When you read about INFJ strengths or dig-in to tips for personal growth, one of the things that often comes up is the potential for INFJs to act as peacemakers. As an INFJ, you might have mixed feelings about that idea. Sure peace sounds nice — we love peace — but peacemaking assumes that there’s a lack of peace when you start out. In order to make peace out of conflict, you need to be able and willing to wade-in to that conflict.
Many INFJs, including me, find conflict extremely uncomfortable. Our palms get sweaty. Our insides start to shake, and possibly our hands or whole bodies as well. Our throats start to close up and our thoughts race to worst-case scenarios for how this might end. We’d often far rather quietly slip away from the conflicts, hold our tongues, or give-in on issues that don’t seem “all that important” right now than risk escalating a conflict. If we can get past that fear, though, INFJs have innate skills that we can build on to become good at conflict resolution.
We Value Harmony
Because external emotions affect us so much and we’re quick to notice disconnects between people, INFJs typically have a heightened sensitivity to conflict. We notice when something is off between two people (whether or not it directly involves us). INFJs place a high value on peace and we’ll do almost anything to preserve it.
For many INFJs, that means avoiding conflict even when something really should be addressed. We fear conflict rather than resolve it because we want harmony so much. But we need to learn that sometimes in order to create harmony, we have to deal with conflict.
The high value we place on harmony in relationships can make us conflict-avoidant. But if we work on developing our Extroverted Feeling side in a healthy way, we can become better at defusing conflicts and proactively working toward peace instead of just running away from tense situations.
We See Other Points of View
INFJs are very good at seeing things from multiple points of view. Our Introverted Intuition acts as pattern-recognition software for our brain, and then it links the patterns we observe together in a variety of ways. We excel at seeing the different perspectives in a situation and, in many cases, we might find ourselves feeling impartial or middle of the road during conflicts because we can sympathize with both sides. This doesn’t means we won’t have strong opinions, but we often have more than one opinion about a given situation or topic.
Pair this Intuitive function with our Feeling side, and INFJs gain one of the FJ type’s superpowers — the ability to read other people. We see patterns in how other people work and we can often make very close guesses as to how they’re feeling and why. We’re not infallible by any means, but we have a keen insight into what’s going on with other people that can help us understand where they’re coming from.
At heart, INFJs are peacemakers who want to understand opposing viewpoints so that we can create harmony. We know that being able to listen to someone else’s point of view and understand them (at least in part) is a key step in being able to resolve a conflict involving them.
We Listen and Communicate
One thing INFJs need to be careful of is that we don’t rely too much on our assumptions about other people’s perspectives. We need to listen closely to people to make sure we’re actually seeing their point of view rather than the point of view we assume they’ll have. Our intuition is good at spotting patterns and predicting what people will do, but we need to constantly double-check it against what people actually say about themselves and how they behave. Thankfully, INFJs tend to be very good listeners.
I’ve also noticed that INFJs are often very careful with their words. We know how powerful language can be as a communication tool and we respect its ability to tear people down or build them up. I can’t tell you how many INFJs I’ve heard from who add notes to their written communication to make sure they’re clarifying their meaning so no one mistakes what they’re saying or takes offense.
Careful listening and careful communication both serve INFJs well in mediating conflict. We can hear both sides of the story, we ask questions to clarify where people are coming from, and we express ourselves carefully when it is time to talk. In many cases, we can pick up on when something we’re saying is not connecting the way we intend it to and adjust our communication style accordingly.
Becoming A Harmony-Creator
At our best, INFJs have the potential to become harmony-creators. Our brains come hardwired with skills that can support us in mediating disputes, resolving conflicts, and creating peace. It’s not a skill that every INFJ develops quickly or easily, though. In order to master peacemaking, we have to get past the point where we’re paralyzed by fear of experiencing disharmony.
We need to work on developing peacemaking skills if we want to use them. Like any other skill, it takes time and energy to grow peacemaking abilities. But INFJs’ instinctive compassion, understanding of multiple perspectives, and our deep desire to crate an maintain harmony give us a good foundation for becoming skilled at resolving conflict between different groups.
If you’d like to know more about personal growth tips for the INFJ personality type, check out my book The INFJ Handbook. I’ve 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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