INFJs are incredibly difficult to type, or determine our MBTI personality type, because we are natural chameleons. We blend in with our environment and take on the personalities of the people around us. We want them to be comfortable, even if it’s at the expense of our own comfort. In order to get a true sense of who we are we need to spend time alone and connect with how we think and feel outside of what everyone else wants.
Not what you think
When you come across an INFJ out in the wild, you won’t notice them right away, even if you are looking for them. INFJs have a function in our personality called Extroverted Feeling. This means that we can feel what other people are feeling. We can read them extremely well and determine what they want and need. Because of this amazing talent, we can mimic the personalities of the people around us to make them more comfortable or make up for what’s missing or needed. When we’re around talkative and bubbly people we will be the quiet and attentive listeners. When we’re around shy and awkward people we’ll take on the role of the warm and friendly person who smoothes the conversation out. We will take on whatever role is needed and/or expected of us. Because we blend so well into everyone else, you might be standing next to one of us and never know it.
Inner vs outer world
INFJs are amazing at concealing what we are thinking and feeling. We instinctively know what people need and we want to do what’s best for them at the moment, so we give them what they want and need. We adapt to how they are. Many INFJs take this process too far and fall into people-pleasing, constantly giving everything to everyone without regard for what we want or need.
I’ve been a serial people-pleaser my whole life. I was better friends with the teachers in my classes in grade school than I was with any of the kids. I wanted to be liked by the people in charge, so I was obedient, paid attention and got good grades. This carried on into college and my work life. It was a common trend in my friendships too. I would go above and beyond for all of my friends, but I didn’t know how to ask for help from them. And when I did ask them for something they were never available to help me, no matter how little or simple of a thing that I asked them for.
You don’t know me at all
I noticed another trend in my friends: they’re all very different. One of my friends is super religious and conservative. Another one cusses like a sailor. Another is a tomboy and another is a very prissy lady. If you got them all together and asked them about me they’d be very confused. You see, I’m a different person to each one of them. I adapt to who they are. I’m a prissy lady around one and a tomboy around another. I cuss like a sailor around one and talk about religion with the other. They all know a different version of me that I made just for them.
INFJs are very hard to get to know because we want so much to make other people comfortable and we’re so good at it. You won’t get to know the real us because most of us still haven’t figured out who that version of us is. We don’t know. We want to know. We think about it constantly. We dream and obsess and plan and think some more, but we still don’t know.
I have this dream that one day I’m going to meet this amazingly handsome guy and he’s just going to get me, he’s going to understand. It’s equally thrilling and intensely scary all at the same time. I’m not really sure if I want to be that understood. I kinda like being unknown and invisible. There’s a lot of freedom there. I don’t have to commit to being a certain type of way. I can be flexible and explore different personas as I desire.
Hiding is our safe place
Most INFJs don’t want to be discovered and known. At the very least, we are ambivalent about it. We’ve had a lot of experience with being misunderstood. That’s normal for us, so it’s where we’re comfortable. Not that it’s comfortable to be understood, it’s just that it’s happened to us so much and for so long that it’s normal. It’s typical. When someone comes along and actually understands us, we’re not sure what to do with that.
This is usually when we start oversharing things. Finally! Someone understands!! Let me tell them EVERYTHING!!! It’s like we can’t even stop. And then… instant regret. You know the second that you’ve gone too far and there’s no going back. You wanted to be understood and now you just want to crawl under a rock and die.
This experience, and so many others, instills in us that it’s just safer to hide. We long to be understood, but spend most of our time hiding from understanding.
True and authentic understanding
The best kind of understanding that you can find is understanding yourself. How can you really expect anyone else to understand you if you don’t understand yourself first? In order to get this understanding, you have to spend time away from the people who influence you to determine what you really want out of life, what makes you happy, how you wish to be, and what you love to do.
The best place to start this journey is to know for sure if you are an INFJ. I created a workshop so you can do just that! In this workshop, I covered how to make sure you're taking the MBTI test correctly and how to analyze the results to know that you got the best answer that fits you correctly. There's also a workbook outlining the most important questions in the MBTI test along with everything you need to determine your personality type with confidence.