Individuals with the INFJ MBTI personality type are determined, reserved, and altruistic in their behavior. They are idealists with a strong desire to improve the world. They like personal relationships with a few people but prefer to work alone most of the time. INFJs are also nurturing creatives with a strong sense of personal integrity and a desire to help others attain their full potential.
I. What Does INFJ Stand For?
INFJ stands for Introversion, iNtuition, Feeling, and Judgment and is one of 16 personality types studied from the MBTI test (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator). The MBTI personality assessment developed by Isabel Briggs Myers, Katharine Cook Briggs, and David Keirsey from the work of psychiatrist Carl G. Jung, the types of psychology based on theories of cognitive functions. Keirsey named INFJ The Counselor/ The Advocate because they are very good at giving instructions and INFJ is one of the 4 personality types of an Idealist group.
II. Personality Traits of The INFJ Group
INFJs are people who are very dedicated and have a clear orientation, they are always looking for meanings in relationships, ideas, and events to understand themselves and those around them.
INFJs rely on their intuitive skills, vision, and confidence to develop and improve people's lives.
INFJs always see the problems encountered as an opportunity to challenge their improvement and creativity.
Though they are true introverts, INFJs still have enough knowledge to adapt well to social situations. They care about the well-being of others, can collaborate, and be creative to resolve differences.
INFJs are those who own a rich and lively inner life yet are also very open and caring. In particular, INFJs have unique abilities to convey emotion and motivation to others.
People with INFJ type often appear reserved but are warm and caring. Although they are very secretive, it quickly shows that they have full and sometimes complex inner lives. Because they are very complicated on their own, they don't need to try, they can understand other people, even the troublesome individuals that everyone tries to avoid.
This personality group of The Idealist has a terrifyingly strong empathy ability and can apprehend all the emotions, sentiments, goals, and intentions of others – either good or bad – even before that person knew it. This ability to read other people can make INFJs feel the hidden sorrows and suffering of others that other personality groups cannot comprehend.
They may also rarely tell others how deeply they can see through others' feelings. Furthermore, they are likely to demonstrate to everyone this ability to understand these strange spiritual phenomena. This so-called "extrasensory perception" – ESP can be a particularly rare intuitive ability – in both its form, prediction, and receptivity. But this extraordinary intuitive ability is common in people with the INFJ personality, and this ability is often to perceive or predict people, things, events in the forms of hearing or seeing what's going to happen, as well as having mystical communication with someone in distance.
As a variant of Plato's Idealist and Aristotle's Ethicist, INFJs are usually slightly different from the other NFs in almost every respect. Like all Idealists, they talk a little abstractly and are willing to collaborate on achieving their goals. They prefer to research on humans, always preoccupied with matters of the spirit, and capable of doing well the issues related to human resources. In this regard, they are often selfless, gullible, mysterious, live according to social norms but always possess future-oriented thinking.
INFJs are symbols of understanding, kindness, generosity, and trustworthiness. They long for romantic love, look for consensus, want to be recognized, mature, and wise. Intellectually, they tend to practice developing diplomacy rather than strategic, logistical, and especially statistical abilities. Furthermore, due to their programmed nature, they tend to choose the role of Mentor as a guide instead of the role of Advocate. And because they are a bit self-contained and quiet, they feel more comfortable becoming a private Counselor than a Teacher in the classroom setting.
Those trends are also strengthened by the fact that the INFJs' personality has a unique combination of idealism and assertiveness – this means that their creativity and imagination can be guided directly to a specific goal. Other personality types also have this trait, and this is one of the most important reasons why many INFJs fulfill their dreams and work resolutely in the long term.
III. The Cognitive Functions of The INFJ Group
Dominant: Introverted Intuition
This dominant function shows that INFJs tend to focus highly on their internal insights. Once they have an intuition about something, they are often so strong-willed and self-reliant in their mind that they are sometimes seen as stubborn and headstrong.
Auxiliary: Extraverted Feeling
Extroverted emotions indicate that they tend to be highly aware of what others are feeling, and it means that they are sometimes less aware of their inner feelings. Denying others seems like a challenge to them because they are afraid of causing disappointment or hurting someone else's feelings.
Tertiary: Introverted Thinking
INFJs focus their thoughts inward to form their understanding. They make decisions based on their introversion and their sense of extrovert when being with others. When they are alone, however, people with this personality type may rely more on their introverted thoughts. Emotions are an important decision-making factor when INFJs are in stressful situations because they want to please others. In more favorable environments, they are more likely to rely on their intuition.
