5 Common INFJ Male Problems

From not recognizing our self-worth to struggling to find a meaningful career, being an INFJ male comes with challenges — but also solutions.

INFJs, one of the eight introverted Myers-Briggs personality types, are also thought to be the rarest type, only seen in about 1-2 percent of the population.

Aside from being known for their kindness and enigmatic presence, they’re also renowned for being able to sense the emotions of others and consider the needs of those around them.

On that same token, INFJs also have their own unique set of challenges, especially when it comes to INFJ males.

(What’s your personality type? We recommend this free personality assessment.)

5 Common INFJ Male Problems

1. INFJ men may struggle with self-worth issues.

A lot of INFJ men are also highly sensitive people (HSPs). As these are beautiful traits on their own, like being able to empathize deeply with other people, many of us INFJ men don’t see our worth. The truth is, many of us more sensitive men probably had a rough time growing up since our sensitivity was seen as a “weakness” versus the strength that it is.

Most likely, one of your parents, family members, teachers, friends, or society at large shamed or ridiculed your sensitivity. You might have been told (explicitly or implicitly) to “man up,” “toughen up,” or “stop being the way you are.” 

If you repeatedly received these messages during your formative years, it’s no surprise (sooner or later) that you started to believe them.   

The issue: toxic shame

If you’re an INFJ male, deep feelings of shame, guilt, and self-disgust may be familiar to you. If these feelings fester for too long, they can turn into toxic shame, a shame so deeply felt that we are ashamed and disgusted of who we are. This eats away at our unique sense of identity and sense of manhood.

From an early age, it may have become quite obvious to you that you don’t fit into that stereotypical category of what a man is “supposed to” be, like not showing your emotions or portraying the macho persona.

Yet, in order to meet the expectations of our parents, teachers, and other significant adults in our lives and not let them down, you may have tried, tried, and tried everything possible to fit in by acting tougher than you really feel and hiding your sensitive side.

But we usually failed, feeling inadequate, weak, and emasculated. (More about this pattern can be found in my INFJ Male Bio series). The paradox is that even when we do manage to fit in more, we may fail nonetheless, because we aren’t being true to our INFJ selves. Overall, I sense that at the core of the INFJ male’s plight is a struggle for self-acceptance.

The solution: redefining masculinity   

At some point, INFJ men await the daunting, but crucial, task of redefining masculinity for themselves. For most men, there already exists a manufactured jacket of “masculinity” in a few universal sizes shipped everywhere, such as the rational status-driven persona.

However, it’s probably not a good fit for us INFJ men. We need to sew our own custom-made jacket of masculinity with all the different fabrics of our personality, like our sensitivity and appreciation for beauty, and wear it with pride. Only then will we reach full maturity. They say, “Clothes make the man,” but I say, “INFJ men make the clothes.” Our own clothes.   

2. INFJ men may struggle to find a fulfilling career.

To most people with INFJ personality traits, working to make money isn’t just that simple. Although everyone struggles to find fulfilling work at times, for INFJ men, the issue may be especially poignant — we need to know and feel like the work we’re doing is meaningful and contributes to some kind of greater good. 

For example, we find purpose in an introspective career, such as being a psychologist, artist, writer, or musician. However, these great careers take a lot of time to build up before we can truly indulge in them.

The issue: contradicting needs

As INFJ men, we are truly the odd ones out, as our interests can be quirky and contradictory — we can have a deep affinity for more logical subjects, such as the sciences or data, while also enjoying creative expression, such as art. 

But the truth is, it is extremely hard to meet all of those different needs in a regular 9-to-5 job. Often, it is necessary to climb the corporate ladder through a regular 9-to-5 before you can claim a more interesting position within a company. 

But therein lies the problem. A lot of us INFJs have withered and died psychologically before that happens, due to our unmet needs for autonomy and creativity.

The solution: successfully navigating the INFJ career crisis

As we try desperately to find the perfect job, the average time we spend in each one will get shorter and shorter. By switching jobs so frequently, we may burn up a lot of sheer willpower, which diminishes our tolerance levels.

If we had focused that willpower by staying at one job at a particular company, we may have been able to ensconce ourselves in a more interesting career by now. Instead, we may get trapped in a vicious cycle of relentless job-hopping without the mental energy to endure them for a possible promotion (which only comes when you’ve done your time).

