INFJ Personality Type: Lover of Beauty & Wisdom

By Dr. A.J. Drenth

INFJs are “old souls.” Many grow up feeling wiser than would be predicted by their chronological age. Having discovered the value of their Introverted Intuition (Ni) quite early in life, INFJs grow to trust its judgments and insights. Even as children and adolescents, INFJs can be found advising and counseling their friends and siblings, and perhaps even adult family members. They tend to feel happiest and most fulfilled when helping and enlightening others through their insights.

Because of their strength of intuition (and commensurate detachment from physical reality), many INFJs report feeling like aliens in the world. One INFJ described her experience as “a perpetual sense of deja vu.” Others report feelings of disembodiment. The fact is that many INFJs (and INTJs) seem to experience the world and their bodies quite differently than other types do. It is therefore not uncommon for INFJs to question their own sanity.

INFJs see two people in everyone. They see the public persona, the outer shell, which everyone else sees. But more important, their Ni provides a deeper sense or impression of people, penetrating appearances and revealing hidden motives and intentions. Consequently, INFJs often feel they can see people more clearly than those people can see themselves.

To fully understand INFJs, it is necessary to recognize the full implications of their dominant function, Ni, being a Perceiving function (see my latest eBook, My True Type, for more on this). Namely, INFJs are far less serious inwardly than they appear outwardly (ENFJs, whose dominant function is a Judging function, are characteristically more serious). INFJs’ inner world is well described as playful, imaginative, colorful, mischievous, and daring. They love playing with ideas, perspectives, theories, images, symbols, and metaphors.

INFJs also enjoy listening to music, watching movies and television, and engaging with people. Perhaps more than anything, they love spending time engrossed in meaningful conversation, which allows them to simultaneously engage their Ni and auxiliary Fe functions. Talking affords INFJs the opportunity to help and enlighten others through their insights. And because of their loquaciousness, INFJs may at times be mistaken for Extraverts.

A signature feature of INFJs (and INTJs) is a deep concern for quality. They long to see their Ni ideals actualized in physical reality (Se). Consider the following excerpt from My True Type:

While Se attends the appearance of things, Ni is concerned with their deeper qualities and substantiveness…While INJs are to some extent concerned with appearances, they are more attuned to the underlying quality and craftsmanship of things…ensuring that things are substantive, thoughtfully-crafted, and otherwise amenable to their Ni-Se tastes. NFJs, in particular, exhibit the most refined (or what other types might deem expensive or pretentious) tastes of all types. The popular television comedy, Frasier, is a great example. Much of the show’s humor revolves around the sophisticated snobbiness of Frasier (ENFJ) and his brother Niles (INFJ). This includes flaunting linguistic formalisms and a high-brow vocabulary, as well as frequent allusions to fine dining, classical music, designer clothing, and the like.

INFJ refinement

Like the INFP personality type, INFJs can struggle with depression. This may stem from feeling chronically unheard, useless, or misunderstood, as well as  from dissatisfaction with the INFJ’s careers or the INFJ’s relationships. Because Ni perceives the world so differently and profoundly, INFJs often experience a sense of loneliness and isolation, even when they are with other people. Depression may also arise from feeling that their ideals and insights are not being recognized or actualized in the world. They may see the world as deaf to, or unconcerned with, the truths they espouse. INFJs may therefore question their value in a world that seems indifferent to their insights.

The INFJ personality type is among the rarest of the 16 types, constituting only 1-2% of the general population. Unlike the INTJ personality type, in which males predominate, there is greater gender parity among INFJs, with nearly equal numbers of males and females.

INFJ Personality Type Development & Functional Stack

INFJs’ functional stack is composed of the following functions:

Dominant: Introverted Intuition (Ni)

Auxiliary: Extraverted Feeling (Fe)

Tertiary:  Introverted Thinking (Ti)

Inferior:  Extraverted Sensing (Se)

INFJs’ personality type development can be broadly conceived according to three phases:

Phase I (Childhood)

Early in life, INFJs are characterized by the development and dominance of their Introverted Intuition (Ni). Since they are Introverts, they may also show significant development of their second function, Extraverted Feeling (Fe), which can serve as a useful extraverted tool for navigating the outside world. The Ni-Fe function pair allows INFJs to make and express judgments. INFJs are particularly well-equipped to read and evaluate people, including their underlying motives.

