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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Am I shy or am I simply suffering from the INFP curse?

When performing a job role I am not a shy person and would probably be considered an extravert, if using the common reference (outgoing etc etc etc), rather than the Jungian. I can be very intense and not at all afraid of social interaction. I love being on a stage talking about something I believe in. The bigger crowd the better.

However, when I am myself... I _think_ I have problems maintaining eye contact. I believe so because I could become embarrased when looking someone in their eyes. Especially girls, unless I make a contious effort to be extravert and decide not to be shy.

However, I should not let my N(e) expand this post to an uncomprehendable size. What I am interested in knowing:

1) Does any of you guys have difficulties maintaining eye contact (contiously or uncontiously) and why do you think that is?

2) Why is it so easy being confident while not being your true self?

Disclaimer: When I connect with someone, all shyness mentioned in 2) would immediately be blown away like a car in an American cop movie from the 80's.
 

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When performing a job role I am not a shy person and would probably be considered an extravert, if using the common reference (outgoing etc etc etc), rather than the Jungian. I can be very intense and not at all afraid of social interaction. I love being on a stage talking about something I believe in. The bigger crowd the better.

However, when I am myself... I _think_ I have problems maintaining eye contact. I believe so because I could become embarrased when looking someone in their eyes. Especially girls, unless I make a contious effort to be extravert and decide not to be shy.

However, I should not let my N(e) expand this post to an uncomprehendable size. What I am interested in knowing:

1) Does any of you guys have difficulties maintaining eye contact (contiously or uncontiously) and why do you think that is?

2) Why is it so easy being confident while not being your true self?

Disclaimer: When I connect with someone, all shyness mentioned in 2) would immediately be blown away like a car in an American cop movie from the 80's.
First off I want you to apologize for calling INFP a disease.

Next, I can tell you that the eye contact thing is typical for anyone with high sensitivity (look up highly sensitive person to get more insight about this). What's going on is your highly sensitive nervous system is sensing information that your brain wants to analyze some where else than your focused attention, so your eye get "hi-jacked" by your unconscious who wants to know what is causing that visual/audio stimuli. If you stay focused on a person for too long, your struggle to maintain eye contact is going to use energy/concentration; eventually you will lose all available energy and look away at some other stimuli.

As far as the confidence when you're not being yourself, that's unique to you. I have accepted myself for who I am and I can be confident any time I want; but confidence and introversion has nothing to do with shyness.

Shyness is an over-arousal (anxiety) to social situations. Maybe you have been bullied in social situations, or understood so poorly so frequently, that you CHOOSE to reject social situations because you want to control the embarrassment of being awkward again. Most anxieties have physical manifestations like back/neck tension, shortness of breath, racing heart, and headaches; but if you released the pent up adrenaline, you wouldn't feel the anxiety any more and you would get through the "attack".

As far as you "extroverting" what you are describing is friendliness/outgoing not extroversion. All extroversion means is gaining energy from being around others and doing stimulating activities; from the sounds of things, extroversion actually drains your energy and you need to be alone to recharge it. Just don't confuse outgoing with extroversion and shy with introversion. I am an outgoing introvert.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
First off I want you to apologize for calling INFP a disease.

Next, I can tell you that the eye contact thing is typical for anyone with high sensitivity (look up highly sensitive person to get more insight about this). What's going on is your highly sensitive nervous system is sensing information that your brain wants to analyze some where else than your focused attention, so your eye get "hi-jacked" by your unconscious who wants to know what is causing that visual/audio stimuli. If you stay focused on a person for too long, your struggle to maintain eye contact is going to use energy/concentration; eventually you will lose all available energy and look away at some other stimuli.

As far as the confidence when you're not being yourself, that's unique to you. I have accepted myself for who I am and I can be confident any time I want; but confidence and introversion has nothing to do with shyness.

