Self-awareness can be like getting the keys to a Ferrari- but it’s worthless if the…
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!):
My Life As An INFJ (NOTE: The client is a highly accomplished individual in many areas of life) :
I have always been very imaginative and creative . I want to see what I imagine turned into reality, if possible.The adage 1% Inspiration 99% perspiration rings true for me. I like to think I am good at the 1% inspiration but can also follow through with the necessary perspiration to make it. I want to please people and usually finish tasks well ahead of time.
I prefer one on one conversations and even when there are three people, I find myself trying to instigate a conversation between the other two so I can wait on the side lines. I have always got on best with extrovert types. Although I have learned to participate in group conversations, this does not come naturally to me Also,I know exactly what people think of me. I come across as naïve and at times I probably am but I can see what is going on probably more than people realise. I am to a fault very concerned at what others think of me. I wish I wasn’t but that’s how I am. Also,I can see people and tell what they will be like, even without speaking to them. I do like to support people I think are being unfairly treated or picked on. I hate hurting or upsetting people. It’s probably THE single thing I hate most. If I think I have hurt someone then I am mortified. I hate bullying.
Somehow I just know some things even when I have no evidence to support these hunches. Time and again my initial hunches are borne out. I constantly worry I have offended people so I find myself constantly apologizing. Usually this is met with bemused looks as they wander what I am apologizing for. My brain is constantly on the go buzzing around. I have always been a poor sleeper as I just can’t turn off when I go to bed. I have learnt that strenuous exercise helps me relax and sleep better.
Some of the greatest public servants have been purported to share the INFJ personality type including Eleanor Roosevelt, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King, Jr. There is no way of knowing for sure although many who are familiar with type theory agree that this is probably the case. What is clear though is that because of the depth and complexity of this personality type, it has the potential to shine brightly like the most dazzling diamond but if unsupported, the INFJ can leave this brilliance untapped. No INFJ probably escapes without some degree of self-doubt but many can learn to push through that feeling. The INFJ brings rare gifts 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. Patience and an appreciation for the finer but potentially hidden qualities of this type is required to bring out it’s most desirable features.
This Post Has 57 Comments
I thought this was going to be another long boring blog post, but I was pleasantly suprised. I will be posting a backlink on my blog, as I am quite sure my readers will find this more than interesting.
Hello, Ann. Thank you so much for your wonderful insights into INFJ. I felt at home here and more self-accepting seeing that I am not alone in my maddening complexity.
I’m wondering if you would be able to shed some light on the difficulties INFJs may have with their careers. What I mean is that I, at least, often experience disillusionment and a sense of mis-placement at work. My husband keeps say indignantly that the companies for which I’ve worked have simply not known what to do with me and my superior (he thinks!) skills. I think that my frustration is my responsibility, since I’m the one who keeps working in different roles, capacities and companies but cannot find real satisfaction. What can I, as an INFJ, do or learn to better accept the reality of the average (corporate) workplace and my place in it?
Please email me and tell me more about yourself. How old are you? What careers have you done in the past and what has been satisfying or disappointing about these choices? I am always happy to answer an initial email question free of charge and the more information I have about you, the better my answer can be. I have 3 very close relationships with INFJ’s (my daughter, my brother, and my best friend) and through our interactions, I have come to really understand and deeply appreciate their exceptional qualities. Often INFJ’s puzzle even themselves but with increased self-awareness, they can not only feel more comfortable with their mental processes, they can harness their potential and be spectacular! Please write me back at email@example.com
INFJ & The falsehood of naivety
I have been perceived before as being naive, but inside all I can think is how if they only knew the truth. I am confirmed that they have no idea just how intensely aware and mentally involved in understandings that I am, most likely more than they are. I think I found the reason for this in myself.
I’ve noticed in social situations I will be “too nice” and it can be my weakness. I hold back my opinions at times because I dont want to bring offense or come off in a wrong way,(usually I am just imagining that this will happen, but in reality I dont think they would be offended.) When I fail to say something in those moments, (because im wanting to avoid discomfort on the other persons bahalf,) I have been called naive. My own holding back is what comes off as someone who is aloof, but it is the complete opposite.
I hear comments just like this from others who share your MBTI preferences for INFJ. Inherent in your type is deep empathy for others so you are not likely to offend people unless you do so inadvertently. This can make you appear naive or aloof, as you say. However, sometimes this kindness can work to your disadvantage because your body language will give off a different message if you keep everything inside. Also, if you hold back too much, then explode, you can scare the living daylights out of people because it seems so out of character for this gentle soul to be so angry. Practice sharing what’s on your mind and try to get comfortable with it. Also,realize that many people will benefit from your insights and in holding back, your wisdom remains untapped.
