The Mysterious INFJ

A critical step in the reliable use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is verification of type through a dialogue between the individual completing the inventory and the practitioner russianinterpreting the results.  After receiving the results, the client will read the description of the personality type, in the aggregate, to determine if it is  largely accurate.  In my experience, I have found the INFJ  notoriously difficult to type.   Even after the verification step, the INFJ  can be uncertain that this description fits. It isn’t due to shortcomings in the Myers-Briggs  questionnaire.  It is mainly due to the rarity and complexity of the INFJ type.

Exact percentages vary but the INFJ, the rarest of the personality types, is said to account for 1-2% of the overall population, females slightly more often than males.  The INFJ has been called “The Mystic,” “The Counselor,” and “Empath”.  They are described as  original, gentle, caring, and highly intuitive. The quality of extrasensory perception, or ESP, is often attributed to them. People who have known INFJs for years continue to be surprised when yet another layer of their complex personality is revealed.  As a result of their inferior sensing function, they can be stubborn and obsess about an inconsequential detail , usually when they are under stress. Their ability to see the big picture can be affected during these times. INFJs are deeply concerned about their relations with individuals as well as the state of humanity at large. They are, in fact, sometimes mistaken for extroverts because they  are so genuinely interested in people — a product of the auxiliary feeling function they most readily show to the world (Introverts show their auxiliary function, or the function that supports the dominant function, to the world first). Still, INFJs are true introverts, who can only be emotionally intimate with a chosen few from among their long-term friends, family, or mate.   Yet, INFJs will suddenly withdraw into themselves, sometimes shutting out those closest to them. This apparent about face is  necessary, providing both time to rebuild their energy and a filter to prevent the emotional overload that can happen as they deeply experience other individuals.  This is perhaps the most confusing aspect of the enigmatic INFJ character to outsiders particularly if experience with this type has been limited.  I have 3 INFJ’s in my life, my brother, my daughter, and my best friend and I can attest to the fact that they are like Russian nesting dolls, when one doll is exposed,  another one lies inside.

The INFJ has a curious mix of psychological preferences that both serve them well but also create almost constant dynamic tension.  The first of these is the tendency to desire closure and timeliness battling with an even stronger preference to keep generating more options and perspectives (N vs J).  This can lead to a feeling of being confused or disorganized because even as an INFJ is trying to complete something on time, new ideas keep appearing which try to displace that which has already been decided.  One of my earliest recollections of this in my daughter was when she shouted, “Mom! Help me stop this video in my head!” An INFJ may begin a project or a paper and find themselves operating under a time crunch not because they are disorganized, but because they have yet to call a truce between their imaginative mind and their need for closure. Hence, an INFJ may report a preference for “P” or perceiving characterized by working best under pressure, keeping an open schedule, and allowing events to unfold when in fact this behavior is not preferred but  is a byproduct of the battle between an internal brainstorm and the need for closure. The upside to these opposing forces is that the INFJ, having an awareness of what is happening, can consciously turn off the debate, and enjoy a rare combination of creative thinking and follow through. An INFJ wants both!

Another interesting nuance of this personality type is the feeling preference combined with introversion.  As feelers, INFJ’s are focused on people: listening to them, encouraging their growth, and honoring their unique qualities. Many INFJ’s are counselors, ministers, and teachers.  They are often in the forefront of significant movements to change the world.  Famous INFJ’s include Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King jr. and Nelson Mandela. They are often actors and comedians such as Adam Sandler, Carrie Fischer, and Jamie Foxx.  A preference for introversion merely means that the individual has to retreat into the mind at some point, to recharge energy.  Introverts, particularly those who have a people oriented feeling preference (INFP, INFJ), can and do extravert well but when the battery has been drained, such individuals may abruptly withdrawal from the scene. The jewel in this dynamic though is that as introverts, these individuals also tend to be observers and can therefore experience people at a deeper level, identify the ironies in life, and combined with their rich imaginations, dream of a more ideal world than the one that exists today.  As far as verifying type,  the  I versus F  dynamic might result in a reported preference for extraversion.  Another possibility is that the richness of their feeling experiences may feel overwhelming at times so they rely on thinking to manage their thoughts and emotions. Hence a “T” preference may be reported.  This complexity can lead to confusion on the part of the INFJ during the type verification process.

A logical question at this point might be, “Why is it so important to know one’s type?  An INFJ might mistype as an INFP, INTP, ENFJ, or INTJ. The brief answer to that is when type is known, one can better understand cognitive strengths and make choices that will make use of an individual’s greatest gifts.  Type identification can also uncover blind spots and illuminate reoccurring sources of frustration in work/school situations, communication, relationships, and identification of overall life purpose.  For general information on the value of psychological typing,  please see my link at: http://annholm.wpengine.com/myers-briggs-type-indicator-mtbi-is-psychological-type-the-key-to-uncovering-your-potential/  There is also an excellent website for all things INFJ at http://www.infj.org/public/infjcharacter.html

One of the characteristics often attributed to INFJ’s is ESP. Sometimes they seem to sense “something in the air.”  As I was writing this piece last night, my INFJ brother, who I talk to perhaps once per month, called me from a baseball field.  He said, “I want to share this with you. My son played his last baseball game on this field. The sun is setting and I am sitting on the dugout bench, by myself, reflecting that everything goes so fast.  It’s a cycle though, like the rising and the falling of the sun.  I wish I could share this moment with Dad and Grandma. They were here for me like this once. It’s romantic and beautiful.”  The irony of writing a piece about INFJ’s only to have one of my favorite among these call me during a quintessential INFJ moment!

This Post Has 101 Comments

  1. Hey Ann: You are a great role model….showing the ‘how’ of reaching your own ptential while guiding the rest of us. In my mind, a definition of a ‘teacher.’
    Keep on keepin’ on…you have my rapt attention!

  2. I never fail to have that surreal since that someone has been following me around recording what I do when I read this INFJ description. It takes my breath away and this particular explanation of the INFJ just knocks me over. It’s virtually a point-by-point record of my inner life. What I’m looking for, however, is insight regarding the effect of a physical handicap on one’s personality. I deaf and have been for most of my adult life. As the description indicates, I kept straining toward iNFP (and bits and pieces of other temperaments) but INFJ seems to always yank my chain.

  3. Thank you for your comment, Ray. I would be interested in hearing more of your thoughts on being an INFJ and also being deaf for much of your adult life. You may have noticed that I have 25 years of experience in speech-language pathology. I have wondered how (and if) the onset of a significant disability like deafness or a neurological event such as stroke or head injury affects psychological type. Please continue to share your comments or you can send them directly to me at annholm@comcast.net Thank you!

  4. Ann, thanks so much for this article. There’s no way to tell you how much it helped me. Without going into the details of my life (you probably hear that enough!), I was the only 56-year-old person I knew who had no idea what their own personality was, except I knew I didn’t seem to be like anybody else. But now I know. When I read your description, it was the first time in my life I saw words written down that resonated with my inner feelings and struggles.

    Thanks again.

