INFJ Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging (Introverted Intuition with Extraverted Feeling)
As an INFJ, your primary mode of living is focused internally, where you take things in primarily via intuition. Your secondary mode is external, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit with your personal value system.
INFJ’s are gentle, caring, complex and highly intuitive individuals. Artistic and creative, they live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities. Only one percent of the population has an INFJ Personality Type, making it the rarest of all the types.
INFJ’s place great importance on having things orderly and systematic in their outer world. They put a lot of energy into identifying the best system for getting things done, and constantly define and re-define the priorities in their lives. On the other hand, INFJ’s operate within themselves on an intuitive basis which is entirely spontaneous. They know things intuitively, without being able to pinpoint why, and without detailed knowledge of the subject at hand. They are usually right, and they usually know it. Consequently, INFJ’s put a tremendous amount of faith into their instincts and intuitions. This is something of a conflict between the inner and outer worlds, and may result in the INFJ not being as organized as other Judging types tend to be. Or we may see some signs of disarray in an otherwise orderly tendency, such as a consistently messy desk.
INFJ’s have uncanny insight into people and situations. They get “feelings” about things and intuitively understand them. As an extreme example, some INFJ’s report experiences of a psychic nature, such as getting strong feelings about there being a problem with a loved one, and discovering later that they were in a car accident. This is the sort of thing that other types may scorn and scoff at, and the INFJ themselves does not really understand their intuition at a level which can be verbalized. Consequently, most INFJ’s are protective of their inner selves, sharing only what they choose to share when they choose to share it. They are deep, complex individuals, who are quite private and typically difficult to understand. INFJ’s hold back part of themselves, and can be secretive.
But the INFJ is as genuinely warm as they are complex. INFJ’s hold a special place in the heart of people who they are close to, who are able to see their special gifts and depth of caring. INFJ’s are concerned for people’s feelings, and try to be gentle to avoid hurting anyone. They are very sensitive to conflict, and cannot tolerate it very well. Situations which are charged with conflict may drive the normally peaceful INFJ into a state of agitation or charged anger. They may tend to internalize conflict into their bodies, and experience health problems when under a lot of stress.
Because the INFJ has such strong intuitive capabilities, they trust their own instincts above all else. This may result in an INFJ stubbornness and tendency to ignore other people’s opinions. They believe that they’re right. On the other hand, INFJ is a perfectionist who doubts that they are living up to their full potential. INFJ’s are rarely at complete peace with themselves – there’s always something else they should be doing to improve themselves and the world around them. They believe in constant growth, and don’t often take time to revel in their accomplishments. They have strong value systems, and need to live their lives in accordance with what they feel is right. In deference to the Feeling aspect of their personalities, INFJ’s are in some ways gentle and easy going. Conversely, they have very high expectations of themselves, and frequently of their families. They don’t believe in compromising their ideals.
INFJ is a natural nurturer; patient, devoted and protective. They make loving parents and usually have strong bonds with their offspring. They have high expectations of their children, and push them to be the best that they can be. This can sometimes manifest itself in the INFJ being hard-nosed and stubborn. But generally, children of an INFJ get devoted and sincere parental guidance, combined with deep caring.
In the workplace, the INFJ usually shows up in areas where they can be creative and somewhat independent. They have a natural affinity for art, and many excel in the sciences, where they make use of their intuition. INFJ’s can also be found in service-oriented professions. They are not good at dealing with minutia or very detailed tasks. The INFJ will either avoid such things, or else go to the other extreme and become enveloped in the details to the extent that they can no longer see the big picture. An INFJ who has gone the route of becoming meticulous about details may be highly critical of other individuals who are not.
The INFJ individual is gifted in ways that other types are not. Life is not necessarily easy for the INFJ, but they are capable of great depth of feeling and personal achievement.
Jungian functional preference ordering:
Dominant: Introverted Intuition
Auxiliary: Extraverted Feeling
Tertiary: Introverted Thinking
Inferior: Extraverted Sensing
INFJ’s generally have the following traits:
- Intuitively understand people and situations
- Highly principled
- Complex and deep
- Natural leaders
- Sensitive and compassionate towards people
- Value deep, authentic relationships
- Reserved about expressing their true selves
- Dislike dealing with details unless they enhance or promote their vision
- Constantly seeking meaning and purpose in everything
- Creative and visionary
- Intense and tightly-wound
- Can work logically and rationally – use their intuition to understand the goal and work backwards towards it
The INFJ is a special individual who needs more out of a career than a job. They need to feel as if everything they do in their lives is in sync with their strong value systems – with what they believe to be right. Accordingly, the INFJ should choose a career in which they’re able to live their daily lives in accordance with their deeply-held principles, and which supports them in their life quest to be doing something meaningful. Since INFJ’s have such strong value systems, and persistent intuitive visions which lend them a sense of “knowing”, they do best in positions in which they are leaders, rather than followers. Although they can happily follow individuals who are leading in a direction which the INFJ fully supports, they will very unhappily follow any other situation.
