Today we’re going to take a look at the INFJ through the eyes of the enneagram system. Up until now, we’ve looked at the INFJ personality type through the lens of the Myers-Briggs system. The MBTI® explains how your mind works and processes information. For example, as an INFJ you process abstract information over concrete information (that’s what makes you an N!). You prioritize ethics/meaning/worth over pros/cons and logic. You get energy from the inner world of thoughts and ideas (introversion) and have an organized, planned, and decided way of responding to your environment (Judging).
But does this mean that all INFJs are the same?
Absolutely not! Even though all INFJs have similar mental wiring, this doesn’t mean they all think about things exactly the same way. Some INFJs are workaholic perfectionists, while others are melancholy daydreamers. Which type of INFJ you are depends largely on your enneagram type. The enneagram maps out nine potential types and their complex relationships. These types explain our core drives, our basic fears, desires, weaknesses, and strengths. You can find out more about the enneagram here.
Not sure what your enneagram type is? Take our new personality questionnaire here!
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This article will only scratch the surface of the enneagram and how these different types can show up in your life. There is SO much more to discover! Each enneagram type, for example, has an instinct (social, sexual, or self-preservation) that can alter how they show up. Each enneagram type has a wing that will further alter how the type shows up. To find out more about your enneagram type, check out my favorite books on the enneagram below:
The links to the books above are affiliate links. If you purchase any of these books I get a small percentage that I can use to continue running this site.
Not sure what your personality type is? Take our new personality questionnaire!
The Nine Types of INFJs – Which One Are You?
Enneagram Type One – The INFJ Perfectionist
Basic Fear: Being corrupt, “bad,” or defective.
Basic Desire: To be good, pure, and to have integrity.
INFJ Ones feel it is their duty to improve the world and overcome moral adversity. Thorough and hard-working, they often feel plagued by a sense of not being “good enough.” They have an inner critic inside that seems to point out not only their own flaws but the mistakes and shortcomings of others. In childhood, they often felt that they had to justify their existence, or that they had to take on a lot of responsibility at a young age. More than many other types, Ones felt like they had to grow up quickly, and they often felt like it was their job to become hyper-responsible and reasonable rather than enjoy the whimsy and carefree nature of childhood. These INFJs will seem more pragmatic and grounded than your typical INFJ. This is because practicality and common-sense are highly valued by the INFJ One.
Ones tend to feel a constant sense of personal obligation for the world around them. They find it next to impossible to relax because of the ever-mounting to-do list in their mind. They often feel that others will fail to do a thorough job and so they must do everything themselves. In many cases, they see other people as lazy or under-motivated. As Ones grow healthier they are able to let go of the belief that everything must be perfect – or that they even know what “perfect” is. They become more relaxed, joyful, accepting, and moderate.
Because Ones are in the anger/instinct triad of the enneagram, they tend to experience a lot of anger. However, they may not totally identify their emotions as such. They tend to express anger sideways by being critical towards themselves and others. Rather than blowing up and kicking things around, they criticize themselves, judge themselves or others, bite their nails, grind their teeth, etc,…
INFJ Ones have a strong vision for their lives and a determination to fulfill their purpose. They often feel that frivolity and leisure activities will distract them from their purpose. They often wind up burned out because they deny their need for introversion and solitude. It’s important for INFJ Ones to realize that rest, relaxation, and unstructured time will help them to reach their purpose more effectively. Burned-out INFJs accomplish far less than refreshed, focused, clear-thinking INFJs.
Unhealthy Ones Can Be: Judgmental, Self-Righteous, Bitter, Overworked, Defensive, and Prone to Black-and-White Thinking. At this stage, Ones feel that they will never be “good enough.”
Average Ones Can Be: Serious, Driven, Purposeful, Organized, Punctual, Irritable, Tense, Opinionated, Sarcastic, Hard-Working, Responsible, Dedicated.
Healthy Ones Can Be: Purposeful, Honest, Sensible, Moderate, Objective, Accepting, Hopeful, Wise, Discerning, Joyful, Humble, Playful.