  5. Mary Beth- The INFJ personality type is rare (1% of the population) and also very complex. I imagine you are often misunderstood and even confuse yourself sometimes! I encourage you to keep trying to learn more about how your mind operates. Life coaching and further reading are two effective ways to do this. My perspective is that the more one has insight about his/her psychological type and how well he/she uses it’s gifts, the more satisfying and productive life can be. Self-improvement comes from self-discovery. The most important point though is that since you are 1 in 100 and therefore do not see someone similar to yourself very often, the least effective way to gain insight is by comparing yourself to others. Please drop me an email, call or leave another comment if I can help you further and thank you for your kind words!

  6. Paul- I would be interested in knowing if you took the MBTI Step II (Form Q) instrument or if you took Step I. The Step II will help identify preferences within a type that are not typically associated with that type. I wrote a blog about this earlier called, “Birds of a Feather: Similar But Not the Same” http://annholm.wpengine.com/2009/09/birds-of-a-feather-similar-but-not-the-same/ There is now a Step III instrument that is a coaching/counseling instrument based on type development concepts but is presented in layman’s language. It is new and I am fortunate enough to be one of the first to be certified to use it (only 40 or so of us in the world!). Thank you for your comment. You sound like an interesting and complex person. I would love to hear more from you!

  7. Firstly apologies for the awful spelling and meaningless words above. It was typed on my phone!

    Also it comes across as being conceited, hey I am successful and all that. But my point was to show that if anyone is an infj (or whatever that means) then things will be OK. I have been looking at people who say they are infj on youtube. Mostly teenagers or in their 20’s they seem a sad, lost little lot and I really relate to them.

    I was the same then. I spent many angst ridden hours alone. People would say to me come on mate it may not happen and I would go what??

    But once you relax into yourself and accept yourself it will be OK.

    I did the form Q, I do think there is a danger of over analysing and stereotyping yourself though so it’s only a guide I think!

  8. Great insights, Paul. An INFJ can be very self-critical at times and the advice to relax and accept yourself is good. It often takes time for individuals to be comfortable in their own skin and even more so if they are complex like the INFJ. I am glad to know you are using your type well!

  9. Hi, I am an INFJ and have been working at a job for about 15 months now in which I am part of a team. I am really struggling with different aspects of this. First, when we have team meetings and everyone is throwing out ideas or suggestions, I find it difficult to take them all in and to get my own ideas out. Another thing is that I prefer to work alone at times and will try to find a quiet space to work. People I work with don’t understand this. I have been under a lot of stress lately at work because I can’t get enough time to work in quiet or by myself. I have been looking for another job but feel that I could have the same problem elsewhere. I think I need to change and so does my boss, but I don’t know how and just the thought of trying to become something I’m not is exhausting to me. I hope this is not confusing.

  10. Drop me an email at annholm@comcast.net or annholm@annholm.net Give me some more information about the nature of your current job, your age etc…I might be able to offer you some specific suggestions. Even though I am not an INFJ myself (I am an ENFP), I do have 3 INFJ’s that are very close to me: my daughter, my best friend, and my brother. I appreciate the rare gifts that someone like you brings to the world but like cutting a diamond, it’s necessary to know how to draw out those qualities without disrupting the integrity of the gem itself. I hope you write back!

  11. As an INFJ, I am curious about your interactions with the 3 INFJ’s in your life. I wondered first if they tend to be very unaffectionate, and also how often do they withdraw or avoid that you notice? I have never spoken with another INFJ and I know that it hurts my family when I unexplainably do this to them. Those closest to me know my tendencies and I think they have somewhat of an understanding of this pattern I have. However I’m actually trying to push myself out of this avoidance that comes easily over me to show more love to others. My husband is an ENFP and he is by contrast very affectionate and verbally affirming all the time! I dont always respond to this and usually I dont have a reason for it! I realize how it affects him. I dont express myself with affection or words of affirmation well, but in the few moments that I do, he says that he cherishes them all the more just because he knows I dont share unless I truly feel. 😛

  12. My daughter, who is an INFJ, would do “the disappearing act” by withdrawing suddenly leaving people to wonder if we offended her or if she was upset about something. Many times, an INFJ won’t even know why they left the scene or suddenly became crabby. However, having the self-awareness that this is simply a need to recharge one’s INFJ batteries helps to smooth it out. An effective strategy is to remember to use “transitional statements” such as “I’ll be back in a bit! I need to recharge.” Or use humor, “I am normally a warm and charming person but I need to hang out in my head for awhile.” Sometimes you can’t retreat and I have advised INFJ’s to try to anticipate those events and be ready to be challenged! As far as expressing affection, remember that INFJ’s feel comfortable with the written word. Use your creativity to leave post-it notes or interesting text messages. My INFJ brother sends me odd ball random text messages and it’s always a highlight when I get them! Remember that you are a treasure chest full of love, imagination, and uniqueness. While you don’t have to leave the lid wide open all of the time, at least keep the chest unlocked!

  13. Hi Ann,

    I just discovered your post here and I think it’s really brilliant. I wanted to briefly share my experience with you, if you’d like to read about it: I first learned about the Meyers-Briggs in high school (I was 13) and took it and scored as an INFJ. I wasn’t satisfied with my result. I took the test probably a dozen more times and came out pretty consistently as an INFJ. Every year I take it again, and rarely deviate from INFJ. (Does this sound familiar? An INFJ with an identity crisis?) I took it earlier this year and came out as an ISFJ, which I settled with happily even though I knew somewhere in the back of my head it wasn’t quite right. (I think I admire ISFJ’s and want to be like them).

    Your daughter saying to shut off the video in her head reminds me of myself recently- I started writing a book because this idea popped into my head and it’s completely taken over my life. The characters talk, day and night, and write the book faster than I can get it down on paper. I’ve never felt this much like a tortured artist before, but now I understand what it feels like! I’m completely obsessed with writing it, but my husband doesn’t even know I’m writing a book (poor guy!) Talk about a layered personality….

    I find the “ESP” part of being an INFJ sort of peculiar. It’s not that I haven’t experienced it- on the contrary, I experience it pretty much every day- but there are sort of two parts to it. The first part of it is being able to sense people’s emotions and intentions, and the second part is kind of about getting into someone else’s head and understanding them sometimes better than they understand themselves, which I usually don’t tell anyone about because I tried it on my husband and he gets freaked out every time. Ha ha, the fun of being married to an INFJ!

    Please take care,
    Sarah

  14. Thank you, Sarah, for your insightful comments. The INFJ personality type is a very special gift. It is very complex so sometimes it can be confusing and yet the potential for making a powerful and unique contribution to the world is very real. The fact that an INFJ type is 1 out of 100 in the general population does make it difficult at times to understand oneself because there are very few role models, which can be especially critical for young INFJs. They do tend to benefit from relationships with extraverts who encourage them to open up their treasure chest of talents and insights for the world to appreciate!

