INFJ: “16 Signs You’re an INFJ, the World’s Rarest Personality Type” ~ Introvert Dear https://introvertdear.com/news/infj-signs/
When it comes to relationships, we’re all in or all out. If it’s a fling you’re looking for, don’t waste your time. We tend to steer clear of anything casual, as we are more interested in something long-term.
Given how many of us listen to music while studying or doing other cerebral work, you’d think psychology would have a set of clear answers as to whether the practice is likely to help or hinder performance. In fact, the research literature is rather a mess (not that that has deterred some enterprising individuals from making bold claims).
There’s the largely discredited “Mozart Effect” – the idea that listening to classical music can boost subsequent IQ, except that when first documented in the 90s the effect was on spatial reasoning specifically, not general IQ. Also, since then the finding has not replicated, or it has proven weak and is probably explained as a simple effect of music on mood or arousal on performance. And anyway, that’s about listening to music and then doing mental tasks, rather than both simultaneously. Other research on listening to music while we do mental work has suggested it can be distracting (known as the “irrelevant sound effect”), especially if we’re doing mental arithmetic or anything that involves holding information in the correct order in short-term memory.
Now, in the hope of injecting more clarity and realism into the literature, Manuel Gonzalez and John Aiello have tested the common-sense idea that the effects of background music on mental task performance will depend on three things: the nature of the music, the nature of the task, and the personality of the person. “We hope that our findings encourage researchers to adopt a more holistic, interactionist approach to investigate the effects of music (and more broadly, distractions) on task performance,” they write in their new paper in Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied.
The researchers recruited 142 undergrads (75 per cent were women) and asked them to complete two mental tasks. The simpler task involved finding and crossing out all of the letter As in a sample of text. The more complex task involved studying lists of word pairs and then trying to recall the pairs when presented with just one word from each pair.
Each task was performed while listening to one of two versions of a piece of elevator-style instrumental music – composed for the research – or no music. One version of the music was more complex than the other, featuring additional bass and drum tracks (both versions are available via the Open Science Framework). Also, depending on the precise experimental condition, the music was either quiet or louder (62 or 78 decibels). The participants also completed part of the “boredom proneness scale” to establish whether they were the kind of person who likes plenty of external stimulation or not (as measured by their agreement with statements like “it takes a lot of change and variety to keep me really happy”).
Participants’ performance was explained by an interaction between the task, the music, and their preference for external stimulation. When performing the simpler task, participants not prone to boredom did better while listening to complex music than simple music or no music, whereas boredom prone participants showed the opposite pattern, performing better with no music at all or simple music. In terms of volume, the low boredom prone were better with quiet complex music, whereas the boredom prone did better with louder complex music.
The researchers’ explanation is that for low boredom people who aren’t so keen on external stimulation, the quieter, more complex music provided just enough distraction to stop them from mind wandering from the simple task, thus boosting their task focus and performance. In contrast, the more boredom prone participants who like external stimulation tuned in too much to the complex music and were overly distracted by it, thus performing worse than when working in silence.
For the more complex task, the precise nature of the music (its complexity and volume) made no difference to results. But people low in boredom proneness benefited from having any kind of music in the background (the researchers aren’t sure why, but perhaps there were mood or arousal-based benefits not measured in this study), whereas once again the boredom prone folk with a preference for external stimulation again actually performed better with no music.
Though these findings may seem counterintuitive, the researchers’ explanation is that, for boredom prone people, the complex task provided adequate stimulation and background music interfered with this productive engagement. Supporting this interpretation, the more boredom prone participants outperformed their less boredom prone peers at the task in the no-music condition (and at an earlier, baseline cognitive test), suggesting they engaged better with the tasks (the researchers additionally noted that this result challenges the way that boredom as an emotion is usually seen as a bad thing, suggesting “it can predict constructive outcomes, such as better complex task performance”).
