INFJ men are complex, warm, and perceptive. They’re drawn to women who are intelligent, creative, and compassionate. While few INFJ men ever achieve perfect relationships, they always wish for them. This is a positive quality when they stay in a commitment but it works against them when they move from one woman to another, always seeking a partner who lives up to their ideals.
If you’re in a relationship with an INFJ male, your feelings won’t go unnoticed. He’ll pick up every nuance and shift in your mood. Sometimes you’ll think he can read your mind. He’s a skillful, attentive lover who won’t be happy unless he can give as much pleasure as he receives. He views lovemaking as a nearly spiritual experience and wants you to feel the same.
Have no fear that he’ll leave you on a whim. He’s steadfast and loyal. Hurting people is not what he does. In fact, he has a tendency to hang on to partnerships long after they start going bad. If your relationship begins to deteriorate, you’re likely to see him struggling with himself. If he finally concludes that his efforts are useless, he’s likely to move on quickly. Don’t expect to go through a series of arguments. That’s not his style. There’ll be no shouting or fighting, just a quiet announcement that it’s over and time for him to go.
If your commitment stands the test of time, you can look forward to years of meaningful companionship. You’ll receive thoughtful gifts, favors and compliments. INFJ men enjoy showing their love, but they also like to hear that it’s appreciated. Getting material gifts from you isn’t necessary. They’re happy with your words of pleasure and gratitude.
Don’t risk being dishonest with an INFJ man. You won’t get by with it for long. INFJs have little patience for people they consider fake or corrupt. They recognize lies quickly, even if they don’t talk about it.
You may notice that other women are attracted to your INFJ partner. He may not realize this. He’s hard to resist because of his intelligence, warmth, and consideration. He has interesting ways of viewing the world. He inspires people be their best. Yet because he’s a selfless person, he doesn’t recognize the impact he has on others. His modesty is part of his appeal.
If you’re lucky enough to find an INFJ man, don’t count on his making the first move. INFJs are rarely to first ones to initiate social contact. Ask whether he’d like to have coffee sometime. If he’s interested, you’ll know. Also, keep these pointers in mind:
1. On a date, don’t talk about designer labels, top ten music, and other superficial matters. This is a major put-off for INFJs, who enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Money and fads are of limited interest.
2. Leave your hand-held devices at home unless you need them for directions to a theatre, restaurant, etc.
3. Don’t flirt with other men. You won’t impress your INFJ man. He’ll worry that you’re an unreliable partner.
4. Don’t suggest that you’re out for a temporary affair.
5. Don’t pressure him into going places that involve crowds of people, unless they’re quiet spectator events such as concerts, art shows, etc. Remember, he’s an introvert.
6. Even though he may talk about expensive places he can take you, let him know that you’re idea of a good date is spending time one-on-one with him. You’d rather be picnicking next to a river in his company than eating at a five-star restaurant.
7. If your relationship moves on to sexual intimacy, take your time at lovemaking. Don’t rush the process. Savor every moment.
8. Don’t lie to him, even about little things. He’ll pick up on it and your deceits will lower his opinion of you.
9. Be patient about learning the INFJ’s innermost secrets. INFJs are more guarded than most Myers-Briggs types. If your partnership flourishes, he’ll eventually tell you everything.
Of all sixteen types, the INFJ has the greatest capacity for love and compassion in a relationship. If you find an INFJ man, hang on. He’s one in a hundred.
It’s obvious from the letters I-N-F-J and I-S-T-P that the only trait these two personality types have in common is their introversion. Both types enjoy privacy. They find meaning not from superficial encounters but from intimate relationships and experiences that provide them with food for thought.
Sensing vs. Intuition
Because ISTPs rely on their sensing preference more than their intuition, they are driven to understand how things work. They usually have good eye-hand coordination, so they’re often good at fixing things. They use their minds for practical matters and think problems through while working on them. Theories don’t interest them unless they can be put to practical use.
In contrast, INFJs aren’t mechanically minded. They tend to get impatient with details of all kinds. The processes by which things are accomplished don’t interest them as much as the outcomes. While their perspectives on problem-solving differ, ISTPs and INFJs often complement each other. For example, the INFJ who doesn’t want to bother taking apart a toaster to see why it’s not working can depend on an ISTP partner to sort his or her way to the solution logically. At the same time, if the problem is a blown fuse, that idea may occur to the INFJ intuitively before the ISTP thinks to check the fusebox.
