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
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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

What Are Your Strengths As An INFJ Personality Type?

Learning about our unique strengths as INFJs helps us realize what gifts we can access most readily. It also gives us some guidelines for learning to use those gifts effectively in work, interpersonal relationships, and our private lives. These strengths don’t make INFJs “better” than any other type (each type has their own valuable strengths) but they are an important part of our personalities.

We often use our personality strengths so easily that we don’t think of them as gifts. For example, it’s so natural for INFJs to pick up on other peoples emotions that it might just seem like a slightly annoying thing we do automatically, rather than a unique gift we can use to relate to other people. But the strengths that are so much a part of the INFJ personality types are not common in the world at large. If we ignore our gifts or assume they are not useful, we deprive ourselves of confidence and deprive the world of our unique skills.

As I’ve been working on the second edition of The INFJ Handbook, one of the things I’m expanding is the chapters on INFJ strengths and weaknesses, as well as the one with personal growth tips. That re-writing that sparked the idea for this post, which is a shortened version of one of the chapters in my upcoming handbook. 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

5 Crucial Tips For Standing Up For Yourself As An INFJ

For many INFJs, the feeling that we don’t stand up for ourselves well enough is a frequent one. We find ourselves in uncomfortable conversations that we don’t know how to leave, or we let people cross our boundaries because we’re not sure what to say, or we don’t speak up when someone assumes something about us that isn’t true. And then we feel guilty about it, but we aren’t sure how to change.

5 Crucial Tips For Standing Up For Yourself As An INFJ | LikeAnAnchor.com
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For this post, we’re going to define “standing up for yourself” as sharing your ideas, choices, and opinions with others and not compromising on your personal standards, morals, or beliefs. You’re not obnoxious or dismissive of others when you “stand up for yourself” in this way, but you are honest and upfront about who you are, what you believe, and where your boundaries are.

Some people reading this, including some INFJs, already live their lives in the way I just described. If that’s you, then wonderful! Keep doing what you’re doing (and maybe share some tips for the rest of us in the comments). For others, standing up for yourself is a real challenge.

INFJs aren’t the only ones who deal with this either — any personality type can struggle with asserting themselves and practicing authenticity. Today, though, we’ll be focusing on INFJ-specific tips for getting comfortable with standing up for yourself. Other IN types (like INTJ or INFP) and FJ types (like ENFJ and ISFJ) might also find these tips helpful. Read more

The Importance of Living Authentically As An INFJ

As an INFJ, you’re good at picking up on other people’s emotions. And when you pick up on what other people feel you also start to get a good feel for their expectations. For some of us, that seems like a good thing. We know what’s expected of us in different social settings and from different friend groups. We understand who we need to be so we can fit in.

But is that really a good thing for us? Does being able to fit in help an INFJ?

We call it the chameleon effect when an INFJ leverages their unique combination of mental processes to blend in with different groups of people. Chameleon INFJs might even appear as if they’re a different personality type in different situations because they’re automatically shifting toward being extroverted around the extroverts, logical around the thinkers, and interested in the real world around the sensors.

Blending in feels like an advantage at times. That’s why we do it. Fitting in feels safe. It seems like a way to protect ourselves from negative attention. But in reality, using our gifts in this way doesn’t just protect us from bad things. It also blocks us from really being seen and appreciated as ourselves. Read more

Living With INFJ Guilt And Overcoming Cycles of Shame

Disclaimer: some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click on the link and make a purchase on that website.

INFJ personality types* often live with ridiculous amounts of guilt. We feel guilty about things we did and didn’t say or do. We feel guilty about how the people around us feel and how they react to us, about our own short comings, and even about our successes.

Everyone experiences a certain amount of guilt. But it does seem like one of the more common struggles for INFJs. Most people attribute this propensity for guilt to INFJ perfectionism, saying that if we fail to make something “perfect” we’ll feel guilty about it. But it’s a bit more complex than that (a fact which, I’m sure, will surprise no one familiar with INFJs).

Living With INFJ Guilt And Overcoming Cycles of Shame | marissabaker.wordpress.com
Photo credit: “Incognito” by nasrul ekram, CC BY via Flickr

Why do INFJs feel guilty?

The INFJ mind is very good at coming up with reasons we should feel guilty. Our Introverted Intuition seeks out patterns in our own behavior. Our Extroverted Feeling picks up on how we make others feel and evaluates our actions in light of how people “should” be. Our Introverted Thinking is quite happy to analyze our faults to death. And that pesky Extroverted Sensing adds even more guilt by whispering that all this shouldn’t matter and we could just go have fun. Read more