5 Strengths of the Rare and Often Misunderstood INFJ Personality

An INFJ personality reflects on her strengths.

Understanding my place in the world as an INFJ personality is a journey that’s still being written. It’s a process that has taken me through multiple jobs, relationships, and life experiences. At times, it’s been a tough path, but ultimately, it’s been a necessary one that’s required me to question who I am.

Being an INFJ — a rare and often misunderstood personality type — can be challenging. There are times when you doubt yourself and wonder what you have to offer the world. That’s why, in this article, I want to explore the strengths of the INFJ personality. Here are five of them. Ultimately, I hope this article inspires other INFJs out there who may be hurting or questioning their worth.

(What’s your personality type? Take a free personality test.)

Strengths of the INFJ Personality

1. A wonderful sense of observation

We INFJs notice little details about our surroundings, and we especially notice little details about people. For this reason, INFJs love to people watch. People-watching allows us to study human nature without actually having to interact with anyone.

I often notice small details like what someone is wearing or if the customer said “thank you” to the cashier. And for me, it’s always interesting observing two people talking without eavesdropping on the conversation but rather just looking at their body language. I’m sure most INFJs will agree that our people-watching isn’t meant to be creepy. Rather, it’s how we analyze human behavior and societal norms — which is fascinating for the inquisitive INFJ.

2. Natural empaths

INFJs are very good at empathizing with others, even when we’ve never directly experienced what the other person is going through. We can easily put ourselves in other people’s shoes and see things from their perspective.

For example, I recently worked as a team leader for the Youth Conservation Corps in Hawaii, where I was in charge of six young adults. I felt that one of my biggest accomplishments was getting to know each of my team members on a personal level but also holding true to my role as an authority figure and a mentor. One day, I had a deep conversation with one of these young adults who told me his life story and what was presently troubling him. I mostly just listened and soaked up all that he said — and also what he wasn’t saying. I picked up on his body language, change in tone of voice, and overall demeanor. I got into a zone where nothing else mattered; my sole purpose right then was to listen and try to understand what was going on in his life.

At the end of our conversation, this young man told me that he’d never shared so much with anyone else in his life. I’m not trying to boast, but I believe it was my natural INFJ empathy that helped him open up.

Ironically, we INFJs can feel like we’re made to understand others — yet others don’t understand us.

3. Extremely creative

Whether it’s art, literature, music — or even something like creating lesson plans for students — INFJs are never short on ideas. There are many writers, musicians, entertainers, and great thinkers who are thought to be INFJs, such as Alanis Morissette, Edgar Allan Poe, Shakespeare, J.K. Rowling, Billy Crystal, George R.R. Martin, Carrie Fisher, Carl Jung, Plato — and many more.

Personally, I enjoy sketching; as my creative juices start flowing, I get lost in my inner world, and my attention to detail takes over. Another example of INFJ creativity comes from when I worked as an environmental educator. I had to design interactive lessons for high school students. Once I was put to the task, I spent hours creating engaging lessons, and loved it.

4. Lifelong learners

Never content to remain stagnant, INFJs are always seeking new information, whether it’s picking up a book, people-watching, or occasionally stepping out of our comfort zone. INFJs, like other introverted intuitive types, wholeheartedly embrace what it means to be a “lifelong learner.” We use our Introverted Intuition to absorb new ideas, make connections, and combine disparate data points into unified theories — usually with a focus on human nature.

For me, bookstores are one of my favorite places in the world. Libraries and the internet are also havens for my INFJ mind, and I’ve spent hours exploring them.

But INFJs don’t spend all their time with their nose in a book. Paradoxically, I also have an adventurous side that pushes me to do things like camping in the wilderness — and even skydiving. Many INFJs are naturally curious, and pleasures such as novels and travel are the perfect antidotes.

5. In service of others

Unfortunately, many people still have the misconception that quiet, solitude-loving introverts are unapproachable or even selfish. Although INFJs are true introverts who need plenty of alone time, they’re also deeply interested in people. For this reason, they may even be confused for extroverts.

Yes, INFJs can be both reclusive hermits and also the life of the party (when we feel comfortable around the people we’re with).

Specifically, INFJs love helping others. In fact, I believe that a crucial ingredient to INFJ happiness is working to empower others. I’ve found that teaching, counseling, and coaching are perfect for this. To be an INFJ is to be an idealist who wants to make the world a better place — especially for those who are hurting or underserved.

Being an INFJ can have its bright moments and its dark periods. But ultimately, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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