What do Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Morgan Freeman, Martin Luther King, and Nicole Kidman have in common? They’re all INFJs! The INFJ series of letters may not mean much to you, but together they represent an unusual combination of personality traits. So unusual, in fact, that it is estimated that only about 1 or 2% of the world’s population has this type of personality. Here’s how to know if you know someone who is INFJ (or if you are INFJ yourself!)
1. A quick guide to the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types
The Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung has developed a theory on the understanding of fundamental personality traits. He was the first to distinguish between introverted and extroverted. Inspired by her early work on personalities, Isabelle Briggs Myers and her mother Katherine Myers described 4 key traits that helped to give an insight into a person’s personality, the Myers-Brigg type indicator:
- Introverted versus extroverted: Do you tend to focus internally or externally?
- Sensation versus intuition: Do you tend to take things literally or give them extra meaning?
- Thinking versus feeling: Does your decision-making tend to be based on coherent “rules” or on individual circumstances?
- Judging versus perceiving: Do you prefer the structure or do you prefer to “go with the flow”?
This combination of personality traits is expressed in a 4-letter chain, INFJ. Some experts in modern Myers-Briggs personality traits also add a fifth trait, which is as follows: affirmative versus turbulent; do you tend to be confident or do your emotions depend a lot on your situation?
2. What is an INFJ?
Someone who can be described as introverted, intuitive, sensitive and judgmental is an INFJ. There are many things that are special with this rare type of personality that most other people simply cannot identify with.
3. They have a very strong intuition
The intuition of the INFJ is one of the most important personality traits. They can usually feel when something is wrong with a person before they know it. Their first impressions of people are generally quite accurate, and INFJs feel that they can know more about a person than what is on the surface. They are very good at reading between the lines.
4. They are usually fantastic writers
Being both introverted and natural leaders, INFJs tend to focus on writing to express themselves. They have a very rich internal experience. They usually have extremely complex problems in their heads, but they may have difficulty correctly expressing all their conflicting feelings in real time. Creative writing allows them to organize their thoughts in a way that is easier for others to understand.
5. They are often silent,but are fervent defenders of what they are passionate about
INFJs learn to closely monitor their social “battery” and often do not engage in surface conversations if they are not required to do so. Their calm can sometimes be misinterpreted as timidity or even rude disinterest, but the truth is that they simply keep their limited energy for the things that matter most to them.
Even the most introverted INFJs would be happy to address a crowded stadium and plead for something that matters to them. The INFJ is a classic idealist, and their empathy often leads them to questions of social justice.
6. They can be very private people
While almost all introverts prefer to have a small circle of trusted people, the INFJJ often has withdrawal periods from everyone, even their partners. INFJs can sometimes be overwhelmed with cognitive dissonance – they prefer order and structure, but they make decisions based on each individual circumstance, and their intuition can often make things more complicated by adding layers of information.
They often refrain from expressing their feelings to their caregivers for fear of not being able to represent all the complexities involved. This can lead to a feeling of isolation and loneliness in a larger group than when they are really alone.
In addition, INFJs are very selective about their intimate circle. If their intuition tells them that a person is not entirely authentic, they will not bother to open up to them about details of their lives.
7. They can be a little too intense for other people
INFJs can be extremely intense people. When an INFJ looks at you, it seems to establish an unshakeable contact with your soul. Youtuber Frank James explains perfectly why INFJ’s do this.
8. Without a goal, they can feel lost and unmotivated
INFJ’s are constantly searching for a purpose in their lives. If they do not see the value of something, it becomes almost impossible to do so. They have an all-or-nothing approach. It is important that they have a career that makes sense to them, and they would usually be willing to sacrifice a higher salary to do work that allows them to achieve personal fulfillment.
The particularity of INFJ’s is that they are both dreamers and doers. Their idealism gives them a clear vision of what life could be like, and their preference for order allows them to have a keen sense of the details necessary for their vision to actually come true.
9. Their romantic relationships are intense
INFJs are very selective about who they let into their lives, and they trust their instincts when it comes to reading people’s intentions. It takes them a long time to open up to people, but when an INFJJ finds a partner, they plunge wholeheartedly into the relationship.
INFJ’s are extremely attentive partners, attentive listeners and have a keen sense of what their loved ones need. The unique combination of listening to their inner self and the people around them often leads to open-hearted conversations that foster a very meaningful connection. Don’t go out with an INFJ lightly!
10. They are extremely sensitive
Whether assertive or turbulent, INFJs are very sensitive to the feelings of others towards them. They may be more aware than most others who make subtle negative comments. Assertive INFJs, however, tend to be less progressive because they are not appreciated by everyone.
One particular thing to which many are sensitive, however, is guilt. They stick to very high standards and can get caught up in ruminating about their mistakes, especially when they have a negative impact on others.
11. When things get difficult, they persevere
Loyalty is one of the strongest motivations of the INFJ. Whether it is loyalty to a cause or to a loved one, they will cling to adversity and stick to what they believe. They care deeply about others, but it can sometimes make them feel exhausted because they put a lot of energy into the needs of others.
12. They notice more embarrassing situations than most people
For those who tend to avoid chatter, the social intuition of an INFJ often surprises people. They are very empathetic to those around them, and they often feel that they can interpret more information about a person than they seem to, so they are among the first to know when someone in the room says something (even accidentally) that could offend someone around them. They can easily perceive the discomfort in people’s body language, and they can tell when people feel hurt, included or tired.