Shyness is an over-arousal (anxiety) to social situations. Maybe you have been bullied in social situations, or understood so poorly so frequently, that you CHOOSE to reject social situations because you want to control the embarrassment of being awkward again. Most anxieties have physical manifestations like back/neck tension, shortness of breath, racing heart, and headaches; but if you released the pent up adrenaline, you wouldn't feel the anxiety any more and you would get through the "attack".

As far as you "extroverting" what you are describing is friendliness/outgoing not extroversion. All extroversion means is gaining energy from being around others and doing stimulating activities; from the sounds of things, extroversion actually drains your energy and you need to be alone to recharge it. Just don't confuse outgoing with extroversion and shy with introversion. I am an outgoing introvert.
Thanks for your elaborate reply, @LuvyDude182. I appreciate you took the time.

Would I be understanding you correctly if I said that you attribute the ability to stay focused (maintain eye contact due to interest) to extraverted intuition while embarrasment while maintaining eye contact as a more individual characteristic driven by for example shyness?
 

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Does any of you guys have difficulties maintaining eye contact (contiously or uncontiously) and why do you think that is?

I do have problems maintaining eye contact, continuously though. I need to make eye contact momentarily with whoever I speak to, but very rarely will I hold it longer than a couple of seconds. Although this may sound cliche, I really do think the eyes are the windows to the soul. When you look into someones eyes you can get a momentary look inside this person, a glimpse of their thoughts and emotions. Someones eyes can say a lot about a person, even though we may not conciously realize it. Because we are hesitant to let people in and show our true selves to others, i'm assuming that most infps do not like that intimacy with someone they are not yet comfortable with or are unsure of. I force myself to make momentarily eye contact out of respect and politeness, as I know how irritated I get when someone does not look me in the eyes when speaking to me. I don't think this is considered shy though, just not very outgoing. I don't have problems talking to people I don't know very well, or making conversation.
2) Why is it so easy being confident while not being your true self?
If we are not being ourselves then any criticism or rejection is easer to deal with, because it's not really us who is being rejected, it's the person we are pretending to be. Even if we are not on stage, many of us put on a facade to test out the waters in order to protect ourselves. If we didn't have such a hard shell, and let just anyone in I think we would all be horribly depressed and bitter. I think that's the reason why most infps only have a select few who they let in. So no, you do not have a disease, but this is a common problem for many of us, something I can definitely relate to. But for me at least, it has nothing to do with my confidence level. I don't completely change who I am or deny my true self just to 'fit in' with others, but I definitely don't reveal my full self to just anyone. To some degree, no matter how confident you are, you're never really 100% yourself around someone you're not familiar with.
 

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I stare a lot. I keep looking at you even after you have dropped your eyes to the ground.

When ladies match the eye contact it stirs ecstasy through my body, and the longer the contact is maintained the harder it becomes not to look away out of unbearable pleasure.
 

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I used to have problems maintaining eye contact, especially with the opposite sex. I always thought it was wrong to stare into a girls eyes for too long because it was simply rude. So my eyes would roam and... well, lol there were a few ACCIDENTS where I tried to find something else to look at and unintentionally ended up looking at their breasts subconsciously -- ya this sends a great message.

After I did that this one time in particular (sister in law) I felt so bad and started reading up on how to get over it.

The general trick is to look into someone's eyes and count how many times they blink. Not only does it soften your face, but it makes creates this fixation and eager anticipation of their next blink which people can pick up on in a different way --- they think you're deeply interested in what they're saying and therefore elevate you on their own little scale.

To add to that, I tend to tilt my head a bit so that it seems like we're either on direct eye level with one another, or I'm looking just a bit up into their eyes. This shows a more affectionate side that puts them at ease. Naturally, I only do this with women... :p
 

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Thanks for your elaborate reply, @LuvyDude182. I appreciate you took the time.