When an ISTP and INFJ collect information to make a big decision such as a car purchase, their sensing and intuitive functions may collide. The ISTP may not be satisfied until all aspects of a model are checked out and the vehicle is examined by a mechanic. The INFJ is more likely to base his or her decision on how the engine runs and if the car feels good to drive. The ISTP’s private opinion is that the INFJ rushes to conclusions without taking enough precautions. The INFJ thinks the ISTP is too fussy about details.
Thinking vs. Feeling
When an ISTP-INFJ relationship runs aground, it’s usually because of thinking-feeling conflicts. ISTPs make decisions based on facts rather than feelings and values. This impersonal approach gives them a tendency to ignore the effects of their actions on others. ISTPs are often unclear about their own feelings. INFJs, on the other hand, are more inclined to make decisions based on emotions, although they do examine the facts. Because of this difference, the ISTP can hurt the INFJ’s feelings without meaning to. The INFJ can get on the ISTP’s nerves with his or her emotional reactions to situations.
Perceiving vs. Judging
Because of their perceiving preference, ISTPs don’t worry much about deadlines and usually finish jobs just under the wire. They postpone projects and then rush to finish them on time. They’re often late for appointments. In contrast, INFJs work on a schedule, make lists, and make sure to meet their deadlines with time to spare. They plan projects. They don’t just jump in. In this arena, too, the INFJ and ISTP can get on each other’s nerves.
Making the Relationship Work
Most INFJs appreciate the ability of ISTPs to enjoy the details of life without over-thinking. ISTPs have a matter-of-fact, uncomplicated way of viewing the world. This can be a relief to the complex INFJ for whom very little is easy. Often the ISTP has practical solutions to the small problems of life such as how to replace a bicycle chain or figuring out what’s killing the rose bushes. The INFJ is better at personal issues, such as why their teenager was grumpy at dinner last night.
Despite their mutual appreciation of privacy, it takes effort and patience to make an ISTP-INFJ relationship work. The two must respect each other’s methods of processing information. The ISTP should try to understand the INFJ’s need for emotional support. Often this requires that the INFJ explain his or her needs to the ISTP and make suggestions for meeting them. At the same time, INFJs shouldn’t expect ISTPs to be their sole source of emotional support. They need to cultivate friends who can empathize with their feelings.
As close friends, INFJs and ISTPs enjoy sharing experiences quietly, away from crowds. They’re most at ease when they’re camping, listening to music, or watching a documentary. Words aren’t necessary. The shared experience is enough.
When people think of religion, they usually think of a spiritual path involving a diety, as in Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. This isn’t true of Buddhism, which was founded by an Indian prince, Gautama Siddhartha, over 2500 years ago. He made no claim to being a deity or worshipping one. His father, the king, had shielded him from scenes of poverty, illness and death when he was a boy, but he discovered the painful realities of human suffering when he traveled through his father’s kingdom on his own. The discovery led him to abandon his riches as a young man to travel the world in search of a way to relieve the suffering of others.
Basis of Buddhism
Siddhartha’s quest for compassion, happiness and the meaning of life took long years of his own privation and suffering. When he finally believed he had attained enlightenment, he began to teach others about his spiritual path. By then people were calling him “Buddha” (“Enlightened One”). The Buddha claimed no supernatural powers. He claimed only to have found a way of life based on loving kindness that brought peace and contentment. Every follower, he taught, may follow this path but each must live by his or her own inner lights.
Buddhists believe that most of our problems and suffering arise from confused, negative states of mind. Happiness and good fortune arise from love, compassion and wisdom. Following this path is why many Buddhists are vegetarians; they don’t believe in taking life unnecessarily. When conflicts arise, Buddhists believe in peaceful, nonviolent resolutions. They don’t argue, fight about their beliefs, or try to convert others. They accept people as they are, striving only to understand them and treat them with loving kindness.
