Why Are So Many INFJs Obsessed With Fictional Characters?

Every once in a while, I go through the list of search terms that WordPress says leads people to my blog looking to see if there are any topics I haven’t covered. This is one of them. It’s no surprise that search term led to this blog, though, since I’m an INFJ bloggers and the number of posts I’ve written about typing fictional characters (both here and on my Star Wars Personalities blog) shows that at least this INFJ is obsessed with fictional characters.

That doesn’t answer the question of “why” though. Nor does it explain why my posts about fictional character types were the most popular posts on my blog last year. It’s not just the posts about INFJ characters that are popular, either. All of my “7 Fictional Characters You’ll Relate To If You’re An ___” posts get a lot of views. We might not all be obsessed with fictional characters for the same reasons, but it seems that at least some people from every personality type feels an interest in and an attachment to fictional characters.

For INFJs (and perhaps other types as well), I suspect this obsession with fictional characters comes from a few different sources. Part of it is likely because INFJs so often feel alone and misunderstood in our real lives. We struggle to find belonging and acceptance, and so we search the stories that we love for people who seem to be like us. Many INFJs feel as if they find themselves in their favorite stories, and they may feel that the characters they find within fiction could understand them better than the people in real-life do.

This last part leads to another possible reason why INFJs are obsessed with fiction and fictional characters. We have very active imaginations and often talk about our “rich inner world.” Our minds are peopled with interesting places, people, ideas, and storylines that we encounter in fiction and real-life alongside all the imaginings we come up with on our own. Fictional characters give us fuel for the imaginative lives we lead inside our thoughts.

INFJs are also a type that loves people, but often finds interacting with other people in real-life challenging. It’s not that we avoid spending time with people, but we’re selective about who we spend time with and for how long because we have a limited amount of social energy. Reading well-written fiction or watching a well-acted film gives us the opportunity to “interact” in a non-social way with a wider number and variety of people than we’d typically get to see in real life. Fictional characters are not by any means a substitute for real friends, but they can help fill an INFJ’s hunger to learn about as many different people and perspectives as possible without wearing themselves out.

So there are the three reasons why I think INFJs are so often obsessed with fictional characters. We find connection with characters, we enjoy the way fiction fuels our imaginations, and we learn about people from stories.

Do you have any other explanations you’d add to this list for why we’re obsessed with fictional characters? And if you’re not an INFJ, do these reasons resonate with you as well or are there other reasons that you enjoy engaging with fiction?

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 blog image by StockSnap from Pixabay

The Enneagram Types As Fictional Characters

One of the things I like to do when studying personality types is find examples of the different types in fictional characters. It helps each type make more sense to me if I have some example to link it to. While I was reading The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile, I started having fictional characters come to mind as I was reading. The types “clicked” as I realized I understood them well enough to relate each to a fictional character.

Much has been written in books and online about the numbers on Enneagram, and today’s post is not going to re-tread that ground with complete profiles of each Enneatype. I’m just going to give a brief example of each type using a fictional character that I think is a good example of that type. I’m still an Enneagram beginner, so don’t take everything I say as the definitive view on the Enneagram. But I hope to give a overview for others who, like me, are trying to get a better sense of how the Enneagram shows up in real life using examples of fictional people. I’ll be quoting from the book I mentioned earlier as well as type profiles from The Enneagram Institute®.

Ones — Steve Rogers

These types are perfectionists who follow rules to the letter and are deeply committed to the concept of fairness. They tend to believe that their way is the right way and they’re very sensitive to criticism (both from other people and from their harsh inner critic). Ones have a mind that naturally compares things and makes value judgements, but as The Road Back To You points out, they tend to be shocked that other people see them as critical. They’re “The Rational, Idealistic Type: Principled, Purposeful, Self-Controlled, and Perfectionistic” according to The Enneagram Institute. Read more

10 Stories You’ll Relate To If You’re An INFJ

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)

1. Amélie

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

When Heroes Can’t Save Themselves: Death and Loss in Infinity War

Even if you haven’t yet seen Avengers: Infinity War you’ve probably picked up on the vibe that not everything ends happy. Well before the film’s release there were charts out detailing which characters were safe, which ones in danger, and which ones we definitely expected to die. Even my cousin, who’s outside the MCU Fandom, wanted to see it because she had to find out who lived and who died.