  15. Hi! I’m 13 and am an INFJ. I took the test recently and was amazed with the results. It’s so like me. I ge picked on a lot for being socially awkward and neve knowing what to say. I’m also very quiet at times but loud at others. People never understand me and label me as weird. I also just see something and a story begins to write itself in my head. I can never have the time to write it all down though! I have been betrayed/backstabbed by many people close to me. I think his attributes to my ability not to trust people. I’ve never had a boyfriend because guys never want to talk to me. 🙁 I’m still trying to figure out what being an INFJ is like. I’m fairly smart (4.0 GPA and read 850+ words a min!!) and again, socially awkward. I really want to teach so I hope I’ll be good at that. Regarding the ESP thing, I’ve had that. I can read people and sometimes feel psycic. I kind of like being a infj though… 🙂

  16. Thank you for writing, Kate. INFJ is a very rare and special personality type but each INFJ is different from another. Your life experiences and education will also determine how you turn out. Since you are 13, you will see different parts of your personality develop and sometimes it might feel confusing. At this age, you are still developing your preferences. Also, sometimes an INFJ type will wait for people to penetrate their “wall” as far as friendship is concerned. Try not to make them do all of the work. Invite them to get to know you with your smile and be as open-minded as possible. Good friendships usually start as acquaintanceships. Sometimes others will seem immature too but try not to judge them. As for boyfriends, you just never know when a good guy will come along. Try to stay active at school and enjoy the company of your friends. If you are working on yourself and being helpful to others, that is usually very attractive to many boys!

  17. I rarely spend much time dwelling on how things can get, being an INFJ. Every being bears their own weight, so who am I to point at myself? But whenever I chance to encounter someone who has taken care to tread carefully in order to understand the hidden parts of a person that’s taken the same care to armour themselves, I falter for a moment and acknowledge that it doesn’t have to be so lonely; I have to be careful not to get too used to the loneliness. It’s so much more meaningful to have one person reach so far in than to have a dozen people lightly skim the surface.

    Thank you, Ann Holm, from the depths.

  18. Hello Ann! I am an infj and reading all of these replys are so scary because alot of them sound like me. You talk about your daughter who does the diseappearing act . I do that all the time! I will leave and not tell anyone . not a soul. I will go away about 100 miles away from where i live so I can recharge my batteries. Another thing.. is I can read people all to well ! I feel like it is a curse sometimes. Sometimes I just want to be “stupid” and not know nothing. Another thing ..I do like anything in written word. I write poems and short stories for fun ! and it comes easy for me. but i dont trust no none and have a wall up and a fence up and crazy enough i am in therapy trying to help me not go insane in my brain! I feel so many emotions its scary! Another thing.. i dont know how to be open when i dont trust. I have been told to many times that i am unappoachable and hard to get to know. and that im very private! How do I get out of my world in my head and somewhat be at leat 1% extrovert?

  19. This was pretty incredible to read. Some things have always been a mystery to me. But I suppose like any classic INFJ, I like mystery so I’m already trying to forget it all. 😉

    As I read this wonderful article I found myself constantly finding these traits in other people I know, all the while feeling uncomfortable knowing that ALL OF THIS ARTICLE describes my moment to moment life… and then secretly feeling privileged… and then feel bad when my friend who took the test was faced with a more “ordinary” type and my feeling so bad for him I try to downplay it and act like I don’t like being in the 1%.. but then goofy for feeling privileged… and then wanting to write a poem or about the whole experience. I also hate beating people in a sport. I like the hard work of winning but I HATE beating them. I’d just assume give them my trophy and move on to the next thing.

    The worst part of being this way is constantly thinking that I have some new mental illness or someone’s personality disorder. Last night I took a test to make sure I’m not a sociopath.

  20. I am a solid INFJ and this article has helped me understand why I’m so burned-out. Do you have any suggestions for regaining inspiration? I’m a writer and WANT to write. I want to make a difference for people ~ but recent events have left me completely drained. In addition I work in the public full time and so cannot catch up on the quietness that usually recharges me. I feel like I’m on the edge of a breakdown.

    Thanks for this website.

  21. Hi Ann! Thanks for your post – it’s great to have new insights!

    I especially liked reading about how combinations of INFJ characteristics can lead to being mis-typed or mis-typing yourself. That explains (I’m an INFJ) how I often wondered if I was an INFP or an INTJ sometimes. I read elsewhere on the net that INFJ’s struggle with their self esteem, so I guess it is easy for us to mis-type as we are struggling to accept the rarity and special gifts INFJ’s have.

    I’m interested to hear about your daughter’s disappearing acts – actually googling “disappearing INFJ” is what got me here – as I do exactly that! I think I am a proud person, so when I am weak I go off alone to solve my problem. That way I can be sure it is MY solution and not imposed/persuaded onto me by some charismatic extrovert. My concern at the moment is – how do I repair the friendships I disappeared from? (They were ESFJ/ ENFJ, INTJ/INTP and ESTJ/ENTJ I think) Have I really lost them forever?

    In the past when I have been ready to withdraw I haven’t had the presence of mind to tell people what i am about to do, and I worry they wouldn’t understand. I’m quite sensitive about this aspect of my personality, and I’m naturally private, so I’m better at telling people when they ask, which is usually after I’ve made the mistakes! Do you know how I can subtly introduce them to this idea / explain to them quite a long time in advance? Do you think joking about it would help?
    Thanks again and sorry for the rambling!!

  22. Paradox… that’s one thing about us… if a person cannot bear paradox in others, they will not appreciate an INFJ.

    The more I know myself, and the more I understand others, the better able I am to accept and even appreciate paradox.

  23. Interesting reading…

    Both my partner and myself test as INFJs, although my partner’s need to recharge is stronger than mine. I am sometimes able to retreat into my head whilst appearing to be “present”, which is often enough. I often end up staying home from social functions because I can get easily overwhelmed by intense and crowded social situations. Most people are surprised that I test as introverted, as I appear quite gregarious.

    Interestingly, my new job requires me to host guests at functions, and be warm and inviting as they are all potential donors. I find it quite exhausting, but enjoy the opportunity to sit down and chat to small groups. All INFJ features I think!

    I think the internal debate of N vs J is interesting – while studying last year, I found there was a point where I would have to order myself to stop researching and reading to give myself sufficient time to form an argument for my essays.

  24. Ali- Thank you for your note. You mentioned you are more gregarious than many INFJ types. You touched on a very important nuance of type theory. Even though there are 16 different types in the Myers-Briggs model, there are many variations within that type. The differences can be captured using the MBTI Step II Form Q. There are 20 facets that are measured (5 within each psychological preference parameter or “letter”) and often you can use one facet to develop another behavior that is more challenging. An example might be an ENFP using curiosity (generally an “N” or intuitive behavior) to become a better listener (more “receptive” which is an “I” or introverted behavior). My daughter who is an INFJ has become both gregarious and more initiating as a result of being a middle school teacher. She still needs her introvert time to recharge and she will ask for it! The brain is adaptable so variances within each type is often seen. Here is an article I wrote on the topic that you might find interesting: http://annholm.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/annholm_mbtiII.pdf . I APPRECIATE everyone’s comments on this thread! Very insightful as would be expected of the INFJ type!

