10 Contradicting Things About the Elusive INFJ Male

IntrovertDear.com INFJ male

I found out that I am an INFJ personality type many years ago and have since developed a very close affinity to the label. Not that I like being boxed into a category, but more that it made me feel less self-conscious about the way I am and the way I view the world — especially having gone through life feeling a little odd and different from others. This made even more sense after finding out that the INFJ male is the rarest of the personality types, coming in at 0.5 to 1 percent of the population.

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

Originally I put down my differences to my hearing loss. I didn’t want to socialize in noisy or busy environments, because I have trouble following conversations. But I always thought there must be something else, because I don’t fit the traditional male role. I’m a teetotaler, not into team sports or football, and I enjoy the quiet home life. All seemed counter to what my male friends were like. As a result, school was a quiet, lonely affair, and I ended up focusing solely on my studies and work.

Many INFJ men have traits that are contrary to the male stereotype, and many have learned to hide those values under a bushel of shame, therefore being untrue to themselves. This in turn leads to feeling trapped, disingenuous, and often unhappy. However, once they learn to embrace those traits and ignore what society expects of them, they can start to shine.

In my experience, INFJ males can be an enigma of sorts, living a life of contradictions. Here are just ten of the many contradictions of the INFJ man (although I do realize that many of them are not gender specific):

1. We’re not materialistic, yet we have a strong desire to surround ourselves with quality. This isn’t to prove we have the best stuff or to show off, but rather that we find value in being surrounded by beauty. We rarely desire things, but when we do, we’d rather have the best of it or go without.

2. We want to be noticed but not the center of attention. As introverts, we don’t like being the center of attention, and you will often find us gravitating toward the walls of any party or get-together — that’s if you can get us there in the first place! That said, we still crave an emotional connection and in-depth conversations with others, and in order to experience that, we need to meet new people. However, our quiet, reserved nature means we rarely approach others. So in order to prompt others to make the first contact, we need to be noticed.

3. We care about how we look, but we don’t like superficiality. This goes along with the aforementioned traits. We know we live in a predominantly materialistic, superficial, extroverted world, which is in direct opposition to our true nature. But in order to be noticed or get ahead in life, INFJs understand that we have to accept and embrace some societal ideals. However, once we get past thinking we need to fit in, we delve into the deeper and emotional side of things. This is another reason why you might see INFJs who are into health,  fitness, and fashion but also philosophical and idealistic.

4. We may come across as moody and cold, but we are actually very sensitive and emotional. We are very much in our own heads and forever thinking about anything and everything. As a result, INFJ males can be distracted from the outside world and the people in it. This complex and constant internal dialogue we experience, along with the disassociation from the outside world, can result in the appearance of a moody and cold demeanor. But our depth of thought comes from a deep, sensitive, emotional place; unfortunately, only those who get close to an INFJ man see and experience this side of us. Society beats men down for being empathetic, emotional, and sensitive, so we may keep this part of ourselves hidden for fear of ridicule.

5. We’re all or nothing, rarely in between. This is a result of our traits of perfectionism and idealism. We’d rather do things well or not at all. And I rather think that this applies to most aspects of the INFJ male’s life. We love completely or not at all. We get the best products or we don’t bother. We train hard and eat healthily or you can find us on the sofa eating Ben & Jerry’s, chocolate, and pizza (okay, that last one is just me but I suspect many of us have similar idiosyncrasies). We rarely do consistent or middle of the road for long periods of time. Although we think we want things to be organized, planned, and steady, we also have a thirst for learning and discovering new things — and that requires constant change. This is another reason why we might confuse others, as we can go from one extreme to the other in a split second, seemingly without any reason.

6. We’re understanding and empathetic, yet incredibly stubborn. The INFJ personality type is often referred to as “The Counselor” or ‘The Confidant” because of our empathic, intuitive nature. That said, our strong intuitive capabilities mean we trust our instincts above all else, and this may result in a stubbornness and a tendency to ignore other people’s opinions. We believe that we’re right, and we usually know it!

7. We rebel, but we also want to be accepted. We rebel against a society that promotes the very things our moral compass goes against (rules, extroversion, freedom, materialism, superficiality). Yet we strive to be accepted, understood, and welcomed by others. We have a tendency to be solitary, which often results in an unfulfilled need for deep, trusting relationships.