Warning: Mild Spoilers Follow For Avengers: Infinity War

When Heroes Can't Save Themselves: Death and Loss in Infinity War | marissabaker.wordpress.comWhile the film has been well received overall, some are describing the deaths that do happen (and in some cases the whole movie) as pointless because we “know” pretty much how this is going to go. Coulson and Loki have already come back from death scenes in the MCU. It’s something we expect from the genre. And some of the characters that died at the end have sequel movies that are filming right now. We assume they won’t stay dead, and so might conclude that their deaths don’t matter.

It’s also been quite a shock to see earth’s and the galaxy’s mightiest heroes lose such an important battle. This isn’t the end of the story, since a sequel film is coming in May 2018, but the only one who gets a happy ending in this film is Thanos. This isn’t just the Empire scattered the rebellion and Han Solo is frozen in carbonite. This is Darth Vader got exactly what he wanted and retired to Mustafar to spend the rest of his life watching lava bubble.

Second Warning: Major Spoilers Follow For Avengers: Infinity War

Read more

Disney Villains Myers-Briggs Chart – Part Two

Last week I posted my chart with Disney villains Myers-Briggs types. It turned into such a big post that I finally split it in half — Sensing types in Part One and Intuitive types today in part two (some of you probably saw the whole post last week. It was live for a few hours before I decided splitting it up would be more manageable). To re-cap, here’s my criteria for which villains are included in this chart:

  • All Primary Members of the Disney Villains franchise show up here, except Chernabog.
  • I then added a few other popular villains, paying special attention to the villains from films where I’ve already typed a Disney heroine.
  • To keep the number of villains manageable, I decided not to type any of their side-kicks or secondary villains.
  • I’m only typing the animated versions. This is mostly to maintain consistency, since sometimes the type changes in live-action reboots (such as Maleficent becoming more INFJ when she got her own film).

Disney Villains Myers-Briggs Chart | marissabaker.wordpress.com

As I mentioned last week, if you compare this chart to the ones I made for Disney Princesses, you’ll see they’re almost opposite each other. The spots on the chart that stood empty for the Princesses (ENFJ, INTJ, INTP) now have at least one occupant and some of the spots bursting with princesses don’t have any villains at all. The biggest trend seems to be Feeling types equal “good” and Thinking types equal “evil” (which really bugs me, but that’s a rant for another time).

There’s not much to go on for typing some of the villains. They’re often caricatures of personality types rather than fully-fleshed out characters. By necessity, associating a villain with a certain types means looking at the most negative stereotypes of that type. But Disney typing is fun, so even when we don’t have much to work, I’m going to take a guess at the character. You’re welcome to shout-out in the comments about what you do and don’t like! Have fun 🙂

Hans — ENFJ

Hans - ENFJ. Visit marissabaker.wordpress.com for more Disney villain typesI love NF type villains. They’re not the typical choice for a fictional bad guy and their motives aren’t always immediately understandable, which is part of makes them an unexpected and unpredictable character.

  • Fe: Types that lead with Fe often have the easiest time connecting with people. Which means they can be the most charming, manipulative villains you’ll ever see. Hans’ entire plan is based on charming one of the sisters into marrying him (which he does easily by creating an instant connection with Anna). He’s also writing a narrative that makes him “the hero that’s going to save Arandel” as he manipulates all Elsa’s advisors until they’re begging him to be king.
  • Ni: This shows up in his long-term thinking. As the youngest of 13 brothers, he decided that taking over a different kingdom was better than the life he could see continuing on in the future at home.
  • Se: Typically a fun-loving and risk-taking aspect of personality, which helps him charm Anna initially and also shows up in his physical skills like dancing and swordfighting.
  • Ti: Logic is not an ENFJ’s strongest suit. Hans’ entire plan rests on getting people to feel the way he wants them to rather than not on something concrete and he doesn’t have a backup plan.

