Thought Catalog
December 7, 2014

10 Confessions On Life And Love From An INFJ

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“I am indeed a practical dreamer. … I want to convert my dreams into realities as far as possible.” – Mahatma Gandhi
image - demandaj
image – demandaj

INFJ – Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging. As one of the rarest personality types we make up less than 1% of the population and we’re a complex, strange, creative, highly intuitive group of people. I’ve written a couple of times about INFJs here on TC and while I certainly don’t speak for all INFJs I thought I would share my experiences and thoughts on love and life to better help others (INFJs or other types) make sense of this thing called life. If you aren’t sure which personality type you are you can take the Myers-Briggs assessment here.

1. On being a generally strange person

INFJs are known for their strangeness and complexity. What makes a person “strange” and what makes someone else “normal”? I’m not really sure and honestly, who cares about labels at this age? I guess what it comes down to is this feeling that I’ve always felt different compared to others. It is so rare to find anyone that really “gets” me. I can count on one hand the people I have met or people I’m friends with that I think really understand me and what I’m about. My entire life I’ve felt sort of out of place with this world and with others and I think it’s one of those things you can’t understand unless you’ve had similar feelings.

2. On having so many feelings

INFJs are known for being sensitive, empathetic, emotional people. Basically, we have A LOT of feelings. I cried a couple nights ago when I was talking to Chrissy about how appreciative I am to know her and my other co-workers. Not like bawling crying or anything, just a few tears of happiness, but still…that’s just the way I am. I’d like to think my default state is happy but sometimes I can get overwhelmed with strong emotions. I guess what it comes down to is I just have so much love in my heart for everyone. When I sit and think about all the truly lovely people in my life I can get a little choked up.

3. On self-sacrificing in relationships

INFJs are known to be self-sacrificing in most of our relationships in life – both romantic and platonic. We’re idealistic. We like to believe in the best in people. We like to hold out for people even if everything in our being says not to. I stayed in a 5 year relationship when at least 2 of those years were not working simply because of this idea I could make it work if only I could do something different to make it better. If I just tried a little bit harder. If I just said this or did this maybe we could be the happy couple we were in the beginning. Eventually I realized I had been fooling myself for far too long. I’ve held similar ideas in other relationships but luckily now I’m able to catch myself much faster and in the past few years I’ve really tried to limit this aspect of my personality.

4. On forgetting self-care

In addition to being self-sacrificing in relationships INFJs can often forget to take care of themselves. We’re so busy trying to do everything for everyone else that we can completely forget about ourselves until we realize we’re empty and exhausted. Then what happens is we usually need to block out as much extra stimuli as possible to recharge. We just need to chill for a few days or a week or whatever. In my experience this can be difficult for people who are so used to me being around that when I sort of disappear and become a hermit they don’t get it. It’s not you, it’s me. It’s really alllllll me. Just me. That’s what I want right now. I’ll get back to you when I’m ready to be out in the world again. This is how I repair my inner-self.

5. On being self-absorbed

So while we’re are known to be self-sacrificing I think INFJs absolutely have the capability of being self-absorbed at times too. Trust me, I’m not trying to paint INFJs as these darling angels who will do anything for anyone. I don’t think we’re like that – at least not for just anyone. INFJs have high expectations for themselves and don’t believe in compromising their ideals. So what does this lead to? A lot of stubbornness, honestly, and a great deal of time thinking about ourselves and what we want.

6. On getting “that feeling”

You know what I’m talking about. That internal gut instinct when you just know something – either good or bad – has happened or is about to happen. You can feel it in your bones. This, obviously, is not something that only INFJs experience but I think something about us makes us more in tune with this level of intuition. We can pinpoint feelings without ever really knowing the “why.” At this point in my life I’ve tried to really hone in on my gut instinct and it’s rarely ever wrong.

7. On the conflict between the inner-world and outer-world

INFJs are great daydreamers. We have an ability to create rich inner lives to retreat to when the outer-world becomes a bit too much at times. Having the ability to hone in on my thoughts and dreams has been able to take me through some very difficult times in my life. I’ve never been the sort of person who’s uncomfortable with being alone or being lonely. I think the problem that comes with having a strong inner-life is that at times, even if you can clearly envision a happy and perfect future, you’re struck with the harsh realities of life. INFJs are intensely idealistic and this is one of those times when it can become an issue.

8. On casual relationships vs. committed relationships

INFJs are completely capable of having short term romances but is that what we prefer? Not really. INFJs are after meaningful, long-term connections in all relationships in life. For myself I’ve done the casual thing with dating and while it can be fun and fulfilling in the moment, it’s ultimately just not my style. I lose interest relatively fast and get bored when I realize there’s no long term potential or if our connection feels like it won’t ever scratch below the surface.

9. On being creative

INFJs are naturally artistic, creative people and we live in a world full of hidden meanings with a multitude of possibilities. If I didn’t have a creative outlet I’m not sure how I would be able to deal with life. That’s not meant to be dramatic. It’s more of this idea that creating is just as essential as other elements in life needed to survive. It’s my way of coping with both the good, the bad, the strange, and the powerful moments that happen. Art and creation has been such a huge part of my life since I was very young I can’t imagine a life without it.

10. On wanting to help as many people as possible

I don’t think it’s a huge surprise people like Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Oprah, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mother Theresa make the list of notable INFJs. They all share many similar traits and their mission in life speaks to the heart of this personality type. Feeling an innate drive to help others and to do as much for other people has long been with me. I could only hope to one day be as inspiring or impactful as any of the names I listed. This quote from Woodrow Wilson I think greatly explains the mission behind INFJs. “You are not here merely to prepare to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”  TC mark