8. “They’re wonderful and frustrating at the same time.” This is what our friends, family, and partners say about us.

9. We’re feminine yet masculine. Especially once we’ve embraced our emotional nature, INFJ males can encompass both stereotypical feminine and masculine qualities, depending on the situation. This is why INFJs are sometimes referred to as social chameleons. I recall family Sunday dinners: I’d be the one who would help out with the cooking, washing up, etc., while the other men in my family would be busy watching football.

Another contradiction is that INFJ males often relate to women better than most men, but we have difficulty developing romantic relationships. This is due to our perfectionistic and idealistic nature, as well as the decision to never settle for a relationship that doesn’t meet our high standards. It’s also fed by our introverted nature and a fear of rejection.

10. We’re hopeless romantics with a dirty mind. As Michael Dibdin once wrote, “He certainly seemed to have the quality of a gentleman but the interesting kind who knows exactly when to stop behaving like one.”

A version of this article was originally published on Misterp.ink.

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Read this: 10 Type Secrets of the INFJ Personality Type


  • Jessi says:

    INFJ males, please find me! Ive got hearts in my eyes as an INFJ woman.

  • Henry says:

    “I’ve never met someone like you before.” – that’s the favorite compliment I get.
    It is hard to understand many so easily, yet being understood seldomly by others.

    @Jessi: I think i’ve never met an INFJ woman either – we all hide too much 🙂

  • Shawntel says:

    I relate to this article so much! I feel like you’ve read my mind! Except for the fact I’m an infj woman. A relationship with an infj male sounds divine! House is tidy, deep conversation, creative, changing, foodie and a prevert! Mmmmm….a dream come true!

  • M.Y.Z. says:

    As an INFJ woman, I can relate to all of the traits, even the feminine and masculine side.

  • Wink!

    I’m actually an INTJ but find this list is a good general descriptor.

  • @Jessi ~ Wink!

    I’m actually an INTJ but find this list is a good general descriptor.

  • *slow clap* Well done, Daniel! I’ve met quite a few INFJ women, but it’s nice to be recognized as an INFJ male. Even on No. 5, I’m the same way when it comes to either eating healthy and staying fit or binging on junk food on the couch. And I’m also the one who gets along great with women, even with very few romantic relationships to my name.

  • Loved this article! I’m an INFJ male as well and it sometimes makes me sad that there are so comparatively few of us.

  • Matthew says:

    As a fellow male INFJ, I can’t say I identify too much with this list. There are a few things that ring true, but especially the whole “all or nothing” way of thinking is very foreign to me, except in certain contexts like relationships. In that case, my thinking is either you’re totally dedicated to each other and discovering whether this is a relationship that can last a lifetime, or we might as well say goodbye. That doesn’t mean I want to rush things, but the commitment to the process is 100% or 0%.

    But I have no tendency to have the best version of something, or to go all out on some project or endeavour if I’m going to do it at all, and I don’t try to keep up a super tidy appearance or anything (it feels like a mask).

  • Dylan says:

    I am so touched by your writing. I took a personality test after finding myself distraught of my years of making hundreds of “friends” easily but lacking any single person who could identify with my personality. I found out that I was also an INFJ personality type. It’s so heartwarming to know that there’s someone else out there who understands exactly how I am. It really feels like you’ve written about me. Thanks for taking the time to write this and making me feel less like an outsider.

  • louiville says:

    As an INFJ male this article is so true to life. Being a fascinating enigma is unique.

  • indigo15 says:

    I’m an INFJ male, and I identify with this so much. This is me to a “T.” Every single point on this list describes me almost perfectly. I’ve felt different my whole life and was often told and treated as though I was “wrong” for being the way I am. When I found out I was an INFJ, I was disappointed at first when I learned that it’s the rarest personality type, but it also made sense to me, as I’ve never come across anyone who truly seemed like they understood me and where I was coming from. As time went on, though, I came to embrace being such a rare personality type, because it makes me unique, and I like the person I am. Still, knowing that there are more of us out there makes me feel a lot better!

  • I can totally relate to everything written here. Job well done!

