What Do Other People Think of INFJs?

INFJs are supposed to be really good at reading other people’s emotions, guessing their thoughts, and seeing things from their perspectives. In many situations, that’s true. But there’s one type of situation where many INFJs (including myself) feel like we have a blind spot.

It’s like there’s a mental block when I’m trying to see myself from other people’s perspectives. I have to ask my closest friends how I come across in conversations, whether or not someone’s response to me was positive, and if what I said made sense. I suspect that for me personally much of this is related to social anxiety, because I’m not as paranoid around people who I know well. But I’m also not the only INFJ who struggles with this. We tend to assume that people think we’re weird and that they won’t like us because we’re so different from other people.

However, I’ve also talked with enough non-INFJs to know that quite a few of them actually do like us. Our INFJ weirdness isn’t guaranteed to scare everyone away. In fact, what makes each of us us “weird” is also what makes us attractive to the kind of people who connect well with our unique, authentic selves. So today, let’s take a look at how other people actually see INFJs. I’d also like to invite any non-INFJs reading this post to share your thoughts in the comments section. We’d love to hear from you!

Socially Awkward

You’re probably wondering why this is at the top of my list, since most INFJs already know/fear that they come across as socially awkward. But I can’t write a post like this and ignore the fact that we do give others this impression. People aren’t judging us nearly as much as we think they are, but they do notice how awkward we make ourselves when we try too hard to fit in. Read more

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I’d like to hear from INFJ men for The INFJ Handbook second edition

I’m so excited to announce that I’m releasing a second edition of The INFJ Handbook this summer. This will be an updated and expanded edition with lots of new information. Plus, I’ll be able to offer this in a print version as well as an ebook for all of you who’ve contacted me and asked where you could buy a physical copy.

In the first edition of The INFJ Handbook, I asked several INFJs to share their perspectives on having an INFJ personality type. Since all my contributors for the first edition were women, I’d like to get some INFJ men to share their perspectives for the second edition.

If you identify as a man and an INFJ personality type, I’d love to hear from you. Here’s a list of questions that I’m curious to get your perspective on:

  • How do you experience Intuition? What happens when you try to explain your intuitions to others?
  • Even though INFJ’s use Feeling more comfortably, we also have a Thinking side to our personalities. What does it look like for you to use your Thinking side in a healthy way? (for example: playing strategy games, analyzing your favorite topic, etc)
  • What stresses you out so much that you start acting unlike your normal self?
  • What do you consider the biggest strengths and weaknesses of your personality type?
  • Are there any struggles you face that you believe are unique to INFJ men?
  • Are there any personal growth tips you’d like to share with other INFJs?
  • What do you wish other people knew about INFJs?

You can answer as many or as few of these questions as you want. If there’s something else you’d like to share that isn’t covered in these questions, please feel free to add that as well.

If you’d like to contribute to this second edition of The INFJ Handbook, you can leave a comment under this post or click here to email me. Thank you so much! I’m really looking forward to reading what you have to share 🙂

What Advantage Is There To Using Sensing Or Intuition In Myers-Briggs® Theory?

One of the hardest personality dynamics to navigate is Sensing/Intuition. Part of this is due to the fact that Intuitive only make up about 25-30% of the population. That can lead to Intuitives feeling misunderstood and marginalized. On top of that, because our Sensing/Intuitive preference influences so much of how we conceptualize reality, someone who doesn’t share our S/N preference seems even less “like us” than those who don’t match on the E/I, T/F, or J/P preferences.

An unfortunate side-effect of the challenges involved in navigating Sensing/Intuitive relationships is that there’s now a bias against Sensing types in many parts of the personality type community. The myth that Intuitives are intellectually superior to Sensors and that Sensors will never understand them is now widespread among both Sensors and Intuitives.

However, it’s simply not the case that Intuition is better than Sensing. Both preferences grant advantages in certain areas and disadvantages in others. Myers-Briggs® theory is designed to explain how our minds work. It doesn’t say one way of processing is better than another or invite us to make that judgement. So with that being the case, lets take a closer look at the advantages of using Sensing or Intuition. Read more

Personality Type Myth-Busting: Is Intuition The Same As A Gut Feeling?

