So we’ve come to the end of another year, which means another year-end blog recap in the form of top 10 lists. I wrote in last year’s recap that one of my big goals for 2019 was to continue growing my blog. That certainly happened. Traffic increased significantly between last year and this, and I want to thank all of you for visiting my blog and for sharing my posts with your friends. It means so much to me ❤
Posts With The Most Traffic
For the second year in a row, my ENFP-INFJ relationships post is by far the most popular. The other top posts changed quite a bit, and feature a surprising (to me at least) number of my posts about fictional characters’ personality types.
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 →
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.
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 →
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 →
I’ve safely returned from my trip to France, though not without a few complications. Flying with a nasty headcold scores a 0 out of 10 and I would not recommend it. Thankfully my brother and sister were healthy and navigated the airports for me so I could just follow them around in a congestion-induced stupor and focus on breathing.
That was only a shadow over the last couple days of trip, though. Most of the experience was fantastic. Before this, I’d never been any farther outside the United States than the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. Then all the sudden I’m getting on a plane in Detroit, waking up the next morning in Paris, and walking down streets older than the country I live in. We had one day in Paris, then flew to Nice and took a bus to Saint-Raphaël. We were there on the Mediterranean coast for about a week, during which we also visited Saint Paul de Vance (pictured in the featured image for this post), Monaco, and Cannes.
Visiting Paris with Mark Twain
I took this trip with my siblings, so our little group consisted of an INFJ, INTJ, and ENFJ (hence the title of this post, which I’ve been planing on using for a while now and am still endlessly pleased with). I started reading Mark Twain’s Innocents Abroad while on the trip, mostly because I wanted to nod to it in a blog post title once we got home. I love the books by Twain that I’ve read, but even though this was the one that sold best during his lifetime I hadn’t read it before.
It’s interesting to read Twain’s record of his visit to Paris in 1867 with our own visit 152 years later. Our experience with French food was similar, with unfamiliar dishes accompanied by “wine with every course, of course, being in France.” Like Twain, on visiting Notre Dame “we recognized the brown old Gothic pile in a moment” even with the recent fire damage making it impossible for us to go inside. We also visited the Louvre like Twain and his companions, though we seem to have been more impressed by “its miles of paintings by the old maters” than he was. Read more →