INFJ? These 6 Mistakes are Making You Come Across As Awkward

INFJs are empathetic listeners, with a quiet, mysterious air about them. Sometimes they even appear graceful. But if you’re an INFJ personality type, you’ve probably lost count of the times you've felt like the odd duck out. As an INFJ, I’ve had my share of "out of place" moments, although I don't always recognize them until after they happen. 

While any type in the 16-type system can appear awkward, the INFJ has specific idiosyncrasies that stick out to others. Here are six of them. While no one is suggesting that you change your awesome self, becoming aware of these habits can make it a little easier to fit in.   

1. Getting so lost in your head you forget your surroundings or miss conversations 

It would be a disservice to start the list with anything other than the INFJ’s habit of getting lost in their head. The best thing about being an INFJ is having a rich inner world, but sometimes these deep thoughts can distract us from what’s going on around us. Case in point: I once got so wrapped up in my thoughts that I failed to notice that I was about to walk into a wall. Sound familiar? 

Whatever ideas you're cooking up in your head, you may be tuning out essential social cues— and that often results in an awkward or clumsy mishap. For instance, your co-worker may think you're being rude and ignoring them when what you’re actually doing is daydreaming, and losing track of the conversation. 

2. Jumping into other people’s conversations

INFJs have a talent for listening in on conversations, even if they aren’t a part of them. You’re empathetic and an excellent listener, and that makes it a bit difficult to ignore conversations going on around you. And the odds are, you’ll get an urge to join a conversation out of the blue. INFJ observations are a reflexive skill and you may jump in when you feel you can help. The INFJ isn't called "The Counselor" for nothing!

Now, there really is no good way of jumping into other people’s conversations without it looking like you've been eavesdropping on them the entire run. It’s wise to curb your compulsion to join the conversation, or you could look like a busybody. 

3. Fixating on the minute details

INFJs are both big-picture thinkers and detail orientated, a trait that makes them a bit of a contradiction. But when it comes to your interests, the details are king. For instance, an INFJ who has a passion for gaming may go into minute detail on the topic, even if the listener didn't invite them to. All that was needed to open the floodgates was a mere mention of a game they enjoy. 

I could talk for hours about the abstract analysis of a piece of literature or the evolution of a vocalist's style. The problem is, this level of detail is mostly uninteresting to others. If they’re bored by what you’re saying, then it may appear like you’re having the same one-sided conversion with yourself over and over again. Oops, now it's awkward, isn't it? 

4. Reading too much into a situation 

INFJs can appear very awkward when their intuition kicks in and they start reading into a situation. For instance, if someone is being sweeter to the boss than usual, you may infer that they are doing it to get ahead at work. And you may be right about the situation—INFJs are good at reading between the lines faster than anyone else.

It’s not the intuition that makes you look awkward though; it’s what happens when you start acting on your insights. You think your sweet-acting colleague is not being genuine? Chances are, you’ll make your opinions very clear through our body language, avoidance, and a lack of congeniality. Not only does it look awkward to others who don't understand the reasons for your weird behavior, but it’s also out of character for INFJs generally, since we're usually so warm and helpful.

5. Guessing the endings

Another product of the INFJ’s intuition is your uncanny ability to guess what happens next. It's a great trait to have, but it can be awkward if you're unaware of social context. For instance, if you’re watching a film with a new group of friends, shouting out the ending is probably not the best way to make an impression! You risk spoiling things for the group if you let your N function take the lead. 

The more comfortable I am in a setting, the more likely this is to happen. The problem is, I'm often correct, and that can get a bit annoying for those watching with me. If this happens around people who don't know you very well, it may look inconsiderate, awkward, or plain-old rude.

6. Being in the kitchen at parties

Fact: INFJs can look a lot like Extraverts in certain social settings. Also a fact: they need to feel comfortable to let that side shine. 

I've been mistaken for an Extravert before, surrounded by people I know. In a work situation when it's necessary to socialize, I can rise to the occasion and appear as bubbly as any Extravert. Yet there are times I'm placed in a situation with no acquaintances, and the Introversion kicks on. Then I'm the ultimate wallflower, looking like the awkward "party pooper" even if it's a celebration.

The truth is, it's hard to get your social energy up when there isn't some sort of springboard. Sometimes, the INFJ doesn't have enough battery power reserved to get there. 

Final thoughts

INFJs are enigmas to other types, and sometimes the way they think, speak, or function can look outwardly awkward. Most of these behaviors are easy to explain when they’re analyzed. So if you or someone you know is an INFJ, remember not to dismiss these habits as awkward, but as evidence of how you tick. If you feel inclined to make a change, understanding your actions is the first step toward making any changes in the future.

Cianna Garrison

Cianna Garrison holds a B.A. in English from Arizona State University and works as a freelance writer. She fell in love with psychology and personality type theory back in 2011. Since then, she has enjoyed continually learning about the 16 personality types. As an INFJ, she lives for the creative arts, and even when she isn’t working, she’s probably still writing.

Comments

Gary (not verified) says...

wow its all me thanks for the post which has probably pushed me to say yes i am an INFJ, i have been doing my best to prove i am not INFJ but the evidence is stacking up to high to be dismissed. 

Thanks

Cianna Garrison says...

Thank you for your comment, Gary! I appreciate you taking the time to read it, and I hope it resonated in a good way. I know it isn't always all roses being an INFJ, but we have so many good points to balance out the less than desirable quirks.