Would I be understanding you correctly if I said that you attribute the ability to stay focused (maintain eye contact due to interest) to extraverted intuition while embarrasment while maintaining eye contact as a more individual characteristic driven by for example shyness?
I CANNOT maintain eye contact. What happens is while I'm trying to maintain eye contact with, oh let's say my wife, I will hear something behind me that will arouse me and my unconscious mind will tell my conscious one something like "Hey, look behind you, it's a bear" and I'll turn to look what that sound was. Now, to my wife this seems rude because American's communication protocol says that a person cannot truly be listening when aren't locked eyes with yours... You know, I can actually hear two different conversations at once and know what both people are talking about (for the most part)? I don't do this on purpose, I just get over-stimulated and over-aroused and my brain is like "Hey, this conversation's gone stale, what about the other one?"

So if anything I would attribute your eye contact to an over active Ne that wants to see ALL the posibilities and wants to interpret ALL the stimuli around you (Process ALL things!!!!!)... As far as the embarrassment and shyness you're experiencing; you're experiencing this because things are going on with your body/brain that you don't understand and you're feeling shameful and guilty that you're doing this so you withdraw because you don't want to be reprimanded for not following the expected social norms (that you had no control over breaking).... Instead of trying to "fix the problem", why not ask for accommodation and say "I'm sorry if I don't maintain eye contact but I promise I'm listening to everything you're saying to the fullest extent"; if they ask if you don't trust them and that's why you don't have eye contact just say "I trust you just fine, I'm just not comfortable with eye contact and I hope you can respect that." If they CAN respect it, they are your friend; if they say "excuses, excuses" then you need to cut ties and find healthy people to be around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I CANNOT maintain eye contact. What happens is while I'm trying to maintain eye contact with, oh let's say my wife, I will hear something behind me that will arouse me and my unconscious mind will tell my conscious one something like "Hey, look behind you, it's a bear" and I'll turn to look what that sound was. Now, to my wife this seems rude because American's communication protocol says that a person cannot truly be listening when aren't locked eyes with yours... You know, I can actually hear two different conversations at once and know what both people are talking about (for the most part)? I don't do this on purpose, I just get over-stimulated and over-aroused and my brain is like "Hey, this conversation's gone stale, what about the other one?"

So if anything I would attribute your eye contact to an over active Ne that wants to see ALL the posibilities and wants to interpret ALL the stimuli around you (Process ALL things!!!!!)... As far as the embarrassment and shyness you're experiencing; you're experiencing this because things are going on with your body/brain that you don't understand and you're feeling shameful and guilty that you're doing this so you withdraw because you don't want to be reprimanded for not following the expected social norms (that you had no control over breaking).... Instead of trying to "fix the problem", why not ask for accommodation and say "I'm sorry if I don't maintain eye contact but I promise I'm listening to everything you're saying to the fullest extent"; if they ask if you don't trust them and that's why you don't have eye contact just say "I trust you just fine, I'm just not comfortable with eye contact and I hope you can respect that." If they CAN respect it, they are your friend; if they say "excuses, excuses" then you need to cut ties and find healthy people to be around.
Thanks again for taking the time, @LuvyDude182,
:rolleyes:
No 1 is fine. That part is part of the curse then. I prefer all the fantastic opportunities with extraverted intuition versus excelling in focus. What you say makes sense.

No 2 is not home yet. Shyness was a hypothesis - not necessarily what it was all about. I also realise now that I probably have a tougher time maintaining eye contact while I am talking myself rather than when I am listening.
 

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I completely understand this. I'm so awkwardly shy I'm afraid it's going to kill everyone in the room lol. But secretly, sometimes I pretend I'm someone else. I put on a head band and wear a lot of make up and try to be confident, and it works! well, most of the time. I think INFPs just struggle with showing their true colors to strangers because we can very easily get hurt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I completely understand this. I'm so awkwardly shy I'm afraid it's going to kill everyone in the room lol. But secretly, sometimes I pretend I'm someone else. I put on a head band and wear a lot of make up and try to be confident, and it works! well, most of the time. I think INFPs just struggle with showing their true colors to strangers because we can very easily get hurt.
Thanks for your reply @edtb82, appreciated it.

