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

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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

5 Relationship Problems INFJs Often Struggle With

INFJs long for relationships. Whether it’s close friendships or romantic partnerships, we’re hard-wired for connection (as are all people, really, though we approach it in different ways depending on personality type and individual differences).

As I think most people know, finding a good relationship is bloody difficult (side note: I may or may not watch too much British television). Today, though, we’re not going to talk about the relationship problems that everyone faces. We’re focusing on the problems that many INFJs find particularly troublesome. Other types (especially NFs and FJs) will probably identify with these struggles as well, and I’m sure INFJs also struggle with some relationships problems that aren’t on this list. Still, these five things seem to come up with more consistency for INFJs.

1) Hopes and Dreams vs. Reality

INFJs tend to have active imaginations. That combines to with INFJ idealism to develop some pretty spectacular expectations for relationships. In fact, David Keirsey identifies this as a trait of all Idealist (NF) types. He wrote,

In all areas of life, Idealists are concerned not so much with practical realities as with meaningful possibilities, with romantic ideals.  … if any type can be said to be “in love with love,” it is the NF. And yet, while they fall in love easily, Idealists have little interest in shallow or insignificant relationships. On the contrary, they want their relationships to be deep and meaningful, full of beauty, poetry, and sensitivity. (Please Understand Me II, p.142)

Keirsey goes on to say that NF types seek “a Soulmate” with whom they can have this “deep and meaningful” relationship. He also notes that “Idealists are asking their spouses for something most of them do not understand and do not know how to give” (p.146). As a single INFJ longing for romance, that’s one of the most depressing things I’ve ever read. It’s like we’re setting ourselves up for romantic failure. Read more