10 Signs That You Might Be an INFJ Personality Type

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.

2) You Notice Patterns and Perspectives

As an INFJ, you notice patterns, especially big-picture patterns, that other people typically overlook. Introverted Intuition (the cognitive function that INFJs lead with) is basically like advanced pattern recognition software for your brain. INFJs tend to pick up on things “behind the curtain.” And since this process works in the background of our minds, we often make intuitive leaps that we can’t consciously explain but are based on recognizing patterns.

Personality Hacker calls this function Perspectives because it “is focused on the patterns that form those perspectives,” — our subjective beliefs, thoughts and feelings — “and over time it starts to see the ‘pattern of the patterns’.” This lets INFJs adopt a “meta-perspective” and see things from many different angles.

3) You Have A Rich Inner World

As introverts, INFJs prefer the inner world to the outer world. If you’re an INFJ, you likely have a well-developed “rich inner world.” You may also have the feeling that you belong in a fantasy world rather than the real one, though this doesn’t happen for all INFJs.

We INFJs like to create/find meaning and often have a vision for making the world a better place. Even if our ideas end up being used in the outer world, we’ll keep coming up with new ones to keep our minds busy. Many INFJs are also spiritual and/or religious people who frequently ponder deep, abstract ideas.

4) You Know What People are Feeling

An INFJ’s Feeling function is extroverted, meaning we’re most comfortable using it in the outer world (click here if you’d like to learn how Myers-Briggs® functions work). If you’re an INFJ, it seems easy to pick up on other people’s emotions and mirror them while you are talking. In connection with this, INFJs are often described as empathic. This can range from an awareness of what others are feeling to literally feeling as if you’ve absorbed the emotions of people around you.

Our outer-focused Feeling side can turn INFJs into one of the more social introverted types. We like people, but for many INFJs there is also a struggle between needing to be around people so you can connect with them and share your thoughts, and an introvert’s desire for alone time.

5) You Hate Conflict

If given the option, most INFJs will do almost anything to avoid tense moments. This is partly due to our Extroverted Feeling side, a function with Personality Hacker nicknames Harmony. INFJs are hardwired to desire harmony in our relationships and to work toward making that happen.

Lack of harmony is extremely uncomfortable for INFJs. We’re so focused on how people relate to each other that tension in those relationships unsettles us even when we’re not involved.

10 Signs That You Might Be an INFJ Personality Type | LikeAnAnchor.com
Photo credit: Free-Photos via Pixabay

6) You Want Your Decisions to Make Everyone Happy

Feeling in Myers-Briggs® theory is a rational, decision-making function. Usually when we think of someone leading with their feelings, we assume they make decisions emotionally but that’s not exactly what’s going on with INFJs. Extroverted Feeling makes well thought-out decisions based on what will meet everyone’s needs.

The human factor is an INFJ’s primary consideration when making decisions. Many find that they can’t act on something until it makes sense emotionally and morally, even if it already makes sense logically. We want our decisions to maintain harmony, meet other’s needs, and negotiate positive unspoken social contracts.

7) Other People Seek Your Counsel

One of the nicknames for the INFJ type is “the counselor.” If you’re an INFJ, there’s a good chance that you’ve experienced other people wanting to confide in you, even random strangers. You often find yourself acting as counselor and confidant for friends, acquaintances, and people you’ve just met.

In many cases, this confidence is one-sided. INFJs tend to know a lot more about the people in their lives than they other people know about them. We tend to be private people, but we’re always ready to lend a listening ear and advice when we can.

8) You Can Change Your Personality to Fit Context

INFJs can appear to fit-in with most social groups and act as a chameleon in social situations. Our Extroverted Feeling lets us pick-up on what the people around us feel and expect, and our Introverted Intuition turns those observations into patterns we can tap into and use to tailor our personality to fit different contexts.

This ability can be very useful as it gives us more versatility in social situations. But we might also use it as a crutch because fitting in feels safe. Acting like a chameleon seems like a way to protect ourselves from negative attention. However, it can also block us from really being seen and appreciated as ourselves. If that sounds like you, check out my post “The Importance of Living Authentically As An INFJ.”

9) You Have an Analytical Side

As an INFJ you feel things deeply but also have an analytical side. Even though we’re Feeling types in the Myers-Briggs® system, INFJs tend to have a pretty strong Thinking side too. Specifically, we use Introverted Thinking as your tertiary function. INFJs may often find themselves “looping” between their intuition and thinking, using both in a way that feels very comfortable.

You don’t want to spend too much time in your tertiary process, but it can be very useful. INFJs using their tertiary function might become more analytical and organized than usual. You might find yourself fascinated by certain topics and spend hours researching everything about them. If you get stuck in your Thinking side, though, you might start to loose touch with your diplomatic, relational side. When that happens, it’s important to reconnect with your Extroverted Feeling to stay balanced.

