INFJ
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The INFJ Personality Type

INFJs are creative nurturers with a strong sense of personal integrity and a drive to help others realize their potential. Creative and dedicated, they have a talent for helping others with original solutions to their personal challenges.

The Counselor has a unique ability to intuit others' emotions and motivations, and will often know how someone else is feeling before that person knows it himself. They trust their insights about others and have strong faith in their ability to read people. Although they are sensitive, they are also reserved; the INFJ is a private sort, and is selective about sharing intimate thoughts and feelings.

Are you an INFJ?

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What does INFJ stand for?

INFJ is an acronym used to describe one of the sixteen personality types created by Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers. It stands for Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Judging. INFJ indicates a person who is energized by time alone (Introverted), who focuses on ideas and concepts rather than facts and details (iNtuitive), who makes decisions based on feelings and values (Feeling) and who prefers to be planned and organized rather than spontaneous and flexible (Judging). INFJs are sometimes referred to as Counselor personalities.

How common is the INFJ personality type?

INFJ is the rarest type in the population. It is the least common type among men, and the third least common among women (after INTJ and ENTJ). INFJs make up:

  • 2% of the general population
  • 2% of women
  • 1% of men

Famous INFJs

Famous INFJs include Mohandas Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Emily Bronte, Carl Jung, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Florence Nightingale, Shirley MacLaine, Jimmy Carter, and Edward Snowden.

INFJ Values and Motivations

INFJs are guided by a deeply considered set of personal values. They are intensely idealistic, and can clearly imagine a happier and more perfect future. They can become discouraged by the harsh realities of the present, but they are typically motivated and persistent in taking positive action nonetheless. The INFJ feels an intrinsic drive to do what they can to make the world a better place.

INFJs want a meaningful life and deep connections with other people. They do not tend to share themselves freely but appreciate emotional intimacy with a select, committed few. Although their rich inner life can sometimes make them seem mysterious or private to others, they profoundly value authentic connections with people they trust.

How Others See the INFJ

INFJs often appear quiet, caring and sensitive, and may be found listening attentively to someone else’s ideas or concerns. They are highly perceptive about people and want to help others achieve understanding. INFJs are not afraid of complex personal problems; in fact, they are quite complex themselves, and have a rich inner life that few are privy to. They reflect at length on issues of ethics, and feel things deeply. Because Counselors initially appear so gentle and reserved, they may surprise others with their intensity when one of their values is threatened or called into question. Their calm exterior belies the complexity of their inner worlds.

Because INFJs are such complex people, they may be reluctant to engage with others who might not understand or appreciate them, and can thus be hard to get to know. Although they want to get along with others and support them in their goals, they are fiercely loyal to their own system of values and will not follow others down a path that does not feel authentic to them. When they sense that their values are not being respected, or when their intuition tells them that someone’s intentions are not pure, they are likely to withdraw.

INFJ Hobbies and Interests

Popular hobbies for the INFJ include writing, art appreciation, cultural events, reading, socializing in small, intimate settings, and playing or listening to music.

Facts about INFJs

Interesting facts about the INFJ:

  • Least common type in the population
  • On personality trait scales, scored as Sincere, Sympathetic, Unassuming, Submissive, Easygoing, Reserved and Patient
  • Among highest of all types in college GPA
  • Among most likely to stay in college
  • Most likely of all types to cope with stress by seeing a therapist
  • Highest of all types in marital dissatisfaction
  • Personal values include Spirituality, Learning, and Community Service
  • Commonly found in careers in religion, counseling, teaching, and the arts

Source: MBTI Manual

Quotes About INFJs

"The visions of the INFJs tend to concern human welfare, and their contributions are likely to be made independent of a mass movement."

- Isabel Briggs Myers, Gifts Differing

"These seclusive and friendly people are complicated themselves, and so can understand and deal with complex ethical issues and with deeply troubled individuals."

- David Keirsey, Please Understand Me II

"INFJs' nonstop search for learning, self-growth, and development—and wishing the same for everyone else—makes them very reassuring to others and people worth emulating."

- Otto Kroeger, Type Talk at Work

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Comments

Diana Chase (not verified) says...

