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.

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Seeing Unicorns For What They Really Are

I realized after my last Classics Club post that I’m bad at writing book reviews. I’d intended to just write a short “this is what the books are like, this is what I thought” post for Elizabeth Gaskell’s novels but it turned into an essay on what makes a strong female character and the state of modern feminism. I think I’ll give up on book reviews. Apparently I can only write thoughtful, rambling essays.

That’s not a bad thing though, right? These are classics, after all. People have been writing reviews of them for decades or centuries. If you want to find out about the plot you can go on Goodreads. I’d much rather talk about the ideas prompted by these great books. And I think you might rather read about that, too.

NOTE: this post contains spoilers but not enough, I think, to ruin the book for you

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. Affiliate links are marked with *

A Perfect Fantasy Book

I feel like The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle* should have been a re-read for me, but this was the first time I’d read it. You’d think as much as I love unicorns and fantasy novels I’d have picked this one up earlier. Especially considering how much everyone loves it. Even the guy who wrote the best fantasy book I’ve ever read says, “The Last Unicorn is the best book I have ever read. You need to read it. If you’ve already read it, you need to read it again” (Patrick Rothfuss, author of The Name of the Wind*).

On the surface, The Last Unicorn seems like a pretty simple book. A unicorn overhears two men say there aren’t any unicorns left in the world. Worried that she might be the last one, she goes out searching for other unicorns and meets with the sort of adventures you’d expect in a fantasy novel. There’s a wizard, a merry band of outlaws, a wise woman, a curse, a wicked king, and heroic prince, a talking cat, and a beautiful princess. But there’s so much more than that, too.

How People See You

There’s a lot going on in this relatively short book, so I’m just going to focus on one theme that I found particularly interesting. When the unicorn first sets out on her search, I expected that problems would arise when people spotted a unicorn walking down the road. But all they see is a white mare. The unicorn is puzzled.

“I suppose I could understand if men had simply forgotten unicorns, or if they had changed so that they hated unicorns and tried to kill them when they saw them. But not to see them at all, to look at them and see something else — what do they look like to one another, then? What do trees look like to them, or houses, or real horses, or their own children?”(p. 11).

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