Being an INFJ is a juxtaposition. While people see me as an outgoing “E”, actually, I prefer to be alone and reflect. My “feeling” side is very evident, hence people tend to gravitate around me with their troubles, or they just seek my company. My life is a very social one (not by choice,) and as I get older, I seem to withdraw more internally, and enjoy observing others and their behaviour as well as trying to understand their motives, developing a certain level of aloofness, which can be misunderstood.
Where people are concerned, I have always relied on my intuition, which has served me very well in the past – sussing out people. I help my husband with his career as well by advising him of the motives of others and what they may be scheming, and most times, events unfold just as predicted. It’s just uncanny sometimes, how accurate these intuitions can be.
At work, I have gone through a spectrum of jobs. My chosen profession is in teaching and education, and I am passionate about this. However, I had also branched out into Human Resource and HR Change, where one of my main role was to scope the “feel” and “environment” of organisations and advise the CEO and Board of Directors of initiatives to drive employee engagement. When I got into this area, promotions came in quick successions and my services were sought after by multinational companies undergoing merger & acquisition. I left this field after feeling horribly let down – as I felt that I was being used as a mouthpiece and the promises made were not kept to employees. It had something to do with conscience and ability to sleep at night. Now I am back in education, lecturing and working towards obtaining my Ph.D.
Relationship-wise, yes, I am not the easiest person to live with… I wish that my character is a simpler, sunnier one. However, I have been married to the same man for 17 years now (an ESTJ no less!) We do rub each other the wrong way sometimes, but we make the relationship work nonetheless 🙂
Thank you for your insights, Ida. I think the INFJ personality type is so fascinating and wonderful even though at times, the people blessed with these gifts might feel frustrated or convoluted. People seldom get tired of knowing an INFJ but they are often perplexed!
I was categorized by the Briggs-Meyer and Jung Personality tests as being an INFJ type. Whomever gave their personal description gave an uncanny description of how I perceive myself…it’s pleasantly odd.
I have never had anyone decribe my inner thoughts and feelings as this person has. I am truely shocked. I took a personality test to determine what type of career would be best for me. I came up as an INFJ and then relised it’s rather rare. I am talented in several areas, but I cannot decide what to do for my college course of study. I was not engaged as a child to be interested in education, but I naturally, with out any help, influence, or training, was very good at art and creativity. Now that I am in college I find psychology fascinating and mixed emotions about the field as far as income and possibilities of becoming a nurse. I can adapt to many different situations, as I have over the years. I am now near 30 yrs of age and still find my self an introvert, and constantly worried about how other percieve me. I do not understand this about my self and I too constantly apoligize for all types of things. My mind is rather photo-like and i see what people describe to me as they talk. When I take tests i can visulize my notes in my head and read them. The world seems to kind-of stare at me, and I come off as being “different”. I think in ways that most people do not, and my opions and thoughts recieve a high amount of praise for oringinality and complexcity. That is just how I see the world around me though; in a different view than most.
I’m an INFJ that was married to an ESTJ for 13 years, and I can write opposites do attract, but in my case, we each reverted back to “type” and the differences were too great to overcome. And after infidelity, I no longer wanted or had the energy to do so.
My work situation echoes all the other INFJs – I can’t stand office politics, and so while I’ve done well in a multitude of jobs, now that I’m single I’m going to earn my PhD and help the world through communications.
So, yay for me finally realizing it’s okay to be me, and enjoy my life as an INFJ? 🙂
Great post, everything you said rings true to me especially about being percieved as Naive, when that really isn’t the case and also about not being able to sleep well. Took me too long to find about the MBTI personality test but when I did everything made so much sense and put to rest a lot of self doubt about why I’ve found it hard to fit in throughout my life. Learning that my quirks are common for my personality type has helped me to interact with people better, I no longer feel the need to try and change the way I act around people and am much more relaxed in social situations. In fact I might save this article on my smartphone and next time somebody clearly isn’t getting me I’ll tell them to read it:)
Thank you for your comment! There have been some insightful comments on this blog. Knowing your personality type then claiming it’s gifts is very powerful. My daughter, who has the INFJ personality type has stated that once she understood how fantastic and unique she was, all kinds of doors opened up for her. Since it is a rare type, it may take time to realize that this unique and authentic self is a true asset and there is no need to try to be like anyone else! You will be valued for who you are if you honor it and own it!
Wow, here I was researching the various “issues” I am having in my career and why I cannot seem to explain what it is I am going through to anyone and I stumbled on this post. I just took the Myers Briggs online (again) and again INFJ comes up. The post and subsequent replies really speak to me and it is good to see that I am not alone, thinking maybe my career woes along with my personality traits were exclusive to me, this has helped a great deal. I always wondered why I could read people without fail too, this one has caused me great difficulties when trying to warn or explain to others.
for several days I was wondering that if I’m a INFJ or not. Everything make sense now, thanks for the post!
