INFJs don’t date just for the sake of dating, and we won’t invest our energy if we can’t picture a deep relationship.
Just when I finally decided I liked this guy and felt ready to take the next step, the whole thing went belly-up.
About a year ago, a coworker asked if I could meet with one of his clients. I agreed and soon met with an incredibly attractive and charming 20-something guy. Sparks flew, but I felt it would be weird to seek him out afterwards.
I thought I’d never see him again, but this past January, as I was reluctantly scrolling through a dating app, there he was. To my shock, we matched. And on New Year’s Day. It was serendipity … or so my INFJ self thought.
We texted every day for a week-and-a-half, then met up for dinner. I wasn’t completely sold on our compatibility, but I was willing to give him a chance (as INFJs tend to do). By the end of an amazing second date — coffee and a browse through Barnes & Noble (an introvert’s dream!) — I had fallen hard. We continued to text daily, sending each other everything: music, memes, poetry, you name it.
But at the end of our third date, he said, “I just wish I wasn’t so busy and could spend more time with you.” I said I was happy with whatever time I could get with him. We hugged, but then he added, “I’ll see you around, yeah?” And something about that phrase and the way he said it made me think he really meant, “Goodbye.”
And I was right.
He texted me later that night, thanking me for dinner, and I told him I had a great time but wanted some clarification on what he meant by his last remark.
I hate to say we’re mind readers, but it tends to be one of our INFJ superpowers. Here’s what he said:
- “Don’t get me wrong: I don’t want you to think I’m not into you.” Alright, I’ll let that triple negative go and try my best not to overanalyze, something we INFJs usually excel at.
- “I’m just too busy to commit to giving you the time I want to give to the relationship.” I never said I needed a lot of time … or wanted a relationship (yet) …
- “I even had to delete all my dating apps because I don’t even have time to swipe.” Hold the phone. You were still swiping on dating apps?!
The infamous INFJ door slam — abruptly cutting someone (him) out of my life — was carried out swiftly thereafter.
Above anything else, INFJs value the strong connections we have with other people. Although we relish our solitude, we need time with the people who really get us, too — our kindred spirits with whom we can have deep, meaningful conversations.
So when it comes to finding a romantic partner, we need to have this deep mental and emotional connection with them, as well. It’s not just a deal-breaker for an INFJ, but for many other personality types, too. In retrospect, I can see that he and I didn’t have that connection.
Over the years, I’ve noticed that there are a few things about being an INFJ that seem to predispose us to misadventures in love.
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5 Reasons INFJs Struggle With Romantic Relationships
1. We don’t date just for the sake of dating — we won’t invest our energy if we can’t picture a deep relationship.
I can’t tell you how many times my mom has told me to try dating around a little. I know I can’t be the only introvert who’s heard, “You don’t have to marry them!” … like 800 times.
But that’s the thing about INFJs: If some kind of commitment isn’t on the table, we’re generally not interested; it’s one of the reasons INFJs leave relationships. Commitment doesn’t mean marriage necessarily, but we’re not going to invest what precious social energy we have on someone if we can’t picture a deep relationship with them.
2. We loathe get-to-know-you small talk, because it leaves us lacking connection.
I hate those memes that imply all introverts hate people, because it’s simply not true. People fascinate me; small talk does not.
However, first dates kind of necessitate small talk, as you’re both trying to establish a baseline knowledge of things about each other. This often leaves us unsatisfied with the level of connection we make on a first date.
That said, first dates can be wonderful when they’re tailored for introverts, such as having coffee at a bookstore or finding a game (perhaps at that same bookstore!) that asks the other person introspective questions.
3. It can take a while for us to decide how we feel about someone.
I often feel like I’m three steps behind when it comes to deciphering my feelings. The INFJ Extroverted Feeler (Fe) characteristic naturally attunes us to how others are feeling, but often alienates us from understanding our own feelings.
Most of the time, I get a pretty strong sense of who a person is and how we’ll get along after one interaction, but when it comes to romantic interests, I’m often so overwhelmed that it takes me a lot of time and energy to decide how I really feel about someone.
Over time, I’ve learned it’s OK not to know how I feel (even if the other person seems to know) and figure it out at my own pace.
4. We notice everything, even the subtlest cues.
When my ex-whatever-we-were said, “I’ll see you around,” I’m sure he could’ve gotten away with “letting me down easy” if I wasn’t hyper-aware of body language, intonation, and phrasing. INFJs tend to absorb even the subtlest cues, making us feel like the human equivalent of a lie detector and a mood ring rolled into one.
INFJ relationships would probably be easier for everyone involved if we tried to mute some of those incoming signals, but it’s not something I’m capable of turning off. So when I feel my partner isn’t being totally honest with me, I call them out on it.
I’d rather have the truth anyway, even if it hurts more
5. We are idealists with high standards.
Plenty of personality types, introverted or extroverted, have high standards. But INFJs are idealists — we believe everyone has the potential to become a better person and expect others to work toward that potential in the same way we expect ourselves to.
We tend to give much more than we take, and we generally like it that way.
But if we go too long without some sort of reciprocation that shows we are appreciated just as deeply, we feel hurt and start to resent the other person for not putting in the same effort.
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Lower Your Guard a Little, But Not Your Standards
For all my fellow INFJs out there, I want to both challenge and affirm the way we approach relationships:
- Don’t rely too much on the past. Because INFJs constantly make connections to past experiences, we often get ahead of ourselves and play out an entire relationship in our heads before it even happens. I’m learning to give people a chance to show me what they really have to offer versus drawing conclusions beforehand based on previous relationships.
- Allow yourself time to process before responding. One of my worst habits in my relationships is responding without giving myself sufficient time to sort through all of my emotions. INFJs are usually great at seeing all sides of a situation, which can make it difficult to settle on an immediate response. Giving myself time to process how I feel — carefully, and in solitude — before I give my answer means I’m less likely to hurt or confuse people in the process.
- Be honest about your expectations. Part of the reason I was so frustrated by my most recent misadventure in dating is that my date assumed my expectations for a relationship were the same as his. He had said he would ideally spend time with his partner every day whereas I need a lot of alone time and usually don’t have the energy to see someone more than twice a week (at least at first). Being honest about my expectations may prevent future miscommunication and create a more fulfilling relationship.
- Stop trying to analyze what went wrong. INFJs seek improvement in every facet of our lives: We look back at our past actions, trying to figure out what we can do better next time. It has been 10 months since the “breakup” you’ve been reading about, but I still occasionally wonder if I did something wrong and whether he and I could have worked out if I’d done something differently. Instead of dwelling on the past, acknowledge your emotions, allow yourself time to reflect, and then move on, accepting that what is meant for you will be yours.
- Don’t lower your standards. We INFJs take pride in our ability to make everyone feel special to us and show people they are known and appreciated. However, we get frustrated holding out for that elusive soul mate and end up settling for someone who may not deserve the benefit of the doubt that we tend to offer to everyone we meet. (Enter every guy I’ve dated in the last 10 years.) It’s a beautiful gift to view the world through rose-colored glasses, but be honest with yourself when you’re idealizing someone and focusing more on the way they could be, rather than the way they are.
Fellow INFJs, can you relate? What dating struggles or advice would you add? Let me know in the comments.
You might like:
- Will I Be Single Forever? 6 Introvert Dating Struggles
- Here’s the Love Language of Each Introverted Myers-Briggs Type
- 21 Signs You’re an INFJ, the Rarest Personality Type
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