Inferior: Extraverted Sensing
This aspect of personality helps INFJs to pay attention to the outside world and be fully conscious of their surroundings even though this is the personality's least developed function. Extraverted sensing also helps INFJs to live better in the present moment and prioritize activities that benefit physical condition, rather than simply worrying about the future.
IV. INFJ Values and Motivations
1. INFJ values
INFJs aim to help those in need – they can rush to participate in rescue efforts, do charitable work, etc. The INFJs see this as their mission and purpose in their lives – people with this kind of personality firmly believe that the best way to help the world is to eliminate all tyrants. Karma and the like are very attractive to INFJs.
INFJs are deeply concerned about the feelings of others and expect them to do the same. Of course, people with this type of personality are sensitive and vulnerable to conflicts – even the most rational INFJs have a hard time avoiding personal criticism.
INFJs are often quite discreet in their communication, ideas, and insights, but they are oriented towards connection values and information sharing. Therefore, they will think deeply and consider carefully before sharing their ideas in relationships. They have special talents in engaging people, integrating people's ideas, and potential outcomes.
Although their presence can be described as quite tranquil, INFJs often have strong opinions, especially when it comes to issues they consider important in life. If INFJs fight for something, the main reason is that they believe in their own ideas, not for selfish reasons.
2. INFJ Motivations
INFJs are driven by a deep desire to make a difference and make sense to the world, especially if this affects others.
INFJs are energized by thinking through complex and profound problems and strive to come up with innovative and lasting solutions.
INFJs thrive when they are able to build deeper relationships with their acquaintances. They prefer to take the time to be social on a more personal level and often feel more comfortable and at home when they get to know people.
INFJs are also motivated by goals, habits, and organizations. When in an environment of a high level of reliability and consistency, INFJs feel safe and confident to thrive like never before.
V. Strengths and Weaknesses of INFJs
1. INFJ Strengths
INFJs are the masters of written communication, with unique and smooth language skills. Besides, the sensitivity of INFJs allows them to connect with others quite easily. Their natural communication and well-being can often be misleading to those around them, who might think that the INFJs are extroverted.
INFJs are emotional and loving people who are impressed by their positive examples. With their innate great qualities, friends, family, and co-workers understand them better and feel at peace.
They are the best listeners. Although INFJs are calm, they are not easily manipulated, they will always politely listen to your suggestions no matter what they choose.
INFJs are naturally empathetic and reliable. They work hard to have the best relationship out of their sensitivity and concern about the feelings of others.
INFJs take their commitments seriously and look for lasting relationships.
This strength is a shield for their inner sensitivity, protecting INFJs from disappointment and hurt caused by others.
2. INFJ Weaknesses
INFJs should be careful because their enthusiasm and determination can sometimes get out of control. They are introverted, sometimes the INFJs need to have private time to recharge otherwise their stored energy will deplete very quickly. If that is the case, INFJs can surprise people by withdrawing from all their activities for a while.
If INFJs cannot get out of conflict, they will fight hard against it, which will cause a lot of stress and can also lead to health problems or very irrational behavior.
Because INFJs are always attentive to their vision and ideas, others may find them rather selfish and stubborn. They tend to give up important facts and details, and some ideas may not be realistic. As long as they have identified their mindset with a few things, they often disobey others and can see conflicting information.
People with this personality often spend too much energy making others happy, but in return, they feel stressed and tired afterward.
Another weakness of INFJs is that they have a very negative attitude towards criticism, they are also the most critical people.
VI. Personal Relationships of INFJs
1. Romantic relationship
Being able to find a compatible partner can be quite challenging for INFJs. Because they are idealists, the pursuit of perfectionism can be a barrier to the formation of romantic relationships. They'd best balance this aspect with just enough realism. Once INFJs find a suitable relationship, they tend to find ways to grow as individuals and strengthen their connection with their partner, which helps them reach the level of depth and sincerity in their relationship.
The INFJs' sensibility and insight make them great listeners to their partner. They also tend to realize that love is not a passive emotion but an opportunity to grow and learn and that they want their partner to share this thought. Therefore, a partner with a shallow, spontaneous, and laid back personality is the least adequate for them. Intimate emotional and soul (and possibly physical) connections are what they value and appreciate most in a relationship.
In short, INFJs are warm and reliable people, they are also very deep and quite mysterious. They like to seek and develop lasting and meaningful relationships. Being known as perfectionists who are always striving for optimal relationships, in most cases, this is a positive thing, but sometimes, it is toxic because they tend to see the greener grass on the other hill. They are passionate and deeply caring partners as they invest a close relationship and spend a lot of effort into making sure it will head somewhere. Those close to them highly appreciate them for this ability.