  25. I find it pretty interesting that so many people seem to get mis-typed as something other than INFJ… If it’s so rare, would that not make a person who always comes up as INFJ and knows it fits even more rare?
    I don’t really suffer with self-esteem at all. I’m not sure how much my personality has factored into that though; I think a lot of my confidence and even my extrovertedness comes from my religion. I have no trouble trusting God, (it’s actually kind of a relief to let him handle the things in my life that I can’t control), and having him there as a friend has helped me to keep from getting too depressed, and to keep me talking so I stay social.
    Most of my friends know I’m an introvert because I tell them, (or they’re weird like me and they get it), but a lot of strangers would be surprised. I have a very large circle of close friends. Oddly, I really do try to be close to all of them. I share secrets with most of my friends, and even people I barely know, but I can be pretty selective about which secrets, and how I share them. For instance, if there’s something about me that is secretly tearing me apart when I’m alone and making me feel insane and depressed, I tell people, (usually the ones I know aren’t going to remember it), but I tell it passingly or like a joke. They have no idea what impact it really has on my life.
    I disappear all the time, but only when I know I can. I don’t like getting caught disappearing. If there’s a risk of someone finding me and trying to talk to me, I usually just hide inside my head for a while instead. Usually when I run off, either no one knows I left, or they have no idea where I went. Part of me has even considered running away from home, just because I know I could do it and not get caught. I try not to tell my parents these sort of ideas that I had when I was twelve… it would scare them.

  26. I only learned I was INFJ a few years ago. Since then I’ve been diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure and currently and going through a divorce. In a lot of ways my INFJ is working overtime..I test out as INFP but have much more in common with the cousin INFJ.
    Depression comes and goes. Yes I’m taking meds for it . It’s very hard time for this INFJ right now..

  27. Are there any INFJ’s out there who might have some suggestions to or insights for Kenny to draw on his INFJ strength to feel more optimistic and less depressed?

  28. Sorry to hear your troubles Kenny. If you are taking medication for your depression, it might be helpful to read this book: http://www.amazon.com/Anatomy-Epidemic-Bullets-Psychiatric-Astonishing/dp/0307452417 (Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America), which explains the danger of antidepressant use. Instead of medication, try to spend as much time outdoors as you can handle; it’s a way of treating the blues for millenia. Finally, an advice I’ve heard from senior citizens about living is that “Time and humor cure most pains.” (http://www.caring.com/blogs/caring-currents/life-lessons-top-5-lessons-life) Hope that helps. Thank you.

  29. I don’t know Kenny’s religious affiliations (or if he even has any) but I was depressed for about 3 years and found that reading through the book of Psalms in the Bible was so helpful for me. I think the acknowledgement there of real pain and despair and a God who cares did much for my soul.

    I would also second Cloud’s suggestion of humor and going outside. One needs to soak in a perspective that is different than the overwhelming, all consuming feeling of depression. (But I know you don’t FEEL like doing it!)

    During those three years I also took an online personality test and discovered I was an INFJ. Oh my goodness! that also helped so much…I have just always thought I was weird!! (I am 42 and have felt like that my whole life!) I also found out that I had been dealing with a significant , physical health issue and the treatment did help relieve much of my depression. (Though, I do tend to be internally melancholy quite a bit.)

    I appreciate this article so much. Thank you Ann Holm.
    And, I am so sorry for your situation, Kenny…I am going to be praying you will find peace!

  30. Another effective way to address depression is through meditation. I have a couple of blogs on meditation on this website. Here is a link to a simple meditation to get you started :http://annholm.wpengine.com/2010/05/11-minute-breath-awareness-meditation/ There are many good CDs on the market that can take you through guided meditations also. Hang in there, Kenny. Also, thanks again to those who add to the discussion about the INFJ type! You are insightful and add richness to this thread!

  31. Kenny, as a fellow INFJer, I think it’s fair to say that warding off depression (be it sourced in disappointed hopes a/o a sense of isolation from and being foreign to those around us) is a regular occurrence over time. I’ve found that I’ve been able to talk myself through (over days if not weeks) a thought pattern than gradually arrives back at the same conclusion every time, which is to say this — I could not possibly be this frustrated / down right now if it weren’t for the fact that I believe so earnestly in the ideal; the improved situation; or the solved problem, and I recognize distance from it in a particular instance or instances. Then I move to resolute belief that the ideal is real and attainable. I ponder that. Finally, I move toconsideration of my resourcefulness and creativity. Okay, I say to myself. You know WHY you’re depressed (distance from the ideal). You know the idea is real and attainable. And you know how inventive and determined you are…. So, you WILL figure your way out of the yuck …. this, therefore, is temporary, and even as I get to the point in the mental self-talk where I identify the temporal nature of my “funk,” it begins to become a self-fulfilling prophesy…. and I even then begin to feel better.

    The entire thought process / meditation varies in length for me depending on how deep in a funk I am and what the ideal is I feel distant from.

    Presently, my job is hellacious and my bosses all very ethically-challenged. It’s DREADFUL. Just dreadful. It’s been a longstanding funk…. I’m taking a long time on understanding WHY I’m depressed…. I’m not yet convinced I know how to get out of t his mess and toward restoration of my ideal (ethical coworkers and bosses; work with purpose and impact; etc.), b/c I’m having a hard time convincing myself in this economy that my resourcefulness and creativity alone can get me out of this one….. so I’m still in that phase of the meditation….

    I think the trick is not to throw in the towel in the midst of the process…. As long as an INFJ is engaged in this kind of analysis within themselves, they’re generally staying in the lifeboat, rather than dangling from the side, one hand off, one hand on.

    Don’t tire of making a visual map of the problem in your head and sorting out the pieces in a way that makes sense to you (what I laid out may not make sense to everyone)… the mapping is part of the making sense, and the making sense is part of convincing oneself that it won’t always be this way…. and that you’re a part of making that so.

    Best, Kenny….

    A.C.

  32. Hello Ann
    Thank you so much for your site. It’s wonderful to read more about INFJ perspectives and experiences. I have known I am an INFJ for about 2 years and it has given me a slice of peace that has allowed me the confidence to be myself, rather than believing I was the odd one in a group. I am, although struggling with an office job and feel I have made a mistake taking it on. It is getting to the stage I am so stressed and anxious and feel incredibly disconnected from my true self ,as I have to ‘behave’ in such a foriegn way to my personality preferences. My previous positions have been in teaching/eduation, which aspects I enjoy immensely but became so chaotic and stressful I burnt out and developed an auto immune condition. As a typical INFJ I need time to recharge, reflect and allow my mind to work its way through the maze of observations and experiences I have taken in. I rarely get the opportunity to do this which to me is so damaging. Do you have any advice, Ann on what to do about a difficult work situation as an INFJ? I am 42. Thank you so much.

  33. Hi LL- Thank you for your comment. It’s always quite a relief when you realize that your type is a gift. The only drawback in this case is that since you are approximately 1/100, you don’t exactly see yourself coming and going so it is possible to feel like the odd man out. On the other hand, that’s what makes you such a treasure. When you are resonant with who you are, no matter what psychological type, you shine like the brightest sun. As far as your difficult work situation is concerned, maybe the others who are INFJ type have some general ideas? One suggestion I make often but for good reason is to start a meditation practice. I have several articles on my site explaining why I think that’s a good idea. Also, the book Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn is a very informative book on stress. You might find it particularly useful because you report having an autoimmune disease too. You may also email me at annholm@annholm.net to chat outside of this thread.