If you consider yourself as prone to boredom and craving of external stimulation, a tentative implication of these findings – bearing in mind they are preliminary – is that you might be better off studying or do other cerebral work without music in the background, at least not music that is too complex. On the other hand, if you are less craving of stimulation, then paradoxically some background music could boost your performance. As the researchers stated: “we offer evidence against the commonly held belief that distractions like music will always harm task performance.” They added, “our findings suggest that the relationship between music and task performance is not ‘one-size-fits-all’. In other words, music does not appear to impair or benefit performance equally for everyone.”
Part of the problem with interpreting the results is in the ambiguity of the aspect of boredom proneness that the researchers looked at – “preference for external stimulation”. Past research has generally considered boredom proneness to be associated with less desirable aspects of personality, such as having less self-control and being more impetuous, and this could fit with the idea that boredom prone participants in this research were more distracted by background music. However, as mentioned, the participants scoring higher on “preference for external stimulation” generally performed better at the tasks, thus raising questions about what aspect of personality and/or mental aptitude was really being tapped by this measure. It doesn’t help matters that there was no direct measure of attentional control and focus in the study. (In terms of other relevant personality traits, prior research has found that introverts are more distracted than extraverts by highly arousing music).
Other obvious limitations include the question of how much the featured tasks resemble real-life challenges, and the fact that people often listen to music they know and like rather than unfamiliar, instrumental music.
Still, it’s laudable that the current research attempted to consider how various factors interact in explaining the effect of music on mental performance. Gonzalez and John Aiello concluded, “we hope our research will serve as a starting point for more systematic investigation of music.”
(What’s your personality type? We recommend this free personality assessment.)
INFJs are known as both dreamers and doers, the ones who think big and also follow through on their dreams and goals. For me, that big goal is traveling to 100 countries before age 100 and helping other young professionals travel better and cheaper through my blog MeWantTravel. Based on my personal experience and my research about INFJs, here’s a glimpse into how this personality type travels.
How an INFJ Travels
1. Despite being “extroverted” introverts, we will still need alone time.
For the introvert, alone time is absolutely necessary. If you’re traveling with extroverts, they may not understand why you need to disappear into your room and recharge after a busy day of sightseeing, but I’m here to tell you that it’s perfectly okay to ask for that time. After you recharge, you’ll essentially be a better you. So tell your extroverted friends that they will like you more for it!
2. Deep, meaningful conversations are key.
INFJs crave meaning in all that they do, and relationships are no exception. Conversations of substance — not just small talk — are very important to us, and we may find that speaking to locals is both eye-opening and crucial to truly experiencing a new place. For me, the more I travel, the more I realize that people everywhere are the same at their core. Though we may look different and speak different languages, we all have fears, dreams, and people we deeply cherish. We can choose to find common ground and stand together, or we can choose to be divided and separated by our differences. As INFJs, we will always be in favor of — and push for — the first option.
3. We may want to write about our travels.
INFJs are highly creative, especially when it comes to working with words. And when we travel, we often want to somehow creatively capture what we’re experiencing, whether it’s through the written word, art, or something else. This helps us reflect on our experiences, and as INFJs, we love optimizing, learning, and personal growth. In terms of journals, I personally love ones that are small and easy to carry around in your backpack or purse, so I can jot down notes or ideas as they strike me. And who knows, when you write down those personal recollections or draw that stunning view, it may just be the beginning of your memoir.
4. Whenever possible, we aim for the “local” experience.
This may mean dining at local hidden gems and skipping some of the “must see” tourist traps. It may also mean staying in Airbnbs or hostels as opposed to hotels because it gives us an opportunity to learn about the culture by staying with a local, and it gives us a guaranteed chance to meet other folks. A paradox of the INFJ is that we’re genuinely interested in (and fascinated by) other people — so much that we’re mistaken for extroverts. But we truly are introverts who need that precious downtime. Having a private room in a hostel or Airbnb home is the perfect way to get the best of both worlds.
5. Being “judgers,” planning is a must.
As a “judging” personality, we INFJs like to know what we’re doing in advance and where we’re sleeping, and we may or may not have a pre-researched list of all the places we want to go, eat, and explore (okay, we probably will have that list!). There’s little that stresses out an INFJ more than having to make rapid-fire decisions on the fly. Meanwhile, “perceiving” personalities, like the INFP or ISTP, feel more comfortable going with the flow and being spontaneous. For them, it might even be fun to roll into a new city with no solid plans and discover what they’ll do and where they’ll stay as it strikes them.
