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.
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.