I realized this morning that it’s been more than six years since I wrote “You Know You’re an INFJ When …” While I’ve written a large number of articles on INFJs since then, I haven’t really written another addressing signs that you might be an INFJ Personality type.
Individually, the signs listed in this article are true of more than one personality type. There are 16 different types in the Myers-Briggs® system and many of them share a number of similarities that can make it challenging to tell them apart. But if most of these points sound like you, then there’s a good chance you might be an INFJ.
1) Your Mind Works Differently
Phrases that other people use to describe you include “old soul,” “impractical,” “daydreamer,” “too sensitive,” “good listener,” “weird,” and “deep.” Sometimes you may feel alienated or not quite human. If you think about it (as many of us do) you might reach the conclusion that your mind works in a fundamentally different way than most other people.
This sort of thing happens because INFJs are a rare personality type. Intuitive types only make up about 30% of the population, and your preference for Sensing/Intuition affects how you process the world and learn new information. Our minds do work differently than most other people.
2) You Notice Patterns and Perspectives
As an INFJ, you notice patterns, especially big-picture patterns, that other people typically overlook. Introverted Intuition (the cognitive function that INFJs lead with) is basically like advanced pattern recognition software for your brain. INFJs tend to pick up on things “behind the curtain.” And since this process works in the background of our minds, we often make intuitive leaps that we can’t consciously explain but are based on recognizing patterns.
Personality Hacker calls this function Perspectives because it “is focused on the patterns that form those perspectives,” — our subjective beliefs, thoughts and feelings — “and over time it starts to see the ‘pattern of the patterns’.” This lets INFJs adopt a “meta-perspective” and see things from many different angles.
3) You Have A Rich Inner World
As introverts, INFJs prefer the inner world to the outer world. If you’re an INFJ, you likely have a well-developed “rich inner world.” You may also have the feeling that you belong in a fantasy world rather than the real one, though this doesn’t happen for all INFJs.
We INFJs like to create/find meaning and often have a vision for making the world a better place. Even if our ideas end up being used in the outer world, we’ll keep coming up with new ones to keep our minds busy. Many INFJs are also spiritual and/or religious people who frequently ponder deep, abstract ideas.
4) You Know What People are Feeling
An INFJ’s Feeling function is extroverted, meaning we’re most comfortable using it in the outer world (click here if you’d like to learn how Myers-Briggs® functions work). If you’re an INFJ, it seems easy to pick up on other people’s emotions and mirror them while you are talking. In connection with this, INFJs are often described as empathic. This can range from an awareness of what others are feeling to literally feeling as if you’ve absorbed the emotions of people around you.
Our outer-focused Feeling side can turn INFJs into one of the more social introverted types. We like people, but for many INFJs there is also a struggle between needing to be around people so you can connect with them and share your thoughts, and an introvert’s desire for alone time.
5) You Hate Conflict
If given the option, most INFJs will do almost anything to avoid tense moments. This is partly due to our Extroverted Feeling side, a function with Personality Hacker nicknames Harmony. INFJs are hardwired to desire harmony in our relationships and to work toward making that happen.
Lack of harmony is extremely uncomfortable for INFJs. We’re so focused on how people relate to each other that tension in those relationships unsettles us even when we’re not involved.
6) You Want Your Decisions to Make Everyone Happy
Feeling in Myers-Briggs® theory is a rational, decision-making function. Usually when we think of someone leading with their feelings, we assume they make decisions emotionally but that’s not exactly what’s going on with INFJs. Extroverted Feeling makes well thought-out decisions based on what will meet everyone’s needs.
The human factor is an INFJ’s primary consideration when making decisions. Many find that they can’t act on something until it makes sense emotionally and morally, even if it already makes sense logically. We want our decisions to maintain harmony, meet other’s needs, and negotiate positive unspoken social contracts.
7) Other People Seek Your Counsel
One of the nicknames for the INFJ type is “the counselor.” If you’re an INFJ, there’s a good chance that you’ve experienced other people wanting to confide in you, even random strangers. You often find yourself acting as counselor and confidant for friends, acquaintances, and people you’ve just met.
In many cases, this confidence is one-sided. INFJs tend to know a lot more about the people in their lives than they other people know about them. We tend to be private people, but we’re always ready to lend a listening ear and advice when we can.
8) You Can Change Your Personality to Fit Context
INFJs can appear to fit-in with most social groups and act as a chameleon in social situations. Our Extroverted Feeling lets us pick-up on what the people around us feel and expect, and our Introverted Intuition turns those observations into patterns we can tap into and use to tailor our personality to fit different contexts.
This ability can be very useful as it gives us more versatility in social situations. But we might also use it as a crutch because fitting in feels safe. Acting like a chameleon seems like a way to protect ourselves from negative attention. However, it can also block us from really being seen and appreciated as ourselves. If that sounds like you, check out my post “The Importance of Living Authentically As An INFJ.”
9) You Have an Analytical Side
As an INFJ you feel things deeply but also have an analytical side. Even though we’re Feeling types in the Myers-Briggs® system, INFJs tend to have a pretty strong Thinking side too. Specifically, we use Introverted Thinking as your tertiary function. INFJs may often find themselves “looping” between their intuition and thinking, using both in a way that feels very comfortable.
You don’t want to spend too much time in your tertiary process, but it can be very useful. INFJs using their tertiary function might become more analytical and organized than usual. You might find yourself fascinated by certain topics and spend hours researching everything about them. If you get stuck in your Thinking side, though, you might start to loose touch with your diplomatic, relational side. When that happens, it’s important to reconnect with your Extroverted Feeling to stay balanced.
10) Stress Affects How You See The Outer World
A type’s inferior function typically shows up when they get stressed. For an INFJ, this function is Extroverted Sensing. Typically, an INFJ’s stress reaction includes obsessive focus on external data, overindulgence in sensory pleasures like food or shopping, and/or an adversarial attitude toward the outer world.
Stressed-out INFJs might try to escape the outer world by immersing themselves in books, TV series, or video games. They might isolate themselves and fall into depression, or become angry, suspicious and hostile. On the other hand, you can also learn to use your Sensing side in healthier ways through hobbies like gardening, cooking, and yoga.
If you’re still not sure whether or not you’re an INFJ, check out my article “5 Signs You Might Not Be an INFJ – And What You Might Be Instead!” on Psychology Junkie.
I also highly recommend taking the Genius Style Test by Personality Hacker. It’s free and they offer the most reliable test that I’ve found on the internet. Please note that this is an affiliate link, which means if you decide to purchase any of their products after taking the test I’ll receive a commission at no additional cost to you.
If you’d like to know more about the INFJ personality type, check out my book The INFJ Handbook. I just updated it with a ton of new information and resources. You can purchase it in ebook or paperback by clicking this link.
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