If Your Myers-Briggs® Type Was a Superhero, What Superpower Would You Have?

Sometimes, I really enjoy writing and reading fun, silly posts like “Here’s the Greek God or Goddess You’d Be, Based On Your Personality Type” or “Your Not-At-All-Confusing Guide To Finding Out If An INFJ Agrees With You.” Today’s post falls into that category. Don’t take it too seriously, but it’s fun to think about (and I don’t know about you, but I could use some not-too-serious things to think about right now).

Last week, I suggested, “Which superpower would you like to have? Which one do you think you’d actually have based on your personality?” as an expressivist journaling prompt. This post is an extension of that. Assuming that if you developed a superpower it would be based off your personality, what sort of power might each of the different Myers-Briggs® types have?

ENFJ – Shapeshifting

Like other FJ types, ENFJs are good at blending into just about any social situation. Once they’ve got a feel for how a group works, they can perfectly mimic the people around them or turn themselves into the sort of person they need to be in order to fit in or lead. Shapeshifting or mimicry seems like the sort of superpower that could grow out of that personality trait.

INFJ – Mind Reading

INFJs already have people half-convinced we can read minds, so this choice shouldn’t come as a surprise. I’ve always thought that if I were to have super powers, it would be something like mind reading or mood-sensing (though water manipulation and telekinesis are actually on the top of my wish-list). INFJs are usually really good at picking up on patterns in other people’s behaviors and guessing what they’re thinking, and in many ways superpowered mindreading is a natural extension of that talent.

ENFP – Persuasion

ENFPs are already charming people who are great at convincing others to see and do things their way. I decided to call it persuasion instead of mind control because I suspect a superpowered ENFP would tend to manipulate more than outright control other people. I could easily see an ENFP superhero using their ability to deescalate fights and turn final showdowns into dance offs or philosophy discussions.

INFP – Invisibility

INFPs can often feel as if they’re overlooked and misunderstood. Literally fading out of sight with an invisibility superpower would let them turn something that may feel like an annoying feature of their personality into an asset. Like many introverts, INFPs aren’t all that interested in being in the limelight. Being able to help people without drawing too much attention to themselves or having to face supervillains head-on seems like a very INFP way to superhero.

ENTJ – Telekinesis

ENTJs are often efficient, innovative, and forward thinking types who like to control the world around them. They’re also good at holding several different ideas and perspectives at once, and juggling a wide array of responsibilities. The ability to move objects with their minds might not be a direct extension of a personality trait but I suspect ENTJs would find telekinesis very useful.

INTJ – Future Predicting

Like INFJs, INTJs are really good at picking up on patterns. They’re usually more focused on patterns that have to do with facts and data rather than people, though, and that makes them good at planning for the future. A superpowered version of this talent could give them the ability to actually predict the future with an impressive degree of accuracy.

ENTP – Reality Warping

ENTPs are often the sorts of people who come up with new, innovative ideas that change the way the world works. For a superpower, I think this talent could expand into the ability to warp and shape reality itself. It also seems a good fit for the charming side that many ENTPs have, which can persuade you to see things they way they want you to.

INTP – Teleportation

INTPs aren’t a type that likes to waste time (at least by their own definition of wasted time). They often prefer to spend their time thinking rather than doing, and when they do choose to act they don’t enjoy delays like the necessity to travel getting in the way. Teleportation gives them an instant ability to jump wherever they need to be, accelerating their ability to put innovative ideas into action and also ensuring they’re never stuck in a situation they don’t want to be.

ESFJ – Healing

ESFJs are often kind, gentle people who are deeply invested in helping others. Many go into helping professions or spend a good amount of their time helping the people around them find comfort and healing. Though I’m sure it wouldn’t be the first-pick superpower for every ESFJ, I can’t think of an ESFJ who wouldn’t want the ability to touch people and make them well.

ISFJ – Force Shields

ISFJs are the quintessential guardian type. Even without superpowers they’re often out there protecting people or working tirelessly to keep their loved ones safe and happy. Force shields that they can use to defend themselves and others seems a great fit for an ISFJ superpower.

ESFP – Probability Manipulation

I saw a post somewhere (probably Pinterest) pointing out what an under-appreciated superpower this is and I’ve been thinking about that ever since. How powerful would it be to actually be able to change the chances of something happening? ESFPs are a type that responds quickly to changes in the external world, and with this personality type they’d be able to manipulate how likely those changes are to occur.

