5 Reasons INFJs Might Feel Unhappy

IntrovertDear.com INFJ unhappy

“Just go see a therapist and maybe take some medication.”

This is the classic response that you hear from others when you open up to them about sad feelings that you can’t shake off. There is definitely value in seeing the right therapist, but I can empathize with why INFJs seek more profound answers into why they feel the way they do. A quick and common fix, such as, “Stop worrying about what others think” or “Just let it go,” isn’t usually enough to heal the INFJ’s hurting soul.

(Not sure of your personality type? Take a free personality test.)

The INFJ personality type is nicknamed the Counselor because we love to help others by listening and sharing our pearls of wisdom. However, inspiring others to reach their potential doesn’t mean that INFJs are immune to having their own problems. In fact, some INFJs may become so preoccupied with other people’s feelings that they forget to check in with their own needs. This can lead to INFJs neglecting their own problems and feeling burned out and unhappy. When INFJs do realize they’ve left some issues simmering on the back burner, they may turn to others for guidance and direction. But INFJs might be disappointed when the people they turn to can’t offer the same level of insight that INFJs can give to others.

Of course, all personality types experience unhappiness at times. And it’s completely normal to not feel “up” every moment of the day. But here five reasons why INFJs may feel unhappy. These points are based on my subjective experience and what I’ve gleaned from other INFJs.

Why INFJs Might Be Unhappy

1. You’re surrounded by the wrong people.

Have you heard the popular saying, “Before you diagnose yourself with depression and anxiety, make sure you’re not hanging around jerks”? Who you hang out with impacts how you feel, especially when you’re an INFJ who absorbs other people’s emotions. Before I knew I was an INFJ, I wasn’t aware that some of my “overly emotional” responses were stemming from being around people who were abrasive, controlling, and critical. Like me, even though your intuition whispers to stay away from certain people, you may find yourself involved with a narcissist or an emotional abuser. You may have wanted to give such people the benefit of the doubt (INFJs are compassionate and forgiving). You may have wanted to comfort others in need. You may have felt sorry for someone.

Suddenly, you find yourself  in toxic relationships but you feel too guilty to leave, even though you’ve noticed multiple red flags. After all, the wrong people will say “I love you so much!” and “I am just trying to help you!” For me, it was eye-opening to realize how calm and relaxed I felt when I stopped talking to people who weren’t good for me. Walking away from the wrong people can guide you to the right people, who treat you the way that you should be treated. When you’re around the right people, you will likely notice a positive difference in your mood.

2. You’re in the wrong environment.

Not only are INFJs sensitive to people’s emotions, but they also pick up the vibes of where they live. Growing up, I was one of a few Indian girls living in Alabama. Dealing with white classmates who told me to “go back to your country” in their Southern accents wasn’t fun. Even though my school was top-notch and teachers said I was smart, my grades were awful. I now know that I wasn’t thriving because I was in the wrong environment. I remember shutting down and feeling flat, as a way of surviving the cruelty and ignorance of my classmates. When my family moved to Chicago, I suddenly found myself in a big city full of diversity and friendly people—and I flourished. My grades sky-rocketed. I smiled more. I got out of the house. So, INFJ, remember that a simple change in your environment may be enough to boost your happiness.

3. You aren’t living your life’s purpose.

Getting a paycheck is nice. Paying your bills and buying things you want is nice. But those niceties will probably not be enough for the INFJ who is yearning to champion a cause. Before I got my current job as a sexual assault counselor, I felt like an empty gasoline tank. I tried my best to adapt to my circumstances, but something wasn’t quite right. Now I wake up and come home knowing that I’m standing up for something important. Isn’t it an incredible feeling when you’re contributing to society in a positive way?

4. You’re pretending to be someone you’re not.

INFJs are rare, and other people have no problem driving that point home. When you wish you were like everyone else, you may find yourself emulating extroverts in the hope that your life will be happier. I knew a woman who was an ESTJ personality type; she told me to be more ruthless, because she thought my empathic nature was weak. Another ESTJ man told me that men don’t like intelligent women, which led me to dumb myself down. Eventually I learned that what worked for those two ESTJs didn’t work for me. Pretending to be someone you’re not is exhausting. Taking someone else’s destructive advice leads to beating yourself up. Be your best authentic self, and see how liberating it feels.

5. You haven’t learned to trust your intuition.

Your Introverted Intuition is there for a reason, despite what skeptics say. One of the biggest regrets I have is allowing other people to talk me out of my intuitive hunches. It can be an everyday challenge when you want to please others and maintain social harmony, but your intuition is screaming at you to do something else. Learning to trust my intuition and not feeling the need to rationalize it to others has paid off well. When I let my gut feelings guide me to better choices and good people, I feel happier. When I ignore my intuition, I have to deal with the aftermath.

Unhappy INFJs may be seen as blaming their problems on everyone else or complaining chronically. But it might not be that you’re too sensitive or not trying hard enough. Tap into your inner wisdom to identify what’s causing you to feel hopeless. Re-organizing your life and taking the steps to change may clear the emotional clutter. Of course, I know what I’m saying is easier said than done. But hold your head high and realize that some of the darkest moments in your life can lead you to a brighter path that you thought couldn’t exist. You may eventually look back on your difficult past and see how it got you to where you were meant to be.

More INFJ Resources

Did you enjoy this article? Sign up for our newsletters to get more stories like this.

This article may contain affiliate links. We only recommend products we truly believe in.


    • Henry says:

      This is a great article!
      The rule for all INFJs should be: less people pleasing, more integrity.
      Nr. 5 is especially true for men. Maybe not so much when you are left handed like me ;P

    • Rupali Grover says:

      Thank you so much for the feedback, Henry!

