INFJ: A Potentially Brilliant Diamond

The Mysterious INFJ has been one of the most visited posts on this website (I know this because a writer can access this information on Google Analytics).  I have received many emails from readers who share this personality type or believe that they may share the INFJ preferences (Introverted Intuition/Extraverted Feeling) but have not verified it yet.  Usually an MBTI assessment and a dialogue with a certified practitioner will settle the matter.   I asked a client of  mine   to share a few reflections on what it’s like to be an INFJ and he graciously offered these reflections (although in true INFJ style, he felt he could have done a better job!):

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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.

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