Find Out More: The INFJ Enneagram Type One
Enneagram Type Two – The INFJ Helper
Basic Fear: Of being worthless, unloved, or unwanted.
Basic Desire: To know they are loved.
These INFJs tend to appear more jovial and extroverted than some other INFJs. They are very people-oriented and lean heavily on their secondary function: Extraverted Feeling (Fe). Typically warm and supportive, these INFJs believe it is their duty to be generous, to put others first, and make others happy. Intensely compassionate, they are nearly always ready to lend a hand and help someone in need. Unfortunately, many INFJ Twos experience phases of extreme burn-out and exhaustion. They tend to give so much energy to others that they fail to meet their own needs for alone time and quiet reflection. Rather than relying as much on intuition as they typically should, they often over-rely on Extraverted Feeling (Fe). Always feeling like they must say “yes,” they struggle to take time for themselves. It’s important for them to learn the importance of setting boundaries and prioritizing alone time.
In childhood, Twos were often taught to put other people’s needs ahead of their own. There was a feeling that they had to earn a place in other people’s affections or repress their own needs to attend to others. They embraced the role of a selfless friend, nurturer, and people-pleaser. In short, they grew up feeling like they must sacrifice themselves in order to earn love.
Because Twos are in the Shame/Heart triad of the enneagram, they struggle with underlying feelings of worthlessness. They worry that if they stop being generous and supportive that they will have nothing worthwhile to offer the world. On the flip side, they can also experience pride because they feel like they are so needed by others. However, that sense of pride is very fickle and there tends to be underlying feelings of shame, grief and hurt that are left unprocessed. As Twos become healthier, they learn to process their shame. They learn that they are allowed to take care of themselves and their own feelings and needs. With this understanding, they become more joyful, humble, and relaxed. They no longer feel like they have to earn love because they know they are enough as they are. Intuition takes a more prominent place in their lives and they become more insightful, independent, and imaginative.
Unhealthy Twos Can Be: Victim-minded, Meddling, Overbearing, People-Pleasing, Manipulative, Over-worked, Angry, Hurt, Exhausted, and/or Desperate for love.
Average Twos Can Be: Selfless, Proud, Complimentary, Supportive, Nurturing, Helpful, Flattering, Insecure, Responsible, Possessive, Well-Intentioned.
Healthy Twos Can Be: Generous, Supportive, Encouraging, Emotionally Expressive, Joyful, Humble, Imaginative, Creative, Insightful. They prioritize themselves rather than always putting others first.
Find out more about Enneagram Twos: The Enneagram Two – The Helper
Enneagram Type Three – The INFJ Achiever
Basic Fear: Of being worthless without their achievements.
Basic Desire: To feel desired, worthwhile, and/or accepted.
Adaptable and driven, INFJ Threes tend to be more action-oriented than many other INFJs. They strive for success, accomplishment, and excellence. They want to make their visions realities and are extremely motivated to put energy into their dreams and ambitions. Whether they’re distinguishing themselves in the academic world or winning awards for their creative efforts, these INFJs are determined not to be “nobodies.” They use their intuition to strategically move through life and generate the most success. They use their feeling side to “market” themselves or understand what people need and want.
In childhood, Threes often believed that they weren’t valued for themselves. They believed that only by doing certain things extremely well could they earn love or worth. Any kind of validation would lift their spirits, and they found themselves doing tasks and achieving benchmarks so that they could continue receiving that validation. Threes can look materialistic on the outside because they tend to care about appearances, proper dress, a nice house, etc,. – but these things aren’t what drive them so much as what they symbolize. They worry that without certain markers of success they will be worthless, empty, or a failure.
On one hand, Threes can be helpful, progressive, innovative, and motivated. On the other hand, they can be competitive, egocentric, materialistic, and proud. As Threes become healthy they learn to accept themselves for their true identity rather than how they “package” themselves. They become more self-accepting, genuine, and benevolent. They stop worrying about what society says “looks good,” and embrace their uniqueness.
