Dominant Introverted Intuition with Auxiliary Extraverted Feeling
Tertiary Thinking and Inferior Extraverted Sensing
Insightful • Sensitive • Original • Empathetic
According to the MBTI® Manual, INFJs make up 1.5% of the population, making this type the least common, of 16, in the US population.
INFJs are known for appearing kind, deep, and friendly in a somewhat mysterious way. They prize genuineness, creativity, and vision, and they combine this with their hardworking approach to bring their innovative, and often people focused, ideas to fruition. It is said that INFJs believe, “impossible takes a little longer, but not much.” INFJs generally show a desire to help individuals grow to reach whatever their full potential is and fulfill their dreams. This is most easily accomplished in areas where the gist of expectations is laid out in a supportive an harmonious environment, and the INFJ is allowed to do things in his or her own way. INFJs often become accidental leaders when others follow their example.
Often, INFJs take joy in expressing their creativity through hobbies and metaphorical musings, and they are passionate about finding meaning in what they do. As family members and friends, INFJs are typically extremely devoted and loving, and they take on the role of encouraging personal growth and understanding the feelings of those closest to them.
Normally, INFJs are most thrown off and stressed out by environments that oppose their own personal set of values. INFJs often become stressed when they are forced to extravert too much without a break to recharge their batteries, working in a place filled with lots of noise, and in places where they must work with those they see as lazy or ignorant individuals. They may become bored and/or frustrated with activities that require attention to lots of details, dictate specific processes that must be handled in a certain way, or environments where they feel unappreciated or misunderstood.
When faced with stress overload, which may come from dealing with unfamiliar environments with overwhelming amounts of details, having to extravert too much or in uncomfortable ways, or having their well settled plans disrupted, INFJs may find themselves “in the grip” of their inferior function, Extraverted Sensing. During this experience, the individual is likely to do things that are typically completely out of character. This may include binging on the pleasures of the senses by binge-eating, over-exercising, buying lots of useless items, etc.. INFJs may assume the worst of and become angry with the world, even blaming inanimate objects for purposely causing problems (ex. an ottoman tripping the individual on purpose), and they may obsess over details in the world around them that usually seem unimportant.
Fortunately, going through and coming out of a grip experience can lead to growth and balance of the personality and the person.
To learn about INFJs under the particular stress that only comes from being chased by the dead, check out INFJs in the Zombie Apocalypse!
In general, INFJs enjoy learning through inspiration, curiosity, and exploring their imaginations. They learn best when the big picture is presented first, and details are kept to a minimum. Material sinks in more easily when it is personally meaningful, and the INFJ is allowed to explore it in an individualized way that examines connections and subtext. INFJs often excel at and enjoy learning through reading and lectures, and they prize their ability for being insightful and visionary.
INFJs like to learn in a way that allows them to work towards a specified goal in their own way. This, combined with the tendency for being self-driven, often causes INFJs to be attracted to self-directed study. Typically, INFJs place importance on their relationships with teachers, and they may prefer to hear supportive suggestions on how to reach their goals, rather than critiques of their work. After all, individuals of this type are often self-critical enough that outside critique is unnecessary and/or overkill. On the whole, INFJs are intrinsically motivated to learn and will dive head first into topics that peak their imaginations, without needing prompting from the outside world, so classroom learning is largely about marrying that with creating products that meet prescribed requirements.
Individuals of this type may find it helpful to seek personal connections to uninteresting materials or tasks. They should try to remember to look at details that make up the big picture, instead of just the big picture. Frustration may occur for INFJs in a classroom where their deeply held values are violated or disrespected, but this can often be channeled into making papers and assignments more personally meaningful.
Typically, INFJs like to plan out the gist or big picture of a project, and they want to refine the plan with details and tweaks as needed and as they move forward towards the deadline. Preferably, this plan will strike a delicate balance between comfort, people focus, innovation. They will often appreciate the use of organizational aids and systems, but these may range from date books and calendars to mental or written lists to technologically advanced planning tools. Motivation for INFJs comes from their deep desire to serve others in ways that are meaningful, inclusive, and creative.
INFJs are often thrown off in time management by underestimating the amount of time a task will take, while taking on too many tasks, or becoming so engrossed in a project that other priorities are forgotten about and fly out the window. Procrastination may occur when the INFJ finds a project uninspiring or want to explore a topic deeply in order to create a perfect product.
Tips for staying or getting back on task:
- Keep the end goal and big picture in mind to maintain a sense of priorities.
- Plan for the unplanned by allotting extra time for possible interruptions and by making yourself temporarily unavailable to others who may distract or seek help from you.
- Remember that not everything has to be up to your personal standards of perfection, and sometimes you can go back to make improvements to work, even after the project is “complete”.
When approaching decisions, INFJs want to find solutions that are creative, imaginative, meaningful, and keep the needs and wants of people in mind. They will often begin by using their Dominant Introverted Intuition to consider what patterns, possibilities, and innovations they can see for the big picture of the situation. They will then run these concepts and ideas through the filter of considering consequences on individuals and relationships and how the decision fits their personal set of values. This will likely involve running internal plays of where each possibility could lead to determine the solution that is most personally acceptable and likely to pan out favorably, but the individual’s gut feeling about which way to decide may play the biggest role.
