What Do Other People Think of INFJs?

INFJs are supposed to be really good at reading other people’s emotions, guessing their thoughts, and seeing things from their perspectives. In many situations, that’s true. But there’s one type of situation where many INFJs (including myself) feel like we have a blind spot.

It’s like there’s a mental block when I’m trying to see myself from other people’s perspectives. I have to ask my closest friends how I come across in conversations, whether or not someone’s response to me was positive, and if what I said made sense. I suspect that for me personally much of this is related to social anxiety, because I’m not as paranoid around people who I know well. But I’m also not the only INFJ who struggles with this. We tend to assume that people think we’re weird and that they won’t like us because we’re so different from other people.

However, I’ve also talked with enough non-INFJs to know that quite a few of them actually do like us. Our INFJ weirdness isn’t guaranteed to scare everyone away. In fact, what makes each of us us “weird” is also what makes us attractive to the kind of people who connect well with our unique, authentic selves. So today, let’s take a look at how other people actually see INFJs. I’d also like to invite any non-INFJs reading this post to share your thoughts in the comments section. We’d love to hear from you!

Socially Awkward

You’re probably wondering why this is at the top of my list, since most INFJs already know/fear that they come across as socially awkward. But I can’t write a post like this and ignore the fact that we do give others this impression. People aren’t judging us nearly as much as we think they are, but they do notice how awkward we make ourselves when we try too hard to fit in. Read more

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I’d like to hear from INFJ men for The INFJ Handbook second edition

I’m so excited to announce that I’m releasing a second edition of The INFJ Handbook this summer. This will be an updated and expanded edition with lots of new information. Plus, I’ll be able to offer this in a print version as well as an ebook for all of you who’ve contacted me and asked where you could buy a physical copy.

In the first edition of The INFJ Handbook, I asked several INFJs to share their perspectives on having an INFJ personality type. Since all my contributors for the first edition were women, I’d like to get some INFJ men to share their perspectives for the second edition.

Update: Now closed to further responses. Thank you so much to everyone who contacted me to share their answers to these questions! I’ll be updating everyone soon with a release date for the book.

If you identify as a man and an INFJ personality type, I’d love to hear from you. Here’s a list of questions that I’m curious to get your perspective on:

  • How do you experience Intuition? What happens when you try to explain your intuitions to others?
  • Even though INFJ’s use Feeling more comfortably, we also have a Thinking side to our personalities. What does it look like for you to use your Thinking side in a healthy way? (for example: playing strategy games, analyzing your favorite topic, etc)
  • What stresses you out so much that you start acting unlike your normal self?
  • What do you consider the biggest strengths and weaknesses of your personality type?
  • Are there any struggles you face that you believe are unique to INFJ men?
  • Are there any personal growth tips you’d like to share with other INFJs?
  • What do you wish other people knew about INFJs?

You can answer as many or as few of these questions as you want. If there’s something else you’d like to share that isn’t covered in these questions, please feel free to add that as well.

If you’d like to contribute to this second edition of The INFJ Handbook, you can leave a comment under this post or click here to email me. Thank you so much! I’m really looking forward to reading what you have to share 🙂

Personality Type Myth-Busting: Is Intuition The Same As A Gut Feeling?

I often see Intuitive types describe their experience of intuition as a “gut feeling.” It’s not something we can explain — it’s just something we know. And that is a valid way to describe a lot of what we experience from using Intuition. But if that was all there was to intuition, then we’d be able to describe a lot more than 30% of the population as Intuitive types.

When people talk about intuition, they usually mean something different than what type theorists mean when they refer to Intuition as a psychological function. Google defines intuition as “the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.” We might also use the word intuitive to mean “suited by nature for a particular purpose in life,” as when we speak of intuitive athletes or creative types who “just know” how to do something.

