Hello. The following is information on the temperament type INFJ. I am an INFJ and so are many of my Coaching clients and people who email me. This stands for Introvert, iNtuitive, Feeling, and Judicial.
INFO. ABOUT THE TYPES: If you want to take the test to find out your type, the best way I know to do it is to buy the book (author and title below) and take the quiz that is in the book. I can help you with understanding and scoring the results. (This test and the book are highly regarded by professional psychologists–it was an APA-approved PhD in Clinical Psychology who administered the test to me and scored my results when I was 23.) The write-ups I have chosen here are from Keirsey and Bates book which I prefer, but the types referred to here are the same types as those in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Test (which you may be able to find and take online).
HIGHLY SENSITIVE TEMPERAMENT TYPES:
Portrait of an INFJ–
As directly quoted from the book Please Understand Me by David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates:
“INFJ’s focus on possibilities, think in terms of values and come easily to decisions. The small number of this type (1 percent) is regrettable, since INFJ’s have an unusually strong drive to contribute to the welfare of others and genuinely enjoy helping their fellow men. This type has great depth of personality; they are themselves complicated, and can understand and deal with complex issues and people.
It is an INFJ who is likely to have visions of human events past, present, or future. If a person demonstrates an ability to understand psychic phenomenon better than most others, this person is apt to be an INFJ. Characteristically, INFJ’s have strong empathic abilities and can be aware of another’s emotions or intents even before that person is conscious of these. This can take the form of feeling the distress or illnesses of others to an extent which is difficult for other types. INFJ’s can intuit good and evil in others, although they seldom can tell how they came to know. Subsequent events tend to bear them out, however.
INFJ’s are usually good students, achievers who exhibit an unostentatious creativity. They take their work seriously and enjoy academic activity. They can exhibit qualities of over-perfectionism and put more into a task than perhaps is justified by the nature of the task. They generally will not be visible leaders, but will quietly exert their influence behind the scenes.
INFJ’s are hard to get to know. They have an unusually rich inner life, but they are reserved and tend not to share their reactions except with those they trust. Because of their vulnerability through a strong facility to introject, INFJ’s can be hurt rather easily by others, which, perhaps, is at least one reason they tend to be private people. People who have known an INFJ for years may find sides emerging which come as a surprise. Not that INFJ’s are inconsistent; they are very consistent and value integrity. But they have convoluted, complex personalities which sometimes puzzle even them.
INFJ’s like to please others and tend to contribute their own best efforts in all situations. They prefer and enjoy agreeing with others, and find conflict disagreeable and destructive. What is known as ESP is likely found in a INFJ more than in any other types, although other types are capable of such phenomeno. INFJ’s have vivid imaginations exercised both as memory and intuition, and this can amount to genius, resulting at times in an INFJ’s being seen as mystical. This unfettered imagination often will enable this person to compose complex and often aesthetic works of art such as music, mathematical systems, poems, plays, and novels. In a sense, the INFJ is the most poetic of all the types. Just as an ENTJ cannot not lead, so must an INFJ intuit; this capability extends to people, things, and often events, taking the form of visions, episodes of foreknowledge, premonitions, auditory and visual images of things to come. INFJ’s can have uncanny communications with certain individuals at a distance.
INFJ’s often select liberal arts as a college major and opt for occupations which involve interacting with people, but on a one-to-one basis. For example, the general practitioner in medicine might be an INFJ, or the psychiatrist or psychologist. As with all NF’s, the ministry holds attraction, although the INFJ must develop an extraverted role here which requires a great deal of energy. INFJ’s may be attracted to writing as a profession, and often they use language which contains an unusual degree of imagery. They are masters of the metaphor, and both their verbal and written communications tend to be elegant and complex. Their great talent for language usually is directed at people. describing people and writing to communicate with people in a personalized way. INFJ’s who write comment often that they write with a particular person in mind; writing to a faceless, abstract audience leaves them uninspired.
INFJ’s make outstanding individual therapists who have the ability to get in touch with the archetypes of their patients in a way some other types to not. The INFJ’s are also the most vulnerable of all the types to the eruption of their own archetypal material. As therapists, INFJ’s may choose counselling, clinical psychology, or psychiatry, or may choose to teach in these fields. Writing about these professions often intrigues an INFJ. Whatever their choice, they generally are successful in these fields because their great personal warmth, their enthusiasm, their insight, their depth of concentration, their originality, and their organizational skills can all be brought into play.
