The Intimidating INFJ Stare: When and Why Does it Happen?
by Lisa Sparrow
If you've ever had the chance to meet an INFJ, you’ve probably noticed that at times they have a very intense look in their eyes. You might’ve wondered if you did anything wrong to be under their scrutiny, but don’t worry—it’s not you, it’s them!
What you’ve experienced is a phenomenon known as the INFJ stare, and we’re here to tell you all about it.
Read along to learn all about the puzzling INFJ gaze and why it happens, including:
- When Do INFJs Give You the Stare?
- Why are INFJs So Intense?
- Is the INFJ Stare the Same as the INTJ Death Stare?
And much more!
What is the INFJ Stare?
The INFJ stare is a hallmark of the INFJ personality type—this intense, penetrating gaze is one of the defining physical features of INFJs. Because of its intensity and uniqueness, the INFJ stare can help you spot this personality type from miles away.
This stare is deeply focused, direct, and often induces a feeling of vulnerability. When an INFJ gives you the stare, it feels as if they’re looking beyond your eyes, into the very depths of your soul. Depending on your personality type, you might find this disturbing, intimidating, or even fascinating!
That said, although the INFJ stare can look threatening, it isn’t malicious in any way. In fact, INFJs aren’t aware they’re giving you the stare. If you pointed it out, they’d likely change their focus in a matter of seconds.
When Do INFJs Give You the Stare?
Most of the time, INFJs aren’t aware they’re gazing at you. Nonetheless, there are certain situations in which you can expect an INFJ to stare you down, including:
- They just met you. To protect themselves and their sensitive nature, INFJs avoid trusting people too easily. INFJs intensely staring at you allows them to observe and analyze your behavior so they can determine whether you can be trusted.
- They are in a hyper focused state. INFJs are very intense by nature. When they shift their focus to a particular object, person, or situation, they put all of their energy and attention into it. As such, the INFJ stare can be a sign of a hyper focused INFJ.
- They don’t want you to interact with them. As introverts, INFJs have limited social energy. When they don’t feel like socializing, INFJs will use their intense stare as a defense mechanism to intimidate people and ward them off.
- They love you. Contrary to popular belief, the INFJ stare isn’t always intimidating—in fact, that’s how many INFJs express love. For an INFJ, there’s hardly anything more intimate than gazing into their loved one’s eyes.
- They are spaced out. INFJs live rich internal lives, which sometimes leads them to become disconnected from their physical environment. Once they aren’t fully present in the moment, the INFJ stare appears.
Why Does the INFJ Stare Happen?
By now, you might be wondering why this intense gaze is unique to INFJs and doesn’t appear in other personality types. To understand this, we first need to know why the INFJ stare happens.
Essentially, the famous INFJ gaze is a result of the dominant and inferior INFJ cognitive functions—introverted intuition (Ni) and extraverted sensing (Se)—working simultaneously to process information.
By nature, INFJs are observant and analytical. They’re constantly analyzing people, conversations, situations, and other objects in front of them. As such, even when INFJs are around other people, in a sense, only a part of them is fully present. The other part is busy making sense of what’s happening around them.
Because they’re always processing external information internally, INFJs can get lost in thought and become unaware of how they appear to others. As such, the INFJ stare, most of the time, doesn’t happen on purpose—INFJs unconsciously give it off when they’re consumed by thought.
What is Introverted Intuition (Ni)?
As mentioned above, introverted intuition (Ni) is the dominant cognitive function of INFJs. This perceiving function is concerned with making connections between different situations, finding patterns, and identifying hidden meanings.
In other words, INFJs are deep thinkers who always want to know what was left unsaid and what is not visible at first glance. And yes, that means that INFJs are always analyzing your words, body language, and microexpressions to understand where you’re coming from!
The INFJ stare is closely tied with Ni—so closely that some people call it the “Ni stare.” When their Ni is working at full speed to help INFJs analyze and interpret a situation, their stares become as intense as their thinking processes.
What is Extraverted Sensing (Se)?
Extraverted sensing (Se) is the inferior and least developed cognitive function of INFJs. While Ni is focused on making internal connections, Se enables people to interpret the external world through their senses—taste, touch, smell, sight, and sound.
To interpret the external world, INFJs need to shift their focus to it. But, since INFJs mostly live in their heads, this can take a lot of effort. In an attempt to perceive all the details in their environment, INFJs become hyperfocused and unknowingly give off the INFJ stare.
Unlike INFJs, Se-dominant types, such as ESTPs and ESFPs, are typically fully present in the moment. Because of their focus on the external world, they also tend to have piercing eyes, albeit less intense than those of INFJs.
Why are INFJs So Intense?