Since Ni is a Perceiving function, INFJs should not be viewed as closed-minded at any point in their development. But during Phase I, they might appear overly opinionated or closed-minded, at least from without. Even if their judgments are precociously accurate, Phase I INFJs may lack some discernment regarding if and when it is best to express those judgments. Moreover, their Ni-Fe conclusions have yet to be honed and tempered by their tertiary Ti, making the INFJ more reluctant to carefully review or revise them.

Phase II (Adolescence-30s)

Once the dominant function reaches a certain threshold of strength and dominance, INFJs’ inferior function, Extraverted Sensing (Se), enters the picture and begins to play a more influential role. This can be confusing because the inferior is not next in line for development in the functional stack. The inferior’s undue influence derives from its bipolar relationship with the dominant function. As I’ve discussed elsewhere, the inferior function is the primary culprit in unwise career and relational decision-making. Unfortunately, its influence peaks in Phase II of type development, which happens to be the same time INFJs are making life-altering decisions about their careers and relationships.

In addition to the increasing presence and influence of their inferior function,  INFJs also begin to open up and hone their judgments by way of their tertiary function, Introverted Thinking (Ti). The logic of their Ti serves to cross-check and refine their Ni-Fe judgments. As INFJs develop their Ti, they also become more interested in exploring their inferior function, Extraverted Sensing (Se).

Phase III (30s, 40s, & Beyond)

Phase III, a phase which many individuals never reach or complete, is characterized by an attempt to understand and integrate the tertiary and inferior functions. By bringing these less conscious functions into the light of consciousness, we can better envision our path toward wholeness. Doing so requires understanding the nature of how these functions manifest within our type and becoming more aware of our personal patterns of unconscious behavior. Once these patterns have been made apparent, they can be replaced with healthier thoughts and behaviors. Decisions and behaviors become increasingly wise and conscious, engendering a lasting sense of satisfaction and wholeness. For INFJs, Phase III personal growth entails a deeper exploration of the nature of and challenges associated with their tertiary Ti and inferior Se.

INFJs’ Dominant Function: Introverted Intuition (Ni)

Intuition is generally considered a subconscious process. It is often contrasted with more conscious types of rational thought. Because Intuition is commonly associated with the unconscious, it is often thought to have a certain magical quality, capable of delivering comprehensive answers or solutions suddenly—“out of the blue.”

One of the central features of Intuition is its capacity to synthesize information. It is sensitive to patterns and similarities, quickly seeing connections among disparate pieces of data. By seeing how everything is connected and interrelated, it is capable of discerning universal laws and structures.

What is interesting about types with dominant Intuition, including INFJs, is that this Intuitive process, which for non-Intuitives is largely unconscious, is more accessible and observable in consciousness. This seems particularly true for INTJs and INFJs, whose Intuition is directly inwardly rather than being fused with the outside world. INJs have the good fortune of witnessing and consciously participating in a mysterious process which for other types is entirely unconscious.

Because Ni affords INFJs a more intimate relationship with the workings of what most people call the subconscious mind, INFJs’ routine existence often assumes a sort of dreamlike quality. For INFJs, there is less of a distinction between their ordinary waking state and the experience of sleep. At times, this can make it difficult to separate dream from reality, making nightmares all the more disturbing for this type. It is little wonder that many INJs, including Jung himself, find dream analysis so intriguing and important.

Because of their ready access to subconscious or subliminal information, INFJs are commonly viewed as profound, insightful, and sometimes even psychic or prophetic. While not diminishing the unique capacities of INFJs, Ni can be rational, non-magical terms.

In order to understand Ni, it is first necessary to understand INFJ’s inferior function, Extraverted Sensing (Se). For INFJs, Se functions subconsciously and is constantly gathering copious amounts of sensory information from the environment. Meanwhile, their Ni is constantly working to process and synthesize this incoming data, like assembling pieces of a puzzle. Eventually, it manages to construct an impression or vision of what is happening. Because other types are not privy to the workings of this Ni-Se processing loop, it can seem as though INFJs’ insights are magical or divinely inspired. In reality, INFJs cannot see the future, but are simply more skilled than most at accurately discerning what is happening in a given situation. This allows them to better envision what how things might unfold should they continue along their current course. This ability to accurately “see” is why INFJs are sometimes described as prophets or seers.