You have now ended up in what I call the INFJ career crisis.

A solution, of sorts, would be to work on your dream job alongside your current (not-as-fulfilling) day job, even if it’s only an hour a day. In this way, you’ll be meeting your needs for meaning and autonomy, which will sustain you as you gradually work yourself out of the INFJ career crisis and toward your ultimate goal. Start today!

3. INFJ men are prone to live a solitary life.

Solitude is as important to INFJ males as food and water. Being introverts, we thrive in it, nurturing our soul with introspection, reading, creating, or just calming our often (highly sensitive) senses. 

During these quarantine times, perhaps you have encountered the full extent of how good we introverts actually do when thriving in that peace and quiet. A little too well, wouldn’t you agree?

The issue: our need for solitude

Two weeks could easily pass with minimal human contact and we wouldn’t even give it a second thought. Our social circle, however, isn’t as amused with our delayed responses to messages or minimal initiation of contact.

If those people around you still call you their friend, that means they’ve accepted who you are by now; they know how diligently we INFJ men need to work on our dreams, and they may even greatly admire us for it.

The solution: tactically retreating

There is another pattern that is perhaps more pronounced in INFJ males. When we face problems or challenges that are complex (like figuring out our life’s purpose), we have a tendency to withdraw. 

This isn’t about giving up, but it’s a tactical retreat into our introvert sanctuary or cave (a place where we spend most of our time anyway) to analyze and reflect deeply upon the issue. As purpose-driven idealistic beings, we must be aligned with our inner compass.

Social obligations now become insignificant and we easily banish them from our lives until we have figured out the solution (or at least a new plan of action that rejuvenates our spirits). 

The solitary life is our antidote to an existential crisis. But after that much-needed soul-searching, we are ready to go out there and meet the world again!

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4. INFJ men may become accustomed to being invisible.

Our Extroverted Feeling function, which is represented by the third letter — F (Feeling) in INFJ — makes us harmonious beings, well aware of the feelings and needs of those around us. As such, we strive to maintain harmony in groups or social events almost at all costs. This is where our nickname as a “Social Chameleon” comes from.

The issue: fading into the background

Despite this virtue, INFJ males are always challenged to walk the fine line between nurturing harmony and losing themselves in the process. Just like the reptile chameleon, what happens when it blends in too well? You can’t see the chameleon anymore.

We may be so good at making others feel seen and heard that we aren’t seen. For example, by our naturally gentle presence and asking the right questions, others feel safe opening up to us. But because we become so well-adapted to this therapist role, this mode soon switches on by default.

The solution: introspection in order to become visible to ourselves again

We likely haven’t met many other INFJs, which means we may assume that no one would be interested in the random existential feverish dream mind-haze we reside in. And why bother sharing, as understanding ourselves is already a tough puzzle we haven’t solved in the slightest.

We need to see ourselves by noticing how quirky and paradoxical we are on the inside, and meet it with acceptance without expecting anyone to understand. (But if they do, bonus!) By introspecting, at least we aren’t invisible to ourselves, the person who matters most. 

In solitude, we shake off the impressions and emotions of others and become visible to ourselves again.

5. INFJ men can be seriously intense.

Because we INFJ men live in a dream state, we can be engaged in small talk with someone one moment and suddenly take a sharp left turn, mid-conversation.

The issue: going from 0 to 100 real quick

All of the sudden, we steer the conversation about the weather to how time itself is eventually consuming everything in this world and that we should give it our all to accomplish our goals before our incarnations cease to exist. And that was talking to the mailperson. Sound familiar, INFJs?

We often forget that not everyone is open to talk about life and death at the cocktail party. Nor are others always open for us to help them introspect. There’s a time and place for everything. Often surface-level conversation is as deep as it goes, and that’s totally fine.

The solution: utilizing your INFJ superpower

This sage-like ability is one of our superpowers! We can think about the complex mysteries of human existence and translate these insights into our creative work to help inspire others. 

The world needs our full potential! INFJ men, show us who you are!

It’s safe to say that many of us INFJ males can relate to these problems, but are they just temporary — or not? Check out my blog to explore this together.

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An INFJ male and highly sensitive person (HSP) in my 30s. As a psychologist, scientific researcher, and human being, I aim to blend the objective, subjective, mind, body, and spirit for a holistic view on true well-being. Let’s explore together: INFJMalePsychology.com.