INFJ

Medically reviewed by Julie Dodson, MA
Updated May 20, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

“INFJ” is one of the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator personality types, which experts believe to be an “adequately reliable self-report inventory.” 

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INFJ meaning

INFJ stands for Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging and is the rarest personality type of the 16 Myers-Briggs types. People with this personality type are intuitive. They tend to focus more on ideas and concepts rather than facts and details and usually makes decisions based on values and feelings.

As an introverted person, an INFJ often feels best when spending time alone. People with this personality are generally not spontaneous; instead, they tend to like planning and staying organized. Famous people with the INFJ personality type include Martin Luther King Jr., Oprah Winfrey, and Elanor Roosevelt, among others.

Each MTBI type has a dominant function (core characteristic), an auxiliary function (another developed aspect of the personality), and tertiary and inferior functions, which are less pronounced areas of the personality. For example, INFJs are dominant in introverted intuition, making them highly intuitive and focused. This introverted intuition often contributes to their deep, sensitive nature. Their auxiliary function is extraverted feeling, meaning they are acutely aware of other people’s feelings and needs (sometimes to their own detriment). The tertiary function of an INFJ is introverted thinking, meaning they make decisions based on their internal insight. Finally, their inferior function is extraverted sensing, meaning they often have the ability to live presently and enjoy physical activities.

Extraverted sensing can also help an INFJ remain aware of their surroundings. INFJs are known to be motivated, creative, and imaginative, often setting high expectations and excelling as high achievers. Their creativity can be linked to the cognitive functions inherent in the INFJ personality type, as explored by theorists like Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung and later defined by the Myers & Briggs Foundation. They generally do not like living a pretentious life and enjoy being accepted for who they are as reserved and reflective people. INFJs are sometimes referred to as advocates, as they often have a high sense of morality and idealism. INFJ careers often involve helping others in some capacity, aligning with their role as an assertive advocate for those in need.

INFJs are most often soft-spoken, strong-willed, or highly opinionated, and they fight for what they believe is right. It is difficult for them to use their strong-willed nature for their personal gain; rather, they prefer to use that energy to bring about balance in situations. However, their complexity can often lead them to feel misunderstood in various social contexts.

Common INFJ personality traits

  1. INFJ: Introverted & extroverted

INFJs like to spend time alone and enjoy exclusivity. However, there are times when they want to be around people (although not typically for long periods of time, but this does depend on the individual and their relationship with those around them). In fact, most friends and acquaintances know them as extroverted and sociable individuals. People in such friendships may sometimes feel confused because, at times, they can become overwhelmed and withdraw from people. INFJs tend to be selective when it comes to choosing their genuine friends—similar to the INFP personality type, which is characterized by having a small, tight-knit group of friends. Close relationships are often important to INFJs, but they may not find as much value in casual acquaintances.

  1. Helpful

People with an INFJ personality often like helping others and making the world a better place, driven by their compassion, ability to form strong bonds with others, and desire to provide useful insights into complex situations. This trait is especially prominent in INFJ-A types, who combine their deep understanding of people's feelings with a drive to create positive change. Although they can be strong-willed and decisive, they do not use those qualities for personal gain. Instead, they are more inclined to use it to help others. When people are in trouble, they like providing thoughtful advice rather than telling them what they should do. Many INFJs see helping other people as their main purpose in life and enjoy participating in charities and non-governmental organizations. They genuinely care about people's welfare and may have a desire to fix society’s deeper problems.

  1. Meaningful conversations with INFJs

INFJs dislike small talk and generally prefer deep, meaningful conversations. Although they can sometimes be extroverted, they are largely introverted by nature, a trait that underscores INFJs' place in social interactions and their preference for meaningful connections over superficial encounters. Engaging in small talk does not help one learn significant things about others, which is why they don't favor this type of communication.

Rather, INFJs like to know about others’ inner worlds and talk about more significant life issues. They make great conversationalists and can easily read people; as a result, they have an innate ability to strongly feel others' feelings. This Myers-Briggs type tends to be very empathetic and can usually feel the pain or the joy that others feel. This leads them to "take on" the problems of the world in many cases. Some people who consider themselves INFJs may seek the help of a professional counselor who can assist them in meeting their own needs instead of constantly “people-pleasing.”