Unhealthy Threes Can Be: Show-Offs, Depressed, Empty, Angry, Attention-Seeking, Confused, Vain, Deceitful, Overly-Competitive, Burned-Out, Afraid of Intimacy.
Average Threes Can Be: Over-Achievers, Ambitious, Self-Doubting, Self-Promoting, Competitive, Hard-Working, Arrogant, Creative, Visionary, Determined, Restless.
Healthy Threes Can Be: Confident, inspiring, creative, genuine, self-accepting, benevolent, visionary, imaginative, insightful, and/or empathetic. These threes explore their true identity and discover what they actually want rather than what society labels as “success.”
Read This Next: The INFJ Workaholic
Enneagram Type Four – The INFJ Individualist
Basic Fear: Being insignificant or without identity
Basic Desire: To find their significance and unique identity.
These INFJs will typically appear much more introverted than most. They are very introspective, imaginative, and deep. Above all, they feel a strong desire to find their unique vision and identity. Once they find that they believe that they can mold their personality around it. These INFJs are very familiar with their darker nature – they want to know themselves on a deep and intimate level – scars and all. They aren’t afraid to talk about deep, depressing, or unusual subjects – in fact, the more revealing and authentic the conversation the better. Often feeling like outsiders, these INFJs long for connection – they want someone to join them in their imaginative, nuanced world – but they often feel that this validation is unattainable. They tend to feel misunderstood, while simultaneously getting a sense of satisfaction from being mysterious.
In childhood, Fours often felt like misfits in their families. They may even have wondered if they were adopted because they felt so unlike everyone else. Because they felt so out-of-place in their surroundings, they weren’t able to see their gifts or abilities in anyone else. They often wondered if there was something wrong with them – thus they embarked on a lifelong “quest for self” in order to understand where they fit in. Because their identity wasn’t mirrored in any of their family members they felt an incessant need to find that identity somewhere. They often have fantasies of being “seen” by a rescuer or someone who will finally understand them and appreciate who they truly are.
Fours are in the Shame/Heart triad of the enneagram. While Twos try to hide their shame by earning love, and Threes try to erase their shame through achievement, Fours actually delve into their shame. They find it nearly impossible to avoid their feelings – in fact, they may purposefully stir up feelings that are familiar to them, even if they are agonizing or painful. Fours want intensity of feeling – because they feel that it will draw them closer to their true identity.
Unhealthy Fours Can Be: Self-destructive, depressed, self-loathing, self-sabotaging, wasteful, apathetic, fatigued, listless, and/or lost in fantasies.
Average Fours Can Be: Imaginative, self-conscious, melancholy, envious, introspective, aesthetically-motivated, self-absorbed, sensitive, empathetic, and/or visionary.
Healthy Fours Can Be: Creative, eloquent, insightful, imaginative, authentic, honest, forgiving, revealing, empathic, accepting, and grateful. They don’t feel a need to be different – they know that there is only one of them and they are good enough as they are.
Read This Next: 3 Weird and Wonderful Secrets About the INFJ
Enneagram Type Five – The INFJ Investigator
Basic Fear: Being useless, helpless, incompetent, overwhelmed.
Basic Desire: To be competent and capable.
These INFJs are very in touch with the intuition and thinking sides of their personality. They want to achieve mastery in something, to know how everything works, ask questions, and delve into theories and data. They appear far more introverted than many of the other INFJs listed here. Being around people overwhelms them and they tend to “hoard” personal space as a way of coping. More than anything, these types want to find out the truth of things for themselves. Because of this they spend a lot of time contemplating, observing, synthesizing information, and internalizing knowledge. They want to be someone with creative ideas and unique insight into the world. However, because these INFJs don’t get out into the world very much, they can risk having one-sided insights that lack real-world data. They can get into Ni-Ti “loops” where they become withdrawn, isolated, and wrapped up in endless analysis without any real-world experience to draw from.
