (click here for more information about Myers-Briggs® Functions).
According to an analysis on infjs.com, eyes are the “most prevailing part” of a perception-dominant type’s faces. The typical INFJ will maintain a very steady focus on people or objects for long stretches of time, and when we shift our gaze to something new our whole head turns to look. Of the infamous stare, this writer says, “The eyes fall into a dream-like state and stare off into the distance. The eyes will appear to be looking through the object of it’s focus, rather than being fixated on it.”
One of the results that I found while looking up INFJ stares was an extensive two-part analysis of why Benedict Cumberbatch might be an INFJ. That’s where I found this gif. It’s no secret that I’m a fan of his, but this was a little over-the-top-obsessed even for me. I did, however, find it an amusing read. It also demonstrates that INFJ eyes are apparently interesting enough that some people will spend hours of time analyzing them.
Dealing With the Death Stare
While listening to a church service this past weekend, I realized I was making an effort to soften my eyes and smile a little instead of just staring at the speaker. I hadn’t really thought about before, but I have been trying to teach myself a more open and welcoming “default expression.” My sister once described this as my “interview face.” I suppose even though I hadn’t been thinking that I had a “death stare,” I still realized it made people uncomfortable and was trying to change it.
If you’re an INFJ, you’re probably already trying not to make people uncomfortable with you’re staring (which also makes it more effective when you want to give someone a death stare, since they won’t have seen it before).
If you’re talking to an INFJ and we do start staring off into the distance or through you, try not to be offended by it. We really don’t mean to make you uncomfortable. At least, not usually 😉
Featured image credit: Free-Photos via Pixabay
If you’d like to know more about the INFJ personality type, check out my book The INFJ Handbook. I just updated it with a ton of new information and resources. You can purchase it in ebook or paperback by clicking this link.