INFJ Personality – An In-depth Review
Affectionally referred to as the ‘Counselor,’ the INFJ personality type is the rarest on the planet. The letters INFJ stand for the aspects of personality:
- Introverted (I): Individual, thoughtful, pensive, reflective, reserved
- Intuitive (N): Perceptive, pioneering, creative, instinctive
- Feeling (F): Caring, warm, honest, empathic, diplomatic, excellent listening skills
- Judging (J): Fastidious, efficient, organized, detail-perspective
Often feeling like outsiders and accused of living in their own heads, INFJs are multifaceted and very private.
INFJs are driven by passion and purpose, often dedicating large amounts of time to causes close to their hearts.
They are self-sufficient and thoughtful.
INFJs draw their energy from within and need to spend considerable amounts on their own – opting for a small circle of friends over large groups. The Counselor is exceptionally intuitive and thinks profoundly about many issues.
INFJs are forward thinkers and make decisions based on their feelings. As individuals, their care about their fellow man and feel a great deal of empathy of others – connection is essential to them as they thrive on close personal relationships.
Explaining an INFJ
INFJs are exceptionally future-oriented, often thinking about what is to come. They are skilled at navigating their life’s path due to their natural ability to predict future outcomes.
They are sometimes so intent on thinking of future events that they forget to focus on the present moment. INFJs can often be found thinking of ways to make a better place for themselves and those around them.
Armed with a strong sense of purpose, INFJs often believe in the idea of destiny – feeling as though they are meant to do something significant with their lives.
They search for the meaning and purpose in their lives in the same regard they look for it in society and beyond. To them, everything is related; and each thought or action has the potential to impact important events either positively or negatively.
In the mind of an INFJ, the society we live in is nothing more than the total result of our decisions; therefore, everything we do as humans should be to improve our evolution, both personally and communally.
As one of the Feeling types, INFJs are biased towards their principles and values when it comes to making decisions. Their hearts rule their head.
INFJs consider situations and other people by how they feel about it. Other people’s happiness is essential to them – with peace and empathy ranking very high on their list of values.
INFJs rank as the most empathetic of all the Myer-Briggs personality types. It’s impossible for them to detach themselves from the emotional feelings of others or even from absorbing the atmosphere from the rooms they enter.
As a result of this level of empathy, the intellectual activities of the INFJ is always intimately entwined with profoundly humanistic affairs.
INFJs often find small talk boring, preferring real conversations of a profound nature. Topics of a superficial view will only drain an INFJ of their energy and waste their time.
When it comes to communication: quality is more important than quantity to an INFJ. Both intellectual and eloquent; when they speak, it is done so with an expression of ideas as a result of widespread contemplation and wisdom.
They can become easily bored if they are not stimulated emotionally or mentally.
Perfectionists by nature, an INFJ likes to adapt to new skills and accomplish tasks quickly – failure to do so can result in them getting discouraged and becoming disinterested.
Words used to describe INFJs include:
- Insightfulness: INFJs have an innate gift at seeing through insincerity and dishonest motives in others. They can cut through the rubbish and get to the heart of the discussion.
- Creativity: Due to their ability to combine compassion with a vivid imagination, INFJs can creatively resolve many challenges in the workplace. Finding the perfect resolution for people they care for, and respect makes them brilliant mentors.
- Reliable decision-makers: INFJs can follow through on their desire to make a difference in the world – something many of the other personality types lack.
- Inspirational and persuasive: Having the ability to communicate in an easily relatable manner due to their deep level of empathy makes INFJs inspiring and convincing communicators, especially when appealing to the idealism of the audience.
- Self-sacrificing: INFJs act on their beliefs and ideas in the interest of humanity rather than as a self-serving act.
- Strongminded and passionate: Pursuing ideas with enthusiasm and conviction when they see the value in the goal, often in a way that surprises those around them. Their intuition enables them to foster positive concepts, which they can then carry out to improve the quality of other people’s lives.
- No problem is too big for an INFJ. They see obstacles as a challenge – as a way to make them stronger and overcome by drawing on resilience from within.
- High sensitivity: INFJs are highly sensitive to being challenged or criticized surrounding their values and principles. If you want to see their dark side, questioning their motives is a sure way to get a result.
- At risk of burn out: Being so highly motivated to do good in the world and work towards achieving their goals can result in leaving very little room for downtime. INFJs need to find outlets for relaxation, so they don’t become burnt out.
INFJs have a tendency to get so bogged down in the theorizing of ideas that they often lose sight of the details that can mean the difference between success and failure.
They also need to be careful not to shut themselves off from the world, and as a result, prevent people from getting to know them or see how many amazing qualities they possess.
This applies to close friends and family – INFJs have a tendency towards baffling mood swings and retreating without explanation.
INFJs in Relationships
Getting to know an INFJ is no easy task. Due to their desperate need for privacy and self-reflection, they are often described as being difficult to crack and requiring a lot of patience before knowing them intimately.
To the public, an INFJ appears to be quiet, unassuming, and somewhat reclusive, while coming across generally pleasant.