INFJ’s are warm and affirming people who are usually also deep and complex. They’re likely to seek out and promote relationships that are intense and meaningful. They tend to be perfectionists, and are always striving for the Ultimate Relationship. For the most part, this is a positive feature, but sometimes works against the INFJ if they fall into the habit of moving from relationship to relationship, always in search of a more perfect partner. In general, the INFJ is a deeply warm and caring person who is highly invested in the health of their close relationships, and puts forth a lot of effort to make them positive. They are valued by those close to them for these special qualities. They seek long-term, lifelong relationships, although they don’t always find them.
- Warm and affirming by nature
- Dedicated to achieving the ultimate relationship
- Sensitive and concerned for others’ feelings
- Usually have good communication skills, especially written
- Take their commitments very seriously, and seek lifelong relationships
- Have very high expectations for themselves and others (both a strength and weakness)
- Good listeners
- Are able to move on after a relationship has ended (once they’re sure it’s over)
- Tendency to hold back part of themselves
- Not good with money or practical day-to-day life necessities
- Extreme dislike of conflict and criticism
- Have very high expectations for themselves and others (both a strength and weakness)
- Have difficulty leaving a bad relationship
What does Success mean to an INFJ?
People with the INFJ personality type are intense and often are perfectionists. They have deep insights into many aspects of life, and usually have very high standards for their own understanding and accomplishments, as well as those of others. They are service-oriented and empathetic to other individuals. The INFJ strives for the ideal in every aspect of their life. An INFJ’s feeling of success is centered on their own level of understanding and accomplishment, their usefulness or service to others, and the condition of their personal relationships. The INFJ feels successful when they have used their very deep understanding of something to do a real service for someone. We often see INFJ personality types as counselors and teachers, or in the medical and health fields.
Allowing Your INFJ Strengths to Flourish
As an INFJ, you have gifts that are specific to your personality type that aren’t natural strengths for other types. By recognizing your special gifts and encouraging their growth and development, you will more readily see your place in the world, and be more content with your role.
Nearly all INFJ’s will recognize the following characteristics in themselves. They should embrace and nourish these strengths:
- They’re extremely insightful, and see things that are not obvious to others. This ability to see patterns and meanings in the world can help the INFJ in many different INFJ’s usually have a great deal of insight into different people and situations.
- When given a goal or context, an INFJ is able to generate all kinds of They’re able to see the problem from many different angles.
- They understand how others are feeling, and are genuinely concerned with This natural empathy and caring helps to be really effective at helping others through problems. In this manner, they make great friends, counselors, teachers, and mates.
- An INFJ has a “stick to it” attitude. They’re not afraid of hard work, and will put forth a great deal of effort towards something that they believe in. This persistence will help the INFJ to achieve an identified goal.
- Perfectionistic and idealistic, they always strive for the best.
- Usually intelligent and able to concentrate and focus, the INFJ can usually grasp difficult ideas and concepts.
INFJ’s who have a well-developed Extraverted Feeling function to complement their dominant Introverted iNtuition will enjoy these very special gifts:
- They can turn their insightful understanding about a situation into a successful plan of action.
- The INFJ with well-developed judgment will be able to grasp and process concepts that are beyond what their natural intelligence appears to be able to handle.
- They may achieve a level of understanding that makes them appear wise.
- The INFJ’s perfectionism and idealism, when combined with their empathy and genuine concern for others, can cause them to be true servants for people in some fashion. They may be great doctors or ministers or If they have also achieved a good amount of life wisdom, they can become powerful forces.
Potential Problem Areas
With any gift of strength, there is an associated weakness. Without “bad”, there would be no “good”. Without “difficult”, there would be no “easy”. We value our strengths, but we often curse and ignore our weaknesses. To grow as a person and get what we want out of life, we must not only capitalize upon our strengths, but also face our weaknesses and deal with them. That means taking a hard look at our personality type’s potential problem areas.