INFJ friends are very insightful, warm, and thoughtful. It is not easy to get to know about INFJs because they often hide emotions deep inside their minds. This type of INFJ personality is somewhat mysterious and difficult to read but they can see through other people's masks very easily. Honesty and sincerity are considerable if people want to be friends with an INFJ.
They don't care about friendliness but mostly around reality, daily issues, or physical activities. Besides, they are resolute idealists, who are full of desires to make the world a better place. Therefore, people of INFJ personality desire to find friends who are willing to bring idealism into their lives and engage in deep meaningful discussions about things that go beyond daily routines.
It can be said that INFJ friends tend to be relatively idealistic – they want things to be perfect. This tendency has two sides, which either can be very positive or cause conflicts when it comes to relationships. On the one hand, INFJs will seek to nurture relationships, grow with their close friends, and seek rich life experiences. On the other hand, it can depress people of different personality types because they may not be able to endure and have the determination that INFJs possess. If that is the case, INFJs may continue to be friends with others, hoping that the next one will have more in common with them.
INFJs are often eloquent and persuasive, they tend to be quite popular and influential. Though they are pretty surprised by this because they are private individuals who don't need and don't like to be noticed. INFJs may have only a few true friends, but these friends will greatly appreciate their companionship.
Notably, INFJ should not be discouraged if their friends do not share 100% of the principles or goals with them. They want to find friends they can trust who are willing and able to understand their passions and ideas. Not many people can cope with the depth and richness of INFJs' imagination, and even fewer can support INFJs the way they need it.
INFJ parents value being with their children as opportunities for each other's learning and growth and guide them to become capable and independent individuals. They want to be able to interact and connect equally with their kids.
As their children grow up, INFJ parents may unconsciously put a lot of their trust in them. They tend to impart integrity and honesty in themselves to their children. However, during their children's development, especially children with strong personalities, they may find this stressful and pressured. If their children choose beliefs that go against their values, INFJ parents may feel as if their children are criticizing or rejecting them – they will easily feel hurt and frustrated.
However, as warm and sympathetic people, they see this as a sign that they have helped successfully nurture a person with the ability to formulate their own ideas and thoughts. INFJ parents' children often appreciate the combination of the independence and integrity they grew up with – especially when they mature. INFJ parents encourage their children to fight for a goal they believe in and be the best they can be, or at least help their children learn to live true to themselves.
4. Relationship with other personality groups
INFJs tend to be very loyal and helpful advocates, and they are also sought by other personality groups for their wisdom, however, they need to learn how to make friends with other potential ones.
For ISFJ, ENFJ, INFP groups: they have similar characteristics and many things in common so it is easy for INFJs to share values, interests, and approaches with these groups
For INTP, ISFP, ENFP, INTJ groups: they have some differences but these differences are attractive to INFJs. They still have something in common to create a balance in their relationship with each other
For ISTJ, ENTP, ESFJ, ENTJ groups: at first, INFJs may have some difficulty accessing and connecting with these personality groups. However, after interacting for a while, they will discover commonalities as well as other points of view that can complement each other
For ISTP, ESTP, ESTJ, ESFP groups: these personality groups are opposite and conflicting with INFJs, but if it is possible to develop a relationship, this is an opportunity for INFJs to learn and grow themselves, the challenges always come along with great opportunity.
VII. INFJ Career Paths and Development Areas
The best careers for the INFJs are concerning the use of their intuitive function. They have a very strong intuition, allowing them to accurately assess events, situations, and people. Furthermore, people with this personality type are idealists, and nothing is more important than their values and principles.
INFJs are born leaders even when they don't seek and worship positions of power. They approach leadership from the point of view of perception and understanding, not from power and authority. As a result, INFJs tend to do the best in a profession that involves a certain level of awareness and personal contact.
Besides, INFJs do not like routine work or work that is completely unrelated to humans or small detailed analysis. They are additionally susceptible to conflict and criticism. These characteristics mean that INFJs should avoid careers that focus only on data rather than people or jobs prone to pressure and conflict. On the other hand, people with this personality type are very conscious and creative.
True to the character of INFJs, when they are looking for a job, they are always interested in what they like to do most, which is improving the human condition. They like to plan, organize a process, be creative in an independent environment to fulfill humanitarian missions. INFJs are suitable for the following career fields:
- Community and Social Services (Health Education, Marriage and Family Counselor);
- Education (Teacher, Administrator);
- Personal care services (Personal Trainer, Nanny);
- Science (Psychologist, Sociologist);
- Laws (Lawyer);
- Health care (Dietitian, Physiotherapist);
- Entertainment, Art, and Design;
- Human resource.
