The INFJ’s Guide to Finding Friends Who Understand

As the least common personality type, INFJs often have trouble finding their tribe. You know the ones - the people who share the same values that you do, or the same quirks and oddities. The friends you just seem to "sync" with, without you having to try too hard to be likeable. The ones who are as curious about you as you are about them, and warmly reciprocate your efforts to connect.

It's not that these people don't exist. It's just that they are probably as uncomfortable about meeting new people as you are. Here are some tips for connecting with the people who will love, accept and understand you, and hopefully will stick around for the long haul.

1. Do What you Enjoy

You stand a better chance of meeting other INFJs and kindred spirits such as INFPs, ENFJs, and ISFJs if you are active, and not passive, about finding new friends. Luckily, with social media and the Internet, it's easy to find groups that do the same things that you like to do. Possible hang outs include:

  • Volunteering opportunities
  • Religious groups
  • Adult education classes
  • Art, music or book groups
  • Sports clubs
  • Online forums.

Meetup.com is useful for finding local groups that match your interests, such as book circles, meditation groups and photography clubs. Many INFJs know from experience that they are better off being around people who share their specific interests, since they already have common ground to start from.

2. Peel Off the Mask

Empathetic INFJs are inclined to think that they should appeal to everyone. That attitude is self-destructive and possibly a little arrogant. Your warm and sensitive nature is certainly attractive to many, but trying to get along with everyone is like walking up an escalator moving downwards - a lot of work with zero chance of getting where you want to be.

Once you have found people that you want to connect with, be brave about who you are and how you feel. Too often you show only those parts of yourself that you think the other person wants to see, so that person will like you. Keeping up this facade is exhausting. Chances are, it will make you question why you are in a friendship in the first place, when it is clearly burning up all your energy.

So don't be afraid to show your true colors. See how people react when you peel off the mask and show your vulnerability. The ones that don't back away in those moments of raw honesty are the ones that will truly understand you. Hold onto those friendships and see if you can connect more deeply.

3. Let Go of Expectations

Because INFJs have such high expectations of others, there's often a misconception that a friend needs to reciprocate to prove that they're as invested in the friendship as you are. Many potential friends unwittingly fall at the first hurdle because they do not realize that you are waiting for them to call, organize a "date," or put in some other effort to show they value your relationship.

For future friendships, try taking things slower. Doing things for people with no expectations in return does not mean that your relationship is one-sided - it just means that your expectations are different. Don't worry about what the other person is doing (or not doing). Instead, focus on being a good friend. Get to know the person and try to figure out what they want from your friendship. Then, keep watering the seeds until they start sprouting. If there's a fit, the friendship will naturally flourish.

4. Be your Own Best Friend

As introverts, INFJs lean towards alone time and need plenty of solitude to recharge their batteries. This flies in the face of society's expectations. While the world is steadily growing more aware of the quirks of introversion, there's still a lot of pressure to hang out, be gregarious and collect friendships like baseball cards, without distinguishing between quantity and quality.

The relevance is that, for INFJs, making friends is a lot easier if you don't force it. Genuine friendships take a long time to develop. If you bow to convention and start collecting groupies, you will end up with a bunch of shallow, unsatisfying relationships that collapse because they never had a solid foundation. Be kind to yourself, do the things that you like to do and don't ever feel that you need a lot of friends, or even more than one friend, to be happy. Let things take their natural course and what will follow, will follow.

Molly Owens

Molly Owens is the founder and CEO of Truity. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley and holds a master's degree in counseling psychology. Since 2006, she has specialized in helping individuals and organizations utilize personality assessments to develop their potential.

In 2012, Molly founded Truity with a mission to make robust, scientifically validated personality assessments accessible to everyone who may benefit from them.

Molly is an ENTP and lives in San Francisco, where she enjoys elaborate cooking projects, murder mysteries, and racing toy cars with her son.

Comments

Guest (not verified) says...

Thanks!! this was very helpful.

Jennette (not verified) says...

I am an enfp according to Myers Briggs infj  and intj are the only ones  we are compatible with. 

