Today we’re going to explore what it really means to be an INFJ personality type. From the basics (what do those 4-letter codes mean anyway?) to the more in-depth (how does the INFJ brain work?), we’ve got you covered. Let’s begin!
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The INFJ Personality Type – i.e. “The Mystic”
The Insightful, Forecasting Type:
Visionary, Creative, Idealistic, and Conceptual
The INFJ Personality in Brief
INFJs are conscientious and have a gift for intuitively understanding complex meanings and human relationships. They believe strongly in their insights and often have an uncanny sense of the emotions, feelings, and motivations of other people. They are driven to create global plans that will improve the lives of others. In everything they do, INFJs seek meaning and purpose. They are big-picture oriented, more interested in the future than the present, more fascinated by what’s “behind-the-curtain” than what is immediately obvious.
- Driving Force: To understand the “dance of the universe”. To see the underlying meaning of things.
- Backup Strength: Unique understanding of people and their needs and emotions. Strong awareness of social expectations and human dynamics.
- Weakness: Can lose track of details by focusing so much on the abstract. May become out of touch with reality or panic when having to deal with a lot of details at once.
- Stressors: Lack of alone time, over-stimulation, navigating unfamiliar places, dealing with conflict, multi-tasking, focusing on nitty-gritty details.
The Meaning of the Four-Letter Code (in brief)
I = Introversion. INFJs focus inwards before outwards, analyzing what things mean to them before responding to the environment.
N = iNtuition. INFJs focus more on the abstract or potential of something than the concrete or existing reality.
F = Feeling. INFJs apply personal values and empathize in order to make a decision. They want what is best for the group or humanity as a whole.
J = Judgment. INFJs like having things settled, having decisions made, and having a sense of control or structure to their life. They are typically work-before-play people.
Famous Rumored INFJs: Dante Alighieri, Mahatma Gandhi, Noam Chomsky, Agatha Christie, Mary Wollstonecraft, Baruch Spinoza, Arthur Schopenhauer, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Lars von Trier, David Fincher, Leonard Cohen, Marilyn Manson, Daniel Day-Lewis, Adrien Brody, Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Tilda Swinton, Sufjan Stevens, George Harrison, Benedict Cumberbatch.
INFJ Personality Type Overview
One of the most defining qualities of the INFJ personality type is their vivid and private imagination. They have a unique ability to see patterns and connections between things and are focused on identifying where those patterns will lead in the future. We have named the INFJ “The Mystic” simply because their gift for anticipating future events can seem “magical” even though it can be explained scientifically.
According to neuroscience expert Dario Nardi, INFJs experience a mental state of flow when they are tasked to solve a complex problem or envision a future scenario. When asked to imagine their lives in the distant future, or to solve a mystery, INFJs harness all neocortex regions in order to “realize” an image. Each brain region offers a different perspective, and eventually, they compile all the perspectives into one best-fit solution. These types are programmed to imagine the future, to gather perspectives, and to search for hidden patterns. This is what gets them excited and occupies many of their thoughts.
INFJs are people of sensitivity and warmth. They have a highly-developed awareness of other people’s values and needs and tend to arrange their lives in order to live harmoniously with the people around them. On some level of consciousness, INFJs feel it is their “mission” to understand all the various shades of how people think. They feel that they can’t make a wise decision until they can “get into the shoes” of other people.
INFJs Can Appear Like Extroverts
Although INFJs are introverts, they will devote a great deal of time and energy to fostering and maintaining positive relationships. If they do not have empathic, deep relationships, they feel a great sense of loss and emptiness in their lives. It is common for INFJs to fluctuate between spending a lot of time around their friends and family to getting an “Introvert hangover” and disappearing from the world for bouts of time. Because INFJs care so deeply about other people they can become overly wrapped up in the lives of their loved ones and forget to get the time alone which they need to stay healthy. By the time they realize this, many are already so depleted of energy that they simply “disappear” only to return to their friends days, weeks, or even months later hoping that they haven’t offended anyone too badly.
