A Look Inside the INFJ Mind
Ever wondered what it looks like inside the mind of an INFJ? Today I started creating infographics for each of the 16 Myers-Briggs® personality types. These infographics will give you a quick look at how each type processes information and makes decisions. I started with the INFJ type and I’m hoping to get the INTJ infographic finished soon!
Not sure what your personality type is? Take our new personality questionnaire!
Here’s the Infographic for the INFJ Personality Type:
The INFJ Mind In More Detail
Dominant Mental Process – Introverted Intuition
From the infographic: “INFJs want to tinker with ideas, perspectives, and possibilities in order to divine the implications or outcome of something. They search for patterns, themes, and systems in order to understand the underlying meaning of things.”
As an INFJ, the world around you is important primarily because of what it symbolizes to you and evokes inside yourself. You tend to think visually, often with symbolic images playing through your consciousness. You toy with perspectives and consider how each person can look at the same thing differently. This enables you to see connections between things and grasp underlying meanings. These hidden meanings and connections are more interesting to you than what is on the surface of reality. Inspiration drives you, energizes you, and gives you the determination to achieve your goals.
This mental process tends to make you:
- Able to see context quickly
- Connected to the intangible world
On a scientific level, INFJs often show a zen-like brain pattern when they are tasked with an unfamiliar, novel problem. This zen-state occurs best when INFJs are able to focus on a single question, without distractions. This is often why INFJs prefer quiet surroundings where external stimulation is at a very low level. You can find out more about the science of the INFJ mind (as well as the other 15 types) in Dario Nardi’s Book, Neuroscience of Personality (this is an affiliate link).
Auxiliary Mental Process – Extraverted Feeling
From the infographic: “INFJs believe that every action they make impacts other individuals. They strive to maintain emotional equilibrium in their environment by taking the needs of others into account. They want to have an impact on people in a way that creates harmony, supports emotional or physical needs, and improves the plight of humanity.”
Extraverted Feeling (Fe) is a left-brain function and also your first decision-making process. You use Fe when you want to analyze a situation and come to closure on it. You often live with a sense of “Should,” or “Should not.” You look at the values and needs of the people around you and sort through which ones make the most sense and are worth defending. When you enter a room you quickly pick up on the emotional atmosphere and notice the overall morale. You adjust yourself to your surroundings, not changing your core values, but adapting to the room and trying to maintain the morale in that place. Some might call you a “Social chameleon” for this reason. When it comes to decisions, you believe that everyone’s needs should be taken into account. This means that you often “talk out” your decisions with other people so you can clarify that everyone’s needs are met. It’s very important for you to have consensus and win-win solutions. You also can run the risk of trampling over your own needs and desires in order to meet the needs of the people surrounding you.
This mental process (if it’s healthy) tends to make you:
- Skilled at peacemaking
- Able to maintain social structures, standards, and conventions
- Aware of the personal values of others
- Responsible for your surroundings
- Conscious of other people’s needs and reactions
Tertiary Mental Process – Introverted Thinking
From the infographic: “INFJs look for logical consistency in their ideas and opinions. They easily see many different positions and are interested in knowing what’s ultimately true. They want to have a logical framework for how things work, but this can be a struggle at times because it isn’t their most advanced function.”
The tertiary process can be very stimulating and enjoyable for you to use as an INFJ. However, you often feel like you’re overwhelmed by it if you have to use it for sustained, critical periods of time. You are more likely to use this process when you’re feeling playful, relaxed, and/or curious. This function can also be called the “relief” function because it helps you to take the weight off your dominant and auxiliary functions, which you so frequently lean on. It can also help to pull you out of a “grip” stress phase.
Introverted thinking has an inner focus on logical analysis and is ultimately concerned with discovering truth. It weighs and inwardly critiques statements, facts, and ideas, sifting out inaccuracies, biases, or mental “red tape” that gets in the way of achieving “clean data.” It precisely categorizes information and tries to understand the logical connections between things.
In the tertiary position, introverted thinking can make you:
- Interested in theories
- Fond of organizing your knowledge into a systematic format
- Quick to see logical connections between random bits of information
Over-reliance on introverted thinking can make you:
- Stoic and unexpressive
- Unaware of the feelings of others
Inferior Mental Process: Extraverted Sensing (Se)
From the infographic: “INFJs are more tuned in to the world of abstract possibilities and perspectives (Ni) than they are to the concrete world of details and experiences (Se). However, they aspire to be at one with the environment surrounding them. They have moments of intense practicality and detail-orientation, but often they find that the outer world trips them up. They may be physically clumsy or slow to react to surprise events.”