I must say,everytime i read one of these posts,i always feel a little better to know i’m not such an odd-ball afterall.I am a “true” infj.totally textbook.I remember the first time i took the test (a little over a year ago) and then read the explaination of the type,i was literally bawling.I couldn’t believe how this test could explain soooo many things about myself that i myself never understood.And,as i read in someone elses post,it has definitly helped me in a lot of ways…this “knowing” of what i truly am.I’ve always wondered why people say i’m hard to approach,yet,the ones that do feel the need to tell me their life story in detail.I’ve always been able to “read” people,pretty much instantly,and have a very strong “intuition” sense,almost to the point i’ve actually wondered if i’m psychic.I feel others emotions so strongly,i can actuallly become ill if i’m around someone thats hurting,or if the person is just a “toxic-bad” person in general.As soon as i walk into a room/place i can “feel” the energy of that place.I find it so interesting that a lot of other INFJ’s say the same thing.I do believe our type is a blessing and curse at the same time.But,after you learn about,and accept our unique qualities,I truly believe our type has endless possibilities for greatness that no other type can even come close to!
Thank you for writing, Lisa. I think it’s awesome to read what everyone has written about this complex and fantastic type!
Your client hit the nail on the head. I agree with all he has shared, and resonate strongly with the ability to feel or know what others are feeling or thinking. There was one exception, however. I sleep really good (for the most part). Perhaps the ‘buzzing’ in his brain making sleep difficult translates for me into a ‘rich and busy dreamtime’. As an introvert and someone with a ‘weak’ social-life, I am never alone in my dreams. This always fascinates me. Though mundane in content, I have had prophetic dreams on occassion, rare occassions.
I have taken the Jung personality test and the Myer-Briggs test at least six times over the past twelve years, each time resulting in INFJ. At times I have expected to see a change, yet deep-down knowing that this likely wouldn’t be the case. In the Jung personality test, the INFJ keyword is ‘Author’. I self-published my first novel, “Chasing Bees”, in 2008. It is an emotion-driven story of love and letting go, abundant with spiritual concepts, all upon the background of a 22-hive apiary. As an INFJ, I can tell you, its easy to write a book and extremely painful and difficult to market it, especially one that was written from the heart and from personal experience, not simply fantasy. (There will be more of that in the second novel.)
I feel I should be involved in teaching but constantly question ‘how much I know’ and if I need to go back to school yet before attempting to teach the level of the knowledge (Feng Shui and Vedic Astrology) I have gained over the years. This, then, short-circuits my success. So, confidence remains an issue (most people who know me wouldn’t believe this is a problem), as is self-acceptance. So I very much appreciate the feedback above. Thank you everyone!
I too am an INFJ. Sometimes I forget, and I get all tangled up in life and get upset. People don’t understand me, they mis-judge me, I start doubting myself, blaming myself, thinking I have all sorts of complexes and that I’m not ‘normal’, and I forget who I am. I doubt my relationships, I get wild ideas about complete changes in career and then I remember to google INFJ… and I remember who I am, and it allmakes sense again.Iamallowed to be who I am after all, I am not alone:-)
I’m not alone!! Yay!! I really started thinking I was a freak until I came across all these comments from otehr INFJs!!
I’m also a typical textbook INFJ – the descriptions on here are so accurate it’s spooky! My parents and friends often don’t get me, I keep changing jobs as I don’t know what to do….I like dealing with people and am very intuitive. People tell me I’m “crazy” or “naive” or “too emotional, don’t wear your heart on your sleeve!” I can’t help it, it’s just the way I am! I want to get into HR or Industrial Psychology….but industrial psych. includes a LOT of maths which I am really bad at.
Anne, have you come across many INFJs who are bad at maths?Is this common? i want to study industrial psych. but the maths puts me off, I literally go blank when I see all the statistics etc. I want to be good at this!!! I want to combine this with my uncanny people skills and then I’m sorted!
Math skills vary and there are many different ways people can solve math problems. As far as an INFJ’s typical math skills, my daughter who is an INFJ is ok with math but not great. My brother who is also an INFJ has a Masters Degree in Math. So math aptitude is not very easy to predict solely based on psychological type.
