INFJ Characteristics

The INFJ is the rarest of Jungian types and as such is in many ways the most enigmatic, difficult to understand and difficult to know. Conversely this means people can often get the INFJ wrong. Serious minded and caring, values are just so important to the INFJ whose word is not just a bond but tied in with who they are intrinsically as people. Integrity is the watchword and they will be excellent listeners, patient, supportive and with a strong desire to ‘do the right thing.’ Their perception and sense of perspective means that others will ‘open up’ and they will be seen as the catalyst for making things better.

Although quite gentle, softly spoken and preferring to be out of the limelight, the INFJ will work long and hard behind the scenes to maintain harmony but they are also intensely independent - both of thought and spirit - and will be outspoken in their defence of human values, the downtrodden, the oppressed. INFJs often see themselves on a mission, and they take their missions very seriously.

Earnest and responsible the INFJ may be so committed to the cause that other issues take a poor second place. The introvert side means that so much internal processing and reflection goes on but once the course of action has been agreed others, who perhaps perceived a quiet inactive individual, may be surprised by just how decisive, energetic and single-minded the INFJ is. The responsible, serious nature of the INFJ also means that they may have to learn to ‘lighten up’ as devotion can take its toll in missing out on the more pleasurable, humorous and less intense moments life occasionally throws up.

INFJs can make inspiring leaders, (as followers will believe in them and want to ‘sign up’), and have a devotion to the cause that borders on evangelical and certainly those following will have a crystal clear vision of how it could be.

Like the INTJ, the INFJ has the ability to understand complex processes and systems but the INFJ will use these primarily to understand people, and make things happen for them. Even though they are likely to come across to others as quite shy, and certainly quiet, INFJs have a keen interest in others and will work hard and behind-the-scenes to achieve their goals. Never over-exuberant or gushing, trust would take quite some time to build with INFJs, as they do not readily share their emotions with other people.

An INFJ's values have been honed over some time, deep within their own heads, and they may not be happy to share these. This can make it difficult to get close and may mean that other people see them as a bit strange or quirky. The INFJ would not see the need to alter this view and will generally work quietly until a value is transgressed. The problem is that INFJs are so complex, individualistic and un-forthcoming, that the other person may not realise that some value or deeply held belief has been transgressed and be quite surprised how sharply the INFJ can react and how outspoken, assertive and stubborn they can suddenly and uncharacteristically become.

This is because the INFJ is sensitive, and in both directions, outwardly to the needs of others and inwardly, if someone does or says something which offends their inner views. The views of the INFJ are very personal, built up over a long time and so anything which may be perceived as shaking these foundations would be dealt with in an unusually direct way.

The general way of communicating for the INFJ is by using allusions, pictures, symbols and analogies. The INFJ likes complexity and theorising, providing the subject-matter is not about them. They value respect, both for themselves and for others, and will only be really forthcoming when hurt or when talking through some complex issue.

Beneath the quiet exterior, INFJs hold deep convictions about the more complex issues of life. Those who are activists, (many INFJs will adopt such roles), are there for the cause, not for personal glory or even political power. INFJs are champions of the oppressed and downtrodden. They often are found in the wake of an emergency, rescuing those who are in acute distress and the concept of 'poetic justice' is appealing to the INFJ.

Acutely suspicious about others' motives, INFJs are not easily led. These are the people that you can rarely fool any of the time. Though affable and sympathetic to most, INFJs are selective about their friends. Such a friendship is an important bond that is not to be taken lightly.

Close friends are chosen carefully, and getting genuinely close to an INFJ would take some time - if ever. The INFJ's thinking is introverted, turned toward the subject which can give the impression of aloofness or detachment. However this is often when the INFJ is hard at work in the internal world. INFJs, like their fellow intuitives, may be so absorbed in intuitive perceiving that they become oblivious to physical reality.

Strongly humanitarian in outlook, INFJs tend to be idealists, and because of their ‘J’ preference for closure and completion, they are generally ‘doers’ as well as dreamers. This rare combination of vision and practicality often results in INFJs taking a disproportionate amount of responsibility in the various causes to which so many of them seem to be drawn.

INFJs are deeply concerned about their relations with individuals as well as the state of humanity at large. They are, in fact, sometimes mistaken for extraverts because they appear so outgoing and are so genuinely interested in people - a product of the Feeling function they most readily show to the world.