The intensity of INFJs goes far beyond their stare. So, if you think INFJs look intense, just wait until you get to know them!
Out of all the personality types, INFJs are perhaps the most intense. They have very high standards, strong morals that they’re always ready to defend, and an “all or nothing” attitude towards life.
However, most of their intensity, as well as their greatest strengths and weaknesses, lie in their deeply emotional and sensitive nature. INFJs experience emotions more intensely than any other personality type. Although this makes them thoughtful and compassionate, they can also be easily offended and prone to mood swings.
How Do Others Perceive the INFJ Gaze?
Let’s be honest—most people don’t enjoy being stared down, and that’s why the INFJ stare doesn’t have the best reputation. In fact, the mysterious gaze has many myths and misconceptions surrounding it, and many find it confusing at the very least.
So, here are the most common ways people perceive and often misinterpret this intense stare:
- Lack of manners. After witnessing the INFJ stare, many people initially think that INFJs are simply rude. That’s because most people assume that INFJs do it on purpose, although this couldn’t be further from the truth.
- Hostility. Direct eye contact with an INFJ can be intimidating. Because of this, many assume that INFJs are unfriendly and unapproachable, even though they’re one of the most gentle personality types.
- Flirting. While some people are alarmed by this stare, others are charmed. Receiving this intense, soul-piercing gaze makes some people think that INFJs are flirting with them. More often than not, however, they’re simply lost in their inner world.
The takeaway is that the INFJ stare gives people one more reason to misunderstand and misinterpret INFJs. Since INFJs constantly struggle with being misunderstood in all areas of their lives, this can be deeply upsetting for them.
Is the INFJ Stare the Same as the INTJ Death Stare?
Both INFJs and INTJs have the same dominant and inferior functions—Ni and Se—which is why they’re both known for their powerful stares.
However, there is one major difference between these two gazes. INFJs' auxiliary function is extraverted feeling (Fe), which makes them empathetic and caring towards other people.
Unlike INTJs, whenever INFJs catch themselves staring, they immediately stop—after all, they don’t want to make other people uncomfortable.
Not to mention, the INTJ stare is often intimidating at a whole different level, which is why it’s also known as the “death stare.”
If you got tensed up reading about the INFJ door slam, check out our list of funny and relatable INFJ Memes!
Frequently Asked Questions
#1. How to spot an INFJ?
INFJs are rare and complex people, so spotting an INFJ isn’t always easy. With that in mind, one sure-fire way to spot an INFJ is to look into their eyes.
If you’re looking into someone’s eyes and their intense stare makes you slightly uncomfortable yet intrigued, you’ve likely come across an INFJ.
On top of that, if the person is a great listener, has just a few close friends, is sensitive to other people’s moods, and loves deep conversations, you can rest assured they’re an INFJ.
#2. What are INFJ eyes like?
No matter the color of their eyes, one thing is for certain—INFJ eyes are as intense and deep as INFJs themselves.
Unlike most introverted personality types, INFJs aren’t afraid of direct eye contact. Whenever you lock eyes with an INFJ, it looks and feels like the INFJ is staring directly at your soul.
#3. Are INFJs intimidating?
Although they are kind and gentle people, INFJs can be intimidating.
Most people find INFJs intimidating because of their general demeanor, especially when they’re surrounded by strangers. While they may appear arrogant and intimidating, INFJs are simply shy and private.
What’s more, INFJs don’t hold themselves back from calling people out for their immoral or unethical behavior. This can make INFJs seem intimidating, as most people expect them to be peaceful and quiet.
#4. How do INFJs handle stress?
As a general rule, INFJs don’t handle stress well.
INFJs are very sensitive, which is why they get easily overwhelmed by negative emotions and situations beyond their control.
That said, INFJ-A subtypes handle stress much better than INFJ-Ts. That’s because INFJ-As are better at controlling their emotions and minimizing stressful situations. INFJ-Ts, on the other hand, often feel helpless under stressful conditions and are prone to burnout and self-isolation.
#5. What does an INFJ door slam feel like?
Being on the receiving end of the INFJ door slam feels no different than losing someone close to you. When INFJs slam the door, they essentially leave your life without a trace.
That’s because the INFJ door slam happens when an INFJ doesn’t have the emotional and mental capacity to maintain a relationship. Once an INFJ slams the door on you, they rarely, if ever, look back.
And that’s a wrap!
As you now know, the intense INFJ gaze happens as a result of two INFJ primary cognitive functions working in tandem.
Most importantly, INFJs don’t do it on purpose to make you uncomfortable—they’re simply trying to make sense of the situation they’re in.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you’ll feel less baffled and intimidated if an INFJ gives you the stare. After all, it’s nothing personal!