I want to break your heart without being noticed. So i can mend it, change you, make you whole again.
This post is an insight, a paradox. I know i know nothing at all – Socrates. This will be an ancient relic for the unique to interpret, not worship. My kin. Until three days ago i felt alone. I knew i was. And i was wrong. Intrigue led me here and relief was felt, hope re-discovered. An explanation for addiction.
INFJs are gentle, caring, complex and highly intuitive individuals. Artistic and creative, they live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities. Only one percent of the population has an INFJ Personality Type, making it the most rare of all the types.
INFJs put a lot of energy into identifying the best system for getting things done, and constantly define and re-define the priorities in their lives. On the other hand, INFJs operate within themselves on an intuitive basis which is entirely spontaneous. They know things intuitively, without being able to pinpoint why, and without detailed knowledge of the subject at hand. They are usually right, and they usually know it. Consequently, INFJs put a tremendous amount of faith into their instincts and intuitions. This is something of a conflict between the inner and outer worlds, and may result in the INFJ not being as organized as other Judging types tend to be. Or we may see some signs of disarray in an otherwise orderly tendency, such as a consistently messy desk.
INFJs have uncanny insight into people and situations. They get “feelings” about things and intuitively understand them. As an extreme example, some INFJs report experiences of a psychic nature, such as getting strong feelings about there being a problem with a loved one, and discovering later that they were in a car accident. This is the sort of thing that other types may scorn and scoff at, and the INFJ themself does not really understand their intuition at a level which can be verbalized. Consequently, most INFJs are protective of their inner selves, sharing only what they choose to share when they choose to share it. They are deep, complex individuals, who are quite private and typically difficult to understand. INFJs hold back part of themselves, and can be secretive.
But the INFJ is as genuinely warm as they are complex. INFJs hold a special place in the heart of people who they are close to, who are able to see their special gifts and depth of caring. INFJs are concerned for people’s feelings, and try to be gentle to avoid hurting anyone. They are very sensitive to conflict, and cannot tolerate it very well. Situations which are charged with conflict may drive the normally peaceful INFJ into a state of agitation or charged anger. They may tend to internalize conflict into their bodies, and experience health problems when under a lot of stress.
Because the INFJ has such strong intuitive capabilities, they trust their own instincts above all else. This may result in an INFJ stubborness and tendency to ignore other people’s opinions. They believe that they’re right. On the other hand, INFJ is a perfectionist who doubts that they are living up to their full potential. INFJs are rarely at complete peace with themselves – there’s always something else they should be doing to improve themselves and the world around them. They believe in constant growth, and don’t often take time to revel in their accomplishments. They have strong value systems, and need to live their lives in accordance with what they feel is right. In deference to the Feeling aspect of their personalities, INFJs are in some ways gentle and easy going. Conversely, they have very high expectations of themselves, and frequently of their families. They don’t believe in compromising their ideals.
INFJ is a natural nurturer; patient, devoted and protective. They make loving parents and usually have strong bonds with their offspring. They have high expectations of their children, and push them to be the best that they can be. This can sometimes manifest itself in the INFJ being hard-nosed and stubborn. But generally, children of an INFJ get devoted and sincere parental guidance, combined with deep caring.
In the workplace, the INFJ usually shows up in areas where they can be creative and somewhat independent. They have a natural affinity for art, and many excel in the sciences, where they make use of their intuition. INFJs can also be found in service-oriented professions. An INFJ who has gone the route of becoming meticulous about details may be highly critical of other individuals who are not.
The INFJ individual is gifted in ways that other types are not. Life is not necessarily easy for the INFJ, but they are capable of great depth of feeling and personal achievement.INFJs find it easy to make connections with others, and have a talent for warm, sensitive language, speaking in human terms, rather than with pure logic and fact. It makes sense that their friends and colleagues will come to think of them as quiet Extroverted types, but they would all do well to remember that INFJs need time alone to decompress and recharge, and to not become too alarmed when they suddenly withdraw. INFJs take great care of other’s feelings, and they expect the favor to be returned – sometimes that means giving them the space they need for a few days.
To INFJs, the world is a place full of inequity – but it doesn’t have to be. No other personality type is better suited to create a movement to right a wrong, no matter how big or small. INFJs just need to remember that while they’re busy taking care of the world, they need to take care of themselves, too.
Combining a vivid imagination with a strong sense of compassion, INFJs use their creativity to resolve not technical challenges, but human ones. INFJs enjoy finding the perfect solution for someone they care about, and this strength makes them excellent counselors and advisors.
Seeing through dishonesty and disingenuous motives, INFJs step past manipulation and sales tactics and into a more honest discussion. INFJs see how people and events are connected, and are able to use that insight to get to the heart of the matter.
