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Chiaroscuro

Modulating the INTJ "death stare"

118 posts in this topic

It turns out I've been freaking out co-workers and superiors at the workplace with my death stare. It's come to my attention that when I look at people a) to read their facial expression or body language, or b) because they happen to be there when I'm staring off into the distance while thinking, I often seem to be sending a defiant, hateful "fuck you" message.

I'm naturally a serious-looking person, and I'm aware that I look more severe when I'm fatigued. Other than getting more sleep, is there anything else I can do to be less frightening to people around me?

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Smile more. Take time to enjoy co-worker company so they know you're not a dickhead. Get the word out you're just odd, not a harmful/angry degenerate.

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I've been meaning to ask this for the longest of time... what exactly is INTJ death glare?

Does it refer to an unintended, serious expression INTJs naturally wear? Or is it a conscious, angry glare when someone utters something INTJs find obscene?

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Personally, I think it is a natural and rather unintended reflex. I never knew I was capable of that look, until on several occasions, some of my friends and family members told me that I had this murderous look in my eyes, and they were in mortal fear of me….hahaha I find that hilarious…I am not a naturally serious looking person, I got dimples for god sake.

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Smiling while zooming is even more frightful looking (thinking something enjoyable).

Death stare is equal what wolves got while intimidating their prey and sheep dogs got while intimidating their "prey".

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Mimicking the other person is the best solution. If someone smiles at you, smile back. In western cultures it is normal to look at the other person when listening and to keep breaking eye contact whilst speaking. These 'management' books that say "Always stare him straight in the eye" fail to recognise that this indicates dominance and aggression. It is exactly what two males do when preparing for a fight. You can experiment yourself. Try staring some normal random person in the eye. Most will rapidly break eye contact because they do not want to fight you. The alternative action is that they will accept your challenge by saying something as a counter challenge.

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Just smile more. When you first greet someone, maintain eye contact while smiling, then if convo ensues, break eye contact when thinking but return eye contact when speaking. This way, you don't look too challenging or too evasive/shifty.

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Yeah I do the unintentional glare as well, I'm just thinking & people take it way too seriously. I learned to just fake smile and as Thod said mimicking is good too. The way to sell it is by smizing which is slang for smiling with your eyes. It takes practice but I noticed babies love it, I can quiet them with a smize and a grin in 10 seconds. Comes in handy when they won't stop crying in a crowded room. You just have to -sell it-.

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"What's that glare for?" "What's that look for?" "What are you angry at?"

I agree with Nostalgia "it is a natural and rather unintended reflex."

I just have a really good smile that I can pull out of my pocket when someone points out my death stare and I just say something like 'oh I was just spacing out'. So my advice is just work on a smile that is good enough to outweigh the death stare, have people remember your smile not that stare even if you do the death stare a lot more than the smile (like I do).

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Do you carry a lot of tension in your forehead and brow? Try to work on relaxing that area. You'll find that your expression becomes more neutral and relaxed looking.

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I'm fairly prone to having a very negative look on my face, apparently. Anytime I realize I'm doing it, I try to counter it; I like the "smize" idea mentioned above - I've tried to come up with a "content" face, so that while I don't look like I'm randomly giddy about something (which would probably be more frightening than the glare), I can avoid the death glare.

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Other than getting more sleep, is there anything else I can do to be less frightening to people around me?

Let them into your space, get to know them better, give them a chance to know you, crack jokes from time to time, lighten up, and don't take yourself too seriously. Be friendlier and more approachable.

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Mostly, I have a flat affect as my default facial expression. I don't understand why apathy is read as despondency.

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The more intelligent friends learned to recognise when I space out, so they don't freak out.

The rest of my office co-workers (and I swear to whatever godly entity there is) has a bet going on, concerning when I'll come to the office with a shotgun and kill everyone.

Best solution is to position yourself somewhere far from others, preferably facing a wall or something. That way, zoning out does not focus on any sentient being. Other than that, there is very little you can do to convince people you are harmless ^^''

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My co-workers ask me if I'm tired when I space out and stare. lol

I'm a high school teacher and my involuntary and almost consistent death-stare is what helps keep my freshmen in line. They are relieved when I address them all at the beginning of class with a big smile and a good morning. I force myself to smile as often as possible. I smile as I compliment their good questions or answers towards my socratic method of teaching.

All in all, my students give me absolutely no discipline problems... whereas all the other extroverted teachers are asking if I would take their "trouble-maker" into one of my classes or are screaming at their students.

I never have to scream... I give them the death-stare and they submit.

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I haven't heard from people that I have a death stare, but my friends do point out that I often seem 'out of it', as if I'm in a dream state.

