Last week, I noticed that one of the Google searches that led to my blog was “INFJ stare.” My reaction: “We have a stare?” Whereupon I posted the question to Facebook and performed a Google search of my own. One of my friends sent me the image on your right, and I found many more results from Google.
Apparently, it is only non-INFJs who consider this a “stare of death.” 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.”
There seems to be a consensus among INFJs that this is not meant as a death stare. It’s simply our default thinking expression, and we actually spend quite a bit of time trying not to creep people out with it (we’re awkward enough as it is, without people asking about our creepy stare). Once I 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 have asked me about it generally describe it as “spacing out.”
According to an analysis on infjs.com, we are a “Perception-Dominant type” and our eyes are the “most prevailing part” of our 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 a huge, two-part analysis of why Benedict Cumberbatch might be an INFJ. That’s where I found this picture. It’s no secret that I’m a fan of his, but this was a little over-the-top-obsessed even for me. It does show, however, that people who aren’t INFJs are analyzing INFJ (or possible INFJ) eyes. What this deduction about his MBTI type might have to do with anything important, I have no idea. I did, however, find it an amusing read.
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 😉