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6. Use your “chameleon” abilities to your advantage.
INFJs are chameleons who can adapt to pretty much any social situation, because we’re tuned into social norms and expectations, and we read others well. This can be draining, however, because it means you’re constantly assessing and reassessing the room. This radar is part of who we INFJs are, and it’s not something we can easily turn off. But one thing I’ve learned the hard way is not to sacrifice social harmony at the expense of myself!
INFJ, take care of yourself; know that even though people may misunderstand you, this doesn’t make your feelings or thoughts invalid. Continue to be the INFJ boss that you are and take pride in your uniqueness — and then go out there and experience all those exotic places you’ve been dreaming about!
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By Charis Branson
Otto Kroeger once said, “INFJs nonstop search for learning, self-growth, and development—and wishing the same for everyone else—makes them very reassuring to others and people worth emulating.”
INFJs are sincere, sympathetic, unassuming, easygoing and reserved. Their personal values include spirituality, learning, and community service. They can often be found in careers that involve religion, counseling, teaching, healing, or the arts.
They represent only 1.5% of the population, with females outnumbering males only slightly. This makes them the least common type in the human population.
They are known for their high GPAs in college and they usually stay in college, unlike some of the other Intuitive types.
INFJs are the most likely of any type to seek therapy and they rank highest of all types in marital dissatisfaction.
In a recent survey of INFJs we asked four questions:
- What are the top 3 challenges you face as an INFJ?
- What 3 things do you wish others knew about you as an INFJ?
- What 3 books/movies/courses/events have most impacted your life?
- What do you wish you could have told your 15 year old self ?
Almost 500 INFJs opened up and shared their complicated inner world with us! In this article, I would like to focus on the last of the four survey questions –What do you wish you could have told your 15 year old self ?
Many of the answers shared some common themes. So, I have broken them all down to 5 items INFJs wish they had known when they were 15 years old, in order of frequency.
#1 Don’t Allow Others to Define Who You Are
This was by far the most common thing INFJs reported as something they wished they could change. As an INFJ myself, I found this extremely enlightening. I looked back on a life of service to the beliefs of others and wondered if it was cowardice or love that forced me to succumb. I have a paralyzing fear of hurting or disappointing those I love. And because of that, I’ve only just begun living life on my terms. This seems to be a theme for Extraverted Feelers.
18% of INFJs said they wished they hadn’t given so much power to others.
- “Others perspectives do not define who you are. Make your own decisions. There are no right answers, only different circumstances and values.”
- “I would have told myself to keep dreaming and not focus on the beaten paths that the world has laid out – college, 9-5 job, etc. Think creatively about what I can offer and bring that to the world.”
- “It’s okay to be who you are and feel what you feel. You don’t have to live up to other people’s expectations.”
- “You do not have to please everyone else all the time and at your own expense. You should not feel guilty for spending time alone. Try to be mindful and follow your own feelings about your life’s decisions rather than getting caught up doing what others think is best for you.”
- “No one – no friend, no family member, no boyfriend – is worth you giving up all of your private time. If someone demands that much of you, you probably don’t need him/her in your life. It will drain you.”
- “”Don’t worry about trying to find, fix, or befriend someone who will love you the way you think you ought to be loved. Work on developing your talents and genius. Don’t try to accommodate others to the point where you have no identity of your own or self-confidence.”
- “Trust yourself and stop trying to appease others. No one can ever approve of you enough to make everything okay. You have to approve of you, and if you’re the only one, that’s okay. (If I had embraced that ideology when I was 15, I would have saved myself a lot of stress and heartache.)”
- “You are not stupid. Other people do not define your worth. You are your own person, you don’t have to have someone else’s qualities to be valid, you actually exist. And I love you.”
- “Pay more attention to bettering yourself, and stop worrying about what others think. You can be your very best when you learn to assess yourself as you do others. Never, ever, compromise your values, morals or feelings for the sake of someone else.”