Inspiring and Convincing – Speaking in human terms, not technical, INFJs have a fluid, inspirational writing style that appeals to the inner idealist in their audience. INFJs can even be astonishingly good orators, speaking with warmth and passion, if they are proud of what they are speaking for.
Their creativity, insight and inspiration are able to have a real impact on the world, as INFJs are able to follow through on their ideas with conviction, willpower, and the planning necessary to see complex projects through to the end. INFJs don’t just see the way things ought to be, they act on those insights.
Determined and Passionate
When INFJs come to believe that something is important, they pursue that goal with a conviction and energy that can catch even their friends and loved ones off guard. INFJs will rock the boat if they have to, something not everyone likes to see, but their passion for their chosen cause is an inseparable part of their personality.
These strengths are used for good. INFJs have strong beliefs and take the actions that they do not because they are trying to advance themselves, but because they are trying to advance an idea that they truly believe will make the world a better place.
When someone challenges or criticizes INFJs’ principles or values, they are likely to receive an alarmingly strong response. INFJs are highly vulnerable to criticism and conflict, and questioning their motives is the quickest way to their bad side.
INFJs tend to present themselves as the culmination of an idea. This is partly because they believe in this idea, but also because INFJs are extremely private when it comes to their personal lives, using this image to keep themselves from having to truly open up, even to close friends. Trusting a new friend can be even more challenging for INFJs.
INFJs are all but defined by their pursuit of ideals. While this is a wonderful quality in many ways, an ideal situation is not always possible – in politics, in business, in romance – and INFJs too often drop or ignore healthy and productive situations and relationships, always believing there might be a better option down the road.
Always Need to Have a Cause
INFJs get so caught up in the passion of their pursuits that any of the cumbersome administrative or maintenance work that comes between them and the ideal they see on the horizon is deeply unwelcome. INFJs like to know that they are taking concrete steps towards their goals, and if routine tasks feel like they are getting in the way, or worse yet, there is no goal at all, they will feel restless and disappointed.
Can Burn Out Easily
Their passion, poor patience for routine maintenance, tendency to present themselves as an ideal, and extreme privacy tend to leave INFJs with few options for letting off steam. INFJs are likely to exhaust themselves in short order if they don’t find a way to balance their ideals with the realities of day-to-day living.
INFJs are enthusiastic in their relationships, and there is a sense of wisdom behind their spontaneity, allowing them to pleasantly surprise their partners again and again. INFJs aren’t afraid to show their love, and they feel it unconditionally, creating a depth to the relationship that can hardly be described in everyday terms. Relationships with INFJs are not for the uncommitted or the shallow.
INFJs are “old souls.” Many grow up feeling wiser than would be predicted by their chronological age. Having discovered the value of their Introverted Intuition (Ni) quite early in life, INFJs grow to trust its judgments and insights. Even as children and adolescents, INFJs can be found advising and counseling their friends and siblings, and perhaps even adult family members. They tend to feel happiest and most fulfilled when helping and enlightening others through their insights.
Because of their strength of intuition (and commensurate detachment from physical reality), many INFJs report feeling like aliens in the world. One INFJ described her experience as “a perpetual sense of deja vu.” Others report feelings of disembodiment. The fact is that many INFJs (and INTJs) seem to experience the world and their bodies quite differently than other types do. It is therefore not uncommon for INFJs to question their own sanity.
INFJs see two people in everyone. They see the public persona, the outer shell, which everyone else sees. But more important, their Ni provides a deeper sense or impression of people, penetrating appearances and revealing hidden motives and intentions.
Consequently, INFJs often feel they can see people more clearly than those people can see themselves.
INFJs seek high quality, in-depth relationships. In their friends, as well as their romantic partners, they seek intelligence (both intellectual and emotional), honesty, openness, and authenticity. Their ideal partner would take seriously the issue of personal growth and development—moral, spiritual, emotional, and psychological.
Despite their status as introverts, there is little INFJs value more than quality conversation. They relish the chance to share their wisdom, theories, and insights. Unfortunately, they often find that most people fail to fully comprehend or appreciate their theories and insights. This can leave INFJs feeling like there is no ready outlet for their wisdom and that no one really understands their essential worth or value. So if and when they happen upon a like minded individual, one who values and eagerly partakes in the INFJs’ inner life, it can feel like a godsend.
Misunderstandings in INFJ Relationships & Dating
INFJs commonly report feeling misunderstood. Considering their status as the rarest of all personality types, this comes as little surprise. There are numerous misunderstandings about INFJs that could potentially hamper their dating and relational success.
A common assumption among males is that all females have similar perspectives on romance. This is particularly off the mark with respect to female INFJs. For INFJs, romance is cultivated on a daily basis through open communication and authentic action. What is done on special occasions is merely icing on the cake. Take away the cake, however, and the icing is meaningless.