I feel much of myself reflected in this post, although my upbringing has made me self-critical so I do not think I have a lot to offer as of yet. I am only beginning to declare a major, and I have until August to decide what to do with my life. I’m 20 and taking prerequisites for a nursing program because I truly desire to advocate for a high quality of care and life for all people. However, I’m also scared that I will not get the autonomy or creative leeway I need in a nursing career path, so I am considering majoring in English/Graphic Design or Env’t Science and going on to medical or law school. I have a lot of interests, and I spent a lot of time just pulling my hair out trying to decide what to do with my life because I feel so pressured. I see myself in a lot of the careers recommended for INFJs – but I would like to know how do people with this trait decide on a career? I wish my hunch would kick in right about now! Best wishes to all.
Hi Nat. Picking a career path is always a challenge, especially in this day and age. There are so many choices and options that it can often create a sense of frustration rather than freedom. Drop me an email and I can give you an exercise that you can use to help you see this a little more clearly. It’s useful for any psychological personality type but especially helpful for the INFJ type who can so readily generate options.
I just recently discovered I am an INFJ. My sister, who is really into psychology, suggested that I was this unique type and that I should do a test. She also said it was the rarest type and very desirable….what??? All my life I have been an outcast and felt like a freak. I took the test and sure enough, I came up as INFJ. I read all the comments on here and can totally relate. I have always felt oddly detached from reality. I remember in 4th grade thinking, “Who am I? Really?” I have always felt like I saw right into a person’s soul. (it sounds weird but I don’t like making eye contact with people because I feel such a bare emotional connection with strangers) I ‘feel’ energy in a room and it has a huge affect on me, for good or bad. I am so vulnerable and emotional. I don’t know why anyone would want to be like this? I know there are positives but in my life so far the bad seems to far outweigh the good. I know I am very empathetic, insightful, caring, and have a lot to offer…. but so far I haven’t found my place in the world or many people who ‘get’ me.
It is funny though that the top job recommended for this type is a counselor or psychologist. I have always, ever since childhood, wanted to be a counselor. I love helping people. I love listening.
I would really like to connect to other people who experience the same struggles! firstname.lastname@example.org
I have taken test after test and gotten INFJ every single time. I am honestly frustrated because no one seems to understand my thinking patterns, my ideas, interests, or complexity. In fact, many of my friends tell me constantly that I am crazy, and they can’t even put a finger on what makes me so unusual. I wish I had just one person in my life who could understand me. I am afraid of myself, and even I don’t understand myself.
In short: I FEEL LIKE AN ALIEN!
Arielle-It is true that you have a unique personality. It is estimated that 1-2 out of 100 people have preferences for INFJ. However these are special gifts that can be shared with the world not a reason to think of yourself as an alien. My advice to you would be to read about the positive role models who are also INFJ. There are many and their contributions to the world are great.
I have come up as an INFJ again, 20 years after doing the MBTI in school. Somethings never change, it seems, however inconvenient they may be. Now that my kids are going on middle school, this SAHM is ready to head back out into the world of grownups. I’d like to go back to grad school and finish up my PhD so I can teach at university. My husband (very successful, andwellpaid, mechanical engineer) wants me to become a financial planner so I can work from home. Hmph. I can’t seem to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Any suggestions? Feeling a bit like a jack of all trades, master of none.*sigh*
Karen, you didn’t mention the subject of your Ph.D. Is it in an area that you feel passionate about? Any personality type can do whatever job that they want. The energy comes from tapping into strengths, or dominant/auxiliary functions, in a personality type to do that job. So what would financial planning tap into for you? The complexity of planning a financial future for someone? Meeting people needs by helping your clients feel safer with their financial future? Another personality type might like some other aspect of financial planning. For example, the ISTJ might like the calculations or accounting. So it’s important to ask how will this career energize me? How will it drain me? One of my colleagues who is an INFJ was formerly a financial analyst. She finally left that field because the attention to details became too stressful over time.
By the way, kids spending less time at home is a separate challenge as far as career is concerned. It becomes a change in identity and sometimes it feels like you are starting at square one. Of course you aren’t at square one but there have definitely been some diversions.
Hope that helped!
I am a INFJ and for the past seven months I have been trying to “figure out” what my life’s calling is. Honestly though I have always been on the path to trying to figure out what I want to do but have been trying harder the past 7 months. I ended up quitting my last job because I strongly felt that it was not what I am meant to be doing and I felt that I was not making any contribution to society. I moved on to a temporary situation that I thought was my calling only to find out (thankfully before going back to school) that it is NOT what I want to do with the rest of my life. I sometimes feel like I will never be satisifed with anything. I honestly want to make a difference in the world and feel like I am not leaving it worse than it was before. Any advice on this matter would be greatly appreciated!!!
Thank you for writing Hazel. I think that is a question that I will address in my next blog because I have seen it over and over again on this thread. Moreover, I just did an MBTI Step III assessment with an INFJ client and this came up as a central issue. So if you wouldn’t mind circling back in about a week, I should have the blog written.
