“We often marvel at how introverted, geeky kids “blossom” into secure and happy adults. We often liken it to metamorphosis. However, maybe it’s not the children who change but their environments. As adults they get to select the careers, spouses, and social circles that suit them. they don't have to live in whatever culture they’re plunked into. ”—p253, Susan Cain, “Quiet”
How to Spot an INFJ
It’s rare for me to come across something that 100% accurately describes me but this caught my eye. Not saying this entirely applies to all INFJ’s. Everyone’s different. I just thought it was nice for me to be able to completely relate to something for once and maybe you will too.
- An INFJ demeanor can range from either appearing sad to lost in thought to slightly angry or irritated. Of course I have known some with a more outgoing and overall happy demeanor. A lot of times their face can be easily read by how they are feeling at the moment. They may appear slightly rigid in body movement, like they can’t quite become comfortable being in public.
- When speaking, an INFJ might use a lot of exasperated sighs when speaking about something in general. However, when hitting topics they know best and love they can sometimes become more upbeat and gregarious. And almost to the point of appearing to be someone else for the time span of their conversation.
- An INFJ will open up to a close friend, someone they trust deeply. And often their conversations might have a lot to do with helping others or being overly concerned about someone or something they know well. Their compassion shines through which contradicts with their reserved, sometimes cold facial expressions.
Tips & Warnings
- It’s not easy befriending an INFJ, but when you do it’s because they have learned to trust you. The best thing to do is not push them to open up when they don’t want to..let them come to you.
- Approaching an INFJ with an agenda will not likely put you on their “good” side or gain a possible friendship with them.
- Be yourself, an INFJ will know when you aren’t being authentic.
By A.C. Huppert
- Watch their body language. INFJs are quiet. In social situations, the INFJ is often uncomfortable. They prefer one-on-one contact to group interaction. Approval or disapproval can often be seen in their facial expressions. An INFJ walks erect and with purpose and they appear to be focused on where they are going. The INFJ also tends to be uncoordinated and is likely to bump into a table or trip on a step.
- Listen for verbal clues. An INFJ uses a lot of figurative language with deeper meaning. Because of the unconscious nature of their dominant function, Introverted Intuition (Ni), the INFJ will often seem to ramble as they search for the right words. Parasitic words such as “like” or “um” litter their speech as they attempt to express themselves coherently.
- Get in touch with their feelings. INFJs use Extraverted Feeling (Fe) to express themselves. Using Fe, an INFJ will use language to express their values. It drives them to go to great lengths to promote harmony. Extraverted Feeling motivates the INFJ to help others. Fe also causes an INFJ to do things because it is appropriate. They care how they are perceived by others.
- Check out what they’re wearing. An INFJ will choose appearance over function. Their outfits are usually conservative and coordinated. INFJs usually consider expensive clothing to be a luxury as opposed to a necessity.
“As an introvert, you can be your own best friend or your worst enemy. The good news is we generally like our own company, a quality that extroverts often envy. We find comfort in solitude and know how to soothe ourselves. Even our willingness to look at ourselves critically is often helpful. But, we can go too far. We can hoard responsibility and overlook the role others play. We can kick ourselves when we’re down. How many times have you felt lousy about something, only to get mad at yourself for feeling lousy? ”—Laurie Helgoe, Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength
“INFJs often feel frustrated when the world doesn’t see them for their true inner nature. Others can appreciate the INFJ’s warmth and people-skills, but it is Ni, not Fe, that is the core of the INFJ’s identity. Moreover, when INFJs do venture to share their Ni insights or subversive ideas, they often feel that others really don’t understand them.”—Dr. A. J. Drenth
Benedict Cumberbatch: A Rare Breed Indeed
A recent discussion I had about Myers-Briggs personality types (I’m definitely an INTP) got me really interested in learning more about them. Of course, with my fascination with people I just HAD to look up all of them and see if I could pinpoint the personality types of people I knew.
I won’t bore you guys with the ones that resemble my friends and family, but I did come across one that was REALLY interesting. I hope I don’t come off as some kind of obsessed freak here (oh who am I kidding?) but there were many times when I would read about this personality type, a quote made by or about Benedict Cumberbatch came to mind. I should tell you that analyzing celebrities isn’t uncommon- here’s a forum thread about Johnny Depp, for example.
Now, there’s already a lovely essay analyzing Benedict’s enigmatic, almost alien face. Many of his external qualities are striking, such as his marked cupid’s bow and sectoral heterochromia. But… It turns out that his personality type is also quite unusual. The rarest of them all, apparently!I N F J
(Introvert iNtuitive Feeling Judging)
I know what you’re thinking… Introvert, why introvert? He talks non-stop during interviews! He seems to have a lot of friends! I’ll get to that, I promise.
First thing’s first though- A general description:
INFJs are sensitive, quiet leaders with a great depth of personality. They are intricately and deeply woven, mysterious, and highly complex, sometimes puzzling even to themselves. They have an orderly view toward the world, but are internally arranged in a complex way that only they can understand. Abstract in communicating, they live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities. With a natural affinity for art, INFJs tend to be creative and easily inspired. Less than two percent of the population has an INFJ Personality Type, making it the most rare of all the types.