I often see Intuitive types describe their experience of intuition as a “gut feeling.” It’s not something we can explain — it’s just something we know. And that is a valid way to describe a lot of what we experience from using Intuition. But if that was all there was to intuition, then we’d be able to describe a lot more than 30% of the population as Intuitive types.

When people talk about intuition, they usually mean something different than what type theorists mean when they refer to Intuition as a psychological function. Google defines intuition as “the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.” We might also use the word intuitive to mean “suited by nature for a particular purpose in life,” as when we speak of intuitive athletes or creative types who “just know” how to do something.

In her book Personality Type, Lenore Thomson points out, “Most of the people to whom we apply the word intuitive in this causal way aren’t Intuitives — at least not typologically. They’re usually Sensates and Introverted P types, whose right-brain abilities the left brain can’t explain to itself” (p. 199). I’ve also noticed that some of the things that Intuitives describe as part of their intuition are actually connected with other mental processes. For example, an INFJ might say they intuitively know how to blend in with different social groups when in reality that ability is tied to their harmony-seeking Extroverted Feeling process more than to their Introverted Intuition.

So if Intuition, in the typological sense, isn’t want people usually think of when they think of intuition, what is it? Read more

7 Fictional Characters That You’ll Relate To If You’re An ISTP

What fictional characters do you relate to as an ISTP?

Just as we can describe real people using the Myers-Briggs® typology system, we can also use the system to type well-written fictional characters. Some of fiction’s most iconic and intriguing characters are ISTPs — they make particularly good action heroes — and today we’re going to talk about seven that I think real-life ISTPs will find relatable.

One great thing about looking at character personality types is that it helps us better understand people who have different types than we do. Fictional ISTPs can serve as examples for what real-life ISTPs might be like, and also show how much variation can exist between individuals with the same type.

One of the things that makes ISTPs such great fictional characters is that they pair the spatial awareness and physical skills needed to lead an action/adventure story with the clever quick-wittedness that we like to see in a hero. Tactical skills, good luck, and a dry sense of humor aren’t the only things that characterize ISTPs types, though. I love it when we see ISTP characters developed throughout several movies or in a TV series so there’s more of an opportunity to for them to grow beyond stereotypes, and that’s the case with most of the characters on this list.

Han Solo

While not every ISTP — fictional or real — is going to fall into the action hero mold, a high percentage of action heroes in fiction are ISTPs. We could probably put most of Harrison Ford’s roles on this list, but as a huge Star Wars fan I’m going to to with our favorite scruffy-looking nerf herder Han Solo. He’s also the ISTP Susan Storm chose for her post “The Greatest Movie Heroes of Every Myers-Briggs® Personality Type.” I’d like to quote part of that article:

Han Solo captures the devil-may-care, quick-thinking qualities of the ISTP. We see his Introverted Thinking (Ti) in the way keeps his rational thought processes internalized. He is constantly expanding and making improvements to the Millennium Falcon, and needs to know why he must do something before making a decision. This constant tinkering and modifying and the search to constantly know “why” are all hallmarks of Introverted Thinking types.

Han also shows an ISTPs co-pilot process (extroverted Sensing) in his ability to respond quickly to the outer world. He’s impulsive and often jumps into things without much of a plan, but he has a talent for figuring things out as he goes. Read more

Personality Type Myth-Busting: Are Extroverts Incapable of Understanding Introverts?

One of the things that really irritates me when I see certain introverts talking online is how much they seem to hate extroverts. They’ll even use that word — “I hate this thing that extroverts do” or “I hate it when extroverts are like this.” Some even have lists of all the things they hate about extroverts.

We introverts have been pushing for a while now to get recognized as “normal.” Introversion is how about 50% of the population’s brains are hardwired. It’s an inborn preference for the inner world of thoughts and ideas, which is also shaped by our unique individual experiences. So stop judging us for it, okay?

What far too many of us forget is that the exact same things are true of extroversion. For about 50% of the population, being an extrovert is perfectly normal. It’s an inborn preference for the outer world of things and people. Extroverted and introverted mental “wiring” are both perfectly normal. Both are needed, and both personality types deserve respect.

So with that clarification out of the way, let’s talk about whether or not extroverts are incapable of understanding introverts. Read more