If you are of the Briggs-Myers personality type INFJ, you’ve been accused of being “creepy” once if not ten thousand times. Our ability to focus, notice, and remember, as well as our hardwired intensity, all lead to situations in which our introversion is interpreted as weird, spooky, freaky or downright creepy.
I wasn’t looking, I was just…looking.
Back in middle school, I developed a reputation for noticing all the little adjustments, zip ups, and smooth downs…Especially amongst the females of my social group.
If a bra strap required attention, I was watching. When a downed zipper was put in its proper place, I happened to be looking. Spilled chocolate milk on your crotch? Don’t worry, I won’t tell anybody.
But it’s not that I was specifically scanning for these embarrassing situations. I noticed everything. The mundane and unmentionable as well as the horrifying and eyebrow-raising. Nobody cared that I witnessed the receipt of correct change from the lunch lady, but if I could attest to a hallway wedgie removal, then “John, why are you always looking at us?”
Credit card numbers. Phone numbers. Middle Names.
Just a few in a long list of data that I can’t help but remember. Once I’ve used a credit card a couple of times, those 16 digits are written on my brain. When I recite the card number, expiration date and security code as I order something over the phone, my wife looks at me and shakes her head.
Admittedly, the phone number skill has faded with the advent of the cell phone, but back in the day I just needed to hear the seven-digit sequence once, visualize the numbers, and it was locked in. Especially if she was cute.
As a teacher, I have access to a lot of data about my students. Addresses, their parents’ names, their middle name. Recently during a playful moment, I commented “I know everything.” A student replied, “Oh yeah, what’s so-and-so’s middle name?” I didn’t even think, I just spat it out. And I was right. I was almost as amazed as they were. I must have seen it listed somewhere.
But, no question, a group of middle schoolers in 2015 see that sort of inside knowledge as “creepy!”
I swear, I’m not looking at anything
Face-to-face conversation with a lot of eye contact can be very uncomfortable for the INFJ. I often find shoulders, hands, shoes, or t-shirt logos to focus on when the intensity of one-on-one conversation becomes too much.
I’m certain this is misinterpreted most of the time. My conversation partner will brush off her shoulder as I speak to it, check to see if his shoe is tied while I listen to him talk, or turn her body away from me as I study a t-shirt logo while answering her question.
I’m not looking at their shoulders, shoes, wedding rings or torsos, I’m simply not looking at their faces. It’s easier to listen to what my partner is saying when I don’t have to also interpret his facial movements.
No, I’m not a “creeper,” I’m just not crazy about eye contact.
Seriously, I’m not angry, I’m just…thinking
My gosh, nothing is wrong! I’m just deep in a trance within a daydream. We INFJs have all been asked if we are ok because our face has wrenched into a look of discomfort as we navigate that wild place known as our mind. We can look sick, tired, angry, drunk and, in some cases, comatose.
But we’re just thinking, planning, rehearsing, reviewing and sometimes even plotting. It’s almost as if the facial muscles take over while we’re on another planet.
There’s another misinterpretation involved with this level of intense thought. When it’s time to discuss something, especially after long periods of quiet, the verve with which we enter the discussion and ping pong the palaver can be mistaken for anger.
I’m not mad, I’m just ready for my opinion to be heard, and I want people to understand it. And agree with me, because after the reflection and analysis I did, I’m sure I am correct.
No, I’m not “strange and overly intense,” I’m an INFJ.
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Nodding your head in agreement as you read this?
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