INFJs have a reputation in the online MBTI world as the personality type that everyone wants to claim as their own. Well, as a bona fide INFJ, I’m here to tell you that it’s not all sunshine and roses. This four-letter label weighs a ton.
First, let’s review some of the positive qualities that INFJs are known for:
When we need a break from the here and now, INFJs can retreat into our rich inner world, using our mind’s eye to conjure up a happy memory or an exciting new fantasy.
- X-ray Vision
INFJs’ first impressions are usually accurate, because we see people, perceiving who they really are and what’s there beneath the surface—their fears, desires, motivations, character flaws, gifts, and potential.
INFJs intuitively understand how a current situation is likely to develop and play out in the future, what the probable outcomes will be, and what overarching trends are emerging.
When an INFJ is truly engaged with what we’re doing, we are capable of laser focus, working diligently towards our goal and refusing to give up until our vision is realized.
- Natural Counselors
People (sometimes even complete strangers) feel safe opening up to INFJs about their struggles, secrets, and missteps because we listen attentively and respond with compassion even when we don’t agree with their actions.
Our innate curiosity and openness to different perspectives drives INFJs to question just about everything that others take for granted, and these questions can be a powerful tool for uncovering insight.
- Students of Life
INFJs are lifelong learners with a desire to independently seek out and deepen our knowledge of the subjects that interest us, and we tend to grasp new ideas quickly and easily.
- Social Radar
Naturally attuned to group dynamics, values, and unspoken social codes, INFJs automatically feel the “vibe” when we walk into a room, and we intuitively understand what kind of behavior is appropriate and expected in a given social context.
INFJs are masters at interpreting the meaning of symbols and imagery in both life and art, and equally adept at employing them for nuanced expression, especially in writing.
- Personal Growth
Our self-awareness, high standards, and distaste for the status quo drive INFJs to continuously work at developing and improving ourselves so that we can live up to our potential and fully embody our ideals.
Now on to the not so great parts about INFJs:
The same idealism and concern for quality that drive us to do and be our best can also make INFJs reluctant to share our work with the world until we’ve achieved perfection, and we’re rarely satisfied with what we’ve accomplished.
Similarly, the introspection that fosters the famed INFJ self-awareness can often take a negative focus, leading us to criticize ourselves harshly for our imperfections, denying ourselves the compassionate understanding that we show others.
INFJs tend to be loosely tethered to physical reality, suffering from clumsiness (“How did I get this bruise?”), spaciness, and a distaste for practical details and tasks.
Most INFJs are Highly Sensitive People, and this thin skin makes us vulnerable to overstimulation from the environment, and easily hurt by negative feedback from others, which we take to heart.
- Slow Processing
INFJs’ ideas and insights often develop slowly in the background, and we need time to process things before reacting, so we’re not the best in situations that call for spontaneity, especially when it comes to expressing ourselves verbally.
Though INFJs care deeply about our loved ones and need close relationships, we have a competing need to regularly withdraw into total solitude, which can be inconvenient and hard for others to understand.
- Hard-won Trust
INFJs open up very slowly, revealing ourselves one layer at a time, because we need to know someone is safe and trustworthy before we make ourselves vulnerable.
The intensity of INFJ love is not for the faint of heart, and we’re constantly being admonished by more carefree types to lighten up and take things less seriously, which is fundamentally contrary to our nature.
- One-sided Relationships
INFJs often find that the amount of love and support we give in relationships is not reciprocated, and we can be so focused on the other person that we make a habit of subordinating our needs to theirs, or failing to recognize that we have needs at all.
Many INFJs go through life with an awareness of how different we are from the general population, feeling misunderstood, undervalued, and invisible to those around us.