ISFP – Animal Communication

Many ISFPs describe themselves as comfortable around animals. They’re the kind of introvert who you might find talking to a cat or dog at a party instead of hanging out with people. Turn that into a superpower, and you’ve got someone who can actually understand what the animals are saying when they talk with them.

ESTJ – Super Speed

Like so many other TJ types, ESTJs place a high value on efficiency. They like to get things done right, and to do so as quickly as possible. For ESTJs who don’t like to slow down, super speed seems to me like a perfect superpower.

ISTJ – Time Manipulation

ISTJs are often the sort of people who are extremely skilled at time management. They’re punctual, efficient, and are good at helping improve how others use their time. A superpower that lets them manipulate and control time seems like it could easily grow out of this personality trait.

ESTP — Flight

Like other SP types, ESTPs are often very physical sorts of people who respond quickly to the real-world. I wanted to give someone on this list flight (one of the most classic superpowers ever), and it seemed a good fit for ESTPs to give them a power that adds another dimension to the physical space they can work with.

ISTP – Accelerated Healing

ISTPs are already the type that makes the best action hero, so I think it makes sense to give them a superpower that lets them keep doing what they already do more efficiently. Just think what an ISTP could do if they didn’t have to worry about injuries taking weeks or months to heal.

Your Turn

Which superpower would you like to have? Do you think I picked a good one for your personality type?

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How To Be A Better Peacemaker As An INFJ

Several weeks ago, I wrote about the traits people with an INFJ personality type have that can make them wonderful peacemakers. One thing I didn’t cover in that post was how to develop those traits in order to become a better peacemaker. Just because we’re “hardwired” to have certain personality traits doesn’t mean they’re all equally well developed or that we’ll be comfortable using them. Peacemaking comes more naturally to some individuals than to others. That doesn’t mean, however, that we’re stuck with whatever traits and quirks we have now which might make it challenging to be an effective peacemaker. We can always grow and improve, even if we’re already pretty good at dealing with other people.

Learn To Handle Conflict

Raised voices are one of my biggest anxiety triggers. Even a hint of conflict used to send me scurrying for another room. But we can’t help create peace if we run away any time there’s a lack of peace. In other words, if you’re paralyzed by fear in the face of disharmony, you won’t be a very effective peacemaker.

One thing INFJs need to keep in mind is that what seems to us like a frightening disagreement often seems like a harmless debate to someone else. What we interpret as a voice raised in anger, for example, might come from someone who merely thinks they’re proving their point in an emotionally neutral way. This is not to say that INFJs should let others bulldoze their boundaries or that they should make themselves stay in genuinely threatening situations. But we do need to learn how to recognize when we might be over-reacting to conflict and learn how to step down our fight-flight-or-freeze reaction.

Learning to handle conflict in a healthy way can be a long process. You might even want to get professional help (that’s what I did, and I highly recommend seeing a counselor if you’re struggling with any sort of anxiety that impacts your quality of life).

Practice Seeing Others’ Points of View

How To Be A Better Peacemaker As An INFJ | LikeAnAnchor.com
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An INFJ’s favorite mental process is a cognitive function called Introverted Intuition. Personality Hacker nicknames this function “Perspectives” because it’s so good at seeing things from different angles and it’s not tied to just one perspective. We INFJs are still human, though, and it’s a very human tendency to get comfortable with one way of looking at things and then not notice (or not be open to hearing) contrasting points of view.

Learning how to take responsibility for our own feelings and talk about complicated issues is not an easy thing to do. When I wrote an article on that topic a little over a year ago, some of the things I recommended for learning how to do that included assuming positive intent on the other person’s part, refusing to insult them, really listening instead of assuming you know what they’ll say, and reading articles like “How To Talk To People You Disagree With” and “We Should All Speak to People We Don’t Agree With. Here’s How.”

Learn to Listen

Since INFJs are so good at seeing patterns, we can very easily fall into the trap of assuming we know what someone will say and then not really listening. But no matter how good we are at predicting what will happen and how people will response, people are still full of surprises. If we want to mediate conflict, we need to learn to really listen to every person involved. Only once we understand each person’s point of view can we help smooth relationships and fix miscommunication.

