PersonalityHacker.com-INFJ-Personality-Type

My mom is an INFJ. As I look back on my childhood, I have no idea how she managed all the “stuff” she had to do each day. She was a stay at home mom that homeschooled me and my brother, she worked right along side my father in the non-profit they both ran together and she still found time to pour into the lives of others.

A quick recap of her amazingness…

  • She raised & home-schooled two boys
  • She kept a nice 3 bedroom house clean and organized
  • She had dinner on the table every night
  • She was the summer camp director for 1000 teenagers and dozens of counselors each summer
  • She maintained the financials and books for the non-profit
  • She wrote all the fundraising/thank you letters/newsletters for the non-profit
  • She acted as office manager to the staff, counselors and volunteers at the non-profit
  • the list goes on and on…

As a child it seemed like my mom was able to handle anything.

But there is a dark side to being an INFJ.

Sometimes it was too much to deal with all the emotional garbage that came at her in life.

I’ve observed her in one-sided relationships time and time again.

I’ve seen her physically break down from working non stop and ignoring her own needs.

I’ve seen her feel deeply disappointed after putting out so much for others and very few people (if anyone) pouring back into her life.

As an INFJ – maybe you can relate.

Maybe you’ve been busy getting things done – serving others – and have had your share of crazymakers who hijack your emotions and energy.

Maybe you’ve been going for months or years without attending to your own desires or needs. Maybe you don’t even remember what those needs and desires are anymore.

Keep reading. I’m going to break down the mental wiring of your INFJ mind and then dig into some strategies for dealing with some common INFJ problems.

The Wiring of The INFJ Mind (aka YOU)

Your four letter code INFJ gives us insight into how your mind is learning information and making decisions.

The primary way your mind sees the world is by using a mental process we’ve nicknamed “Perspectives.” It’s technical name is Introverted Intuition.

When looking at the world – Perspectives is interested in finding deep insight.

It tends to ask a lot of discovery questions, like:

  • What is the meaning of knowledge?
  • What are the long-range implications of emerging social trends?
  • How are two people in an argument actually agreeing without realizing it?

Imagine a four passenger car.

If one of your mental processes could drive – it would be Perspectives. Using this mental process puts you in flow. You’ve been using it your whole life. It’s your reality filter and informs what captures your attention.

personality-hacker.com_car-model_infjIf Perspectives is how you see the world as an INFJ, then the mental process we’ve nicknamed “Harmony” is how you make your best decisions. Harmony is a feeling process and asks the question, “What gets everyone’s needs met?”

Think about that four passenger car again… if Perspectives is in the driver seat – then Harmony is in the front passenger seat.

It is your Co-Pilot mental process and what we call your growth state.

Of course – this is a four passenger car so you also have two mental processes in the backseat.

Sitting right behind the Co-Pilot is a mental process we call “Accuracy.” Accuracy asks the question “Does this make sense?” It’s a thinking process concerned with data, truth and congruity of thought.

When not used in a healthy way, Accuracy can cause an INFJ to withdraw and become hypercritical of themselves and other people.

This mental process has the development of about a ten year old child.

Finally – behind the driver of Perspectives sits a mental process we’ve nicknamed “Sensation.” We call this your blind spot or three year old mental process. Sensation is all about real time kinetics, and understanding the world through your physical senses by being fully immersed in the here-and-now.

Notice – I haven’t talked about INFJ behaviors.

Instead, I’ve been talking about the mental wiring of your mind.

Behaviors can only give us clues to how your mind is wired. It’s far more interesting to dive into WHAT CAUSES our behaviors as people.

Here at Personality Hacker – We don’t talk about personality types for their own sake. We think understanding your personality is one of the best ways to frame your personal growth journey. And we attract INFJs who are interested in personal growth.

Asking For What You Need Should Not Lead To Disappointment

Many INFJs struggle with disappointment.

You are aching inside for someone to recognize the needs that have been going unmet for a while (sometimes years).

You need more alone time. No one seems to realize this and you continue to be surrounded by people who sap your energy. Disappointment.

You need quiet space to think and process. No one sees this need and you push ahead with half drawn conclusions and less than elegant thoughts. Your brain feels scattered as you go. More disappointment and now frustration sets in.

You need positive approval and emotional stimulation. You need excitement… romantically, energetically and spiritually. These needs are not noticed by others and you even worry that the needs themselves may be childish or immature… so they also go unmet. Even more disappointment floods your heart combined with frustration and a sense of guilt for “wanting such silly things.”

If you found yourself nodding with my descriptions above – keep reading.

I have a few thoughts for you.

Asking For What You Need as an INFJ

Getting your needs met is a skill you will need to continue building throughout your life as an INFJ.

You are already half-way there.

You are very good at meeting the needs of others around you (especially the people you care about most).

But my guess is that you lack the same tender love and care for yourself.

Let me ask you?

When was the last time you drew a hot bath, lit some candles, locked the door, told the kids to stay out while you read a good book?

When was the last time you booted up the computer to just play a game and drink coffee?

When was the last time you hung out with your friends just to talk?

When was the last time you did something (anything) for yourself? No spouse. No Kids. No Boss. Just you getting your needs met?

My guess… FAR TOO LONG.

Oh, I’m sure you’ve STOLEN a few minutes here and there.

You’ve been able to sip a little from that novel your reading while waiting at the dentist. You’ve been able to swing through the coffee shop and get yourself a quick latte. You may have even been able to set aside an outing for yourself one night last week.

But who are you kidding? You know that every minute, every experience… every “me” moment…. had to be bought, borrowed, negotiated or stolen.

You got a couple personal needs met… sort of. And after the latte is gone – the dentist calls your name – or your spouse returns with the kids – you feel worse. You feel like you are living on borrowed energy and everyone wants more from you. You already have a deep sense of guilt for taking time for you.

Well my INFJ friend, it’s time to get real and start setting boundaries for yourself and your needs. 
Because you are being selfish. I want you to read that again…

When you don’t get your needs met – you are being selfish.

Is this the type of person you’ve become?

Your superpower is in creating harmony all around you. Your genius of getting the needs of others met is starting to atrophy the more you neglect the very source of that superpower… YOU.

You are the starting point of bringing your greatness to the world. And you’ve been seduced to believe that you don’t have very real, urgent and pressing needs to meet.

I know, I know. It would be a wonderful world where your girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse, parent, child or friend instinctively knew what you needed and could carve out the time and resources to make it happen. That can sometimes happen. But if it doesn’t – it’s no excuse to ignore yourself.

So what’s stopping you?

As an INFJ, your best defense against disappointment is to focus on getting your needs met.

You May Not Feel Entitled To Get Your Needs Met

Think back to the last time you were on an airplane.

Just before the flight, as the attendants are going over safety procedures, they always explain how the oxygen masks work. You are instructed to put on your oxygen mask BEFORE you help anyone else.

Why?

Because you can’t be of any help to anyone if you are unconscious from lack of air.

With Harmony as your decision making process, you vet all your decisions through the question of “Will this get everyone’s needs met?’

Notice the word “everyone.” YOU are a part of “everyone.”

If you truly want to get EVERYONE’s needs met – you must include yourself. Put on your own “oxygen mask” BEFORE you can help others.

You May Fear Lack Of Approval By Others

Lack of approval from others is a legitimate fear for INFJs.

You understand the social currency of approval better than most. I bet you can remember all the times when you felt the lack of approval in your life. These were probably not casual events for you. The pain still feels real. You can sense the shame, embarrassment or fear when you think about those times.

If you can include your needs with everyone, then you can also include the ability to offer approval and disapproval.

Why do others get to set the tone for what is worthy of approval? Why can’t you also set the tone for approval?

You don’t have to approve of another person’s disapproval. Seriously, you can decide right now to disapprove of your mother-in-law.

Just like that. You just decided.

There’s no government telling you that it’s illegal.

There’s no mother-in-law mafia that just ordered a hit on you.

You get to do that. You are empowered.

When you realize that you are the creator of your experience – you are included with the group, and your needs also need to be met – you will be stepping into your genius as an INFJ.

The Difference Between Being Kind vs Being Nice

I want to make a clear distinction between two seemingly similar concepts. It’s my belief that INFJs can benefit from making a clear distinction between being kind and being nice. Being nice means that you will say what needs to be said to preserve feelings.

You may stretch the truth, flatter or offer fake approval just to “grease the social wheels.” If being nice tells people what they WANT to hear, being kind tells people what they NEED to hear wrapped in love and good intent.

Telling your best friend that he dresses sloppy and that’s why he’s having a difficult time dating sounds harsh, and yet it is a kindness. When a friend asks you to support her in her addictions (food, alcohol, etc) and you go along with it, that’s not kind. You were nice in the moment and she likes you for the positive words, but they aren’t truthful and ultimately she will hurt herself.

I’d love to hear some of your examples of kind vs nice in the comments below. Where have you seen this come up in your life?

You May Feel Misunderstood and Resent All Your “One-Sided” Relationships

Let’s move on to friends, family and feeling misunderstood.

The one thing I think all INFJs have in common is the statement, “I feel so misunderstood.”

Wanting to be understood by friends and family is natural. And yet – your INFJ brain is wired so differently you end up with a smorgasbord of one-sided relationships.

People may love you – but they don’t know you.

People may think you’re smart – but they don’t seem to actually respect your thought process.

People dump their problems on you – and as you begin to express your own challenges in life – they lose interest or turn the conversation back onto themselves.

So, it’s easy for INFJs to move through the world feeling alone, isolated and misunderstood.

We all crave deep intimacy and connection. We all want someone else to deeply understand us on a core fundamental level. However, INFJs have a tendency to lose themselves in relationships, which only adds to their feelings of isolation, pain and misunderstanding.

The story is common for INFJs. You fall in love and now it’s ALL about the other person. You’ve lost touch with your own interests and desires. You seem to be living for this other person and what they want in life.

Or you completely lose yourself to your children.

Or you allow your friends to set the tone of your relationships.

You may have distant memories of your hobbies, interests and purposes in life. But your past desires have now become hollow echoes of a life that seems more like a dream than your personal history.

Making Friends That Will Meet You Halfway

It is possible for you to have fulfilling co-creative relationships with people who get you on a deep emotional and intellectual level.

