You know what’s interesting is looking vs staring. Staring is always a more intense version of looking. It amplifies the mood. But generally in a bad way.
Like if someone says ‘I like to look at girls’ you’d think: That’s creepy. I’m not sure about this person. If instead they say: ‘I like to stare at girls’. No no. Buh uh. The word stare has made me someone you don’t want to be around.
‘I was looking at the report’. Ok. Sure. You were mildly reading a report. ‘I was starting at the report.’ Dude. You weren’t even trying to read that report at all.
In both cases staring brought a certain intensity, and both times it did no favors.
Maybe just avoid the word stare.