One of the ways that we often talk about the difference between Sensing and Intuitive types in the Myers-Briggs®system is by saying that Intuitives are big-picture thinkers who recognize patterns and think abstractly, while Sensors are detail-oriented thinkers who rely on sensory information and think concretely. Those descriptions are, broadly speaking, true. But it’s also important to note that this does not mean Intuitives always ignore details or that Sensors are incapable of seeing the big picture.
Your Myers-Briggs® personality type describes your preferred mental processes. If you’re an Intuitive type, that means you prefer to take in new information and perceive the world using an Intuitive mental function. Sensing types prefer to use a Sensing function when they’re learning and conceptualizing the world. Intuitives also have access to Sensing and Sensors can also use Intuition, just not as comfortably. (If you’re not familiar with Myers-Briggs® functions or want a quick refresher, click here.)
As with most of my myth-busting posts, this article is basically about not judging people based on stereotypes. Preferring a certain function doesn’t mean you use it exclusively. Having skills in one area doesn’t make you incompetent in others. Personality types describe how our minds work — they don’t limit what we’re capable of. Read more →
Every personality type has its own particular strengths and weaknesses. For ISFJs and INFJs, their favorite strengths have to do with an internally focused way of learning new information and conceptualizing the world. But introverting isn’t the only thing these types are good at. They also have an extroverted “co-pilot” that goes by the name Extroverted Feeling. It’s a judging function that we use for making decisions and interacting with the world around us.
While Extroverted Feeling isn’t as strong as our dominant functions of Introverted Sensing (for ISFJs) or Introverted Intuition (for INFJs), we can learn to use our co-pilot function very well. It just takes a little extra work. Personality Hacker calls the co-pilot our growth position because developing it can jump-start our personal growth and give us fuller access to the strengths of our personality type. This sort of development isn’t easy, but when INFJs and ISFJs start to grow their Extroverted Feeling they often find that they have an easier time making decisions, feel less pressure from others, and are overall happier with their lives.
Extroverted Feeling (Fe) is a rational, decisions making process. Like the other Thinking and Feeling functions, Fe prompts “us to note how things usually happen and to organize our behaviors accordingly.” It’s called a rational function because “Rational behavior is always based on predictability — things we know to be true because they happen regularly in the same way” (Lenore Thomson, Personality Types, p.39).
When making decisions, Extroverted Feeling types tend to focus on specific, personal criteria such as shared beliefs, values, and moral sensibilities when weighing their options. They also identify with others, readily pick up on unspoken social cues, and prioritize maintain social harmony. Fe types’ primary concern when making decisions is with meeting everyone’s needs and keep relationships working well. That’s why Personality Hacker gives this function the nickname “Harmony.”
Tip 1) Process Your Feelings Through Journaling
FJ types aren’t all that great at processing their own feelings or arriving at decisions in an internal way. We are external processors who need to get our thoughts and emotions outside us in some way before using our Extroverted Feeling to make sense of them. For me personally, there are times I’m not sure what I’m feeling, let alone how to process it, until I’ve extroverted my emotions in some way. Read more →
INTJs are among the rarest of the Myers-Briggs® personality types, and they’re also among the most misunderstood. If you’re wondering whether or not this might be your personality type, here are ten signs that you might be an INTJ.
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 that you’re an INTJ.
1) Your Mind Works Differently
INTJs 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. A natural consequence of this fact is that INTJs’ minds work differently than most other people they’ll meet and interact with.
You’ve probably already figured that out, though. INTJs tend to think deeply about things and many are very aware of the fact that their minds work in a fundamentally different way than many other people. This difference has to do with the way the INTJ type uses their preferred mental functions. Read more →
Most of us tend to oversimplify Myers-Briggs® personality types. Even the types we think of as more complicated and which some writers treat as almost otherworldly (like the INFJ) gets reduced to stereotypes. Some types are painted in broad strokes as boring traditionalist, others as logical geniuses, and still others as innovative daydreamers.
And then there are the SP types. They’re the live-in-the-moment adrenaline junkies and hedonists, who love to make art and party and never commit to anything. But is that really a fair stereotype? Or is it just as overly simplistic and unfair to these four personality types as are the myths surrounding other Myers-Briggs® types?
Roots of the Stereotype
When David Keirsey published his own personal take on the Myers-Briggs® personality types, he paid particular attention to the SP types. He’s the one who decided to categorize them together and labeled them the “Artisans.” He also called them the “hedonist” types and said they are looking for a “playmate” in relationships. Though he didn’t really use function theory to describe type, he mainly focused on the Extroverted Sensing side of their personalities to the exclusion of other factors.