First, you need to recognize that not everyone will be able to provide you with a peer relationship.

You may be lucky and have other Intuitives around you each day. But often your intimates (spouses, parents, children, etc) may not be the people in your life who provide deep connection.

Second, you may need to work a little harder than others to create the type of friendships you crave on a core level.

If you’ve been riding along on relationship fumes for a while, it’s well worth the work to create a dynamic soul boosting friendship.

As an Intuitive you have a basic need for Intuitive conversation. To be the best version of yourself and feel connected to another human being, you want to create an outlet for this need. Begin to identify other Intuitives around you. Focus on developing deeper connections with them.

It is important to gently communicate your need of Intuitive conversation with the sensors in your life.

Let’s say your spouse is a sensor (very common pairing with INFJs). They love you deeply. You can both talk about the shared values and interests that attracted you together. You are a loyal and loving partner in life. And, because of your spouse’s mental wiring, they are not able to meet your need for highly abstract “out of the box” conversation. So you will have to fill that need somewhere else.

Find a friend or co-worker who can share ideas with you. If you’ve done the hard work of carving out some time for yourself, as I suggested, you can now begin to look for friends who can fill your need for Intuitive conversation.

Stop Losing Yourself To Others

If you don’t take time to regularly meet your own needs you will begin to lose yourself to your relationships.

It will start out small at first.

You will begin by putting your needs second or third in line.

Then eventually they will find themselves at the bottom of the list.

After a while, your hopes, dreams and desires stop making the list at all.

It is at this point you’ve lost yourself to others.

I believe this “losing yourself” comes from not honoring your own feelings. Knowing how YOU feel about things is not your super power. You are much better at identifying how OTHER people feel. In fact how you feel can be easily traced to others. As an INFJ, realizing that you are wired to FEEL what others are feeling AND remember your own deep desires and inner truths can be a challenge.

One technique we’ve already talked about is including yourself in the group. Meet everyone’s needs including your own. And also include yourself in the approval/disapproval social games.

Once you are certain you’ve done these two recommendations, it’s time to consult your inner logical truth. This is found in your 10 year old Accuracy process (the technical name is Introverted Thinking).

Caution: this mental process can be tricky for you as an INFJ.

Accuracy is concerned with inner logical thought, regardless of feelings. Accuracy is that rational place inside you that loves crossword puzzles and Scrabble. It’s that critical voice that can pick apart a friend’s new outfit. It’s the part of you that loves to debate and gossip.

If you go to your 10 year old of Accuracy BEFORE you’ve checked in with your Harmony process (ie getting your own needs met and including yourself in the approval/disapproval game) you may become cold, detached or protective.

When used to support your Harmony process, Accuracy can help you stay in touch with your inner truth. It’s where you remember YOUR dreams – YOUR desires – YOUR passion.. Your Accuracy process guards against compromising your deep inner truth by letting “social truth” set the tone for your life.

Ask yourself…

  • “Does it make sense for me to put aside all my desires for this relationship?”
  • “Does it make sense for me to lose myself to this person completely?”
  • “How can I get my own needs met AND completely support my spouse/parent/child/friend?”

I want to hear about your experiences with losing yourself to others in relationship. What have you learned about yourself when this happens? Do you have any ideas or techniques for honoring your own dreams, desires and inner truths? Leave a comment below.

Learning To Say “No”

As an INFJ you have full permission to use the word “NO.”

This may anger and annoy those around you.

The people in your life know you. They know how predictable you are. They know exactly how to manipulate you to get what they want. That’s the biggest reason people try to stop you from personal growth. They are afraid you won’t stay predictable and manipulable.

I’d guess that you could triple the amount of times you use the word “NO” each day and still live a healthy, happy and productive life.

Here’s an exercise I want you to try.

For the next 24 hours practice saying no to EVERY request.

Wife needs you to pick up the milk on the way home from work…
ANSWER: No

Friend texts that she’s coming over to your dorm room to cry about “Mr. Right” who just broke up with her…
ANSWER: No

Stranger asks you to hold a parking space by standing in the way so they can bring their car around…
ANSWER: No

Lover wants to get frisky tonight…
ANSWER: No

I know, I know. As an INFJ you would FEEL terrible by saying no to needs that seem so simple and easy to meet.

But there are two things I want you to remember here.

First, you have way more practice saying no than you realize. You tell yourself no a million times each day. You are quite good at it actually.

Second, you are practicing an extreme version of boundary setting. Saying no is an easy way to set a boundary. Remember, when you use this skill in real life you aren’t going to say no to every request.

This exercise is simply meant to help you practice sitting with the awful feeling that comes up when you create a boundary.

It may make you feel better to warn all the people you love that you are doing this as a personal growth exercise. Tell them that ALL requests in the next 24 hours will be met with an automatic, firm and kind “NO.” This way you know – that they know – you still love and cherish them. This is just one of your personal growth exercises.

“I Feel Like Crazymakers Hijack My Emotions”

I’ve seen my INFJ mom let crazymakers hijack her emotions on more than one occasion.

These are people who have URGENT and IMMEDIATE needs that they feel trump everyone and everything else. Crazymakers may be the bane of an INFJs existence.

As an INFJ you are sensitive to the urgent needs of others.

Even when your Harmony process is doing well and you’ve set boundaries for yourself – a crazymaker can screw that up in five seconds.

Just imagine that you’re finishing a major project at work. It’s a critical project that will help the company increase revenue. It’s due first thing in the morning. It’s one hour before quitting time and you are in flow. Ideas are pouring out of you. You are feeling great about your progress.

Suddenly your boss calls you with an urgent request. She is unable to be there and needs you to escort a vendor to the boardroom and entertain them for 30 minutes until she gets there.

You know the project you are working on will increase the revenue of the company. You know meeting the urgent need of your boss will set you back an hour this evening. Your family will eat dinner late if you help her.

But your boss is right there on the phone panicked and desperate. You’ve been her go-to solution in the past. You like meeting needs. It’s so urgent. You agree to greet the vendor and wait with them knowing your focus, attention and energy will take a hit, your family’s needs won’t be met tonight and your project quality may suffer. You may even miss your deadline in the morning.

Wouldn’t it be better to have a game plan to deal with crazymakers like your boss? Here’s what you do.

Each time a crazymaker asks you for a favor – ask if you can get back to them in five minutes. Give yourself time to check in with your inner truth and the needs of everyone (including yourself).

Spend those five minutes mentally listing out all the people that will be effected by your decision:

  • List yourself – because you need focus and energy to continue your critical project.
  • List your family who is depending on you to show up for dinner on time.
  • List your co-workers who depend on you to have this project done today.
  • List your boss – who may be sabotaging her own department and ultimate goals with her request.

After you see the bigger picture call your boss back with your decision.

You may still decide to say yes. But at least you will agree with full awareness that you aren’t meeting everyone’s needs and in fact were just hijacked by the needs of one crazymaker.

If you keep at this process long enough – you will want to ask yourself how you can remove crazymakers from your life altogether.

Being The “Host” or “Hostess” Means You Start Social Interactions With Empowerment

As an INFJ, you have been assaulted by other people’s energies and emotions your whole life.

Every time you ride a bus, walk though a store, eat in a restaurant, attend a party or participate in an event – you have to deal with real and powerful assaults on your emotional energy levels.

One of the challenges for you as an INFJ is entering a social situation where you can’t predict the outcome.

You may end up feeling like you are on the receiving end of social interaction. You may feel very vulnerable to the situation. I’ve heard of INFJs needing up to three days to recover from one night out at a social engagement.

This emotional assault comes from your two primary mental processes. Your Perspectives learning process is sensitive to the patterns of social dynamics. Your Harmony process can instinctively pick up on other’s emotions (even the ones people are hiding from the world).

It’s as if you are walking through the outer world with a raw nerve on your “INFJ sleeve.”

You pick up the psychic and emotional garbage of others without even trying.

It can be overwhelming and painful. You feel vulnerable to the situation. It gets to the point where you don’t want to go out at all.

I have a suggestion that I want you to try.

Start taking the social lead in more situations. Find ways that you can be the host or hostess. When you host others – you get to select the people involved – the venue – and the purpose of the interaction.

This idea of hosting could be literally hosting others in your home.

Or you could be the one to take the lead and select the restaurant you and the girls will eat at this Friday night.

Another idea is to proactively offer to arrange the invitations and communication for people involved.

The point is to activate your Harmony process – take the lead – and set up the social conditions for empowering you as an INFJ.

When you set the tone for the next outing, event or get together – you will feel much less vulnerable to all the unknowns that normally plague your worries.

This is how your Harmony process is used in a good way.

The Critical “Accuracy Bubble” Of The INFJ

As an INFJ your 10 year old of Accuracy can cause you to be very bitchy at times. I imagine a bubble of criticism. I’ve noticed more than one INFJ with a small protective imaginary “bubble” around the people they love.

If you are in the “bubble” the INFJ gives you plenty of love, support and praise. INFJs are endlessly giving of their affection, time and resources to the people inside their “bubble.” It’s a small emotional area that only a few friends and family members are allowed access.

INFJs also have people that are outside this “bubble.” If someone is outside your “INFJ bubble” – watch out. You probably have no problem articulating your disapproval of these people in a hypercritical and sometimes vicious way.

It makes sense for you as an INFJ to be critical of those on “the outside.” Because you resist vulnerability, your Accuracy process is your go-to protection from emotional pain. If you keep someone outside your “bubble” as protection for your own emotions – they are fair game. You can rip them apart and feel totally justified for having such harsh criticism. You are protecting your own heart after all.

As an INFJ you may even surprise yourself with the amount of vicious and hypercritical thoughts and words you express about others. You may not like this part of yourself – but it can feel like it’s the only protection you have from the assaulting nature of the world.

Here’s the thing… by using your Accuracy to protect yourself with a defensive stance toward the world – you are hijacking your Harmony’s ability to be proactive and create win-wins. The cure for the “Accuracy Bubble” is to expand it’s territory through your Harmony process. I would encourage you to do the scariest thing for you as an INFJ… to work toward including all humanity inside your bubble on principle.

At first it may feel like you would end up tossed around an emotional washing machine of pain. But if you’re actively developing your Harmony process – while also proactively setting clear boundaries in your life – you will gain more skill expressing love and compassion for all of humanity without feeling like a punching bag.

