If you’ve been lucky enough to have them in your life, you know that INFJs are warm, giving, and supportive. They take great joy in seeing others achieve their dreams and ambitions, and they will help you in any way they can if you give them the opportunity to do so.

Adding to the delight of knowing them, INFJs are also thoughtful, curious, inquisitive, creative, and never afraid to think outside the box. In fact, they prefer to cultivate unique qualities and viewpoints, which makes them fun people to be around.

These are just some of the reasons why INFJs make excellent friends. However, INFJs are also reserved and can even be a bit reclusive. They won’t reveal their deepest thoughts to anyone right away, and they aren’t the sort to just chat away endlessly, telling you all about their hopes, fears, life plans, or long-term objectives without you even asking.

If you want to deepen your interpersonal connection with an INFJ, one of the best ways to break through is to ask them open-ended questions that require some thought and reflection before being answered. Despite their general reticence to reveal too much too soon, they will normally respond favorably to this type of approach, and they will find the type of conversation that ensues satisfying and stimulating. As you listen to their carefully considered responses you’ll acquire some tremendous insights into their personality, without putting them on alert or making them feel uncomfortable.

You’ll undoubtedly come up with two or three questions on your own that you’re just dying to ask. But to help draw them out even further, here are nine additional questions that ever-reflective INFJs will truly enjoy contemplating and answering:

Question #1: “If you wrote a novel, what would it be about?”

There is a higher percentage of INFJs who want to become writers than any other personality type. Most plan to write a novel someday, are already working on one, or have already finished one. Inquisitive and reflective INFJs are filled with ideas about society, culture, history, psychology, nature, and a thousand other topics that they’d like to share in written form as storytellers and aspiring creative artists.

If you ask an INFJ about what kind of novel they’d like to write, you’re virtually guaranteed to receive a thoughtful response that will reveal a bounty of useful and fascinating information about their beliefs and perceptions. They will appreciate the question and feel impressed that you were aware enough of who they are and what they’re all about to ask it.

Question #2: “Can you tell me something about yourself that you’ve never told anyone before?”

This can be a challenging question for the guarded and cautious INFJ.  They would be more than willing to listen if you wanted to reveal something new and surprising to them. But they aren’t nearly as comfortable when the shoe is on the other foot. The INFJ worries that others won’t be understanding if they expose a side of themselves they’ve kept hidden.  

Nevertheless, this is still a good question to ask your INFJ friend. They will feel liberated and validated after they’ve told you their secret, as long as you listen non-judgmentally and with compassion, and with appreciation for their willingness to confide in you. Like everyone they have a need to talk about all aspects of their lives, and if you are receptive they will feel much better about their choice to reveal all (and about you) afterwards.  

Question #3: “What motivates you?”

If you ask an INFJ to discuss their true-life motivations, it invites the type of self-reflection that naturally veers into Myers-Briggs territory. If they are familiar with the 16-type Myers and Briggs personality typing system and accept its premises, they will tailor at least a part of their response to what they know about being an INFJ. But they will likely explain how they are more complex than that, and give you a list of reasons for thinking the system doesn’t completely capture who they are.

Whether they answer within a 16-type context or not, your INFJ friend will give you a thoughtful and multilayered response to this question. That response will be educational for you and help guide your actions and suggestions in the future.

Question #4: “What do you think motivates me?”

INFJs are fascinated by other people and are always trying to figure out what moves, excites, inspires, or inhibits them. They aren’t reluctant to delve into psychological speculation when evaluating their companions, and their intellectual sleuthing skills are usually quite advanced in this context.

As you listen to your INFJ compatriot answer this question, you may be stunned by the sharpness, relevance, and accurateness of their insights. You might even wonder if they’ve been reading your mind, given how precise and on-point their observations seem to be. Beyond being impressed with their level of discernment, you’ll also learn a lot about how your INFJ friend sees you, which will give you valuable insights into their view of your relationship.

Question #5: “What are you most worried about right now?”

There are two ways INFJs can go when they’re asked this question. They can personalize it and talk about what has been happening in their own lives. Or, they can choose to address it within a grand-scheme framework that focuses on the larger problems faced by society and humanity in general.

If your INFJ friend chooses to speak about a larger societal issue, it will give them the chance to engage with you on a more serious level, and they are always down for that. If they make it more personal, it means they’re developing trust in you and are interested in hearing your opinion about how they should deal with troublesome circumstances. From your perspective, any answer they give will help you learn more about what’s on their mind and in their heart.

Question #6: “Have I done anything to disappoint you?”

INFJs are sensitive to any perceived slight. They can be extremely sensitive to criticism, and if people disagree with them they may take it personally and have trouble accepting that others aren’t necessarily rejecting them just because they have a different viewpoint.

Unfortunately, INFJs also dislike conflict. As a result they will often suppress or deny their feelings when they’re upset. So if you’ve done something that triggers their insecurities or leaves them feeling hurt or confused, they will usually hide their reactions instead of bringing things out into the open. The only way you can learn about their sensitivities and vulnerabilities is if you can convince them to talk about their feelings honestly and freely as a way to clear the air and give you a chance to make amends.

Question #7: “Do you think you’ve done anything that disappoints me?”

As sensitive and caring as they are, INFJs are often filled with regret or guilt about times when they fear they weren’t as compassionate, helpful, or respectful as they should have been. Their chief ambition is to make a positive impact on the world and in the lives of people close to them, and they can be their own worst critics if they think they’ve failed in this vital mission.

Your INFJ friend might give you multiple examples of times they didn’t do enough to assist you. By encouraging them to talk about it, you can reassure them that you appreciate their support and friendship and haven’t felt let down or shortchanged by them at any point. This will be a kind gesture on your part, and your conversation will provide you with some marvelous insights on the way your INFJ views themselves and their place in the world.

Question #8: “If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?”

The very nature of the INFJ personality guarantees they will have regrets, and at least some of them will be significant from their perspective. INFJs are the type who will always be reflecting on the roads not traveled, wondering if they made the correct choices, and remaining convinced that everything would have been golden if only they’d done x, y, or z. They are also rather nostalgic in general, frequently reliving the past in their minds while imagining different roles or outcomes for themselves.

INFJs are in love with life and all the chances for learning, growth, and enthralling experiences it presents. But the unfortunate part is that a lack of time and opportunity will prevent them from pursuing everything. If you can get them to open up about this topic, you’ll learn a lot about what drives them and what changes they wish they could make.

Question #9: “What do you think I should do?”

If you have a problem, your INFJ friend will be anxious to offer you their guidance and assistance (that’s why they’re known as Counselors). They will greet you with warmth and compassion when you’re troubled and uncertain, and well-thought-out advice when you have a difficult decision to make.

When you show a desire to seek out their counsel, it will strengthen the relationship between you and your INFJ companion, giving it a whole new dimension. They will reciprocate by asking your advice when they’re facing difficulties or don’t know how to proceed, and you’ll get to know them much better once they’ve identified you as trustworthy and are willing to open up to you about their fears and concerns.

Nathan Falde
Nathan Falde has been working as a freelance writer for the past six years. His ghostwritten work and bylined articles have appeared in numerous online outlets, and in 2014-2015 he acted as co-creator for a series of eBooks on the personality types. An INFJ and a native of Wisconsin, Nathan currently lives in Bogota, Colombia with his wife Martha and their son Nicholas.