VIII. How INFJs perform in the work and learning environment
In school, INFJs are usually excellent students with outstanding achievements and often express their creativity in a simple and unobtrusive way. They like to find ways to solve all problems and to work seriously. They also prefer activities that are a little scholarly, but the fact that they show their perfectionism in their work can be explained by the nature of the work.
INFJs will be successful in projects that require interaction with others, supporting their personal growth, especially on a two-person basis. Like other NFs, teaching, guidance, and religion always attracts INFJs, and these young people will show a genuinely interested and excited attitude or something like that towards these matters – because they are a great source of energy for their lives.
They can learn best in an independent environment where they are allowed to express and unleash their creativity. They enjoy writing and will often choose art as their major. INFJs are masters of metaphors and they like to raise ethical issues in their works. For INFJs who are reserved and self-contained, writing is a way of expressing their feelings and sharing their values with the world.
At work, INFJs love to be in a peaceful environment where their honor is respected, their contributions are recognized, and work must be something that gives them a sense of trust. They will try hard in an environment where they can use their imagination and creativity, especially when they are allowed to arrange their schedules. Besides, INFJs are often happiest when they are credited with the responsibility of their projects.
As subordinates, INFJs favor the value of collaboration, sensitivity, and independence, so they tend to attract managers who are open and willing to consider their input. A leadership style that is understanding and listening will motivate and draw the best results from INFJ subordinates. Acting on their beliefs and values is what INFJs do their best at work, they will feel hurt if being criticized for improper things. However, INFJ subordinates are more than capable of handling workplace challenges, including the challenge of encountering a demanding manager.
As coworkers, INFJs can have wide networks and be treated with respect. They are effective, eloquent, and capable in the work environment. In a group, INFJ colleagues can recognize another person's motivations and defuse potential conflict and tension before problems arise. Although they tend to be helpful and companionable colleagues, INFJs are by nature introverts. At times, they may need to step back and work independently, pursuing their goals on their own accord.
As managers, INFJs are future-oriented. They always strive to create an atmosphere of harmony and cooperation where the contribution of all individuals is recognized and appreciated. These leaders often inspire others with their creativity, their encouragement, and their positive spirit of trusting people's abilities.
On the downside, they will be too focused on what's possible and forget the reality. They can ignore important facts and details and come up with misleading standards. Although they tend to avoid confrontational situations, INFJs get confused when things don't go the way they hoped.
IX. 10 Things you might not know about INFJs
1. This is the rarest personality group in the world and only accounts for about 1-3% of the world's population.
2. By gender, only 1% of INFJs are men and % are women.
3. When compared to other personality groups, INFJs don't have dynamic and explosive sources of energy, and in their spare time, they enjoy reading, writing, taking photos, going to museums, art exhibitions, gardening, listening to music, or watching movies.
4. Because INFJ is the rarest of the 16 personalities, they sometimes feel out of place and think that nowhere is right for them.
5. INFJs are special people who need a career path rather than a job. They need to feel as if everything they do in life must be in tune with their strong value system – with what they consider to be right.
6. INFJs are complicated and profound, so they are always looking for the meaning and purpose of things.
7. INFJs always set high standards and expectations for themselves and others that are both their strength and weakness.
8. People with the INFJ personality type often find it difficult to trust a new friend or to open up to others, even those closest to them.
9. INFJs take a lot of time to make a decision because they want to consider all possible options, while at the same time they review and contend for their potentials, they deserve the title of the procrastinator.
10. INFJs are not born leaders, but they can be very influential, and when they are, they are always behind observing and seeing all their influence on others.
X. INFJ famous people
- Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the United States;
- Thomas Jefferson, the 3rd President of the United States and Author of the American Declaration of Independence;
- Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president of the United States;
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, a German writer and statesman;
- Niels Bohr, a Danish Nobel Prize-winning physicist and humanitarian;
- Mary Wollstonecraft, an English writer, philosopher, and advocate of women's rights;
- Mel Gibson, an American actor, film director, producer, and screenwriter;
- Mother Teresa, an Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun and missionary;
- Martin Luther King, an American Christian minister and activist;
- Nicole Kidman, an Australian actress, singer, and producer;
- James Evan Wilson, M.D., a fictional character on the Fox medical drama House;
- Adolf Hitler, a German politician and leader of the Nazi Party;
- Osama Bin Laden, a founder of the pan-Islamic militant organization al-Qaeda.