It makes me think of an occasion in in February. I was to present myself in a group setting outside of work. A management course. I had decided I would not hide behind past glory or whatever. Simply be myself and see what that would be like.

Something very strange happened. Usually I will give a very dynamic and decisive presentation. However, this time my voice transcended several step upwards (it became lighter, the pitch (if the is the English word) became lighter and I was no longer as confident making the presentation. I want to attribute this to being myself. Scary.......
 

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It is mostly about not getting hurt. For me, role-playing also means *my* behavior is not causing problems for other people (which can make me feel bad, even if they don't last out at me). A role also makes me think less about what I'm supposed to do (like what to say in a conversation), thus allowing me to relax. Even if that role is "Aloof outsider." That's my main persona offline.
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It is mostly about not getting hurt. For me, role-playing also means *my* behavior is not causing problems for other people (which can make me feel bad, even if they don't last out at me). A role also makes me think less about what I'm supposed to do (like what to say in a conversation), thus allowing me to relax. Even if that role is "Aloof outsider." That's my main persona offline.
Thanks for your input, @wisdom
 

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Well for me, its because I am focusing on my emotional connection to spirituality. INFP descriptions call it a focusing on "identity."

Identity for me though is, how my values interact with my spirituality in the environment, not necessarily with just whatever environment is around me.

So sometimes i might seem in a daze, and half listen rather than fully engage.

The only reason I'm shy, is because I know what I am isn't the norm for society.

And I know that people fear unique, because if they associate with it it might get them outcasted.

But now that I realize that, I realize I'm actually fine being me.

I dont have to be assertive all the time. In fact, in being slightly withdrawn at times, when I do perform and its not just a meaningless game , and its actually somehing important like helping someone else that is in need, I can use all the repressed emotions from being that way, and actually outshine someone that is constantly assertive.

I dig down deep, and then jump up high. Others like to ride the high, but dont get up as far. That is the way I see it.

How to combat shyness though, other than awareness that my shyness is awesome, is really just about getting people to like me.

If they like me, they like how I am. People tend to like authentic people that are okay in themselves, and also it wouldnt hurt to be able to explain why what im doing works for me, and how it isnt worse than something else, or not take things too personally.

I guess if I take things very personally, its because I havent quite figured out my uniqueness yet, and identified whether it is good or bad, or what to do about it.

But I can work that in my personality too. I mean, i dont mind if people are insecure about who they are. Its whatever.

They might not be the best DANCE partners, unless you give them a song they really like, haha.

But they are still really really cool!

We cant be perfect to EVERYONE

We can be perfect to ourselves though

IN that, we are growing as much as we can.

Dont measure ourselves to others unnecessarily

God will use us some day, and it will all make sense then

Or a different way of putting it would be, "we will shine" one day, or "save the town" one day

We are all saviors :D Another reason we should respect eachother haha.

I mean, what if whatever force created the world, was right behind us right now, having us do exactly what we are doing right now, for the sake of character growth?

I believe its all towards Love, I feel it via my intuition that I dont even know.

it seems to be our "best human state"

its better than murdering eachother

point is: believe in ourselves, and there are some reasons why
 

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That's nice, @Souled In .

I think I do three things with regard to eye contact.

One is when I am focused intensely, I avert my eyes because I suppose eye contact is a distraction that gets me off what I am attempting to focus on. I am not always aware of it but I do catch myself sometimes.

Another is that when I am focused on another person, I maintain eye contact, sometimes too intensely. I had a co-worker who was promoted to my boss tell me she thought my eyes were very intimidating and intense -- something I would have said about hers if it had occurred to me to give her feedback of that kind. It usually comes from trying really hard to understand someone at a deeper level one on one. I tend to think of my eyes as more gentle than piercing, but maybe those situations were also fraught with stress and that changed their expression. I don't know.

