10 Things You Should Never Say to an INFJ
As an INFJ, words are very powerful to you. You think hard about what you say and how you say it, being careful to choose just the right phrase to fit the occasion. You try to think of perspectives and alternate viewpoints, trying to take into consideration everyone’s point of view. When other people use words carelessly or refuse to see your viewpoint it can feel draining to spend time with them.
We’re all triggered by different statements and words more than others. In general, everyone hates hearing “calm down”, “relax”, or “you’re being too sensitive”. When I spoke with members of each personality type, across the board everyone hated those statements. Nobody wants to feel like they’re being irrational, regardless of their thinking or feeling preference. But what especially triggers the perceptive, empathetic INFJs? Let’s take a look.
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“Let Me Stop You Right There…”
INFJs think hard before they speak, and they like to have the chance to complete one thought before moving onto another. Interruptions and being cut off in the middle of a sentence will exasperate them because they often need to take some time to feel that their message is fleshed out properly.
“Get Over It”
When INFJs have been hurt they need time to heal and think through how to move forward. Being rushed to “get over” what happened will make them feel irritated and misunderstood.
“That’ll Never Happen”
The insights and predictions of the INFJ are often met with skepticism by other types. Because their premonitions are often the result of a “hunch”, sensing types tend to be wary of accepting them. This is usually a bad idea, because INFJ insights are often scarily accurate.
“I’ve Got You Figured Out”
Sorry. You don’t.
“Here’s Some Advice”
INFJs don’t appreciate unsolicited advice unless someone has an extremely thorough knowledge of the subject at hand. Think hard before giving advice to an INFJ, if they are really struggling with something, chances are they’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out solutions already.
“You’re Too Serious. Lighten Up!”
INFJs take life seriously and have difficulty just “living it up” in the moment. Typologist A.J. Drenth says of INFJs, “Because Ni perceives the world so differently and profoundly, INFJs often experience a sense of loneliness and isolation, even when they are with other people. Depression may also arise from the feeling that their ideals and insights are not being recognized or actualized in the world. They may see the world as deaf to, or unconcerned with, the truths they espouse. INFJs may, therefore, question their value in a world that seems indifferent to their insights.” Read his entire article here.
“Everyone Like This Does That”
Generalizations. These are the bane of the INFJ’s existence. People are nuanced and life is complicated, and INFJs realize that there are a million and one different reasons why people do the things they do. Hasty generalizations about broad groups of people make INFJs instantly irritable. For example, “All INFJs don’t know how to be logical!” or “All Republicans/Liberals believe (some extremist viewpoint).” INFJs may even find themselves playing devil’s advocate against themselves just to discount a generalization!
“You’re Not Trying Hard Enough!”
INFJs are major perfectionists and generally try hard at just about everything. What are they not trying hard enough to do? Is it really important? Could there be a better way of encouraging them? Probably.
“I’ll Never Understand You”
INFJs tend to feel misunderstood most of the time, but being told that the hope of being understood is out of reach or impossible can be an incredibly depressing realization.
“Your Idea is Weird. Let’s Go the Traditional Route.”
INFJs are visionaries who like to try new and innovative ways of doing things. Using the “tried and true” method can be frustrating for them. They don’t automatically respect tradition or repetitive techniques. Give their ideas a chance before automatically reverting to a traditional method.
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What Are Your Thoughts?
Any statements you’d like to add? Share your thoughts with other readers in the comments!
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This explains why I can’t stand my sister-in-law. She does 1-6 and 8 pretty much every time I talk to her. It’s incredible how she gets under my skin so quickly. I’ll finally get over it and be cool with her again because she doesn’t have friends. I feel very bad for her. We’ll start having a decent, funny conversation, and by the end of it she’s done almost every single thing not to do. I’m glad I read this because I don’t feel as bad now, knowing why she makes me so angry so fast.
This was very helpful for me. I (not an INFJ) am writing an INFJ character.
Related to 7, I’d like to suggest a variation – “If we do it for one person we’ll have to do the same for everyone.” During my long career in HR I can’t tell you how many times I heard that from bosses and colleagues when denying a request from an employee for special consideration. In other words – one size fits all. Used to drive me nuts. As you say, we are all nuanced. To me an HR policy was a broad statement of intent to guide decision making, not a rigid rule to be applied mindlessly. Maybe that’s why HR has such a bad reputation in so many places! Brings to mind the ‘Evil HR Director’ meme from the Dilbert comics.
Absolutely; as an INFJ, these all ring true. I have oddly enough felt less alone and better understood after finding your site and wonderful articles. Thank you kindly.
I agree with everything on here, especially 4, 7, and 10.