Seven Things INFJs Secretly Hate about their Work Colleagues12 May 2021 / By Nathan Falde Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on May 12, 2021
INFJs are easy to work alongside, since they do their best to be supportive of their co-workers and preserve harmony in the workplace at all costs. They are not the type to be openly critical or dismissive of others, preferring to lead by example or to influence behavior through positive feedback.
But despite their warm and compassionate natures, INFJs have buttons that can be pushed, and there are some people who seem to constantly push them, inadvertently or not. There are certain habits in co-workers that can alienate INFJs and leave them feeling infuriated and frustrated, although no one may ever realize this since INFJs are loath to criticize others openly.
Given a choice, INFJs would prefer to withdraw or retreat from individuals who cause them to experience unpleasant emotions. Naturally, that can be hard to do in workplace environments, where people may be thrown together for 40 hours a week or more whether they like it or not. Unfortunately for INFJs, they may be unable to avoid exposure to co-workers whose behaviors bother or annoy them.
It should be emphasized that INFJs are too kind-hearted, forgiving, and empathic to hold any real hatred in their heart for anyone. It is only certain characteristics or behaviors they abhor, and not the people who possess those characteristics or are guilty of those behaviors.
With that caveat added, here are seven things that many INFJs secretly hate about their work colleagues:
#1 Self-Promotion and Attention-Seeking
INFJs prize cohesion and mutual respect in the workplace. They feel comfortable and at home in environments where everyone works together and freely offers each other encouragement and praise, with no concern for who gets the credit for shared successes.
Conversely, they are put off by individuals who attempt to steal the limelight or deny it to others. INFJs have a special radar that allows them to detect attention-seeking in all its guises, and they cannot stand that type of self-centeredness and all that it implies.
It never occurs to INFJs to use their accomplishments for self-aggrandizement, since they don’t see co-workers as rivals or competitors. INFJs try to deploy their talents in ways that will make others shine, and they feel genuine joy when co-workers achieve milestones and get the credit they truly deserve for doing so.
#2 Conversation Hogging
Co-workers who constantly interrupt, because they want to take control of the conversation or are too excited to show restraint, annoy INFJs to no end.
INFJs are instinctively inclusive, and feel bad when they see co-workers being ignored, dismissed, or excluded from the conversation or from the decision-making process. INFJs tend to take it quite personally when they are the ones being interrupted or spoken over, which they see as a sign that neither they nor their ideas are being taken seriously.
For INFJs, respect and humility are paramount. They believe everyone should listen carefully to what others have to say and reflect before they speak—and that is especially true if they plan to disagree, or offer alternative ideas. INFJs appreciate constructive and open dialogue, and don’t like to see anyone interrupted by those who are convinced they already have the answers.
#3 Short-Term Thinking
INFJs are natural visionaries. As such they eschew short-term thinking, seeing it as limiting and unimaginative.
They carry this attitude with them into the workplace, and because of this orientation they are put off by supervisors, employers, or co-workers who place too much emphasis on short-term profit, or who refuse to disrupt the status quo out of fear. INFJs can perceive the growth potential in the businesses they work for, and they spend a lot of time (even away from the workplace) thinking about how to make things better for everyone.
When they see associates taking the path of least resistance, which inevitably prioritizes short-term goals, INFJs can quickly become frustrated and even feel trapped in their jobs. From their perspective, short-term thinking inevitably ignores or neglects real opportunities for growth and improvement, and if there is anything INFJs can’t stand it is letting those kinds of opportunities slip away.
In line with their demand that everyone be treated with respect and consideration, INFJs don’t approve of teasing. When they’re around co-workers who like to tease, they will become tense and uncomfortable, even if they’re not the one on the receiving end of the ribbing. INFJs don’t see teasing as good-natured, harmless fun, but instead as a type of passive-aggressive behavior that is used as a cover for highly personal criticism or ridicule.
These anti-teasing sentiments emerge from the empathy and sensitivity that INFJs possess in abundance. They are experts at detecting hidden agendas, and they would prefer people drop the pretense of humor and come right out and say what they really mean.
While INFJs dislike teasing, they do appreciate self-deprecating humor. In contrast to teasing, INFJs see that type of humor as a sign of humility, based on an implicit recognition that we all live in glass houses and therefore should be reluctant to throw the first stone.
Because they are dutiful, responsible, and professional, INFJs are not very tolerant of co-workers who are frequently tardy, or who leave work early on a regular basis. While others may not think much about this, preferring to worry only about themselves, INFJs feel a strong obligation to their employers and their colleagues and will react negatively when co-workers don’t display that same level of commitment.
INFJs are tolerant and flexible, and not the type to demand that others follow the rules no matter the consequence. They are quite sympathetic when well-meaning and judicious people are unavoidably delayed or have personal or family obligations that require their attention.