It is often said that human beings rely more heavily on vision than we do our other senses. This seems especially true of INFJs, who often ascribe a strong visual element to their Ni. INFJs often “think” by way of images rather than words. Their intuitions often manifest in the form of symbols, images, dreams, or patterns. This is consistent with Jung’s characterization of the Ni type as a dreamer or seer. There is a distinct visual character to these notions, which is why vision-related terms—foresight, insight, seer, visionary, etc.—are invariably used in describing INFJs. The visual nature of Ni might also tie into INFJs’ inferior Se, which is also a highly visual function. The difference is that Se is attuned to the specifics and details of the environment, whereas Ni is more concerned with forming an impression or theory of what is happening based on the totality of incoming sensory information.

INFJs’ propensity for processing information visually may contribute to one of their signature strengths: reconciling opposites. One advantage of visual processing is it doesn’t have the same rules or impediments of verbal processing. In some cases, problems may be better solved by employing images or symbols rather than by other means. It should not surprise us that Jung himself hailed the value of imagery and symbols. For Jung, symbols were critical for dealing with paradoxes, including the challenge of reconciling opposing psychological functions, which he dubbed “the type problem.”

INFJs’ Auxiliary Function: Extraverted Feeling (Fe)

INFJs use Extraverted Feeling (Fe) as their auxiliary function. As the most interpersonal of all the functions, Fe is attuned to surveying and improving interpersonal feelings and morale. Like other FJ types, INFJs work to cultivate “good feelings” in the interpersonal environment. In order to survey others’ feelings, Fe contributes to INFJs’ ability to read emotional expressions and body language. This, in combination with their Se and Ni, allow them to effectively read, understand, and relate to others.

Interestingly, INFJs can have a more difficult time with perceiving and understanding their own emotions. This is due to the fact that their Feeling function is directed outwardly (i.e., extraverted) rather than inwardly. Unlike INFPs, whose Feeling function is introverted (Fi), INFJs are less equipped to manage their emotions independently. Inwardly, they deal in the currency of Intuition (Ni) and Thinking (Ti). Hence, when INFJs find themselves in emotionally taxing circumstances, they often turn to others for aid and support.

Fe also entails an extraversion of judgment. INFJs utilize their Fe to express their thoughts, feelings, opinions, and grievances. Fe gives voice and shape to INFJs’ feelings and intuitions. In many cases, INFJs do not know fully understand the nature of an Ni insight until given the opportunity to verbalize it. They may have a hunch or a gut feeling, but the content of the intuition can remain somewhat nebulous until it is expressed via their Fe. Assuming they have not been severely censored in their upbringing, INFJs are generally happy to share their feelings and perspectives. In fact, given the right opportunity, INFJs will often talk at length about their feelings and intuitions. Unlike FP types, who generally prefer a more dialogical format, INFJs are inclined toward monologues, which allow them to fully flesh out their ideas on a certain topic.

INFJs’ Fe can present differently among strangers than it does with their intimates. In larger groups, INFJs may seem consistently cheery as part of their attempt to cultivate good feelings. Many INFJs have a good sense of humor and can be funny and engaging. Enlisting their vivid imaginations and knack for metaphor, they can also make good storytellers. In the company of close confidants, however, INFJs use their Fe to be more open and direct with their grievances. Since some INFJs feel like tortured souls, their commentary may take on a characteristically negative tone. They may seem moody, pessimistic, discontented, or restless. They can also seem fairly intense in their communication when infused with the emotion of Fe. Consequently, their expressions can seem exaggerated, dramatic, or irrational, especially to Thinking types. They differ in this respect from INFPs, who are less disposed to melodrama in their verbiage. INFJs can also be susceptible to self-pity and self-loathing, seeing themselves as victims. They may curse the fact that life isn’t fair, feeling that they always end up with the short end of the stick.

For INFJs, expressing themselves through their Fe is critical to their psychological and physical health and well-being. Even if doing so does not provide them with immediate solutions to the problem at hand, they tend to feel better once they have expressed their feelings, whether through words or tears. This is especially important for the mates or friends of INFJs to recognize. While not necessarily looking for others to solve their problems, INFJs value emotional support, empathy, and reassurance. Without such an outlet, INFJs can begin to feel isolated and depressed, turning to their inner fantasy world as a means of escape. And while fantasizing may seem helpful in the short-term, it can make the real world seem even less tolerable and exacerbate existing frustrations toward life.

Even if not to the same extent as EFJs, INFJs can be warm, welcoming, loyal, giving, and self-sacrificing. At the same time, as Introverts, they need time to themselves to recharge their proverbial batteries. This creates an ongoing, even lifelong, struggle for INFJs, trying to balance their own needs and desires with those of others.

