Have you ever heard of MBTI? You probably have- whether it was on Pinterest (one of those ‘MBTI types by English Proverb’ -INFJ is “Still waters run deep”) or maybe you’ve run across it on a hypothetical blog talking about introverts. (Speaking of which, I was chatting with my aunt about introversion vs. extroversion, and it’s all in how you recharge. Do you recharge alone, or do you recharge with people? It’s basically as simple as that.)
Anyway. INFJ. If you don’t know what MBTI is, or want to take a test to see which category you fall into, this is a great website for learning both. I’m an INFJ, the rarest of the personality types: the intuit, the advocate, the counselor. I read it this way once: (and maybe this is looking at it a little too starry-eyed) “INFJs are the deep, compassionate, intellectuals of the world, making up just 1.5% of the population. This type is easily misunderstood by most other types. They are the philosophical nurturers, the accidental counselors, and the extroverted introverts. In many ways, INFJs are a series of internal contradictions, and sometimes it’s a struggle.”
“Work Harder and Smarter” is the battle-cry of every INFJ.
So… what does being an INFJ mean? I think like everything else, it’s a generality that means different things for different people. Despite INFJs being 1.5% of the world’s population, I know several others- my best friend, my husband (though he vacillates between INFJ and INTJ), myself, and a few Facebook friends. In that way, I do know that we’re all very different. My best friend feels very strongly the emotions of people in the room, and they influence how she feels. I feel very strongly the emotions of people in the room, but it doesn’t always change my mood. Sometimes it just helps me know exactly what they need or need me to say.
Some INFJs are very emotional. I’m not- not outwardly. Not usually. I cried today about a dog- my favorite ranch dog- that was killed. She wasn’t mine, and I hardly spent any time with her, but I had and I had an emotional attachment to her that I won’t forget. I cried because I will miss her, because I felt bad for the person who accidentally ran her over, and for the other people who loved her too- I cried for all of that. Silly, right? No. I used to believe that emotion = weakness. I don’t believe that anymore. Overplayed emotion is certainly not the best, and emotion that is allowed to take over everything is unhealthy- but I don’t believe that emotion is weakness anymore. (‘Not all tears are evil’, as Gandalf says to Frodo)
This is an open letter to INFJs from another blog/INFJ, and I really like it, though it’s not spot-on true for me.
What is it like for me as an INFJ?
I notice everything about you. I can predict (not without failing sometimes, but I’m usually right) how you are feeling, if you are hiding something, and even what that might be. I can’t feel ‘vibes’ or ‘energy waves’ as some claim, but I always see that sparkle of tears in your eyes when someone snaps at you. I know when you have an argument with someone else in the room. I remember that you like Earl Grey, so I’ll bring you a cup if you’re alone and maybe say nothing if you don’t want me to- I’ll know.
(Unfortunately, I also know how to make you miserable. I remember that you hate doing dishes, so if you are cruel to someone, I am the avenging angel and you will be doing dishes until the end of your days (or until I feel bad about being cruel, which takes about 10 seconds))
Being friendly and in public makes me tired. Really, really tired. I think sometimes I’d rather never leave my house- but then I can’t ever help you so what’s the point in that? But understand when I say- I don’t want to go get coffee, I don’t want to see a movie with you and 5 of your best friend. Just you? Yes. Your 5 best friends? No. Do I want to come to a dinner party at your house? Not really. But I’d love to have you-just you- over to mine. For an afternoon, or an evening, or some time with a definite deadline so I don’t have to drop hints or yawn until you leave. Because I’ll probably not just come right out and say that you should go. I’m great as a one-on-one conversationalist; conversely I’m usually very quiet in a crowd. I don’t like attention.
I’m really good at assisting people to get to the answer or action I want them to get to. (No, not manipulation, why would you say that?? I only use my powers for good, and manipulation has such a stigma. tsk tsk). If the breakfast chef at the ranch tells me we have no more tomatoes and please don’t let people order any in their omelets, I can lead them away from omelets and toward, say, breakfast burritos. Or waffles. And they’ll never know.
I see your motivations pretty clearly.
I will always be there to help you- especially when it hurts me.
I will defend you tooth and nail behind your back and then scold you for me needing to.
I’m great at encouraging you when I most need encouragement.
I’m pretty layered in my personality, so you probably don’t know the inner me. I have lots of true versions of the outer, me though! Don’t be sad. Only a few people know the inner me well at all.
(This post makes me very uncomfortable because there is a lot of pronouns that are all pointing at me~ Here’s a wedding picture of me looking uncomfortable)
So, here’s a short post on what it’s like for me to be an INFJ.
I’ll probably do another.
Do you know what your MBTI personality is? Are you an INFJ? What’s something about your personality type that doesn’t quite fit into your MBTI mold? DO you have any questions for an INFJ? Have you ever written an INFJ character?