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My eyes "wander" when I talk to people

42 posts in this topic

Yesterday I was having a conversation with a colleague and my eyes were, as usual, looking up or to the side as I was thinking about what I was trying to say. The person I was talking to mentioned it and said that she had always wandered why I do that and who I was looking at. I replied (innocently and honestly) that it's how I think while I communicate. Apparently it's very distracting and/or unsettling to people I talk to. And come to think of it, it's very common for people I talk to to turn around and look behind them as though I was looking at someone. And apparently there are some who are experts at body language and who infer, correctly or incorrectly, all kinds of conclusions based on my apparently shifty eyes.

Is this something common to other INTJs? Do you look away while talking to people? Do people look behind you when you talk to them? And if it does happen to you, how do you cope? Do you explain that this is just how you are? Or do you make a conscious effort to not look away?

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I used to not make eye contact at all. Then I heard (at around 14 or so) that eye contact is extremely important. Now, if I'm listening to someone talk in a conversation, I look at them dead in the eyes (almost Aspergers-like). They're always the first to break contact. I actually stare at their nose, or between their eyes. I frequently don't see the person I'm looking at, but more the general outline of their body.

If I'm talking, it all depends on what I am talking about. I NEED to thing while I'm talking, as it doesn't always come natural. Sometimes, while I'm talking, I'll stare at the person but not even see them, being deep in thought. Other times, yes, like you, I'll stare at something else. Looking up and to the right is my most difficult time (when I'm feeling sentimental). One of my college counselors commented to me a while back about this, and asked me why. I kind of vaguely responded about "thinking", etc.

EDIT: I'm also very strongly ADHD; not sure if that's an issue here.

Edited by Beric

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My eyes wander constantly (I have terrible ADD). My co-worker recently asked me if I was an Aspie. I also tend to stare at people while thinking about something else entirely. Apparently, I will be looking at someone, but not even realize that what I'm doing is considered staring.

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I look around and my eyes wander, but nobody's ever bugged me about it so it's gotta be an acceptable level.

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I tend to not make eye contact... I don't know if it's an insecurity or whatnot, but I find it sometimes makes the conversation awkward.

Then again, maybe I'm just awkward..

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I always look at people in the eyes when they talk to me, but I look away when I'm the one talking because I can't concentrate on what I'm saying when I look at them. And I don't have ADD or Asperger's or anything.

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I still have a little problem with maintaining eye contact, but I think it's more of a cultural thing on my part. I was trained at an early age not to stare at people because it was rude. Asian people don't like being stared at. I used to get yelled at as a kid for staring at someone. Oh and we used to have a saying if we caught someone staring at us "Wat? You got eye problem??"

So as an adult if I have to maintain eye contact I look at them, but then not really look at them. I try to keep my eyes at where they think I am actually looking at them. I actually look at the wall in the background or something that is at their eye level so I am not really looking at them.

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Forget about all that ADD, ADHD, Asperger and other rubbish! :angry:

Eye movements during thinking are absolutely normal. It supports your internal thinking!

NLP uses this to get a better understanding of what people are currently thinking and you would be amazed what you can read out of those eye movements! It can become a very powerful tool when communicating with others because you have perfect knowledge of the status of somebody else’s thinking process.

Read this (it starts in the middle) if you want to know more about it: http://www.renewal.ca/newsletter0401.htm

You can even deeply disturb somebody when you purposely disrupt those eye movements during someone’s thinking process and play with it. I think this is how Derren Browns

works.

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It's really interesting that I'm not the only person who experiences this!

I understand that the way the eyes move can reveal this or that, but wonder if it's different for us INTJs. Looking at the image above, perhaps the way that INTJs "construct" conversation or thoughts is similar in form to the way most people "construct" lies or avoid interpersonal contact. Hence we're perceived as behaving in a way that is not consistent with how we're really thinking.

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I used to not make eye contact at all. Then I heard (at around 14 or so) that eye contact is extremely important. Now, if I'm listening to someone talk in a conversation, I look at them dead in the eyes (almost Aspergers-like).

Same here. I know I'm a generally passive person, but eye contact is one thing I've learned to do to appear more assertive in conversation.

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I dislike maintaining eye contact - I can only do it when someone else is talking, otherwise my eyes and head are all over the place.

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I find maintaining eye-contact for long periods of time distracting. I get a similar sensation while driving. If I don't have something else going on in the car then I get distracted too easily.

Then again I've also noticed that when I'm trying to take in the most amount of visual information at once I don't look at a specific point I just grab the whole image and do the image break-up in my head. Not sure what that's all about but it helps with target tracking in games.

