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. Read more →
The introvert possibility movement has been a wonderful thing for quiet people. Finally, we introverts are being seen as people with their own unique gifts and talents rather than a “broken” extroverts.
It has also had some unintended negative effects, though. One of these is that some (though of course not all) introverts use their introverted nature to excuse behaviors that most people actually consider rude or annoying. I’ve done it myself from time to time. But it’s not a good things and I really think we should stop.
I hesitated to write this post because so many introverts have been wrongly accused of being rude simply because people misinterpret our introverted natures. We talked about that in a post earlier this week, “5 Things Introverts Do That Might Seem Rude to Others, but Are Actually Normal For Us.” But setting that aside, there are certain things that some introverts do that really can be rude or annoying and which we use our introverted nature as an excuse for. Let’s take a look at five of them.
1) Refusing To Small Talk
I know, I know — introverts hate small talk because it creates barriers between people. Well guess what? Most people hate spending all their time on small talk. But they also recognize that small talk is an important step in relationships and there are times when refusing to engage in small talk is just plain rude. Read more →
Many introverts, including me, have been accused at various time of being rude, annoying, or arrogant. While it’s true that an introvert could be all those things, in many cases the issue is a misunderstanding rather than intentional rudeness on the introvert’s part.
No one should get a pass on being rude, including introverts. But sometimes things that may come across as rude to others are just an accidental “side effect” of how the introvert prefers to interact with the world. Instead of being caused by something the introvert is doing wrong, the idea that we’re rude is based on false assumptions other people make about our motives.
This sort of misinterpretation can come from fellow introverts as well as from extroverts. I’ve heard several people who I know are introverted make comments about how someone who’s quiet (and who I know is uncomfortable in groups) seems stand-offish or stuck-up. Even when we ourselves know what it’s like to be a quiet person we can still misinterpret quietness in others.
1) Watching Instead of Interacting
This is one of the most common things introverts do and it’s also one of the things that’s most often interpreted as being rude. Usually what happens is the introvert is in some kind of group where there’s more than one other person around, and the introvert is watching what’s happening instead of engaging in conversation or participating in an activity.
People assume this is rude when they start pretending they can read minds. They may think the introvert is bored with what’s going on and wants to leave. Some might assume the introvert is silently judging everyone else and feels like they’re “too good” for the people around them. Other could say the introvert must hate people because they’re not having fun.
In the introvert’s head, though, it’s far more likely that they’re enjoying the gathering in their own way. We like listening and observing. We’re comfortable with silence. We’re probably having more fun on the sidelines than we would be as the center of attention. Of course, there’s always a chance that we might be distracted by our own thoughts or trying to think of a polite way to leave because our social batteries have run low but even then most of us don’t mean to be rude.
2) Avoiding Other People
This one can be rude or not rude depending on the context. Actively avoiding someone for no good reason, refusing to answer a friend’s message, or otherwise vanishing from people’s lives is (usually) rude. But it’s not rude to eat lunch alone because you need a break from people during your workday. It’s not rude to decline an invitation to a weekend party because you’ve been doing something social most of the week and need a break.
We need to learn to balance our “introvert time” and our investments in relationships. But the people around us also need to learn that introverts need their down time in order to function. Let introverts recharge and we’ll be much more likely not to avoid all human interaction.
3) Keeping Your Personal Life Private
This should be a no-brainer. After all, someone’s personal life is by definition personal. But sometimes people think it’s rude if someone decides not to share personal information. This is, quite frankly, a “them problem.” Neither introverts nor extroverts are obligated to share things they want to keep private with other people. It’s not rude if you choose not to share personal stories.
Introverts tend to be fairly private people and may keep things to themselves that others are comfortable letting everyone know. If an introvert chooses not to share something with you, don’t take it as a sign that they don’t trust or like you. They might simply be choosing to keep their personal lives private and that’s okay.