#2 Take More Calculated Risks
INFJs dominant mental process is Introverted Intuition (“Perspectives” in the Genius system). This process feels great when it is given lots of time to drift, all alone, in peace and quiet. My favorite place in the world is a graveyard in the middle of the night. It’s dark, so there is no sensory stimulation. I don’t have to worry about anybody interrupting me. And there is profound stillness and awe in a place dedicated to the dead. I’ve often spent entire nights just letting my mind drift from one thing to another. I never get bored.
It may be due to this love of our inner world that INFJs struggle with motivation. 11% of INFJs surveyed wish they had tested the boundaries more.
- “It’s okay to feel the things you feel. Your opinions are just as important as everyone else’s. If you want to be “seen” as you really are you have to be brave and show yourself; it’s okay that not everyone is going to “get” you, as long as you can live as freely as you can. People can hurt you only if you give them the power to do so. Live more in the moment! Seriously, you live in your head too much. Travel, feel, taste, take in everything and feel it without trying to figure out what it all means.”
- “You have the potential to be a hero, to be anything you want to be. I know this to be true – although beware of the trap of arrogance and conceit. You just have to accept yourself and remove the masks. You know what I mean.”
- “Yes, you do in fact move through the world differently…you are not crazy. Just remember to get out of your head and try something that scares you. And most of all, you are enough just as you are.”
- “Keep calm and channel your over thinking energies into constructive change.”
- “Stop procrastinating and just do it! You can’t waste your life worrying about a future you’ll never get to create if you’re too busy worrying. Take a chance and have a bit more fun, always put your problems into perspective.”
#3 Everything is Going To Be Okay
The third most common piece of advice INFJs would offer themselves was some much needed insight into the future. Teenagers are notoriously myopic. Perspectives is a future focused process and in its undeveloped state it can become paranoid and fearful of the future. So, although most of the surveys thus far have had this piece of advice, it means something extra special to INFJs.
9% of INFJs would tell themselves the future is bright. An additional 5% would tell their younger selves to stay present and stop obsessing over what may never happen.
- *Go your own path! No one but you determines your success or happiness. If you’re going through hard times, remember that you’re changing – you’re growing! Sooner or later you will start to see the gifts you’ve been blessed with due to the struggles you have been through. It will be worth it!”
- “You’re hurt now and you’re bleeding, but someday you will realize that this pain gave you something you can’t get any other way. You just need to let yourself live.”
- “It gets much, much better. There are others out there who are more like you. You can heal the pain to a large extent. It will be okay. Follow your desires to be an artist, and push yourself.”
- “Everything unfolds perfectly.”
- “Not everything is the end of the world and it’s okay to be emotional. Love yourself. You’re going to grow up and have a cool apartment right down the road from that record store you love with the cool zines and it’s going to have a BALCONY (!!!!) and you’ll be published and happy and skinny. Everything you’re going through now is so the adult you will challenge herself harder. I think you would be proud.”
- “Take the time to enjoy your life. Slow down, you’ll get to the future quickly enough. Enjoy what you have in front of you. You need to find your passions to become truly happy. Start doing the things you love. Stop focusing so much on other people and how much you want to be like them. You CANT be anybody but yourself; it’s impossible and it will never make you happy.”
#4 Stop Being So Hard On Yourself
INFJs auxiliary cognitive function is Extraverted Feeling (“Harmony” in the Genius system). This function concerns itself with getting the needs of everyone around it met. INFJs are particularly good at this because they lead with Perspectives, which gives them special insight into people’s motivations and desires. The dream team combination of Harmony and Perspectives is not perfect, however. Every now and then, an INFJ will say or do something that receives negative feedback from the outside world. This cuts the INFJ to the core because they honestly expect better of themselves. I have been known to torture myself for decades over the thoughtless things I have said or done.
8% of INFJs wish they could tell their younger selves to ease up on the self-criticism. An additional 4% would like their adolescent self to stop obsessing over being perfect.
- “I’d tell myself to stop trying to fit into some sort of stereotype and use all the bad things that happened to me as a reason to be a better person. There’s also something I try to make myself understand even now, but it’s hard – ‘Stop taking things so personally.’ It would’ve been easier if I had learned this at the age of 15.”