While INFJs may certainly want to talk out decisions with others, they may wish to do internal work on the matter first. They want to think through the decision deeply, carefully, and and in many ways, while at the same time almost wishing the decision was already made and wanting the matter to be settled and off their plates. Individuals of this type may review the decision making process after the fact by mentally revisiting how possibilities that were not chosen may have resulted in different outcomes.
INFJs may fail to consider current realities, details, and past experiences when making decisions, and they may also neglect the more analytical, rational, and objective aspects. To find more balance in the process, all types may consider discussing decisions with friends of different types to gain new insights and/or utilizing the Zig-Zag Method, which encompasses exploring decisions from the perspective of all four functions. INFJs will likely find this process more natural when exploring Intuition first, followed by Feeling, Thinking, and Sensing.
Personality type is one important part of the process of choosing a career that is a good fit, but it is far from the only part. It is important to first look at your personal goals and values when making a career decision. These may involve retiring early, helping others, having time for hobbies/avocations, having time to spend with kids and family, making lots of money, making use of a specific talent (singing, art, athletic ability, etc.), following in family footsteps, or following a childhood dream.
It is also important to look at skills and preferences. If you hate math, maybe engineering is not the way to go, and you may want to skip being a doctor or nurse if the sight of blood makes you queasy. Interests, from loving the great outdoors to being fascinated by the depths of the human mind, play a huge role in the career choice process as well. Below are some type specific commonalities in the career world.
- Seek careers that allow them to use their empathy, creativity, powers of concentration, and insightfulness to help others discover and reach their full potential, in a way that is personally meaningful to the INFJ.
- Prefer environments where they have time to work both alone and in small groups. They work best in harmonious environments where creativity and ingenuity are encouraged and given room to grow.
- Enjoy tasks that help individuals grow into who they wish to become. They also enjoy activities that have an artistic flair, invoke their empathic abilities, and provide a place for deep exploration.
- Might struggle with tasks that require extended periods of attending to details or not being allowed room to personalize their work, such as being in structure that requires exact duplication of a specific process. They may also become disheartened by the job search process, especially if they feel a push to drop genuineness in an effort to secure employment.
- Are often attracted to careers such as:
- Counseling/Psychology (personal, career, clinical, school)
- Teaching (6-16+)
- Arts (interior design, graphic designer, painter, print maker)
- Religious work (clergy or missionary)
- Consulting (educational, business relationship)
- Medicine (family doctor, surgeon, physician’s assistant, psychiatrist)
- May be less interested in careers involving conflict or repetition of detailed processes.
If the career you are interested in does not appear on this list, or if you simply don’t find any appealing careers listed here, do not worry! Personality type is not meant to sentence you to a life of misery in a career you hate, and this list is far from exhaustive. You may want to check out descriptions of thousands of possible careers at O*Net, and then contemplate how your type may play into some of the careers that do interest you. Also, if your university has a career counseling center (and most do), visit them to gain assistance in finding a career that suits your needs and wants.
As Team Members
INFJ team members will likely contribute to the team by being hardworking, creative, and inspiring to others. INFJs have a great capacity for understanding and working with the dynamics of groups. They appreciate individuality, sensitivity, and finding meaning and purpose in work, and they are known to be caring team members who excel at coming up with contingency plans for potential issues.
While INFJ team members have many strengths, they may find it difficult to accept viewpoints that do not fit with their own set of values. They may also have a tendency to keep thoughts to themselves and hold themselves to a standard of perfection. INFJs sometimes also lose sight of reality and details while focusing on their vision for the future. Awareness of these areas, as well as seeking out the perspectives of team members with different preferences, can help INFJs gain balance and appreciate team and type diversity.
INFJs make innovative and caring leaders who begin with their personal vision and work diligently towards goals. They tend to lead by example and are typically good about listening to those that they lead. INFJs are known for being good at finding new and creative ways to complete tasks, and goals that will bring the vision to reality. In addition, they are often helpful in getting team members to see the impact their vision will have on others.
INFJs may find it challenging to articulate the depth and complexity of their vision in a way that is understandable to others. Their amicable and harmonious nature may prevent them from dealing with difficult issues in a direct manner. It may also be difficult for INFJs to be objective about difficulties with projects, due to their tendency to view accomplishing the impossible as something that simply takes a bit more time to finish.
INFJs tend to value harmony and emotional intimacy in relationships. They take commitment seriously, and they want to know their partners share and honor that commitment. This extends to fidelity, support, and listening. They also prize sharing values with a partner and being able to enjoy spending time together, especially one-on-one.
INFJs tend to be insightful and encouraging partners who want their loved ones to follow their dreams and reach their goals, and they love to use their vast creativity to assist in this process. They tend to be very supportive and filled with ideas that aid in growth. INFJs typically want to be emotionally open with their partners, and they crave the same in return. They place considerable value on harmony, and they will work to solve disputes in a way that fits into their own system of values. They may struggle with seeing ideas outside of their values systems as valid, and they may become stubborn in their certainty of their own correctness.