4) Being Nervous in Social Situations
Introverts tend to have a limited amount of social energy. While we all have an extroverted side, how strong it is varies depending on the individual introvert. Every introvert can reach a point where socialization is too overwhelming and they’re ready to go home and recharge. Plus, on top of the fact that social situations are draining, many introverts also struggle with nervousness when meeting new people. And some of us have social anxiety and/or shyness that we’re dealing with, too.
A nervous introvert can come across to others as standoffish. The introvert might be panicking about what to say next while the other person thinks its rude that they’re being so quiet. Though some may assume the introvert thinks they’re better than everyone else, it’s much more likely that a socially nervous introvert is just really worried about making a good impression or is wondering why someone wanted to talk with them.
For example, if an introvert declines an invitation to stick around after they’ve unexpectedly run across someone, they probably mean to be polite by not inconveniencing them. An extrovert in a similar situation might think turning down that invitation is rude or insulting because it sends the message you don’t want to be around the other person. Same situation, different perspectives on what’s polite. Neither perspective is necessarily wrong but if we don’t recognize that there are different perspectives it can lead to misunderstandings.
What are some things you do as an introvert that people have incorrectly interpreted as you trying to be rude?
After learning about Myers-Briggs® types and taking a few tests, one question you might have is how to tell which of two similar types you are. Taking multiple online tests often gives you several different results, so that’s one way this question can come up. Or maybe you started reading about the types and realized more than one sounds like you.
If you’re trying to decide whether you’re more of an INTJ or an INTP type, I hope this article helps. Just looking at the letters in these two types, we might think the only difference between them is that one’s a perceiving type and one is a judging type. This is only party true. When we dive deeper into the cognitive functions each Myers-Briggs® type uses, it become easier to see the differences and similarities between these two types’ mental processes more clearly.
The way these cognitive functions work together makes INTPs and INTJs similar in some ways and very different in others. They might seem near-identical times but their underlying thought patters and motivations don’t look nearly as much alike as you might think. Read more →
One question you might have after learning about Myers-Briggs® types and taking a few tests is how to tell which of two similar types you are. Maybe the online tests you took gave you a couple different results. Or maybe you started reading about the types and discovered more than one that sounds a lot like you.
If you’re trying to decide whether you’re more of an INFJ or an INFP type, I hope this article will help. Just looking at the letters in these personality types, we might think the only difference between them is that one is a perceiving type and one is a judging type. This is only party true. When we dive deeper into the cognitive functions that describe the mental processes each Myers-Briggs® type uses, it become easier to see the differences and similarities between these two types more clearly.
The way these cognitive functions work together makes INFPs and INFJs similar in some ways and very different in others. They might seem near-identical times but their underlying thought patters and motivations don’t look nearly as much alike as you might think. Read more →
One of the most common stereotypes around Myers-Briggs® types as they relate to the world of fiction is that most villains are NT types. Not all of course (I even have a whole post about the comparatively rare NF-type villains), but it does seem that an unusually large percentage of bad guys in fiction have an NT personality type. Specifically, we see the INTJ “Mastermind” filling the ranks of villains probably more often than any other type. ENTJs might come close, but they’re less often stereotyped as the villain. Maybe they just have better PR teams.
Casting these types as villains makes for some of the most calculating, clever, and creepy antagonists in fiction. But what (if anything) does it tell us about real-life INTJs and ENTJs? Are they secretly as evil as their fictional counterparts? Or do we stereotype these personalities as “evil” because we simply don’t understand them?
Every person has the potential to use their talents and gifts for good or evil; to choose the light or the dark. This holds true for INTJs and ENTJs, and we do them a great disservice if we assume they’re evil or treat them as the villain without getting to know them as they truly are.
There some great posts out there (like this one from Introvert, Dear) combating the whole “INTJs are villains” thing. Today, though, I want to take some of those villainous stereotypes and see if we can use them to learn something about the real-life INTJs and ENTJs in our lives. Read more →