I am an INFJ male and am very grateful for this encouraging post. I have always felt like an outcast in life (even in church!). Sometimes I feel as if i do not belong on this planet, yet deep down inside i want to do good for mankind. It does not help that I am hispanic and feel more isolated from the current culture (even though i was born here in the USA). At times it’s as if my heritage makes me feel even more left out and out of place. In addition i seem to encounter this race barrier that i find here the USA. I feel disconnected and that i can’t relate to American society. I just can’t cross the race barrier when associating with other Americans. Anyways, enough of my griping, ..i want to encourage all you INFJ’s to strive to make this world a better place. Leave your legacy. Serve the people and don’t be afraid to voice your thoughts! ¡Viva el INFJ revolucion!
I love this post! I know you just made many INFJs smile and feel energized! Thank you!
I have to agree with most of you, it’s a wonderfully revealing post that describes what it’s like to be an INFJ.
Feeling like an alien at times has been mentioned & that’s so true;; I’m sure we are on a different wave length.
For me, it’s like extra sensory perception and it doesn’t just apply to people; for a while I thought I was psychic.
What I found is so important is Job Satisfaction, ( more than the Money ) ,, INFJ’s have to fit the job type more than others or life can become tedious & unrewarding. My background involves helping, saving people & preventing disasters, it’s not an ego thing,, it’s about having a justified purpose & achieving good outcomes.
My way of looking at the world is unconventional & it’s often been said that there are many strings to my bow.
I wish this INFJ personality was put to me a decade ago,,, it explains the situation so well,,, thank you.
You are welcome! I am so glad the article was helpful to you. I think you are right that the INFJ work must be very meaningful, perhaps so more than many other types. It could be that individuality is often a big value so activities that reinforce that are key.
Thanks for writing!
[…] INFJ: A Potentially Brilliant Diamond […]
Hello from another lifelong INFJ!
For those seeking re career…wanted to offer thought that your career is not the only way that you interact with the world…you also have impact in your daily living, by small things in the way you live (helping a stranger, volunteering at school?) and your daily being as parent, child, friend, spouse, community member. I enjoy my work in graphic design, but when I worry that it is ‘trivial’, I try to remember the other things I can do outside of work that do make a positive difference.
I am sought out by people who are sad, and unpopular with others, because I see into them, sympathize, and accept where they come from. Where others might dislike an annoying strange person, I understand what made them the way they are, the person ‘under’ their behavior. Some try to exploit me (I am quite often asked for favors), which has made me a bit weary and wary lately.
I have had several prescient episodes ( i.e. when I first met my husband, I felt a flash of recognition and knew I would marry him.)
I seek a life which is simple, loving, joyful, and where I can contribute my work/talents to the community.
I am idealistic and wish people could stop hurting eachother all the time… Very INFJ of me, I guess!
Thank you for the great post, and I enjoyed reading what everybody else wrote, too.
Thank you and welcome to this thread. I really love reading what everyone else wrote also. My personality type is ENFP but 4 of the most significant people in my life are INFJ types- my brother, my daughter, my best friend, and my most trusted colleague. You are a rare and beautiful bunch!
I’ve probably reread this post/comments three or four times. It’s very comforting to come back and remind myself that I am not alone. I feel like those words are my own. When I first realized my personality 6 months ago, I was so mad that I didn’t plan things out better. There’s the J! I was definitely in a GRIP moment. I am a mommy of 2 (3 and almost 5) and full time high school teacher. As a teacher, the lesson planning and execution is my favorite part. I feel that I can sequence the material well so that the students can actually learn the math instead of memorizing it. Changing the lesson midway and figuring out what will both challenge and not discourage students is so much fun. Grading and dealing with administration/colleagues is my least favorite and probalby most draining. I noticed that before becoming a mom, I was able to reenergize. AFter four and a half years of trying to work and be a mom, I found myself exhausted and lost. Six months ago, I felt that I needed a career change because the politics and feeling of helplessness just overcame me. Now that I understand myself better, I know what my limits are and try to remember not to beat myself up. Now that I have decided to stop working for a while, this has been a decision I still have to find peace with as an INFJ. It has been so difficult making the decision to put my career on hold. If there is anyone that has been there and understand what I am going through, I would love some advice!
Also, sometimes I think about letting people read about INFJ so they can understand me better. But that’s it. I think and wish it, but I would not actually do it because I almost feel like it’s too forward. Just from experience, my straightforwardness makes most people uncomfortable.
Thanks for your insights! My favorite part about this blog entry is all of the comments that INFJs have contributed.
