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INFJ Meets INTJ

INFJs (introverted, intuitive, feeling and judging) and INTJs (introverted, intuitive, thinking and judging) are suited to each other in many ways. Both are independent and guided by their intuition. However, INFJs are more tactful about insisting on their autonomy. INTJs can be confrontational. Sometimes they’re so confident that they seem argumentative. INFJs aren’t comfortable with this. When an INTJ seems to be picking an argument, an INFJ friend can be surprised and hurt, even though this is rarely the INTJ’s intention.

At Work

Like INFJs, INTJs are organizers. As a result they often rise to leadership positions. Blessed with strong intuition, both types are good at seeing the big picture and solving problems.

They’re effective workers because they’re skilled at planning projects and carrying them out efficiently. They don’t walk away and leave the details to others. The main difference is that INFJs are more content to work in the background, while INTJs want to be sure they get credit for their efforts. INFJs cooperate with others more easily and avoid conflicts.

In Love

When an INFJ and INTJ fall in love, they want to include each other in every aspect of their lives. Both express their affection more by what they do than by what they say. They’re cautious about discussing their deep feelings for fear of rejection. INTJs are likely to purchase expensive gifts for their partners. The INTJ man in love with a woman who enjoys jewelry may buy her an expensive ring. The INTJ woman involved with a man who’s into winter sports may buy him cross-country skis.

If a relationship between an INFJ and INTJ starts to fall apart, the INTJ is likely to withdraw and remain silent about his or her feelings, even with the partner. INFJs are affected more deeply and deal with the crisis by looking for their own mistakes and shortcomings. Unlike the INTJ, they may need friends to help them overcome their grief before they can regroup their energies and move on.

Because of their need to be loved, INFJs are more likely than INTJs to get involved with partners who aren’t right for them. Even when they suspect this, they often continue the relationship because the intimacy and commitment are so important to them.

INTJs are more particular. Even before they find a partner, they know what they want and how they want a relationship to function. They don’t continue a relationship that doesn’t meet their needs. An INTJ who does a lot of camping and hiking looks for a partner with outdoor interests. No matter how attractive a bookish INFJ type may appear, the INTJ won’t feel drawn to them. An INTJ who makes a living as a concert violinist won’t be interested in an INFJ who dislikes classical music, no matter how appealing the person is otherwise.

At Home

Both INFJs and INTJs are inconsistent about how tidy they keep their homes. Sometimes their homes are neat and organized. Sometimes they’re not. Keeping the environment in order is probably more important to the INTJ than to the INFJ.

When the partners and children of INFJs complain that their house is a mess, they will try to tidy the place up to keep everyone happy. Their work areas may be cluttered, but, as with INTJs, their minds are extremely organized. INTJs may let some parts of the house be in disarray, but they usually keep their personal quarters organized. To both the INFJ and INTJ, their inner lives are the most important. Both types need solitude, but the INTJ is more demanding about this than the INFJ.

INTJs develop idealistic models of how people should lead their lives, applying them to family members as well as themselves. An INTJ father may decide what college would be best for his son and what his major should be, failing to consider the boy’s preferences and personality. If the father was a business major in college, he may discourage an athletic son who wants to study physical education. A mother who is a biologist may not understand a daughter who wants to be a musician. Music doesn’t fit her model of what a child should pursue in college.

As parents, INFJs are more broadminded than INTJs. They’re more tolerant of the types of playmates their children choose, what kind of extracurricular activities they’re involved in, and what they choose to study in college. To them, the important thing is how much effort their children put in and whether they’re developing into happy, productive human beings.

Leisure

INFJs and INTJs like purposeful leisure activities, but INTJs are more serious about it. When vacation time comes, the families or companions of INTJs shouldn’t look forward to unplanned, carefree days. Outings must have a goal and be scheduled. INTJs don’t feel comfortable lolling on the beach. They must be scuba diving, taking pictures, or collecting shells. INFJs are also more comfortable if their leisure activities have purpose, but they’re not as goal-directed. Planned activities are mostly an excuse to have fun.

The dedication of INTJs to specific sports or seasonal pursuits can be daunting to INFJs. Perhaps an INTJ plays tennis three times a week in the summer, then goes cross-country skiing three times a week in the winter. Most INTJs like to keep their bodies in shape. In contrast, INFJs give more importance to having fun with others. They like sharing hobbies and outdoor activities with close friends. In the company of others, they don’t necessarily talk a lot, but they enjoy easy, informal exchanges connected with what they’re doing.