Hades — ENFP

Hades - ENFP. Visit marissabaker.wordpress.com for more Disney villain typesThere’s little disagreement that Disney’s Hades is an NP type and none at all that he’s an extrovert. People just can’t agree on Thinking or Feeling. Both ENxP types lead with Ne, so it comes down to whether he uses Fi/Te (ENFP) or Ti/Fe (ENTP) to make decisions. Read more

Disney Villains Myers-Briggs Chart – Part One

It’s finally here! The baddest evildoers to ever oppose animated Disney heroism — now with Myers-Briggs types. There are a lot of villains that show up in Disney stories so I had to whittle it down to a fairly short list. Here’s my criteria:

  • All Primary Members of the Disney Villains franchise show up here, except Chernabog.
  • I then added a few other popular villains, paying special attention to the villains from films where I’ve already typed a Disney heroine.
  • To keep the number of villains manageable, I decided not to type any of their side-kicks or secondary villains.
  • I’m only typing the animated versions. This is mostly to maintain consistency, since sometimes the type changes in live-action reboots (such as Maleficent becoming more INFJ when she got her own film).

Disney Villains Myers-Briggs Chart | marissabaker.wordpress.com

If you compare this chart to the ones I made for Disney Princesses, you’ll see they’re almost opposite each other. The spots on the chart that stood empty for the Princesses (ENFJ, INTJ, INTP) now have at least one occupant and some of the spots bursting with princesses don’t have any villains at all. The biggest trend seems to be Feeling types equal “good” and Thinking types equal “evil” (which really bugs me, but that’s a rant for another time).

There’s not much to go on for typing some of the villains. They’re often caricatures of personality types rather than fully-fleshed out characters. By necessity, associating a villain with a certain types means looking at the most negative stereotypes of that type. But Disney typing is fun, so even when we don’t have much to work, I’m going to take a guess at the character. You’re welcome to shout-out in the comments about what you do and don’t like! Have fun 🙂

  • Please note: there were so many villains to type that I split them up into two blog posts. Part One covers the Sensing Type villains and Part Two will cover the Intuitive types.
  • One more note: I mostly type by function stacks, so if you’re not familiar with that part of Myers-Briggs theory you can click here to read The Simplest Guide To Myers-Briggs Functions Ever.

Lady Tremaine — ESTJ

Lady Tremaine - ESTJ. Visit marissabaker.wordpress.com for more Disney villain typesMost people type her as a TJ type (at least in the animated version), but beyond that there isn’t any agreement about her I/E or S/N preference. I’m pretty sure she’s a Sensor, but I’ve gone back and forth between introvert and extrovert. I’ve gone with extrovert because she’s very inclined to take-charge in the outer world and we don’t really see her spending any time alone.

  • Te: The opening narration describes her as “cold, cruel, and bitterly jealous of Cinderella’s charm and beauty.” While not a fair representation of TJ types, “heartless” is an accusation stereotypically leveled against them, especially women. She’s very outwardly judgemental and her communication consists of authoritative orders.
  • Si: My guess is that Lady Tremaine married Cinderella’s father for security. She already had a “good family” so she wasn’t social climbing. While we do see her trying to forward her daughters’ interests, it’s not really as part of a N-type’s long-term planning. She’s working within traditional roles to control and manipulate people.
  • Ne: A pattern-recognition function, Extroverted Intuition helps Lady Tremain put the pieces together and realize Cinderella was the mystery woman at the ball.
  • Fi: As an inferior function, Introverted Feeling can show up as outbursts of emotion and a fear of feeling. Lady Tremain is a very detached character, never showing her feelings for the people around her unless it’s in an angry outburst.

Queen of Hearts — ESTJ

Queen of Hearts - ESTJ. Visit marissabaker.wordpress.com for more Disney villain typesThe Queen of Hearts is one of the more exaggerated Disney villains. ESTJ nicknames include Supervisor, Executive, Overseer, and Enforcer. Take that to a villainous extreme and you just might get someone who lops off subordinates’ heads when things don’t go as they ordered. Read more