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  1. INFJs and creativity

INFJs tend to be creative and imaginative, qualities that make their personalities stand out. They enjoy finding solutions in all aspects of life, and their imagination can help them see a deeper meaning in many things. They are passionate about using their creativity to help others, too. Their intuitive nature allows them to express their creativity, especially in writing and the arts. They have an excellent ability to bring out their intuition to the external world, perhaps making them successful in careers as writers, artists, and counselors. INFJs are also good at offering advice to people because they’re excellent listeners who can comfortably come up with different ways of solving the same problem. This creativity can set them apart from other Myers-Briggs personality types.
  1. Determined & passionate

When INFJs believe that something is of value, be it in their close friendships or professional lives, they often pursue it with much conviction. They tend to be quiet but have an intense passion for anything that is important to them. This is a largely unconscious aspect of their personality, rooted in their own emotions. Sometimes, their conviction can be perceived as being stubborn. In these cases, their resolve does not always work to their advantage and instead may be a liability. In certain situations, such as in conflicts or when confronting troubling facts, the determination and passion of an INFJ may pose a challenge.

  1. INFJ: Seclusion

There are days when INFJs do not want to be disturbed. INFJs may like recharging their energy by spending time by themselves. It can also be hard for a person with an INFJ personality to open up, even to their close friends.

  1. Highly intuitive

People with this Myers-Briggs type usually have a strong intuition, almost as if they have a sixth sense or inner vision. This introverted intuition is a result of their ability to detect patterns in different scenarios and connect the dots to draw conclusions.

Those with INFJ personality traits can sometimes sense that something seems wrong and, in those circumstances, may find it useful to listen to their inner voices. Because of strong intuitions, INFJs trust their instincts quite a bit, and, as a result, they are likely to ignore the opinions of others, which may cause conflict.

  1. Preferred INFJ careers

Because they are creative, intuitive, and empathetic, INFJs often choose career paths well suited for introverts. They are dedicated workers, but they prefer working behind the scenes. However, when requested to lead, they do so successfully. INFJs prefer jobs that have a peaceful working environment. Most INFJ personality types are likely to be found in careers that contribute to the well-being of society. They are dedicated and helpful workers who can carry out complex projects in organizations focused on humanitarian causes.

INFJs may consider pursuing a career that is consistent with their values in the counseling or healthcare sector. Roles such as doctors, spiritual roles, counselors, and psychologists are attractive options to INFJs. Their creative minds help them in the engineering and science fields, too. People with INFJ personalities may change their careers many times until they find the path that best accommodates their personal values.

  1. INFJs and organization

INFJs tend to dislike spontaneity and unplanned situations with stressful conditions. Instead, they tend to enjoy when things are well-planned and organized. This is particularly true for the INFJ-T type, who find comfort in order and are often seen as INFJs who tend towards more structured lifestyles. Many INFJs are highly organized people and likely to use day planners to guide their activities and tasks. 

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  1. INFJ: Strong sense of emotions

People with an INFJ personality type have a strong sense of emotions. INFJs are often empathetic toward others and, at times, can neglect their own feelings. INFJs have the natural ability to understand others’ emotions and can sometimes sense the feelings of those around them. They can notice even the slightest change in other people's moods and are likely to know when something is wrong. In many cases, INFJs may form a huge circle of acquaintances, though they tend to reserve deeper connections for a few. 

Therapy & the self

Do you have an INFJ personality type? If you can relate to most of the above traits, then there's a good chance that you are an INFJ. You may be interested in taking the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator for yourself to discover which personality type you identify as.

To find out more about your personality type and how it impacts your relationships with others, you may consider speaking with a therapist.

Therapy has been proven to help patients work through self-esteem, self-worth, emotional intimacy, and other relationship challenges or life experiences, and new research finds that internet-delivered therapy is an effective option. It can also help you better understand yourself.

A BetterHelp therapist can help you explore your feelings and work toward healthy habits to build strong relationships. BetterHelp's network of licensed counselors is available to you by phone or videoconference, or you can communicate with your counselor by email or text. Moreover, online therapy tends to be more affordable and convenient than in-person therapy.

Below are some reviews of BetterHelp counselors:

“Our connection was immediate... My personality can be a lot: she supports me for me being me and it's important to me how comfortable I feel to just be myself!”

“Tamara Nixon is the first therapist that I feel really took interest in me, on a deeper level. Other therapists I went to were focused mainly on my problems, but not at all on my personal interests and hobbies and I feel this is really important in them understanding my personality and my likes/dislikes. Also, I appreciate that she is proactive and sends me things to read and worksheets to work on. I really feel safe with telling her about my issues.”
Takeaway

INFJs are complex, multi-faceted individuals with many positive traits. INFJ personality types are compelled to help others as advocates. If you’re an INFJ who would like to learn more about your personality traits and patterns, therapy may help.

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