10 Things People Don’t Realize You’re Doing Because You’re An INFJ, The World’s Rarest Personality Type
By Shahida Arabi
The INFJ (standing for Introversion, Intuition, Feeling, Judgment) is the rarest personality type of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, making up only 1–2% of the population. But how does their unique personality translate into real-life contexts?
Here are ten things people don’t realize you are doing because you’re an INFJ:
1. Fixating on people and situations that don’t necessarily matter in the long run; planning in advance for everything and imagining every potential scenario possible ahead of time.
As an INFJ, you’ve got quite the imagination (which makes you pretty talented at visualizing and manifesting things). On the other hand, this can be a recipe for disaster if you haven’t gotten a handle on your anxiety or taken the appropriate steps to set healthy boundaries with yourself and others.
In social groups, you tend to be the overthinker who’s already on top of issues and topics among those who haven’t given them a second thought. You’re likely to anticipate anything and everything that could occur in a future event. You pre-plan ways in which you could solve potential conflict or navigate obstacles that haven’t even occurred yet.
While your vivid imagination can benefit you as a creative type, it is very easy for you to get lost inside of your mind and out of touch with reality. You may fixate on a problem for far too long without coming up with realistic solutions. You may become easily entangled and absorbed in how others are behaving or what they think of you. This habit of “fixating” and obsessing over others can also make you prone to engaging in fantasy relationships.
Unfortunately, you can’t just plan for everything. People can be unpredictable, life is always in flux and the only constant is change. It’s important for INFJs to realize that the only thing you can plan for is how you can best take care of yourself emotionally if things don’t quite turn out as you expected.
2. Dissociating from the material world to live in your own head.
INFJs have a running joke about frequently bumping into poles while walking or tripping over their own feet because they were busy daydreaming or thinking too deeply. Unfortunately, this joke hits all too close to home. Going inward all the time allows us to be focused innovators, but it can also disconnect us at times from our immediate surroundings.
There’s the “real life” that we acknowledge exists. Then, there’s an elaborate, rich fantasy life we have that we tend to disappear into every day, where we create full-fledged interactions, conversations and events that haven’t happened (at least not yet). Which world is more real? To an INFJ, the answer is not as clear-cut as it seems. The truth is, if you know an INFJ, they’ve probably already had multipleconversations with you — you just weren’t physically present when they occurred.
3. Reading the emotions of people and absorbing their energy.
INFJs are natural empaths who soak up the emotions of those around them. They have a knack for intuitively sensing what others are feeling and understanding what is left unsaid in social interactions. They can read between the lines, pick up on nonverbal cues and note the disparity between what you’re saying and what you really feel.
Due to their high sensitivity, they tend to be very compassionate people who are overly generous and conscientious to the needs of others. This makes them a target for predators like narcissists who seek to exploit them. That’s why it’s important for INFJs to develop a “radar” for emotional con artists and move slowly in relationships to ward off these toxic types. They also need to ground themselves mindfully as to not take on the emotions of others. Meditation and yoga can be helpful in keeping your energy high and to reconnect with your inner guidance.
On the other hand, their sensitivity is also makes INFJs gifted healers, highly attuned to what other people need in their journey towards personal development. INFJs can use their emotional intelligence to excel in professions that involve teaching, counseling, and coaching. They can inspire both great personal growth in others as well as social change.
4. Having your guard up, yet desiring and pursuing meaningful connections.
INFJs are deeply sensitive personalities who are easily hurt when mistreated. That’s why many of them learn to guard themselves when meeting new people or letting people into their “secret” world. Since INFJs can be quiet and reserved in certain situations, they can sometimes appear cold and standoffish, especially when deep in thought. Very few people get close enough to discover the true core of an INFJ.
Yet with their loved ones, INFJs are loyal and compassionate, warm-hearted and sentimental. They value their friendships and relationships with an intensity and intimacy that can surpass shallow bonds and resonate on a “soul” level.
Once you get to know them a bit better, you uncover that INFJs are actually very emotional and loving people. As astute students and observers of human behavior, they are startlingly thoughtful in their ability to connect to what makes others happy. Their sentimental nature may not come through when they are being guarded with their hearts, but as they slowly learn to open up around trustworthy people, their capacity to connect with others on a deeper level is unparalleled.
5. Using your intuition in a way that’s eerily on point.
Friends, family members and loved ones may call you slightly “psychic.” And, well, you kind of are. INFJs have an uncanny intuition about situations and people that goes beyond facades and surface-level appearances. They may have dreams and premonitions that come to life or gut feelings that, while at the time seem ridiculous, are later confirmed by unexpected life events.
For the most part, they can make accurate predictions years ahead of time and have their finger on the pulse of what’s about to occur. A challenge for the INFJ is to learn how to trust their intuition early on; they need to know that the way they come to conclusions is quite different from other personality types that are more “practical.”