This oversimplification of the SP types is one of the main reasons why I don’t like the way David Keirsey talked about personality types. He skips over their inner motivations (a problem that Lenore Thomson talks about in her book Personality Type: An Owner’s Manual) and leaves us with the hedonistic stereotype that has come to be so much a part of the definitions we use for ESFP, ISFP, ESTP, and ISTP types (especially the extroverts). Read more →
When we talk about the INTJ personality type, stereotypes are often the first things to come to mind. INTJs are the mastermind personality, smarter than everyone else. They’re also the villain type counting such characters as Moriarty, Emperor Palpatine, Maleficent, and Jaffar among their ranks. Common descriptors include aloof, intelligent, blunt, sarcastic, loyal, and cold.
I suppose it’s not surprising, then, that I’ve talked to quite a few INTJs who assume people don’t like them. I’ve also seen quite a few people online bear this out, saying they “can’t stand” INTJs because some aspect of their personality rubs them the wrong way. Even INTJs themselves perpetuate the stereotypes. For example, my INTJ sister suggested (half in jest) that I title this post “Are INTJs really unfeeling bastards?” and answer simply: “Yes. Yes, they are.”
With all that said, you might think this post is just going to be about how much people dislike the INTJ personality type. But once you step off the Internet and start meeting INTJs in person, many people find that they really do like being around people with INTJ personality types. And many INTJs find that they often make better impressions on people than they expected they would.
“Wow, you’re so smart” is a comment the typical INTJ hears quite often. The INTJ may or may not believe this. Some soak in the praise and think of themselves as intellectuals or geniuses. Others will deflect such comments, saying they simply work hard and that other people overestimate their intelligence. Read more →
Do you ever feel like your self-expectations are wearing you out? You constantly want to grow and improve but it’s so exhausting that you don’t have the energy to do focused personal growth. Every time you try to improve something, you burn yourself out or get distracted by other things that clamor for your attention.
This is something any personality type can face, not just INFJs. And I’m sure other types (especially the other Extroverted Feeling types like ENFJ, ISFJ, and ESFJ) will relate to the feelings of guilt associated with not being able to do everything for everyone, including yourself. Even so, I’m mostly focusing on INFJs today because those are the most popular posts on my blog so I assume many of you readers will relate to this discussion. Maybe we’ll do a series of self-care and personal growth posts for the other types as well if it seems like there’s interest.
Often when we talk about self-care, it’s things like drink a cup of tea, make time for exercise, or get better sleep. Those are all great, but there are also big-picture things we can do for long term self-care and they’re closely tied to personal growth.
If we’re not working on personal growth in some form we can often feel “stagnant” and dissatisfied with our lives. If we’re not working on self-care, we quickly become burned out by everything going on, including our personal growth work. We need to take care of ourselves and encourage ourselves to keep growing at the same time.It’s my hope that these 5 tips will help you balance those two things as an INFJ.
1) Remember personal growth takes time
Many INFJs are also perfectionists. We want to get things right the first time and we easily get discouraged if something doesn’t work out as well as we hoped. But personal growth is one of those things that takes time. It doesn’t always happen in a straight line, either. Sometimes it may seem like we’re going in circles dealing with the same issues over and over again. We need patience with ourselves so we can stop negative self-talk about how we’re not growing fast enough. Talking to yourself in an encouraging way is an important part of self-care for INFJs.
Like other FJ types, INFJs prefer to make decisions based on what gets everyone’s needs met. Sometimes we forget that “everyone” includes us. One of the best self-care decisions you can make as an INFJ is to give yourself permission to tend to your own needs first. If it helps, think of it this way: you won’t be able to take care of others if you let yourself become worn down, ill, and unmotivated. So take care of yourself! This includes giving yourself permission to take the time to work on personal growth.
3) Ditch the guilt and shame
You’re not too broken to find healing. You haven’t failed so badly that there’s no point in continuing to try. Not everything is your fault. INFJs often live with ridiculous amounts of guilt, and if you’re going to grow you need to address this issue. This is going to be a personal growth goal as well as part of long-term self care. Make sure that while you’re working on taking care of yourself in this way, you also don’t neglect more short-term self care like getting enough sleep, eating well, and getting recharge time by yourself. This isn’t a goal any of us are likely to reach all at once, so you’ll need to be kind with yourself while you work on it.
I feel like a lot of stress in many INFJs’ lives comes from not feeling comfortable letting other people see who they really are. We’re chameleons who try to figure out who we “should” be in each situation and then be that person. Many INFJs believe that being themselves hasn’t worked out so well in the past and so we try to avoid rejection by hiding our authentic selves. But that leads to dissatisfaction, as well as the aforementioned feelings of gilt and shame. Learning to embrace vulnerability and having the courage to be yourself is often a life-long challenge, but it’s one that will help you take care of yourself better and grow as a person.
If you need to take the time for some self-care and meeting your own needs (like having an introvert night once a week), don’t be afraid to tell people this. Learning to enforce healthy boundaries and stand up for yourself is one of the best things you can do as an INFJ. This doesn’t mean you need to do everything on your own, though. It’s okay to reach out and ask friends for help or to seek professional counseling. In fact, I highly recommend counseling if you’re struggling to work through something, need a trusted person to talk to, or want some help achieving your goals.