    • Cornelia says:

      It feels like this article was written especially for me. Unhappy, trying to be someone I’m not, in the wrong place with the wrong people, not trusting my intuition… Thank you for your wisdom! <3

    • River says:

      For me number 1 is the most crucial. For some reason in my twenties I used to surround myself with narcissists. I found them in a way easy company as all I had to do to be liked by them is make them feel good. I did not feel comfortable revealing myself so they lack of interest in me suited me. However after a while I felt I was dying inside. I got depressed. The authentic me was suffering. Now after years of therapy I try and only have authentic and empathetic people in my environment. I have never felt better.

    • R says:

      You made my day. I have been feeling down for an unknown reason and I haven’t been able to sleep at all. I understood the reason while reading this great article and I thank you for that.

    • liulishu says:

      thanks so much for the article. it’s hard being an INFJ in the wrong environment and living a life feeling like you were meant for greater things. A paycheck is nice and all… but is it really what i want? i keep asking myself things like that and i never find the right answer for myself. I’m a student majoring in accounting and although i am good at accounting… it is mundane and i don’t know if i want to do it for the rest of my life just for the numbers on my bank account. Has anyone here strayed away from their majors in college and ended up doing something else as a career after graduating? was it hard? i tell myself at times that even if i graduate and i want to change careers it shouldn’t be too hard so i should just focus on actually graduating instead but we all know there’s the issue of money, student debt and time…..

    • Enjoyed your article very much. As an INFJ, I especially identified with finding the right environment and the importance of finding the right job. I too, like many other INFJs, have had experience with other types telling me how to fix my personality so that I could be more extroverted. It’s fortunate that we’re generally strong and resilient, since being who we are requires riding against the waves quite a bit.

    • Ernest B says:

      Thank you for writing this article Rupali. I am INFJ and have been struggling with my career for most of my life. I often find myself unhappy with my management at work. I need a supervisor who I can relate to and who I can trust and who can also understand my sensitive nature and respond accordingly. I am a good and loyal worker to someone who can meet me half way but if I start to doubt the integrity or concern of the person who I report to then I begin to shut down and become less and less willing to go along to get along. So when reading your article, I quickly checked off boxes 1 through 3. I have often found myself surrounded by the wrong people, trapped in the wrong environment and I continue to struggle with whether I am living my life’s purpose. I am 50, long time married and have two grown up kids. I feel like I have lived my purpose as a husband and father. But in the arena of work, I just don’t know. In fact, relying on the intuition you mentioned in number 5, I have recently left my most recent job. It was making me miserable and I finally had reached a point where it was clear to me that if I didn’t leave then it was only a matter of time until I would be let go. So now I have some time and I am trying to reflect and figure out what the next step should be. If I rush back into another job in the same industry I fear it will just end up the same. It might be time to actually try something else but what?! I have no qualifications for anything else. It really is a tough time for me and made more difficult by this INFJ personality of mine. But your words still gave some inspiration and helped validate some of my recent decisions. Keep at this blog. It is a good place to come to.

    • Rupali Grover says:

      I am glad that you all have found value in the article, and felt comfortable sharing your own experiences! Thanks for leaving your feedback. It means a lot to me.

    • Trev says:

      Hi. I felt compelled to reply to your comment as I am an INFJ that majored in accounting during undergrad. Graduated in 2013 and did a 180 in my first job out of school. If you want to chat I’d be happy to.

    • Miranda says:

      Can you please make an article about people inviting introverts to parties because I am FED UP with this stuff.

      I kind of wish (I have a lot of extrovert friends) extroverts would check sites like these before inviting introverts to parties. Being invited to a party makes me feel obligated to go to it, and that is hard for me because I hate being in a room with more than 15-20 people. It just makes me feel uncomfortable, but I feel like I owe it to my friends to be there because they always seem to be having a blast. But I’m always in the corner, like “umm… yeah, you can go talk, I don’t care… I don’t feel very good…” and I don’t even lie about the feeling bad because I feel queasy and my head hurts. Just too much chaos. I used to think I was an extrovert before I went to my first real party, and then I almost had a nervous breakdown. I was hoping that some articles about unhappiness would help, but I’m thinking of something more specific. Since it’s the holidays, I’ve been invited to over 10 parties, both Christmas and holidays from other religions. I’m dreading having to either say “no” or have to say my usual cliche. Please help :(!

    • Bo Miller says:

      Great article!

    • Rupali G says:

      Hello Birgit

      I am sorry that I just saw this post. You’re right that it’s much more difficult to walk away or ignore a critical parent.

      When I work with clients who have had narcisssistic, toxic, controlling or abusice parents, we focus on this:

      1) Learn to set boundaries and stick with it. A parent may not like it at first, but the adult child still has the right to say, “I feel uncomfortable when you make fun of me” or “I can’t be here when you talk to me like that.” Each person is different, so each person decides which way of setting boundaries works for them. Setting boundaries with your parents may be scary at first, but it gets easier over time.

      2) Build your self-esteem and self-worth. The actions and words of other people can hurt, but knowing who you are and identifying your strengths can help you manage the toxic behavior of other people. Keep reminding yourself what you have to offer as a person. Someone’s opinion of us, even our parents, aren’t always facts.

      3) Talk to supportive people and process your mom’s behavior with someone safe: You could talk about this stuff with a therapist, or an unbiased friend. Even if your mom won’t change her behavior, venting about your relationship with her with can help you cope.

      There are some good books about toxic parenting and controlling parents that can help.

      Good luck!