I’ve watched various INFJs expand their bubble of inclusion over time. Instead of criticism – they begin including strangers in their principled love for other people. Their happiness increases. They are more relaxed during social interactions. Overall they are mature and attractive INFJs.

As an INFJ – what’s your relationship with your “Accuracy Bubble?”

Protecting Your Heart By “Cloaking” and “Flushing”

So you’ve done everything I’ve recommended.

You are finding Intuitives and having long deep abstract conversations that nourish your soul.You are including yourself in the needs of everyone. You realize that you too can grant and revoke approval of others. You have even been taking the lead in social situations to play the host or hostess. You are increasing the size and scope of your “Accuracy Bubble.”

But what if emotional and psychic garbage still seems to find you?

(Spoiler Alert: It will. You are an INFJ and this is just how you are wired in this world. Emotional pain finds you like a 3 year old finds finger paint in the back of a locked cabinet. It will happen.)

Here are two ideas to protect yourself against all the outside forces that assault you each day.

First, tap into your imagination and use it to create an emotional “cloak” for yourself. Each time you know you will be put in the path of emotional terrorists (i.e. people of the world) – imagine stepping into an emotional “cloak” that covers and protects you.

Literally imagine an invisible soft cloak that you step into and zip up around you. This invisible cloak protects you from bad emotions thrown your direction. Sometimes emotions can seep in a bit – but the cloak will absorb much of it. While walking through a store – just imagine emotion after emotion hitting the protective cloak you’re wearing and falling to the floor. Your cloak reminds you that you are not obligated to take on emotions just because they are tossed your direction.

When you get back home – take time to remember to step out of your imaginary cloak so you can open your heart to your family and friends once again. If you treat your imaginary cloak as if it’s real (stepping in and then out when done using it) your mind will reinforce belief in it’s protective power and it’s use will continue to increase over time.

Second, begin to see the emotions that do make it into your heart as “flush-able.”

There is no law or rule that says you have to keep feeling an emotion that someone else gave you. You have full permission and authority to “flush” the emotion away.

Here’s another quick mental exercise you may want to try. For this I recommend doing some reading around Chakra work. (You may want to get this chakra book that I’ve found helpful).

Spend time focused on developing your root chakra.

Here’s a quick exercise that I remember from the book. Imagine a red slow rotating light energy spinning from your perineum into the ground. Imagine your connection to the earth. Realize that the earth can absorb as much strong emotion as you send it. Imagine all the emotional baggage you carry as flushing down your body and through the chakra connection to the earth. Feel how the strong emotion drains out of you and feel it hitting the earth in a dispersed way.

This purging process can feel very empowering for you as an INFJ.

You can begin using this every time you are feeling overwhelmed by the emotions that others have thrown your direction.

I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that some INFJs need to use this technique a few times each hour. With use, however, it becomes so unconscious that the INFJ can move through the world with ease.

I’d love to hear your feedback on both of these mental exercises. Also – what have you developed as a strategy to cope with assaulting emotions around you in life? Leave a comment below.

We Need INFJs In Our World

We need you as an INFJ in our world.

You bring an incredible amount of insight, compassion and love for humanity that changes lives for the better.

The best thing you can do right now is focus on your needs and proactively grow your Harmony process.

If you pay attention to your growth you will be ready to impact people as the transformational leader you know you are destined to become.

What do you think? I’d love for you to share your experience in the comments.

~ Joel Mark Witt

 

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Showing 54 comments
  • Steven
    Reply

    Thank you so much Joel! This is an absolutely illuminating article.

    Antonia pointed me to this article after I made a bit fool of myself on your YouTube video about INFJ mind wiring.

    It’s funny, because even though I had _just_ watched the video, I still fell into that trap. I suppose I need things to remind me now and then to snap out of my wallowing and focus on a solution.

    > I’d love to hear some of your examples of kind vs nice in the comments below. Where have you seen this come up in your life?

    Just yesterday, I had a co-worker who ‘vapes’ behind me. I don’t know what it is about that stuff, but it makes me stomach hurt, my nose burn, and my eyes water. I think he noticed my discomfort, and he asked if it was bothering me. Instead of saying yes, and asking if he could do it outside, I told him that I was just making my eyes water a little, and that I would be okay. Fortunately, he didn’t really believe me, or that was enough for him to go outside to do it. So, despite my niceness, he was still kind.

    The paragraphs (Sorry!) below I think demonstrate a lot of ‘nice’ but not kind behavior as well. -.-

    > I want to hear about your experiences with losing yourself to others in relationship. What have you learned about yourself when this happens?

    Something that really stands out in my mind is a time when I was part of a guild in a video game. I led and organized all of the events in that guild, and maintained what I believe was a very healthy atmosphere for everyone.

    I was just an officer in that guild, but I poured my heart into making sure each and every person feel like they were cared for on an individual level and not just as part of a machine. I all of my game time doing nothing but assisting the members with achieving each and every one of their individual goals. The game was kind of a job for me, and not so much of a game, really, but I was happy with it, because it gave me something more fulfilling than what the actual game itself could offer.

    The actual leader of the guild was a very kind woman (she tested as an INFJ, for what it is worth), but she was overburdened with real life things constantly (she had a husband, kids, a job—just a ton going on in her life). At the time, all I had going on was my wife (whom also played the game), my job, and this guild. She was a great friend of mine though, we often had very fulfilling conversations about our life problems, and she was a lot older than me, so she offered me so much of that wisdom.

    I always wanted to make that up to her by ensuring that she had a comfortable, relaxing, and loving place to return to whenever she had those little bits of time, but thinking back on it, I probably shot us both in the foot by over-growing things; making it too big for either of us to handle. I tried to encourage others to pick up some of the slack; I offered rewards for that sort of behavior, but no one was ever interested, and it never happened.

    Eventually my wife and I had a son, and I started slipping in everything: my work, my wife, my child, and the guild. I tried for a while to maintain everything, but I ended up burning myself out completely. I ended up dropping the game completely from my life, and I tried to maintain just a handful of friends that I had made there, but I felt like they they stopped caring about me once I was gone, and so I grew resentful of them. My wife tried to comfort me by explaining that they probably have their own things going on, and that I shouldn’t fault them for taking care of themselves, but I did anyways. I eventually cut all ties with them and stopped talking to most people in general.

    So, reflecting on all of this just now and linking it to the article, I’d say that I totally depleted myself a long time ago, and I’ve never taken the time to recover since then.

    > Do you have any ideas or techniques for honoring your own dreams and desires and inner truth?

    No, I don’t really. I am absolutely going to try your strategy on taking a step back to evaluate who will be affected by my decisions.

    I do have a couple of “crazy makers” in my life at the moment whom I dread talking to, but I can’t seem to deny them.

    Hopefully someone else here will have more helpful insight in that regard.

    > As an INFJ – what’s your relationship with your “Accuracy Bubble?”

    My wife was actually the first to notice this and point it out to me. Of course, I promptly denied the claim, but she is always right, and I’ve come to see the truth in it.

    She pointed out that there was a select group of people who “in [my] eyes, who could do no wrong”, and she pointed out that everyone else received absolutely no slack from me when mistakes were made. I think I’ve become better about this recently. I can still have knee-jerk reactions, but often I can pause and reassess things. Switch to their perspective and see how they feel about it. Once I understand how they feel, I lose the ability to be harshly critical with them.

    > Also – what have you developed as a strategy to cope with assaulting emotions around you in life?

    This is a bad strategy, but what I have developed is a sort of tunnel vision when I go out. That tunnel vision has started to fade lately though, and I’ve noticed that I have been picking up more of that ’emotional garbage’ you mentioned. I think all I was doing was becoming extremely withdrawn.

    I’m going to try out your advice and I will come back here to share my results. Thank you. =)

    > What do you think?

    This article has been the most enlightening thing I have read in a while! Words cannot express how hopeful this has all made me feel, and I am extremely grateful that you’ve invested your time— your life— in helping others the way you’ve done. Both you and Antonia are great!

    I’m excited to see how you integrate that subscription model. I really want to consistently support you guys in a meaningful way as a token of gratitude.

    • Steven
      Reply

      Eep, I edited my sentence structure a bit haphazardly and ended up not making sense in some of them.

      Edits:
      * “I told him that [it] was just making my eyes water a little, and that I would be okay.”

      * “I was just an officer in that guild, but I poured my heart into making sure each and every person [felt] like they were cared for on an individual level and not just as part of a machine.”

      * “I [spent] all of my game time doing nothing but assisting the members with achieving each and every one of their individual goals.”

    • Charis Branson
      Reply

      Thanks for the feedback, Steven! I’m glad you found some useful information to use in your life.

      When I needed protection, I used to imagine myself slipping into a skin tight black rubber suit. I saw it on the first season of American Horror Story and thought it was a perfect shield. Now I have mastered the visualization so much that whenever I feel some weird emotion that doesn’t seem to be mine, it only takes a second to imagine the black suit and white light spiraling around me as the detritus dumps into the ground. It’s like I am caught in a whirlwind of light emanating from above and pushing into the earth.

      So, keep practicing. It will become unconscious.

      • Steven
        Reply

        Thanks Charis,

        I’m thinking more and more about the ‘tunnel vision’ comment I made, and I’m actually beginning to realize that their is a lot of personal emotional baggage behind that. It’s a very long story, so I won’t get into it, but for a long time I idiotically wished that I could stop feeling anything altogether. I don’t feel that way anymore though, and I think I am still coming out of that shell..

        Regardless, my experience isn’t really useful to most others, most likely.

        Thank you for the tip, and sorry to dampen the mood a bit, but it’s relevant to clarify things, I think.

        • Charis Branson
          Reply

          I think you will find your experience is very relevant to a lot of people. I made the decision at 13 that emotions were a liability and I was going to be a machine. My brother (an INFP) identified with Data of Star Trek: TNG for the very same reason. Emotions can be messy.

          Unfortunately, when you shut out the bad you also shut out the good. I lost anticipation, passion, trust, everything. I still have some fears surrounding emotion but I have decided to rest into it. I tell myself that people have been emoting for eons and love is born and dies everyday. Our greatest gift in life is the ability to connect with other people. How empty our lives would be without that.