 

Tfm (not verified) says...

My best friend who just shut me out is an ENFP. She’s the only person I felt understood my emotions. We just clicked and got close really fast (not typical for my INFJ self). I don’t know what I did. What would cause an ENFP to all of a sudden shut their best friend out? We got in a fight, but we’ve survived fights before. I just don’t understand. I’m hurting.

Ruci (not verified) says...

You've had fights with her before? She might be fed up. I'm not saying you're unbearable and she's perfect but each person is different.

I doorslammed this toxic friend that I frequently fought with. We started iut great but we would start to argue quite often. I'm laid back so the fights drained me since I wasn't used to them, I got along with everyone else fine. She thought it was fine and normal but I had enough after awhile.

Tfm (not verified) says...

Not a lot of fights. This was probably only our 2nd or 3rd fight. That’s why I’m so confused. We’re both very emotional people and we both just overreacted. It’s just sad that this was enough for the friendship to end. It was something we could have talked through and probably would have resulted in us getting closer. And I feel like it was all just a huge misunderstanding. 

Amanda Hernandez (not verified) says...

That's not true, a lot of people feel that they can connect with ENFPs that aren't INFJ or INTJ, I see it firsthand. You don't have to limit your social circle to only those two types. -INFJ

Guest 2 (not verified) says...

I really like all these INFJ articles. They are so helpful and give me useful tools and insight.

Guest (not verified) says...

Thank u for the insight sometimes it's lonely feeling misunderstood.

Claire Bell (not verified) says...

Thanks, Molly. This is very helpful info. Wish I'd read No. 3 on the list years ago. Have wiped people off my contact list because of those expectations and in many instances it is now cause for regret. But at least I know now! Thanks again.

The Stranger (not verified) says...

Well done. Comes down to doing what you like, remaining authentic and letting the cards fall where they may and being okay with being alone. Helluva life we've got. Fascinating tho, and deep.

Guest (not verified) says...

Thank you for all the INFJ articles and e-mails! They are really helpful. :)

Nora P. (not verified) says...

Thank you so much for this! As an INFJ, I find that making friends, maintining them and well, socializing, is a big struggle. This actually is very helpful to me, so really, thank you for taking your time to write this :)

Guest J (not verified) says...

Hello! I like that everything makes sense now that I know I'm an INFJ but is MBTI really scientifically proven to be reliable?

Zander (not verified) says...

You know what sucks? I had an INFJ friend, but she had all of these problems. I was basically in love with her, but she wouldn't let anyone in. It was so frustrating because she was so closed off that it almost felt like she didn't actually care about anyone. And she's just living in a fog.

Guest (not verified) says...

As in INFJ she probably needed time to trust and feel comfortable enough to let you in. As an INFJ, I have been burned by people I let in too soon and am much more cautious now about how much and how soon I open up to people.

Zander (not verified) says...

Trust me. It wasn't a "needing more time" thing. She had issues in her life she needed to work out. We were friends for many years, and I have dropped contact with her. She's closed off to everyone. It wasn't just a normal situation with me being impatient.

Guest (not verified) says...

Might have been that she was closed off for a reason mate. Not you, but, if she had been burned, like suggested, it is important to not date men who are waiting. Especially if one is dealing with being responsible for everybody elses hurt feelings.

Zander (not verified) says...

Look. I appreciate you trying to help me understand where she was coming from, but the situation is much more complicated than you seem to be thinking it is. I didn't drop contact because I was "waiting", I dropped contact because she started becoming a bad friend. And not just towards me. She had family issues and was making bad choices in her life. It wasn't just the fact that she was an INFJ that was the problem. There was other stuff and it only exaggerated the problems with her INFJ personality. This small paragraph does it no justice. To accurately explain this I would have to send you a novel's worth of information.

H (not verified) says...

