INFJ is one of the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types, characterized by introversion, intuition, feeling, and judging. People with this type are known for their creativity, insight, and idealism, and are often described as “the Counselor” or “the advocate”. INFJs make up approximately 1-2% of the population. INFJs are sensitive, compassionate, and highly attuned to the emotions of others, making them excellent counselors and confidantes. They are often seen as the “mystical” types, who are deeply in tune with the spiritual and metaphysical aspects of life.
INFJs are deep thinkers, and are often seen as wise beyond their years. They are also known for their ability to see the big picture and to develop meaningful long-term plans and goals. Despite their introverted nature, they are highly skilled at reading people and situations, and they are able to use this insight to bring about positive change. INFJs are idealistic individuals and are able to see potential in situations that others may not be able to see.
Cognitive Functions of INFJs:
To gain insight into the characteristics of INFJ personalities, it is helpful to understand the dominant and auxiliary cognitive functions that drive them. According to the MBTI system, each personality type has a set of cognitive functions that they use most frequently, which leads to consistent patterns and characteristics. For INFJs,
- the dominant cognitive function is Introverted Intuition (Ni), and
- the auxiliary function is Extroverted Feeling (Fe) that supports the dominant function
Dominant Ni: People with a dominant Introverted Intuition (Ni) tend to be highly intuitive and imaginative. They are known for their ability to see patterns and connections that others may not, and they often have a strong sense of the future and the potential outcomes of different actions. They may also have a tendency to get lost in their own thoughts and ideas and may need time alone to reflect and process information.
Their dominant Ni is the source of many of INFJs’ greatest gifts. This function allows them to delve into psychological areas that others may avoid. It gives them flashes of inspiration, imagination, originality, access to their unconscious mind, ingenuity, and visions of what could be.
Auxiliary Fe: People with an auxiliary Extraverted Feeling (Fe) function tend to be empathetic and sensitive to the needs and emotions of others. They are skilled at interpreting and responding to social cues, but may struggle with confrontation or expressing their own needs. They pay attention to the impact their actions and words have on others and may seek to create a sense of connection and community.
This function makes INFJs deeply concerned with the well-being and feelings of others, which can make them appear extraverted.
INFJs’ dominant Ni provides them insight to see reality as subjective and relative, giving them the ability to acknowledge someone’s viewpoint as valid without requiring logical justification or factual accuracy. This, paired with their Fe makes INFJs highly receptive listeners and gives them the ability to connect with others on a deep emotional level.
However, due to these dominant functions, INFJs may have less conscious energy to develop their weaker functions in Thinking and Sensing. This can lead to certain challenges in areas such as logical analysis, objective decision making (Thinking), staying in the present moment or picking up & adapting to sensory information in their environment (Sensing).
Like all personality types, INFJs have a combination of strengths and weaknesses. Some of strengths of INFJs include:
- Idealism: INFJs are often very idealistic and have a strong sense of purpose. They are deeply committed to living in accordance with their values and are highly motivated to work towards a greater cause to make the world a better place.
- Empathy: Their auxiliary Fe allows them to be empathetic and sensitive to the feelings and emotions of others. They are great at understanding others’ needs and motivations, which makes them good team players and helps them build strong relationships with colleagues.
- Conflict resolution: INFJs are skilled at facilitating harmony and consensus in groups and excel at resolving conflicts, owing to their auxiliary Fe. They are also excellent negotiators, and are great at finding common ground with different parties.
- Problem-solving: INFJs have the ability to see the big picture, develop long-term goals, and anticipate potential challenges or limitations in their plans, thanks to their dominant Ni. This intuitive insight into situations makes them skilled at identifying and solving complex problems.
Some weaknesses of INFJs include:
- Sensitivity and struggle with confrontation: INFJs’ sensitivity to the emotions of others and desire to maintain harmony, due to their auxiliary Fe, can make them easily overwhelmed by negative emotions, unable to confront others or express their own needs and boundaries, affecting their relationships and work performance.
- Perfectionism: INFJs may struggle with perfectionism due to their tendency to hold themselves and others to high standards. This can lead to overthinking and being overly critical, as they ruminate on ways to improve perceived flaws. Their dominant Ni may cause them to get lost in thought patterns and grand visions, rather than taking a realistic approach.