I would have just avoided the comparison with diamonds since the process of extraction is – to say the least – at variance with the fact that INFJs are supposed to be great public servants.
ps: I guess I am INFJ
Actually, the reference is to an old television commercial where a man is cutting a diamond in the back seat of a car. He has to hold it steady or else he can ruin the diamond by hitting the cut incorrectly (It was demonstrating how smooth the car ride was). The INFJ personality is so complex that in my experience, it can create brilliance or a convoluted mess if it is not nurtured carefully.
I recently took a job as a teacher in a school. I’m a through and through esfj and a co worker is an infj. Was wondering if any of you can shed light on how to deal with her. And what makes them tick etc
INFJs are very complex individuals who have an internal vision for what could be and should be. At the same time, they are outwardly concerned about others but can also retreat, especially if there is a great deal of disharmony in the situation. They are intense, prepared, and give their best effort. A striving for perfection can make them see like they are dragging out a process. ESFJ’s see more details and are more in the here and now. Processes that appear to work should be followed. There is a stronger bend toward protocol and hierarchy than an INFJ would need. An INFJ is an artful dreamer but not always practical which can make them see like they are out of touch at times. Statements like, “There’s definitely more that can be done and yet we may have to move on. Is there anything essential that I have overlooked?” At the same time, ESFJ types may want to slow down and benefit from the insights that INFJs are offering. ESFJs, being service-minded, might feel they know what everyone wants or needs but sometimes that is not the case.
Hi just found this as I’m trying to learn more about myself. I’m almost certain I’m an INFJ and it was great reading this post as it describes me perfectly. Thanks for posting this I feel better knowing that there are other people who constantly think they’ve offended someone when they haven’t!
I am an INFJ. I was an extremely shy child. I was overly close to my mother and therefore, school was tough. I had ADD not diagnosed as a child of the 60s. My joke has been, ADD means A Day Dreamer. This lead to being held back in school and being teased. I still got by until my best friend in the 5th grade decided that our friendship was expendable and started a bullying campaign against me. She was very popular and this had a lasting impression on me as the public harassment lasted the remaining time in grade school. I do not know that I would have tested INFJ had circumstances in life been different. First of all, my parents stated that I was a very social toddler, but a move made me very dependent on my mother and insecure. The later mistreatment in school made me think outside the box to figure out why . I came up with an answer on my own, the children were in pain themselves and lashing out. I believe this kind of wisdom from a 5th grader was a precursor to the depth I had that would later become like a well within me.I sometimes wonder who I would have become had my life started differently, but I am grateful for the early pain. I DO mistrust a bit and rightfully so….people are instinctive characters and oftentimes are resentful…and maybe more so with INFJs, because, in my case, my belief is to speak positively about the future, be in touch with God the center, and be kind as often as possible. I am obviously vulnerable as I am not likely to bite back unless very provoked. THEN WATCH OUT.These aforementioned qualities make me an easy target. I have to own this.Because of my sunny outlook, in group situation I notice that negative talk comes out of the woodwork. Its an uphill battle to show people the way to love and happiness, and I sometimes quickly take a backseat to those who won’t listen if you screamed these truths from the rooftops. I don’t believe in holding a grudge, or hanging onto any negativity, but I will keep to people I feel are genuine and will forgive them anything if I see a true friendship coming forth from their heart. I have quite a few close friends but SOMETIMES hate social situations that have more than 2 people….sometimes there seems to be a competition for air time. Its exhausting. Luckily, I don’t always feel this way, but new people in the group or extremely antagonistic ones make me want nothing better than to stay home and pet the dog or cuddle my husband or play candy crush and enjoy the quiet/. I used to be like the your client. I was up many a night, worrying but I now sleep better than ever. I have learned to give all this utter mind clutter to God. I am absolving myself more from the judgement of others and looking more to those that appreciate my uniqueness and making the distinction that we are all trying to get by, I need to remember my frailties as a tool to show mercy to others more often and that includes myself. I am learning to really appreciate me and giving myself a little more space to just be. I think we can all change and maybe I would have been another type had I been given a different set of cards. I will use this information to be as good as I can be to nurture my future grand babies into becoming whomever they are meant to become, and I am willing to accept them, given they are kind to others.If not, we will work on that.
I’m definitely an INFJ. I’m really interested in human nature (e.g. personality) and self-discovery that I often browse about them in the internet. I often take things inward and sometimes have difficulties with small talks as I like to talk about ideas/values. I’m just wondering if it’s actually suitable for an iNFJ to seek career in math-related field? It’s just that somehow what I’m good at and what I’m interested in (during my freetime) are different. It’s like intelligence x personality problem. Just feeling confused on which math career is related to helping people (aside from being teacher).
Hello Ann, Thank you for this incredible article and for facilitating this incredible thread of comments! Your insights from interacting with INFJ’s are very affirming. I’ve tested INFJ on numerous occasions including with a MBTI assessment and dialogue with a certified practitioner as an adult and I think a psychologist when I was a child. I always come up INFJ. I’m online looking for INFJ insights about my intuition and I am very glad I found this page as well!
