Why You Might Feel Lonely If You’re an INFJ Personality Type

I’ll admit something: I often feel extremely lonely. That might be a strange thing for an introvert to say because introverts tend to enjoy being alone. And honestly, I do enjoy my own company. On my own, there are no misunderstandings. When I’m alone, I’m not constantly trying to pretend that I fit in. I’m not expending loads of energy on being careful about what I say and how I say it.

But I’m not just introverted. I’m part of a special group of rare individuals called INFJs. INFJs often experience a unique kind of loneliness, because we want deep connections with others but we also need plenty of alone time.

(What’s your personality type? We recommend this free personality test.)

The widely used personality test, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, separates people into 16 different personality types. Let’s take a closer look at it to better understand why INFJs feel lonely.

There are four parts to the typing format:

1. Introvert or Extrovert?

Denoted by an I or an E in the Myers-Briggs test, the difference between being an introvert or an extrovert is the environment in which you feel the most energized and relaxed. Extroverts flourish when they are around other people. Introverts draw energy from being alone.

That doesn’t mean that introverts don’t like people. Most of us enjoy spending time with others occasionally. We just tire out more easily when socializing and feel the need to be alone to recharge. It’s similar to how extroverts may feel a little “down” when alone and happier around others.

2. Sensing or INtuitive?

Do you trust information you gather from your five senses more than the inferences you make about a situation? Or do you notice patterns and possibilities in a given situation, and look to uncover the meaning behind your experiences? In truth, we all do both. However, we are naturally partial to doing one more often than the other. Simply put, if you spend more time considering possibilities and looking toward the future, you are likely an Intuitive. However, if you live in the moment, reacting to things as they come, you likely rely on Sensing.

The best examples of the two types are Sherlock Holmes and Charlie Epps. Sherlock Holmes was a Sensing personality type. He noticed everything down to the smallest detail and formed opinions based on physical evidence. Yet, Charlie Epps, a character from the TV show Numbers, is more intuitive. He notices patterns in people’s behavior, equates those patterns into mathematical theories, and then figures out possible outcomes derived from those patterns. Together, they would most likely make the perfect crime-fighting team. Assuming they could figure out a way to work together peacefully, that is!

3. Thinking or Feeling?

The third part of the personality puzzle deals with how you make decisions. Thinking personalities are more logical and pragmatic. They attempt to look at the facts as dispassionately as possible. (Think Spock from Star Trek or Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory.) Feeling personalities, on the other hand, tend to consider how a decision impacts others. Often, Feeling types become caregivers, counselors, or teachers because they are so people- oriented.

Thinkers are often viewed as uncaring or indifferent, yet they do care about others. After all, we are talking about human beings, not robots. Thinkers prioritize the use of logic, putting aside personal feelings, viewing this as the best way to be fair and diplomatic to everyone involved in a given situation. Feelers value harmony and avoid controversy; this compulsion can lead to enabling or appearing too idealistic.

This is where the intricacies of the INFJ personality type start to become apparent. Because it is here that the combination of introvert (a person who feels best in seclusion) meets the Feeling personality that is concerned with the well-being of others. It seems illogical that a person who prefers solitude could be so people-oriented, right? If you don’t like people, than how can you care about them? Well, because being an introvert does not mean that you dislike people. Remember, being introverted or extroverted is about the situation in which you feel the most energized, and the most yourself.

So to fully appreciate the situation, it’s time to consider the fourth part of personality typing.

4. Perceiving or Judging?

This part of the personality puzzle has to do with how you deal with the outside world. Unlike how the terms sound, it is not about being judgemental or perceptive. A Judging person prefers to make solid decisions and is the most comfortable in a more structured, organized atmosphere. A Perceiving person prefers to be open to what may come and is more comfortable having options and going with the flow of things.

For example, a Judger may plan the details of their vacation months in advance. They may research activities and plan what they will do each day. A Perceiver, on the other hand, might book a hotel a few months before hand, but they will decide what to do with their free time once they arrive at their destination. In general, Judgers don’t like last minute events, preferring to have everything already in their calendar weeks if not months in advance. Perceivers are more likely to enjoy a spur of the moment drink after work with friends or coworkers.

This doesn’t mean that your Judging friend won’t take you up on that spur of the moment drink. Sometimes, they will be quite happy to oblige. But, other times, they will already have other plans that they have committed to.

Back to Our Lonely INFJ

INFJs, like all introverts, are not easily oriented to socializing. When stressed, we might lose our ability to keep tabs on our tone of voice or our ability to keep small talk going. Furthermore, introverts tend to internalize our thoughts and emotions, making it less obvious to others when we are overwhelmed and in need of a timeout. However, because of our Feeling personality type, we want to be around people. It’s difficult to take care of people if you aren’t around them.

In my experience, INFJs hit major social roadblocks during spur of the moment events. When we turn down these outings too often, people stop asking us to join in because they assume we don’t like them or that particular outing. Conversely, when we force ourselves to go, trying to avoid being left out or hurting someone’s feelings, we tend to alienate ourselves with accidental rudeness.

I cannot even begin to tell you how many times my exhaustion has gotten the better of me and thoughts slip through my mouth that I instantly regret. Or worse, I was too tired to even realize what I’d said or done to irritate the people around me and too exhausted to remember the situation well enough to learn from it and avoid it happening again.

So what happens? We end up feeling lonely, wishing we had people who understood our special kind of weirdness. We want someone who will forgive our flaws and have the patience to continue inviting us along on the rare and beautiful occasion that we are truly up to it.

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Read this: 21 Undeniable Signs That You’re an INFJ retina_favicon1

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    • Well said! Those last few paragraphs nailed the experience of being a lonely INFJ. It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed, especially around other people’s feelings or reactions.