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for direct interactions, i modulate it by breathing. 1-3 breaths looking in the eye or face. 1-3 breaths away. it gives the effect of seeming interested but not challenging. time it also by responses. if someone is talking at you, look in the eye to start, look away briefly to not freak them out. when talking to them, start by looking away, then looking in the eye.

try not to look them directly in One eye, try and focus on both eyes simultaneously, as in keep your vision more relaxed as to not focus on one single pupil the whole time. also, don't focus on one pupil to the other so much, you can look like a skitzo. experiment with talking while looking at their forehead, ears, or nose...

for me it's gotten a bit automatic, the timing of looking to and away by breath.

as for spacing out... i have no solution. i still freak people the fuck out when i space out.

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I have it, but I do make an effort to smile a bit when talking with others. It has taken years of practice and I don't get so many orders from total strangers to "Smile! Don't be so down!" which I've always hated with a vile passion. My avatar says it all, as it is a pic of me having a good time at a party. Still have that penetrating "I see through every shred of your BS" look in my eyes, but a *bit* of a smile, and thus approachable enough for the braver half of the populace. This thread brought to mind that old McDonald's commercial with Patti LaBelle in it, so I found it online. At 00:14, she pulls off the Death Stare. Classic! http://www.retrojunk.com/details_commercial/17629/

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I don't understand the INTJ "death stare" either. I read that INTJs have a way of looking at people as though they see right through them, and that to me (or as it pertains to me) is a generally harmless, and non threatening look. It may however, cause some discomfort if the other person thinks I am doubting them.

As far as a pissed off glare, I can get those just like everyone else. Usually they are not intended but completely appropriate. I am honestly disgusted with the person.

Anyway, I always feel like people misinterpreted the INTJ death glare, and try to make themselves look like psychopaths, or that they have some kind of mental disorder in pictures.

As far as the OP goes, focus on relaxing and widening the eyes when you think. This will make you will look more focused than psychopathic. If you can wiggle your ears, focus on pulling them away from your face.

This shouldn't be harder to fix, than someone sticking their tongue out the side of their mouth when they think. Just pay attention until you break the habit.

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I've been meaning to ask this for the longest of time... what exactly is INTJ death glare?

Denise Minger is an INTJ who writes on diet and health matters. Scroll down to the top picture in the center, just under the sentence "Lastly, I’m always happy to answer any questions or help other health seekers (current or aspiring) who are struggling, so please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or shoot me an email."

http://rawfoodsos.com/about/

That's a great example of a benevolent form of the characteristic INTJ "glare".

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Any time I space out or I am just spending time thinking, I get tons of "what's wrong, you look angry" or "you having a bad day?" People who know me well just wave their hand in front of my face and snap me out of it when they want my attention.

When talking to people, I always have a hard time gauging what is "enough" eye contact, eye contact has always been a weak point of mine. I used to hate holding eye contact with people, it always felt intimidating having someone constantly staring at me while I talk. Conversely, I always feel like I make people uncomfortable when I don't break eye contact.

While I think everyone is capable of death staring, I try to avoid it, but it can be very effective at silencing whoever is talking at the moment. I also use it as my "you've crossed the line and I'm not budging" tool for people I know.

My best guess is that once the coworkers get to know you more, they'll relax because they'll know that it's just your default state. Another trick that I've found that puts people around me more at ease is to be mindlessly doing something while my mind wanders or I'm just tired and prone to spacing out. Like flipping pages in a book or scrolling around on your phone or something. Then it just seems like your focused rather than hatefully ruminating.

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I made a conscious decision no to space out after I got tired of people saying "what's wrong?" and "snap out of it!" I found that annoying and figured most people won't change that so I tried not to space out too much, although it still happens... Now, what I do is I look down and then people realise I'm thinking so they don't try to "wake me up."

re: death stare. At work sometimes I have to find a client (I work in a residential treatment agency) and I would go find them in a very public area. Since there's so many of them I would do what I thought was a focus stare. Scanning the room to find whoever. Then people started saying that I'm trying to scare them so now I decided no to do the "focus stare" and just look normal. No one's complained yet. In other places, like the gym, I make a point of not looking at anybody and if I find myself staring I just quickly change where I'm looking at. It's an awful lot of work, and sometimes I wonder why I should do it. Anywho, that's what I do.

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Like most INTJs, learn to act. When you master it, these strange situations will become easier to manage. Almost like a dance.

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I'm still learning how to modulate it. Every now and then I'll be concentrating on something intensely, react to someone saying my name, look up, and it catches me unawares. Catches a lot of other people unawares, too, which is why they tend to back off. Honestly, it's the best do no disturb sign ever...

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Smile more. Take time to enjoy co-worker company so they know you're not a dickhead. Get the word out you're just odd, not a harmful/angry degenerate.

I agree with the smile more thing. I had a death glare that was used far too often, I started replacing it with an eat shit smile and eventually converted that into a warm smile. I'll still give people the "eat shit" grin when they think they've got me cornered on something, or when they think they start acting better than me. I've gotten comments asking me why I do it, to which I reply that it's just a smile, who's going to argue with that. I reserve the death glare for people who really deserve it, and they get pure hatred with eye contact.

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