INFJs commonly experience a conflict in values between their Ni and Fe. For example, they may be asked by a friend or relative to donate to a cause they don’t believe in. This puts them in the difficult position of deciding between honoring their own perspectives (Ni) or maintaining the harmony of the relationship (Fe). Since INFJs can having difficulty saying no, they will often opt to oblige others, even while inwardly regretting doing so. INFJs may experience similar issues in school. INFJs are disposed to questioning the veracity of what the teacher or other students are saying, not to mention issues of character. At the same time, however, they want to please the teacher and maintain external harmony. This can leave them feeling torn between allegiance to truth (Ni) versus Fe people-pleasing.

Because of the strength of their Fe, INFJs need to be careful not to abandon their Ni in the face of outward pressures. Since Ni is their best and most reliable compass for navigating life, when they lost track of it, INFJs can easily feel lost, restless, and frustrated. Hence, when it comes to decision-making, INFJs are wise to listen primarily to their own inner voice.

INFJs’ Tertiary Function: Introverted Thinking (Ti)

INTPs and ISTPs use Introverted Thinking (Ti) as their dominant function. For INFJs, Ti is tertiary, and is used to logically scrutinize and hone their Fe judgments. Ti can help INFJs think more critically and analytically. It can serve as an aid and check to their Ni-Fe, helping them discern where their ideas might fit into existing categories and frameworks of knowledge. It adds an element of logic that is less apparent in the earlier phases of their type development. For instance, INFJs who grew up in a religious home may be disposed to interpreting their insights through the lens of their childhood faith tradition. As they develop their Ti, however, they might come to question whether that wisdom might better understood in psychological terms.

What INFJs may perceive as a negative or difficult feature of their Ti is its tendency to generate self-doubt. As Ti butts up against the insights offered by their Ni, INFJs may temporarily distrust their most cherished and utilized mode of knowing—their Intuition. But personal growth is never easy, not for any type. With time, INFJs settle into a healthy balance between their Ni and Ti, intuitively knowing how to apply their Ti without spoiling the insights proffered by their Intuition.

Less developed INFJs may see little need to use or develop their Ti. Since their Ni-Fe pairing provides them with strong convictions about truth, taking an additional step to Ti may seem unnecessary. With time and maturity, however, INFJs can grow increasingly comfortable with their Ti and recognize its inherent value.

INFJs’ Inferior Function: Extraverted Sensing (Se)

Life is a continuous quest for psychospiritual development and integration. Typologically, this involves finding ways to successfully integrate the functional stack. Of the four functions, the inferior function—sometimes called the lost, missing, or repressed function—is the most difficult to access and integrate. Because it is largely unconscious, all types struggle to grasp and understand its nature. In dreams, it is often expressed symbolically as being buried deep underground, undersea, or in a dark forest.

Despite its characteristic elusiveness, it is impossible to achieve psychospiritual wholeness without the inferior function, since wholeness demands that all four functions be intregrated. Because we all know this intuitively, each personality type can be seen as striving to integrate its inferior function. This quest has been perenially symbolized in religious and literary myths (e.g., searching for the “promised land” or “Holy Grail”). Some comparative mythologists have even considered it a universal human phenomenon  (e.g., Joseph Campbell’s “monomyth” or the “Hero’s Journey”). In his book, Jung’s Four and Some Philosophers, Thomas King nicely outlines this quest for the inferior function:

The time comes when the individual feels life is empty; something is missing. The original sense of purpose is gone and one is dispirited and confused. At this point the individual feels called to make a difficult search for the rejected (i.e., inferior) function…The individual sets out on a difficult and unfamiliar journey (e.g., “a sea voyage,” “a venture into the forest”) to locate the missing function.

Here, King describes what we might call “dominant function fatigue,” along with a desire for something new and refreshing. The inferior function is definitely up to this challenge. Engendering a type of experience that is characteristically distinct from dominant, it is commonly described as magical, mysterious, and even blissful. The profound allure of the inferior function can furnish a great deal of life energy and motivation. Indeed, the mere prospect of it often supplies enough energy to sustain us for an entire lifetime.

Unfortunately, pursuing, much less integrating, the inferior is not without its difficulties. Doing so typically entails a protracted power struggle between the dominant and inferior functions (i.e., Phase II of type development), one which is rarely resolved without some measure of pain and suffering. And while religious and literary myths are right in suggesting that the path to salvation is often revealed through suffering (e.g., “refinement through fire”), this hardship can be minimized by understanding the psychological framework upon which the quest for wholeness is founded. This of course includes learning about the inferior function, as well as how to properly integrate it.