- “You are special. You are not strange or weird or crazy. Just a beautiful, rare gem. Go with your gut in spite of what other people tell you. Listen to yourself. Love yourself!! (I have always struggled with this. If I’m not perfect then I’m not worth loving.) Cut yourself some slack. Not everything has to be perfect! Sometimes it’s best to let go and just enjoy. Cut others slack. They aren’t perfect either. (Also a hard one for me. I hold others to an impossible standard.) Let go of what you can’t control.”
- “”Don’t be so self-conscious. Don’t put yourself down so much, you are fine! ACT, ACT, ACT on your thoughts. Calm your anxiety and center yourself. Working on yourself is GREAT, keep at it. Please be kind to yourself. Let go of the idealism, moral conscience and responsibility. Don’t over-analyze, just enjoy the ride.”
- “Pleasing everyone is impossible so say ‘no’ and accept your decision. There’s no such thing as perfect so your best is enough. Care for yourself along with everyone else because it will catch up with you someday if you don’t.”
- “You CAN do this on your own. You’re smart enough. You’re intuition WILL guide you. Love yourself and never be afraid of failing. A man will never complete you. YOU complete you.”
#5 There is Nothing Wrong With You
As is true with all the Intuitive surveys thus far, INFJs acknowledge their differences and the pain which comes along with being a Fruit Loop in a world of Cheerios.
7% of INFJs would tell their younger selves that there is absolutely nothing wrong with them. Another 6% wish they could have been more comfortable with who they were.
- “Everyone is different, and that’s not only OK but necessary. You are the way you are by design. And it’s good. You can give to the world in quiet ways, via depth of conversation, and interacting in your way. You need to be you and not someone else. Do what you love.”
- “This is clichéd and cheesy but that’s because it’s a universally acknowledged virtue – Be Yourself. Be true to who you are; you’ll be happier that way. Also, before I go, I’d like to share something with you. I know you’re a pretentious little fuck, so you’ll enjoy this. To quote John Keats, ‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty- that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.’”
- “If I could go back in time, I would tell the younger me to slow down. I had a list of things I wanted to accomplish that was miles long and I got it all done before my 30s… slow down, kid. Take it all in. Live in the moment, appreciate and savor everything you have right now. Stop trying to please everyone and make yourself more of a priority, because in the end the only relationship you have that you can trust, that is eternal, the only true love is the love you develop for yourself. Stop being so critical. You are wonderful, perfect and unique in your own way. Appreciate yourself.”
- “There is nothing wrong with you. You are worthy of love from yourself and from others. You deserve to be treated with respect and kindness no matter what. Once you learn to love yourself then make self-care your number one priority and everything else in life will be experienced with a sense of joy, even the painful times.”
- “You are beautiful. You are smart. You are worthy. You are enough.”
Never Stop Caring
I have a vivid memory that has defined my life. At the age of 13, I remember making the choice to never feel again. I was sitting on the floor of my bedroom, my back against the door, and I was sobbing for the hundredth time over injustices I thought my family was experiencing. I knew to the very marrow of my bones that life was never going to get any better. The pain would never stop. My only apparent option was to become a robot.
And it worked. I never shed another tear. Not even at my mother’s funeral when I was 19. My voice flattened and became emotionless. My face became a permanent mask of controlled expression. My body hardened to reflect the shell I was hiding behind.
Now at the age of 43 I am trying to regain my connection to myself and the world. But what did I lose along the way? What connections were never made and what lessons were never learned? I may be a lot further along in my development if I hadn’t shut it all down 30 years ago.
Apparently, I am not alone. 5.5% of INFJs would tell their younger selves to hold onto their humanity, no matter the cost. An additional 3% would plead with themselves to always remember kindness when dealing with others.
- “I wish you didn’t try to cover your genuine feelings and love for people with cynicism and unnecessary judgments.”
- “Focus on your emotions, try and understand them as much as you can – you’ll want them later.”
- “Nothing will ever feel okay inside, until you learn to see yourself through the lens of love and gratitude and learn to be as kind to your vulnerable self as you are to your vulnerable friends.”