At work as well as socially, INFJ’s are highly sensitive in their handling of others and tend to work well in an organizational structure. They have a capacity for working at jobs which require solitude and concentration, but also do well when in contact with people, providing the human interaction is not superficial. INFJ’s enjoy problem-solving and can understand and use human systems creatively and humanistically. As employees or employers, INFJ’s are concerned with people’s feelings and are able to provide in themselves a barometer of the feelings of individuals and groups within the organization. INFJ’s listen well and are willing and able to consult and cooperate with others. Once a decision is made, they work to implement it.
INFJ’s are generally good at public relations and themselves have good interpersonal relations. They value staff harmony and want an organization to run smoothly and pleasantly, themselves making every effort to contribute to that end. They are crushed by too much criticism and can have their feelings hurt rather easily. They respond to praise and use approval as a means of motivating others, just as they, the INFJ’s, are motivated by approval. If they are subject to a hostile, unfriendly working condition or to constant criticism, they tend to lose confidence, become unhappy and immobilized, and finally become physically ill.
As mates, INFJ’s are usually devoted to their spouses, but may not always be open to physical approaches. They tend to be physically demonstrative at times, but wish to choose when, which is when they are in the mood. This may be quite confusing to an extraverted mate. Often an INFJ’s expressions of affection will be subtle, taking a humorous, unexpected turn. INFJ’s need and want harmony in their homes and find constant conflict, overt or covert, extremely destructive to their psyches. Their friendship circle is likely to be small, deep, and long-standing. As parents, INFJ’s usually are fiercely devoted. A female INFJ, particularly, is linked to her children in a way different from the other tupes; with an almost psychic symbiosis. This deep bond can create an overdependency that can be unhealthy for both mother and child. At the same time, INFJ’s tend to be good friends with their children, while firm in discipline. They usually are concerned about the comfort of a home and most especially the comfort, physical health, and emotional well-being of both mates and children.”
Please consider purchasing this book as it is a great handbook for understanding others as well as understanding yourself. 🙂
The types of character and temperament being referenced are from the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator. Online versions of the test may not be as stringent or as thorough in their results, as the paper-pencil version consists of many questions about preferences and tendencies, but I’m sure that if you Google the MBTI, you can either take a free online version or order a paper-pencil version of the test for little expense.
It’s definitely interesting though to see the strong connection between being INFJ (which I’ve been for many years) and to have only just recently come across the helpful (though admittedly too rare) literature about growing up with narcissistic parents. Though my father couldn’t be classified as being extremely narcissistic himself or warranting a diagnosis of NPD, he has a lot of traditional tendencies, and reading through the information provided here has been helpful in realizing, even at 24, that it’s not my fault that the relationship between him and I has been this troubled-especially considering that I’ve generally felt this way (although in a much less sophisticated way) since about 7 or 8. Although no one should have to go through it, it’s comforting to know it’s not all in your head, and I believe between being an HSP INFJ, and going through some of the relational issues I have, have pushed me to get my graduate degree as well and has always motivated me to want to be the best counselor I can.
I have a distinct feeling that far more people go through this than any one of us thinks while we’re going through it.
Thank you Eileen, for your comment and for the information about taking the MBTI indicator test online. I have not taken the MBTI so I didn’t feel I could recommend it, so I am glad to know there is a quicker easier way to take it and get accurate results. Thank you for saying,”…the information provided here has been helpful in realizing…that it is not my fault…”. Also, your comment that “it’s comforting to know it’s not all in your head” is so valuable for my readers to hear that even licensed counselors find my insight into narcissistic parents and my healing message of hope to be helpful. Yes, so many of us in the helping professions go through it perhaps not realizing that we all have, or have had, troubled relationships in our lives that often propel us forward to figuring it all out so that we can help others. I agree with your intuition on this Eileen. Thanks again, Elaine
I’m new to wordpress but discovered your blog when researching about INFJ, as I am one also.
Thank you for the work you do. It’s comforting to have some understanding.
Hi Carmen, Thank you so much for your comment and for your kind words. So nice to meet a fellow Infj. 🙂 Welcome!!
I am an INFJ myself, so II know where your coming from. It is nice to come to this website and actually learn something. Did you got to college Roxanne? Well, Roxanne you are a very intelligent person and these days intelligent people are very hard to find. Anyway, Thank you very much Roxanne for providing much needed information on INFJS.
Have an awesome evening!
