What INFJs want in a relationship

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When it comes to love and relationships, we INFJs don’t want to be with just anyone.

As introverts, we’re independent; as INFJs, we’re perfectionists. A lot of us would rather be alone than date or marry someone just for the sake of having a warm body around.

If we’re acting authentically, we INFJs don’t usually do casual hook-ups, one night stands, or friends with benefits. We like to dive deep, and investing in shallow, temporary relationships isn’t our style.

We want to build relationships that last a long time — forever, if that were possible — and maybe somehow it is for the mystical INFJ.

What do our hearts crave? A soulmate.

What qualities do INFJs seek in a partner?

1. Someone who respectfully protects our sensitive nature.

We’re more sensitive emotionally than many other personality types — we’re like a finely tuned instrument — and this sensitivity affects who we choose as a partner, explains personality profiler Antonia Dodge, co-owner of Personality Hacker.

We seek someone who will be gentle with us and deal with conflict fairly and constructively. Tension, constant arguing, criticism, and passive aggressive behaviors will quickly sour the relationship for us.

2. Someone who holds emotional space for us.

Because of our sensitive nature, we INFJs literally absorb other people’s emotions at times (see: How INFJs and INFPs deal with emotions differently). This means we internalize a lot of emotional “garbage,” so to speak.

One of our greatest strengths is meeting other people’s emotional needs. Joel Mark Witt, who owns Personality Hacker with Dodge, calls this “holding emotional space” for others.

Because we hold emotional space for other people, we seek someone who will return the favor — someone who will give back to us emotionally by listening, empathizing, and letting us unpack the day’s emotional crud.

3. Someone who nourishes us with intuitive conversation.

As dominant intuitives, we INFJs have a strong need for deep conversation about ideas and possibilities. Simply talking about the day’s events or the weather isn’t enough for us. Intuitive conversation is like food for INFJs, Dodge says, and we need to be nourished by it regularly. If our partner can’t fulfill that need, we’ll go looking for fulfillment somewhere else.

4. Someone who connects with us on a deeper level.

Of all the personality types, INFJs may have the greatest capacity for creating intimacy with others, says Dodge. This is because our introverted intuition function allows us to see other people’s perspectives, and our extroverted feeling function puts other people’s emotions on our radar all the time.

We want to be intimately acquainted with our partner’s innermost thoughts and feelings. A simple give-and-take relationship just doesn’t cut it for INFJs.

5. Someone who respects our independent nature and need for occasional solitude.

We can be mistaken for extroverts because we care so much about other people, but we INFJs truly are introverts. And being introverted means we need plenty of time alone. “We don’t do well with partners who are extremely needy or clingy,” says Megan Malone, creator of INFJ Blog.

Solitude allows us to decompress, process the day’s events, and clear the “emotional cache” of feelings we’ve absorbed throughout the day. It also helps us recenter and focus on our own feelings, because when we’re with other people, we’re mostly focused on how they feel.

6. Someone who makes an effort to “get” us.

As INFJs, we’re complicated, complex human beings. We may never fully understand ourselves, and often we do or say things that surprise us! Our partner may never completely understand us, but what matters is that our partner makes an effort.

“INFJs often grow up feeling misunderstood and under-appreciated for the gifts that they have to offer, so we value partners who truly appreciate us and make an effort to understand us,” says Malone.

If you’re looking for your soulmate-partner

You may have met someone you thought was your soulmate, only later to have had the relationship fall apart. Or maybe you’ve been searching for a while, but still haven’t found someone you’ve “clicked” with.

INFJs tend to take dating very seriously. Loosen the reigns a little bit, Witt recommends.

Not every person you go on a date with needs to be the “one.” You can learn a lot about yourself — and what kind of relationship you ultimately want to be in or don’t want to be in — by meeting all kinds of people.

Through the messy trial-and-error process that dating is, with time, you’ll hopefully stumble across your soulmate-partner.

Be wary of searching for the “ultimate” relationship, warns Elaine Schallock, contributor to the blog Personality Junkie.

“INFJs have lofty ideals where people are concerned,” she says. “The truth is that while this is genuinely well-meaning, it can have very damaging consequences if not properly balanced with realistic expectations.”

Ultimately, follow your intuition when you’re deciding whether or not to be with someone. As an INFJ, you know what’s right for you probably better than anyone else does.

Probably one person won’t have all the exact qualities you’re looking for, but don’t let anyone talk you into a relationship that doesn’t feel right. You may be happy for a while — you may feel flattered by the other person’s interest, or maybe you’ve been alone for so long that having anyone around is a nice change.

Eventually, that excitement will wear off, and you’ll need someone who satisfies your heart’s cravings.

In other words, trust your gut. It’s what INFJs do best.

Image credit: Deviant Art (paintedpoppy)

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Jenn Granneman is the founder of IntrovertDear.com and the author of The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World. She also cohosts The Introvert, Dear Podcast and blogs for Psychology Today. For most of her life, Jenn felt weird, different, and out of place because of her quiet ways. She writes about introversion because she doesn’t want other introverts to feel the way she did.