It's like you're describing me.... Also an infj with fam. problems. Maybe you opened up too fast for her. Infj's have what people in general call 'trust issues ' they are super extra cautious. And they are introverts so family is important for them, but when they have family problems the world becomes too much to bare, they go into a rut, they close themselves from the world completely, I can't say exactly this was the cause for her but for me this is the problem. Infj's are helpers and counsellors so we get frustrated by not being able to help our fam or fix the problem. We feel that we are responsible. For me, I just had to accept my fam. As they are and accept that I can't help them and put it aside, and find a way to live my life with as little emotional attachment to them as possible. Hope this helps.

Melanie Nathe (not verified) says...

Perfectly said.  I am a infj and have tried to make the world right for my family, spouse, co-workers, etc.  I felt taken for granted and taken advantage of.  You can't help others who aren't able or willing to change and find joy in their lives.   You must put self 1st. 😀

actwings4 says...

Very helpful article. I often feel very lonely and isolated because people tend to misunderstand me. I'm not shallow, so I don't do well with frivolous situations and people. Although I want to be a little more lighthearted, when I try it just feels phony.

KatieLynnru (not verified) says...

Hi, your comment made me tear up, it feels so accurate to what I experience. After having kids, many of my former friends faded away. Although never someone with a huge group of friends, I felt like I was left in a void. Trying to "get back out there" and meet people at family friendly functions has been so hard. I feel it is all based on frivolity...there's just no time to get to know anyone... I have such trouble lightening up and talking small.

BS (not verified) says...

Yours is the first newletter ever that I follow, and regularly at that! Every time it leads me to something new and insightful about myself, it's both helpful and intriguing, like this article. Thanks so much!

eaglerising2 says...

It would be nice to know about other INFJ's that lived in your area. It would be interesting to know how many INFJ's belong to Truity. Yes, I am insatiably curious.

Chomzzy (not verified) says...

Thank you for this!!StayBlessed

SJK (not verified) says...

I have read tons of infj posts on truity and elsewhere, but this struck me today. I have crossed many people off my 'good enough for friendship' list because I had high expectations or I couldn't get myself to forgive one slip-up by them. Logically I understand but us infj's have to really force ourselves not to fall in this trap. Another thing I've noticed is that I feel people feel awkward when I do small-talk. Sometimes I think it's also a creation of my own imagination but other people small-talking seem natural while I feel phony and awkward, which in turn makes me believe the other person is awkward too.

Guest (not verified) says...

Yea I have that problem too. I only know how to talk about deep things, that no one seems to care about. Drop the small talk, it's not worth it.

Exhausted INFJ (not verified) says...

I am myself. Nobody seems to like it. I talk about things that really matter, and that aggravates many people. They want to talk about pop stars, and shy away from any meaningful conversation. I talk about reality and how to fix the things that are broken, and people don't like that. They say I am negative. How does seeing injustice and hoping to right the wrongs make a person negative? So, in order to have any social interactions some INFJs have to play pretend and act as if everything is all unicorns and rainbows since that is what our society wants and responds to. It is exhausting. Why are some people so comfortable with injustice? We can't fix injustice if we pretend everything is wonderful and right in the world.

Guest (not verified) says...

Hi there... I'm an INFJ too and find that I have the same challenge. Small talk tends to be boring, too superficial and inauthentic for me to enjoy. I'm drawn to humanitarianism and issues that impact people around the globe, news stories and social problems. Most topics I'm compelled by are dark and rather serious and almost always have a strong emotional and intellectual impact on me. Because what we're drawn to can be so nefarious, I'm sure that's why we're perceived as negative. In my opinion, it's not negativity, but rather a deep interest in seeing the world change and improve for the better.. which starts with acknowledging honestly what the problems are. As for injustice, I'm equally angered by the cruelties that humans inflict on each other and the utter lack of fairness there seems to be in this world. The scope of it all is so overwhelming and I wish that everyone would at least approach others with the attitude...'if they wouldn't want it done to them, then don't do it to someone else'. Imagine how much better the world would be if basic mutual respect could be taken as a given. Hang in there... at least this planet has a few of us who care about the important stuff.

Guest (not verified) says...