IJanis, description of yourself could have been my description of myself.  Recently retired early.  Practicing minimalism that I may soon buy property in the woods.  Living with the wind and God is exactly my dream.  I most happy by myself and enjoy another's company only occasionally. 

Diana Chase (not verified) says...

I meant Becky764, not IJanis.

LindaGH (not verified) says...

We see what we see and feel what we feel but it's not our job to fix anything.  I am a  Watcher.

Guest (not verified) says...

You're not kidding..

Guest (not verified) says...

I tend to disagree with your statement that "you are who you are" - this is an essentialist and deterministic viewpoint that assumes that things can be fixed in a universe where everything is changing all the time.

From that perspective stability - whilst temporarily providing a sense of comfort and safety - is an illusion after all.

....consider: what would be the point of any form of education or therapy if people couldn't change and were somehow fixed??

s.g.s (not verified) says...

We do have a fixed, underlying nature though. Take language, for example: sure, people learn different languages depending on their upbringing, but you can't teach human language to a kitten or a chimpanzee, for example. Rather, you require some kind of cognitive structure to accommodate that experience.It's like Leibniz once said, ''nothing in the intellect if not first in the senses, except the intellect itself''. It's quite plausible to suppose the same to be true of other areas of cognition. Our personalities may change in some minimal or superficial sense, but it is basically shaped by more fundamental, underlying biological properties.

Liz. Also an INFJ (no surprise) (not verified) says...

Agreed! 100%.

Guest (not verified) says...

Hello,

I see your point, but I beg to differ a little bit. While I truly believe that people can change, I am not sure that an INFJ person can, or at least not on the primary basis, and I think that’s what makes that type of personality so unusual and so… stubborn (although I don’t think it is a matter of stubbornness, but a matter of truthfulness). I am supposed to be an INFJ, and I can’t deny I am always searching for meaningful reasons in everything; I am deeply convinced about that being the correct way of understanding life, and that’s what I don’t think I could ever change, because then I would betray my inner rules.

While I would change my points of view about anything if I were to find a deeper or fairer reason to do so (here I mean deeper or fairer than the ones I had before), I don't think there is any way I am changing the conviction of relying in fairness to carry out those changes.
So yes, there is an essential part of me, the way I focus everything, which is completely fixed because I am completely convinced about it being the correct way to do so. I just admit the possibility of being wrong about that approach because my logic says that there is a possibility of me being wrong sometimes, but you see, even when I doubt myself do it in a way that makes me potentially right.

By that I mean that INFJs perhaps won't change essentially because it is their indefatigable pursue of meaningfulness what defines them the most, something they are not going to dismiss (not because they are not able, but because they are sure about the fact they shouldn't).It is a sort of reasoned and thorough "not changing" condition.

That’s why I think the sentence “you are who you are” makes so much sense for the INFJs.

Have a nice day ;)

Irene

PS: English is not my mother tongue, so I apologize if I made any mistake.

Guest (not verified) says...

I would not change who I am a million times over, the experiences within my development, no matter how twisted, horrid, and disgusting. They made me who I am. I am what I am, because I love who I am. I would rather live a lonely existence and stand on my morals. I would know well that my outlook is the most healthy and least sick than, living a life hurting others. It has never been my desire to watch those around me suffer, so if I had to so my personality would shape like this. I would rather it be the case, as long as I don't change, I can adapt and modify my life to the needs and events around me, but don't ever let me forget something this important, don't let me forget why I reach the suffering, to resolve my past trauma. I don't ever want to know the suffering was all in vein.

dalywood says...

I love your last two sentences. Quite remarkable how you were able to accurately identify how I also think and feel, but I was
not as successful as you in articulating it. Thank you for that.

KLD (not verified) says...

I can totally relate to this. I often wonder where I "fit in" and feel like an alien...lol.

Guest (not verified) says...

I can relate to your statement about wondering why you don't exactly "fit in". Learning that I am INFJ made me feel much better about feeling and thinking differently than the majority of the people that I have encountered.

Guest (not verified) says...