    • Bina says:

      Brilliant, Kimberly. I’ve never felt so completely understood. Thank you very much.

    • pr1ncessfierce says:

      Add to that the fact I have a chronic illness with this INFJ personality and I really struggle with this. Not only am I misunderstood as a person, but I’m extra weird because my illness limits me even further.

    • Mel says:

      I am an ISFJ and relate to this article. You focused mostly on introversion, feeling and judging. Do you believe an ISFJ is lonely type also?

      • @Mel, yes. I personally believe that every type does feel lonely from time to time. In this case, I think the commonalities have to do with the introversion, feeling and judging pieces of the personality puzzle. Both the sensing and intuitive parts have more to do with interaction with the world and others. There may be minute differences in how we respond specifically in given situations, but since the point is more about a generalized feeling of loneliness, it’s easy for us to empathize with each other over the general feeling of loneliness within social situations.

    • Mel says:

      Thanks for the reply! I agree with your thoughts on this.

    • Denise says:

      This article truly IS me! Thank you so much for making me feel understood and helping me to understand myself better.

    • trijnewijn says:

      Thank you so much for your very clear explanation of what the f and p stand for. Now I finally really understand the difference and I can see why I get either info or infp. Even though I feel much better in a structured and organised environment, I can handle all sorts of last minute changes. It takes (a bit or a lot) more energy, but I am lucky I can manage them. Since I have children, there’s only a big scheme, all details get messed up anyway 😉
      Anyway, your last paragraph nailed it. Thank you for writing it!

    • Grateful ENFP says:

      Thanks for all the insightful articles. As an ENFP(/J), I find it very easy to relate to my INFJ friends. It’s comfortable, interesting, unique, and fun being your friend. I also know how overwhelming it can be to walk into a room and feel all the emotions at once. We can feel yours too, for the most part. Sometimes we totally misread (but not judge) you, which only adds to our curiosity about what goes on in your mind. In hindsight, we can suddenly have a moment of realization when we discover something about you by connecting the dots. We feel the wall you erect around yourself for protection, and try to be patient and kind so that when you do decide to take it down, we are ready to see the real you. We stick around because we are loyal, and we like that you are too. Please don’t stop expressing how you feel. Your way of communicating is a breath of fresh air 🙂

      To all you INFJS who doubt how much you are appreciated, words cannot express how valuable you are. God bless you for all the joy you add to this world, and all the trouble you go through to love your neighbor and defend the helpless.

    • I’m glad it resonated with you and gave you a small piece of ‘home.’

    • Infj says:

      This is soo true! Being an infj is indeed difficult…we all need only one person in our life to understand us and we create our world around that one person…we dont need anyone else.. unfortunately that one person seems to be always “self”..i guess infj were created to understand others rather be understood…guess its a fact that i should accept and be

    • Nothinghaschanged-Everythinghaschanged says:

      Wow, that last paragraph was so accurate … Damn scary !
      I often turn down offers to go to an event … And then I feel TERRIBLE because I don’t want the persons to think that I don’t like them … I LOVE them, it’s just that it wasn’t the “right time” (last minute events !), I wasn’t in the “right mood”, at the right place …
      But when I force myself to go to that kind of events, I also feel TERRIBLE, because it feels like kicking myself in the ass, I DON’T WANT TO BE HERE, and it increases the discomfort and the loneliness standing there in the middle of everyone I love, unnable to have a good time. I often call it “being alone together”.

      And the worst is when the persons I love stop inviting me because I turn down offers too many times …
      And then seeing them spreading all over social medias what I missed by not being there, while they didn’t invite me. Fear of rejection. Damn it.

      I don’t know anyone who understands, and I “pray” every single day that ONE DAY, I’ll finally meet another INFJ in real life to be his companion, and him/her, my companion.
      It’s too complicated, I wish I could disconnect with all those invisible fences, and just be an easy outgoing person.

    • You will find people who are willing to listen and be understanding. It is also imperative that we remember to give others room for growth by continually trying to explain how we feel to our friends and loved ones. We all need to be challenged in order to grow. Have patience and faith. Desperate prayer brought me the people I need at the time that I most needed it.

    • Parker says:

      Thank you for the wonderful and insightful article, Kim. It articulated a lot of what I’ve been feeling for the past 4 or so years. It’s a marvel how alike INFJs around the world truly are. To my question: In your opinion, do you think depression and the loneliness brought upon by our personality type go hand in hand? I think my longing for alone time and fear of the unknown have severely impacted my social and love life.

      I have good social skills, but I subconsciously and consistently stand in the way of my own personal growth. I desperately want the interaction, but convince myself that I don’t need it when approached with it. I can acknowledge it but the hard part is fixing it. I think the lack of motivation might stem from depression, which apparently runs in my family.

      I’m sorry for the terribly long post, I had the desire to put my thoughts on paper for someone who understands to read them. I know it’s a lot to ask, but do you have any thoughts or advice?

    • xristina says:

      “..because being an introvert does not mean that you dislike
      people. Remember, being introverted or extroverted is about the
      situation in which you feel the most energized, and the most yourself.”

      that’s a fact that confuses most of my acquaintances and all the people i met. lack of understanding 🙁

    • Melanie Knight says:

      That is so me!!! I so appreciate your article thank you for writing it. So frustrating to be us sometimes isn’t it? 😊 I do suffer from loneliness I want really deep and loyal friendships but don’t feel that anyone I know is up for that type of challenge. And yes totally understand about the invites, wish people could understand why I pass them up. Even when I try to explain it you can tell they just don’t understand.