Practical insight. Some people are visionaries while others are down-to-earth problem solvers, but INFJs manage to straddle the line between both identities—and they usually succeed masterfully. INFJs are insightful thinkers who see through situations and people effectively and enjoy developing practical strategies for action.
Compassion. As a Feeling type, you might expect an INFJ to show compassion—but what sets them apart is that their empathy comes with a sharp intuitive edge. They are quick to recognize worry and unhappiness in friends and loved ones, even when outward signs of distress are not visible to others. INFJs are uniquely capable of detecting unspoken and unacknowledged suffering, and are called into action by their instinctive ability to see beneath the surface.
Keeping the peace. Mediating disputes is hard work, but INFJs have an astounding ability to help heal the rifts that divide people. They intuitively sense the real suffering that anger can cause if left to fester, and because they are good listeners they are quite effective at helping warring parties find workable solutions that will satisfy the needs of all. And they do it with great energy and determination.
Decisiveness. For INFJs, obstacles exist to be overcome and no problem can outmatch the strength and resilience that these types possess deep inside. INFJs follow through on their ideas with conviction, and have the willpower and decisiveness necessary to see projects through to the end. INFJs live for the opportunity to solve problems and bring about positive change in the world.
Overlooking details. No matter how practically-oriented they aspire to be, INFJs have a tendency to get so caught up in theorizing the big picture that they forget to account for some of the precious details that can separate success from failure. Details always matter, and while INFJs may recognize this in principle, in practice they aren’t always as diligent about the small stuff as they should be.
Intensely private. Despite their loving and sensitive natures, INFJs have a tendency to close themselves off from the world and don’t give people the chance to know them or see the wonderful qualities they possess. Even in their relations with family and trusted friends, INFJs can be enigmatic. When they are feeling frustrated or introspective, they may retreat from social contact without so much as a word of explanation, which can throw others for a loop.
Conflict averse. INFJs dislike conflict intensely and will usually intervene to stop it, but this is one area where their perspective can get distorted. INFJs often fail to recognize that conflict can actually serve a useful purpose, allowing a good process of give-and-take to be established and giving all parties the opportunity to resolve their problem forever. INFJs would be wise to acknowledge the value of open and honest dialogue, instead of automatically assuming that all squabbling is harmful.
Sensitive. Once an INFJ has made up their mind, they tend to be very confident in their conclusions and may not have much tolerance for those who continue to dissent. When someone challenges their conclusions, they can react very strongly and are especially vulnerable to criticism.
INFJ Growth and Development
In order to reach their full potential, INFJs should:
Question their intuition. INFJs have outstanding instincts for the most part, but sometimes their intuition betrays them when they are dealing with others. When something is bothering them, INFJs will often withdraw into the safety of their own heads rather than speaking openly about what they are feeling; conversely, they seldom express their feelings of love, affection and appreciation as directly as might be expected given the depth of the emotions they experience. To improve their communication habits, INFJs should go out of their way to share their feelings—both good and bad—with others regardless of how uncomfortable it makes them feel to do so.
Give others the benefit of the doubt. INFJs are insightful, instinctive and persuasive. But despite the enormous effort that INFJs invest in developing and selling their concepts and ideas, sometimes dissidents will remain. INFJs sometimes become disenchanted with those who refuse to accept their conclusions, and they will convince themselves that their opponents have hidden agendas and are acting in bad faith. When situations like this arise, INFJs should try to accept that total consensus is impossible and that some will continue to hold contrary viewpoints. In situations like this, both sides should simply agree to disagree and move on.
Let others agree to disagree, too. When tensions are high and arguments are heated, INFJs will do all they can to restore lost cohesion and tranquility. But their love of harmony and aversion to division is so powerful that INFJs refuse to accept that sometimes the best way to end disputes is to bring them out into the open, where bridges of understanding can be built. On balance, INFJs’ dislike of conflict is a good thing. But their efforts to play peacemaker might be more successful if they would concentrate on keeping the lines of communication open when disagreements arise instead of always trying to sweep everything under the rug.
Make connections with extraverts. Because sharing with anyone outside a small trusted circle goes against their instincts, too often talented INFJs choose to keep their gifts wrapped up and hidden even though they have much to contribute. But INFJs would benefit by cultivating friendly relationships with extraverted people whenever possible. Opposites attract, and there is no doubt that being around more naturally open and communicative people can help bring INFJs out of their shells and out into the world where others can benefit from their intellect, empathy and compassion.
Slow down! INFJs are productive and effective when they make a concerted effort to focus on one project at a time. But their fertile imaginations frequently undermine their efforts to stay on the straight and narrow, and they will often start new projects based on fresh inspirations before old ones are finished—and, before they know it, they will find themselves buried under an avalanche of work. There is really nothing INFJs can do to moderate the pace of their inspirations, but if they constantly remind themselves to slow down and take things one at a time, they may be able to resist the urge to go off on tangents at least some of the time.