But the third thing works in an opposite way from the second. I don't hear very well -- especially in situations where there is ambient noise. So I have to read lips. When I am reading lips I focus all my attention intensely on the person's mouth. So much so that I forget that eye contact needs to be part of communication. And if I avert my eyes from their mouth, I sometimes lose the ability to get all the words they are saying to register in my brain. I have never asked anyone what their reaction to my reading lips is.
 

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I'm aware of my eye contact when talking to people. Not so much asnymore I think. But if I'm talking or more accurately, if someones talking to me, maybe someone I don't care to be speaking too, someone in authority or something I don't like to look into their eyes for too long, so I get caught up in 'where should I look...'
 

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1) Does any of you guys have difficulties maintaining eye contact (contiously or uncontiously) and why do you think that is?
Apparently people say I look "confused" when I think. I do not think that there is an INFP disease as such, and each person is their own selves. I mean, I laugh when I realise a random change in a salsa dance routine sometimes. My P side just went into hysterical mode of my silliness. Yet, when I tried to internalise my understanding of the steps, my partner will look at me weirdly and say, "you sure you got that? you look confused". I even had a bicker with them, cos one guy took that intuitively and kind of like well, criticised me. For absolutely no reason.

I do not think that it is a disease. Cos well, not everybody can be that direct and blunt to your facial expressions. I find a lot of NTs have serious looks if anything. I can spot them a mile away. I think maybe for us INFP, and I need to check this out as well. We kind of have this concerned look about us. Our face may give us away easily.

I also think that when we think a lot, I do not know about others, but I tend to look to my right to recall a memory. I analyse even when I talk.

2) Why is it so easy being confident while not being your true self?
With regards to the OP's question. I think that if I do something that is something I feel so strongly about, I normally find the confidence to do it. Like, I once stood my ground when I was being told off loudly by a high level local government manager about my decision-making in my IT work. I said "no", I won't do it. He then threatened me. Cos he wanted a quick fix. I said that this fix will cause further damage if I pressed this button. I think in doing so, I earned a bit of respect from him too. Cos if he landed himself with stupid financial error on his hands that no-one can fix, he would have been turfed out of his job. Even as a company, I would not have been able to save the issues, and no-one in my company could have fixed it. I just asked him to wait. I think he apologised to my manager and contacted him directly anyhow. The issue resolved itself slowly and then we tried to find the cause of it. We would not have been able to amend the aftermaths at all.

When we are not our true true self. We are said to be our shadow ESTJ. However, I guess if we are our true selves and are always happy, I do believe that we have the capacity to flip to ESTJ mode when it needs it. i.e. giving a public speech. Giving presentation. Training. I find myself during training, pretty confident, and on the ball.
 

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I find that when I am talking, I don't look people in the eye as much. But when they are talking about something interesting or feeling based, i will look into their eyes intensely. I say it has to be interesting because if it's just chit chat or business, I have no desire to find out how they are feeling. If I want to know how someone is feeling, I will look into their eyes. If it's all factual, I usually don't maintain eye contact. To me, feelings are interesting and require eye contact to be able to gauge. Facts are interesting too but I learn better by hearing, so looking into someone's eyes is distracting to what they are saying because I'll be focusing on their feelings rather than the facts they are telling me.

For example, I rarely look my bosses in the eye when they are telling me what to do because I need to pay attention to their directions rather than how they're feeling. Same with my mom. But when a friend or husband or whoever is telling me a passionate story or how they feel about something, I give direct eye contact so I can make a judgment based on their feeling level. I can gauge if they are about to cry, if they are lying, if they are scared, if they are aroused, etc. And once I figure that out, I can act appropriately. It's all in the eyes!

So to sum it up - I will stare directly into someone's eyes if they are passionate about something or having feelings that I need to gauge. But I will look away if they are telling me something neutral or factual so as not to get distracted by reading their feelings.
 
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