Friday, May 31, 2013

The INTJ Death Stare

The INTJ "Death Stare"

I am going to keep this answer short and sweet. I have had a significant number of people ask me about the INTJ "Death Stare." So below is an brief overview of the INTJ death stare.

The INTJ death stare is a look that some individuals observe when they look at an INTJ.

In my personal experience, when I catch myself or see other INTJs presenting a look that could be thought to be a death stare style look, the prevailing cause is typically because we are in deep thought or are trying to solve something in our mind.

Here is an example of what may be going through an INTJ's head when he/she is displaying the "Death Stare."

"A thought process might go like this:

(Sitting at a bar with some friends, they're talking about something I find boring)
  • Someone asks someone else if they're going to order food.
  • I notice the menu.
  • Do I want food, or a beer?
  • If I order a beer, and then decide to order food, it needs to pair well.
  • What beers do they have that pair well with the things I typically order?
  • What do they have that I typically order?
  • I tick off a few items in my head that I always order.
  • I think of things I haven't ordered yet that they serve.
  • I then widen the list to try to remember all the other things I've ordered here before.
  • I know I'm forgetting something.
Person: "What's wrong?"
Me: "Trying to remember what I've ordered here."
Person: "Do you want to see a menu?"
Me: "No, I want to remember."
Person: "....ok....."
  • Back to thinking.
  • What was that thing, was it a sandwich?
  • Oh right! It was an oyster sandwich, but I didn't order the sandwich, I ordered the oysters, they were not good.
  • Something reminded me of oysters recently, what was that?
  • Oh yeah, the story on reddit about the guy who got his arm stuck in the giant clam trying to get the giant pearl.
  • I wonder what I would do if I got my arm stuck in a giant clam, could I think of a way to escape?
  • Would I have anything to pry it open? I wonder how much force they have.
  • Maybe I could just cut off my arm, I could probably do that if I was going to drown, but would I have time?
  • Crap, a person is looking at me, I need to make conversation.
Me: "How long do you think it would take to cut an arm off underwater?"
Person: "...."
Person: "...What?"
Me: "Like, if you were trapped underwater, how long do you think it would take to cut your arm off?"
Person: "I dunno... Why would I need to cut my arm off?"
Me: "Because it's stuck in a giant clam."
Person: "I don't think clams get that big and why would it get stuck?"
Me: "I read this story the other day about a guy who got his arm stuck in a giant clam and died."
Person: "Where were you reading that?"
Me: "Oh, just on the internet somewhere..."
Person: "riiight..."

continue this cycle for the rest of the evening / rest of my life

[Author Note] An important note is that usually I don't think in words or pictures, I think in impressions or ideas. This may be true for everyone, I don't know. I'm not playing out sentences, conversations, or scenes from my head - I'm playing out the connections between ideas and it usually branches like a [Expletive] oak tree and more often than not I'm just along for the ride. We might be talking about politics and then there is a lull where I'm quiet. When I get back, I might be talking about fingernail regrowth. How did I get there? I may not even know entirely, but I've probably already bored myself with the topic we were covering a minute ago unless you can find a novel approach that I didn't branch to already."

So in the future, when you see an INTJ that is displaying a face that looks something similar to the photo below, they are likely deep in thought or just jumping thought to thought having fun.

If you interrupt us in this state, expect some sort of witty or sarcastic reaction for bothering us. Individual experiences may vary.  

Lastly, there is also the possibility of the INTJ actually giving you the death stare. I'll leave it up to your judgement to determine whether or not the stare is genuine or not.

I hope this sheds some light on this topic. I understand that it may be common knowledge, but it's sometimes good to have a brief recap of information out there. Please let me know if you require additional clarification on this topic.




The section in quotations was borrowed from a reddit user by the name of: "Charm_City_Charlie." The link to the original article is:

Furthermore, all credit for the photos or articles used in this postings belongs to their respective owners or as required by law. 


  1. G'day, Andrew: I just happened on your blog after net searching "INTJ." I'm a "fellow traveler," and burst out laughing reading this spot on description of "our" typical thought process. Brilliant.

    "An important note is that usually I don't think in words or pictures, I think in impressions or ideas." Yes, precisely. Perhaps that's why Impressionism is my favorite art genre. Ironic that "we" miss so may details when we're out and about, but in a split second can know which lane to get into to avoid the backup ahead...hard right, step on gas pedal, ease off after passing 3/4 length of the car to your left, hard left, brake just enough to avoid colliding w/the car now in front.

    We know this will work and get most annoyed when our passenger tenses up and gasps. Worse yet is if s/he makes a comment that we drive unsafely. ;)

    1. I'm glad that I could provide you with a good laugh.

      Your driving instructions are so true! I definitely become slightly peeved when my passengers make comments on my driving style, especially when I know it's likely the most efficient option at the time! haha!

    2. Give this forum a look if you're not aware of it. I've belonged for 2 yrs...given "our" small numbers, I'd guess 90% of INTJs worldwide belong. Who'd think INTJs could romp like puppies in a muddy field.

  2. Do let me know what you think. I'm bailalobos.

  3. This happens almost every time I sit with my friends for more than 10 minutes in the college cafeteria and we are not on any interesting topic(project, any new interesting topic in our course, sci-fi etc).I zone out. Play an entire scene of the new 'shrelock' episode in my mind, reenact it, think of possible changes in the ways it could've proceeded, pause for a second,... Oh! they are still stuck discussing that boring topic,Isn't the answer obvious?!...,it's just been 2 minutes though..,go back to my thoughts,pick a new topic to think, work it over mentally, come back to real world; and....seriously guys!you're still on it?!...see,this is the answer. Now,have you heard about the new workshop next week?

    1. *Sherlock. You disgrace our kind. Prepare to die.

    2. Correction: Read 'Sherlock' instead of 'shrelock' in the previous comment.
      Anonymous, I sincerely hope you are not 'disgraced' anymore.

  4. A nurse entered my husband's hospital room and purposed that she ought to give my husband a sponge bath since it was his 3rd day and he could not stand because of a blood clot. She was rather young and attractive, and I thought, "That's not going to happen--not on my watch." The wide-eyed nurse took a step back, then took 2 more steps back and said in a panic, "Or, I can just bring you the stuff." I nodded approvingly at the new solution, and she rushed out of the room. My husband burst out laughing and said, "You should have seen your face!" I never said a word to her, and I wasn't angry or hostile at any point. I was simply thinking, "No. You're not going to bathe my husband. Don't they have any ugly nurses on this floor?" But she was clearly terrified and never came back into the room.

    I actually get that reaction a lot. And I'm INTJ.

  5. Good to hear other INTJs don't think in terms of pictures or words. I bated teachers asking me to picture something in my mind as a child. It never, ever worked!

  6. Oh, goodness, that was great! After years of trial and error, I have marginally perfected the outloud bursting of what is socially accepted as disturbing. Pity my poor, poor husband. Not only does he seem to have a perpetual look of fear on his face from the incredibly small percentage of odd things I deemed coherent and non-threatening enough to share, he also has that little "death glare" to deal with, particularly when I'm interrupted from a project. Takes a strong man to live with an INTJ woman.

    1. The unicorn has been spotted boys! Take a good look, cause it'll probably be the last time you discover another female INTJ :s

    2. The unicorn has been spotted boys! Take a good look, cause it'll probably be the last time you discover another female INTJ :s

  7. Another female intj here. Images, words and spatial relationships are essential to my evaluative processes. I'm a professional painter, music student and former government analyst and information tech type.Love the death stare talk, happens to me almost daily!