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?

Are You a Vanishing INFJ? Here Are 5 Tips for Keeping in Touch With People When You Want to Withdraw

One of my most popular posts on this blog is one I wrote back in 2016 called “The Vanishing INFJ.” Not only does it get quite a bit of traffic, but I’ve heard from several INFJs who contacted me specifically about the idea of them “vanishing.” It’s often something they hadn’t realized about themselves, but recognized immediately when they read my article.

Many INFJs have a tendency to drop out of contact with people. We get distracted by the world inside our own heads and might cancel plans, respond very briefly to communication attempts, or ignore other people entirely. Some INFJs might do this very rarely, other quite frequently. It depends on a variety of factors, including the INFJ’s priorities, maturity, personal growth, and how much social energy they have left after dealing with the people they come in contact with each day.

As an INFJ, you might think it’s perfectly normal to go months without contacting someone. You might not even notice it if you’re used to retreating inside your head for long periods at a time. Or perhaps you do notice it, but you worry about intruding on others and so you don’t like to reach out first. Maybe this time your vanishing is prompted by some outside influence, such as the social distancing regulations designed to help stop the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

As you become aware of your tendency to “vanish,” you might also notice that it can have a negative effect on your relationships. Assuming these are relationships you value, you’ll want to find ways of keeping in touch with the people you care about and not letting your “vanishing” get in the way. Here are five tips for keeping in touch with people even when you’d be more comfortable withdrawing.

1) Give Yourself Alone Time

This may seem a weird place to start a list of tips for keeping in touch with people. After all, “alone” is the opposite of keeping in touch. It’s one of the things that happens when you vanish.

INFJs are introverts, however, and that means we need a certain amount of introvert time. One of the reasons we may want to vanish is because we’re burned-out and need some time to recharge. Before you try to push yourself to reach out to others, make sure you’re taking care of yourself as well. Read more

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. Read more

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