6. Slamming the door on toxic people with a ferocity that shocks onlookers.
While INFJs can have a difficult time setting boundaries with toxic people at the onset, they all eventually reach their limits. The INFJ personality type is known for their infamous “door slam,” a phenomenon that occurs when the INFJ feels so violated by someone that they no longer have the emotional reserves to tolerate any more of their bullshit.
Although the door slam can sometimes be used in contexts that don’t warrant it, often times the INFJ slamming the door has more than enough reason to do so. Remember that this type is very conscientious: so before cutting off contact, they’ve likely already weighed the pros and cons and have probably tolerated numerous transgressions prior to ending the relationship or friendship.
7. Being immediately turned off by insensitive personality types, especially ones that are tone-deaf and emotionally obtuse.
Blunt, unemotional people are a natural turn-off to this personality type. Because INFJs are so conscientious and tend to overthink and overanalyze everything they do and say to others, it baffles them that other people could be so unaware, cold, indifferent or downright unempathic. They are easily overwhelmed by bullying types who treat others with a reckless disregard or abrasiveness. The exception being, of course, manipulative charmers who can “present” a more gentle personality type at the onset, but later unmask themselves to be cruel and callous. INFJs can have a more difficult time detoxing from these types of manipulators simply because of the trauma this “unmasking” reveals.
It’s probably this same indignation that explains why INFJs tend to be justice seekers, always harboring a mission to right wrongs and support the underdogs. It’s important that INFJs keep in mind that other personality types may deal with their emotions differently, while also being mindful of the company they keep. INFJs have to learn to be so comfortable in their own skin that they don’t end up trying to cater to the needs of toxic personalities, even while remaining diplomatic.
8. Disappearing for days after just a few social interactions.
INFJs can appear very friendly and extroverted to outsiders. In fact, this is one of the most “extroverted” introverted types. Yet their energy can get drained easily by social interactions, even the most positive ones. They need time to absorb and process social interactions in a way that can appear somewhat unusual. They might disappear for days without contacting you or seem uncharacteristically emotionally distant even while physically present.
If this disappearance occurs after a conflict, it’s important to let the INFJ retreat and unwind by themselves. They need time to cool down, relax and reconnect with you later (if they aren’t doing a “door slam,” that is). If they disappear after a positive interaction, don’t worry. They’re usually just spending time reminiscing over and processing the fond memories. For the most part, INFJs retreat not because they don’t enjoy spending time with you, but because their alone time is essential for their self-care.
9. Being overly organized in some areas and highly disorganized, even neglectful, in others.
Being a perfectionist comes naturally for an INFJ, so they’re usually stereotyped as being organized, meticilous and neurotic in all facets of their life. However, the INFJ is a complex and contradictory type. They can get so absorbed in something that they neglect other important aspects of their lives or even neglect their own wellbeing.
It’s common to see an INFJ spend days on a project while neglecting to eat or sleep, or for an INFJ to become so lost in a creative undertaking that they lose sight of their external environment, causing them to leave their living arrangements in disarray. Sometimes, they focus so much on the details that they lose sight of the bigger picture — or vice versa. Workaholic INFJs are very high-strung and overly devoted to their dreams and goals, often at the expense of their social life or their mental health.
That’s why you might encounter an INFJ who is incredibly precise and detailed in certain projects, but seemingly messy and disorganized in others. It’s because their logic and reasoning are inextricably tied to their intuition. They do things on “impulse” and from their inspiration moreso than deadlines or protocols. They work primarily from their visceral “sense” of knowing of what will work, what won’t, and how they work best.
How an INFJ thinks and organizes things may not make sense to an outsider, but they definitely bring a unique perspective into everything they do. They just have to learn how to take better care of themselves in the process.
10. Appearing to have multiple personalities.
If you’ve presented an INFJ with a tough situation, don’t worry — one of their personalities will be with you shortly. You’ll observe that the normally tightly wound INFJ tends to “unravel” across diverse contexts. This complex type has many different facets to their identity, many of which can contradict one another.
You may witness a seemingly scientific and “rational” INFJ exhibit a keen interest in spiritual or even paranormal matters. Or perhaps watch a normally serious INFJ morph into a mischievous comedian with a knack for telling dirty jokes.
Don’t be alarmed. The INFJ hasn’t undergone some sort of personality transplant; these are just various sides of the same, albeit multifaceted person. INFJs have a rich inner life which they normally don’t share with others, so when even a part of their inner monologue is shared with the world, it is quite intriguing and revealing to say the least.
When an INFJ’s wilder sides do come out, realize that you’re just getting another piece of a very intricate and unusual puzzle. INFJs are tough personalities to figure out, but that’s what makes them so infinitely interesting.
Shahida is the author of Power: Surviving and Thriving After Narcissistic Abuse and the poetry book She Who Destroys the Light.