- “Don’t try to give up your heart. Don’t try to be the best at everything because it’s not gonna happen. You can’t stop wars, you can’t stop injustice, you can’t stop hate, you can’t stop greed, you can’t make everyone happy and that’s okay, it doesn’t make you a bad person. You don’t need to punish yourself and you don’t deserve to die. You can’t make your scars disappear but you can fill them with gold, like in kintsukuroi. And I’m not gonna say that it’ll get better because it won’t – you’ll just become tougher.”
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**In-depth description above
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By Jenn Granneman
It’s not easy being an introvert, because our society seems designed for extroverts. Job interviews favor those who are personable, smooth-talking, and quick-thinking. Classrooms are noisy, busy places that reward the students who raise their hands frequently and dive into group work. The social scene lauds those who are confident, outgoing, and quick to make small talk.
How can an introvert live a happy, fulfilling life in an “extroverted” world? In my book, The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World, I explore how introverts can work with their introversion rather than fight against it. Here are 10 ways introverts can do just that.
1. Get over your guilt of leaving the social event early. Have you ever started saying your goodbyes at a social event only to have someone incredulously exclaim, “You’re leaving already? We’re just getting started!” These types of comments used to fill me with guilt. Why was I the only one getting drained and wanting to leave? Was there something wrong with me? Thankfully, I later learned that I’m an introvert, and introverts get worn out by socializing because they respond to rewards differently than extroverts (you can learn more about the science behind introversion in my book). Now, I have no problem calling it an early night and heading for the door.
2. Have more meaningful conversations. Introverts tend to loathe small talk because it feels pointless and inauthentic, but we feel energized by talking about meaningful topics and big ideas. And there’s good news for introverts: research suggests that the happiest people have twice as many meaningful conversations — and do less surface-level chitchat — than the unhappiest. You may even find that big talk doesn’t drain you the way small talk does.
3. Be okay with turning down social invitations that promise little meaningful interaction. We’ve all been there. An acquaintance invites you to such-and-such event. You feel obligated to attend because you don’t want to hurt that person’s feelings or seem rude. But you know that the birthday party for your friend’s niece’s toddler or the guys’ night out won’t be fulfilling. In fact, it will not only lack meaningful interaction but also leave you with an introvert hangover, which is when you feel physically unwell from overextending yourself socially. If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent a good chunk of your life saying yes to social invitations out of guilt — then you paid for it later with exhaustion and overstimulation. Of course, there are some things you probably shouldn’t skip, like your good friend’s wedding or your spouse’s birthday dinner with the family. Bottom line, to live a happier life, pass on any unnecessary get-togethers you feel will drain your introvert battery, not energize it.
4. Schedule your alone time to avoid hurt feelings. I had the pleasure of sitting down with introverted Indie rocker jeremy messersmith to interview him for my book. He told me about a smart practice he’s been doing for quite some time: He makes sure he gets enough alone time by scheduling it once a week on the family calendar. That way his extroverted wife won’t feel hurt when he says he wants to be alone, and they can both work together to protect his restorative solitude by not scheduling other obligations at that time.
5. Don’t force yourself to live the “extroverted” life. Research from the University of Maryland suggests that acting falsely extroverted can lead to burnout, stress, and cardiovascular disease. Turns out, embracing your introverted nature isn’t just a feel-good axiom — it’s actually good for your health.
6. Back away from one-sided relationships. Sadly, because introverts listen well and are often content to take the back seat, we can be targets for toxic or emotionally needy people. These relationships — in which one person is taking more than they give — drain our already limited social energy. If there are people in your life who continually exhaust you, consider spending less time with them. You’ll get the bonus of freeing up more time and energy for the people who do fill you up.
7. Stop beating yourself up for that awkward thing you said…3 years ago. Perhaps because introverts have more electrical activity in their brains than extroverts, they tend to ruminate. Our overthinking may take the form of playing embarrassing mistakes over and over in our minds. Sadly, rumination can give way to anxiety and depression — and it rarely helps you solve the problem you’re chewing on. To break free from the rumination cycle, do something to get the powerful engine of your mind chugging down a different track. Try calling to mind a positive memory, putting on music, going for a walk, or doing any different activity than the one you’re currently doing.