          Be kind to yourself. You and what you experience are highly relevant.

          • Steven

            Thank you very much for the kind words, it actually really helped me a lot just now.

            I don’t know why I trivialize myself so often. It wasn’t more than a week ago that my boss told me to stop doing that. I’m lucky that there are so many good people in the world to help me. -.-

  • Cherie
    Reply

    Well, that was enlightening. I’ve been considering whether I am a secret ENFJ rather than an INFJ or maybe I’m not even intuitive! The more I read the more confused I become and I’ve been all over the personality types lately. Obsession! Does this mean my 10-year-old is in charge?

    I certainly do have a bubble! Never saw it that way before. Would love to work on including more people and have been struggling with that my whole life. And the chakra work, I’ve done it and it is very calming for me. I’ve long had an image of my root chakra being associated with a certain symbol that says, “Back off and leave me alone. Don’t tell me what to do! Probably to do with my inability to set proper boundaries up until my 40s. And a feeling of powerlessness from early childhood. I love the idea of flushing the “crap” out through the root;) I’ve also been doing a cloak of sorts for years and have almost perfected ice queen prickly, which is problematic as I keep my circle very small since I stopped risking making new connections for fear of being taken advantage of. I can see right through people’s agendas and it is often disappointing.

    • Charis Branson
      Reply

      Thanks for the comment, Cherie. I have issues with the bubble too. Only I am open to most everyone to begin with. If they do something that causes me grief, then I freeze them out.

      As to the agenda thing, that’s a tough one. I think we all have an agenda. But to me, it matters how transparent someone is in regards to their agenda. I don’t easily tolerate anyone being two-faced about themselves or their intentions, but if someone is open and honest with me I can forgive a lot. 🙂

      • Cherie
        Reply

        Oh, that is an interesting perspective, Charis. I hadn’t thought about it for awhile, but that is something I noticed years ago. The one personality characteristic my dear friends have in common is honesty. And integrity.

  • Jay jay
    Reply

    Wow. The entire article is incredible, but the section concerning the INFJ introverted thinking bubble really gave me pause. I had never thought about how that particular form of defensiveness could read to other people. As a male INFJ, I often fear I come across as “soft” (even though I’m quite tough underneath the surface). Using Ti to offset that softness can feel really exhausting- and this article helped me reflect on how the extra energy being put into my “10 year old” process can actually come across as quite abrasive to people who don’t know me well.

    It can be incredibly hard finding oneself being the go-to emotional outlet for everyone. I’m sure INFJs aren’t special snowflakes in this regard, all the NFs probably have this to deal with to some degree- though I wonder if the introverted feeling of ENFPs and INFPs helps them feel less exhausted and weighted down by it?

    Thank you for the article. Definitely bookmark worthy. This site and the podcasts are always so helpful. ENPs (and ENFPs in particular) have a special way of seeing the INFJ personality type- it’s certainly true of those I have in my life.

    • Charis Branson
      Reply

      Thanks for the comment Jay Jay! You brought up something I find interesting. “ENPs have a special way of seeing the INFJ personality type.” I didn’t really think about it at the time, but you’re right. This article was written from the perspective of someone on the outside looking in. Sometimes we get a more rounded out perspective of our strengths and weaknesses from an unbiased observer. Whenever I start writing an article about my own type or experience, it immediately becomes masturbatory. “INFJs are awesome!” “INFJs suffer so much!” “I’M A SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE DAMMIT!” Which doesn’t do anybody any good. 😛

  • Linn
    Reply

    Ah, this article is fantastic! I actually never got the whole thing about absorbing others emotional garbage. I just assumed the general feeling I get around other people is something everybody felt. Since I didn’t always like it, I started listening to music with my headset at a young age, when in public places. Everywhere I went I brought my headset in case I felt uncomfortable. If I didn’t have it with me I felt extremely vulnerable. I felt, and still feel like the music is protecting me and enabeling me to be myself and relax around other people. I just assumed this was because I was nervous about talking to people, but it is more than that. I think this is my cloaking mecanism. After reading this I will try cloaking without music and see if I can do that as well. Thanks for putting this into words for me!

    • Charis Branson
      Reply

      Thanks for the comment Linn! You just gave me a new perspective. When I see young kids with headphones, I think negatively because it seems like they have chosen to check out of the world. I perceive it as rude. I never considered they may be using it to cope.

      On the flip side, however, you said you felt extremely vulnerable when you didn’t have your headphones. Maybe they weren’t helping you learn to cope, either. Checking out can seem really luxuriant, but it isn’t sustainable. So, you have taught me that when I see a kid checking out maybe they just need the right tools to deal with the things they don’t understand yet.

      • Linn
        Reply

        No, you’re right. They’re not learning me to cope. I wonder if me listening to music (as a defence mechanism) puts me in my 3yo, in sensation? If so, it’s not at all healthy for me. Is it possible that it could have that effect on me? I also have this eating-problem. Not a disorder, but rather a weekness for sweets that is rather disturbing. No matter how decisive I am I always find an excuse to endulge in excessive eating. Could these two patterns of behaviour be my sensation taking the wheel for my driver?

  • Amy
    Reply

    Wow, this is such a fantastic article!! I love how in-depth it goes, and the specific ideas on how to improve in each of the areas mentioned.

    In regards to the accuracy bubble, this is so true of me. I’ve noticed that I usually go there when I’ve had strong feelings or needs that I’ve kept bottled up instead of tactfully telling the other person about them. Because I don’t share my honest thoughts, whatever is bothering me usually continues to happen, and resentment grows. Recently, I had a very close friend who used to be inside my bubble, and is now on the outside. We also had a business relationship, which has now ended. The issues that drove us apart were related to the business. Ultimately, I was ready to really go for it with our business, and she wasn’t, and our differing commitment levels started to bother me once someone pointed it out. Also, I think she had been building resentment towards me because I was wanting her to make more of an effort than she felt like she was able to at the time. If I had been kind instead of nice when I noticed tensions awhile back (and if she had also), she would probably still be inside my bubble (although the business part of the relationship needed to end regardless). Instead, we each let our feelings fester and eventually blew up at each other. Although we made up after, things will never be the same with us because some pretty harsh things were said by both of us. It was an extremely painful experience, and I’m still not quite over it. During the heat of my frustration with this person, I started being more critical of myself and everyone around me (although I mostly held it in). It started to poison my general outlook on other relationships and aspects of my life. Things are getting better now, and personality hacker podcasts and articles have been really meaningful for me.

    About the saying “no” part, what a great suggestion about asking to get back to the person in 5 minutes. I’ve been able to say no in emails, but I feel trapped on the phone or in person and always cave. I’m also going to try out the saying no all day suggestion, too.

    In terms of ways to honor inner dreams and desires, something that has helped me is keeping a small notebook on hand. I jot down ideas that I think of, as well as future goals. That way it can be referred to in order to keep them as priorities. Also, I discovered psychology articles online about “people pleasing,” and some of the tips mentioned in those have helped me get in touch with my own preferences.

    Thank you so, so much for this amazing article!!!

    • Steven
      Reply

      This was great, after you mentioned your notebook it reminded me of my own which I had completely forgotten about. Last updated in 2012.

      Fortunately, despite my having forgotten about it, I have obtained some of the goals I had written in it since then, but not some of the others. I need to make sure not to forget about this again. -.-

      Thank you!

    • Charis Branson
      Reply

      Thanks for the feedback, Amy! I loved the part about getting back in 5 minutes too! I have just come to realize that about myself. I am self-employed as a massage therapist. I never answer the phone when it rings. I let them leave a message, then I can think about my schedule and what I am willing to do, before calling them back and setting up an appointment. Otherwise, I stumble on the call and end up double scheduling people. My husband says I am probably losing clients by not answering the phone when I am able to, but my peace of mind is more valuable to me. 🙂

      • Steven
        Reply

        You should ask him if he wants to start answering your phone for you. hehe =)

  • Karen Lamb
    Reply

    Thanks for this Joel. I am going through it slowly and carefully and am grateful already for your observations on INFJs needing excitement, and the value of getting their own needs met. In fact I have asked my husband to take me out on a date tonight because I have been feeling low – so a small start has been made 😉

    • Charis Branson
      Reply

      Bravo Karen! I hope you had a nice time. I love going out! What kind of places do you like? I like cozy, dimly lit restaurants where I can be psychologically comfortable. They can’t be too loud or pretentious and I always like corner booths. I have been to some restaurants where I get a definite feeling of resentment or condescension from the wait staff. I feel so uncomfortable I can’t even taste my food. The Olive Garden always gives me that impression, interestingly enough.

      • Karen Lamb
        Reply

        Thanks Charis 🙂 We went to my favourite Art Deco cinema to see a movie, then had a glass of wine and some tapas. We had a lovely time – my husband isn’t such a movie person, so I am sometimes reluctant to ask him to see a movie with me. I am glad I did! My very favourite eatery wasn’t open last night, but I agree with you, I like them dimly lit, nice atmosphere with just the right level of friendliness from the staff. I also like an interesting interior design in an eatery – it really adds to the experience for me. I have noticed that my husband always lets me choose where we will sit. I think I like a place where I can happily observe the comings and goings without being in the thoroughfare. Lovely to swap thoughts with you on this 😉

  • Lydia
    Reply

    Wow.

    Firstly, thank you.

    As a young INFJ (20) who grew up in a family of rare personality types (I have at least one brother as an INFJ, an INFP brother and mother, and INTJ brother and sister, and I’m sure other rare types that have yet to take the test), we have all been a little bit different than the rest of the world; inclined to leadership and passionate about personal growth.

    Even though I only discovered this website last week, and am just now understanding the Myers-Briggs personality model, it is shocking to me how much this article encapsulates my growth journey and the understanding I’ve come to have of myself through my (admittedly short) life.