In her book Personality Type, Lenore Thomson points out, “Most of the people to whom we apply the word intuitive in this causal way aren’t Intuitives — at least not typologically. They’re usually Sensates and Introverted P types, whose right-brain abilities the left brain can’t explain to itself” (p. 199). I’ve also noticed that some of the things that Intuitives describe as part of their intuition are actually connected with other mental processes. For example, an INFJ might say they intuitively know how to blend in with different social groups when in reality that ability is tied to their harmony-seeking Extroverted Feeling process more than to their Introverted Intuition.

So if Intuition, in the typological sense, isn’t want people usually think of when they think of intuition, what is it? Read more

Personality Type Myth-Busting: Are Extroverts Incapable of Understanding Introverts?

One of the things that really irritates me when I see certain introverts talking online is how much they seem to hate extroverts. They’ll even use that word — “I hate this thing that extroverts do” or “I hate it when extroverts are like this.” Some even have lists of all the things they hate about extroverts.

We introverts have been pushing for a while now to get recognized as “normal.” Introversion is how about 50% of the population’s brains are hardwired. It’s an inborn preference for the inner world of thoughts and ideas, which is also shaped by our unique individual experiences. So stop judging us for it, okay?

What far too many of us forget is that the exact same things are true of extroversion. For about 50% of the population, being an extrovert is perfectly normal. It’s an inborn preference for the outer world of things and people. Extroverted and introverted mental “wiring” are both perfectly normal. Both are needed, and both personality types deserve respect.

So with that clarification out of the way, let’s talk about whether or not extroverts are incapable of understanding introverts. Read more

Personality Type Myth-Busting: Are All Introverts Quiet?

I think most people would tell you that one of the defining traits of introverts is that they are quiet. It’s even the name of one of the most popular introvert books — Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. This also happens to be the book that first got me started on studying and embracing introversion, and it’s still one of my favorite books.

But in the midst of this “quiet revolution” that’s pushing for greater acceptance of introversion, we might get the idea that all introverts are characterized by being soft-spoken people who rarely talk. However, that’s not entirely accurate and that’s not what really what Susan Cain meant when she named her book Quiet.

Confusing Introversion and Shyness

One of the most common mistakes regarding introversion is to assume it’s the same thing as shyness. But introversion is simply a description of how about 50% of the population’s brains are “hardwired.” It’s a preference for the inner world and a need to recharge in solitude. Shyness, on the other hand, is related to social anxiety. Read more

How To Spot An INFJ

Adept at chameleon-like camouflage and the rarest of any type, spotting an INFJ out in the wild isn’t an easy thing to do. In fact, most people walk past INFJs without ever noticing them.

It’s kinda like in Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn, where most people who look at the unicorn just see a sad looking white horse instead of her true, magical nature. Except for the fact that no matter how odd/ethereal they might seem from overenthusiastic type descriptions online, INFJs are not in fact magical.

This post isn’t going to deep-dive into function stacks or walk you through how to identify someone’s Myers-Briggs type. You can click here to read a good article on that. Instead, we’ll be talking about characteristics that are often associated with INFJs and which you could spot in fairly casual interactions. Not every INFJ will have these traits, but if you spot several then there’s a good chance you might be talking with an INFJ or one of the similar types.

In Conversations …

If you’re in a conversation with someone you think might be INFJ, look for the following signs:

  • They listen intently, offering non-verbal and sometimes verbal feedback that lets you know they understand and are relating to you.
  • They respond in ways that let you continue directing the conversation where you want it to go.
  • Touching on a favorite topic makes their eyes light up and they get so excited to talk about it that they may even interrupt you.
  • They ask you questions and you feel like you’re really connecting, but you realize later they told you very little about themselves.
  • Argumentative conversations and debates make them visibly uncomfortable.
  • They may get flustered and have trouble organizing their thoughts if you ask them a question they don’t have a ready answer for.
  • Deep questions excite them, but they often need to think before responding.
  • Their conversations often include abstract and symbolic terms, and references that don’t quite make sense to most others around them.

Read more