However, when people are chronically late, regardless of the supposed justification, INFJs see that as immature and irresponsible behavior, and as an affront to everyone else who strives to behave like an adult.
#6 Time Wasting
In workplace settings, INFJs see time as a precious commodity that shouldn’t be casually tossed aside. When they’re around co-workers who spend an inordinate amount of time on the job chatting, gossiping, hanging out on social media sites, or otherwise goofing off or around, it drives them up the wall.
INFJs are impatient with such behavior and won’t participate in it or play along, seeing it more as a form of disorder than as innocuous fun. This may occasionally lead to accusations from co-workers that they take themselves or their work too seriously, but INFJs won’t be swayed by such judgments.
Interestingly, INFJs won’t react negatively to conversations that involve more weighty or substantial matters, even if the discussion will sometimes interrupt the workflow. They see dialogues that concentrate on important personal, professional, or societal issues or concerns as highly relevant to every aspect of life, including those that relate to job performance. They are especially willing to engage in such discussions if they are solution-oriented or reflective of people’s desire to find meaning and purpose in their endeavors.
#7 Constant Negativity
INFJs are dedicated and loyal employees and co-workers. They are respectful and helpful to bosses, supervisors, managers, and peers, seeing them all as essential elements with important contributions to make to the team dynamic. But their relationships with employers, managers, or co-workers can quickly deteriorate, if they feel those individuals are responsible for creating a workplace environment where negativity has become endemic and fear and tension have become normalized.
While they appreciate honesty and sincerity, INFJs are turned off by perpetual negativity, regardless of its supposed intention. INFJs believe a cooperative spirit should animate the workplace, and they are convinced an approach that offers positive feedback and helpful guidance instead of harsh condemnation or criticism is the one that will produce the best and most sustainable long-term results.
Most importantly, INFJs think everyone should be treated courteously and with dignity at all times as a matter of principle. Managers, employers, and co-workers who violate this code will lose the respect of their INFJ colleagues, and will only be able to win it back if they change their attitudes.
A Healthy and Happy Workplace Environment is Everyone’s Responsibility
If you’re an INFJ, you should speak politely but honestly with your co-workers, supervisors, or employers about any beefs, bugbears, and pet peeves you might have. You’ll feel better about getting these things off your chest, and you’ll likely be surprised at the positive responses you’ll receive—and the positive changes you’ll initiate—if you take this proactive approach.
On the other hand, if you’re working with or for an INFJ, you’ll be able to improve your relationship with that individual if you can learn to adjust your behaviors to compensate for their needs and preferences.
In the end, if everyone makes a concerted effort to treat each other civilly and thoughtfully at all times, in an environment where open dialogue is encouraged and embraced, issues that can put INFJs at odds with their work colleagues can be amicably and permanently resolved.
SKate (not verified) says...
This feels pretty accurate with regard to me, except this part: "In workplace settings, INFJs see time as a precious commodity that shouldn’t be casually tossed aside. When they’re around co-workers who spend an inordinate amount of time on the job chatting, gossiping, hanging out on social media sites, or otherwise goofing off or around, it drives them up the wall."
I actually don't care what people do with their time as long as they are taking care of their commitments. If you can do your work in 4 hours a day and nobody else is waiting on you or overworked when you could be helping out, I'm all for it.
Conservative Lady (not verified) says...
Not sure about the teasing part. I'm an INFJ female, but close on the T and F. I have a bit of a sarcastic sense of humor and have enjoyed working with others who like to take a jab at me now and then! I've found I have to be careful with F types however as they can be sensitive to the type of teasing that Thinking types like. I've found my sense of humor is similar to that of NTs especially, I suppose since I'm close on T and F. Someone "taking a shot" at me in a teasing way challenges me to think of a quick humorous come back, and can make the work environment more fun, as long as it's not done too frequently. And of course if someone doesn't like such humor then that should be respected.
Phillip Giustino (not verified) says...
I agree, bantering shows a clever wordsmith and is fun to do. I think it is why we INFJ-A types get along so well with ENTPs, we are both trying to one up each other by bantering. It makes the work place tolerable, and looking forward to butting heads with clever work colleagues. I like teasing the opposite sex to be playful and showing (and testing) their sense of humor, it creates a fun bond between us.
I think it's the INFJs in sheep's clothing (the fake INFJs that fall under the personality disorders and overly sensitive) or the "turbulent" T-types the get offended too easily by teasing and lack the observing ego to know it's either being playful or crossing the line.
Isn't Billy Crystal an INFJ? He seems to enjoy teasing too.
Conservative Lady (not verified) says...