Another common misunderstanding is that INFJs are controlling or closed-minded. This typically stems from INFJs’ tendency to extravert Judging. INFJs, especially those further along in their type development, are surprisingly adaptable and open-minded. While rarely wearing their openness on their sleeves INFJs can be surprisingly open to unique or less conventional relational practices.
Nor is it the case that INFJs are overly controlling, or even want to be in control, in their relationships. As dominant Perceivers, they are generally healthiest when they allow life to come to them. Many INFJs have discovered that if they take it upon themselves to act and directly control outcomes, bad results often ensue. All of this is to say that the optimal role of INFJs in a relationship is generally a more receptive one INFJ’s attempt to understand and interpret the world rather than trying to control it.
Another misconception about INFJs is that they are emotionally “needy.” This likely stems from the fact that INFJs extravert and readily express their emotions. INFJs differ from the cultural norm in this respect. But just because INFJs are quicker to express their emotions does not make them any needier.
Yet another misunderstanding is the claim that INFJs “read into things that are not there” or “make mountains out of molehills.” Such accusations can be troubling for INFJs, since reading into things is what they are born to do. In most cases, such accusations derive not from any wrongdoing on the part of the INFJ, but from the assumptions or ego sensitivities of their partners. For instance, by saying things like “Are you okay?” or “You don’t seem yourself today” INFJs are trying to gather more information in order to better understand their partner. Unfortunately, their partner may interpret these as judgments or critiques, inciting a defensive response. If such exchanges were to occur regularly and without rectification, the INFJ might begin to introvert their feelings and doubt their own intuition, a sure recipe for personal and relational disaster.
Se can also affect INFJs’ view of themselves and their bodies. They are as susceptible as other Se types to harshly judging their own physical appearance. They may even be prone to abusing their bodies, such as through harsh dietary or exercise regimens, in hopes of achieving their desired look.
Sex is another area in which their inferior Se plays a role. INFJs can have a love-hate, all-or-nothing approach to sex. At times, they may feel like addicts, at others, like renunciants. It’s not hard to imagine INFJs taking a vow of celibacy in hopes of eschewing such Se extremes.
What is more, INFJs’ disconnectedness from their physicality may complicate the logistics of sex. INFJs often feel they have little control over their bodies, including their level of sexual arousal and physical readiness for sex.
This unpredictability can be a source of frustration for INFJs, as well as their partners, especially if the issue fails to be discussed openly or understood more clearly. It’s not that INFJs cannot enjoy satisfying sex lives, but it is important for partners to understand this as another area in which INFJs (and INTJs) may differ from other types.
Lastly, INFJs are more apt to fall into “grip experiences” when trying to execute Se tasks. As is true of other types, they can be perfectionistic and obsessive when trying to directly employ their inferior function. For INFJs, this may include activities like cooking or other arts, in which they expect themselves to execute flawlessly. At times, INFJs may unwittingly extend these expectations to their partners, feeling they should exhibit the same level of Se skill and concern the INFJ expects from herself. Of course, most INFJs eventually recognize this propensity and look for ways of tempering it, lest they risk harming themselves and their relationships.
INFJ Compatibility with Various Personality Types
We’ve already discussed numerous qualities INFJs seek in a romantic partner, things like intelligence, openness, honesty, and authenticity. They may also be attracted to wealthy, physically attractive, or highly skilled (i.e., in some sort of Se performance) individuals, although such criteria are less pertinent to long-term compatibility. What INFJs may desire most is an intimate, metaphysical kinship. They want to convene with their partners in the world of language and ideas.
On the rare occasion that INFJs happen upon and pair with another INFJ, there can certainly be grounds for attraction and intimacy. But because INFJs are among the least practical of all types, at times even oblivious to S matters, this pairing could prove difficult once children, money, or other logistical factors enter the picture.
INFJs may also discover quick rapport and chemistry with ENFJs, who share all the INFJ’s preferred functions. One potential drawback, however, could involve ENFJs’ tendency to project their own dominant Judging preference onto INFJs, expecting them to be more “productive” or proactive than they might naturally prefer. This could lead them to put even greater pressure on themselves, which is sure to bring relational trouble. But if circumstances were favorable and both partners were adequately self-aware, there is no reason that INFJ-ENFJ relationships could not be successful.
10. We are planners
As with many other Judicial personality types, the INFJ enjoys structure and order. Though our intuition can cause our structure to fluctuate, we still thrive best when we can plan out the details of our situations and lives. Sometimes, however, spontaneity can occur outside of our control. This deeply shakes us and we often respond to this loss of control with anger and frustration.
Brandie, over at Little Left of Normal sums it up best when she says, “Sometimes spontaneity leaves us in a position that we cannot plan…, and we find this upsetting. Please understand that we are never upset with you, only the situation.”