Respect for All Life
Buddhists treasure life, no matter what form it comes in. Elephants, whales, dogs and other forms of life have spirits that must be honored just as the human spirit is. Some Buddhist monks, when they walk in the forest, sweep the path before them so as not to crush any insects. Most Buddhists don’t go that far, but they respect the motives of the monks. Even plants are driven to survive. Who’s to tell where the line is drawn?
Meditation is at the heart of Buddhist life. It involves turning the mind away from rational thinking and resting in the process of breathing and the knowledge that one’s heart keeps beating faithfully . The meditator can quiet his or her ambitious, judging, or anxious thoughts and rest at the simplest energy level.
The Buddhist path of peace and loving kindness has as much meaning today as it did in ancient India. As Geshe Kelsang, Tibetan Buddhist monk, wrote in his book Eight Steps to Happiness, “Every living being has the potential to become a Buddha…Our mind is like a cloudy sky, in essence clear and pure but overcast by the clouds of delusions.”
In my AA home group, we start meetings by reading from the Big Book: “AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization, or institution.” Then we end with the Lord’s Prayer.
There’s something wrong here. The Lord’s Prayer is from the New Testament of the Christian Bible (Matthew 6:9-13). As a Christian Internet source states. “Through this prayer, Jesus invited us to approach God as Father. Indeed, the Lord’s Prayer has been called a summary of the Christian gospel.”
Like many other members of AA, I am not a Christian. My spirituality does not embrace a God of either gender. The Big Book chapter “We Agnostics” states: “When therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God” and “To us the Realm of Sprit is broad, roomy, all inclusive.”
The Lord’s Prayer is a long-running hot topic that crops up regularly at AA meetings around the world. To many alcoholics, the Lord’s Prayer is a mandatory part of the AA meeting ritual. They don’t stop to consider that insulting people like me with a prayer we don’t believe in—making us feel apart from instead of part of—goes against the grain of the fellowship’s philosophy.
A study of AA groups around the world asked AA members what prayers they use at their meetings. Responses came from sober Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Shintoists, Native Americans, atheists, and pagans from North America, Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa. Most groups in non-Christian counties use the Serenity Prayer to close their meetings.
Why don’t we?
It’s obvious looking at the letters I-N-F-J and I-S-T-P that these two Myers-Briggs personality types are very different. The only trait they have in common is their introversion. Both types enjoy privacy. They find meaning not from superficial experiences but from their contemplation of them.
Sensing vs. Intuition
Because ISTPs rely on their sensing preference more than their intuition, they are driven to understand how things work. They usually have good eye-hand coordination, which makes them skilled at fixing things. They use their minds for practical matters and think problems through while working on them. Theories don’t interest them unless they can be put to practical use.
In contrast, INFJs aren’t mechanically minded. They get impatient with details and prefer to head straight to outcomes. The ISTP can be a big help to the INFJ who doesn’t want to bother with, say, taking apart a toaster to see why it’s not working. If the problem is a blown fuse, that may occur to the INFJ intuitively while the ISTP works his or her way to the solution through logic. ISTPs are likely to examine the parts of the toaster before checking the fusebox. The two types have complementary strengths.
When an ISTP and INFJ collect information to make a big decision, such as what car to buy, their sensing and intuitive functions may collide. The ISTP may not be satisfied until all aspects of a model are checked out and the vehicle is examined by a mechanic. The INFJ is more likely to base his or her decision on how the engine runs and if the car feels good to drive. The ISTP’s private opinion is that the INFJ rushes to conclusions without taking enough precautions. The INFJ thinks the ISTP is too fussy about details.
Thinking vs. Feeling
When an ISTP-INFJ relationship runs aground, it’s usually because of thinking-feeling conflicts. ISTPs make decisions based on facts rather than feelings and values. This impersonal approach gives them a tendency to ignore the effects of their actions on others. They may not even be clear about their own feelings. INFJs’ emotions are more likely to influence their decisions, although they do examine the facts. Because of this difference, the ISTP can hurt the INFJ’s feelings without meaning to. The INFJ can get on the ISTP’s nerves with his or her emotional reactions.
Perceiving vs. Judging
Because of their perceiving preference, ISTPs don’t worry much about deadlines and usually finish jobs just under the wire. They postpone starting projects and then rush to finish them on time. They’re often late for appointments. In contrast, INFJs work on a schedule, make lists, and make sure to meet their deadlines with time to spare. They plan projects. They don’t just jump in. In this arena, too, the INFJ and ISTP can get on each other’s nerves.