    Through other personality tests, I realized as a pre-teen/young teen that I adopted the emotions of whoever was around me. Through practicing simple awareness and intentionality, using tactics pretty much exactly like the cloak and flush, I don’t hardly “become” someone else’s emotions anymore.
    Through different personal growth pursuits, I’ve learned the necessity of taking care of myself. This is still a struggle for me to do consistently, but as far as recognizing and staying in tune with my own emotions, I’ve been able to using methods very similar to what you described.
    I’ve also naturally begun to take more control of my social settings/outings. For one, I almost always drive anywhere and everywhere I go with my friends. If I cannot drive, I feel very vulnerable. Which is interesting. But adopting the role of “driver,” I feel much more capable of controlling my emotional world.
    I’ve also naturally begun enlarging my “bubble” mainly because I felt inconsistent within myself whenever I would be that bitch to someone outside of it. My harmony side, I suppose, would rage against me and I didn’t like the incongruence that created inside me. So on the preface that all humans are valuable, I began to view them as worthy of honor simply because they existed. And that has immensely helped in my interactions with people in general.
    I’ve also realized that I have a very hard time saying no. And that saying no is not a bad thing. Though it’s still not comfortable with me, I’ve created many boundaries with those around me in an effort to protect myself and maintain my power. I actually enjoy saying no sometimes now because it feels like I’m telling myself how worthy I am of love.
    And that led me to do exactly what you suggested with crazymakers. Take a few minutes before responding. I almost always do now. And 85% of the time, I tell the crazymakers no because I have commitments that are more important to both me and my harmony. I’ve discovered that the crazymakers not only survive, but they also figure things out pretty well without me. And most of them still like me too… ha.
    I’ve also done exactly what you’ve recommended with friendships. There are very few people that I have that deep connection with. And there are lots of friends that I recognize connect with me, who I will not be able to connect deeply with in the same way. Realizing that made it so much easier to love people instead of resenting them.
    Losing myself in relationships has always been hard. I recently separated from my fiance, and hindsight has clearly shown me that I completely lost myself to him.
    I’ve been very intentional about knowing and expressing ME these days. And I hope to not lose the beauty that is me the next time I have a romantic interest.

    All this to say… as an INFJ who has pursued personal growth and understanding of herself practically her entire life, she intuitively came to the same conclusions that you have in this article.

    But. I so appreciate this. It’s SO clear. I even understand why I did all that I did now. And since I am still perfecting and growing in all of these areas, I have taken notes on this article to go back to when I forget what I’m all about. Such good reminders. And you’re incredibly good at explaining all of this.

    One thing I would like to hear more on… The INFJ’s 3 year old passenger is its sensory. I’d like to hear more about the struggles this causes and different things we can try to guard against our over-indulgent and destructive behavior. I’ve begun recognizing that pattern in me and I’d like to have more understanding around it.

    Thank you so much for this.
    I am kind of in shock at how conscious, accurate, and empowering this is. I’m very grateful.
    -Lydia

  • Amanda
    Reply

    I am a wife, and mom of 4 young children who I homeschool. I found out that I am an INFJ about a year ago, and it turned my world around. I remember taking 5 or 6 different tests, and just crying(or laughing) as I read about myself. Since then, I have read all the blog posts here, listened to nearly all your podcasts, and studied cognitive functions to great length..it has all been so fascinating to me and I’ve loved to type other people in my life. My husband is an INTJ. We believe our oldest son, who is 10, is also an INTJ. And our 8 year old daughter is most likely an INFJ. Our other two younger girls we are not certain of, but we are getting the vibes that they are also intuitives. One we are pretty certain is the only extrovert in our family! I do wonder how rare it is to have a whole family of intuitives??
    All of this resonated with me so very much, and I can’t wait to read this to my husband tonight.
    I have spent most of my life trying to fit in and gain approval. Especially as a child and teenager. I’ve definitely “rocked the boat” more as I became an adult and had my own family. I’m pretty sure our family thinks we are nuts..though they still love us! I have never felt permission to be myself in this world..I am definitely still struggling with that.
    I have sacrificed myself to the point that I am suffering physically and emotionally right now in my life. We are working on that..
    There are many people in my life who look to me for guidance and counsel, but I honestly only have two people that I can openly share my deepest thoughts and feelings with.
    One thing I have noticed is that when we have had a particularly busy weekend, or have been at a large social gathering, when we leave there or the weekend is over, I tend to shut down. I will snap at my husband and kids. It’s like I just can’t handle anything else and just want to be silent. I don’t want to do that to them…I’m not sure how to get through that one..This last weekend was pretty insane for us, and I am still recovering..
    There is so much more I could say, but thank you guys so very much for all of your work!

    • Charis Branson
      Reply

      Thanks for the comment Amanda! I have similar memories of snapping at my family before I knew what my needs were.

      INFJs need serious down time, especially after heavy social events. I know that is hard when you have children, but if you can find a way to get some quiet time to recharge your batteries you will find yourself less likely to snap.

      A quiet walk in the country. A nice bath where you don’t have to worry about being disturbed. A set of headphones and 30 minutes to meditate. You need to feel safe from disturbance and allow the silence to wash over you. Let your mind drift. Antonia calls it “Walking the garden of your mind.”

      I hope you can make room for that in your life. INFJs can’t stay ON all the time. Neither can INTJs, so make sure you are giving your husband the same courtesy.

  • Kaye
    Reply

    I’m so glad I read this.

    I’m an INFJ who has been in vicious Ti loop for some time. There are two main reasons for this:
    1) I work in retail. There’s nothing quite like retail to make you justify hating the human race.
    2) My husband is an INTJ, and though at first we had an amazing intuitive connection and loved to learn from each other’s judging functions, we went through a couple of years of mutual misunderstandings that included my Ti feeling inferior to his Te. I clung to my internal world all the more during this time out of defensiveness and a fear of vulnerability, allowing most of my other friendships to disintegrate in the process. (Things are much better now, but we’re still working out how to better communicate with one another, and after backsliding so far in my personal growth, I find it difficult to understand my own needs well enough to communicate them.)

    The cumulative effect of these led me to do the opposite of many INFJs: I rejected the world and people almost completely in favor of only making sure my needs and feelings were satisfied. (Of course, this is a paradox, because shutting the world out means that my needs aren’t getting met – but that’s my 10 year old Ti for you.)
    I’m trying to get out of this loop, but when reactions and defense mechanisms like this have existed for so long, the habit feels almost impossible to break. Though I have made friends easily in the past, I doubt my ability to do so now. I’m not sure how to rejoin the world of humans and emotions; I feel like trying to open up would only be an insincere and superficial act.

    That all being said, I’m hopeful that many of the things suggested above will help. Do any of you other INFJs have any similar experiences or insights into growing/communicating?

    Thank you all so much!

    – Kaye

    • Charis Branson
      Reply

      I recently had an experience where every time I attempted to meet the needs of someone my efforts were criticized or rejected. I was surprised how depressing and frustrating it was. I couldn’t do what brought me happiness (being in Harmony), so I checked out. I settled into Ti and decided the person I couldn’t satisfy could go to hell.

      I was surprised how drastic and immediate my response was to having my copilot frustrated. And how quickly my Fe came back once that person was gone.

      The reason I share this story is because I wonder if your rejection of the world isn’t due to something similar. And I’m not talking about your marriage. I’m sure that will work itself out once you can get back into the front seat of your car.

      I can’t imagine you get a lot of positive feedback in retail. INFJs thrive on feedback! If you do things for other people all the time (like you probably do in retail) and your efforts go unappreciated, or you receive hostile feedback from others, it is going to short circuit your Fe.

      I actually avoid shopping because I hate the energies that stagnate and rot in most department stores and malls. If finding another job is out of the question, you might want to do some research on visualizations to protect yourself from harmful energies. And find ways outside of work to show your Fe – ways that will bring you the appreciation you need.

    • Amanda
      Reply

      Kaye- It’s great to “meet” another INFJ who is married to an INTJ!

      • Amanda
        Reply

        I completely understand what you said about your Ti feeling inferior to your husband’s Te. I have experienced that so much over the years, and not understanding it at all because I didn’t know my personality. I always just thought he was much more intelligent..Finding out both of our personality types has set us on the path of understanding and better communication, thankfully. I have clung to my inner world for such an incredibly long time, and I feel like I’m climbing the highest mountain in regards to being able to express my deepest thoughts/needs, but I’m thankful that he loves me so much and has been so understanding and helpful.

  • Bella F
    Reply

    Fantastic and informative article! I agree with the tip to expand your bubble. When I feel like shutting down, I have to check in to see if it’s that I need to introvert or if I’m being hyper-critical. If I’m hyper-critical, I do the opposite of what my protective nature wants to do (i.e. push people away) – I open up more and talk about things. I allow myself to be an imperfect human with a warm heart vs. an overwrought perfectionist with a cold demeanor. Which leads me to another helpful tool – ASK for help. I’m still working on asking for help more often and it’s difficult to do so because I’m afraid of being an emotional burden (which is what it can feel like when I take on too much, so why would I want to do that to someone else?). But, still, I find that I need to grow out of that, and truly, asking for help works. The other thing – ACCEPT help when it’s offered. When I’m offered help of some sort, it’s a huge point of humility and I feel a mixture of gratitude and guilt. Just let the guilt go. Let loved ones take part in caring for our little, squishy INFJ hearts. <— so hard for me to do but possible.

  • Joshua Immanuel
    Reply

    Hi Joel,

    Thank you for the article. 🙂 I liked how you wrote that the Earth can absorb as much emotional energy as we can throw at it (infinite). As an INFJ, I tend to think “I don’t want to hurt the planet,” but then I realize that it is something that’s out of fear, because the Earth was made to do that. 🙂

    Though I primarily identify myself as INFJ, I still understand that the more I use my other functions (as we technically all have them) will help me become a person who is well-rounded because I am in a position – and will find myself in a position to do so. It’s not as if I won’t be getting anything done if I do develop them – but it does make the transitions much easier the more I do understand and use them. This way, I can trust in my own ability more and understand how I can also trust others.

    When I find that I “lose myself to others” I realize I’m with people who don’t have healthy intent. So I just leave, which is why I keep such a small circle of friends, but I still long for understanding important lessons that doesn’t need to keep me separate from others – expressed in multiple ways, and expressed completely.

