It’s strange that a personality type for which “homemaker” is one of the top recommended career options has such a difficult time finding love. While not true of all INFJs, many of us are romantics in every sense of the word. We’re idealists who still believe in soul-mates. We’re eager to dive deep into relationships and prioritize the people closest to us. We’re among the MBTI types least likely to cheat in a romantic relationship.
But we also shy away from any type of deep relationship if we don’t feel completely safe. Our idealism means we often have unrealistic expectations for our (potential) romantic partners. The soul-mate type of understanding we crave is hard to find. And so here I am, turning 27 this year having been on 4 dates since I was 19 (all with guys I chose not to go out with a second time) and yet still wanting to be in a relationships (almost) just as much as ever.
So what’s a single INFJ to do? It sounds cliche, but I agree with Amelia Brown on Introvert, Dear that it’s important to focus on “the relationship you have with yourself.” If you’re not comfortable with yourself, you’re never going to be happy, regardless of whether or not you’re in a relationship with someone else. Also, if you haven’t taken ownership of your life, your choices, and your struggles then you’re going to have a harder time cultivating the sort of strong, lasting relationship INFJs crave.
No matter what your personality type, you’re not going to find self-fulfillment in another person. Relationships can help fill our loneliness, but they are not the ultimate good. Being a Christian, I believe we find the meaning and belonging we crave in our relationship with God. We’re designed to desire connection, and our desires are best filled in a relationship with the One who created our desires.
Non-Christians INFJs often apply this same principle to another form of spirituality and seek the answers within and outside themselves. Whatever your beliefs, you can’t rely on another person to fill your deepest desires. Eventually they’re going to disappoint you and you’re going to be temped to either shut everyone out so they can’t hurt you any more (the non-dating INFJ) or move on to the next relationship (the “serial monogamy” INFJ). That’s not really healthy.
Being in a romantic relationship is not the epitome of human purpose. Once you get over that idea, you can start to connect with something greater than yourself, invest in friendships, develop your talents and gifts, and find happiness where you are right now. Ironically, when we stop focusing on romantic relationships as what fulfills us, we’re also more likely to have those healthy relationships we long for.
Learn To Do Relationships
It’s no secret that INFJs crave meaningful connection. In point of fact, most people don’t thrive on shallow connections whatever their personality type. We all want to surround ourselves with people who “get” us, though exactly what that involves will look different for different types. Whether or not you are happy being single, great friendships are important.
Some things INFJs have to guard themselves on are 1) letting people get too close too fast and/or 2) not letting people get close at all. The first is dangerous because spilling your innermost thoughts to someone before you know you can trust them makes it more likely you’ll get hurt. The second is dangerous because if we never let anyone get close then we have no one but ourselves to blame for our loneliness.
A few months ago, I wrote a guest post for JenniferSoldner.com about INFJ Levels of Friendship. In this article, I discuss an often unconscious way many INFJs sort people into categories, and how we can use that as a vetting process and a tool for getting to know people in a healthy way. You might want to click over there and read that post.
Are you happy being single? That’s great! I wish you well as you continue to get to know yourself, strengthen your talents, and develop meaningful friendships. Just because we don’t want romance doesn’t mean we don’t need connection, and I hope you won’t take your desire to be single to the extreme of shutting people out. Platonic friendships are a great source of companionship and conversation.
Are you still hoping for a relationship? Don’t give up! Put the idea of finding your soul-mate in its proper place and focus on knowing yourself and building friendships while you continue to search for romance. Much as you might hope for it, it’s improbable that your soul-mate ENTP (or whatever you’re looking for) is just going to appear and sweep you off your feet into an instant romance. A more likely way of finding love is if one of your friendships deepens into a relationship. Even if that doesn’t happen, friendships are a great way to fill the need for people in your life during your single years and beyond.