  • Jimbaux says:

    “I’m a teetotaler, not into team sports or football, and I enjoy the quiet home life.”

    Wait, are you saying that football is not a team sport?

    Anyway, I’m an INTP, not an INFJ, but about 90% of this applies to me! Oh, and I like team sports, but I just haven’t ‘acted on’ that like in many years, having watched a game in which I didn’t know one of the players in a long time. It’s less because I’m not interested and more because I’m interested in so many other things so much more!

    For #7, you could tie it together by saying that we want to fit in, but not at the sake of succumbing to what society expects us to be, for that would be existential suicide.

  • dwagenfeld says:

    Thank you for writing this, it is me exactly. It’s nice to know I am not the only one because it often feels that way.

  • Michele Flowers says:

    True for me as an INFJ woman too.

  • Blaine says:

    This is spot on! I would only tweak number 7 (We rebel, but we also want to be accepted), since for myself I will rebel and advocate for the little man who’s being treated unfairly, but otherwise I like non-confrontation.

  • Michael Gilly says:

    I’m an INFJ male also, and I must say that all 10 of these apply to me as well!

  • I usually don’t like leaving comments on articles because usually I’d be like “I relate to this!” or “Wow! I’m like this!” and I feel that it’s not needed.

    But this time I gotta say, this is spot-on. I don’t know if this is because I’m absurdly high on the % to the point where my friend genuinely asked, “How do you socialise with a 96% introversion? How are you alive?”

    This was a pleasant read because I finally could be sure that there were people like me about. It doesn’t feel that great to stick out like sore thumb, you know?

    P.S. I got the 96% on 16personalities the last time I took it if anyone was curious.

  • NotMyRealName says:

    As a fine Infj gentleman, I want to declare that number 10 has my seal of approval… Sorry, not sorry.

  • I feel like I wrote this! It’s really comforting to find I’m not the only one with these feelings and strange ways. Just a shame we are so few…

  • gil says:

    Consuming personality. …gil

  • Tobe Fong says:

    10 out of 10.

  • Greg_in_Texas says:

    Late to the party, but felt the need to comment.

    In typical INFJ fashion I have spent a lot of time researching MBTI and the INFJ type. I relate pretty well to most of the analysis and traits, but felt some parts still missing. Your analysis of an INFJ male struck a chord with me. I related to just about every trait and characteristic you mentioned in a way that is much closer than other articles I have researched. Good analysis, great article, thank you.

  • Matthew says:

    I am a gay male INFJ so I feel very rare indeed. I would like to meet/talk to others like me. I agree with pretty much everything in this article. I am still yet to find my career as nothing seems to suit me. I get easily worn down by negative and bitchy colleagues and friends who become draining get the ‘INFJ door slam’.

    • Kit Fugrad says:

      Sounding board here. Feel free to bounce ideas off me, as I’ve door-slammed many a former employer as of late.

    • Jeffrey says:

      Hey Matthew you’re not alone. Until recently I thought of myself an Alien until MBTI cleared the air. I get “the draining” effect AND career choice issues. Seems like most INFJs have these unsolvable problems maybe it stems from not putting on the intuitive brakes and tuning out people long enough to work around their drama / pain. Dont “slam” try to remember people cant see what you see and then walk away for an extended brake. I require “time outs” in order to survive this noisy world. Great to know you exist! Best Wishes – Jeffrey

  • Kit Fugrad says:

    In the past, I’d tested as an INFP– though for the last 10 years, I’ve been solidly on the J-side of things. Not sure if I was mis-placed, though as an INFJ, I can understand how something like that would happen, as we both understand ourselves seemingly entirely, and simultaneously know little to nothing at all about the how-and-why we do things.

    I have come to accept many things about myself that seem to befall INFJs– solitude isn’t a bad thing, being alone isn’t a bad thing, knowing I have limits isn’t a bad thing, working from my emotions and letting others see my emotions isn’t a bad thing. There was a time when I forced myself to be among other people, forced my emotions down– and I just felt completely out of sorts with myself (which only pushed my depression more and more into the foreground).

    This was a very insightful article, particularly from my side of the fence, or my end of the tunnel, as it were. I’m a gay INFJ male, which seems like an even thinner slice of the population. But I suppose things can feel that way when the type is already pretty rare.