Making the Relationship Work
It takes effort and patience to make an ISTP-INFJ relationship work. The two must respect each other’s methods of processing information. The ISTP should try to understand the INFJ’s need for emotional support. Often this requires that the INFJ explain his or her needs to the ISTP and make suggestions for meeting them. INFJs shouldn’t expect ISTPs to be their sole source of emotional support. They need to cultivate a few friends who can empathize with their feelings and give them support.
As close friends, INFJs and ISTPs enjoy sharing experiences quietly, away from crowds. They’re most at ease when they’re camping, listening to music, or watching a documentary. Words aren’t necessary. The shared experience is enough.
The INFJ appreciates the ISTP’s ability to enjoy the details of life without over-thinking. ISTPs have a matter-of-fact, uncomplicated way of viewing the world. This can be a relief to the complex INFJ for whom very little is easy. Often the ISTP has practical solutions to the small problems of life: how to replace a bicycle chain, determining what’s causing the funny noise in the car engine, or figuring out what’s killing the roses in the yard.
INFJs are the rarest Myers-Briggs personality type—found in only one percent of the population. The combination of introversion, intuition, feeling and judging make INFJs insightful, persuasive, charismatic, and passionate. When famous INFJs worked for good, they were positive forces in the world. When they turned evil, they became dangerous and desperate people.
INFJs whose childhood influences nourished their desire to do good in the world include Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King. INFJs turned evil include Adolf Hitler, Osama bin Laden, and David Koresh.
Here are their stories.
Born to the royal Thembu family in rural South Africa in 1918, Nelson Mandela spent his early boyhood tending cattle in the countryside. He grew up with two sisters in his mother’s village. At the age of seven, he was sent to a Methodist school where a teacher gave him the English name Nelson.
As a young man, Mandela studied law in Johannesburg. Because of his legal efforts against apartheid, he served over 27 years in prison. He was released in 1990 only after international organizations campaigned for his pardon. In 1994, he was elected South Africa’s first black leader. During his life, he received more than 250 honors, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize. He died in 2013 at the age of 95.
Among the most influential leaders of the 20th century, Mandela exhibited the best traits of the Myers-Briggs INFJ type. He was eloquent and had a sharp sense of humor that defused many touchy situations. He was confident enough to laugh at himself frequently, endearing him to followers.
Born in 1869, Mahatma Gandhi was the spiritual and political leader of India from 1921 until 1948. Gandhi was raised in a prominent Hindu family. When he was 19, he traveled to Britain to study law. Returning home, he led a nonviolent national struggle for India’s freedom from British rule, which was finally granted in 1947. It was his greatest achievement. He became famous for his many fasts to protest social injustice.
Gandhi was a true INFJ. Even at an early age, his value system was so strong that no one could talk him out of his convictions. Although deeply committed to social change, he achieved his goals without violence. He was a visionary who infected others with his dreams.
October 2, Gandhi’s birthday, is celebrated as the International Day of Nonviolence.
Born in 1929, Martin Luther King was leader of the American civil rights movement in the 1950s and 60s. He used Gandhi’s nonviolent methods to combat racial injustice. King organized numerous peaceful protests U.S. cities, including the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
As a child, King attended church regularly. His belief in the church’s mission led him to study the ministry in college. After earning a PhD degree at Boston University, he decided that church work helped him satisfy his “inner urge to serve humanity.” In 1964, King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent protests against racial inequality.
In 1968, he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. Riots followed in many U.S. cities. After his death, King received numerous posthumous awards. In 1986, Martin Luther King Day was declared a U.S. holiday.
Martin Luther King showed the best traits of an INFJ. He was committed to his ideals and ready to put himself in peril to defend them. He was a brilliant speaker, articulate and forceful. He was able to convince others of his beliefs and pinsire them to action.
Born in 1889, Hitler was the leader of Nazi Germany from 1934 to the end of World War II. He was responsible for the deaths of at least 5.5 million Jews in Nazi concentration camps. Like many INFJs gone bad, Hitler had an unhappy childhood. He got in trouble at school, and his father beat him regularly.