Some people may feel intimidated in their presence; however, there’s a lot more to the INFJ than first impressions indicate. INFJs make wonderful mentors and counselors due to their empathetic and deeply philosophical dispositions.
As compassionate beings, they feel attuned to other humans and are very open with others; once they feel comfortable, they are being understood. Less inclined to express their own feelings, they are at ease listening to the emotional expressions of others.
INFJs are the perfect people to go to for constructive feedback and a new perspective.
Conflict and hostility are their worst nightmare, as they opt for diplomacy at every occasion.
INFJs prefer to defuse hostile situations, not escalate them, and can often be found on committees and voluntary organizations in positions where this skill of calming conditions is much appreciated.
As idealists and dreamers, INFJs are always searching for likeminded people. Due to their introverted nature, they tend to shy away from making the first move and will be drawn to more extroverted personalities who share the same views and outlook as they do.
Fascinated by love and romance, they tend to envision bright love-filled futures with partners from the early stages of the relationship.
To say they enter a union with high hopes would be an understatement.
An INFJ has no problem committing body and soul to his/her ideal partner and can fall deeply in love despite not often being able to express their feelings readily.
INFJs make lovingly attentive and supportive parents. One of their strengths as a parent is showing compassion and respect regardless of the struggles and obstacles that come their way.
In the INFJ Compatibility article, you can find more specific details on INFJ relationships.
INFJ Cognitive Functions
All humans interact with the world via four Cognitive Functions. These four functions are the dominant, the auxiliary, the tertiary and the inferior.
- A person’s dominant feature is the one they feel the most comfortable with, and for the INFJ, that is Introverted Intuition (Ni).
- The auxiliary function is the next easiest for people to access; for INFJs, this is Extraverted Feeling (Fe).
- Our tertiary role is a lot harder to access; that being opposite of our auxiliary function – Introverted Thinking (Ti) for INFJs.
- When we feel under pressure, our inferior function will raise its head. INFJs’ inferior function is Extroverted Sensing (Se).
Introverted Intuition (Dominant)
The primary function for INFJs; this preference for Intuition over Sensing, controls how they see the world. Intuitive types view the world as holding unlimited possibilities and are relatively unconcerned in sensory accounts of things as they are.
INFJs have incredibly sharp instincts and are exceptionally skilled at interpreting information in a way that is usually more difficult for others. Their view of the world is naturally holistic.
Extraverted Feeling (Auxiliary)
The use of these functions ranks relatively high amongst INFJs. Because they make choices primarily based on how they feel about it, the Extraverted Feeling function permits INFJs to modify their actions to cater to the needs of others.
It equips them with exceptional skills at relating to others and a genuine yearning to bond with other people with care and understanding.
Introverted Thinking (Tertiary)
INFJs use this role but not to the extent of the previous two. The thinking (T), allows us to make choices grounded in reason and what is logical. The Introverted Thinking function will enable them to classify and examine material that they take in.
It is the skill set to see signs of inconsistency and understand how things work, in addition to problem-solving capabilities.
Extraverted Sensing (Inferior)
INFJs use Extraverted Sensing the least amount. Owing to Sensing (S), INFJs deal with information using all of their senses. The Extraverted Sensing function enables INFJs to understand life in the course of their own experiences.
If we can think of an analogy, in terms of extraverted sensing, they have the ability of a 3-year old, so it’s definitely not one of their strengths.
INFJs at Work
INFJs have high expectations when it comes to their work environment.
They require the ability to express a full range of creativity and insightfulness in conjunction with the knowledge their work is contributing to a worthwhile purpose – one that reflects their value and belief system.
Being their own boss is an appealing option for INFJs. However, they make a smart and inspirational addition to any group; therefore, given the right situation can work at any level within an organization.
When working for others, INFJs are not usually receptive to work environments where the rules are too stringent and formal.
People of this personality type value tact and kindness very highly. Therefore, they will be the happiest working under manager and supervisors with an open and warm personal style and who value the input of their INFJ subordinate.
They will tend to do very poorly if their values or work ethic ever come under criticism.
Some popular INFJ career options include:
- Counselor / Life Coach
- Clinical Psychologist
- Graphic Designer
- Technical Writer
- Organizational Psychologist
- Legal Mediator
- Massage Therapist
- Biomedical Engineer
- School Counsellor
- Social Worker
- Market Researcher
- Food Scientist
How Common are INFJs?
The rarest type on the planet, INFJ is the least common type among men, and the third least common among women. It’s estimated that INFJs account for:
- 2% of the world population
- 2% of women
- 1% of men
Mother Teresa, Goethe, Cate Blanchett, Martin Luther King, Jr., Shirley MacLaine, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Nicole Kidman, Mel Gibson, Jimmy Carter, Oprah Winfrey, Carl Jung, Plato, Carrie Fisher, Jamie Foxx, Shirley Temple Black.
INFJs are idealists with an outstanding ability to relate to the needs of others and inspire them to greatness.
The INFJ’s ultimate gift is their exceptional intuitive ability to draw very powerful insights from working with multiple perspectives and complex concepts in creative ways.