What fictional characters do you relate to as an INFJ?
Just as we can describe real people using the Myers-Briggs® typology system, we can also type well-written fictional characters. Some of fiction’s most iconic and intriguing characters are INFJs and today we’re going to talk about seven that I think real-life INFJs 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 INFJs can serve as examples for what real-life INFJs might be like, and also show how much variation can exist between individuals with the same type.
The things that makes INFJs such great fictional characters are some of the same things that make them such interesting people. Though the rarest personality type on the planet, INFJs are fairly common in fiction. They’re thoughtful, introspective characters with a unique way of looking at the world and a keen interest in other people.
It’s fascinating to read the narrator of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov discuss the story’s hero Alexi Karamazov (more often called by his nickname Alyosha/Alesha). He spends most of the introduction apologizing for presenting readers with such an unusual hero. “He is by no means a great man,” the narrator explains, but he is doubtless “a strange man, even an odd one.” He was strange “from the cradle,” growing up a quiet child preoccupied by something inside him while at the same time loving people. I’m sure many INFJs can relate to that in their own childhoods — liking other people but being too preoccupied by their inner worlds to be considered sociable.
As the story progresses, we see Alyosha dreads conflict with a loathing that I think all INFJs (and the other FJ types as well) can relate to. We see him weeping when others are hurt, displaying the empathy that’s so much a part of real-life INFJs. We see him make social blunders in an effort to make everyone happy and at peace, all with an INFJ’s insistence on working toward harmony in all situations. Like so many INFJs, he’s sensitive, emotional, indecisive on certain things (though quite decisive in others), and isn’t afraid to appear weak so long as he’s being true to his beliefs. Read more →
What stories do you relate to as an INFJ? Not just a character in the story that you identify with, but also themes and plot points that speak to something inside you.
That’s what this blog post is about. It’s not necessarily a list of INFJs’ favorite books and movies (though there is some overlap). It’s not even about INFJ fictional characters, though they do appear in several of these stories. This list is about stories that INFJs can read or watch and see something of their dreams, desires, worldview, and personality. We love to find ourselves inside stories, and the 10 on this list are among the stories that INFJs find most relatable.
“We are all stories in the end, just make it a good one eh?”
― The Doctor (Matt Smith)
Even though it’s always at the top of INFJ movie lists, I’d never seen Amélie (2001) until I watched it to write this post. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I can’t think of any film character who’s more relatable for me as an INFJ than Amélie is in this film.
What INFJ hasn’t experienced random strangers pouring out their life’s stories? And how many of us have got so caught-up in our imaginations that we sit crying over our future on the couch? Or imagine that the person running late was kidnapped by bank robbers and through a weird series of events ended up living as a hermit in Afghanistan? Read more →
There seems to be a movement in some of the Christian relationship blogs I read to debunk the “myth” of soul mates. The argument can be summed up in this quote from Boundless.org’s article Myths About Soul Mates: “Believing that ‘the one’ is out there, waiting to ‘complete you,’ inevitably leads to discontentment and maybe even divorce.” Another of their articles, Hoping for a Soul Mate, quotes Atlanta psychiatrist Frank Pittman as saying, “Nothing has produced more unhappiness than the concept of a soul mate.” If you’re not familiar with these arguments, I encourage you to glance at one or both links before reading on.
Defining “Soul Mate”
Just so we’re all starting out on the same page, here’s a composite definition of what the articles I referenced above seem to mean when they use the term “soul mate”:
A soul mate is your perfect match, who complements all your weaknesses and strengths and loves you unreservedly for who you are. There is only one soul mate for each person, and you’re on a search to find them so they can “complete you.”
These articles say this is an impossible ideal and it becomes dangerous when we start holding the person we’re in a relationship with to impossible and unrealistic expectations. And I do acknowledge this is a danger if we’re focused on the idea of finding one perfect mate (see this scene in Ever After for a humorous example of a few problems which can result).
Given these compelling arguments about the dangers of having an expectation like this in dating, you might be wondering why I’m writing a post about believing in soul mates. I have a slightly different take on the idea of soul mates, though.
My Idea of a Soul Mate
I imagine there are several people out there who have the potential to be our “soul mates.” For me, I think this would look like a relationship where I feel safe sharing my inner thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Someone who can understand, relate to, or at least appreciate the parts of my mind which I so rarely share, and with whom I can connect on a “kindred spirits” level. It almost goes without staying that this kind of connection must have a spiritual/religious component as well — I doubt I could be in this kind of relationship with someone who does not share my faith. I think there’s also a bit of truth in the idea of finding a mate who “completes” you, not in the way that most people might think of it but in the way that God meant when He created a husband and wife to be two parts of a whole.
As I mentioned, in this theory there are multiple people with whom the potential exists for forming a soul mate connection. You might meet several, but your goal should be that your relationships only reach a “soul mate level” with one of these people. I suspect that there’s a point in a good relationship where the other potential soul mates no longer matter because a “sole soul mate” relationship has been forged.
This is where the idea of commitment comes in. Once you choose to marry someone, you’re also choosing to cultivate a soul mate relationship only with them (the first article I linked to actually touches on this point). This is also why can be dangerous to form deep emotional intimacies with someone of the opposite sex who you don’t intend to marry (or whom you’re not sure yet if you will marry) — sharing your heart without the promise of commitment to a sole soul mate relationship seems like a good way to get your heart broken.
I’m sure not everyone will agree with this idea, and really I don’t expect them to. There’s so much variation in our individual personalities, tastes and ideas that it seems ridiculous to expect everyone to want and expect the same thing from a romantic relationship.
When David Keirsey wrote his personality theories based on Myers-Briggs, he suggested that each of his four personality groups would be looking for, and be, a different kind of romantic partner. He describes the Artisans (Myers’ SP types) as Playmates, who are “exciting and fun” and usually end up married to Guardians (SJ types), who are looking to fill a Helpmate role. Rationals (NT types) want a Mindmate with whom they can have intellectual discussions and explore “abstract rather than concrete” ideas. They often marry the Idealists (NF types, like my INFJ personality), who are searching for Soulmates.
What Idealists wish for in their spouse is a Soulmate, a spouse who knows their feelings without being told of them, and who spontaneously expresses words of endearment, words that acknowledge their mate’s unique identity. Idealists want the marital relationship to be, as they put it, “deep and meaningful,” Other types will settle for much less than this. … suffice it to say that Idealists are asking their spouses for something most of them do no understand and do not know how to give. (Please Understand Me II, p.146)
Well, that sounds depressingly unattainable. Honestly, when I was reading this book the first time the beginning of this paragraph had me nodding and thinking it sounded exactly just right, but that final sentence is really discouraging. Still, I don’t think I have such unrealistic expectations as Keirsey describes Idealists as having in other parts of his book (though it does sound idyllic). Maybe he’s right and 80-85% of the population will tell me I’m crazy to hope for a “soul mate.” But hopefully someday I’ll be able to say, like the bride in Song of Songs, “I found him whom my soul loves” (Song. 3:4, WEB).