I agree. I also find it funny that INFJ's are considered 'mysterious', I thought myself to be honest with my expressions... But its true in the end. Despite expressing myself often enough i'm usually misunderstood. It was kinda lonely having few people to relate to, or who could really understand me. Now I know why and it cheered me up :)

Guest (not verified) says...

My experience is that I feel as if I try to be sincere and represent myself as truthfully as possible, and yet people perceive me as manipulative. It's almost like no one will believe that I'm being real, because overall it's so rare that it seems more likely that it's fake.

Guest (not verified) says...

I feel the same way. It's like you are saying the words just like everyone else says them but for some reason people do not understand your words or they simply do not value your input. I'll give advice on something to someone or tell them how to handle a problem if they ask me for my input. 90% of the time they never listen to me. But, someone else can come along and tell them the exact same thing I did and they listen to them. I've asked if it's my delivery or what. But, no one can actually tell me the reason why they didn't follow my advice. Makes me think I'm missing something!

Outsider (not verified) says...

I think that's because we're maybe not as absolute or assertive as some people. I always give my opinion with the fact that it is my interpretation of the situation, I'm not always right or infallible, and not perfect myself. So I think that this can make people think that the advice might not be the right thing to do when what most people are looking for is a definitive resolve or solution. I don't think my approach is wrong but, you're right, advice given doesn't seem to have the weight of the same advice from someone else.

Guest (not verified) says...

I am so with you! All the time I say, "I say what I mean and I mean what I say" but I still feel like people look for the 'hidden' meaning in my words because they just can't believe someone can be so honest. It really is aggravating. Now that I'm 40-something, I usually just keep my thoughts to myself. It's been a long life of feeling misunderstood, and honestly, undervalued.

Kathy Monroy (not verified) says...

So good to know there are more people like me. Completely misunderstood. So often I want friends and I reach out to people, as hard as it is for me, and I get treated as if I have some sort of ulterior motive. Then asking people what I should do and getting a "just be yourself" is so frustrating...

Guest (not verified) says...

Me too.. I went to a psychic a few years back and she drew a legit pic of an alien and said that is where i come from. Haha Of course i didn't believe her, or did I? Ooooo

Jendivin (not verified) says...

The same thing just happened to me a few weeks ago.
I went to a medium/psychic tell me that I have psychic ability and one of my kids as well.
At the time I only knew I was "Highly Sensitive"
I came across the personality test on pintrest and was floored to say the least. Everything in my life is making sense to me now.
I've been told I have OCD and I thought I had ADHD
I don't have either of those conditions and now know it's part of my personality.
I cannot begin to tell you the enormity of this discovery.
I'm still in shock.

Guest (not verified) says...

Wait...really? Because I'm thinking that I might have OCD too, and it's been so hard for me recently because these worries seem to have taken over my life. Thanks for posting that, though!

Guest Bean (not verified) says...

I realised I was an HSP (highly sensitive person) a while ago. I was brought up by a parent with narcissistic personality disorder and addiction. It's possible that sensitivity came about as a required survival mechanism, as I constantly had to read and evaluate situations and walk on egg shells.
I just found out that I am a INFJ and it makes a lot of sense. I have always felt different, misunderstood etc. but also sometimes admired for some of my creative gifts (which I sadly also mostly hide), as well as insight and imagination.
Despite being able to understand and sympathise with others I find relationships challenging and struggle to find people who understand me. There have also been a lot of narcissistic partners in my life, who can easily fake the empathy of our INFJ type, but actually have no empathy at all. After a very sad and traumatic time in my last relationship that was like this (and the most destructive)I have had 14 years being single, and find it hard to trust again. Understanding about my type has helped me understand how I am how I am, that I have high ideals and crave harmony, and that discord makes me unwell.
I have also worked as a carer for many years with elders and learning disabled etc. I love helping others but experienced real burn out in this role, and hope to retrain as a counsellor. I am also drawn to the arts. I often feel that there is not enough time to do the things I want to do in life, but I keep plugging away because this is what makes life meaningful to me.
I did have some difficult situations in my last two jobs when I moved from London to Scotland. It was horrible because my sensitivity was at a peak, and it was a new environment etc. and I was a target for bullying. I think people also took my shyness for aloof arrogance, and I was again misunderstood. It was very difficult experience but thankfully I've left these situations behind and have a good therapist.
I am at the point where I am thinking about the people in my life, who honours me, and the kind of relationships I want to have. I realise that these relationships/friendships are best with those few rare types who are warm and caring and gentle. My extrovert side sometimes craves more excitement and fun but there can be some fakery in those circles too.
Self knowledge is a great thing, especially as as INFJ types were sensitive to criticism and want our contribution to be valued. Knowing our type and what is important to us can help understand the disappointments and sense of alienation that can happen sometimes! Also we can value ourselves more highly and take more seriously what we have to offer the world.