INFJ’s are rare and intelligent people with many special gifts. This should be kept in mind as you read some of the more negative material about INFJ weaknesses. Remember that these weaknesses are natural. We offer this information to enact positive change, rather than as blatant criticism. We want you to grow into your full potential, and be the happiest and most successful person that you can become.
Most of the weaker characteristics that are found in INFJ’s are due to their dominant function (Introverted iNtuition) overtaking their personality to the point that the other forces in their personality exist merely to serve the purposes of Introverted iNtuition. In such cases, an INFJ may show some or all of the following weaknesses in varying degrees:
- May be unaware (and sometimes uncaring) of how they come across to others
- May quickly dismiss input from others without really considering it
- May apply their judgment more often towards others, rather than towards themselves
- With their ability to see an issue from many sides, they may always find others at fault for any problems in their lives
- May have unrealistic and/or unreasonable expectations of others
- May be intolerant of weaknesses in others
- May believe that they’re always right
- May be obsessive and passionate about details that may be unimportant to the big picture
- May be cuttingly derisive and sarcastic towards others
- May have an intense and quick temper
- May be tense, wound up, have high blood pressure and find it difficult to relax
- May hold grudges, and have difficulty forgiving people
- May be wishy-washy and unsure how to act in situations that require quick decision making
- May have difficulty communicating their thoughts and feelings to others
- May see so many tangents everywhere that they can’t stay focused on the bottom line or the big picture
Explanation of Problems
Most of the problems described above are a result of Introverted iNtuition overtaking the INFJ’s personality to the point that all of the other functions become slaves to Introverted iNtuition. A healthy personality needs to have a good balance between its dominant and auxiliary functions. For an INFJ, the dominant Introverted iNtuition needs to be well-supported by the auxiliary Extraverted Feeling function. If Extraverted Feeling exists only to support the desires of Introverted iNtuition, then neither function is being used to its potential.
Introverted iNtuition is a personality function that constantly gathers information, and sees everything from many different perspectives. As the dominant player in a personality, it has the effect of constantly bombarding the psyche with new information to consider. Introverted iNtuition is sort of like a framework for understanding that exists in the mind. As something is perceived, it is melded into the existing intuitive framework. If an entirely new piece of information is perceived by the Introverted iNtuitive, that person must redefine their entire framework of reference. So, Introverted iNtuitives are constantly taking in information about the world that needs to be processed in a relatively lengthy manner in order to be understood. That presents quite a challenge to the INFJ. It’s not unusual for an INFJ to feel overwhelmed with all of the things that he or she needs to consider in order to fully understand an idea or situation.
When Introverted iNtuition dominates the INFJ such that the other functions cannot serve their own purposes, we find the INFJ cutting off information that it needs to consider. If the psyche is presented with information that looks anything like something that Introverted iNtuition has processed in the past, it uses Extraverted Feeling to quickly reject that information. The psyche uses Extraverted Feeling to reject the ideas, rather than taking the information into its intuitive framework, and therefore potentially causing that framework to be reshaped and redefined.
Using Extraverted Feeling in this manner may effectively serve the immediate needs of Introverted iNtuition, but it is not ideal. It causes the INFJ to not consider information that may be useful or critical in developing a real understanding of an issue. It may cause the INFJ to come off as too strongly opinionated or snobbish to others.
The better use of Extraverted Feeling for an INFJ would be to use it to assess the INFJ’s rich insights and weigh them against the external world. When the INFJ personality uses Extraverted Feeling to cut off incoming information, rather than to judge internal intuitions, it is effectively cheating itself. It’s like getting the answers to a test without having to really understand the questions. It’s easier to get the answer right away, rather than to have to figure everything out. For the INFJ, who has a tremendous amount of information and “studying” that needs to be done, it’s very tempting to take shortcuts. Most INFJ’s will do this to some extent. The real problems occur when an INFJ personality has become so imbalanced that its owner is extremely self-important and rarely consider anyone else’s opinions or ideas.
To grow as an individual, the INFJ needs to focus on applying their judgment to things only after they have gone through their intuition. In other words, the INFJ needs to consciously try not to use their judgment to dismiss ideas prematurely. Rather, they should use their judgment against their own ideas. One cannot effectively judge something that they don’t understand. The INFJ needs to take things entirely into their intuition in order to understand them. It may be necessary to give your intuition enough time to work through the new information so that it can rebuild its global framework of understanding. INFJ’s need to focus on using their judgment not to dismiss ideas, but rather to support their intuitive framework.