    Thanks so much for all that you guys do at Personality Hacker. ^_^

    • Charis Branson
      Reply

      Thanks for your input Joshua! I never thought about the earth actually being harmed by negative energy. I think of the stones and the dirt and oceans and core of the earth as being there intentionally for us to ground and connect with, thereby releasing harmful attachments. I’m glad you can start using the earth for your benefit. 🙂

      • Joshua Immanuel
        Reply

        It’s not as if I haven’t been spending time with the Earth for our mutual benefit, but the realization that it can really take as much as I can give it. 🙂

  • amanda
    Reply

    I am sad to see there aren’t more articles about ESFP’s. I looked up my husband INFJ and there are tons of articles for his type that go in depth to the car model and brain patterns such as this one. Any chance you can show some love to the ESFP’s soon 🙂

    • Antonia Dodge
      Reply

      Hey, Amanda!

      PH’s audience definitely skews intuitive, in part because our stated mission is helping people first acknowledge and second understanding iNtuitives. But we know that Sensors are a huge part of that puzzle. We’ve been focusing on a different Myers-Briggs type each week and this week is that last of the N types (ENTP). We’ll be starting on Sensor types next week and dedicating all of December to them.

      So, the short answer: YES! Content around ESFPs is coming up soon, so keep your eyes peeled! 😀

      -A-

  • Reena
    Reply

    Thank you so much for this brilliant, life-changing article! Where do you get these insights from?
    I read your first PH articles on INFJs a couple of months ago – what I like most about this one, is the cure for the “Accuracy Bubble” – expanding it’s territory through the Harmony process and including all humanity inside the bubble on principle. What a beautiful advice! I’ve felt SO ashamed of my immature, hyper-critical tirades! 😉 They mostly come out when I had to spend time with
    – people who don’t seem to “SEE” people/the world around them as clearly as I do –> makes me feel horribly alone, as if I’m living in a reality only I can see. I rarely feel alone in a room when an ESTP is around: they are incredibly observant and discerning beneath the laughter and the smooth.
    – TJ business managers if they dehumanize work environments and value technical competence over everything else. Makes me feel undervalued for lack of a wider, more EQ-aware perspective.
    Much of your advice will help me out with this!

    Other things I can confirm: I’ve taken major life decisions (move abroad, take a job in finance, learn an instrument/hobbies) to please people I loved. At a point, I was wondering what hobbies I loved as a child, and what I – ME – would enjoy as a hobby now, and even after days of thinking no answer was coming back – total disconnect between the life I was living and the person I really was. I also used to be disconnected from my needs in real-time situations, always intuiting what the other person likes and wants and then adapting.

    Thanks also for reminding us that we are – in some ways at least – transformational leaders. I think this is what INFJ should focus on, professionally and in private life, for a fulfilling life.

  • Reena
    Reply

    Additional comment:
    I also believe that INFJs are incredibly connected to their subconscious mind (as in: seeing what the unconscious observes, hearing the subconscious draw conclusions and formulate future implications, visualising the patterns the mind forms) + extremely oberservant.

    This often manifests in a dream-like, spaced-out state, as well as slow behavior. It can give the impression that other children are “out there”, in front of your eyes, screaming, laughing ,playing with each other, knowing how to interact and present/act out their ideas, while the INFJ is almost PARALYSED in its own bubble, watching from the sidelines, observing and taking it all in, unable to act.
    It is as if the INFJ mind is 100%ly occupied with observing OTHER’s beahvior, disconnected from/blind to its own ideas and needs, and thus not only far from acting, but far from knowing what “own ideas” to act on in the first place.

    I believe it is SO important to let INFJ children know they are *OK*, that they are allowed to be this way, that their way of being is directly tied to incredible strengths. And ultimately tring to help them develop with some (of your) useful advice.

    Many INFJs I know felt different, broken, ridiculed, weak, slow, weird, unworthy, unlovable when they were children, which obviously impacts their adult identity in one way or the other (defender of the underdog, running towards outwardly visible status/success to prove they can *be someone* in the world,…).

    Thanks again for helping INFJs feel understood.

  • Michaela
    Reply

    Thank you for this insightful article!

    It captures many important aspects and challenges of being an INFJ. I’ll definitely try out some of the suggestions given. Boundaries have always been a big issue, and giving permission to myself has always been a worthwhile challenge.

    Some thoughts about the Kind vs. Nice distinction for INFJs: I agree that Niceness is shallow without the element of truth. Personally, I find that being “kind” as you define it comes much more naturally to me than being “nice;” however, the challenge for me in choosing to be kind is really in coping with the consequences. Because at the end of the day, your friends and family members don’t want to be constantly moralized, sermonized, and taken care of by your Insight Greater Than Theirs. No matter how kindly you say the truth, it comes off as patronizing after a while and eventually you’ll alienate yourself from your friends by sharing what you know but they’re not ready to hear. Realistically, most people I know want their stereotypes, opinions and habits reinforced by niceness, except in situations of dire stress or anxiety, when (driven by extreme duress into their “crazymaking” stage) they might finally come to you for the insight they need to deal with the mess they’re in. I’ve learned that unless I am just “nice” and fake, people keep me at arm’s length until such a crisis emerges and they actually want what I have to offer. That’s why I generally may seem “secretive” about my insights. Mature people who are eager for personal growth, on the other hand, certainly appreciate an INFJ’s kindness… but they are relatively few.

    For me, a middle way that works better than ALWAYS being “Kind” or “Nice” would be being “Nice,” supportive, and validating until you reach a point of intimacy in your relationship when you can afford to be “kind;” then using that kindness judiciously and sparingly. If you are kind too soon or too often, people will avoid you.

  • Megan
    Reply

    I just learned I am an INFJ. I am feeling somewhat relieved after reading this article because I’ve been questioning my sanity! This is me perfectly. Except, I’ve given up or at least checked out for a while cause I couldn’t handle “life” for the reasons mentioned in the article. I have been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and most recently agoraphobia. I will not leave my home except for appointments to avoid taking on others’ emotions, to avoid the random people that feel the need to tell me their whole life story just because I smiled and made eye contact, to avoid putting myself in a situation where someone will ask something of me and I know I can’t say no, to avoid the exhausting routine of leaving the house at 4:45am and not returning till after 7:30pm everyday because I’m caring for my child, my SO, and 3 others stuff daily and have a full time job, to avoid my dear friend that I’ve learned from the article is a crazymaker for sure. I know where I am is very unhealthy but I didn’t know what else to do other than lock myself away. Letting myself fall completely into a mental breakdown where I look like I need a Looney bin was better in my head than having to ask for help, or saying no, learning boundaries, etc. No one expects anything of you if you’re nuts, not even yourself. I’m working on getting help, going to a residential program to learn all those skills I lack like assertiveness, boundaries, self love so I can rebuild again and not let it get so out of control. And I’m only 29…I didn’t last very long.

    Now before the breakdown, I’ve struggled my entire life with being a people pleaser, not being able to say no, and putting EVERYONE’S feelings above my own…to a disgusting level. I was the girl right out of high school that would sleep with a boy because I didn’t want to hurt his feelings by saying no. I’d rather sacrifice my own self worth and just get it over with so I could go home and cry about it to myself. How it got to that point, I’ve never completely understood but guessed. What did I do to make him think I was interested or wanted that? All I did was laugh at his stupid jokes, listen to him as if i cared cause he needed that, and just what I thought was being nice…I’ve thought I obviously gave him the wrong impression and this is my fault so therefore I’m responsible for the outcome. I know that is sad and weak but it’s the truth. I’ve felt like I’ve had a sign on my head my whole life telling weirdos, takers, and predators that I’m weak please take advantage of my kindness and I don’t know how to say no.

    I’ve always known I feel more than most. When I hear a story on the radio that is sad or someone was hurt I will cry and cry as if it happened to me. Watching shows I get so involved with characters it’s as if it’s real to me almost (that’s hard to explain but the best i can do right now)…so shows like criminal minds can be a little much but I crave it. Now around people is best and worst. When I was healthier I loved being able to feel another as it sparked so much curiosity, challenge to know why and was rewarding when I was able to talk to or listen to that person and feel that energy change into positive feelings. As I became more and more unhealthy I didn’t have the energy and that’s when I started to avoid places. Little by little it shrunk to me not going anywhere. The people I’m always drawn to are the broken, neglected, confused, twisted, fix it projects. I want to help them. I know they just need someone to care and I’m a very caring person.

    Every relationship I’ve had I’m always the giver, I go out of my way constantly, I’m passive, do as I’m told, avoid conflict just fix whatever they need, and forget who I am. And to never feel really connected to that person. I know them, every move they are going to make, what they need, how they feel but I don’t think any of them have really known me. Just that I’m nice, caring, loving…all the obvious things. Now I’ve had my heart broken, lied to, cheated, etc and feel that I can’t decider what’s intuition and what’s paranoia…I’m constantly second guessing myself. I think everyone will just hurt me because everyone else is out for themselves…I’m too weak for this world and it’s too exhausting to have to worry. I just want to love and be loved.

    Now, the agoraphobia, since I desire, crave, and yearn for connection I feel even more detached from the world. I’m not happy this way either…I am embarrassed, disappointed and am constantly judging myself. But at the same time, I like being alone and have enjoyed reading about whatever my little heart desires, trying to uncover and understand the world’s secrets and meanings. As long as i stay in that world I’m fine…put reality in front of me and how I’ve given up I’m a basket case.

    I obviously have a lot to learn. This article really helped me to understand me though…it brought me to tears…and i think learning more will be part of the answer to finding who the real me is and how to do life the best i can. Thank you.

  • Reginald
    Reply

    Unbelievable. I have so much to say. So many comments and questions. It’s the questions I have! I wish I could sit down with someone and just gush about all of the thoughts and questions I have on all of this. I’m sorry in advance if I write too much…

    First, allow me to say thank you, Joel. My name is Reginald (25) and I am a male INFJ. I really can’t express my gratitude for you sharing this information. I am new to PH and the Myers-Briggs Personality Types. After taking the test and while reading my profile, my body began to ache, eyes got big and started tearing up, and everything was tight and tense because I knew it was all true. All of this is so incredibly eye-opening and helpful, but at the same time I find it confusing and frustrating.

    The two processes that received the biggest reaction from me are: Harmony and Accuracy.

    I am in definite need of Harmonic growth. I understand how it works because I always feel that I am actively ‘keeping the peace’. If I’m with family, a group of coworkers, or other acquaintances, I am always keen on things that will embarrass or hurt someone so I try to avoid that outcome to prevent them from feeling uncomfortable. This goes hand in hand with approval and disapproval. Apparently it is in our (INFJs) nature to work towards others’ approval, but when it comes to our own approval, no one could tell the difference.