INFJs’ inferior or “missing” function is Extraverted Sensing (Se). Generally speaking, the inferior nature of their sensing makes INFJs less naturally attuned to the concrete details or physical elements of life. While their Se takes in plenty of sensory data from the world around them, this information is synthesized and experienced through the lens of intuition (Ni). So instead of noticing specifics about people or the environment, INFJs are more apt to experience what we might call an impression. They get a general sense (i.e., intuition) of people or things, such as whether an individual seems psychospiritually healthy or unhealthy. While INFJs are experts when it comes to these sorts of general impressions, they can be rather oblivious to external specifics and details (Se).

In experiencing the world through the filter of Ni, INFJs often report a perpetual sense of déjà vu or strange alienation with respect to their physical surroundings. One of our INFJ readers described it this way:

“I will literally just be sitting at dinner and suddenly realize that I am a physical being in a room surrounded by so many things I didn’t realize for the past hour. This can be a confusing and frightening experience.”

This is not to say, however, that INFJs are unaffected by the physical environment. As “highly sensitive persons (HSPs),” their nervous system is highly permeable and sensitive to all sorts of stimuli. This can make them more susceptible to being overwhelmed or overstimulated than other personality types. In some cases, because of their N-S disconnect, they may not realize that they are overstimulated until it’s too late.

I observed one INFJ, for instance, who seemed to be enjoying herself at a rather loud, strobe light laden concert. But not long after it was over, she experienced a debilitating headache and what seemed to be a “crash” of her nervous system. Somehow, she had managed to remain unaware of the sensory overload until she was effectively incapacitated by it.

INFJs report similar experiences with extended shopping excursions. While they may enjoy themselves for a while, sustained use of Se (i.e., browsing), combined with the noise and commotion of crowds, can result in a subconscious sensory overload or exhaustion that eventually catches up with them.

In short, INFJs have a tenuous relationship with the physical environment. Not only can the S world seem quite strange and foreign to them, but if they are not careful, it can overwhelm them. This is why INFJs, especially as children, can be leery of new S experiences, such as trying new foods or physical actions. Intuitively realizing their tenuous relationship to the physical world, they tend to “error on the safe side.”

As adults, however, INFJs may gradually open themselves to new S experiences. I have known a number of INFJs, for instance, who are bona fide “foodies,” seeing every meal as an opportunity to explore and experience new sensual delights. This points to the love-hate relationship that all types have with the inferior function. Depending on the circumstances, inferior function experiences may be perceived as scary, stressful, blissful, or intriguing.

Perfectionism

Envisioning  a more ideal world isn’t necessarily bad or unhealthy for INFJs. The fact is that they wouldn’t be INFJs if they didn’t routinely receive new impressions and visions. The issue is not with their dreaming per se, but with the degree to which they become attached to or insistent on the perfect materialization (Se) of their ideals (Ni). This is where INFJs’ perfectionism comes to the fore.

All dominant Intuitives can be perfectionistic, driven to see their N ideals perfectly translated into S reality. This is why INFJs can be so particular about the things they buy or the way their work is done. In some cases, INFJs may be willing to sacrifice everything, even their own health, to ensure their vision finds a perfect incarnation. In such instances, any deviation from their ideal may feel like the end of the world.

INFJs are also perfectionistic when it comes to themselves. They are often much harder on themselves than they are on others. Their Fe makes them more than willing to forgive the offenses and shortcomings of others. But since they see themselves as “knowing better,” they may fail to grant themselves the same degree of grace. They may reason that if they cannot perfectly embody their ideal of the moral life, then how could they reasonably expect anyone else to? In the words of Jesus, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

You can read our full INFJ profile, including a complete analysis of INFJs’ inferior function issues, as well as their path to personal growth and integration, in Dr. Drenth’s eBook:

The 16 Personality Types: Profiles, Theory, & Type Development

Unsure If You’re an INFJ or INFP?

INFJ or INFP?

Take Our INFJ-INFP Type Clarifier!

Related Posts:

INFP Personality Profile

INFJ Relationships & Compatibility

Famous/Celebrity INFJs: Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Jung, Yoda (Star Wars), Niles (fictional from Frasier), Robert Reich, Tori Amos, John Oliver, Kate Winslett, Gael Garcia Bernal, Peter Joseph (Zeitgeist Movement)

*INFJs commonly test as Enneagram Fours (4w3, 4w5) or Ones (1w9, 1w2). Male INFJs, in particular, may also score as 5w4.

I would also like to thank and acknowledge Elaine Schallock, INFJ, who was kind enough to gift me with much of the information in this profile.

