For INFJs: Embracing all of yourself, even your ‘flaws’

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To my dear fellow INFJs:

A huge part of personal growth is coming to terms with how you naturally function and embracing your true self. What may seem like a flaw can actually be a useful tool when it is nurtured properly. As INFJs, what are some of our unique abilities, and how can we learn to embrace them?

INFJs can be perfectionists.

One adjective that stands out amongst all of the adjectives to describe an INFJ is “perfectionist.” Yes, I am a perfectionist. Now, I am not a perfectionist about everything, but I do have unique situations when the perfectionist part of me comes out. For instance, I feel like I cannot function in the morning if I do not make my bed. Who cares if the bed is made? I do.

Some people may double check their work, but I will triple check it. It can get a little ridiculous, and it can strain my eyesight, but I cannot help it.

With that said, INFJs can be pretty relaxed about most things, because we love observing other peoples’ behavior, but we do have our moments of correcting and situating things to be “just right.”


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We have high standards for ourselves and others.

While we expect much from others, we also expect a lot from ourselves. I am my own worst critic. I strive to be and do more every day. This is not to say I think I am not enough, but I like to push myself to be better. Can any other INFJs relate to this?

I have been told that I “expect too much” from people, which is the truth. Hello, INFJs are idealists—we want the ideal. But we are also realists (in some magical way we can be both), so we are aware that our expectations are high. We get it.

Relationships can be tough for us as well, because we have the ideal relationship already built up in our head. We know what we want. However, our realistic sensibility allows us to love people exactly as they are—flaws and all.

Our intuitive abilities are unexplainable.

Introverted intuition is our dominant function, and you will hear the INFJ say, “I don’t know how I know… I just do.”

We are highly in tune with our feelings and go with what our gut tells us. This can lead to some stubbornness if others try to persuade or suggest things that do not align with our inner value system. I am told I often shut down others’ ideas when I had no intention of doing so. I get stuck on one idea, because it’s what feels right to me, but I have learned to let go a little and let other people share their insight with me.

Trust me, my INFJ friend, we don’t actually know everything.

We value our privacy.

INFJs are typically difficult to get to know on a deeper level, not because we won’t go there, but because we won’t go there with just anybody. It takes a long time for us to trust someone fully.

We make the people close to us our top priority and cherish our time with them so greatly that we do not feel the need to share it with everyone else. And sometimes we need things just for us to keep.

With that said, we can come across as aloof or standoffish to others. We are highly protective of our inner world, and it takes the Jaws of Life to take our guard down. When we do finally open up, it’s because we have found someone who speaks to our sensitive souls.

Sometimes we slam the door.

The worst part of opening up so rarely is that whenever someone hurts us too much, we tend to shut them out of our lives. This is often referred to as the “INFJ Door Slam.” I have done it myself on a couple of occasions.

To people who may not know us well, we seem incredibly callous and cruel to shut someone off from us in what seems like a short amount of time. The truth is, we are capable of forgiving, but when we are pushed to a certain point of pain, we shut off. We shut down. We can’t do it anymore.

It takes a long time for us to bounce back from that pain. My suggestion to any INFJs that find themselves in this situation is take your time, but at some point, you must forgive.

We’re wanderers who live inside our heads.

This is why it is difficult for us to verbalize all the things we think about because our thoughts live in an abstract setting. Socializing in large groups can be a bit difficult for us, because we have no interest in capturing everyone’s attention. We want one-on-one time, and we want it to be quality time.

Although we love people and getting to know them, we also drift away for a while. I often joke that I am a wanderer. Whether I am wandering around in my mind or in the physical world, I have no problem going off on my own.

INFJs are lone wolves. We like to hide away for periods of time, but do not be alarmed. When we love you, we always come back.

INFJs are mysterious people. We are mysteries even to ourselves most of the time. The best thing we can do is to accept this about ourselves.

Embrace every aspect of who you are. You are rare and special, and there are people who will cherish you—let one of those people be you.



19 Comments

  • Wow, this sounds like thoughts that could have been ripped from my own head. I read something earlier about INFJ’s that really hit home for me. All my life, I have felt like an alien on this planet, like I do not belong anywhere. I even feel like that among my family members. Friendships have always been difficult for me.The article I mentioned earlier stated that because INFJ’s are so rare and because their standards are so high, many give up on what could be a great friendship because it is not our “ideal” relationship straight out of the gate. I may have been guilty of that in my past and currently. I recently made a friend who introduced me to a larger group of her friends. They’re nice enough people, but I still feel like the “outsider”, and found myself drifting away from them. I have to tell myself that I am a rare person and I don’t have to be around people just like me.