Yes the ENTPs are hilarious! I'm an INFJ-A so maybe you're right, the more Turbulent INFJs may be a bit more sensitive. I look at someone dishing out sharp humor as a compliment. It's as if they know I "get it" and can not only take it in the spirit given, but give it back with style!!!
Steve Bieniek (not verified) says...
A fair number of these issues are relevant outside the workplace and can distroy a relationship.
"INFJs tend to take it quite personally when they are the ones being interrupted or spoken over, which they see as a sign that neither they nor their ideas are being taken seriously."
" INFJs don’t see teasing as good-natured, harmless fun, but instead as a type of passive-aggressive behavior that is used as a cover for highly personal criticism or ridicule. They are experts at detecting hidden agendas, and they would prefer people drop the pretense of humor and come right out and say what they really mean. INFJs think everyone should be treated courteously and with dignity at all times as a matter of principle."
"But their relationships ... can quickly deteriorate, if they feel ... individuals are responsible for creating a ... environment where negativity has become endemic and fear and tension have become normalized... INFJs think everyone should be treated courteously and with dignity at all times as a matter of principle."
Shadystar (not verified) says...
I probably have quite a few pet peeves at work. But one of my biggest is when people are just standing around. At least look busy, even if you are just breaking down cardboard or putting something away. Don't just sit or stand there scratching your butt or distract others from their work for petty stuff. And definitely don't get near my space unless you are a lead or have a good reason to be there. One guy at my work was pushing those boundaries a few times this week. He got kicked off of backstock, our line lead kicked him off our line for being annoying, and he was working on the other line where he supposedly said "he can flirt with all the ladies" and was still coming over to my line to detract people by my station. The first time he was in my section and I shooed him away. Later that day after lunch he was on the other side of my section destracting the scan out person and I told my lead because he shouldn't be near our line and honestly I subconsciously already decided everything he does within 10 feet of me is annoying.
AndreaF (not verified) says...
Shadystar: please be careful about the " everything he does within 10 feet of me is annoying". Your workspace sounds like you have limited opportunities to avoid this person.
If you keep 'revving up' every time he comes in range, based on sour experience, it will be you who gets told off, or worse. No matter how effective you are on the job.
Smile. Give him, 'Good morning' or whatever. Thank him when you can. Catch him being kind and helpful. Stay out of the mental weeds even when the darned things keep growing back as those awful internal rehearsals of Conversations You'd Love to Have. Or try the one that says he's trying to make the best of a job he's not a fan for.
I know how hard it is - believe me. Please take care of you and your job. You sound like you're good at it.
Elizabeth Johnston (not verified) says...
Hello, I'm an INFJ, sometimes an A, sometimes a T!
I certainly agree with the teasing and find I get more riled if it happens to someone else than if it happens to myself, probably because I'm witnessing it.
The only other behaviour that irks me is controlling where you can't just get on with your work without someone proving that they have the upper hand.
All in all, very interesting!
Linda (not verified) says...
Good and eye-opening article! As an ENTJ, I worked last year with an INFJ who seemed to be bothered by me over something I did; but I was just as bothered by not having the reason for this "aura" that I sensed from her. I was the new teacher (of many previous teaching years) at this school and wondered for sometime why I seemed to be the one always saying "Hi" first, and just in general getting the cold shoulder. Before reading this article, I finally did figure out what had happened between us. One day in the staff room I sort of "put her in her place", unintentionally, around a few others sitting at the table. It certainly speaks to what is written here, somewhere, but I mentioned that Myers Briggs personality typing was good at helping people understand how to improve themselves with their individual weaknesses. She had said before that, that she thought the Enneagram was good or better at that. I disagreed with her, and in the process gave my outright, strong opinion to the contrarty. I have my answer substantiated even more so now after reading this, when I ponder over the types of people who would annoy her type. I seemed arrogant and what's more, a know it all, and probably was devaluing her in front of others, with my strong, frank opinion (which, of course, would rub anybody wrong of any personality persuasion, if not especially an INFJ). If I could go back and change it, I would and I know I would hold my tongue there and then, and seek her out privately later. I had thought of going to her and outright asking her what was wrong, but soon a light bulb went off and I didn't think I needed to anymore. I also quit working there (retired from teaching) after the one year. I left on as good a note as could be, concerning her, without saying much still to one another as the days went on. Oh, well, live and learn! Thanks for sharing the wisdom, and don`t forget, I said I am an ENTJ and being frank and having strong opinions rather come with the territory. Smile, smile!
KellyINFJ2021 (not verified) says...
Sloppy, careless, and lacking emotional intelligence coworkers DRIVE ME MAD.
Mary1245 (not verified) says...
As INFJ worst for me are managers who are not open to change, and want you do just continue do things 'the way we've always done' (ISTJ?). Errrrr.
I am always looking for ways to improve and streamline the way things are done, so this really clashes with and stifles my work ethic