    For example, I had a coworker who used to crack jokes at me all the time in good fun. My reaction was always laughter. In the beginning, I found it funny. Eventually I didn’t find it very funny anymore but I kept laughing simply because I recognized his attempts. Then it just became annoying but I kept laughing. I guess I never showed disapproval because I didn’t want him to feel uncomfortable or feel like he was a bad person.

    This is why I find the idea of growing Harmony to be incredibly frustrating. We are supposed to include ourselves in ‘everyone’s needs’ but when I imagine showing disapproval in order to grow, my heart sinks. After much thought, I think I know why that is. When it comes to approval and disapproval, I don’t trust others to be disapproved of. If someone has to be uncomfortable, I feel that I will handle it the best. That way, I succeed in making the others have a good time and I always think I’ll be fine. If showing disapproval for the sake of my growth makes even one person feel sore about it…then I feel I won’t be able to forgive myself. There are moments in my life where I was disapproved of or made someone feel disapproved of and I have not forgotten them even to this day.

    My other big reaction came from the “Defensive” state of “Accuracy.” I can name several points in my life where I unknowingly exercised this state. Some years ago, I once told my girlfriend (now an ex) that I liked to argue because I’m always right. I am not proud of that. I know it was stupid and no, I would never dream of saying something like that again, but after reading about INFJs, I finally have some insight as to WHY I said and believed that. I was partly expressing the subconscious knowledge of my Perspectives and the opinion-crushing nature of my Accuracy.

    My frustration with Accuracy comes down to one single question: How do I utilize it in any way other than defense? It seems like a state that lends itself so well to a negative place. I literally have no idea how I am supposed to use it for anything else. For example, it is recommended that I use it in times of intimacy and play and for growing Harmony. That sounds very interesting but my question is how? I don’t see a correlation between criticizing opinions or perfection and being intimate. Does anyone have any suggestions here?

    This article is incredibly helpful, so again, I thank you, Joel. I really do. I just wish there were an easier way to utilize what you are teaching me; to grow my Harmony process. If anyone reading this has further advice it would be greatly appreciated. I know I need a lot of work.

    Lastly, I apologize for being a downer or for any of this sounding negative. I know this has been a very positive journey for many of you and I do not wish to diminish that. I am trying my absolute best to be completely honest about how I feel about all of this. If it sounds self-pitying, I really don’t know what to say. I want to say that this is all honest emotion, but after reading about Accuracy, I’m afraid that it might be Accuracy at work, turning me to be self-destructive and critical. That terrifies me because now I sometimes wonder who I am. Do I really feel a certain way or am I letting a 10 year old take control?

    Again, I’m very sorry for the novel but I don’t have anyone to talk to about all of this. I have so much more I would like to discuss but I don’t want to talk your ears off.
    Anyway, thank you, Joel and Antonia. Thank you for reading. And best of luck to my fellow INFJs.

    Reginald

    • Charis Branson
      Reply

      Thanks for the comment, Reginald! Asking for clarification is not the sign of a downer. 🙂

      The 10 year old process should always be employed in the support of the copilot. That means you would never give Accuracy preference to Harmony, but you can use it in conjunction with Harmony.

      When you are feeling hyper critical, argumentative, or perfectionistic that is a sign that your Accuracy is taking control. That means you need to get back into Harmony by asking, “What’s best for everyone?”

      What I like about my Accuracy process (I’m INFJ, too) is that it reminds me to look at the facts of a matter and share my findings honestly and accurately. This doesn’t mean I use the information to beat someone over the head with, or prove the many ways they’re stupid, but I use it to plow through the bullshit that can come up in interpersonal relationships. It helps me communicate succinctly and enables me to cut through the emotional detritus and find the truth…even when it is myself being emotionally unstable.

      I often view my Ti as Harmony’s body guard. It keeps the emotions honest and prevents it from succumbing to the role of doormat. Does that mean Accuracy doesn’t get me into trouble? Nope. I still succumb to it every now and then when I decide I want to be right in the face of everyone else. But it is a work in progress. 🙂

  • Lisa
    Reply

    I have question about crazy makers. Do you have any tips or strategies for setting boundaries if you are married to one? This isn’t a person you’d necessarily want to cut out of your life and divorce, but you also don’t want to let their urgent needs continually trump your own.

  • J D
    Reply

    Thank you for the article. Its viewpoint and insights were refreshingly different from many of the other INFJ articles out there. It’s always nice to dig deeper and explore from a different perspective. I am curious, however, what your thoughts are regarding some of the above possibly being a bit irrelevant.

    I am an INFJ, early 30’s, married to an INTJ, daughter of an ENFJ and an ENTJ. While I understand the article’s points regarding harmony, accuracy, etc. I’m not sure how they relate to my own experiences.

    I’ve always been a loner, exceedingly different from anyone else, and have always been extremely sensitive to this difference. With the exception of the relationships I have with my husband and parents, I’ve never had a friendship where I didn’t feel I wasn’t more than a tag-along, outsider, pretender, annoyance, or merely around for another person’s convenience. I have no friends outside of husband and family. Most of the people in my life I keep at a distance. While I’ve always craved close relationships, I’ve shut myself off from them for so long, I don’t know how to fix it.

    Continuous abandonment and one-sidedness have taken their toll. Friendships were always “out of sight, out of mind.” At ten, when I moved cities, I was the only one to keep in contact and eventually stopped. At 13, when I started homeschooling, my friends forgot about me. At 21, I distanced myself from a 5 year friendship after coming to the realization that it was (and had always been) entirely one-sided. In college, friendships never lasted longer than the current semester.

    Isolation became a shield, and I continue to isolate myself from the pain and emotional turmoil of one-sidedness. With my intuitive abilities, I see the one-sidedness long before a friendship takes hold and I nip it in the bud, keeping my distance and never allowing things to develop beyond acquaintance.

    That isn’t to say I’m not friendly. I can put almost anyone at ease, am still the counselor, still the person who can see a situation from all angles and offer sound advice. I do what I can to make most people around me happy. But I never allow things to go further, because I can already see the end result. After so many years of self-isolation, I’ve actually become a bit of a critical cynic (internally—I’m perfectly capable of masking it for the sake of others).

    My social circle is not vast. I’m a writer who works from home, my husband and I have recently moved hours away from family, we have no children (unless you count the four-legged kind), and we rarely interact with our neighbors. it has come to the point where I don’t know how or if I’m even capable of developing a close friendship.

    My self-isolation has protected me from most of the pitfalls mentioned in the article. I don’t have to learn to say “no.” I’ve been saying it for years. I already play hostess or co-hostess with several family gatherings as a means to take control of my social interactions. While I can identify other Intuitives around me, I find that most of them only want the counselor or the competitor—someone to help them feel more fulfilled in their own life rather than someone to work towards mutual fulfillment. I can’t lose myself in a relationship because I won’t allow myself to be lost anymore. And I’ve become so good at approving or disapproving, it’s turned me cynical.

    Is this something other INFJ’s have gone through/are going through? Have I tipped the scales too far and found another facet of the INFJ pitfalls?

  • Clara
    Reply

    Hello, I’m so happy to have read all these comments!

    I’m an Infj living in Europe and I recognize myself soo much in many situations described above.
    As a regular listener of Personalityhacker.com’s podcasts, I have started a simple and in progress reminder tips list on how to cope with some day-to-day life situations.
    I hope that the list I would like to share can be useful and enriched based on other Infjs and Intuitives’ experience.
    Some of them may sound more practical to those living in France (where I’m from). Thanks a lot!

    > Letting go of others’ emotions

    In my case, they instantly get stuck on my stomach, especially in confined environments: while standing next to other passengers in the subway, anxious colleagues seated in the desk next to mine even if we are physically separated by a wall (which seems emotion-porous)…
    . Put my earphones on and push my smartphone’s volume quite high
    . Walk away when possible. Move to the opposite direction (in the subway) or go and work in a meeting room for a while
    . Direct my focus on something my mind can dive into: a book, reviewing the pics in my cell, drafting a complex email I have to write…

    > Taking care of my needs > Tips

    . Start early. I’ve realized that it’s not possible to put aside the ingrained habit of taking care of others first. It can take several weeks or months before I actually start the first baby steps towards my own desires, objectives and goals.
    I need a lot of time to let an intuition blossom, turn it into a little bit more concrete idea, imagining the very first milestones I could undertake before starting to carry out the very first baby steps. By the time all this happens, I can of course not stop taking care of others.

    . A few comments posted earlier mentioned a notebook to jot down any ideas crossing the mind. I tried that too and it worked well for me too.
    I’m now developing the habit of keeping a weekly to do list which includes not only the tasks and things I “Have to do” but I’m also planning leisure activities, may they be on my own, with my partner and with friends. At the end of each week, I check and note down what I did, when and with whom, then I re-plan and refine my action plan.

    > Taking care of my needs > Setting boundaries

    I explained to my best half (Infp) the inner progress I went through. Jungian cognitive functions were kinda hard to explain in simple and serious words but he got it thanks to the explanations I could find on Personalityhacker.com.

    I feel lucky to have a very understanding partner who is not so much into psychology stuff but who listened to me, and to whom I basically said ‘Well look, you may be surprised by some of my new behaviors from now on.’

    Space of my own, alone time, going by myself to the movies, going out with friends without him and making time for long ‘Intuitive conversations’ with a few of them (while some of them were his friends in the first place), telling him to plan his own activities while I’ll schedule mine… And of course scheduling quality time for the two of us, as well.

    I shared all this with softness and it took me a few months to progressively make this the new normal. I’m still working on it at the moment. It’s a bit destabilizing for my best half especially when I seem to have long ‘Intuitive conversations’ with other people!

    > Recharging my batteries

    . Have a walk on my own and listen to music or to a PH podcast.

    . Posting photos on my Fb wall and using them for vizualisation purpose.
    My personal Fb wall is open to a very small number of Friends. Posting photos that I take forces me to focus more on the “here and now”, to be attentive to my immediate surroundings and environment.

    . I’m right now in a life period where I have more time than a year ago.
    Believe it or not, I take the time to spend time to re-read and re-view past correspondence which made me joyful when I received them for the first time.

