One of the things that repeatedly comes up in the personality community is the “INFJ stare” or the “INTJ death glare”, etc,. While I’m somewhat skeptical of these “stares”, I have to admit that INJ types are notoriously known for being intense. Why? Where does this intensity come from? How can it be spotted in real life? Let’s take a look!
Here’s why INFJs and INTJs Seem “Intense”
INFJs and INTJs have a lot in common, at least according to their mental wiring. They both have a dominant mental process called Introverted Intuition, or “Ni” for short. They both have an inferior mental process called Extraverted Sensing, or “Se” for short. This means that they both tend to process information in a similar way, and they both tend to get stressed and annoyed by similar things. These processes work together to give INJs an intense, focused demeanor.
What is Introverted Intuition?
Introverted Intuition is a perceiving (information-gathering) function that focuses on interpreting abstract meanings, connections, and finding contextual information. It’s always asking, “What’s the deeper meaning here?”, “What isn’t being said/shown/revealed?”, “What is the one true meaning of this?”. INTJs and INFJs naturally reflect on complexities and the future implication of current events.
Why Does Intuition Make INFJs and INTJs Intense?
INJ personalities are often called the ultimate big-picture thinkers. They are always trying to figure out the core meaning of life, and the background purpose behind everything. They don’t like simple things, they like complex things. If a theory, idea, or possibility seems too simple they are frankly disappointed. They like perspectives and theories that they can sink themselves into and analyze from a hundred different perspectives.
INJs are the happiest when they have a sense of purpose and long-term direction. They are guided by a vision of the future, and if they don’t have that vision, they can be downright depressed. Their inferior function, extraverted Sensing (Se) also plays a role in their intensity. Because this is their least-preferred function, they tend to see Se-oriented activities as dull or shallow. It can be hard for them to live in the moment, react spontaneously to thrills and excitement, and just enjoy living for today. This is why many INJs would rather spend a night in with a book on philosophy than going to a party, or they’d rather watch an abstract, mind-bending film than something like “Fast and the Furious”. Sometimes this gives people the assumption that INJs are pompous or pretentious. Sometimes INJs CAN be that way. But many times, they don’t look down on people of other types, they just don’t “get” what makes all that other stuff so interesting!
In the mind of the INJ, experiences with less depth are often seen as interruptions to the meaning they are trying desperately to pursue. INTJs especially will shut down conversations that hold no deeper meaning or complexity. INFJs, who prioritize empathy, can appear interested in surface-level conversations, but this is usually a mask that hides their inner distraction and boredom.
So INFJs and INTJs Just Don’t Know How to Have Fun?
It’s not so much that they don’t enjoy having fun, but “fun” means something different to an INJ. It means reflecting on a philosophy, theory, or perspective. This can be done in a variety of ways – some INJs love math, psychology, art, or entrepreneurship. Whatever they do though, they want it to align with their core vision and purpose. Mature INFJs and INTJs balance this with occasional rest and relaxation periods – times where they can just have “fun” without thinking about it. They tend to do this in small bursts, though, because too much of it can make them restless and dissatisfied.
But what about that INJ “gaze” everyone talks about?
The “gaze” that so many people refer to is actually partially thanks to the power of Se. Se-users are known for having a piercing, focused gazes, especially Se-dominant types (ESTPs and ESFPs). They are completely tuned in to what is happening around them and can stare intensely into another person’s eyes without feeling the least bit uncomfortable. When INJs are alert to their surroundings or particularly invested in a conversation, they can exhibit the Se “lock in” gaze. INFJs are less likely to stare for a long period because their auxiliary feeling function makes them aware of how they appear to others and more conscious about the fact that they are staring and possibly making the other person uncomfortable.
INTJs, INFJs and “Intuitive Superiority”
Mature INJ personality types are aware that their preferences don’t make them “better” or superior to anyone else. They are aware not just of their strengths, but also their weaknesses. Unfortunately, less-mature INJs can feel that their preferences make them better, deeper, wiser, and more important than other personality types. They can turn their backs on other people (in fact, sometimes ALL other people) because they don’t want to “waste” their time on what they perceive as trivial concerns. They can get wrapped up in their own ever-shifting perspectives and visions and forget to interact with the world and the people in it. This can lead to Ni-Fi loops for the INTJ, or Ni-Ti loops for the INFJ. It’s also important to remember that just because INJs value intuition and like to use it, they can still use it incorrectly. If they get locked into an inaccurate perception and refuse to accept data from the world and people around them, they can have warped premonitions and theories. It’s important that both types work to develop their auxiliary functions, Extraverted Thinking for the INTJ and Extraverted Feeling for the INFJ to avoid becoming inaccurate in their perceptions.
What Are Your Thoughts?
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My name is Susan Storm, and I’m an MBTI® practitioner and all-out psychology lover. I’ve been studying Jungian typology as well as developmental & childhood psychology for over ten years. Along with blogging about personality type, I love taking care of my 5 children and staying up late reading Kierkegaard. I’m an INFJ personality type. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest to find out more about typology!