8. Give yourself permission to not do it all. I have an extroverted friend who always has her hand in something. If she’s not organizing a get-together with our friends, she’s volunteering at her son’s pre-school or taking on an extra project at work. I’ll admit that I’ve wished for her energy because she really does seem like she’s doing it all. But I have to remind myself that my talents lie in deep analysis, reflective thinking, and quality over quantity — not in running around doing all the things.
9. Occasionally push yourself out of your comfort zone. To my absolute horror, after writing a book about introversion, I learned that people wanted to talk to me about said book. They even wanted me to give interviews, go on podcasts, and give speeches! Let’s just say it was a very real lesson in pushing myself out of my stay-at-home-and-watch-Netflix comfort zone. Honestly, I hated almost every minute of it (I really did!), but I did those things because I knew it would be good for me. Taking the occasional jaunt out of your comfort zone can help you grow, too.
10. Protect your needs. Because introverts tend to be conscientious people who keep their thoughts to themselves, they may find their needs getting overlooked. Most people probably aren’t purposely trying to burden you or take advantage of you — it may be that they simply aren’t aware of what you need! Do you need a few hours to yourself to recharge from a busy week? Say it! Do you need someone to stop talking to you for a few minutes so you can concentrate? Tell them! Your needs matter just as much as everyone else’s.
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By Christine Chen
1. Trying to keep track of too many details
INFJs are big-picture thinkers and conceptualizers, which means they like to synthesize bits and pieces of essential information in order to form a cohesive image that serves a purpose in the grand scheme of things. They get very overwhelmed when they have to deal with too many little (and oftentimes, frivolous) details because doing so goes against their natural tendency to form a holistic perspective that they understand best.
2. Being compared to other people
This by far causes the most stress for an INFJ. INFJs by their nature are people-pleasers, but at the same time, they’re highly individualistic. Growing up, they’ve been told that they weren’t good enough compared to others, so it’s no wonder why they experience so much anxiety in trying to prove others wrong by forcing themselves to be the exact opposite of who they really are. Whenever they’re compared to others who are conventionally successful, attractive, and well-liked, they believe that they’re somehow innately not as worth much to society, and this buries them deep in depression and guilt.
3. Being deliberately ignored and excluded
Although INFJs love solitude, they also enjoy connecting with people and forming deep friendships. However, when groups of people with cliquish tendencies deliberately ignore them and make them feel like they don’t belong, INFJs feel deeply hurt and even resentful for not being loved or appreciated the way they are.
4. Fear-mongering and controlling authority figures
INFJs don’t deal well with these types of authority figures because they resent being controlled in any manner. As autonomous and individualistic self-starters, INFJs desire the freedom to choose and do what’s best for them, so they despise it when an authority figure takes that power away. They crumble under the pressure of trying to meet the demands of authority figures who only use fear and manipulation to control the way people think, speak, and act.
5. Having ego-centric goals imposed on them
INFJs are compelled to do things out of the joy of their heart, but because they are expected to adhere to conventional standards, they experience a tremendous amount of stress trying to chase after goals that only serve the ego and neglect their inner spirit. They hate being told that their worth is nothing unless they prove that they can somehow be used as a means to an end in a competitive, profit-driven society.
INFJs tend to avoid conflict of any kind, at all costs, because they are peacemakers and desire connectedness and compromise for the sake of a higher purpose, which would benefit all parties involved. They associate conflict with chaos, aggressive accusations, and scathing remarks used only for insulting the opposing side. Anything that disrupts their inner peace can give them panic attacks and cripple them for days.
7. Any unexpected last-minute change of plans
They love planning ahead, so they tend to hyperventilate whenever something unexpected disrupts their day and makes a dent to their plans. To INFJs, dealing with last-minute changes is equivalent to Post-traumatic stress disorder because their internal world is disrupted, and they take days to recover whenever something doesn’t turn out as planned.