I noticed you didn’t list any extroverts…..I am an ENFP, just found out I’m an empath, and I’ve only come across one expert who believes those 2 things are NOT mutually exclusive. And then there is that part of me, once again, who feels like an outcast….and it sucks, because so much of the information on empaths is written based on the assumption that all empaths are introverts, and I’m seriously starting to question if I am one or not. I think you have a lot of good information here, and very helpful videos, and I’d appreciate being acknowledged too. I don’t represent all extroverts, but Roxanne, I am HERE.
Introverts always say that they never get any credit, but in my experience, everyone gives them credit for everything. They are smart, deep thinkers, mysterious, etc etc. Think about it, we are seen as shallow and superficial.
This shouldn’t be about us versus them, we are all human first and foremost, and sensitivity is NOT an introvert thing, and you know the problem with stereotyping people that way? People like me keep getting hurt. My wounds are very real and they’ve caused me a lot of pain, and the ironic part of all this is that it would be a natural assumption that its probably easier for introverts to deal with all of this; if you want to start a club, that’s the one to start. 🙂 Extroverts run away from their pain, get lost in other people to avoid themselves, whereas introverts have a close, personal connection to who they are. All these years of introspection and self-awareness and where has it gotten me? Not only am I externally focused, my introvert siblings were also programmed to be externally focused. None of us have a sense of ourselves, but maybe they had inner resources I never found.
My dad might have been a narcissist, I’m not sure. I was the only child, in a family of 6 introverted, non-sensitive people, and he couldn’t stand me. So besides outcast, I also had the “pleasure” of being the scapegoat and rebel, and the one who always felt the pain every time he would take out his rage and controlling, critical nature on anyone.
After the last straw at my current job and losing all motivation, and becoming completely depressed, I’ve become a hermit. I’m desperately trying to overcome these childhood issues, but as much as I try to release them, and I have used a million methods to do so including EFT, they never end. I was an angry, fearful youngster for 18 years, and wow, I wonder if there is any end to this…..I have this natural reaction to clench inside every time I’m hurt, so as much as I’m trying to let the emotions flow through and out, I don’t even know how to begin changing that response. How are we even supposed to begin to remember that child- 1 year old, 3 months, or whatever- we originally were, especially when we grew up around such negativity and darkness?
PS I hope you weren’t offended. It was not my intention to attack, just to point out my truth the only way I know how- humor, that’s how I deal with pain.
Thank you for sharing. Very touching ❤ and actually helped me appreciate myself more as an introvert. I never saw it this way before, or ever had compassion for the extrovert struggle. Thanks for opening my heart.
Very touching ❤ Your openness helps me to appreciate myself in ways I never considered. Thank you for sharing.
Hi Amita, I am sorry this reply is long overdue. It is a great comment and I thank you so much for writing it. It is such valuable information to hear from a highly sensitive extravert who is struggling with a narcissistic parent and childhood emotional pain!! My reasons for not responding were only that I have been unable to respond to all the wonderful comments I have been getting due to the time it takes to be really thoughtful and giving to each one of them. This comment of yours has come to my attention again and I fortunately have a small chunk of time to devote to it. I am sorry that I did not include any extravert portraits…I really only put up a few because I felt a little bad for putting up the portraits that are word for word from the Please Understand Me book without the permission of the author…so I stopped putting any more up. I apologize if this seems to be leaving out a whole lot of other temperament types. I think I will try to add more soon and just have links to the portrait like I recently did with INTJ.
I know that there are a smaller percentage of highly sensitive people who are extraverts out there who need to be supported. Being an extreme introvert myself I didn’t feel like many extraverts would relate to my perspective on things as I write about them on my blog. However, my website hspsurvivors.com has brought me several clients that are highly sensitive extraverts. I get the feeling that you are really doing a good job of processing through your pain layer by layer as it comes up in your life. Please try to be patient with yourself and know that grieving for the childhood we lost and the lack of having someone to mirror us back to ourselves takes time. I must say I have never met another extravert who really “gets” what it is like to be an introvert as well as you do! Perhaps this has happened to you for a reason–all those introverts in your life, and most of them insensitive introverts sounds like, perhaps you would make the best kind of helping professional who understands both highly sensitive introverts and extraverts, and you have the extraverted energy to deal with more clients and even groups possibly. 😀 I think you would really benefit from the book, “Making Work Work For the Highly Sensitive Person” by Barrie Jaeger. I am sending my best wishes to you as you continue to heal. Love and light, Roxanne
hi im not an infj, but i agree that they should have been less rare. sigh! guess we’d have to make do with what we’v got.
sidharth, Thank you for your comment. It’s wonderful how you express such appreciation for INFJs! You are a rare soul yourself–We are grateful that you are here on the planet!! 😀