INFJ – Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging
Profile by David Keirsey
INFJs focus on possibilities, think in terms of values and come easily to decisions. The small number of this type (1%) is regrettable, since INFJs have 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 phenomena better than most others, this person is apt to be an INFJ. Characteristically, INFJs have strong empathic abilities and can be aware of others’ emotions or intents even before that person is conscious of these. This can take the form of feeling the distress of illnesses of others to an extent which is difficult for other types. INFJs 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.
INFJs are usually good students, achievers who exhibit an unostentacious 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 influence behind the scenes.
INFJs 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, INFJs 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 INFJs are inconsistent; they are very consistent and value integrity. But they have convoluted, complex personalities which sometimes puzzle even them.
INFJs 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 an INFJ more than in any other types, although other types are capable of such phenomena. INFJs have vivid imaginations exercised both as memory and intuition, and this can amount to genius, resulting at times in an INFJ 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 the 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. INFJs can have uncanny communications with certain individuals at a distance.
INFJs have a strong love of learning, and they tend to do well academically. Through persistence, diligence, and conscientiousness, they complete their assignments on time. They are likely to enjoy research and will go great lengths to find answers. INFJs enjoy investigating the possibilities and meanings beyond the actual facts and realities. Reading holds a particular fascination for them because it allows them to have quiet reflection time and engages their imagination. They also like the written word (and rely on it more than the spoken word) since it is usually better structured and more coherent with a ready-made framework.
As students, INFJs prefer learning from teachers whom they both like and admire, and who give them personal attention. INFJs are often ‘model’ students. They are quiet and orderly, reflective and thoughtful, and sincerely want to please their teachers and learn the right thing. They learn best from others but want time to assimilate material by themselves.
INFJs write and communicate well because they want to formulate their ideas clearly. They place high regard on their reader and audience. They seek to communicate their ideals to others. When their ideals need to be championed, they speak up in an enthusiastic and impassioned way. INFJs will go beyond what has been presented and often mull material over in their minds. Occasionally they will discuss ruminations with others in order to learn even more. They particularly like the more conceptual and theoretical classes, therefore, higher education is comfortable to them.
INFJs 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 extroverted role here which requires a great deal of energy. INFJs 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 toward people, describing people and writing to communicate with people in a personalized way. INFJs who write comment often that they write with a particular person in mind; writing to a faceless, abstract audience leaves them uninspired.
INFJs make outstanding individual therapists who have the ability to get in touch with the archetypes of their patients in a way some other types do not. The INFJs are also the most vulnerable of all the types to the eruption of their own archetypal material. As therapists, INFJs may choose counseling, 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 concentrations, their originality, and their organizational skills can all be brought into play.
At work as well as socially, INFJs 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. INFJs enjoy problem-solving and can understand and use human systems creatively and humanistically. As employees or employers, INFJs are concerned with people’s feelings and are able to provide in themselves a barometer of the feelings of individuals and groups within the organizations. INFJs listen well and are willing and able to consult and cooperate with others. Once a decision is made, they work to implement it.
INFJs 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 INFJs, 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, INFJs 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 maybe quite confusing to an extroverted mate. Often an INFJ’s expressions of affection will be subtle, taking a humorous, unexpected turn. INFJs 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 longstanding. As parents, INFJs usually are fiercely devoted. A female INFJ, particularly, is linked to her children in a way different from the other types: with almost a psychic symbiosis. This deep bond can create an over-dependency that can be unhealthy for both mother and child. At the same time, INFJs 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.
At midlife an INFJ can best continue developing the thinking function in the form of logic and the pursuit of theory. The pleasure of taking a theoretical model and applying it to a situation may be a source of interest which an INFJ may have been neglecting. While continuing to pursue the person-to-person in feeling-type relationships, at midlife INFJs may want to get more involved in working with NT’s, who offer a dimension not dominant in NF’s and vice versa. Carefully providing for rest and taking care of physical health is vital to the INFJ at all times, and mandatory from midlife on.
The oracular INFJ may opt for the inventive ENTP, but also may go for a different kind of contrary, namely the ESTP. The ESTP and ENTP, to the casual observer, look pretty much alike. Charming, suave, urbane, humorous, witty, fantastically easy to approach, venturesome, even reckless. But one is out to invent, the other to promote; this is no small difference. It takes an inventor to make a mousetrap, it takes a promoter to make an enterprise. To succeed, the promoter has to be, in the best sense of the word, a con artist. He must be able to get people’s confidence. Now why would a meaning-giver INFJ be intrigued by an entrepreneur ESTP? Because he wants to help the entrepreneur find his soul and his significance in the scheme of things. Similarly, why is the INFJ attracted to ENTP? Because he wishes to rescue this iconoclast from his seeming folly (and let’s face it, most inventions are abortive, or still-born).
INFJs, when scorned, take it personally and retreat inward. They may obsess about the relationship and their role in its failure. One INFJ explained, “People can do the most outrageous things, yet I blame myself for triggering their behavior or not recognizing it. I see myself as responsible for relationships. Other people can dismiss them — I’m not able to.” INFJs may blame themselves and experience a period of mourning. If they do not marshall their resources, externalized their feelings, and take risks to move on, they may experience long periods of self-examination.