You are welcome, Lynda. I have enjoyed the insights of all of those who have commented as these insights have made this blog my favorite of all! The comments are all so unique, as unique as the INFJ personality itself!
I found the original post of Mysterious INFJ on Pinterest. The fact that I searched for pins with infj is apparently normal, for an infj type!
I then perused this site for more, this blog post is my favorite. I had to reread it and highlight my favorite parts.
I too have always felt isolated as a person, I often listen to others and help many, I try to make everyone feel better, to leave them in a better place than when they met me.
But when I need help or encouragement I can’t turn to these people. Not even my family has understood me.
My people, this weird, joyful, morose tribe around me I call my own, they are few. They are rare. I wouldn’t trade my four close friends for anything.
I have learned that I love people, all people, but I don’t trust them. My trust is reserved for those who have proven their friendship to me by word and deed. They’ve seen my monsters, they’ve seen my Mrs Hyde, and they’ve stood fast and strong. They haven’t failed me.
I most related to Ms Cindy up there in the comments. I’ve learned to do my best and leave the rest in God’s hands, belief in His providence and that everything happens for a reason gives me peace at night.
Thank you, Ann Holm, for writing these articles.
Thank you, to your client, who so succinctly wrote down how it can feel to be an INFJ.
Thank you to all who left relevant comments, I read each one and was amused to feel connected to complete strangers!
Keep being weird y’all! It’s our weirdness that is our strength!
I’m pleased to know I’m not alone. Great article. But what is still open to question is how to find that notorious harmony? We all know how annoying is to be so… so different ; )
I am beyond glad for stumbling upon this post. The client has shed some light on how to navigate through the challenges that we INFJ’s experience. Reading all the comments has made me feel like a normal person because I do not know any other INFJ personally. Reading more about INFJ’s has made me more confident in being myself and it has helped me to not feel bad for being so different from most people. I’m currently completing my postgraduate degree in H.R as I feel this is the best management department that can enable me to help others.
I also have many social upliftment ideas that I would love to pursue one day to impact on people’s lives. I’m very kind and spiritual and I cannot stand being in an acrimonious environment. Peoples moods affect me deeply as I am also an HSP (Highly sensitive person) and I can usually tell when a person carries hidden motives and is insincere. Due to my HSP trait I tend to get overwhelmed very easily so I have learnt to make lifestyle changes and have had to say No many times to social engagements when I feel I need some alone time to re-energise.
I also find that sudden changes upset me alot, I always need to plan my day properly and when things don’t go according according plan it shakes up my nervous system terribly. I always need to be psychologically prepared to be around people for socialising and unexpected visitors throw me off.
Having this knowledge about myslef has helped me to honour myself more and accept that I am different and hence I should live my life differently.
Thank YOU for contributing your insights to this conversation!
Hi Ann, I’m playing with the identity of an INFJ (but am wayyy too overwhelmed by the prospect of explaining why because it’s so complex and there are so many microscopic moving parts to all of those reasons, and all language itself is so inescapably full of assumptions…as are all paradigms of ideas in the first place…so there is no possible “brief, basic sum up” of why I’m leaning toward INFJ, without completely disrespecting the complexity of the myers-briggs system, and worse: likely walking away from the conversation deeply misunderstood, as usual).
^A part of me may have written all that to test whether you come back and say, “you sound like an INFJ.” It’s way easier for me to “show rather than tell” information about myself – to give someone a nebulous taste of a moment of my thoughts while they’re expansively exploding like fireworks, rather than to “objectively” say, “I tend to do this or that.” I find that I can make literally any “objective” sentence true for me in one way or another, so where’s the real objectivity or use in that?
ANYWAY – I just thought I’d shed some potentially-INFJ light on a sentence you wrote in one of the comments:
“I think the INFJ personality type is so fascinating and wonderful even though at times, the people blessed with these gifts might feel frustrated or convoluted.”
If my hunch and current self-identity are correct, then you were unnecessarily gentle with this phrasing 😉 for me, the frustration and convolution is not a “maybe, at times” thing; it’s an always thing, and it’s always turned up to 800%. It’s just a realistic part of my existence, and it’s not something I view as a problem – just the flip side, by definition, of all the things that make INFJs fascinating and wonderful. The “good” and “bad” are inextricably linked, like the plot points in a good, fun story. That chaotic tension is the razor’s edge on which I exist. I love it and hate it (and love hating it, because I’m feeling something deep and authentic), and without it I don’t see where I would find that kind of intense, stimulating meaning in life.