Karin26 (not verified) says...

I can definitely relate to that feeling of not fitting in for being misunderstood. I think that is not only a characteristic of this personality type, but something that is more of a universal quality. We're all humans and we all know that feeling and fear on some level I believe. It just seems that this personality type - if I judge it from my own experience - is more reflective and intuitive and sensitive than most other types. And therefore it can make life a little bit harder for this type, I believe. On the other hand, because we are quite in tune with out emotions I like to believe that we are dealt exactly what we can handle, and that we are good at working through things exactly because we have a focus on other's true motives, our feelings and difficult issues. I think no other personality type is more apt to deal with emotional issues/capacities better than an INFJ. The 'difficulty is that each INFJ has a unique way of dealing with things and it can take time to find what this is for you.

In my personal experience I have also dealt with individuals that have narcissitic tendencies and that fake empathy. I have decided to no longer have contact with such individuals as they drain me emotionally and cause me a lot of stress, frustration and anxiety. They are bad for me, so I had to be wise and let them go. I think particularly when empathy and emotional capacity is faked, this can hurt INFJs more and be harder to overcome than for other personality types, as INFJs are very empathising and sensitive individuals. One thing most characteristic of INFs is integrity; this is why we cannot stand fake people, manipulation, and lies etc. INFJs, as judged from my own experiences and life experience, simply cannot fake. Period. We cannot fake empathy. We cannot fake that we care and love somebody. Therefore it is also extremely painful and almost impossible to believe that others are capable of deceiving us. It is even harder to realize that others cannot match our emotional capacitities, and it hurts so much when you find out this limitation in somebody that you cared for and trusted (either as a friend or a romantic partner). 

I think that is actually one of our strenghts, that the relationships we have are not always easy. This challenge is part of what makes it interesting, and why relationships we form and have (and lose) keep us occupied. We tend to be a bit more sensitive to things and in my personal experience it happens that I more often than not notice things that other people miss, or just things that I pick up on. I've learned that it is not a bad thing to be sensitive and attuned to things, and I've learned that writing has always helped me. 

However, despite being and INFJ and needing alone-time to reflect on things and to just do my thing, on my own, I find that as I grow older I am looking more and more to expand my horizons. I want to become more social and become better at juding/reading people so that I may understand humans better. My highest goal in life is to help people, in some way. To create some positvie change in the world, in whatever way possible. And by gaining life experience, learning more about the world and the people in it, I strive to achieve this goal. And it can be achieved in little ways. Maybe somebody reads this message/post and realizes that they are not alone. If that is the case, then I feel I have made some kind of difference in the world already. Sometimes you have to start small to make big changes :)

In this phase in my life the emphasis is on trying to challenge myself and gain more life experience. I am 26 as I am typing, so I realize that is quite young in any case. But I think that because I have always been very comfortable on my own, I've started to fear that I am missing out a little bit. I have several friends and close connections to them so it is not that have missed friendships. It is rather that I've learned and grown a lot on a professional/ademic and personal level, but less on the intrapersonal level and social levels and I want to give that more emphasis from now on. And I think, despite being introverted and having a tendency to want to be alone - which there is absolutely nothing wrong with - I think it would be generally good advice for INFJs to get out there sometimes and see more of the world, meet different people and make new friends.

I just strongly dislike the thought of mindlessly accepting "I am an INFJ, therefore... X" For example saying that you are not X or Y or you can't do certain things. At the end of the day, we INFJs can learn a lot from other personality types. Plus, there are elements of other personality types in all of us and vise versa. So, by all means I think it is always important to keep an open mind and to realize that you as a human being are more than what can be summed up in a personality review, despite the truth there may be in the evaluation.