9. We are extremely intelligent
INFJs are introverted thinkers and extroverted feelers. Because of this, we can struggle to articulate our thoughts. While we may, in our minds, be able to answer deep meaningful questions, retain amazing amounts of data and debate with the best of them, when asked to speak aloud, we often fumble, stutter over our words and say a small fraction of what we are actually thinking. This lands us the labels of slow-witted and unintelligent.
However, when we are comfortable with a person and situation and are given plenty of time to ponder an inquiry or organize our thoughts into words, we can speak fluidly, clearly and passionately on almost any subject.
8. We only need one person
Because we are introverts, INFJs are completely content being with just one person, whether a partner, friend or family member. When we make friends, it is usually for the long haul and it takes a lot to destroy a relationship. Unlike extroverts or some other introverts, INFJs can spend the rest of our lives with only ever being close to one person and never feel as though we are missing out on other relationships. In fact, we actually prefer it.
When we have many relationships in our lives, we can become easily overwhelmed and feel as though we are not giving our best to each relationship, leading us to feel unhappy, exhausted, and stretched thin.
7. Prolonged solitude kills us
While some introverts can be all by themselves for every second of the day and feel nothing but contentment, an INFJ needs to be around people. Though we still need time in solitude in order to recharge ourselves, too much time alone can leave us feeling drained, lonely and depressed. INFJs thrive on the emotions of others. We live for bettering others to better ourselves. We cannot do this if we are always by ourselves. When an INFJ does not have a close relationship, they can became depressed and feel empty.
“INFJs often feel happiest and most fulfilled when helping others understand themselves and their problems.” – Dr. A.J. Drenth, Personality Junkie, INFJ
6. We are perfectionists
INFJs are never happy with ourselves. No matter how much an INFJ has improved, there is always room to be better. Often times, we can struggle with relishing in our accomplishments since we continue to focus on where we have fallen short and how we could have done better. It can sometimes frustrate an INFJ to see others complacent with their current selves.
“INFJ is a perfectionist who doubts that they are living up to their full potential. INFJs are rarely at complete peace with themselves – there’s always something else they should be doing to improve themselves and the world around them. They believe in constant growth, and don’t often take time to revel in their accomplishments…they have very high expectations of themselves, and frequently of their families.”
5. We loathe small talk
While many INFJs can practice and put on a good show, most of us struggle with social norms and routines, especially if we see little use for them. Since, as mentioned before, we find it difficult to put our thoughts into words, we can feel uncomfortable being in situations that cause us to interact in a spontaneous and shallow manner, such as meeting someone new.
INFJs spend most of our time thinking through deep and complex matters, therefore shallow and menial conversations of everyday life can confuse and frustrate us. Talks of the weather and local sports are exhausting for us. We would much rather ask for life stories, sincere problems of which we can offer solutions and therapy session-like conversations. When we ask “how are you,” we mean it on the deepest and sincerest possible level.
4. Our label means a lot to us
While every person can be pinpointed as a specific Myers-Briggs Personality Type, INFJs tend to cling to our label as soon as we discover it. As we are the rarest personality type, making up an approximate 2% of the population, we spend most of our lives feeling lost and misunderstood. Once we learn that we are not alone and that there is an explanation as to why we have always felt different, we feel overjoyed and almost “normal.”
Even if the description of an INFJ does not fit us 100%, it still usually offers us a lot of information for which we have spent the majority of our lives searching. Those four little letters can be life-changing to an INFJ.
3. We are very open-minded
INFJs have an amazing ability to think abstractly. In our minds, it is easy to see gray areas and blurred lines. While we tend to have strong principles and passions, an INFJ can usually see another persons point-of-view on any situation. Whenever there is a difference of opinion, an INFJ is very driven to ask questions and seek information about the opposing side in order to understand the different perspective. This part of our personality leads to deep compassion and always giving others the benefit of the doubt.
2. We are warm-hearted
INFJs can outwardly appear cold. Because we tend to be very private and enjoy only opening up to our closest companions, others can see us as cold and detached. This is the furthest from the truth. INFJs are, in fact, extremely warm-hearted and open to everyone around us, but because we are socially inept, we can struggle with making others aware of this. Our compassion knows no limits and we are mostly selfless people. We hope that everyone can open up to us and know that we are there for them, however, we will probably not open up much to them by no fault of their own.
1. Our intuition is real
INFJs are known for being the most intuitive personality type. We “just know” a lot of information that we can never fully explain. Many sensing types and a few intuitive types cannot fully grasp our level of intuition and easily discredit our knowledge. Without any explanation as to why, we can feel the feelings of everyone around us as deeply as though they were our own.
“In my experience, the most misunderstood part of an INFJ is how we feel everything those around us feel. We do not sympathize. We do not empathize. We literally feel exactly what you feel. Even if you are trying to hide it or don’t express your feelings, somehow we still know.” – A Look Inside a Rare Mind