Another way of putting why I don’t think INFJ problems would be experienced by INFJs as “oh no” problems: say personality typology is a color wheel. Let’s assign INFJ a color – any color. Purple, let’s say. Purple is inherently full of red and blue. It’s inherently completely lacking in green. That’s just objectively true. But as purple, does that make me feel bad? Does it make me think, “Aw, I wish I could be greener?” Dear god, no! You’d end up with grey. I imagine you’re already aware of this – but you probably have to comfort most personality types about their drawbacks. But I imagine INFJs are by nature intuitively aware of everything I just said, and while they might SAY they want to tear their hair out and sound extremely self-deprecating, that’s about catharsis and authenticity and sharing (Fe or whatever?) – ultimately they don’t need comfort or (especially) sugar-coating at all. When push comes to shove, they wouldn’t give up this godforsaken struggle for anything! And they certainly don’t feel shitty about themselves for it. Except when they do, which is all the time, but not in the same way…whatever, you know what I mean! Words are so limited!
Obviously I’m making a ton of assumptions here, linking my experience to the INFJ experience. But I think I’ll leave this here. 🙂
Thank you for your comment, Emily. I think one of the scenarios that creates frustration is when others struggle to understand the complexity of a typical INFJ thought. I think of INFJ thoughts as giant mind maps. Complex and wonderful, yes. Seldom if ever visible to others who are receiving the thoughts. Often INFJ types will speak from one “branch” of the mind map leaving others to wonder “wait, where did that come from.” You can “follow the bouncing ball” of an extraverted intuitive and perhaps get the gist of what they are saying. With introverted intuitives, the complexity is in their heads. How do you empty your head so that others can understand it. The answer is, writing. INFJs tend to be exceptional writers. However I think some of their “quirkiness” comes from being unable to verbalize only a few pieces of a complex picture, causing others to sometimes say, “huh?”
I used to suffer from excessive nervousness when i was a child and in grade school especially when i had to talk before unfamiliar people. i would be sweating and feeling like i was on fire. when i start to speak it would take some time before regaining some confidence and start making sense. in my initial moments of my speech i would even fail to complete some sentences. it used to be very embarrassing.
i recently got interest in learning about personalities, about a month ago. i identified myself as melancholic phlegmatic and later on as INFJ independently. I have never taken any official test to prove this. Why i think i belong to this temperament is because generally i am an empathetic person who can not stand seeing another person being mistreated. i believe that all humans should be treated with dignity. i generally avoid disputes. i am almost always not the offender. My emotions are deep and i enjoy my moments in seclusion. On the contrary when it comes to academics i have always preferred maths and sciences. while i like appreciating art, i am not drawn to it to the same extent that i am drawn to sciences. In high school, chemistry came to me so naturally. i am quite intuitive. in academics some of the toughest problems i have ever solved answers came through intuition. Moreover, i have always thought of myself as a logical person and usually uninterested in small talks. In such situations i quickly switches off and draw back into my inner self. i do not like talking about ideas that cannot be substantiated by evidence or reason. i consider this a waste of time. I like day dreaming but i don’t live in these dreams. i always draw a line between dreams and realities. when talking about a topic with friends and i try to bring evidence or reasoning on the table in order to argue my point usually everyone will refuse to embrace it and the conversation will end abruptly. Also I have a problem of over planning before i start any undertaking. I have a double major in civil engineering and architecture. i don’t feel drained in the practice of my career especially when it comes to design works in both fields. However i find site supervision works stressful especially when i have to deal with a contractor that is not competent.
I am writing this because i am confused. i have a lot of the qualities of both the INFJ and INTJ. I am sure of not being INTJ because i think i do not have the confidence that comes with this personality. In school i stood shoulder to shoulder with some people i would think of as being strong INTJs and often times i would outperform them in math and sciences. I doubt being an INFJ because my interest in sciences outweighs my interests in humanities. what are your comments?
If I was working with you to help you determine your type, I would first look at temperament. INFJ types are categorized as idealists. INTJ are theorists. Another point I would consider is if results and mastery were your motivators or if uncovering personal potential and the potential of others was a core driver. Approach matters more to an INFJ than an INTJ, generally speaking. INTJ’s are not as likely to give credit if results fall short. Many INFJ types do go into sciences and there are INTJ psychologists so your professional interest won’t always point to type. Look instead to the other aspects I mentioned above. Hope that helps! (Type verification can be a complex process sometimes. It’s not unusual to feel confused because INTJ and INFJ are the closest to each other typewise.
That has really helped me so much. Thank you. I am quiet sure now that I am INFJ. My desire to understand myself as well as others also confirms it. You have well spoken that my incline towards sciences/engineering shouldn’t be my basis to think that i might not be INFJ. .