This Is the INFJ’s Favorite Question

an INFJ asks her favorite question

INFJs are notorious for asking this question, because they’re constantly striving to improve themselves and the world around them.

Why do I have to do things this way rather than that way? Why must I go to college, get married, or have children? Why do humans feel tired in the winter when the sun sets early?

Ah yes, the favorite question of INFJs: Why?

As a young INFJ, the rarest of the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types, I questioned everything. Naturally, this irked my parents and teachers, but it was just the way I did things. I refused to do something unless I understood and agreed with the rationale behind it. If the given reason seemed nonsensical (as many explanations provided to children are), I refused to do the task until the adult could give me a better reason.

(Are you an INFJ? Here are 16 signs that you’re the rarest personality type.)

Of course, there’s another side to the story with INFJs (there always is). I was also a people-pleaser. This led to a dilemma — should I comply with my caregivers or be a pain in the ass? The battle ensued within my head daily, and it’s still one I face today.

Here’s why “why” is the INFJ’s favorite question and how it represents both a blessing and a curse.

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INFJs Aren’t Interested in the ‘Easy’ Life

As I grew older, I realized with some sadness that most people don’t concern themselves with the reasons behind their actions — they simply act because they were told to, avoiding arguments over what they see as trivialities. Bluntly put, many people prefer not to overthink; life seems easier when everything fits neatly into boxes, and the status quo remains undisturbed.

However, for INFJs, it’s a different story. Of course, we’re not the only Myers-Briggs personality type to question things. Introverts, in general, are known for their deep reflections and questioning of conventional ideas. But INFJs display a particular persistence in asking “why,” akin to a dog tenaciously holding onto a bone. This question burns within us, often tormenting us until we find our answer.

This quest for understanding sometimes leads to additional work. For instance, in one job, my company used a specific email marketing software. It performed adequately and, as my boss said, was “good enough” for our needs. Yet, I couldn’t help but think we could do better. Why settle for “good enough”?

For an INFJ, “good enough” is never satisfactory. So, on my own initiative, I researched and discovered a more cost-effective software that operated almost identically but with several improvements. I presented it to my boss, and fortunately, he adopted it without much resistance.

Why INFJs Question Everything

The reason INFJs question everything, I believe, is due to our profound desire to improve the world around us (and ourselves). Simply limping through life and surviving to the next day is not sufficient for us. We INFJs are compelled to constantly make everything better as we experience each moment.

Not only do we constantly strive to improve ourselves, but we also continuously ponder how we can improve the lives of others, the work we INFJs engage in, and society at large. There’s a good reason INFJs are known as “the Advocate.” According to 16Personalities, they are the personality type most likely to create a movement that leads to social change. This drive stems from our deep need to contribute meaningfully to the world.

How to Answer Your Why Questions

Many INFJs realize early on that this quality of ours can be both a blessing and a curse. It can be quite troublesome to others, especially to people who don’t care about the reasons behind things. Thus, as much as possible, we try to just figure things out on our own.

Thank God for Google, because that’s how I answer all the questions that pop into my head during my stint on this planet. Why are the wheels of an airplane bigger in the back and smaller in the front? What’s the most efficient way to dry my clothes in the hot, humid weather in Thailand? Is there a better route to pick up my mother from her spa date?

INFJs don’t need to ask these questions of their bosses, coworkers, or parents anymore, thanks to the internet — hurray! We don’t need to poke at the calm veneer of the people around us; we can just open up our trusty browsers.

However, sometimes people do things a certain way just because. Perhaps you know someone like this: It’s the way they have always done it, and it’s the way they are always going to do it. There’s no particular reason for it, and when you ask, you become the bad guy. In those situations, I’ve found it best to just avoid asking the why question. Sure, it hurts my little INFJ heart, but sometimes it’s the only way to avoid stirring up trouble.

There are other times when asking why, even though it’s annoying, can be extremely beneficial. For me, those times happen when someone’s life could be immensely improved by asking the question. For example, I once worked at a company where the CEO was absolutely adamant about not being challenged. In fact, people were fired just for questioning him!

In a situation like this, it would have been better for me to keep my mouth shut until I found a better job. But when I noticed a colleague was being bullied by the CEO for something that was not her fault, I had to step up and ask why.

Unacceptable behavior aside, it was unfair and unjust — and you know we INFJs can’t stand this sort of stuff. In this case, even though it was a huge headache to speak up, I’m glad I did it, because it actually got the CEO to back off my colleague.

Do you ever struggle to know what to say?

As an introvert, you actually have the ability to be an amazing conversationalist — even if you’re quiet and hate small talk. To learn how, we recommend this online course from our partner Michaela Chung. Click here to check out the Introvert Conversation Genius course.

INFJs Ask Why to Improve Their Lives

As INFJs, we possess an incessant need to become the best version of ourselves and to leave the world better than how we found it. This drive is at the heart of our constant questioning of both the trivial and the significant.

This was a key reason behind starting my INFJ YouTube channel. I realized that I have a voice and, despite being one of the shyest people, I desired to share my thoughts with other lonely INFJs. My aim was to make them feel less alone by showing them that many of us INFJs share similar “strange” quirks. (You can read more about the “peculiar” traits of INFJs here.)

In this process, I not only improved myself by becoming less shy and more outgoing, but I also enhanced my communication skills. As an added bonus, I was able to help others in their self-improvement journeys as well.

Indeed, INFJs are ultimate askers and seekers. We are driven to understand the reasons behind our actions and to ascertain if we are pursuing the best possible methods. When something isn’t optimal, it doesn’t take us long to research, make adjustments, conduct experiments, and discover a more effective approach.

In fact, for INFJs like me, it brings immense pleasure to continuously run these little experiments, refining our lives more each day. To me, these mini-experiments represent a source of ultimate joy — there’s nothing more exhilarating! I experience a cognitive thrill when I find a way to enhance my self-care routine, improve how I edit my videos, or optimize any other aspect of my life.

To my fellow INFJs, don’t fear — embrace your inquisitiveness. Asking why is one of our strengths and gifts to the world. We are called to be bold, to question, and to better ourselves and the world around us. In doing so, we help make it a brighter, better place.

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