In childhood, Fives often felt that they weren’t safe in some way or another. This safety may not have been physical, it may have been that they felt intruded upon or overwhelmed by people in their families. Fives often feel engulfed by people and are extremely protective of their personal space. Because of this they retreat into their mind or their room where they don’t have to worry about their energy stores being depleted. From here they occupy their minds and imaginations with all kinds of hobbies, books, and skills. They want to find something unique that they can be experts in. They believe that if only they can know enough or have enough mastery then they can finally go out into the world. Average to unhealthy Fives have nagging feelings of inability – that they just can’t do things as well as others. People who know them may not realize this because they keep their true feelings so well-hidden.
Fives are in the fear/head triad of the enneagram. They often try to face their fears in their own solitude. In the peace of their own room they might draw pictures of scary monsters that terrify them or read stories about horrible events that cause them anxiety. They tend to have an attraction to the “dark side” of life and to fully immersing themselves in the things that scare them. It’s important for INFJ Fives to reach out to others and to become comfortable sharing their inner world. Becoming isolated can get Fives lost in a feeling of emptiness and meaninglessness. INFJs need to use their feeling side to be healthy and balanced.
Unhealthy Fives Can Be: Escapist, eccentric, insomniacs, stuck in analysis-paralysis, afraid, isolative, secretive, argumentative, under-nourished, and/or removed from their feelings.
Average Fives Can Be: Insecure, high-strung, cerebral, secretive, skeptical, imaginative, resentful, misunderstood, private, pre-occupied, conceptual, observant, and/or intelligent.
Healthy Fives Can Be: Competent, strong, curious, original, inventive, artistic, independent, clear-minded, profound, engaged, grounded, compassionate, perceptive, and/or productive.
Enneagram Type Six – The INFJ Loyalist
Basic Fear: Of being abandoned or without support.
Basic Desire: To find security and support.
The INFJ Six has far-reaching visions of the future and all the catastrophes they believe will happen. They might lie awake at night worrying about global warming or whether or not there is indeed an afterlife. Their intuition is strong, and they use it to foresee implications, risks, and existential possibilities. These types are called the loyalists because they are deeply loyal to their friends and beliefs – even if that belief is that everything should be questioned.
Average Sixes fear that they do not have the capabilities to handle life’s challenges alone and so they look for beliefs, structures, and supports outside themselves for a sense of stability. For some Sixes, that support system is found in a church or religion – for another Six it might be the defiance of church or religion. Sixes often feel like they’re struggling to grasp anything that is secure or certain. They are so filled with questions and skepticisms that firm ground seems perpetually out-of-reach. They believe that if they foresee every possible bad thing that could happen then they can prepare themselves and their loved ones. The only problem is that more and more possibilities present themselves and they spend a great deal of time preparing and worrying over the future and struggling to enjoy the present.
In childhood, Sixes often felt that their parents were inadequate, unsupportive, or distracted. Usually during the separation phase of childhood they found themselves looking for guidance but feeling that the strong parental figure was absent, unavailable, distant, or weak. This led them to a lifetime of ambivalence and anxiety about trust, closeness, and openness. Sixes tend to feel a desire for closeness and intimacy, but a simultaneous desire to defend themselves against it. They might seem outwardly obedient and docile, yet inwardly harbor cynicism, skepticism, and distrust.
Unhealthy Sixes Can Be: Plagued by guilt, self-punishing, self-destructive, paranoid, insecure, delusional, obsessed with fears, panicky, helpless, and depressed.
Average Sixes Can Be: Supportive, authority-seeking, authority-questioning, anxious, pessimistic, cautious, impulsive, indecisive, skeptical, cynical, dutiful, and/or hard-working.
Healthy Sixes Can Be: Responsible, committed, practical, well-disciplined, insightful, visionary, friendly, trustworthy, hard-working, grounded, serene, and brave.