  34. Thank you so much for writing this, it is truly a brilliant description. I’m so amazed at how accurately you were able to describe how I think and the way I react to things, in a way that I’ve never been able to put into words. I’ve often struggled with the INFJ description, but it is so completely me that there’s not really a point in denying it anymore. I am currently a sophomore in high school right in the middle of finals week (yikes), and I’ve been under so much stress. Learning about my type, and how other people with my type cope has really helped me. I’ve had troubles dealing with depression in the past, and I can completely understand how we only let certain people know certain facets of ourselves. I have never told anyone about my depression, and I doubt that anyone has guessed it. I also suffer from anxiety and panic attacks, which my parents and my best friends know about now. In Junior high, I remember being fairly convinced that I had ESP, but I never told anyone because they already thought I was weird enough. It was pretty strange experiencing it, because I would know exactly what someone was going to say word for word before they said it, and I could mouth the words along with them. I could also “see” something that was about to happen, sort of like an extreme sense of Deja Vu, where I would have some sort of vision/memory of what was about to happen, and either the events would unfold just as I imagined them, or I could consciously interrupt the flow to stop it. It’s still quite a mystery to me, but I think it may just be the introverted-intuition ability to just “know” something, or be able to see the possibilities that were likely to occur. Or maybe it was identifying a deeper kind of pattern, whether in words or actions. It seems strangely funny to me that other INFJs may experience this same sort of thing. Also, I really like the tips about meditation and being outside. Meditation can really help you to regain your focus, even if it’s only for a minute. And simply being outside, or out in nature, always boosts my mood, and can help me deal with any stress that I have at the time. Another tip that I’ve heard works really well for INFJs is exercise. It doesn’t have to be anything big, just going out and doing something active. Even a little bit can really, really help. In fact, anything that lets the stress out would be a really good idea. All the INFJs know, including myself, tend to internalize their stress, which can also lead to health problems. My advice would be to find something to do that you enjoy doing that helps release your emotions, whether it be exercise, music, writing, art, or any other form of expression. I hope you all find peace and balance in your lives. 🙂

  35. Hello Ann,

    I’ve always felt out of place in this world and I knew how viewed society people and life was out of this world. I’m Bachelors of Science student and for one of my classes I had to take the personality test (MBTI) and my results were INFJ at first I couldnt believe it so i retested three times and each result was the same INFJ.

    I just want to thank you for sharing all this wonderful information along with your own personal insight and experience with an INFJ personality type. It feels good to know that I’m not alone with how I feel or even view the dying world.

    Thank you for the inspiration!

  36. Thankyou! This is the first time somone has explained to me in a convincing way why I kept thinking I might be INFP 🙂 I tend to test Ni Ne Fe Fi Ti XXX on the cognitive functions. Another major factor of confusion was creativity: my life revolves around creating things that are personal so I related to the INFP disriptions as well as Ne and Fi.

  37. Hi Ann, I have a question for you. When you are typing INFJ’s or any type for that matter, do you go through the process of explaining the functions to help people ascertain their type? Ex. explaining Fe vs Fi, etc. I’m an INFJ and I love typing people but there has been some difficult ones to type and I resort to going through each function as the final step and it has always worked for me. What has been some problems/issues with typing people, I would love to hear you elaborate on the topic.

  38. These are great questions, T.N. I have a separate category on my blog called “Ask Ann” and I think I will address your question there. The short answer is that I use multiple approaches to verify type and it really boils down to what seems to be working best for the client. I will list some of my approaches in the Ask Ann blog which should be done in the next day or two. Thanks for your question!

  39. I am a infj. My therapist had me take this test in which I tested an infj. I took the test myself numerous times and it reads infj. I think and feel most infjs are a bunch of crazy, decieved loony tunes. Look at Jamie Foxx who called Barack Obama, “Jesus Christ” and is it true that Hitler was an infj among other evil men. Yeah there is a few good infjs, so what infjs are not so special if you don’t fall for some of their crazy ideals. I mean Jane Fonda’s wishy washy beliefs and might I add she was wrong most of the time. Jesus is said to be an infj, you got to be kidding how do they know that. Well I think JESUS was all personality types. Because he is GOD. And the God of abraham, Issacc and Jacob is the winner everytime and will be the winner at judgement. Most infjs are to stupid to know that. And I don’t give a rat’s butt about my spelling.

  40. Thank you for your note, mraidt. Please be proud of who you are. The INFJ personality type is complex and amazing. You are definitely not crazy. This personality type is 1/100 people so it makes you quite unique. If you cultivate your strengths, you have the capacity to shine like the brightest star. By the way, the personality test to determine your personality type is for normal people. Hitler was in no way normal. We don’t use personality type to describe bad guys. Thanks for writing!

  41. This post nearly made me cry. I have taken the Myers Briggs test multiple times, and it was only recently that I scored an INFJ. Like you stated, different parts of my personality (my COMPLEX personality haha) always skewed the results, and I was never quite happy with the results I received. I never felt “at home” with any one of the other personalities. For the past 21 years, I figured that I was just this oddball weirdo who could never fit into any one category, which is a theme that fits in seamlessly with the rest of my life. BUT NOW I GET IT. I am, without a doubt, an INFJ through and through. And I haven’t stopped researching it since I discovered it (of course). Now I have a reason for my weird “organized procrastination”. Now I understand why people look at me with blank faces when I unleash one of my long tirades about something of which I have passion for. Now I know that there are other people who all of the sudden have this overwhelming urge to escape all human contact and hole up in a corner with a book. Some of the things you said, I feel like I’ve thought them before. Like they came straight out of my head, and into your computer. You so eloquently encompassed my complex and contradictory brain. Thank you so much

  42. Thanks for the post, it does resolve the confusion about my own personality which have been hiding deep down in my mind for over 15 years. After all, I feel good to be INFJ! =)

  43. Being an INFJ, I’ve always felt like I could never quite figure out who I was. Growing up, my mother always accused me of trying to be like someone else. It was a frustrating battle within myself trying to understand what she meant, because I felt like I was just being me, but I didn’t understand myself either. I love that imagery of the Russian doll–when one is revealed there’s always another hidden underneath. I see now that it isn’t that I was trying to be someone else, it’s that I’m just plain old complicated. 🙂 Even as a child. My husband of 8 years still tells me that sometimes he feels like he barely knows me. Like I’m always keeping something from him. I could never figure that out either until recently, but I’m realizing now that he might be right although it isn’t really intentional on my part. There’s just a lot of layers here and it’s difficult for me to verbalize it all. Totally INFJ, for better or worse!

  44. Thank you for your comment Karly. The other thing is that the INFJ type is present in 1-2 % of the population so sometimes the complexity can confuse others because you are so unique. But it is a special gift!