- Struggle with expressing themselves: INFJs may have difficulty expressing themselves in a straightforward way, which makes it difficult for them to assert themselves in group situations. This may be due to their dominant Ni, which encourages them to process information internally and can make it difficult for them to communicate their insights in a way that others can easily understand.
- Knowing others but not themselves: INFJs excel at understanding others but may struggle with understanding and expressing their own emotions. This can lead them to prioritize the needs of others over their own and to sometimes say or do things that others want to hear, even if they do not align with their true emotions.
INFJs excel in abstract and symbolic concepts and can pursue careers in research-driven fields, but they seek work with both intellectual challenge and meaning. They are drawn to careers that have a positive impact on the world, such as:
- Counselor or therapist: INFJs excel as therapists or psychologists, as their Fe gives them the unique ability to connect with their patients’ inner lives and they can use their personal warmth, insight, and interpretive skills to help their patients.
- Writer or journalist: INFJs’ creativity and ability to see the deeper meaning or purpose behind events and experiences may make them well-suited to careers in writing or journalism. They may excel in roles where they can express their ideas and insights through the written word.
- Educator: INFJs may also enjoy careers in education, where they can inspire and guide others to reach their full potential. They excel in roles where they can connect with their students and help them understand complex concepts.
- Nonprofit or humanitarian work: INFJs’ idealism and desire to make a positive impact on the world may lead them to careers in the nonprofit or humanitarian sector.
- Artist: INFJs make great artists, as their creativity and originality allow them to express themselves and share their vision with others. This is often due to their dominant Ni which allows them to see patterns, visions, and symbolism in things. INFJs may struggle to communicate these ideas verbally, and instead resort to expressing themselves through abstract artwork that holds deeper symbolic meaning.
INFJs are not suited for careers in politics, sales, or marketing due to their introverted nature and unwillingness to compromise on their beliefs, which conflicts with the need for social interaction and stretching the truth in such careers.
INFJs have a natural ability to work well with others. They enjoy helping people with their problems in the workplace, value staff harmony and strive to create a pleasant work environment.
INFJs’ need for innovation and alternative perspectives (due to their dominant Ni) combined with their ability to form strong connections with people (due to their auxiliary Fe), may also often lead them to positions of authority. They are appreciated for their ability to listen and consider the feelings and values of the group, and as a result, they may be elected to serve on boards and committees by others, even if they do not actively seek out leadership roles.
INFJs are known for their strong commitment to integrity in their work. Their inner vision and conviction for what is best for the greater good earns them respect and honor from others. Due to their natural inclination towards harmony, they often try to persuade others of the validity of their points to avoid conflict. However, when subjected to hostile working conditions or constant criticism, INFJs expend a lot of energy trying to bring everyone on the same page. As a result, INFJs may become exhausted, and struggle to maintain their effectiveness in the workplace.
INFJs, being perfectionists, may struggle to balance their career demands with the needs of their families. If their jobs involve working closely with others in personal development, such as teaching or counseling, they can become so wrapped up in the needs of their students or clients that they neglect the needs of their loved ones. They may need to learn how to prioritize and set boundaries in order to ensure that their loved ones are given the time and attention they need.
INFJs seek more than just a life partner in their relationships – they want a “soul partner” with whom they can connect on a deep, spiritual level. They value intimacy and honesty in their relationships and want to be able to share their complex inner lives and communicate openly about their feelings, causes, fantasies, and ethical dilemmas. Their auxiliary Fe makes them the master of intimacy. It gives them a strong ability to understand and relate to the thoughts and feelings of others, which allows them to completely take on another person’s mental state. This makes their partners feel completely understood and accepted, and allows INFJs to build close, loving relationships naturally.
However, INFJs may often struggle with emotional dependence in their relationships. While they are often sensitive and caring, they may become resentful if their partners become too reliant on them for emotional support and validation. They may feel pressure to provide their partners with the ideal love, understanding, and acceptance that they desire. This can be a challenge for INFJs, as they struggle to balance their own emotional needs with those of their loved ones
In conclusion, INFJs are deeply introspective and empathetic individuals who strive to find harmony in their environment. They are natural nurturers and have a strong sense of purpose in their lives. They are creative, sensitive, and complex individuals who can struggle with self-doubt and feeling misunderstood. However, when they are able to tap into their strengths and use their intuition and empathy to make meaningful connections with others, they can achieve great success and make the world a better place.