Comments

  1. KRS says

    After several months of trying to pin-point my type, I have decided that I am an INFJ who is malfunctioning as (or trying to be) an INTP. Because of the nature of my relationships (ISTP husband, stay-at-home mom of six kids), I have had forgo my perfectionistic tendencies and learn to “go with the flow” more than I would naturally prefer. The problem is that after 15 years of doing this, I have hit head-on with an identity crisis where my Se is screaming for attention and even making me question many decisions I’ve made. (At least, that’s my laymen’s interpretation of the psychological turmoil I’ve found myself in during the last year or so).

    I’ve also realized that I’ve been mostly trying to adapt my communication with my husband by using mostly my Ti, because otherwise I feel like he doesn’t hear or understand me. It’s been great to remember that communicating my feelings is healthy and mature for me, while tempered by my Ti, not guided by it. I feel better, and it stretches him to try to be a more empathetic husband. :). We will probably never approach life the same way, but it does help in overcoming some of the relationship hurdles that we face.

    So, all that to say… thank you for your website and it’s explanations of all of the functions within the personality. It has been a tremendous help while wading through confusing emotions and in helping me to decide what direction to move in the immediate future. I feel I’m better equipped for making wise choices for myself (and my family… after all, you know how the saying goes…” if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy :)).

    • Aaron says

      This is the exact situation I found myself in.
      Introverted thinking became so well developed that my behaviours started to look very INTP’ish. Of course, after looking closer, it became obvious that didn’t make any sense.

  2. Al says

    Thanks!

    For the past 15 years, I have been struggling with deciding the job I shall do.
    I have been feeling bad, because hesitating with a very well paid and prestigious job, giving me material comfort (like my friends who have completed the same education) and a low paid job but in line with my ideals. For this reason, I haven’t been feeling comfortable in my work, changing quite often. I ended up finally doing a low paid job, not interesting…

    Recently, I took the decision (prior to this test…) to start a low paid job, but with real meaning, and I feel good about it, because I know what is really important for me

    Doing this test just now, I have discovered that I am an INFJ, and that struggle between N and S create this situation, and is “normal”. Doing this test earlier would maybe have made me save some time… :) thank you anyway

  3. Elaine says

    I’m confused now. When I was 23 and took the Myers-Briggs in college I tested as an INTP. I just took the test here to confirm that I continue functioning in that realm and find I do not. I now test as an INFJ. Strange to say that I feel a bit like the person at the top saying she believes she is malfunctioning from one to another type. Another point about the test is that at least 50% of the forced answer questions I encountered here could have been answered the opposite of what I choice. I had a really, really tough time making a choice. When I was tested in college the results were shown on a line with a midway point. The total score of each letter fell to one side or the other. My scores fell almost in the middle for every letter, if not on the line. Would this fact have something to do with moving from an INTP to an INFJ? I’ve read both descriptions and find each correct and incorrect for me. Any ideas?

    • William says

      It’s normal and common to switch over time. Many have. Don’t worry about it.

      I think everyone is born with an inclination to a certain psychological type; but wisdom, interacting with others, etc. can change that. For example, I’m certain I’m an INFJ, but I had a debate/argument with an INFJ some years back where I played the role of an INTJ because she was totally bonkers believing she was a prophet because a few of her guesses came true (a few of anyone’s guesses are bound to come true! that’s just simple probability/chance!). I’m always interested in hearing about how people were as toddlers since that is when they are pure nature without any effects of nurture.

      Also, these tests won’t all give the same result. Keep taking different tests until one of the tests nets you a psychological type where, after reading a bunch about the psychological type, you think you are that psychological type.

  4. Sokhanyiselo says

    I just read your article, it’s really informative. Its true in some of the things I guess. I mean it’s just based on a handful of people and as you grow, you go through a lot experiences that help you overcome some of the things stated. And sometimes it’s how you grew up that determines your qualities as an INFJ. I like taking personality tests, I have to say I always alternate from an INFJ and INTJ. It’s quite weird because sometimes I feel like I’m just a contradiction in everything I do, because my mindset kinda changes and that affects my personality as well. But it is quite cool to read about things that you can relate to. I just think that personalities don’t make up the person but just help in personal development depending on where you are in the scale of enlightenment in your personal life.

  5. says

    This is by far my favourite article explaining INFJ’s! I’ve started vlogging about being an INFJ and have had some people try to convince me that I’m an ENFJ because my Se is stronger than my Ti (I’m in my 20’s). Also, I talk to the camera like it’s my BFF so people think I’m far too extroverted.