    Regarding the wanderer issue, I always joke that I have the heart and soul of a gypsy. I am restless often, I can be sitting in my living room, but in my head I’m a million miles away. I do check out when I am too stressed and it has caused trouble for me because people take it personally. My grandma was really hurt because she didn’t understand why I’d disappear for weeks at a time. She thought it was personal and I had to explain to her that it’s just my way of coping with stress. I have also identified with the “lone wolf” metaphor.

    I could go on and on identifying with the points you brought up in this post, but I’ll cut it short. 🙂 Thank you for writing this, it made me feel like I’m not completely alone and crazy. 🙂

  • Oh, this is so absolutely wonderful! And completely true!

  • Adnan says:

    “Oh my god!” I was uttering these words when I read this {INFJ say, “I don’t know how I know… I just do.”}. And the other sentence which caught my sheer interest is “Some people may double check their work, but I will triple check it. It can get a little ridiculous, and it can strain my eyesight, but I cannot help it.” Everything written here about me (INFJ) is 100% true. About the doubt you raised ‘do other INFJ’s can relate striving for improvement day to day’ I am just very lazy, but if something have caught my interest I’ll die working, improving, living with it :). Finally very thanks for the post, I am new here. I am feeling this place is very interesting to read because I don’t have any books(never bought such).

  • Christian Hattaway says:

    It’s funny. When I was a boy, many (myself included) could not and did not want to understand me. All I ever wanted was to be like everyone else. I didnt want to be the nerd. The hermit. The eccentric. I was scared for the longest time for myself because I didnt know who I was.
    One day in elementary school; I remember it so vividly. I was walking up during recess to a small group of my few friends, comforting another friend that was crying. Upset. Distraught. I dont remember precisely as to what he was upset about, but I came close and began to lean against the wall. Upon asking him what was the matter, he dismissed me. But I continued, assuring him that by letting it out externally, it wouldnt feel so bad on the inside. I was jovial. Incorporated humor and witty banter to cheer him up. Consoling him that it would hurt now, but with enough time to pass he would find relief again. After a short period of a few minutes he began to wipe away the tears from his eyes with his sleeve. After a few short breaths, he looked up to me and said, “You know, Christian. You’re really good and making people feel better”. Smiling at me, I became lost in the moment. No one had ever said that to me. I was paid my first, genuine compliment at the age of 11. Not from a proud parent or a loving sibling, but a peer. I was….humbled. Nothing more.
    After all this time, close to 17 years later I’ve heard it more times than I can count. As a typical INFJ, I keep what I call a selected number of ‘close friends’. I don’t call them ‘best friends’. Why you ask? Because I have no ‘bests’ in my life. I call them ‘close’ because these are people that have loved me for me. Understood my flaws, but called me out on them. Earned their place. Established a genuine connection by which I’ve grown as an individual and by proxy (I hope) helped them along the was as well. I trust my feelings. I trust my intuitiion because it inheretly guides me to know the people that matter. That truly care.
    What’s really funny about all this? Like myself, they always come back. People call me out of the blue. They seek my advice if nothing more than for perspective. I can always recognize the difference between being used and being innately cared for, but my goodness…the conversations. They call me and stay on the phone for hours at a time.. I love it.
    Like you said. In most situtions, “we just know..”. I wish I had an INFJ to talk to. I’ve always been curious about looking from the outside in.
    That being said. I wanted to say thank you to the author and the other commenters on this article. While we may be the most curious and misundertood of introverts; we are also needed in this world desperately. It’s not vanity. We constantly question our place. Our purpose in this world. But, look no further than when you console another in their time of grief. Of indecision. Or perhaps just revelation. We INFJs learn so much from others, but it is mutually realized. From the deep sigh at the end of a phone call after a profound conversation. By the embrace of a hug that releases every chasm of emotion that dwells within two souls. The look and a smile of a good friend. Gazing at you and wondering, “how did they do that?”. Secretly within the confines of your soul you answer, “You’ve had the key all along. I simply helped you to turn the key and open the door.”
    Why deny your dreams? They’re such beautiful dreams. ^_^

    • Ayaz says:

      Thank you for this post Christian. I’ve read many comments, and though people talk about experiences in a way that reflect my own experience, yours did it thoroughly. Being male and INFJ is really an added mystique to the whole INFJ persona I think. I sometimes feel like a walking contradiction, God’s science experiment…. but ultimately I know I only feel that way because I don’t fit in. I’m only a contradiction from the lens of status quo. From the lenses of love, life and Beauty there are no contradictions whatsoever.

  • RupaliG says:

    The thing with the infj intuition is to not let other people talk you out of it. Yes, it’s open-minded to listen to other people’s ideas and perspectives. Yet, don’t feel the need to betray your inner voice just to go along with someone else’s opinion. I think your introverted intuition is there for a reason. You’re picking up on things that other people may not see. If you go against your intuition, you pay the consequences and not the person giving you advice.