  45. 😀 Yes! An infj post that people haven’t stopped replying to! Thanks for the read! Wow I didn’t realize that there were multiple steps to the MTBI test. I’ll have to look thoses up When I first took the MTBI test, I typed as an INFP the first few times.I took it again the following year and got INFJ as a result. I thought that I was just more immature when i first took it, however after reading more about both types for the past year or so, I decided that I truly was an INFJ. Every once in a while, I’ll doubt my decision, but reading posts about my type, like this one, has given me reassurance. Thanks again! I have yet to finish reading all the comments, but I was wondering if you had any suggestions on how or what to chose for a career/major. I cannot, for the life of me, decide on a major…

  46. Sorry for the typos. ;^; My phone dislikes long texts and correct spacing between words. =.=

  47. Thank you for your kind words, Sleep Thief. Actually, it is on my list to write a blog about INFJ careers because I have received many requests to address that question. What will fulfill? I absolutely DO intend to write that blog, maybe even this weekend. See I have this personality type called ENFP who sometimes gets overextended and must reign it all in before she can get to the checklist! Stay tuned for that blog on INFJ and careers! A

  48. Thanks from Chile. I’m INFJ (22 years), and I’m finding myself right now.

  49. Love this. My mom’s also an INFJ (passed down to me) and I connect well w/INTJ due to my needing to ‘get’ the ESP she experiences so vividly. I’m sloooowly allowing the F to fully shine, despite it being overwhelming. Knowing it’s common for us to easily burn out definitely helps. Also, love the story about your brother, thanks for sharing that, too.

  50. Suddenly I know why it is so difficult to take these tests! Thank you for sharing this enlightening (and reassuring) peice.

  51. can you comment on the relation of this type or rather the combination of INTJ/INFJ to the HSP (highly sensitive person) issue. It seems that this is very close.

  52. Ann – sdorry for being too cryptic – it just occurred to me that the INFJ/INTJ type (and you described the ‘cross over for the two) characterization seem to cover a lot of ground that is also covered by E Aron’s HSP characterization; I just wondered whether especially INFJ types are more often than not HSPs…has this been studied, scientifically? The science on Myers-Briggs typology also seems rather on the weak side – when it comes to the usefulness to treating illness (but then, much medical science is so too). Thanks. Titus

  53. Thanks for clarifying, Titus. By the way, you have a great name! The MBTI is a tool meant for use in “normal” populations and not anything in the realm of mental illness. Although not scientifically studied, it does make intuitive sense that certain types would trend toward a certain mental illness profile. For instance, someone who has “SJ” preferences that are not functioning well might trend toward obsessiveness, for instance. But we type practitioners also need to know the limits of our assessment and training skills too. Therefore we really try not to venture into areas that we are not qualified to assess even though we might think of good questions like the one you brought up. Thanks for writing!

  54. Thank you. As an INFJ, I can attest to everything (yes, everything) you’ve said here. The N vs. J conflict is a concept I hadn’t read about, but it helps me understand better why it takes me so long to order at restaurants and why I always finished papers in college just before the deadline. I wondered if I might be a P, but now I know I’m just complex and conflicted!

  55. This is the most succinct and least “vague” description/explanation of what I experience daily as an INFJ. I’ve been spending a fair amount of time studying and exploring my own type, as well as learning to quickly determine that of others…which is not only a ton of fun, but also a great deal of help in explaining why I’ve always been so interested in understanding the “Why?” behind the actions of others. I’m a Physical Therapist and spend MOST of my work life primarily in my Auxiliary Extraverted Feeling function and also have developed my tertiary Introverted Thinking (reading, studying etc. theology, social sciences…) almost to the point of preferring that function when I’m not working. I’m not sure that’s healthy and it’s definitely been a hindrance to relationships (friendships and a recent divorce)…can you comment (point me to where you’ve already commented) on your understanding/experience of INFJs in relationships both romantic and platonic? Maybe more specifically…how can I get others to understand me when I rarely feel like I understand myself? And tied with all of that, should I try to expend less energy on relationships at work (patients, co-workers) in order to “save” some energy for my more important relationships – friends, relatives, romantic interests? How? Thanks so much…please don’t feel obligated to answer at length.

  56. Drop me an email at annholm@annholm.net and I will answer your question more specifically. The short answer is that since this type is 1/100 in the general population, your perspective will be very unique. Often we look to others to help us understand ourselves and if we don’t exactly see ourselves coming and going, that can be a difficult strategy. Learn to honor your beautiful uniqueness and others will also. At the same time, sometimes you have to explain yourself. For instance, my INFJ daughter used to “disappear” without any comment when she needed to introvert but then people wondered why she left. Did we offend her? Just learning to say, “Hey, I going for some introvert time (or something like that)”, helped considerably. Relationships are most difficult when we don’t understand the normal behavior of others if it’s different from our own.

  57. Yea you understand us.Well done! You do better than most of us INFJs.lol.So…how do we not make others’ problems ours?I have worked and over worked myself in South Africa…and STILL the cultures fight…lol.I live over seas now and it bothers me DAILY…but I was so over worked I became so sick…I feel guilty for leaving but had to look after myself and still…all I want to do is helping peoole.How do we not feel bad about ourselves when others treat us bad and disrespect us or when we can see thar they dispise us?What can we do about it when others dont like us because they can see we see they are jealous of us? Why is it sooo hard to not to judge shallow people…Im just very honest…Im surronded by a lot of ES personalities…if you didnt pick it up already…lol.Their word cuts through my INFJ flesh.Im not over sensitive at all…ha ha….YES I am.lol.If you want to email.me because the questions are intense its fine as well.Just what you prefer
    Sorry its so intense….INFJ.

  58. I am a developing INFJ that still doesn’t really know who I am yet. I can say for sure that the mask I wear to show the world is a lot less caring about people than who I actually am. I guess no one understands me, and that’s fine. As long as they care enough for me that they want to find out my real feelings, it’s enough for me. Thank you for writing this post, it truly represents my inner conflicts.

  59. Appreciating the time and energy you put into your blog and
    in depth information you provide. It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same old rehashed material.

    Fantastic read! I’ve saved your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds
    to my Google account.

  60. I’ve just found this article and it’s a really good read. I’m a 42-year old man who doesn’t really know who he is, although I’ve known I’m an INFJ for a few years. It made sense! I’m at a crossroads in many areas of my life at the moment but I’m most desperate to find a new career as my current job has utterly burnt me out; but it’s so hard to make a change, especially if you don’t know yourself well enough to know what you want. A lot of the INFJ suggested roles do appeal, perhaps unsurprisingly. But my main problem is that I don’t know who I am or what I want, (or that I want to do too much and can’t choose which way to commit) and others do struggle to understand me. So often I feel like there’s something wrong with me because my experience of a situation differs so much from everyone else’s. Thanks for the help.

  61. Paul-
    The first piece of advice I would offer is that your type, INFJ, is rare, particularly among males. While this bestows some very special gifts, you also don’t see yourself coming and going every day. Therefore, role models are less available than other types. For instance, the ESTJ type is a more frequently occurring type so role models are readily available. Often an INFJ type has to do some extra work on the side to make a most of your personality type. Seek to understand yourself. Accept your uniqueness. You may even hire a coach to help you sort through this. The main point is that you are excellent and you can learn to find both fulfillment and success once you understand yourself and not judge yourself. Hope that helps.
    A

  62. Thank you. Very helpful. But do any other INFJ’s find it frustrating to know others so well? I find myself longing to be wrong about people. I meet someone and in just a few seconds I know if they will be good or bad for me, my friends, my son, my employer. Sometimes I shut out the inner voice screaming at me because I want to trust someone even though all my warning bells are sounding. Or I want to like a person because on the surface I can’t find any reason not to like them. But I’m always right. I wouldn’t call it ESP but my friends and family do. I should find it helpful, this sixth sense, but instead I find it exhausting.