INTJs and INFJs are able to enjoy each other if the INTJ is accepting of the INFJs’ enthusiasm and open display of feelings, and the INFJ is patient with the INTJ’s reserved, competitive tendencies.

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How INFJs Can Lose Out

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.

Expectations

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.

Idealism

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.

Entitlement

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.

Impatience

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.

Attitude

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.

Depression

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.

INFJ Meets ENFP

INFJs are generally attracted to energetic, friendly ENFPs. ENFPs understand people and connect with them easily. They read the motives and behaviors of others with almost psychic accuracy.

Life is fun with ENFPs, who never tire of developing new interests. They’re at their best in situations that are fluid and changing. Even in their day-to-day activities they look for new ways of doing things.

Similarities and Differences

INFJs and ENFPs are similar in their curiosity and enthusiasm, but the INFJ is less demonstrative. If the two spend much time together, the INFJ may weary of the ENFP’s inexhaustible sociability and want some solitude. Even away from crowds, INFJs can find the energy of ENFPs demanding. Once ENFPs get excited about something, it’s all they can talk about. INFJs aren’t big on extended conversations.

Another difference between them concerns punctuality. The INFJ is rarely tardy and gets things done when promised. ENFPs have a tendency to be late. They lose track of time, because they underestimate how long it will take to finish what they’re doing. They miss deadlines or are slow in meeting their commitments. This happy-go-lucky attitude often annoys INFJs, who consider it irresponsible. ENFPs, on the other hand, may consider INFJs clock-watchers.

Romance

Whether male or female, ENFPs can be seductive. They know how to appeal to the opposite sex and make themselves desirable. Sometimes they go too far in their quest for affection, making the INFJ feel pressured. When this causes the INFJ to back off, the ENFP is likely to get anxious and become even more needy.

A discussion about the need for boundaries may help ease the ENFP’s jittery response to a partner’s withdrawal. They both need to understand that extraverts are energized by connection with others while introverts get tired of it and seek solitude. It’s nothing personal.

Family Life

INFJs who marry ENFPs find that they’re enjoyable to live with. They also make good parents. They know how to turn family chores into enjoyable activities. If there’s a task that’s boring, they’ll find a way to make it interesting. They infuse family life with creativity and avoid letting their home get too structured, with no room for imagination. When the free-wheeling goes too far, however, the INFJ may complain that things are getting out of control.

ENFPs may consider themselves organized in their home life, but INFJ partners can take issue with this. The ENFPs’ desire to be open to new possibilities is usually stronger than their need to keep things neat and tidy. When they fix meals, the kitchen is likely to be a mess. Their offices or dens are cluttered. There’s always something more interesting to do than clean up.

Outside the Home

ENFPs need work that offers more than a paycheck. They must feel fulfilled and know they’re making a worthwhile contribution. Because of their wide-ranging interests, it’s common for them to change career tracks more than once. Partly this is due to their success at landing jobs for which they’re not fully qualified. If the family needs the income, INFJs married to ENFPs may get frustrated by their partners’ tendency to quit jobs or get fired.

Common Ground

The need to look after the welfare of others is shared by the INFJ and ENFP. They’re champions of causes. They promote services that help people, animals, and the environment. When they’re given a leadership role, they ask for advice from people around them. They’re generous with their praise to friends and co-workers who have helped them. They make good partners.

Famous Examples

twainMark Twain was an ENFP, famous for his engaging stories. Andrew Carnegie said of him, “The public knows only one side of Mark Twain: the amusing part. Little do they suspect that he was a man of strong convictions on political and social questions and a moralist of no mean order.”

Like many ENFPs, Mark Twain had insights that were almost clairvoyant. He once said, “I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year and I expect to go out with it.” Indeed, he died of a heart attack on April 21, 1910, one day after the comet’s closest pass by the Earth.

mother-teresa

Like most INFJs, Mother Teresa was a risk taker, able to enter dangerous situations with courage and insight. She was independent and spirited, willing to explore new roles and ideas. True to her type, Mother Teresa was articulate in expressing her beliefs and putting them into action. She had visions of a world without poverty and took steps to make that a reality.