Hitler’s only love was art, which his father considered a waste of time. Adolf was sent to a technical school where he performed poorly and dropped out. After his father died, he worked as a watercolor artist to make a living. His hopes for the future were dashed when he was rejected by Vienna’s Academy of Fine Arts because of his poor academic record.
Hitler had an idealistic streak typical of many INFJs. He was a vegetarian, often trying to persuade friends to give up meat in their diet by describing the inhumane slaughter of animals. He quit drinking and smoking, as well. He was kind to a select few people around him and to his dogs, which he loved. Some of Hitler’s extreme behavior has been blamed on his amphetamine addiction during the war.
Born in 1957, Osama bin Laden was the founder of al Qaeda, the terrorist organization that destroyed the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Bin Laden also claimed responsibility for other deadly attacks against civilian and military targets.
Bin Laden was raised a devout Muslim. As he was growing up, his main interest was religion, charitable work, writing poetry, and reading. In these respects, he was a model INFJ. Colleagues described him as gentle and soft spoken. However, like many INFJs, he was considered a mystery even by family members. He was known to be opinionated and severe in many situations. In the Muslim tradition, bin Laden had five wives and fathered over 20 children. Most of his wives were educated women, not subservient females as one might expect.
Bin Laden’s career as a jihadist began when he joined Muslim forces in Pakistan against the Soviets as a young man in 1979. His life ended in 2011 when he was killed in a covert military operation carried out by U.S. Special Forces and the CIA on the orders of President Barack Obama.
David Koresh was the charismatic young cult leader whose “Army of God”—the Branch Davidians— had a 51-day stand-off with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in Waco, Texas, in 1993. The siege began after the cult stockpiled weapons to prepare for the apocalypse. The ensuing firestorm left 76 cult members and 4 federal employees dead. Koresh shot himself in the head.
Born to an unwed teenage mother in 1959, David Koresh was raised by his grandparents in Houston. He was a lonely child, often ridiculed by kids his own age. He did poorly in school and eventually dropped out. Finding comfort in the Bible, he memorized long passages by the time he was twelve. A high school dropout, he moved to Hollywood at the age of 20 in a failed attempt to become a rock star.
At 22, Koresh moved to Waco, Texas, in 1981 to join the Branch Davidians. Taking over the cult after the death of its leader, Lois Roden, he instituted “spiritual weddings,” which permitted him to have sex with female followers of all ages. As a result, he had 12 children with women other than his wife.
With a sense of misguided idealism, Koresh exalted his own ego at the same time as his Christian bliefs. A powerful orator, he transmitted his ideals to others, as other INFJ cult leaders have done. His Myers-Briggs traits went unchecked and eventually expressed themselves in extreme, destructive behaviors.
The Myers-Briggs scores of INFJs can change over the years, sometimes dramatically. Twelve-year-old INFJs who never turn their homework in when it’s due can, by age 17, become academic achievers. That’s because the childhood years of INFJs are devoted to developing imagination and creativity. They daydream, have just one or two friends, and share their make-believe world with only one or two trusted adults. Between ages 6 and 12, their introverted function occupies the main stage.
In their teen years, INFJs become more extraverted, getting good grades and excelling at sports, acting, or other extracurricular activities. They become conscious of their appearance and want to dress attractively. They take on added responsibility, often holding down part-time jobs. At the same time, being INFJs, they always feel a little out-of-step with their peers. They know they’re different and tend to think that something must be wrong with them.
As teenagers, their feeling preference turns their attention to causes such as animal welfare, human rights, and so on. They become more aware of ways they can help others. They may get so involved in these activities that they have little time for themselves—quite a contrast to the reclusive children they were between ages 6 and 12.
From ages 20 to the mid-thirties, socially approved ambitions take hold. INFJs look for ways to become autonomous, run their own lives, and succeed at their jobs. They learn to be smooth and accomplished in many settings, even though inside they may still feel unsure of themselves.
Many INFJs decide in early adulthood that they were too submissive in their earlier years. The INFJ becomes assertive and sometimes rebellious. Family and friends may be puzzled by the change. What happened to the quiet, accommodating INFJ they used to know?