  • Wayan says:

    No other can understand INFJ unless another INFJ. Thanks for writing this pal

  • Amelia Bradshaw says:

    Awww, another INFJ Amelia! You definitely read my mind with this. I had questioned if I was really an INFJ for a long time (my adolescent MBTI shifted between INFJ and INFP, which I’m realizing is common). The more I read about INFJs, the more my inner and outer life makes sense. I too have a making my bed first thing in the morning obsession, which never really touches the rest of my room, by the way. I’m beginning to finally understand why I am so serious yet idealistic, why I have felt so misunderstood and isolated, and why my intuition is disturbingly on point. I’m so glad to learn that though INFJs are rare, we exist and there are others like me! Thank you for this!

  • Teri says:

    “Embrace every aspect of who you are. You are rare and special, and there are people who will cherish you—let one of those people be you.” — Amelia Brown

    Those two sentences are brilliant! I’m going to read them…repeatedly. Thank you!!! INFJ

  • Rikka says:

    This is so true that it is scary. I know I’m just echoing the reactions of the others who commented, but its the truth. I really feel detatched from the world sometimes. Even though I have so many friends and people who depend on me emotionally, I can’t help but feel misunderstood. It is a conscious effort for me to share with others because they can never understand the depth of what I’m thinking. In fact, most of y emotional sharing is for the benefit of the relationship and not for personal validation.

  • Stephanie says:

    I get that there are differences between INFJs and INFPs but that distinction has been hard for me to see. I’m an INFP and this resonated with me 100%

  • Anay says:

    How can someone be so so right? You are a sunshine!

  • aglandum says:

    Interesting article! I remember being labeled “mysterious” when I was in high school. At that time, I don’t know why would my friends chose that word but now I do. Thanks for writing this. Definitely a spot-on!

  • asma BM says:

    This article is awesome! I relate to each part of it; thank you for the sharing.Descovering that I’m an INFJ, about 5 years ago, was a tremendous turning point in my life.

  • Kerri says:

    Probably not the right place for this, but as a place filled with INFJs please consider my question. As an identical twin I feel like I know my sister so well but as an ISTJ trying to relate to an INFJ, how can she visit and get along with our mom but always say how she hates her and treats her like dirt? Is it the sensitive, emotional defense against an opinionated, somewhat overbearing ISFP/J?

  • Reonda says:

    Well.. I can somehow relate to your sister, I have a classmate who acts like she don’t like me, I always tell my ISTP friend that I don’t like to be around that girl or talk to her because I’m not a confidence person, once that classmate asked me a question about the classes so I answered and chatted with her a bit. My ISTP friend always ask me why would I act nicely around that girl when I don’t like her in the first place.
    Sorry to bother you with my story, but As an INFJ I think i know how your sister “twin” feels and why she acts like that, and I don’t know how to put it on words, but that’s because we can’t resist acting nice toward people, even if the person I hate the most was standing in front of me I can’t say or act as I feel “hatred” towards her, and I even prepared what to say “hateful words” to her sometimes, I CAN NOT say that! I got on a lot of troubles because of this, i tell my friends that i hate someone but they are like “but YOU are getting along with her/him”, don’t ask me why, don’t ask her why! We don’t even know what are we doing or why we are acting nicely towards a person, we WISH that we can say whatever comes to our mind but we always overthink what will happen if we say that one word, then boom! The day ends and we were just a nice person!! Does anybody regret being nice? Sometimes we do.
    *sorry, English isn’t my first language.*

  • Kathia says:

    Thank you! It feels so good to know that I am not alone. Yesterday, I took two MBTI tests. I even paid for one to be sure I was really an INFJ. It feels so good to finally understand myself. I am in a period of big changes and I am trying to figure out what to do with my life. At least, now I understand myself.

    To be honest, I have never share my deepest thoughts with anyone except my first boyfriend. Everyone around me probably thinks I am an extrovert but my closest friends and my family know that I need some time on my own. I am so indepedent but I love people. It is so confusing! Now that I am living by myself I can tell that I am an introvert. I went to my parents house during Christmas and I am still exhausted!

    I hope I’ll find more articles like this one. It really help me. I am still learning about myself and I am so happy to find out that I am normal. Maybe complex but normal. Also, I really like the part sometimes we slam the door and the part we’re wanderer who live inside our heads. I can relate to these parts.

    (Sorry for my grammatical and spelling errors. I speak French).

    And again… Thank you!

  • Kathia says:

    And Christian Hattaway… You made me cry. Beautiful words. I had that kind of conversion with my friend last month. A conversation that I will cherish all my life!

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