The Struggles and Benefits of Being an INFJ

If you’re unfamiliar with the MBTI types they are based on the following…

                Introversion (I) v. Extroversion (E)

                Intuition (N) v Sensing (S)

                Feeling (F) v. Thinking (T)

                Perception (P) v. Judging (J)

I am an INFJ which means that I’m Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging. This is actually the least common MBTI type with less than 1.5% of the population sharing this type. This personality type comes with unique benefits and struggles that are often not apparent from the outside. INFJs are often misunderstood because of this and the fact that not many people share this personality type. I will start with the struggles.

First off, INFJs have been called the most extroverted introverts which creates a special problem that INFJs are highly interested in people but are introverted and thus often drained by social interaction. Because of our intuitive/feeling nature we crave for social interaction and have a deep affinity for understanding people. However we want only a particular kind of social interaction where we can share our introspections and deepest feelings with a few chosen people. So, it is often very lonely as an INFJ where there are very few people with whom to share our introspections and insights in their most honest depth.

Secondly, INFJs are often very idealistic, and I’m not a stranger to idealism myself. When the world doesn’t conform to our most cherished ideals we may retreat to our head where things are more comfortable, cutting ourselves off from the emotions that are really the bedrock of feeling types. For this reason, INFJs can often come off as cold. We often present ourselves as thinking types because of our natural introspective contemplative personality. But this can make us get into what is called the NI/TI loop where we fall in love with our ideas and don’t express them out into the world or open ourselves up to divergent viewpoints. This process is circular and much of our energy can be wasted on meaningless, circular contemplation that cuts us off from reality, relationships, and feelings. This is a common neurosis of INFJ types. The inner world is the comfort zone but in order to engage our natural feeling personality, it is always outside of that comfort zone.

Finally, INFJs have a natural sensitivity to the emotions of others and can often absorb these emotions. For this reason, INFJs often become people pleasers who neglect their own needs for the needs of others. We care what others think and we want them to like us. This is because hurting someone else, is literally felt as hurting oneself.  This has caused me to walk on eggshells in my dealings with people. This can often drive INFJs further into solitude and the NI/TI loop because social interactions can be so intensely emotion-filled. Also, if there is someone close-by having a strong negative emotion, I feel it right away.

Ultimately, I love being a INFJ and I wouldn’t trade it despite these problems.

One benefit of being an INFJ (which was ironically on the negative list too) is our sensitivity and awareness of the emotions of others. It is very uncommon that I get genuinely angry at someone else because I empathize with why people do things that they do and react the way that they react even if it’s unpleasant or taboo. After a lifetime of natural introspection and examination of my own emotions and thoughts and noticing recurrent patterns in my own psyche, it is very easy to understand what motivates other people. Also, INFJs ‘genius style’ is harmonizing and moving toward holistic thinking. So, even the most taboo things a person does, an INFJ will seek to understand as opposed to writing people off as evil. This enables them to understand even the darkest of human tendencies. Because of this, many spiritual leaders and visionaries, have been INFJs. The extreme ability for acceptance, holistic thinking, and introspection makes the INFJ a great advisor, teacher, or counselor. Carl Jung himself was an INFJ, and it was Jung who created the personality distinctions that the MBTI was based upon.

Another benefit is that contemplation comes very naturally to me. I love solitude and I can spend hours examining my internal world. It is endlessly fascinating to me. This comes with an extreme self-awareness that has helped me navigate my way through the world. I have been able to bring myself to things that are really beneficial to me and leave things behind that aren’t. It also enables me to be very creative and creative ideas and insights come very easily to me. This has helped me in my painting practice as well as with writing and any other type of creative endeavor that I’ve engaged in. My internal world has tons of gems for the taking and my (J) Judging personality trait has enabled me to manifest them efficiently and successfully.

INFJs can also be very compelling people who are very well liked. Because of their reticent personalities and depth of feeling and insight there is a mystery to INFJs that attract people to them. In this way, if an INFJ develops the ability to function in an extroverted way, when it is called for, they can have a lot of influence over people and how they see the world. They can be very inspirational people because of their high ideals and ability to stick to them and manifest them into the world. This is why I created my website and channel because I hope to share my vision with the world not only to be understood but to make a positive impact. To share the fruits of my introspective labor to help people find peace and harmony in their lives.

So, to all you INFJs, I hope this was helpful and illuminating about your personality. For everyone else, I hope this helps you understand your INFJ friends, family, and acquaintances.