    The self-development journey is a long path. I have some struggles too and here are some challenges on which I would love to read about from other Infjs and Intuitives.

    > Overcoming internal resistance and blockage when it comes to giving life to my own ideas, making them a reality.
    I know my natural tendency is to help others and make them progress towards their own goals.
    It’s a totally different story when it comes to myself. I would like sometimes not to be that slow!
    I feel a lot of time is spent on daydreaming / procrastinating. How do you cope with that? Any practical tips?

    > Building a tribe of Intuitives and enlarge this tribe with friends that I can meet IRL. Introverts are not so many out there so I do not want to worn these relationships out too quickly.
    It takes time, so much time to go out and find them!!

    > And of course, interacting and working with Extraverted / Sensors. Any dummy guide? That would help so much!! 🙂

    Thanks a lot for reading and sharing!
    Clara

  • Tramaine
    Reply

    I was almost in tears reading this. Couldn’t at while I was at work, but I will be reading this many times over to understand my growth. It has been so needed in my life. I have been at a fork in my life for years. I see where a lot of people have one sidedly used me and I have used them too. I need to be truer to my inner self. I moved 1600 miles away to establish my own personal wants and desires and boundaries with certain people I became critical of and they of me. Like you said I need to open to humanity and have the right to say no, just as much as they do. I can become the strong INFJ male leader I know I should become. I thank you from my heart.

  • Alisa
    Reply

    Have we met? You know me so well! I am completely drained by all the demands everyone makes on me all the time and my inability to manage appropriate responses. I will be more conscious of my feelings and actions because I am completely overwhelmed and nonproductive, and it has to stop. Thanks for this article and all the insights I got about myself as a result of reading it.

  • Octavia Lopez
    Reply

    I tend to not be able to forgive myself. This page however was on point with mh issues. Being 18, i feel like the world is against me. Each tine i stand up for what i believe in, am always the bad person and i don’t have a clue how to deal with this.

  • Christina
    Reply

    I am so relieved to have read this article. I have come to MBTI relatively late in life at 51. I have several times tested as INFP. Some of the things in the INFP descriptions I relate to very much – the idealism, treating everyone as entitled to their own way of being, being seen as passive aggressive sometimes because of being nice and then regretting it…But it never quite seemed to relate to the way I see myself, and I got very stuck when trying to fit myself into intraverted feeling (I usually don’t know what I feel about things, and sometimes ignore it when I do) and extroverted intuition (I can brainstorm, but it’s a conscious effort). The way I am in the world is intense experience of others emotion and body language accompanied by an almost irresistible urge to fix the world so it works better for everyone. I’m exhausted by it. I spend all day at work (as a shrink) using my empathy constructively for other people and not once in a whole day thinking what I need. Its very satisfying having those intense connections but I can only work 3 days a week. At home I have done exactly what you say – my life is a struggle between anticipating the emotional needs of my family (as I see them) and determinedly carving out some time for me, between the naps and alone time I can’t do without. I grimaced with the familiarity of your description of losing yourself in relationships. That is my struggle. Tell me I’m not an INFJ.

    I am currently making some textile art to describe the differences between how people are seen and how they appear to themselves. The difficulty I have with this project is that it is a selfish one. And I’m drafting a paper about how to set up an organisation so staff feel valued so they will be loyal and do a good job. I sit in the middle of the office instead of in my own room, so that my antennae can pick up interpersonal issues before they arise and prevent discord. I have the most harmonious team in South London. Tell me I’m not an INFJ!

    So why am I testing as INFP? I have certainly gone the disillusionment route. I have worked hard not to exclude people from my bubble, but haven’t managed the whole world – more like little Britain at my best. And at my worst I have put my whole family out on the street ,metaphorically speaking (bad times indeed) and let my Ti accurately puncture the soft spot of every one of them. I see myself writing this in grammatical English with a coherent structure without any need for editing, but I can’t string a reasonable sentence together when speaking in meetings. Or on a dictaphone. At work I wear conservative clothes in dark colours, because that’s what makes people comfortable with a shrink. At home I don’t care what I wear and only recently realised that I can wear comfortable clothes! ‘I just realised’ is a phrase I use to describe my insights. My husband doesn’t understand how I can say I just realised about the same thing at different times as if I hadn’t got it before (because I had another insight moment about the same thing in another context). I don’t know what to do with myself if there’s no one needing something from me. I don’t know what I feel until I tell someone. Tell me I’m not an INFJ!

    This was long and heartfelt and not at all what you asked for. It came out like this because your article makes me feel understood at last. Thank you.

    • Zixi
      Reply

      Hi Christina,

      Reading your post and I found it resonates me a lot. Every test I have done in a variety of websites shows me as an INFP, but when I read the description of INFP, I knew it is somewhat like me, but it is essentially not me. After I read the INFP vs INFJ: 5 Surprising Differences to Tell Them Apart on this website, I am confirmed that I am an INFJ. Specifically, I absorb other people’s emotions instead of mirroring them. I only found this out last year. I was so confused before that why all of a sudden I would feel very nervous or sorrow or agony without any obvious reason. Haha, it sucked like hell without understanding it, because I thought it was something really wrong with me.

      I am not sure why INFJs sometimes are mis-tested as INFPs, but I guess no test can be as detailed enough to catch every nuance, while INFP and INFJ are very similar in many ways. Having believed that I am an INFJ, I would still like to hear from Joel Mark or Antonia, they probably have a lot of experience to clarify the confusion on the mis-match.

  • Christina
    Reply

    So, my tips…
    I text rather than phoning so that I can have time to check that I’m not reflexly being nice before I respond.

    I leave the room and don’t do anything for anyone else after dinner is over. (Easier than earlier in the day for some reason).

    I have learned to say ‘I won’t be able to do that’ at work. (Instead of being apologetic). I need to be prepared to do this, so have also learned the ‘I will get back to you tomorrow’ reflex.

    I have recently learned ‘please can you…’ and ‘So who is going to do that?’ I still feel bad about it, but I don’t let it show any more.

    I have stopped trying to explain my insights about what would be better in person and started doing it in writing, with some success (and some not so much).

    I sometimes say what I mean instead of what they want to hear. Usually tactfully! And I have had lots of good feedback for this eg ‘I know you will be honest with me.’ And ‘we had to coin a new phrase – nice-assertive.’

    I haven’t worked out how to manage interviews, though, because I don’t know how to give them what they want when I can’t have one to one time with them first! Any suggestions?

  • Regina
    Reply

    I am an INFJ. When I read your explanation “People love you but don’t know you”, I immediately got got teary eyed and almost burst into tears. I feel that way so much. I have such a hard time letting people in because of how terrified I am of being so vulnerable. I am an addiction counselor and I listen to people all day long and it has always been hard for me to ask for what I need. I would much rather focus on everyone else. I also wanted to burst out crying when you said we feel alone and misunderstood. I have felt that way my entire life and just think I don’t want to burden anybody with my problems so I just turn the focus on everyone else. Talk about being spot on. Wow, I am blown away. Thank you for the insight

    • Joel Mark Witt
      Reply

      Thank you Regina for sharing your honest and vulnerable experience. I’m happy you found us. We have a community of INFJs and lots of other types who are part of our growing tribe. Hope we get to see you around more.

  • Wuruhi
    Reply

    Joel,

    What a very, very good article that hits home time after time.

    I am myself an INFJ nearing my 60th anniversary and in my life — since I was three — have gone through pretty much everything you so meritoriously described. I especially liked the “The Critical Accuracy Bubble” and “Protecting Your Heart By Cloaking and Flushing” parts – they are true and necessary skills to survive in society.

    Thank you very much for unusually worthy reading.

  • Nikki
    Reply

    I have absolutely loved everything I have encountered on the personality hacker website, especially everything on what it is like being an INFJ. I am excited to start growing my harmony process. It has become ever so clear the immediate attention this needs in my life. I literally feel like I will be able to breathe again. I truly loved the part tonight about “not being obligated to do anything with all the emotional garbage thrown my direction”. I realized I have been feeling like I was suppose to do something with all of the emotional garbage. Whether that be: Carry it around, Identify with the emotions, Give energy to embrace them or figure them out, Be sad with them, Rejoice with them, or Ultimately just do something with them. Most of the time I had no clue what to do with them all, so I just let them hang out stealing my freedom to be happy and light hearted. I realize much of my growth is going to come from giving myself permission and affirmation that ultimately I am not obligated to do anything with these intense onslaughts of emotions. I do see this as a challenge. Something so deep inside me says doing something with these emotions is right. I know I have to break that thought pattern. Does anyone have some perspectives which helped you realized it was not your responsibility to carry around the endless emotions you come in contact with each day? I am looking forward to laying them all down. Thank you Joel and Antonia for all you have created.

  • Chloe
    Reply

    Well, the only thing I’m disappointed about is that I had resigned myself to accepting my existence as an alien on your planet only to find out I’m a human INFJ! I spent the last 15 years of my life believing I was an ENFP and wondering why I was so socially awkward and felt so drained after social interaction, why I would feel so emotional when nothing significantly bad was happening in my life, why I knew things I thought were obvious but were oblivious to others, why complete strangers always approach me wherever I go, why my phone rings late at night when someone needs an ear, why my dreams are always in color and turn into movie scripts, why I have random thoughts of genius from just looking at the ground, why I can’t ever turn my brain off, why I feel the need to fix everyone, have a strict moral code, strive to see justice done and on and on? But most specifically, why couldn’t anyone understand me? My family and friends think I’m smart but weird because I refuse to assimilate or pretend to like things other people do or why I don’t care about appearances. But they rely on me to give a listening ear, be dependable, honest, loyal, do the right thing and understand them completely. I now realize my own mother is my ultimate emotional highjacker and my anxiety level triples when trying to meet her needs and it’s the only time I can’t seem to find the positive twist in something. I now see why my relationships have gone wrong and many other things in my life have fallen into place after taking more than one test, verifying my personality. I can move forward and embrace the person I’ve been holding back because of being convinced that the problem is me due to my lack of normalcy. I will never ignore my gut feeling again. I’ve always been right about them but afraid to speak up, instead waiting to clean up the debris of the aftermath. Thanks for the insight. I can start my new life as a human now and want to learn more.

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