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My default is eye contact when listening to details I will soon forget or am not processing (like the Royal Wedding chatter today). When thought is necessary, I break eye contact immediately when considering alternatives (viewing the totality of the situation/problem) and either close my eyes entirely, or look up and to the side. I go back into eye contact when trying to explain my thoughts to the listener. Those that know me well (coworkers) know i'm in deep thought and they don't distract me while i'm in this mode of consideration. I have never heard anyone tell me this is strange yet (but I am in a position of authority and they may just not want to potentially "embarrass" me. THe reality is I would "try" to explain how I think and am not bothered by people questioning my plentiful quirks).

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I'll maintain eye contact normally, but if I'm thinking quickly my eyes dart around (reflecting accessing different parts of the mind)

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I believe the image above applies to the thought process before the person speaks. I've seen several people do this and then look up at me while they speak. I wish I could do that but I find it too distracting.

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I still have a little problem with maintaining eye contact, but I think it's more of a cultural thing on my part. I was trained at an early age not to stare at people because it was rude.

It's like this with my Native American culture as well. I try to just watch their foreheads, but usually I end up staring at their moving mouth. Also helps that I have longer bangs that help shield my eyes -- it's difficult for me to not look around while they're talking.

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Eye contact feels extremely awkward. I prefer to talk to people sideways or at an angle, when we are both facing the same direction for example, rather than face to face.

I always analyze people, especially when talking to them. Their manner of speaking, body language, and subject matter. So looking at someone's eyes really distracts me, because I know they are doing the same. I realise that most people don't do that to the depths that an INTJ would, but nonetheless thinking about what is going on in their heads and how they might be perceiving me distracts me from the topic of the conversation. So of course, my mind works more freely if I'm not watching their eyes; if my eyes are wandering or mindlessly fixated on something else.

On the contrary, there are times when I will relentlessly look someone in the eyes without breaking contact. But that tends to happen when I am overly confident around someone or my intention is to stare them down. When I have a zero tolerance for BS.

Lastly, culturally or other wise, I find it impolite to look people in the eyes. If I respect someone I will avoid eye contact.

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You just described me! I always look around when I am trying to think.

---------- Post added 06-03-2011 at 09:13 AM ----------

Sometimes I activly try to look at the person but it really hampers my thinking ability. It's not that I am uncomfortable with eye contact I just can't help it.

---------- Post added 06-03-2011 at 09:15 AM ----------

People do oftentimes ask me what I am looking at or turn to look. I just tell them that I am thinking. No biggie.

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I make eye contact when the other person is speaking to me as long as I'm interested in what they are saying. My eyes tend to wander when I get bored or distracted. If I'm trying to make a point I will make eye contact for emphasis. Other than that I'm not really sure what my eyes do. I have been told I do a slight eye roll unconsciously when I think the person speaking is an idiot. ;D

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I usually make eye contact (and often warm, enthusiastic facial expressions) the whole time, as a sign that I am engaged and interested (even when in my head all I'm hearing is "wah wah wah"). When I avoid contact, it's an inadvertent sign that I really, really want them to leave me alone.

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nlp-eye-accessing2.gif

I've had people incorrectly accuse me of lying because of this. I draw, and since I'm not a huge fan of eye contact, I tend to pick objects aroung me to analze while talking. I recall having seen a moth fly near someone while I was talking to one of those kinds of people who watches those crime shows and when I glanced at the moth she raised her eyebrow and after some prodding, she tells me she thought I was lying because of where I glanced, and of course the moth was gone already :eyeroll:

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I read somewhere that aversion to eye contact is a trait typical of N's.

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I've had people incorrectly accuse me of lying because of this. I draw, and since I'm not a huge fan of eye contact, I tend to pick objects aroung me to analze while talking. I recall having seen a moth fly near someone while I was talking to one of those kinds of people who watches those crime shows and when I glanced at the moth she raised her eyebrow and after some prodding, she tells me she thought I was lying because of where I glanced, and of course the moth was gone already :eyeroll:

Which is why I don't place much value in body language. Sure, there may be tendencies, but there are so many variables that I'm not sure how anyone could draw anything concrete.

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I try to start off a conversation looking people in the eyes but notice that I tend to watch their mouths more often, I think to help me understand what they are saying, like reading their lips. If I dont read their lips while they are talking to me I often have to ask them what they just said, usually because I started drifting off from the conversation. I hate talking on the phone due to not being able to see their mouths move and very easily drift off from the conversation.

I find that I do this even with my wife, we could start off a conversation and I'll end up having to ask her what she is talking about. She gets pretty frustrated with me about that. Although; I think she starts conversations with me half way through one of her own conversations in her head, just to get back at me.

Most of the time when I do look people in the eyes im not exactly sure which eye I should be looking at, the left the right or both, then I start thinking about that and stop listening to the conversation.

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