    People get stereotypes in their heads (I’ve been guilty of this myself) and don’t realise how differently people of a certain type can appear.

    I love your explanation- will recommend it to everybody!

  6. Brittany says

    Does anyone else with INFJ deal with frequent feelings of nervousness and social anxiety around other people, especially when were not in the mood to socialize or around new people? I hate small talk so much that sometimes I rather not speak at all than engage is tiring useless conversation unless its with someone I already know who understands me.

    Is this all part of the Inferior: Extraverted Sensing (Se) part of INFJ?

    • William says

      Both of what you describe – feeling uncomfortable around new people/many people as well as disliking small talk for its lack of value/purpose – is 100% in line with INFJ experiences. I’ve been reading about INFJs online for a few days now, and I’ve seen those things mentioned multiple times by others (and experience them myself).

    • Lizzie says

      Yes!! I’m INFJ and I can totally relate to the social anxiety comment. When I start to feel too drained and I am required to continue to talk to people, it’s like my body can’t manage it anymore and that’s it’s coping mechanism, I get really extreme social anxiety. I’ve learnt that my way of coping with this is that I need to remove myself from social situations as soon as the feeling of anxiety kicks in and then I have to re-energise myself by doing some exercise, or having some alone time just to think and reflect on my day. It’s so great to finally hear that someone experiences this too, and I hope we can come up with some reasoning.
      I also totally understand the view on small talk. It just seems so pointless and I don’t feel I have the energy to engage in it sometimes. I’d rather engage in more personal and meaningful conversations.

    • Sandra says

      I feel the exact same way – I am also INFJ and engaging in shallow conversation exhausts me – I go through great kengths to avoid it – but it makes me feel guilty! 😂😂

  7. Cherie says

    Eye-opening. Thanks so much for your work as this describes me in so ways. Sigh of relief. Loquaciousness? haha Don’t get me started on one of my obsessions. But I am most definitely an introvert.

  8. Tarah says

    This was very helpful. I am dead on an INFP. Interestingly (at least to me), I tested in the past as an ENFP because I think I wasn’t completely honest and writing more from the persona I put on when I teach. I appreciated the fact that that the INFP can be mistaken for an extrovert. The reality is that I only act that way in association with my work and caring for others. Otherwise, definitely not. I guess I am doing that more out of a perfectionist tendency, as I know what is expected (with a fierce determination to succeed), as opposed to an innate tendency. Anyway, thank you- found this interesting.

  9. Thomas says

    I definitely see how much more I relate to the INFJ personality now that I’ve discovered this. Thank you so very much for writing this; honestly, I really needed to come across this now in my life. I’ve been dealing with depression for what seems like eternity, for the very same reasons you mentioned. At first, it seemed like I was just alone and no one in the world was interested or cared about me. It was debilitating. However, once I found close, reliable, and truly amazing friends, a lot of those negative feelings- loneliness, melancholy, apathy, anxiety, anger, despair- began to fade. With time, I was able to feel better about and further my friendships, family, career, education and personal goals. But as much as I thought I was past it, they resurfaced from time to time, most often when I failed to live up to the standards I held myself up to. It’s true, INFJs are our toughest critic- because we firmly believe we should be doing better since we know better. And even now, they have resurfaced stongly due in part to some of my failures and feelings of guilt, especially since it has affected my career and education, and is starting to affect my relationships and connections with people. Coming across this, though, has given me more resolve. If I make the time to heal and relieve myself of the stress, I know that I can fulfill the meaningful life I desire to lead. Part of it means understanding we aren’t perfect, and I am by far perfect, and thus forgiving ourselves for our mistakes. We are only human after all; making mistakes is a part of life. If I’ve been able to move on past the mistakes I made in the past, I certainly can with the ones I’ve made now. It’s interesting now that I think about it: for us INFJs, time is a friend; taking the longer road, the one that requires our patience and dedication, is natural to us, even if it’s the harder path. I guess we should consider ourselves extremely lucky time is on our side. Unfortunately, it’s so much harder for others.

  10. Michelle says

    This is so dead on. It’s been such an eye-opener, learning I’m an INFJ. I tested many, many years ago, but my life was in a good place and I didn’t feel I needed any additional help – I was at the top of my field, and in complete control of my career and my personal relationships.

    Now that I’m enduring the mental effects of long-term emotional betrayal and a severe personal tragedy – all these articles are helping – tremendously.