8. Being told they’re worthless
INFJs know how much they’re worth and what they have to offer, but at the same time, they self-deprecate a lot based on conventional ideas of what a “good and successful” person should look like. They struggle with intense feelings of worthlessness because of how people in the past taught them that self-worth is conditional and only given when they achieve certain milestones on a cookie-cutter timeline.
9. Lack of quality me-time
INFJs burn out easily and are extremely sensitive to external pressure, so they need more time to recharge, disconnect from the world, and pursue solitary activities for the sake of joy and personal fulfillment.
The Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is available on a few sites completely free & is is an “assessment that was designed to help you better understand what makes you tick, how you relate to others, and how you can benefit from this knowledge in everyday life.”
This site has different options for sites to take the test on. I suggest the HumanMetrics one to start, but none are too long so I chose to do a few to see if the results were the same (they were). It is pretty hard to “doctor” any responses because of the nature of the questions… check it out!
Free MBTI Test On These Sites
After taking the test, you will be assigned to one of 16 different combinations:
Thera are so many resources to look further into whatever personality type that you fit with, and some are extremely in depth that, (at least in my experience) left me with my mouth hanging open, because they were so relatable.
My Personality Type:
INFJ – Future posts will focus on all things INFJ.
Dominant Function: Introverted Intuition (Ni)
INFJs are driven by an inner vision of how things will play out in the future. They are compelled to look “behind the scenes” at the reasons why things happen and the abstract connections between all things. They enjoy complexity and solving unusual problems; in fact, this desire for complexity tends to lead them down unusual, untraveled paths. Anything that’s already been done holds very little interest to them. They are much more concerned with discovering new things or finding a deeper insight that has been missed by others. They are highly attuned to patterns, symbols, and theoretical possibilities.
Auxiliary Function: Extraverted Feeling (Fe)
This is the function that helps INFJs to find an outward expression of their Ni insights. It connects them with the world around them and gives them a “social network” for support. INFJs who repress Fe can be extremely guarded, afraid of intimacy, and unaware of the intricate differences between people. INFJs who develop Fe are known for being caring, compassionate, generous, and expressive. They are often empathic and able to understand even the smallest emotional variations in their environment. They understand easily where other people are coming from and they strive towards peacemaking and the maintenance of harmony.
Tertiary Function: Introverted Thinking (Ti)
This is the function that helps INFJs to evaluate their insights and feelings impersonally and critically. When INFJs repress Ti they can struggle to set appropriate emotional boundaries with others, or they can fail to achieve their goals because they haven’t critically analyzed their plans. INFJs with healthy tertiary Ti are independent, highly analytical, and inwardly analyze their beliefs and insights to check for inaccuracies, biases, and any data that isn’t “clean”.
Loop Warning: It’s important for INFJs not to bypass their auxiliary function (Fe) and get into a “Ni-Ti loop”. When this happens they can get stuck in endless over-analysis that leads to no productive output. INFJs are at their best when their functions all work together in harmony. Fe-Ti should work in tandem with Ti serving Fe. Ni/Se should work in tandem with Se giving objectivity to Ni insights.
Inferior Function: Extraverted Sensing (Se)
It’s important for INFJs to accept Se as part of their psyche. When they do this they balance their insights with objective reality and can be more productive and realistic. Healthy inferior Se functioning gives INFJs a sense of practicality and realism. They are able to enjoy the moment, notice the beauty of the world around them, and find tangible ways to express their thoughts. If Se is repressed or triggered for a very long period, or if the INFJ is experiencing chronic stress, they may experience a “Se-uprising”. When this happens they tend to become reactive, rushed, impulsive, or self-destructive. Sometimes this manifests as excessive eating, drinking, or exercising. Other times it shows up as trying to control the environment through obsessive cleaning, organizing, or ridding their environment of “germs”. When this is happening INFJs tend to feel as though their direction in life is lost, that they are “trapped” without escape, and their thinking feels murky and convoluted.
With time and development, Se can become an asset to the INFJ. When they explore insights, they can look at the practical realities in tandem with their vision. They can take moments to enjoy what’s happening around them rather than getting lost in endless thoughts. They can be more realistic about their expectations.