At the same time, INFJs start to tap into their sensing abilities and put them to work. In their early twenties, they may learn to play the guitar, take up oil painting, or collect antiques. INFJs pursue these new interests with enthusiasm, attentive to the smallest detail. Unlike their former tendency toward introversion, the company of others becomes desirable in their quest for new interests.
The departure from the ingrained INFJ style serves their overall development well. With time and maturity, the fully evolved person should be proficient in all eight personality functions.
Readers may get the impression that it’s best to develop all the functions equally. According to Carl Jung, the Swiss psychoanalyst who developed personality theory, it doesn’t work this way. If a person dedicates a period of his or her life to, say, sensing and intuition simultaneously, neither function will get the attention and energy needed to become fully developed. The same is true of the other three trait pairs. One of each pair of functions must be dominant at any given time to produce a stable, reliable personality.
The objective of personal development in terms of the Myers-Briggs theory is to have access to each of the mental functions when its use is appropriate. By being able to use the less-preferred functions when they are needed, the person brings more balance to his or her life.
According to researchers, the INFJ Myers-Briggs type occurs in about 1% of the population—the lowest prevalence of any type. Studies vary regarding the exact percentages of the 16 types, but INFJs always walk away with the prize for the most rare.
The downside of being an INFJ is that there are few people out there with whom they can relate deeply. Also, they don’t fit into social norms because their qualities are unusual and, to some people, unsettling. INFJs can size up others quickly and those who don’t like to be sized up are likely to avoid them. Friends and colleagues find many INFJs almost clairvoyant.
The upside for INFJs is that they have gifts not common in other types. This makes them valued as leaders, workers, and friends. They also have rich interior lives.
In work settings, INFJs collaborate well with the second rarest type, ENTJs—also known as the CEO type. While ENTJs prefer the footlights, INFJs are happy to operate behind the scenes. Both types are intuitive; when they combine their insights they make a formidable team. INFJs can soften the edges of ENTJs, who prefer logic and rationality and are often insensitive to the feelings of others. The quiet, tactful INFJ can steer the ENTJ away from decisions that will alienate colleagues. Since the two share a Judging preference, the two types can forge productive partnerships and get a lot done.
At the other end of the scale are the three most prevalent types, shown in dark green: the ISTJ, ESFJ, and ISFJ. Each constitutes between 11% and 14% of the general population, for a total of over 35%. The ISTJ, sometimes called the Inspector, is reliable, works conscientiously, and follows rules and regulations. INFJs and ISTJs often have trouble understanding each other, probably because they have neither intuition nor feeling in common. ESFJs, called Harmonizers, are friendly facilitators. ISFJs, called Protectors, live to serve others often at the expense of their own interests. The ESFJs and ISFJs are liked and admired by most people.
INFJs walk in the footsteps of such illustrious figures as Carl Jung, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, and Eleanor Roosevelt, to name a few. The path can be challenging. But for INFJs who struggle to evolve throughout their lives, it’s a rewarding one. However, problems can come up if one or more Myers-Briggs functions move to the extreme end of the scale.
• When their expectations aren’t met, the resulting stress damages their ability to function.
• Their perfectionism can get them in trouble when their perceiving function is too weak to buffer setbacks.
• Their idealism can bring them down if people disappoint them.
• They can trick themselves into thinking they’re above rules and regulations—a sense of entitlement resulting from their superior grasp of principles and ideas.
• They may be intolerant of people who lack their gifts, becoming arrogant and difficult to approach.
• They can let their four dominant traits get out of control and lead them into depression.
Because their expectations are high and they work hard to achieve them, INFJs stumble when their efforts backfire. Under stress, they’re likely to do more of what they’ve been doing all along, trying to force things to turn out as planned. More of the same is not what’s needed. They need to acknowledge what is and adapt. In situations where their judging function leads them astray, they need to tap into their flexible perceiving function to adapt their expectations and strategies to current realities.
If an INFJ is planning a big party and the caterers are late delivering the food, he or she may come unglued. Someone must fetch the caterers! It’s hard for INFJs to reframe the problem of no food arriving in order to devise an alternative solution. Instead they waste time blaming themselves for not having the foresight to avoid the disaster. At this point, wringing their hands is not helpful.