    I’m exhibiting the characteristics of an unhealthy INFJ, and now…learning the whys behind my non-typical behavior – it’s easier to forgive myself, plus – know how to turn things around.

    So insightful and finally…I feel as if I know what makes me tick and why. And, the reason I never felt like I “fit in” my entire life:/

    Glad to know it’s normal based on my value system, personality, etc. And, so thankful to be given the knowledge of what it will take for me to crawl out of this black hole :)

  11. says

    I’m an INFJ female who has tested a number of times hoping that she might have a different personality!

    When I told a friend, who at the time wasn’t so close, that I was INFJ, she screamed … she’s an INFJ too, which might explain our ridiculously close bond upon meeting. I felt like I’ve known her all my life. Her close girlfriend is also an INFJ, we instantly clicked too. It’s been an incredible blessing to have met some other INFJ women and, after many years of not fitting in, feeling very much like an outsider, even with my 4 siblings, but not my parents, as my father was a definite INFJ!

    My 4 older siblings do NOT like me at all, as I obviously remind them of my father, with whom they clashed with constantly. He was a quiet, methodical (he was an engineer), highly motivated and very principled man, who could be intimidating, to say the least, but as a child I would seek his company, even if we didn’t talk. We bonded over his love of music, buying me albums when I was a teenager, driving me to my piano lessons and he was so very proud when I started realising my goal to become a composer for film and TV. There’s nothing wrong with high standards and setting goals and sticking to them. These personality traits can be sticking points for others. Being a composer suits my personality to a tee!! Stay in a dark room, come out and be social, talk about creative goals and process … go back to dark room and find creative solutions using intuition, logic and feelings! Empathy is my middle name, which has definite pros and cons. The J part is the hardest, because I come into contact with a lot of narcissistic, ego lead personalities that can totally drain you. A sense of humour really helps!!

    I’ve struggled to break away from the negative INFJ traits in my 30’s and have really tried to understand my strengths and weaknesses through the help of therapy (I don’t have contact with my siblings, as both of my parents have passed away) and reading articles like this one. Thank you for such a wonderfully informative and helpful insights and observations. having resources like these are amazing.

  12. Ashley says

    I am 25 and have recently discovered that I am INFJ. I cannot tell you how much relief it brings me to understand myself better and realize that I am not defective. I have isolated myself because I felt so different from others and struggled with the desire to help others while at the same time the desire to protect myself. Thank you for this post, reading it has helped me better understand the why and inner workings that motivate me.

    • Mei says

      I just wanted to reply and tell you I’m so happy for you, and let you know this article has done exactly the same for me. It’s a relief to know we’re not alone, right?

  13. SW says

    This article was a great find. I have done the test a few times over the past few years and still I am an INFJ. I have found myself in a very troubled time in my life and seem to be lacking the tools to move forward.

    I have a loving wife, 2 beautiful kids and a good job but still I have been gripped by depression and fight with myself tirelessly each day to try find my place in the world. Reading this article was basically like someone else was mapping out my traits and how I react and feel. Good to know that there is a reason for being this way.

  14. Mei says

    After taking several tests based on Jung’s theory, it’s obvious I’m an INFJ. Every time I read one of these articles, I’m blown away. They say it’s the rarest personality type, so I’ve often felt lonely. This article was so frighteningly accurate I feel like I’m just paraphrasing it, but this is my life. When I was younger, I thought something was wrong with me. I honestly did feel like a “tortured soul”, and I still sometimes do. It feels like all the weight of the world is on my shoulders, like I’m the only one that sees the wrong. This has carried me into extreme depression. I took up poetry to express myself, and looking back at the stuff I wrote is haunting. People have said that my poems are depressing or cliche, but I think that’s because they’ve never been at a point like that. I don’t think other personality types know what to do with us sometimes, especially because we’re so rare, therefore alien and ambiguous. It’s so comforting to look at what people have written here and realize that I’m not alone, that we’re having the same struggles.

    • Mei says

      Oh, I forgot to add: I have yet to meet any other INFJ’s, so seeing everyone’s comments here was such a relief: I’m not messed up. I’m not the only one who thinks like this.

  15. mithlesh meena says

    Really..this is an amazing and very informative website.this help me a great to understand mysef and make me relaxed.i m a definate infj.thank a lott

  16. Jen says

    There ain’t no way Kate Winslet is an INFJ. I just do not buy that. She is an extrovert. A bit of an exhibitionist. Probably a bit too loud, maybe not the greatest listener. MAYBE an ENFP. Maybe…

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