As the inferior mental process, Se can make you feel both excitable and nervous or self-conscious. You aspire to use this function well, but it tends to trip you up. You may also de-prioritize this function, seeing it as less-valued or important than your dominant function, Introverted Intuition. This process can show up in times of stress, when you’ve over-worked your intuition and feeling preferences. You might find that when you’re stressed you become especially impulsive, reckless, and obsessed with details and experiences in the outer world.
Extraverted sensing is focused on the outer world of experiences and details. Se-valuing types (SPs) tend to be highly observant, realistic, and physically adaptable. They quickly notice what’s happening around them and can maximize the situation by responding quickly. They enjoy the textures, colors, tastes, and thrills of life and are often spontaneous and fun-loving.
INFJs, in contrast, can struggle to stay focused on the present moment. You may read so much into things that you lose track of what’s on the surface. You might be imagining how an event will play out in ten years and become blind to what’s happening right in front of you. You may also get very stressed when you have to spontaneously respond to your environment (drive in a new place, play a sport, get up and speak in front of people).
Inferior Extraverted Sensing can make you:
- A closeted thrill-seeker
- Nervous about being spontaneous, especially when people are watching
- Distracted and uncomfortable in highly-stimulating environments
- Slow to react to surprise incoming stimuli
- Over-indulgent with sensory pleasures when stressed
- Occasionally pragmatic and attentive to surroundings
- Often clumsy and unaware of surroundings
- Unable to zero-in on the details of the things around you. You see things in impressions instead (thanks to dominant intuition overriding Se).
What Are Your Thoughts?
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!
Learn More About Your Personality Type:
What it Means to be an INFJ Personality Type
10 Things INFJs Need in the Teenage Years
3 Weird and Wonderful Secrets About the INFJ
Hello Susan! I love your posts! What if you add a new one, “which sentences can make every personality type instantly happy”? (well, I don’t know, that just sounds funny to me!)
Just a little remark: I noticed many of your articles are about INFJ. I can’t blame you! they are absolutly FACINATING, and sometimes that even makes me a bit ashamed to be just an ENFP :). But sometimes, I have the impression that some types (like ISTP or ESTJ) are left out.
Anyway, I really love you and all the “psychology junkie” team! I hope reading many new posts in the future!
Thanks so much for the suggestion, I LOVE that article idea! I’m adding that to my list 🙂
ENFPs are just as fascinating as INFJs! Love your type! I would love to write equally about all the types, but more INFJs visit my site than any other type so I try to get a post out to them at least every couple of weeks. I try to mix that in with posts about other types and posts for all the types 🙂 But I totally understand. It would be fun if there were more diversity of articles out there and it’s something I’m hoping to continue working on!
Thanks again so much for commenting and giving your thoughts and the amazing article suggestion!
How many pipes must light up to kill stress, what am I dealing with? How much help should I ask for those I don’t believe in? How much should I say to the mirror that I’m sure of myself? He’ll take me a taxi again to the house where I don’t want to sit Again, I hear these silly things they call chalk How many coffees do you drink until tomorrow, so you don’t feed the soil? There will be an excuse for another one to burn I am so grateful that we have each other
No offense but, huh?
I’m kind of new to this. I just discovered who I am about 6 months ago when someone I have known for about six months and only online told me who I am which is weird because I’ve been trying to figure out who I am for 52 years now so it was quite strange to me to have someone who I don’t know very well figure me out first. Judging by what I have been reading I would have to categorize myself as an unhealthy infj so I’m trying to figure out what I can do to fix that and I thought it would help if I read more specific information related to my problem. 52 year old white male with a twin brother I just cannot at all get along with even though he lives right next door and has always been very close to me. I know a part of the infj thing is to want intimate relationships and as a twin who is used to intimate relationships with my twin brother have high expectations which are seldom met and I’m not sure if that’s a useful piece of information or not but I feel like it probably is. I’m very troubled by socio-political environment right now and stay perpetually agitated not because of the virus or anything because that doesn’t bother me I have a degree in nuclear medicine and I understand such things better than most so I don’t freak out like everyone else tends to want to do but I have been practicing social distancing for about 15 years now. I was just wondering if maybe you could suggest some research material for me better understand myself and how I might go about fixing me so I can be a healthy infj and learn how to re-engage with Society
This is a great site to use for questions about INFJs and their ins and outs. There are also many practitioners/ content providers on YouTube that offer personality typing, help with navigating your type, and info on how to help deal with the uncertainties that you may have now that you know your mbti type. It can be overwhelming so take your time and learn gradually what I like to call, what makes you tick.