When I first took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and discovered that I am an INFJ personality type, it explained an abundance of things. I finally understood the reasons behind why I often feel different from the people around me, why socializing exhausts me, and even small things, like why I prefer texting over calling on the phone.
It is often tough being an INFJ. As the rarest type, it can be easy for INFJs to feel misunderstood. I have grown to love my personality type, but it was not always that way. There are still things I wish others could understand about INFJs. Here are seven of them.
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What I Wish People Understood About INFJs
1. INFJs might be confused for extroverts, but we are honest-to-goodness introverts.
Many people, when they try to guess my personality type, assume that I’m an extrovert — or even an ambivert. While it is true that INFJs take a natural interest in people, we need plenty of time alone to recharge. (We are introverts, after all.) I love people, but I find socializing to be exhausting, and can only talk for so long before I feel the need to be alone for a while.
2. We often resort to people-pleasing without even realizing it.
I, for one, hate this about myself. In countless situations when I have been talking with someone, especially someone I did not know well, a part of my mind promptly figured out what that person expected me to be or act like, and I listened to it. Often, it feels easier to be the person that others expect me to be instead of the person who I really am. It is a struggle that I continue to work on.
3. INFJs tend to wear a “mask” that can be difficult to take off.
For me, it feels uncomfortably vulnerable to be without this mask, which, over the years, I have carefully crafted. I am almost never without it while in front of other people, so anyone who gets to see the “real me” knows that they are special to me, being one of a small number of people with whom I am completely comfortable. One of my deepest wishes, though, is that one day someone will see through my mask on their own and know that it does not even come close to defining who I am at my core.
4. We seem quiet and sweet at first glance, but if you violate something that we strongly believe in, we will fight fiercely.
When INFJs are angry, we are determined. This is related to what is known as the INFJ door slam. If you hurt an INFJ enough times, you can say goodbye to your friendship with them. The very few times I have “slammed the door” in the past, I locked that person out of my life completely, in fear of being burned yet again: blocked them on social media, deleted their contact from my phone, and ignored them in almost every way possible. Similarly, if INFJs see even a small injustice that is able to be stopped, we may fight tirelessly against it.
5. INFJs crave deep conversations and connections.
This, I know, applies to many introverts, and not just those with the INFJ personality type. A big part of what causes INFJs to hate small talk with a passion is we perceive it to be the number one thing that prevents connections from forming between people. And our society uses an unreasonably large amount of small talk. “The weather today is exquisite!” and “I’ve been really busy with work lately.” Topics like this are merely used to fill the silence, and although I appreciate avoiding awkward silences more than anyone, I constantly wish to talk about things more complex than this. I want to know your dreams for the future, what you love about life, what you hate about it. I want to know what makes you you.
6. Many of us are extremely idealistic.
To this day, I am not sure whether I consider this to be one of my gifts or one of my flaws. My heartfelt wish to make the world a tiny bit better will hopefully lead to me making a difference, but often I think that I should just try to accept the world as it is. However, I do not think I will ever stop being idealistic, and it has a good effect on my life. My love of writing definitely comes from my wish to change the world for the better, as does my appreciation for art and music. It makes me happy to see beautiful things being put passionately out into the world.
7. We feel things deeply.
While you have probably heard this about us time and time again, it is important to keep in mind. Despite sometimes struggling with intense feelings, INFJs find emotions to be remarkably beautiful, as they are what make everyone human. Many INFJs can relate to the experience of feeling inexplicably happy from something as simple as watching a radiant evening sunset, or of feeling overwhelmingly upset after seeing a commercial on television that raises awareness about animal cruelty. Although the fact that our emotions run deeply can be painful in certain situations, it can also be wonderful, and is part of what makes us who we are.
Being an INFJ has its ups and downs, just like any other personality type. All we can do is learn and grow as people, try to make the world a little bit better than it is, and hope that one day others will understand these things about us.
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