Because INFJs are driven by imagination, creativity, and the personal values of people, they tend to excel in careers that make use of that. They can be extremely productive and purposeful when they feel they are adding to the welfare of others or are free to imagine, innovate, and design things. They also are gifted in the art of strategy. Because these types are so focused on anticipating and foreseeing future trends and implications, they can easily come up with insightful plans that are well-thought-out and account for potential problems. When INFJs are doing very repetitive, by-the-book jobs that require a lot of focus on technical details they tend to get confused, stressed, and may have a hard time being as productive as usual.
Careers INFJs Tend to do Well In:
Psychologist, Therapist, Social Worker, Minister/Priest, Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Writing, Journalism, Human Resources, Professor, Librarian, Advocacy/Non Profit, Graphic Designer, Artistry.
INFJs At Their Best:
Healthy INFJs tend to be strongly insightful, uncannily empathetic, inspiring, wise, and innovative. They can appear to be mystical or spiritual in nature to others because they see so clearly how people think and can spot future outcomes so well. They are accepting and tolerant of others because they easily see many different perspectives, but they also have a firm sense of what is right and wrong. Though they pursue an understanding of future outcomes to a great degree, they also know how to relax and enjoy the moment. They appreciate people who are both similar and different from themselves and recognize the strengths of all the different personality types.
At an average level, INFJs are idealistic, complex, creative, and driven. In their work and home lives, they focus on finding meaning and making a difference for people. While they tend to have a good long-range vision they can struggle with attention to detail. They easily lose sight of routine tasks and chores, which can result in overdue fines for library books, perpetually lost keys, or a consistently unmade bed.
Warm and empathetic, INFJs at an average level can struggle to accommodate others too much. They often have a hard time being assertive, making time for self-care, and they tend to appear people-pleasing.
While effective in the workplace, INFJs at an average level can overlook details, avoid people who disagree with their vision and become bored with repetitive work.
At an unhealthy level, INFJs are single-minded, impractical, and out of touch with reality. They are so focused on envisioning the future that they get “stuck” in endless daydreams and can’t seem to keep up with regular responsibilities. They struggle to eat properly, hydrate, and they either sleep too much or not enough. At very unhealthy levels INFJs isolate themselves because they don’t want their way of life or their vision to come under “attack” from others. They are typically hypersensitive and often assume that other people are thinking badly of them. Rather than seeing other people’s differences and accepting them, they assume that other people are “wrong” or that they themselves are misfits that nobody can understand. They fluctuate between being people-pleasing and then judging others harshly. Some or all of these traits may be present in an unhealthy INFJ. Some INFJs also have unhealthy periods of their lives, followed by average, or healthy periods. You can find out more about the unhealthy INFJ here: 10 Signs of an Unhealthy INFJ
Personal Growth Recommendations for INFJs
- Learn to take time for yourself and relax. Getting alone, shutting out distractions, and unplugging from technology can help you to enter an intuitive “flow” state. Resting in the quietness of your thoughts allows you to analyze different perspectives, see hidden meanings, and come up with creative ideas and solutions.
- Many INFJs experience greater productivity, less stress, and improved self-awareness when they journal their thoughts, ideas, and feelings.
- Several times a day choose to focus on the moment at hand. Take in all the details around you and appreciate the positive. Spend time in nature. Notice the leaves on the trees. Smell the flowers. Light a candle. Bake something. Getting in touch with your sensory side can help you to be healthier.
- When you’re overly-stressed, don’t move towards binge-eating, drinking too much, or making impulsive decisions. Get some time alone and quiet your thoughts. Write down your feelings in a journal. Shut out all outside stimulation for a few moments. In the quietness of your own thoughts you can start to clarify what you really need.
- Try to do one random act of kindness each week to facilitate growth of your feeling side. Keeping your feeling side active helps you to stay balanced and mentally healthy.
Want to find out more?
Find out more about your personality type in our eBooks, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type, The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic, and The INFP – Understanding the Dreamer. You can also connect with me via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!