    Rare doesn’t mean special. It just means that it’s a different end of the spectrum– and a different way of seeing things. All of that I have come to appreciate, much like the insights written here.

  • Gail Brinson Ivey says:

    Great article, Daniel! I’m an INFJ female, and all of the above applies to me as well. (Except that I relate better to men than to other women…)

  • Hayden Callaway says:

    All this is spot on! Except I don’t really feel like a “perfectionist” or extremely picky when it comes to romantic relationships. I’m just a progressive INFJ male living in a smaller town in the South, and finding a woman who isn’t caught up on traditional gender roles feels next to impossible. We definitely “can encompass both stereotypical feminine and masculine qualities”. Not looking to control or be controlled, just looking for a ‘partner in crime’…

  • Samantha says:

    I have been fascinated by MBTI for a few years now and had always tested as ISTJ until this year, when I realised that I was not answering a lot of the S/N questions as accurately as I should have. So, it turns out I am actually an INTJ female, just as rare as the INFJ male.

    Last year I found myself getting into a conversation with someone on the other side of the world who was as curious about the world as I was, although with one very obvious difference – he was very much a philosophical person who knew A LOT about societies and things in general and was ridiculously in touch with the natural world around him whereas I was extremely technically minded, always curious about the more scientific things rather than the people. He was also extremely good at getting me through a very hard period in my life. We became extremely close to one another until he could no longer keep it going. He put it down to personality differences but I know that he was suffering greatly from depression as well, which did not help.

    It hit me quite hard to have to lose this person who had been such a big influence through a very difficult period in life. However, I have also been surrounded by very good friends, by chance, INFJs or other F types, who have been able to decipher my feelings very well to help me through. And not long afterwards, I met my boyfriend, a fellow INTJ, and I have found that this has been a wonderful thing for me. We have been together 6 months and it just seems to work for us (and he lives in the same town as me, a bit easier than on the other side of the world). He was also very understanding about trying to deal with unprocessed feelings that did not surface until after I started going out with him, remnants of my feelings towards the previous guy.

    For some unknown reason, something clicked last night that made me wonder whether I had typed him wrong previously due to my own mistype. Everything you speak about is him to a T. Everything. It’s why I looked up ‘INFJ male’ in Google because I just had this feeling, especially being close friends with other INFJs (albeit females) that this might have been the case. It was little wonder we clicked so well. There were also so many times he was put off by my bluntness which I had initially put down to being Australian (we are known for being quite brutally honest with things) but I had wondered whether it was his depression or his extreme politeness and was not used to us rough Aussies. Now, I realise that anything that was deemed a personal attack was due to the extreme nature of the F type to feel emotion. It all makes so much sense. And I can see that now.

    I think I will try to let him know of this information. It helped me heaps to understand why I’m an INTJ (female in particular). I can only hope it helps him to understand why he acts certain ways too, especially because he never really connected with other males either, was friends more with women yet was still quite practical.

  • mikemike says:

    yeah, we’re impossible. but, after a while you give up trying to be normally superman to save the world, and start being really creative in the material world — art, writing, to just save yourself. i wouldn’t want to be any other type.

  • Jacob Arasim says:

    I associate myself under INFJ. “Another contradiction is that INFJ males often relate to women better than most men, but we have difficulty developing romantic relationships.”

    Jfc. Might as well shoot me in the fucking head.

  • John Smith says:

    Nice , succinct summation. All the way down to the ‘hopeless romantic with a dirty mind’ part. I had my first M-B done in the early 90’s and just barely scored as a INFP. Twenty years later I was definitely a INFJ, and found out WHY I was so different. The ‘unicorn’ of the M-B you might say. And this is definitely me, from #1 to #10,

  • MikeInOhio says:

    Apart from a couple of minor things, this is largely on the mark for me. I’m in my late 50’s, and It has only been about 4 years since I discovered through testing that I was INFJ. But once I had that nugget of information, I only then began to fully appreciate and understand what was truly behind the things that made me tick, explanations for how I felt, and how I viewed the world and people. Everything about my entire life started to make sense. I had already begun to just embrace and accept all those unusual things about myself, but finding out the roots of my own personality was truly liberating for me.