"We must strive to harmonize our position as spectators and actors in the great drama of existence."
INFJs at a Glance
- Empathic, considerate, and courteous.
- Contemplative, holistic, and insightful.
- Natural counselors who take the time to understand others in depth and help them grow in an individualized way.
- Are at pains to unite their idealistic visions of how things could be with the accommodation of others here and now.
- Have a hard time adapting to the world and may isolate themselves or come across as aloof.
INFJs as They Typically Are
INFJs are warm and considerate individuals who exude a gentle idealism that is frequently inspiring to others. While INFJs typically have lofty-minded and ingenious ideas about how things should be, they nevertheless tend to prefer working with individuals in a one-on-one setting as opposed to rallying crowds or groups. In this way, INFJs are often different from ENFJs who are better suited to effect social change on a mass scale by influencing not the opinions of specific individuals, but the opinions of society as a whole.
In conversation, INFJs tend to be somewhat reticent and slow to open up around people who are not yet their intimates. On the other hand, they are very good at getting other people to open up and can even make them feel comfortable enough to confide sentiments to the INFJ that they hardly knew they had, and for this reason many people in the INFJ's life come to view them as an enigmatic and kind presence.
However, once an INFJ has accepted someone as a genuine conversation partner, and feels secure in their presence, the INFJ will tend to talk at length and with a passionate enthusiasm about the subjects that interest them. While INFJs may normally appear reserved (and even a bit aloof) in conversation, it is when these prerequisites are in place that the INFJ starts to share their innermost thoughts. It is typically in such situations that the INFJ will reveal their sensitive and personable nature, becoming enthusiastic and animated in their presentation and revealing a holistic approach to the subject matter that is unlike that of NT types.
More often than not, INFJs will have an intellectual side, and their reasoning tends to be well-developed. However, INFJs are rarely interested in understanding logical relations and the mechanical properties of objects in a vacuum: They prefer to know that what they do is meaningful to others – if not to specific individuals in a concrete way, then at least to humanity in the abstract.
INFJs can become deeply devoted to their intellectual pursuits and meanderings. Often they will seek to immerse themselves completely in their topic of interest, convinced that there is a higher unity to be found between seemingly dichotomous entities such as observation and action, subject and object, free will and determinism, and humanity and nature, and that it is the discernment of this unity that will hold the key to understanding the subject in full.
As a consequence of this disposition, INFJs can often become philosophers or ethical or spiritual leaders where they are concerned with a higher vision for themselves and others and the growth of individuals according to the principles and value systems that the INFJ holds dear. Because their enthusiasm is genuine, the INFJ will often have an easy time inspiring others to get behind their vision and to join forces with the INFJ in their pursuit of common goals.
However, in spite of the fact that INFJs will often have their own ideas about how things should be, they nevertheless also feel called upon to empathize with the feelings of others and to accommodate them in the interest of furthering interpersonal harmony. Oftentimes, the INFJ will feel torn and pulled in opposing directions because of this inner conflict: On the one hand, they genuinely want to help others, to understand them and make them grow. But on the other hand, they also long to turn their own ideas into reality, even if those ideas may go against the immediate and short-term wishes of others.
Because of their inclination to accommodate others, INFJs can sometimes be overwhelmed by their social obligations or by coming face to face with the needs of others. INFJs are contemplative introverts; they need time by themselves to reflect, plan, and think through their course of action on a given matter. If they are deprived of such opportunities, INFJs may all too easily end up sacrificing themselves in order to accommodate the needs of the group.
While INFJs tend to like socializing, and often take a sincere interest in other people, they can nevertheless come to feel drained if they are taking in too much of the wishes of others without paying an equal amount of attention to their own needs. In this manner, INFJs will often work well in roles such as counselor, guide, or advisor where they can naturally balance the time spent with others with time spent catering to their own ideas.
Overall, INFJs tend to be both excellent problem solvers and indispensable aides to others. They tend to dislike confrontation and are often uniquely receptive to how stalemates or impasses can be avoided by adding up opposing positions to form a greater whole. They take a sincere interest in others and are good at speaking to them in such a way as to bring out the best in them and help them see the things that connect us all - not just to one another, but ultimately to the world.