“I’m not confident in social situations. Just going up to someone in a bar and saying ‘hi’ is going to be even more difficult because they won’t know the real me. They will just know me as a fictional person I play on the screen.” [x]
-INFJs can also find it difficult to directly engage or act on the world (Se). While difficult for other types to fathom, some INFJs feel themselves so foreign to the world that action seems hopelessly strange and unnatural. Some INFJs report feeling so detached from their bodies that action feels like an awkward, out-of-body experience.
“I’m like every character I’ve ever played. There is an awful lot of me that’s not like Sherlock but that’s the me to share with those I know and love.” [x]
-Most INFJs are protective of their inner selves, sharing only what they choose to share when they choose to share it. They are deep, complex individuals, who are quite private and typically difficult to understand. INFJs hold back part of themselves, and can be secretive. But the INFJ is as genuinely warm as they are complex. INFJs hold a special place in the heart of people who they are close to, who are able to see their special gifts and depth of caring. INFJs are concerned for people’s feelings, and try to be gentle to avoid hurting anyone.
-They are sometimes mistaken for extroverts 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. On the contrary, INFJs are true introverts, who can only be emotionally intimate and fulfilled with a chosen few from among their long-term friends, family, or obvious “soul mates.”
“After the show the actor had showered, danced around to Skeleton Boy by Friendly Fires to “shake off” the interwar years, and dived into the National’s Green Room to have a drink with his friends, but then escaped to the fresh air of a balcony, alone. “I just felt, ‘This is too much.’ I was hot. So I walked away from everyone.” [x]
-While instinctively courting the personal and organizational demands continually made upon them by others, at intervals INFJs will suddenly withdraw into themselves, sometimes shutting out even their intimates. This apparent paradox is a necessary escape valve for them, providing both time to rebuild their depleted resources and a filter to prevent the emotional overload to which they are so susceptible as inherent “givers.” As a pattern of behavior, it is perhaps the most confusing aspect of the enigmatic INFJ character to outsiders, and hence the most often misunderstood — particularly by those who have little experience with this rare type.
Update: This post about a fan’s encounter with him further prooves his introversion.
“He’s old before his time, and very bad-tempered, all of which are attributes which I’m very much aware of myself, so that was easy to play.” [x]
-They are very sensitive to conflict, and cannot tolerate it very well. Situations which are charged with conflict may drive the normally peaceful INFJ into a state of agitation or charged anger.
“Cumberbatch might be accused of lacking edge, but he seems to have frailties, susceptibilities, a vulnerability from pushing himself hard. “It’s not that I get ill when I’m under stress,” he promises. “If that was the case I’d be on a drip in hospital right now.” But I’m not sure I believe him. At Manchester he had the overworker’s disease glandular fever.” [x]
-They may tend to internalize conflict into their bodies, and experience health problems when under a lot of stress.
”Having your adolescence at an all-male boarding school is just crap,” Cumberbatch says, though he also seems to have been a model pupil and threw himself into extramural activities. He had an arts scholarship and painted huge oil canvases in a disused squash court.” [x]
-In the workplace, the INFJ usually shows up in areas where they can be creative and somewhat independent. They have a natural affinity for art, and many excel in the sciences, where they make use of their intuition.
“I wish people would take more notice of each other. Metaphorically speaking, it’s easy to bump into one another on the journey from A to B and not even notice. People should take time to notice, enjoy and help each other.” [x]
-An INFJ who has gone the route of becoming meticulous about details may be highly critical of other individuals who are not.
“Some of the people on that list of nominees have done fantastic things with their lives. Some of the people that aren’t on that list, but should be, like teachers in the U.K, like doctors, like soldiers in f—-ing wars, in combat situations which we can’t possibly imagine, thousands of miles away; yeah, even some of the politicians — some of them do very good things, all of them do very good things some of the time — brain surgeons, midwives, parents. I’m not even a parent. Parents go through more than I do.” [x]
-Beneath the quiet exterior, INFJs hold deep convictions about the weightier matters of life. Those who are activists — INFJs gravitate toward such a role — are there for the cause, not for personal glory or 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. INFJs may fantasize about getting revenge on those who victimize the defenseless. The concept of ‘poetic justice’ is appealing to the INFJ.
-INFJs have a knack for fluency in language and facility in communication. In addition, nonverbal sensitivity enables the INFJ to know and be known by others intimately.
“There are lots of people I’d put ahead of myself, and that’s not me being humble. Come on, you know what it’s about. It’s flavor-of-the-month stuff, and that scares me as much as it thrills me. I’m 35, and I’ve been doing this for 10 years. The point is, I thought, maybe I should start to do something with this moment.” [x]
-Usually self-expression comes more easily to INFJs on paper, as they tend to have strong writing skills. Since in addition they often possess a strong personal charisma, INFJs are generally well-suited to the “inspirational” professions such as teaching (especially in higher education) and religious leadership. Psychology and counseling are other obvious choices, but overall, INFJs can be exceptionally difficult to pigeonhole by their career paths.