Read This Next: 10 Intuition Hacks for INFJs and INTJs
Enneagram Type Seven – The INFJ Enthusiast
Basic Fear: Of being deprived and in pain.
Basic Desire: To be satisfied, happy, and to have their needs fulfilled.
A sense of adventure is close to this INFJ’s heart. Sevens are all about possibilities, opportunity, fun, and new experiences. These INFJs may seem less introverted than the typical INFJ. They’re usually more in touch with their inferior sensing function than the typical INFJ as well. That’s because Sevens adore physical experience – whether that’s getting a massage, skydiving, playing an instrument, or petting a cute puppy. They look for stimulation and try to plan entertaining, stimulating events for themselves. Using their intuition, these INFJs quickly foresee events, generate ideas, and synthesize information and likely implications. They develop grand visions for the future and can’t wait to see them realized. Mentally quick and agile, these INFJs may initially seem flawless because of their enthusiasm and fun-loving nature. However, they can become so focused on staying busy and finding enjoyment that they can become scattered, hedonistic, and indulgent. It’s important for INFJs to reflect, be still, and focus on their inner voice and vision. These INFJs may struggle to do that because when they’re still and quiet they can find themselves looking for mental distractions. They are afraid of facing their inner anxieties, grievances, and pain.
In childhood, Sevens often felt disconnected from the mother figure in their life. This could have been unintentional or intentional – for example, maybe a new sibling came along or their mother just didn’t understand them very well. Either way, they felt cut off from their maternal nurturing figure in some way. As a result, they learned to nurture themselves – to take care of their own needs. They usually find this need met in toys, games, distractions, and playmates. Even into adulthood the Seven is looking for objects and distractions to help them repress underlying feelings of hurt, fear, and separation.
Because Sevens are part of the Head/Fear triad, they have underlying issues of fear and anxiety. Unlike the Six, who tries to deal with their anxiety through hyper-vigilance, Sevens repress their anxiety through seeking fun, adventure, possibilities, and re-framing negatives into positives. INFJ Sevens experience the best growth when they can learn to be still with their thoughts, meditate, and rest with their feelings.
Unhealthy Sevens Can Be: Escapists, Impulsive, Irresponsible, Hedonistic, Joyless, Reckless, Scattered, Unstable, Overwhelmed, Paralyzed.
Average Sevens Can Be: Impatient, Imaginative, Self-Centered, Excessive, Enthusiastic, Creative, Distracted, Adventurous, Materialistic, Restless, Skilled at Multi-Tasking.
Healthy Sevens Can Be: Grounded, Bold, Realistic, Charismatic, Visionary, Appreciative, Joyful, Satisfied, Helpful, Profound.
Enneagram Type Eight – The INFJ Challenger
Basic Fear: Being controlled or violated by others.
Basic Desire: To determine their own course in life. To protect themselves.
INFJ Eights want to stand alone, to have power over their lives, and to achieve their goals. They are extremely driven, resourceful, and propelled towards their vision and purpose. They don’t want to feel indebted to anyone, emotionally vulnerable, or in any way dependent. Autonomy and freedom are vital to their happiness; the only problem is that they may defy being vulnerable so much that they miss out on fulfilling relationships in the process. These types crave a sense of intensity in their lives. Whether they’re race-car driving or starting their own business, they enjoy proving naysayers wrong and testing their abilities and strengths.
In childhood, Eights felt that they had to grow up quickly. Early on they felt that they were in some way responsible for the welfare of their family. There was no time or safe space for vulnerability – they had to be strong. Survival issues were at the forefront of their mind. Being gentle, giving, emotionally open – these typical INFJ characteristics were probably repressed because it didn’t feel safe. In some way they felt there was a risk of rejection, betrayal, or pain if they let their guard down. They developed a tough, independent, hardened demeanor as a way of dealing with their pain.
