Although nobody can perfectly define an INFJ (or any other personality type), they are often referred to as “the counselor” or “the advocate”. INFJs tend to be quiet “old souls” deeply rooted in love, with high morals and values, who are always seeking purpose. They are usually hard at work, making the world a legitimately better place for all of us.
Nobody’s perfect though, and the passion of the INFJ swings both ways. They are an emotionally-charged type and can be quite complicated. They have even been known to “door slam” friends and family members, but if you deeply connect with one, chances are you will have a beloved friend for life.
Words used to describe INFJs: insightful, warm, authentic, intense, nurturing, good listener, honest, moral, purpose-driven, efficient, loyal, sensitive, quiet, good, creative, moody, dependable, humorous, passionate, empathetic, romantic, private, insightful, stubborn, independent, mysterious, deep, orderly, fierce, genuine
An INFJ is the rarest personality type, of 16 types, created by Carl Jung and indicated by the Myer-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). You can pay to take the official MBTI assessment through the MBTI website.
The INFJ is an Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging personality type. I am an INFJ.
Basic INFJ Preferences
When discussing personality type based on the results of the MBTI instrument, preference refers to one’s inclination to use one process or orientation over the other. Preference is what feels most comfortable and most natural.
Introversion preferred to Extroversion: The “I” in INFJ is for introversion, and it’s based on how one directs and receives their energy. INFJs get there energy by being alone. We are typically quiet, preferring a few very close friends, and our own “inner world” as opposed to noisy or overcrowded environments. “Extroverting” drains our energy and sometimes alters our mood.
Intuition preferred to Sensing: The “N” is for iNtuition, and is for how one takes in information. This personality type usually has an uncanny intuitive sense, that leads us through life. We often are looking at the bigger picture with an eye on the patterns that develop as we look into the future.
We are drawn to art, sculpture, and abstract or theoretical ideas. We can talk for hours about purpose and deeper thoughts. You just have to lead with the right question.
Feeling preferred to Thinking: “F” stands for feeling, and indicates how one makes decisions. When an INFJ is faced with a choice, we will usually make it quickly, but put higher priority on compassion, personal values, and instinct rather than logic or objectivity. This is a great way to make decisions, but not always practical, depending on the situation.
Judging preferred to Perceiving: The “J” is for judging, which is how one approaches the outside world. In the life of an INFJ, things are usually very organized, planned, and structured in such a way to prevent the unexpected, messy, and the chaotic. We are partial to control.
Basic Type Dynamics of the INFJ
Type Dynamics can be used to dig a little deeper into the personality type to discover which processes are used most often, and in what attitude we express them in, extroverted or introverted. I find the inferior process to be especially interesting.
Keep in mind that we all use every process to some degree, on a daily basis.
Introverted Intuition is our dominant (favorite) process, so it drives us. It means that we use our natural instincts to guide us through life, seeking connections between the past, present, and future.
It’s common knowledge that introverts tend to be in their head…a lot, right? Well, what is happening in our head is our process of intuition.
We’re collecting abstract “data”; interpreting our environment, picking up on emotions, using an unseen sixth sense to develop a clear picture of what’s happening. It can be a little mysterious, especially since you can’t really see it happening. It’s intangible, but real.
Extroverted Feeling is our auxiliary process (2nd process), which helps to balance out our dominant process by giving us a voice to express ourselves (should we choose to), or defend our values when challenged.
We also wear our hearts on our sleeve, and that’s another way our feeling process is physically expressed.
The Feeling process is how we make decisions and reach goals. Our core values are heavily weighed against anything we find questionable, because there is a big difference between right and wrong. There is no grey area for an INFJ.
We will also take into consideration how the decision may affect others, and may be seen as loving, responsible, or possibly overbearing.
Introverted Thinking is our tertiary process, which is not easy to see behind the closed doors of introversion. Being our third process, it is used much less than our first and second processes, so it’s a more difficult function for us to use.
We use the thinking process to sort and find logical conclusions about our truth, and to further substantiate and support our decisions, whether they be theoretical, concrete, or more psychologically based.
It’s our rarely-used analytical tool.
Extroverted Sensing is our inferior process (4th process), which means that it’s an underdeveloped process that we mostly rely on during times of major stress. This is considered being “in the grip”, and we will start behaving in ways that are out of character for us, because it directly opposes our dominant function (Ni).
Our global perspective becomes very focused, obsessing over the details.
Sensing is something that can be perceived by some or all of your senses. For INFJs, our extroverted sensing usually comes across as obsessive or overindulgent external behaviors.
For example, when I’m really upset, I binge-watch TV, aggressively clean my house from top to bottom, over-eat, or do cardio until I can’t see straight. Sound familiar?
This is a major area many INFJs could improve upon, but so is our extreme privacy, withdrawing unexpectedly, and being overly critical of ourselves and others. We may have some work to do.
There’s More to the INFJ Personality
Personality type goes much deeper than what I’m sharing here, but it can get convoluted, so I’m trying to keep it simple. We will eventually touch more on type dynamics in a later post.
Nothing is written in stone, as we’re all individuals, and where one INFJ may fit the mold perfectly, another may only identify with some of the INFJ personality traits. Personality assessments can only tell you so much about a person, but it can be a great learning tool to help develop relationships and learn how to live, play, and work cohesively with others.
I’m learning more about how my mind works everyday, and although it’s not all good, I find it to be a great place to start. I’m not striving for perfection, but looking to work with my true nature to find happiness and growth opportunities in my life.
I hope you do the same.
Are you an INFJ? Let me know in the comments below!