 

Best,

Cianna

Marzina Jean says...

Good !

Jaylock (not verified) says...

I have actually done that avoidance thing. When I am disappointed in someone, I often literally keep separate from them. (I have noticed that it really helps me trust them again if I go to them and give them a hug) I also really relate the the introversion extroversion part. I am often frustrated at my inability to talk in a new crowd, but with people I know, I could talk the whole time. 

Cianna Garrison says...

Thank you for the comment Jaylock! 

 

I'm glad it resonates with you! I've done both, many a time, and it's always nice to hear someone who relates.

 

Best,

Cianna

Rose Forrester (not verified) says...

I'm new to all this, I straddle the INFJ/ENFJ fence by 1%. The avoidance, the knowing endings of stories and learning not to blurt it out are both in my face evident. Being in the kitchen is my literal spot of comfort in my home and depending on my energy level for dealing with people, some other's kitchen. Reading to much into a situation, leaves others thinking their dealing with a know-it-all.  The article was pretty dead on. I haven't met many like me. There is something to be said for inclusiveness, I'm not sure about all of this but it looks to be a good place to start!

Sincerely,

Rose

Kristen LeFevers (not verified) says...

I straddle that fence, too.  I often test as an ENFJ, with 60/40 on the extroversion/introversion scale.  Deep down, I know that I'm an extrovert, but when it comes to those memes and sketches about MBTI, I always relate more to the INFJ parodies.  It's so weird!

Cianna Garrison says...

Hi Rose,

Ah! So interesting to hear from someone who straddles the fence as you do. Thank you for saying this article is dead on. I appreciate all of your feedback. It's definitely not a one-size-fits-all, but nothing ever really is, is it? But hopefully relatable to several INFJs who deal with similar issues in their life.

 

Best,

Cianna

 

Elan (not verified) says...

Wow, this is so accurate! I often feel awkward but so far I'd only picked out a couple of these as explanations for why. The daydreaming one for sure, and obsessing over very specific things that no one else can relate to. But the other things you mentioned (like jumping into conversations, and treating people differently or acting different just because of an intuition, and blurting out the endings). I've really got to pay attention to those things, because I definitely have caught myself doing them! It's nice to feel understood, though! ☺️

Cianna Garrison says...

Hi Elan! 

The list is probably not one-size-fits-all INFJs, but I am glad to hear you found some of it relatable. And of course, for any of those minor personality details, you sort of have to be hyper-aware of yourself to notice you're even doing them.

I am both fortunately and unfortunately (HA!) very hyper-aware of my behavior. 

Best,

Cianna

Kristen LeFevers (not verified) says...

"INFJs are both big picture thinkers and detail oriented."  Could this apply to ENFJs as well?  Because as an ENFJ (who has tested one time as an INFJ), I definitely feel like I contradict myself a lot.  

Cianna Garrison says...

Hi Kristen! 

 

I do think it could apply to other types that are very similar. An ENFJ does probably deal with feeling as though they contradict themselves, especially since they are both Feelers and Judgers.

 

Best,

Cianna

Linda Noblin (not verified) says...

I am an INFJ on the crux with INFP.  It drives me nuts when my work area is cluttered and unorganized.  I work best once I get the details of a project organized.  Another example,   I leave the house in the morning coordinated - jewelry, clothes, shoes, etc., and come home missing an ear ring I did not know I had lost or a belt untied or whatever.  I keep the remaining earrings and create works of art with them!  I avoid large groups for the most part, and if in a large group many who are not known well by me, I'll let the J kick in and clean up or help...yes with the kitchen.

 

Cianna Garrison says...

Hi Linda, 

That all sounds very typical of being a detail-oriented INFJ, perhaps you lean more toward details, less toward big picture?

 

Thank you for reading and for commenting!

Cianna

Lisa Race (not verified) says...

I found out I was an INFJ 20 years ago but never realized all the implications of what that meant as I was focusing on vocational psychology. I see a lot of myself in this and wonder how to show up knowing Im the diferent one. I have learned to ask about things I predict and struggle with the responses but have to take people at face value to keep relationships. However it true that there will always be more to something a person is doing or saying than my assumptions. At least I hope people are more complicated than that. Im a little tired of expalinng myself all the time.  How can I study more about the personality types in depth? 

Cianna Garrison says...

Hi Lisa,

Thank you for your kind response! There are generally great resources on our website (Truity.com) but you can also try any books specifically on the INFJ or introversion or the MBTI Manual: A Guide to the Development and Use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Book by Isabel Briggs Myers as a starting place. Let me know if that helps! 

 

Best,

Cianna

David DeVaughn (not verified) says...

AHHH!  Although I am a civil engineer and construction project manager (typical INTJ) and very technically-oriented, I can't escape the INFJ handle and your article proves it.

 

Cianna Garrison says...

Hi David,

That's so interesting! Thank you for reading and glad it helped you relate. I think types that are so close, albeit one element difference, like INFJ / INTJ experience a lot of overlap in some areas. 

 

Best,

Cianna

Marzina Jean says...

Nice product

Rw says...

Read me like a book. Explains why I have Trouble meeting and keeping a lady--much less married. Explains why I have a lot of trouble with "chit-chat", etc. INFJ's like more depth, explanation and understanding, etc of the subject than just superficial glib. There's not room for everything I could say....as an INFJ--A. I'm a psychologist by profession🤔

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