Having intuition as a dominant function, INFJs can become wedded to their expectations for the future. When facts conflict with their predictions, they’re inclined to cling to their hopes despite evidence to the contrary. If, for example, they have watched their Widget stock rise over several years, they may be confident that it can’t fall. When the stock market has a downturn, INFJs may hang on to their stock with unrealistic fantasies of a market reversal.
False expectations can be personal. INFJs can be disenchanted by friends and co-workers who turn out to be less perfect than they thought. When a person shows himself or herself to be flawed in important ways, the INFJ feels let down. To them, this is a reasonable reaction because they expect no more from others than they do of themselves.
INFJs resist rules that make no sense to them. If they park where a sign says “One-hour parking” and stay for 90 minutes, they’re indignant when they find a police citation under their windshield wiper. There were no other cars on the street! They believe in the spirit not the letter of the law. Other sources of frustration are penalty fees when a payment was only hours late, returned forms for minor missing information, and so on. Bureaucratic details are beneath INFJs.
INFJs have little patience for sensing/thinking/judging types, considering them to be barriers to progress. They consider many STJs to be shortsighted and obsessed with trivial details. Why can’t they see the big picture? INFJs get exasperated when required to follow protocol, even when it’s necessary to the smooth operation of an organization. This is why INFJs tend to do poorly in administrative positions where routine is critical. Security jobs, for example, are often unsuitable because they require so much focus on detail.
Knowing that they’re gifted with more wisdom than the average person, some INFJs adopt an attitude of moral superiority. This puts others off. As a result, friends and colleagues hesitate to ask them for guidance. Only when INFJs use their feeling function to empathize rather than criticize are they able to relate to others authentically and help them as equals.
Many INFJs are prone to depression. Each of their four dominant traits contributes to this tendency. Being introverts (I), they are focused inward much of the time. Their highly developed intuition (N) provides them with insights into themselves, others, and the world at large—insights that are sometimes painful. Their feeling function (F) gives these insights emotional weight that wouldn’t count as heavily in a thinking type. Their judging function (J) sometimes leads them to gloomy conclusions. If they could call on their perceiving abilities, they could open their minds to more promising possibilities.
On days when it seems hard to be an INFJ, it’s worth looking at some of the qualities that come with this Myers-Briggs personality type. We may be only 1 percent of the population, but we have a lot of work to do in the world.
1. Actively contribute to the welfare of others.
2. Are patient and gentle with others but often hard on ourselves.
3. Lead others quietly; not imposing our will but influencing them behind the scenes.
4. Have an intuitive understanding of the motives and acts of others.
5. Charm people with our intelligence, warmth and insight.
6. Read other people’s emotions often before they’re aware of them.
7. Nurture and protect people, animals, and the environment.
8. Relate to others with compassion, always willing to lend a hand.
9. Listen to people attentively; observe their body language.
10. Value close relationships and nurture them.
11. Seek intimate relationships as a way to connect with the world and grow.
12. Expect relationships to evolve, not remain static.
13. Are often quiet in groups, focusing on what’s being said.
14. Avoid group activities because socializing drains our energy.
15. Look for meaning and purpose in life.
16. Live with integrity, always attuned to our value systems.
17. Behave in a manner consistent in our ethical positions
18. Can quickly separate the authentic from the fake.
19. Are more interested in tomorrow’s possibilities than today’s realities.
20. Are prepared to redefine our values as we grow and mature.
21. When being creative, feel in harmony with the universe.
22. Never rest on our laurels; look forward to the next creative process.
23. While often quiet and visionary, are also productive.
24. Focus on the big picture rather than the details of life.
25. Trust our intuitive judgments over other people’s opinions.
26. Avoid conflict unless the issue is important.
27. Think and problem-solve logically and effectively.
28. Think in images much of the time.
29. Are visionary, almost clairvoyant about the future.
30. Express our complex feelings and ideas eloquently.
31. Are spontaneous and witty when relaxed; find the humor in everyday life.
32. When overburdened, can easily burn out and slip into depression.
33. Are considered colorful, sometimes eccentric, by friends and acquaintances.
34. Often show a mischievous, daring side.
35. Grow up wiser than one would expect for our age.
36. As perfectionists, worry about failing to meet our full potential.
37. Tend to be private and guarded about our personal sensitivities.