I don't believe adjusting expectations in a friendship is the way to go for infjs. This leaves me feeling more drained as I'm not operating from a place of truth. I prefer to fade out friendship where the effort I put in doesn't get reciprocated or if I have to put up with such people I talk shit to them (celebrity gossip, fashion etc). Such superficial topics keep my genuine self protected for the friendships that truely count. I don't have many friends but the friends I do have can see me and I can see them, it makes for a true spiritual and powerful connection and not a compromised adjustment.

Guest (not verified) says...

Thank you for your beautiful post. It is so nice to hear that I am o.k. and normal even though I don't have tons of friends. I am not even on social media. Why should I waste energy on social media when I can go on a hike with the best friend that I have ever had. I can be myself with this friend, and the friendship recharges me instead of exhausting me. You really named the INFJ in this post. Great work.

Hiding (not verified) says...

Finally! People who understand me! Someone mentioned being burned by friendships. I have many times. I have been taken advantage of and used because I have always been there for those who are down or hurting. I take the time to listen and support them. But as soon as they are over whatever problem they are going through, they drop you. These friends that I had would not be there for you when you are going through tough times. Now I am more isolated than ever before in my life. Its true that I have high expectations for friendships but now I am extremely cautious of who I let in my life. I do however long to have a real authentic connection with a like minded person...one day maybe it will happen once I come out of hiding.

SarahAJ (not verified) says...

Hi! 

I know your comment was 6 months ago but I found this article googling "find an INFJ friend" because I've been having the exact same issues as you mentioned. For basically my whole life!

I've lost so many friends I thought would be always be there for me. :(

The pattern is like you said, we are there for them to listen to their problems and help them but then they aren't there for us!

In my experience the minute I express any feelings about needing to talk about my issues with them, and mention that it is feeling a bit one sided, they just freak out and start ranting at me about how that's not true and start attacking me like I'm such a terrible friend.

I really don't understand why the minute I try to raise an issue I'd like to resolve, they just want to END the friendship. It's happened over and over to me (in fact it just did a few weeks ago with a friend I've known 7 years! I'd thought we were supporting each other but when I told her I needed her to listen to a few things I needed to talk about it ended in a huge email fight and that was that.)

I don't know if you'll see this reply but I wanted to say I totally understand what you said and it's nice to not feel like the only person this is happening to. I started to feel that all these people are right and I am a bad friend. Until I read about my personality type and realized it was happening to other INFJs as well.

Sounds like we are looking for the same things in a friendship! :) 

Gurl_interrupted (not verified) says...

I agree that adapting our expectation towards a friendship is no better than having shallow companions. I recently sort of broke off a 13 years of friendship (she's basically the only person who knows the real me, with all my darkest and deepest thoughts.) she's an estp who also have family problems similar to me. We used to dig through our problems and I seem to have coped and overcame it better than she does. She prefers distractions instead of dealing with the hard cold truth. 

On an unrelated note, some INFJs in articles I read usually mentions family issue. Is this that common? Is it what shaped our personality in a way? 

Back to friendship issue, the turning point was when we had a aggressive argument. We just dont see eye to eye politically. And a political event that basically robs human rights and equality recently got a lot of people (liberals?)  furious here, including me. She happens to support the other extreme side, due to her family values i reckon. This alone got me evaluating do I even still want her in my life, Knowing she support racism yet claim to be neutral. 

My only friend now is basically my intj husband, who also doesn't put any efforts in shallow relationships (anymore). We are in our early 30s, with no friends we see regularly other than our family. Although it does get lonely sometimes especially knowing those extroverts are sharing mutual respect and companionship, I would prefer this anytime than having to fake who I am or compensating my values. I guess we'll see how far this goes. 

Tfm (not verified) says...

It’s safer to have more than one friend though. I poured myself into one friendship with the only person who I felt emotionally connected to. And she just recently shut me out with no explanation a couple weeks ago. Having all your eggs in one basket is extremely risky. You have to protect your heart.

Guest (not verified) says...

"Be kind to yourself, do the things that you like to do and don't ever feel that you need a lot of friends, or even more than one friend, to be happy." Spot on!!! Thanks very much for this.

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