  63. Thank you for these articles! I find them helpful and insightful. I’ve taken the Myers-Briggs test many times, yet it’s only been in the past 3-4 years that it has become quite valuable in the workplace and then at home. Finally, someone understands me! Every time I feel odd, confused, overwhelmed etc, I hop onto an all about INFJ/ISFJ page and feel at home. I somehow flip flop between the two.. not sure how ‘The Protector’ vs ‘The Nurturer’ differ exactly, but have had various jobs. I think someone asked about that?
    I started off in high school wanting to become an account (aka a book keeper), but dove into Greek/Roman Classics (history/art) and then became a Graphic Designer. I also enjoy being a DJ, but most importantly discovering and relating to the musicians I find. Along the way, I began to have the most fulfilling of all my ‘careers/callings’, taking care of musicians at events (and running these events). Whether it be 3-4 days or 24 hours, I will delve into this with my heart and soul, sacrificing sleep and energy all for the sake of protecting and nurturing (taking care of) these new found friends.
    I also got into management and social media, which was exhausting. It still exhausts me, although I keep trying to master it. Perfectionism and people-pleasing are my downfalls, and yes, being around intensive extroverts or large social gatherings has me drained just thinking about it.
    I have a very close friends that are highly valued and same with family. I also see in pictures in my head, as someone else mentioned. Can’t shut off the darn movie theatre in my head. If I lose something, I try to visualize it in my head. I can’t do this with numbers, no way. But if I need to see rooms or people or fashion, done.. all in my head.
    Speaking of fashion, not sure about other INFJ’s out there, but I enjoy bucking trends.. find something and love it (before it becomes trendy), become all enamored, but drop it once it becomes trendy. I will dive into researching a trend, piece of furniture, or find a deal, for days and days until presto!.. I find the exact thing I need to find at the price I want. If it’s from somewhere other than North America (the UK or from a big US city – New York, Chicago, Miami), and on sale, all the better!

    I will bookmark this site. Thank you!

  64. Thank you for writing! All of the comments certainly help others of this same complex and rare type, feel that they are understood. You brought up the ISFJ/INFJ types wondering what the difference was. If I could sum it up in a nutshell, ISFJ is more practical and in the moment, sort of like a first aid kit. Service in the moment. It is also more prevalent in the population than the INFJ type. INFJ is bigger picture or future in it’s thinking. They tend to think on a large scale and with a great deal of complexity in their solutions. It is in this complexity that INFJs often feel misunderstood or they have difficulty articulating to others, what they are thinking. Hope that helped!

  65. Aubrey, this is a very important angle on the INFJ discussion. While it is true that INFJ’s can know others well very quickly, their idealist temperament might be a little too harsh at times- In other words, the high standards and vision for a more perfect world might make the world as it is, sometimes difficult to bear. Thanks for writing.

  66. Wow! Extremely insightful. Sometimes my unique INFJ-ness feels more like a curse than a gift, but articles like this make me lean more toward the positive! Thank you so much for spending such effort trying to understand all us INFJ’s 🙂 I’m wondering if you have a rough idea on what percentage of INFJ’s you think are likely empaths?

  67. I believe that many INFJ’s are empaths. If I were going to venture out on this concept, I would say the ability to pick up signals outside of oneself via Fe (extraverted thinking/auxiliary function) and to “connect the dots” (dominant Ni – introverted intuition) would be an ideal combination of Jungian strengths to be an empath. It is a blessing and also sometimes a burden, keeping in mind that there 15 other personality types who have other strengths and therefore may not be as in touch with these parts of themselves, maybe not valuing it in self and others. For instance, some types value logic above all so they might be confused by an INFJ’s empath qualities. However, there is room for everyone on this planet so we can value logic too!

  68. This article describes me to a T and was extremely helpful to me and also comforting to see myself reduced to paper. I’m 61 years old and have had the strong intuition thing as far back as I can remember. I’ve learned to trust it because it’s served me well. Other people don’t get it and at times ridicule me because they think I think I’m special. I’m not. I can’t explain to them that there are things I just know that I shouldn’t necessarily know, but that’s the way it is. When someone gets it, it’s a great relief to me. When they don’t, it hurts me because they don’t understand that this is my normal. The gentle, caring and original parts of me are dominant and I’ve come to finally embrace them. And yes, my relationships with others are paramount and highly valued and if “anything” is off, it causes me great stress and I obsess over it until it’s fixed. Thank you for such a well-written synopsis of the INFJ.

  69. I don’t know if I was initially born an INFJ, in truth my father and younger brother are INTJ. What makes me different? I believe it was the way I was raised. Growing up, people looked at me differently because I wasn’t the same ethnicity or I was different looking, I know it. The world was harsh, and I understood that at a young age. No one would have paid attention to me if I wasn’t a class clown. Shoot, I was the kid who held empty birthday parties. I was an introverted kid who didn’t need close relationships, and I became angry, like a monster with ill intentions. I regret those days. But I found what I’d always wanted, a reason to exist and hope. My personality changed from there, and I believe that’s when I became INFJ. I had been in that pit of hell, and I can understand those who’re in pain and not in pain. I believe this is how figures like Nelson Mandela or MLKJ became INFJs. They were born in a world of hell and racism, it consumed them for a while, but because of their need for hope, they became activists of peace.

  70. Mark C.,

    I am an INFJ and I am also considering going into physical therapy. How long have you been doing it? What setting do you work in? And do you enjoy your job?

    Any feedback would be helpful, thank you!

  71. I completely agree with what you said about mistyping INFJ’s. I have taken the MBTI test numerous times and have come out INFP. There is definitely a flaw within the test. I don’t think INFJ’s are as rare as people have been led to believe. You have to read into each type deeply, learn the preferences/ differences/ cognitive functions to be sure you are typing yourself right. I went to a permaculture retreat a few years ago in Hawaii and nearly everyone there was an INFP. I noticed a significant difference between myself and them. I was not as easily manipulated by the ” group leader” as they were and I also struggled more in group discussions where we would all express our feelings. I have a more scientific approach to people & in analyzing myself whereas INFPs are 100% emotional in everything they do. It is true that INFps are very easily manipulated. At times I found myself labeling how they could be so oblivious & stupid. Of course INFPs are not actually stupid, they have a much higher emotional intelligence then I do. I actually envy their ability to be so forgiving and nonjudgmental. INFPs tend to mirror other people’s emotions whereas iNFjs literally absorb the impressions/ sensations/ energy around them. INFp’s go with the flow more than INFJs who tend to “go with the flow” and then complain about it, lol. Being an INFJ is not glamorous. It’s actually very hard , lonely & isolating, at least that’s been my experience.Granted I also take medication for ADD and depression. I think you need to be in a place where you accept yourself and are ready to handle all the facts about who you are that you rejected for a large part of your life. I don’t actually enjoy being an outsider and keeping my thoughts to myself. I’ve been trying to grow past that all my life by attempting to be more open with others & tell myself that there is a deeper layer to everyone I come in contact with.

