INFJs are innovative types who feel compelled to use their ideas to make the world a better place to live. Their desire to create something new could be as grand as designing the vision for an organisation, or as simple as speaking to someone in a way which leads the other to an important insight about themselves. Whatever their idea or vision, INFJs rarely come across as demanding and usually have a quiet, yet inspiring way about them.
INFJs’ favourite process is intution and this they pursue most readily while they are on their own. It is in moments of private reflection that INFJs generate ideas and possibilities. It is also in this private space that they are most likely to ponder the mysteries and meaning of life. INFJs are particularly drawn to view life from their own unique perspective and they are attracted to the idea of “thinking outside the box”. Their combination of preferences means they often see the world in terms of symbols and metaphors. Many INFJs use their facility with symbolism in writing, art or teaching.
INFJs often say they have a “quest for knowledge” but they are rarely interested in learning for its own sake. They can and do make scientists and academics, but INFJs are less interested in using their intuition in abstract ways as they prefer to use it in conjunction with their feeling.
This means that INFJs usually want their ideas and insights to be of real tangible benefit to others. They have a great need to feel they are pursuing a meaningful long-term goal of some kind. In fact, they can be so purposeful in the pursuit of their goals that they can often come across as very practical and task-oriented when in fact they are, at heart, imaginary, visionary types.
INFJs spend much of their time trying to fathom out what makes other people tick and generally trying to understand them better. They are particularly drawn to seeing the possibilities for people. “Growth” – their own and others - is a hugely important word for INFJs. The often say they enjoy nothing more than connecting and relating to people in ways which leads that person to obtain insights about themselves and ideas for their development. They often describe themselves as “listeners” and “guides”.
These attitudes and skills are clearly important in some of the jobs INFJs find attractive – the ministry, teaching, social work and medicine. They are often attracted into management positions. Even when they are not in teaching roles as such, they often assume the role of teacher or mentor, helping to “guide” or inspire their colleagues to greater things. As leaders they tend to “win” people to their ideas and views rather than using status or intellectual muscle to gain support.
Like other NFs, INFJs have a great need to feel authentic and to be true to themselves. They are very drawn to the spiritual side of life and often have strongly held beliefs. Their strong value system often means they can be rather judgmental of others. They are usually tolerant but can find it difficult to accept people they see as superficial or insincere.
INFJs often say they like observing people from a distance before deciding whether they want to get to know them better. Even then, INFJs have to trust someone a lot before they really open up. Most say they only have a few very good friends and that even people close to them still find them “mysterious”.
As Js they find it easy to keep their focus on organisation but like all NJ types their lack of attention to practical detail can mean their organisation falls apart slightly at the seams. They could misread their diary, for example, or pick up the wrong documents.
Harmony is generally important for INFJs and they will often try to avoid conflict at all costs. This can sometimes lead to greater conflict however as by failing to deal with problems in a timely and direct manner they can often escalate. INFJs can be very courageous and will be prepared to provoke conflict if any of their fundamental values are violated by others. They will not stand by and watch others mistreating people, for example.
INFJs can give out mixed messages to others. On the surface, they come over as people who have a great need for harmony and co-operation. But deep down they often have a greater need to pay attention to their own very individualistic vision. Sometimes this can be so strong that they will not listen to others’ views. In these instances they can seem determined to the point of being stubborn. They may also appear out of touch.
Ultimately it is important for INFJs to keep their intuition within useful bounds. They must come to see that their inner vision is not always right. It can be overly abstract and impractical and not take adequate account of “real politic”. They can often become more effective if they subject their ideas and vision to other people’s views, particularly people with a preference for sensing and thinking.
Words to describe INFJs
reflective intense reserved
determined innovative original
sensitive focused devoted
idealistic committed loyal
creative appreciative compassionate
Careers attractive to INFJs
The ministry, fine art, medicine, architecture, social work, psychiatry, teaching.
Needs at work
Anticipated work/team strengths
Potential problem areas
Likely areas for improvement
Common relationship Issues for INFJs
INFJs show caring by noticing what would be of help and support to someone. This may be practical but can also be linked to that person’s personal or sprititual development.
INFJs like others to acknowledge the depth and relevance of their insights and suggestions and, ideally, to use them in some tangible way.
INFJ Type Dynamics
Dominant – intuition – introverted
Auxiliary - feeling - extraverted
Tertiary - thinking
Inferior - sensing
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© Carol Craig
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