10) Stress Affects How You See The Outer World

A type’s inferior function typically shows up when they get stressed. For an INFJ, this function is Extroverted Sensing. Typically, an INFJ’s stress reaction includes obsessive focus on external data, overindulgence in sensory pleasures like food or shopping, and/or an adversarial attitude toward the outer world.

Stressed-out INFJs might try to escape the outer world by immersing themselves in books, TV series, or video games. They might isolate themselves and fall into depression, or become angry, suspicious and hostile. On the other hand, you can also learn to use your Sensing side in healthier ways through hobbies like gardening, cooking, and yoga.

 

If you’re still not sure whether or not you’re an INFJ, check out my article “5 Signs You Might Not Be an INFJ – And What You Might Be Instead!” on Psychology Junkie.

I also highly recommend taking the Genius Style Test by Personality Hacker. It’s free and they offer the most reliable test that I’ve found on the internet. Please note that this is an affiliate link, which means if you decide to purchase any of their products after taking the test I’ll receive a commission at no additional cost to you.


If you’d like to know more about the INFJ personality type, check out my book The INFJ Handbook. I just updated it with a ton of new information and resources. You can purchase it in ebook or paperback by clicking this link.

 

Featured image credit: Pexels via Pixabay

How Do INFJs, ISFJs, ENFJs, and ESFJs Read People So Well?

Every personality type has unique, powerful gifts. For the FJ types, one of those gifts involves an ability to read people well. Exactly how this skill shows up varies from person to person.

  • You might meet an INFJ who picks up on so much about you that it seems like they’re reading your mind.
  • Or perhaps you know an ESFJ so in-tune with how people work in groups that every event they plan is an unqualified success.
  • You might find yourself in a group lead by an ENFJ who manages to make every single person there feel included.
  • Maybe you meet an ISFJ who knows exactly how to act in dozens of different social situations and always makes the people they interact with feel valued.

The FJ types all use a mental process called Extroverted Feeling, or “Harmony” (to use Personality Hacker’s nickname). ENFJs and ESFJs use it as their favorite (or primary) mental function. INFJs and ISFJs use it as their co-pilot (or auxiliary) function. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at how this cognitive function helps INFJs, ISFJs, ENFJs, and ESFJs read other people. Read more

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

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

How To Tell If An INFJ Likes You

INFJs have a reputation for being mysterious creatures. If you’re trying to figure out what an INFJ is really thinking, that reputation is somewhat justified. And judging by the number of people online asking, “How can I tell if an INFJ likes me?” it can be very difficult to figure out if an INFJ is attracted to you, especially in a romantic sense.

How To Tell If An INFJ Likes You | LikeAnAnchor.com
Photo credit: Yuriy Bogdanov via Unsplash

Even though the whole “otherworldly INFJ” thing has been blown way out of proportion in internet descriptions of the type, there are some things about INFJs that just don’t make sense to most other people. Since INFJs are the rarest type, our minds are wired to think in a fundamentally different (not better) way than the majority of the world’s population.

As a type which uses Extroverted Feeling to make decisions, INFJs are very interested in maintaining harmony in the outer world. This tends to make them very agreeable people. In groups, we can be friendly and sociable with just about everyone. However, we’re also introverts who spend a lot of time inside our own minds. We’re often reserved, private individuals, leaving many people confused about how we actually feel. In addition, many (though not all) INFJs struggle with varying levels of social anxiety and shyness which makes it even harder for us to make it clear when we like someone.

The following list of ways to tell if an INFJ likes you isn’t going to be 100% true of every INFJ. However, it does reflect general trends in the way many INFJs say that they act and think when they like someone. Read more

Can INFJs Be Intimidating?

The short answer to the question, “Can INFJs be intimidating?” is “yes.”

Of course, this partly depends on the specific INFJ and on what someone finds intimidating. Some people might be intimidated by the way INFJs people-watch. Others might find the way our minds work intimidating, or be overawed by our instinct for figuring others out.

Being intimidating can be a useful thing in some contexts. Unfortunately for INFJs, it seems like we come across as intimidating when we don’t mean to more often than when we do. INFJs are generally peaceful folk who don’t like confrontation and aren’t trying to intimidate anyone (even though the whole “good little INFJ” thing is mostly a myth).

Here are three ways that INFJs can come across as intimidating when they don’t mean to. If you’re curious about what INFJs are like when they are trying to be intimidating, click to check out my post “INFJ Dark Side.”

We Think Differently

Some people can find the way that INFJs think intimidating. We tend to be deep-thinkers and, in our own way, we’re pretty intense. Also, INFJs are a curious mixture of seemingly contradictory things and we’re hard for people to put into neat boxes. Some people find this fascinating, but others find it off-putting.

When I was finishing up my 4-year degree in college a guy at church asked me about my thesis project. So of course I waxed eloquent about how 18th century female writers used Biblical gender roles to present a solution to a “gender crisis” of their day. Not long after, this man described me as intimidating in a conversation with my father. He said that I was too well-educated and too deep thinking for any man in our church to want to marry me. Read more