  72. Thank you for your insightful comments, Sophie. Especially when one sees enough of each type, as you have, the very distinct differences begin to emerge. My daughter who prefers INFJ used to think she may prefer INFP because of her openness to possibilities (Ni) but she realized that her version of N was internal not external as you see in INFP (auxiliary Ne).

  73. Finally! It all fits now. I never understood why i knew what other people were feeling and the fear i experienced when imposing my self into their space. I still don’t know how i know, but i am not afraid anymore. Simply by being in the moment is enough.
    The LABEL too brings closure, and relief, and peace….If I understand myself, while others struggle to understand me….That is OK! I get it.

    Good Article. Thanks so much

  74. I am glad it was helpful although I am certain all of the insights from your fellow INFJs in the comments has been just as enlightening!

  75. I really appreciate your blog.It is very insightful and I definitely agree with your INFJ description.As an INFJ I often feel like a chameleon and I noticed people can’t really pinpoint me.Even my closest friends often think of me as an extrovert when I’m 100%introvert.It is really helpful to know that and many other aspects.Perhaps the reason why I often felt smoothered in relationships was because I’m an introvert but people often mistake me for being and extrovert.

  76. Great article.

    I have a hard time imaging Adam Sandler is an INFJ though. His movies are trademark banalities. INFJs usually hate banalities.

  77. You raise 2 interesting points:
    1. I am not sure if Adam Sandler actually took the MBTI then type verified INFJ then shared this information publicly. He may be one of the celebrities that gets typed from afar. I don’t know if he was typed or not.
    2. Not all INFJs are alike. Personal experiences factor in also. Recently, I had 6 ENFJs (type verified) as guest in my home all at once. They certainly had many similarities but no 2 were alike. There was 1 from the UK (male), 1 from the Netherlands (female), and 4 Americans (2 female and 2 male). Quite a mix!

  78. And to point #1- I probably shouldn’t have put Adam Sandler in the article without full verification. It was a “rookie mistake” from my early type career. In an attempt to give examples to clarify, we can fall prey to that! And if you want to read a REALLY interesting discussion about typing “from afar”, there is a Linkedin article where some very experienced typologists talk about Steve Jobs type. I wish I could dig up the link though!

  79. Very precise, have been thinking the same things in the article. The J vs P and the whole struggle with new incoming ideas but wanting to wrap up projects. Oh boy. I have folders full of information, the one I’m working on now has around 16.000 files (1 folder, out of a few). That’s the incoming new perspectives, and I’m eager to make decisions to come to conclusions. Frying my brain lol.

    ” I just wondered whether especially INFJ types are more often than not HSPs… ”

    I am HSP, scored around 285 out of 300 on one of the more official, if I can say that, tests.

  80. ” The MBTI is a tool meant for use in “normal” populations and not anything in the realm of mental illness. Although not scientifically studied, it does make intuitive sense that certain types would trend toward a certain mental illness profile. ”

    One of the main aspects of HSP is sensory overload. It has nothing to do with mental illness. (:
    Some things someone with it can experience are fabrics feeling too coarse, taking in more sounds than the average person,
    being more sensitive to scents, hunger sometimes making one feel extremely weak, things experienced as intense stimuli, I’ve read about having more sensitive nervous systems, needing more time to recuperate etc, other aspects are mentioned but I’ll keep it brief. I think there is an overlap with INFJ because of the taking so much in on many levels, to the person who asked if there is a correlation.

  81. While it is true the the MBTI is indeed an assessment tool for “normal populations”, behaviorally, everything is on a continuum. So for instance, dominant extraverted sensors like ESFP types may appear to some as having ADHD qualities. As for INFJ having a tendency toward HSP, I don’t believe that has been studied. My daughter who has INFJ preferences was a bit uncomfortable in leggings and tights when she was young but she grew out of it. Personal experiences can have a lot to do with how much an individual can become desensitized to sensations. The brain finally decides that information isn’t relevant and it stops attending to it. That being said, the adjustments that individual brains make given experiences is unique.

  82. I took several MBTI tests. All but one said INFJ with high percentages. The later stated it was a bounce between (in order) INFP, INFJ & INTJ.
    My husband is an INTJ and my youngest child is an INFP. So I have studied all 3 types in depth. What I have found absolutely fascinating to me is that when I study the FJ, I am reading my own journals (which live in my head) I went ill for 15 months. Sheer exhaustion, a mis diagnosis to find out it was a twisted vertebrae moving in my thoracic spine. So within that time period, my INTJ husband observed, picked apart and we solved the mystery together. (Thank heavens) Within all our studies, I also spent a lot of time really looking long and hard at myself. I’ve always felt confused unless I had to play the confidence card. Then there was no insecurities. Only then. My brain is a video. Constantly playing, music being written, studies being accomplished and so on and so on. The older I get, the harder it is to fully concentrate while in conversations and I really wanted to understand why.

    I’d taken the Myers-Briggs test before, but blew it off. Never wrote down the results like I normally do for anything I do.

    My husband gets frustrated quite often when I withdraw due to energy overload. And more….ha ha. But recently when I took the tests, I had a mission…..still seeking to understand the meaning of my life, why I think as I do, react as I do…am a chameleon, a nurturer, open to all, but closed even more as they see one persona….

    Through all the descriptions I read, this one you wrote actually brought tears to my eyes.

    Greater understanding has come on this long journey, and I don’t regret a single step.

  83. I found out that I was an INFJ a couple months ago because I searched personality test and found 16oersonalities.com. I took the test multiple times and got INFJ all of those times :). My results are incredibly high, 91% introverted, 88% intuitive, 100% feeling, and 76% judging. This article describes me completely, as I have been studying myself for quite some time now 🙂 I am only 14 years old and I already know that I want to be a counselor. I love being who I am because being mysterious is a TON of fun. Nobody ever knows what is going on in my head. Being incredibly shy can be very annoying though, I struggle with butterflies in my stomach all the time and find it hard to talk to people other than my friends. There’s actually another INFJ in most of my classes at school and I’m making it a goal to be friends with her. She mirrors me in every possible way :). Thank you for writing these articles that help people understand us! ☺️

  84. The day after reading this article, emailing myself, so I could later digest the commentaries (succint and relevant) I met a co worker who is also an INFJ. Altho much younger, 21 vs 53, it was validating and an answered prayer. So the discovery process is multifold.Ican attest INFJ are able to work towards a complex community resolution that embraces a greater good for the greater number. Hitch, being percieved as credible. Not from those willing to sponsor or fund the change, but the change proposed for. I have managed to synthesize my career experiences towatds that ideal, as a substitute teacher, I am again, able to share a vision that empathically obtained. HSP, is huge and funerals are not ever to be attended briefly and pardonec at a later time. Your forum and sharing is needed, the only thing left is to endorse. INFJ’s with entrepreneurial mentors to navigate those shark infested waters to make sustainability for us all, a vision of collaboration and shared research.

  85. Thank you for writing. It isn’t unusual for the complexity of an INFJ’s thinking to be misunderstood or at least incompletely understood, at least temporarily. It’s a gift to think this broadly and with the greater good but at times you can feel like you’re alone in your perspective.

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