My sister, for example is an ESFP and we have an amazing relationship. She has many characteristics that I highly value. She is spontaneous, enthusiastic and open - a real social bee- and by being around her I have learned so many things and have implemented some of those things that were naturally less present/dominant in me. Because, at the end of the day what we are all looking for is a connection. And we cannot do that if we do not try to understand others. Even if those others end up hurting us, and do not understand us, we can take away value from the interaction and the experience. I believe it is not about the destination but about the journey. Always keep trying to become a better version of yourself. Accept the things which you cannot change, of course, but try not to become complacent as that will limit the quality of your life. 

I wish everybody the best. May you find peace and happiness and a little bit of relief from the pain of being misunderstood for who you are. Please realize you are never alone. There are always others like you. The world is a big place with lots of people in it. A couple of percentages (only 1-2 percent of the population is a INFJ) might be a little bit but it is still A LOT of people if you do the math. Don't waste your time experiencing too many negative emotions. If you can let them go, or find some outlet - whatever that is - choose that. You will make your life better and have a more positive life.

 

 

 

Guest (not verified) says...

Wooooow, I love that! I am trying to push myself. I know I can in some directions. I usually burn out if I commit to some highly exhausting project for a couple of months (and I only do that kind of work). But as yo usay, I think it's about habits, and we can change habits. Yes we love to be alone and reacharge by ourselves, but maybe it's just safe feelings we are runing to. I am really curious how to combine both worlds. I know if I want to have some kind of career I would better work by myself, but then I need great amount of self discipline and know that my work has some positive influence on individuals and society as a whole. At the same time, I don't really want to live a hermit life (I would love to, but I don't want to allow that to myself). It's possible to live calm and peaceful life without retrieving into hermit mode, I am sure. 

I think you are correct about constantly growing. There are incidents from the past that make us choose familiar patterns. We then escape back to our protective selef when we feel anxious or threatened. 

 

This is a very good and HEALTHY video to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=La9oLLoI5Rc

 

Thanks again Karin! Love how you think.

Guest (not verified) says...

I can relate to feeling like an alien around others because I have never felt as if I "fit in". There are very few people who I can actually relate to and finding out that I was an INFJ really cheered me up. And then I got to reading about them and I litterally got a little creeped out because it fit me so perfectly. It was like reading an instruction manual to myself and it was amazing. I didnt feel so alone afterwards because I finally knew there were others just like me.

Kendo (not verified) says...

As an INTP--with a female friend who I think is an INFJ--I can so sympathize; I'd felt like an 'alien.' How many others have felt that way?! Throughout history? Knowledge can be a wonderful thing, as self-knowledge can be priceless

(VERIFIED) (not verified) says...

Now that I know my actual career options, all should go well :)

Guest (not verified) says...

hi there only just been introduced to all this personality stuff but hey how true is it, ive felt lost and alone, didnt fit in (alien) all my life. Now however I see the bigger infj picture Im happy to say I feel better. I have always been able to see popeles pain and suffering! probably in part due to my own!! still upwards and onwards my new friends out there. never give up hope of finding that oh so illusive inner peace.

Andrea

Guest (not verified) says...

It has to deal in part with the rate of the maturity of the prefrontal cortex of the brain becaus it controls certain aspects such as personality

Terrence (not verified) says...

I've always felt that way. I don't seem to fit in anywhere.

Guest (not verified) says...

I feel the same way I do not fit in any where! It is possible as well I could have PTSD...I cannot seem to hold a job any one going through this please help!

brentamiller says...

I also have had an intense sensation that I was different, but couldn't figure out why. At times I've wondered if something was "wrong" with me, and I suppose that is in line with INFJs seeking out counselors. In response to your question, I recently went through a very intense workplace harassment situation which caused hyper-alertness, anxiety and depression. It took a lot of outside advice and determination to keep myself on track, but I could see how it could have resulted in a very negative situation for my career. I landed with my feet on the ground, but despite that tachycardia and insomnia persisted for a few months. Social exclusion is perceived by the prefrontal cortex along the same lines as a physical threat. We're helper types and being targeted is traumatic. Definitely seek advice and counseling. In my case, it was a HR consultant and a lawyer, but a psychologist would have been in order, too!