In most of the opportunities I’ve had to be a peacemaker, I find myself acting as a kind of interpreter for emotion and intent. So many times, conflict happens because people just don’t understand each other. I find there are often times when two frustrated people just need a bit of help to rephrase their arguments so they can sort out misunderstandings and resolve the conflict.

Take Action

INFJs often find theory more comfortable than action. We like to read about how we can grow, but then hesitate to take those steps. I’m as guilty of that as most anyone else. But if we want to become better peacemakers (or improve in any other area of our lives) at some point we need to put theory into practice.

Peacemaking gives INFJs a chance to use skills that come naturally to us because of how our brains work. It can also be an incredibly satisfying use of our talents. Most INFJs want there to be harmony between people, and if we learn to act as peacemakers we have a chance to actively create harmony rather than passively wishing it would happen. We won’t always enjoy perfect success. Sometimes our efforts might even make things worse. But if we are invested in peace, build our peacemaking skills, focus on trying to help others, and strive to act with their best interests in mind we can grow to become effective peacemakers.


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 this second edition with a ton of new information and resources. You can purchase it in ebook or paperback by clicking this link.

Featured image by Comfreak from Pixabay

INFJ Interview with Esabelle

Hello dear readers, I hope you’re having a great weekend!

Sometime ago, a friend contacted me about doing an interview on her YouTube channel, and I’m so happy to finally be able to share it with you all . I hope you enjoy it, and that you’ll check out the other videos on her channel as well. She has some great content on psychology and personality types 🙂

Favorite INFJ Songs Playlist

A couple weeks ago, Susan Storm asked me to write an article about songs that INFJs love. When I asked some INFJs on Facebook for feedback on that topic, I was overwhelmed by the responses. It was far more than I could fit in just one article! I’ve compiled a Spotify playlist with the recommended songs, albums, and artists that you can click here to listen to. It’s over 6 hours long, and growing with each new comment. I’ve found several new favorites, and I hope you will too!

Coincidently, I finished writing this article shortly before I finished listening to Jordan Peterson’s “Maps of Meaning” lecture series. In the final lecture, he spends a few moments talking about music.

“Virtually everyone gets intimations of meaning from music. And I think music is hierarchically structured patterns that are representative of being laying itself out properly.  … It is an abstract representation of proper being.” — Jordan Peterson, 2017 Maps of Meaning 12, time signature 1:51:00.

Music is meaningful to us on a level that I doubt most of us (me included) really understand, at least consciously.  And, in the case of many of the songs INFJs list among their favorites, it really does prompt us to think about “being.”

Some of these songs represent irrepressibly hopeful ideas of the world, while others dive deep into brokenness and pain. Some are raw, some are happy, some beautiful, some hard to listen to. But for at least one INFJ out there, the different songs on this playlist are expressing the sorts of things “which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent” (to quote Victor Hugo).

Why INFJs Make Such Good Peacemakers

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.

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The Feeling of Being Different: Interplay of INFJ and Enneagram Four

I’ve talked with dozens, perhaps hundreds, of INFJs since I started this blog and wrote the first edition of The INFJ Handbook. One thing that most of us have in common is the feeling that we’re alien; that we don’t belong in the cultures, social groups, and/or families that we find ourselves in. Even if the people around us are welcoming, accepting, and seem to love us as we are we often feel as if there’s still something different about us.

Part of an INFJ’s feelings of alienation can be explained through type theory. Intuitives only make up about 30% of the population, and that means the way we process information and perceive the world is different than the way most people do. That difference is neither good nor bad; it’s just how our minds are hardwired. But as INFJs, we’re also FJ types who interact with the outer world using Extroverted Feeling. This is a cognitive function that’s keenly aware of values, ideals, behaviors, and cultural expectations. We notice when there’s something about us that doesn’t fit in, and it often bothers us.

Since I discovered the Enneagram and, years later, decided it might actually be a useful tool, I’ve started wondering if part of this feeling of being different might be connected to our Enneagram types. While INFJs can have any Enneagram type, some are more common than others. According to a survey conducted by Heidi Priebe in 2016, just over 30% of INFJs are Fours on the Enneagram, which makes it the most common Enneagram number for INFJs. It’s also my Enneagram type, and that’s the one I’m going to focus on today. If you’re wondering how different Enneagram types show up for INFJs, check out Susan Storm’s article “Your INFJ Personality Type and Your Enneagram Type.”