“I know I ought to say my ambition is to take over the world and be the lead in everything, but I’m really happy with the way it is going. One interviewer asked me if I was worried about being trapped in the theatre. I said, ‘It’s the best place to be.’ I know it sounds wanky, but as an actor the more I do it the more I need to do it. It’s very painful, but you have to do it. It’s very nourishing to be onstage, I get a hell of a kick. I’m just ambitious for the work to be good; I don’t strategise.” [x]
-INFJs do not want just any job or career. They want to do something they love, something they are passionate about. They want to use their creative gifts and abilities in ways that bring personal fulfillment and contribute to the greater good; settling for a mediocre or mundane career seems unacceptable to this Myers-Briggs personality type.
And, to drive this point home…
-I also stumbled upon a forum discussing different types of INFJs. Any drop of uncertainty that I might have had before blew out the window once I read this one…
The Method Actor
This one right here, my friends, might just be the reason you INFJs have been documented as the rarest of types. Oh the power of the persona, when you project and image, people will create your identity based on that image, regardless of what is actually going on in your head. This marks an extremely uncanny ability that you INFJ folk have. The INFJ can invent an character within their Ni-Fe (internal intuition-external feeling). They can write an entire story of their life, their family, their experience, their fears, their motivations, their quirks and mannerisms all within their Ni. Then when the time comes, then can channel that character into their Fe and Se (external sensing) to perfectly embody that role, in ways that can be so nuanced that you might not even know you are looking at the same person. Even if acting isn’t your thing, every INFJ still has this in them, and it often comes out in other ways. An INFJ could enter a completely foreign country, and within weeks, or even days, completely master their culture, and maybe even accent.
And, I’ll leave you with this wonderful quote by somebody who worked with him on Third Star:
“Benedict is rare even amongst the acting breed. If the character description says handsome: he is. If it says Nasty: he is. Older: he is… Younger: he is. For this reason I just can’t wait to see what he will become.”
Truer words have never been spoken!
“I really, REALLY love INFJs. I've only known a few in my life plus several more online (these forums and YouTube), but I have to say: if ever there have been any people I truly adore, it's them. I'm an INTJ, and as judgmental and misanthropic as I often am toward most people, INFJs never stop impressing or intriguing me. As a disclaimer, I know that the MBTI is only a tool and that each person varies drastically. So I feel awkward making sweeping generalizations that condense different people into a limiting four-letter category. The observations I've made below apply only to the INFJs I know, and even though they have a few things in common they are still very different from each other in a myriad of other ways. But of the few I know, they all share some really great virtues. First off, they have a warmth that is so deep and authentic that it's truly unmatched. One INFJ girl I know gave me a hug once (not in a flirting or romantic way, necessarily) and it was the warmest most breathtaking feeling. It's not that I haven't hugged people before, but this was very different. They have the most sincere, passionate, raw care for others, but only select others. They don't just love everyone indiscriminately. They still have that standoffish and private nature that I as an INTJ can connect with. This makes their shows of affection all the more meaningful. Secondly, any INFJ I've ever known has been more than smart enough to keep up in a conversation about science, philosophy, technology, etc. Knowledge of the humanities goes without saying! While I feel that I'm more investigative (using a bit more deductive reasoning), they are excellent at understanding ideas and holding intriguing conversations. They have the same passion for the obscure, the mysterious, the unknown. They have the same level of insight and depth as any INTJ. Maybe their values are somewhat different, but this serves as a really good counterbalance to keep conversation from being a series of stale agreements. Third, INFJs are some of the best listeners I've ever met. They really hear everything you say, and manage to read between the lines with devastating acuity. The two INFJs that I've had the most contact with have catalyzed my personal growth to a significant degree. They are the type that, if teaching you something, will explain it in the most comprehensible way. They set their ego aside to help you learn, as opposed to others who would take the opportunity to make an ostentatious display of knowledge at your expense. INFJs have another truly remarkable skill: the ability to say 'I'm sorry' and mean it. Needless to mention that many INFJs I meet charm the hell out of me. They often talk in an uncertain, wavering tone, as if there's no pitch in their voice that they're comfortable with. They have an intense strength of character that is tempered by occasional ineptitude, lending them some human vulnerability. The INFJ females I've seen are often stunningly beautiful, and in a way befitting their person: deep, subtle, and intense. In short, I really wish I knew more INFJs! I have a persistent fear that I'll never meet anybody else that I really connect with (illogical though that may be), because the ones I do are so few and far between. That's why I'm posting on this forum. If any INFJs here would be willing to just talk, please let me know. If anybody has different experiences of them, or just more to add, please also let me know. Thanks. ”—http://intjforum.com/showthread.php?t=74566
- #this is the kind of infj maturity i hope to achieve one day
- #ive been thinking about personal strengths a lot lately
- #and realize that our best selves arent perfect selves
- #but we each have skills that can be fed and nourished
- #and eventually we can all be self-actualized
- #with our own special strengths