Eights are in the Gut/Instinct triad of the Enneagram. This means that they have underlying issues with anger. While Nines avoid their anger and Ones repress it, Eights express their anger. They like straight-talk and directness and tend to be assertive themselves. When threatened or controlled they can become explosive and intimidating. They feel very defiant of any institution that tries to control them – and they may make life choices simply to rebel against that institution. Whether it’s dropping out of school because the teachers were too controlling, marrying someone a parent doesn’t like, or driving faster than the speed limit on a bad day.
Unhealthy Eights Can Be: Destructive, Vengeful, High-Tempered, Rejecting, Private, Hardened, Authoritative, Bossy, and/or Confrontational.
Average Eights Can Be: Resourceful, Businesslike, Competitive, Boastful, Willful, Proud, Bad-tempered, Hard-Working, Independent, Visionary, and/or Determined.
Healthy Eights Can Be: Courageous, Heroic, Forgiving, Energetic, Independent, Action-Oriented, Resourceful, Direct, Protective, Generous, Inspiring, Strategic, Decisive, Self-Confident, and/or Authentic.
Enneagram Type Nine – The INFJ Peacemaker
Basic Fear: Of loss, separation, or fragmentation.
Basic Desire: To have inner stability, harmony, and peace of mind.
INFJ Nines have the potential to be some of the greatest spiritual seekers of their time. Visionary, imaginative, and insightful, their strengths come naturally to INFJs. They are typically very in touch with their intuition and feeling functions – foreseeing possible conflicts, sensing emotional turmoil and pain in others, and listening with insight and understanding. The struggle for INFJ Nines is that they tend to ignore the disturbing parts of life in order to live in peace and comfort. This doesn’t mean that they turn a blind eye to suffering! It does mean that in the midst of uncomfortable situations they may “numb out” or run away from paradoxes in order to find a painless solution to their problems. They tend to adopt proverbs, sayings, or platitudes that comfort them during times when they may need to take action, stand up for themselves, or even express their anger.
In childhood, Nines learned to cope with pain by dissociating from threatening and traumatic events in their environment. This doesn’t mean that all Nines had traumatic childhoods, but it does mean that they internalized the belief that if they were undemanding and low-maintenance they would be safe AND calm down their families. They felt that if they asserted themselves and made their inner souls visible that they would create more problems. They would often stay in the background, repressing their anger, their will, and desires.
Because Nines are in the Gut/Anger triad of the Enneagram they have underlying issues with Anger. However, unlike the Eights, Nines don’t express their anger outright. They tend to repress it, feeling that if they expressed it they might fragment or destroy everything inside them. Anger feels dangerous to the Nine, so instead they repress it. They manage stress by downplaying their own will and choices, opting many times to do what other people want to maintain harmony and peace. However, underneath their pleasant demeanor they may have a storm brewing – anger that has been suppressed and suffocated for days, weeks, or even years.
Because INFJs naturally crave harmony and are naturally aware of the emotions and needs of others, it’s very common for INFJs to be of this enneatype. At an early age, INFJs may have realized the way to creating outer harmony was to disappear. This may have created patterns in them that led to them being a 9. One of the greatest pathways to growth for Nines is learning to express their will and their anger in healthy ways. They need to learn not to numb out, but to inhabit themselves.
Unhealthy Nines Can Be: Withdrawn, Unrealistic, Dissociated, Disoriented, Numb, Helpless, Repressed, Neglectful, Lazy, Ineffectual, Depressed, and/or Listless.
Average Nines Can Be: Agreeable, Kind, Routine-Oriented, Amicable, Deflecting, Resigned, Appeasing, Complacent, Disengaged, Compassionate, Dismissive of Pain.
Healthy Nines Can Be: Patient, Level-Headed, Imaginative, Inspiring, Self-Possessed, Serene, Present, Dynamic, Easy-Going, Kind, Patient, Peaceful, Comforting, and/or Spiritual.
Read This Next: The Powerful Imagination of INFPs and INFJs
What Are Your Thoughts?
Which type of INFJ are you? Do you have any insights for fellow INFJs of your type? Let us know in the comments! Find out more about the INFJ type in my eBook, The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic.