If you’re an INFJ, you probably know what it’s like to feel misunderstood. We INFJs make up just 1-2 percent of the population, after all. When I discovered that my Myers-Briggs personality type is INFJ, things that never made sense before started to click. I finally understood why I think so differently than other people, and that there’s nothing wrong with me. These are two of the great benefits of understanding your personality.
Because I’m an INFJ — and INFJs are so rare — there are a number of things people don’t know about me that I wish they did. So I’ve decided to share a few of those particulars in this article. These 47 thoughts and observations are in random order. Furthermore, while many of these traits and characteristics are true of most INFJs, please keep in mind that some are unique to me.
I’m hypersensitive to criticism. Most INFJs – myself included – are prone to taking feedback personally. I have a good idea what people are thinking and feeling before they tell me. I enjoy spending time with people in one-on-one settings and in small groups, but being in large groups is draining. I could spend my whole life on a quest to discover God’s unique purpose for me.
I struggle to be in the moment and enjoy it. My mind either drifts to thoughts of the future or gets caught up analyzing social interactions I’ve had. I, like most INFJs, am a personal growth junkie. My idea of fun is working alone on a meaningful project for hours. In fact, I can get so caught up in research or in a project that I lose track of time and forget to eat.
I crave depth in relationships. I need plenty of time alone to recharge my energy and feel like myself. Sometimes I “disappear” and talk to friends and family very little for a week or two. I have an insatiable appetite for learning. I struggle to share clear, concise thoughts in casual conversation because I tend to mull over a number of ideas simultaneously.
After a long week, an exciting Friday is one I spend at home doing research into topics that interest me. Designing and implementing organizational systems that enhance my efficiency makes me happy inside. People think I’m an extrovert, but I just have decent people skills. I live in the future: I love to plan a year, 5 years, 10 years, or 20 years in advance.
As an INFJ, I tend to think more like a 90-year-old than the 30-year-old I am: I ponder what impact my life will have and try to spend my time carefully, since I know it’s limited. I’m temperamental and prone to high highs and low lows. I have a hard time doing work that I’m not passionate about. I see other people’s points of view pretty easily. It really frustrates me when other people can only see their own perspective – and they think the rest of the world is broken.
I love figuring out what makes other people tick. While sticking to one train of thought when speaking is difficult for me, writing is way more natural. The writing process gives me time to think and sort through my ideas. In fact, there’s a part of my brain that plays with words all day long. I’m reticent to share what I really think and feel because I’m so sensitive to criticism.
I’m a perfectionist, and “good enough” is almost never good enough. I’m an intuitive, abstract thinker. When I’m talking with other people, I use a lot of metaphors and have to work hard to give concrete descriptions and explanations. I think about what my life will amount to when all is said and done on an almost daily basis.
If it weren’t for my dad, I’d be horrible with money. As it is, I’m the spender in my marriage. While I don’t need a lot of material possessions, when I do buy something, I prefer to purchase the best product. My fascination with more efficient ways of doing things also makes me a sucker for new technology. Where I live doesn’t matter as much as what I do and why I do it. As an INFJ, I want to make a lasting difference in people’s lives and fulfill my ultimate potential.
I get so caught up in my head that I’m prone to walk into doors. In fact, I’ve walked into several of them at night when the lights were off. Even though I should know the inside of my house like the back of my hand, I forget where things are and have poor depth perception. Words of affirmation and quality time with people who are close to me fill my love tank.
I do enjoy having fun and acting ridiculously — but usually only around people who know me well. My primary school teachers worried that I couldn’t think logically. While I did well with elementary math, I struggled with high school geometry, algebra, and trigonometry. Thankfully, that part of my mind has developed over time.
Until I married my ISTJ wife, I had a hard time being direct and telling it how it is. I was scared to death of hurting other people’s feelings. I create a goal log each week that helps me make progress toward my long-term goals. Also, I try to journal my top three daily priorities Monday through Friday. I love audiobooks and books in general. (I went through 85 last year.)
Sharing my insights and helping other people better understand themselves excite me. I’m like an iceberg. What I say out loud is the tip. The goliath mass lurking below the surface represents the crazy thoughts and feelings swarming in my head. They’re always there, regardless of what you see and hear. This results in me generally looking calm and placid, although I rarely feel that way.
My faith is extremely important to me; it makes my life worthwhile. I have super-high standards for myself and others. Those high standards can make me hard to be around, and I often get depressed when I fall short of my standards. I’m a dreamer and vision caster. But I’m also a doer. The judging part of me must put ideas into action and make progress.
Working for hours on end isn’t really work if I’m making progress on a meaningful project. I don’t always do a good job releasing stress and, consequently, am prone to high blood pressure. Money doesn’t motivate me, but meaning and purpose do. If I don’t get up before 5 or 6 a.m. and do something productive – read a book, write, work on a creative project, etc. – I feel like a lazy bum, even on the weekends.
I’ve always loved being an “expert.” When I was I kid, I learned everything I could about herpetology (the study of reptiles and amphibians) and ichthyology (the study of fish). I, as do most INFJs, love Myers-Briggs personality types. I love it so much that I’ve become a certified Myers-Briggs practitioner. As an INFJ, I depend on Introverted Intuition (Ni) to take in information and make sense of the world.
Ni adds to my complexity as an INFJ because it’s a largely subconscious and, therefore, unobservable process. I’m concerned with the welfare of others. What most people notice about me first is my tendency to pick up on how other people are feeling. I include others and help everyone get along, which is my Extroverted Feeling function in action.