Why Fours Are Different

Myers-Briggs® types are typically describe in neutral or positive terms. You’ll also find information about the dark side of each type, but for the most part you’re likely to feel pretty good about yourself after reading your type description. That’s not the case with the Enneagram. When I first started reading about the Enneagram, what I noticed most is that it describes the core wounding message you internalized as a child and which you’re stuck with you your entire life.

I did not like this view. Truly, though, I probably wouldn’t have been so upset by the Enneagram’s description of Fours if part of me didn’t already believe that I was broken, abandoned, and envious of people who seem to have whatever basic human ingredient I’m missing. It wasn’t until years later, when I started seeing a counselor about my anxiety, that I realized I had internalized messages like this even though I grew up in a loving, supportive, stable home.

According to my favorite Enneagram book — The Road Back To You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile — “The wounding message Fours hear all the time is, ‘There’s something off about you. No one understands you, and you’ll never belong.’” Fours feel as if there’s something essential lacking; like we missed out on some important ingredient when God was putting people together. We’re not sure what it is, but we’re sure others have it and we don’t.

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Wanting To Be Different, but Maybe Not Too Much

While some INFJs feel that their uniqueness is a burden, I’d venture a guess that most of us don’t really want to give it up (at least not entirely). The whole “otherworldly INFJ thing” can get ridiculous at times but many of us not-so-secretly like our unicorn status. I wonder if perhaps this might have to do with Fours being a common Enneagram type for INFJs

The Road Back To You says that Fours need to “be special or unique. They believe the only way they can recapture or compensate for their missing piece and finally secure an authentic identity is by cultivating a unique image, one that distinguishes them from everyone else.” I don’t know about you, but reading that connected with something deep inside me.

As an INFJ, part of me wants to be a chameleon to fit in with the people around me, but another part strongly wants an authentic identity (so much so that for a while I thought I might be an INFP, since Introverted Feeling is often associated with authenticity). This is probably the reason I started “dressing like a hippy” (to quote family members and friends who noticed my style change). I wanted a way to make myself visibly unique without stepping too far outside accepted behavior.

I suppose the holy grail for type Four INFJs is to find a way to express their individuality without feeling as if they have nowhere they fit. We want to be unique and different, but not so much that it messes with the harmony we need to have in our relationships.

Healing The Broken Things

The Feeling of Being Different: Interplay of INFJ and Enneagram Four | LikeAnAnchor.com
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I’ve come to realize that if there’s something inside us that feels broken, missing, and wrong, then running away from it or pushing it deep down inside us isn’t a good idea. It’s far better to let ourselves feel things and process our complicated emotions, particularly if they keep coming back to bite you after you think you shut them down (note: I’m not a therapist or psychologist. There are exceptions to every rule, and some things are best dealt with in a therapy setting. If you’re struggling with something, I encourage you to seek out professional help).

The Enneagram can be a useful tool for helping us identify and face unhelpful messages we’ve internalized. And it’s not depressing to read about those messages once you realize the Enneagram does include descriptions of healthy, average, and unhealthy versions of all the types, along with advice for how to grow into a healthier version of your type. What form that advice takes depends on who’s using the Enneagram. For example, The Road Back To You is written from a Christian perspective, and so the advice in that book is framed through that lens.

Before offering their 10 tips for Fours’ personal growth the authors write, “Fours need to hear this loud and clear: there’s nothing missing. It may be hard to believe, but God didn’t ship them here with a vital part absent from their essential makeup.” I teared up reading that the first time. I’m not convinced of it all the way deep down inside yet, but I want to be. And I’ve been heading that direction a lot more steadily over the past couple years thanks to  tools like schema therapy.

Grow As Yourself

One of the most important messages an INFJ hears from Myers-Briggs® is that you’re not broken. You’re a perfectly normal INFJ, and it’s okay if that’s different than the majority of other people.

One of the most important messages we can hear from the Enneagram is that it’s okay to feel broken. None of us are perfect and we don’t have to be; we just need to grow, and realizing what sorts of foundations we’re starting with can be a great first step for that.

 

If you’d like to know more about 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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