Lynda (not verified) says...

I also went through a very traumatic bullying situation with a sociopath at work and it crushed my perception of everything I thought about myself. It took me a few years to really work through it all in my head but forever changed the way I see humanity. The only good thing is that it was a catalyst for some inevitable change in my life and I have learned to listen to my intuition the first time around.

Guest (not verified) says...

I'm sorry you're going through that. I also find it difficult to stay at a job long, at least comfortably. What about trying two part-time jobs? That way you're not at anyone place for too long throughout the day and can even have a bit of variety in your day. Alot of of part-time jobs have you there for only 4 hrs at a time.

Guest (not verified) says...

I get along well with every walk of life, but have always felt like I actually belong to none.

Guest (not verified) says...

Yep, that's it in a nutshell.

wandella (not verified) says...

Yep you got it, but the key is to accepting that and to accepting who you are, not trying to change but working on your strengths.

We have got a lot to offer!

Guest (not verified) says...

I totally agree I never fit in anywhere and always thought it was because I must be a social regect but as I got older I realized my social skills are just fine it had to be something else....then I take this test and viola it is all clear to me now.

JCM (not verified) says...

Life is a journey and some of us do grow and change. No not everyone does, which validates your statement but it's not absolute. Some people really go through profound changes as I have myself.

CoffeeChemist (not verified) says...

^^^THIS. Yes. I have to take each circumstance and situation one at a time and find my place in it. It's exhausting.
Then if a known situation changes I have to start over again. The down side I suppose. But it means I CAN be flexible and get along in many different situations I suppose - unlike some other types.

creceda says...

Yes we are who we are, however if one takes this test as a teenager and is easily influenced by others energies he or she might have a change of personality once on their own. I found this to be true for myself. Yes, we are who we are.

Guest (not verified) says...

That's how I feel as well. I did the test first as a teen and then again in my thirties. I did it a few years ago again in my fifties and it has always come out INFJ. I didn't realize how enviable or fashionable a type it was until recently. My point being that your results can be skewed by wanting to be perceived a certain way.

Guest (not verified) says...

There are two aspects to personality: What you are born with, and what you experience. While the core of who you are will never change, how someone percieves and reacts to the world can change.

JulesM (not verified) says...

I agree. We don't change our personality type but as we grow and learn we begin to be more in touch with our true self. Many years ago I may have incorrectly answered questions by thinking how others see me. Hence sometimes being seen as an extrovert when in reality I am truly an introvert. I know myself on a deeper level in my 40's. Blessings

 

madison cory (not verified) says...

i just love my bass guitar. i can connect with it/ music in general better than any person in general. (especially better than any old theripists that i don't know that probably just listens to me for the money.

GeneINFJ (not verified) says...

I have taken the Myers-Briggs test 3 times in my life, once about 30 years ago, another about 20 and again 12 years ago and have had the same result INFJ . 

Arch-Alien (not verified) says...

We completely concur; as in, my #1 challenge has been not so much trying to fit into any class or click but just realizing that I don't and won't, and I'm OK with that.  I just wish I could figure out a way to politely yet tactfully exclude my self from groups trying to include me without standing out and appearing awkward, cause I get along with everyone...until...     

Michelle (not verified) says...

That’s says it all for me. I never felt like I fit in anywhere.

 

Trained in mental health (not verified) says...

As someone trained in the mental health field, I can tell you that these results can and do change as you grow and experience the world.  A result from high school may not be the same as a result in your 30s or 60s.  Also, immediate circumstances can influence the way you interact and perceive the world (for example a bout of depression), which influences results for the MBTI.  That's just part of growing.

Guest (not verified) says...

Actually, once you understand the cognitive functions, you realize that it does not change as you grow and have new experiences. We might have areas that require growth, and when growth occurs, it can seem that a personality change makes sense. But, ultimately, how we process our world and the way that happens inside our brains doesn't change. It helps to expand beyond taking the online test. After all, those that administer these tests as a profession are highly educated and trained to do so.

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