An INFJ who is concerned with personal growth will pay close attention to the subject of their judgments, and their motivation for making judgments. Are they judging something external to themselves, or are they judging something that they have sifted through their intuition? Is the motivation for judging something to be able to understand its usefulness in the world, or to dismiss it? Too often, an INFJ will judge something without properly understanding it, and with the intention of dismissing it. Seek first to understand, then to judge.
Living Happily in our World as an INFJ
Some INFJ’s have difficulty fitting into our society. Their problems are generally associated with not knowing (or caring) how they come across to others, and with having unreasonable expectations for others’ behaviors. Both of these issues stem from using Extraverted Feeling primarily to dismiss external ideas, rather than to sort through their own intuitions.
An INFJ who uses Extraverted Feeling in this diminished manner may become so strongly opinionated that they form rigid and unreasonable expectations for others. They may feel so strongly about things that they become very passionate and agitated when they feel that something has gone wrong. In these cases, it’s not uncommon for the INFJ to express their displeasure with biting sarcasm. They become so emotionally upset that they are generally not aware of how their behavior comes across to others. Even if the consequences of their attitude and behavior are pointed out to them, they may be agitated to the point that they don’t care. This kind of situation can be devastating to the INFJ on many levels, and should be avoided. There isn’t much that can be done once the INFJ has reached the point where they are too upset to care about others, but the INFJ can prevent this problem from occurring by ensuring that they never get to that point.
How can you, as an INFJ, ensure that you won’t get that upset? It probably seems to you that these kinds of upsets are caused by external circumstances and situations. Well, that’s not really true. It’s true that things will happen over which you have no control. But you certainly have control over how you perceive these things, or more appropriately, how you *judge* these things.
Take care to listen to someone’s idea entirely before you pass judgment on it. Ask questions if necessary. Do whatever it takes to make sure that you understand the idea. Try not to begin judging anything about the idea until you have understood it entirely.
Before you begin talking to another person, pause for a moment and look at that person. Take in that person’s attitude and feelings at that moment. Be aware of the person with whom you’re speaking.
If you become upset, walk away immediately. DO NOT express anger. When you get angry, you lose. After you have calmed down, apologize for leaving and continue with what you were doing.
Try to identify the personality type of everyone that you encounter frequently in your life. Remember that people with the Sensing preference need to be communicated with in a direct, concise manner. Speak plainly and simply with Sensors, giving “yes” or “no” answers.
Try to be on good terms with all people, even those that you consider beneath you. Try to understand that everybody has something to offer.
Ten Rules to Live By to Achieve INFJ Success
- Feed Your Strengths! Do things that allow your brilliant intuition and service-oriented manner to flourish.
- Face Your Weaknesses! See your weaknesses for what they are, and seek to overcome them. Especially, strive to use your judgment against your internal ideas and intuitions, rather than as a means of disregarding other people’s ideas.
- You need to step through your intuitions in order to put them into perspective. Give yourself time to do this, and take advantage of discussing ideas with others. You’ll find externalizing your internal intuitions to be a valuable exercise.
- Take in Everything. Don’t dismiss ideas prematurely because you don’t respect the person generating the ideas, or because you think you already know it all. After all, everybody has something to offer, and nobody knows everything. Steven Covey says it so well when he says: “Seek first to understand, and then to be understood.”
- When You Get Angry, You Lose. Your passion and intensity are strong assets, but can be very harmful if you allow yourself to fall into the “Anger Trap”. Remember that Anger is destructive to your personal relationships. Work through your anger before you impress it upon others, or you will likely find yourself alone. Disagreements and disappointments can only be handled effectively in a non-personal and dispassionate manner.
- Keep Your Eye on the Big Picture Watch out for your tendency to become obsessed with details. If you find yourself feeling very, very strongly about a small detail, take a big step back and make sure that you can still see the goal. You’re not going to get there if you get mired in the details.
- Don’t blame the problems in your life on other people. Look inwardly for solutions. No one has more control over your life than you have.
- Be Humble. Judge yourself at least as harshly as you judge others.
- Don’t distress yourself and others by dwelling on the dark side of everything. Just as there is a positive charge for every negative charge, there is a light side to every dark side. Remember that positive situations are created by positive attitudes. Expect the best, and the best will come forward.
- Relax! Do yourself a favor and learn how to effectively unwind. Get exercise and restful sleep. Take vacations. Engage in relaxing activities. Take care of yourself and your loved ones by learning to let go of your passion and intensity for a respite.
Much of this content was written by Robert Heyward.