Why exactly do INFJs feel so weird and lonely?

According to my blog stats, the search term/phrase that most frequently brought readers to this blog in 2015 was “INFJ lonely”. This is not surprising at all. It seems extremely common for INFJs to report issues with finding like-minded people who really “get” them. I have experienced the same challenge throughout my entire life and recently have been wondering what exactly could account for the fact that so many of us INFJs rarely experience a deep sense of connection with other human beings.

anaisninTo be honest, the conversations I have with the majority of people leave me longing for so much more, and I often feel like there are several layers of my personality that I must keep tucked away or else I will end up feeling extremely misunderstood. It is rare that I find someone who understands and appreciates my full authentic self. And as bad as this may sound, what seems even rarer than finding someone who understands me is finding someone who I consider intriguing and interesting enough to want a friendship with them. Growing up, I frequently wondered what was wrong with me for having such feelings, but over the years I’ve met a few people who’ve validated that I am not the only one who would rather spend all my free time alone than to settle for the company of people whom I don’t truly like. So again, the question is why do so many INFJs feel isolated and lonely?

First of all, I’ll touch on one of the most basic and obvious reasons why we don’t connect with as many people as we would like, but this reason still does not adequately explain why we struggle to connect on a deeper level. Due to our introversion and sensitive nature, INFJs are naturally reserved and guarded when venturing out into the world. This tendency to hold back isn’t all that helpful if we are lonely and want to make connections with more people. Many of you have probably realized at some point that it’s necessary to come out of hiding and to take risks if you sincerely want to make more friends. A huge INFJ weakness is that we don’t usually initiate conversations and make plans with people we don’t know well. So yeah, we don’t exactly increase the odds of finding like-minded people by waiting for them to come to us and show an interest in being our friend.

So, I wish the solution was as simple as learning to be more proactive at initiating conversations with more people. Unfortunately, I believe the situation is much more complex than that for an INFJ. Here’s the problem that many INFJs encounter: Whether they initiated the conversation or not, many INFJs say that they have felt misunderstood by people when they tried to open up and expose who they really are. If they stay on the surface and force themselves to engage in small talk, it’s possible to maintain a conversation with some people. But the more that an INFJ opens up and tries to venture deeper into the ideas and topics that interest them, it often becomes apparent to the INFJ that there is a sudden disconnect. It may feel like the other person is beginning to lose interest or is clueless about what the INFJ is discussing because the conversation begins to trail off. At this point, the INFJ probably thinks, “Ok, maybe I’m too weird for this person. I’ll just be quiet now or go back to the small talk.”

I am not suggesting that INFJs have the most obscure interests ever, that they possess super strange opinions, or that it’s even necessary for people to have the same exact interests and opinions in order to be friends. The issue here is that by simply expressing their true thoughts, feelings, and opinions, INFJs can intuitively pick up on the fact that many people don’t feel comfortable, interested, or familiar with what they are saying. It’s not that INFJs are speaking a foreign language from another planet (though it may feel that way sometimes), but I think a major part of the issue lies in the fact that INFJs are intuitive thinkers who would rather avoid small talk.

jung2I don’t know how accurate the statistics are, but it’s been suggested that sensors are a lot more common than intuitives. About 70-75% are sensors, and 25-30% are intuitives. Of the four pairs of preferences in the MBTI, I find that sensing vs. intuition is the one that has the greatest effect on the depth of conversation I am able to have with another person. INFJs prefer intuitive thinking, and it only makes sense that other intuitive types would be more likely to understand us. We may not see friendship potential in every intuitive thinker we come across, but INFJs might find it easier to dive into the topics that truly interest them when they are in the presence of another intuitive. What poses a challenge for the INFJ is finding other intuitives. Though they are not considered rare, intuitives are not common.

Now I’m going to create a simplified description/stereotype of each type of thinker in order to illustrate why it could be difficult for an intuitive and a sensor to understand and communicate with one another. Sensors are reality-based, more focused on the here-and-now. They are more likely to trust and focus on what can be experienced directly through the five senses (what they taste, touch, see, hear, and smell). Intuitives are the imaginative, big picture thinkers who prefer to notice patterns, to connect dots, and to think about possibilities, rather than focusing so much on details and on what is currently happening. They often rely on their sixth sense or a gut feeling to pick up information. The sensor is the down-to-earth, practical one who often enjoys a good amount of small talk. The intuitive is the head-stuck-in-the-clouds dreamer who prefers discussions about theories, the future, and the possible deeper meaning behind things. In the eyes of a sensor, intuitives might seem boring, weird, irrational, scattered, and out of touch with reality. To intuitives, sensors might seem boring, close-minded, simple-minded, and stuck in very limited ways of thinking.

sensingintuitionI don’t know if it’s a fair or accurate assumption to make, but I see sensors as realistic reductionist thinkers and intuitives as idealistic holistic thinkers. The reductionist prefers to break things down to smaller parts, to study facts, and to hone in on the current situation. The holistic quickly sees a wider perspective of the situation and how various parts interact and affect one another while missing a lot of the details. If you didn’t already understand the general difference between sensors and intuitives, you probably have a better idea by now. And again, these are just stereotypes. Not all sensors and intuitives are exactly the same. Also, I think it’s worth mentioning that there are strengths and weaknesses for each way of thinking. If you want to go a little further into that, here’s a blog post titled Why Your Type is Awesome: S vs. N that highlights the advantages and disadvantages of each type.

In my experience as an INFJ, the few people who I have felt understood me best prefer using intuition over sensing. These are the kind of people who I can have long and meaningful conversations with on an extremely wide range of topics. We may engage in a little small talk for a couple of minutes, but our conversations usually shift rather quickly into the interesting ideas and theories we have been pondering lately. It often feels like we never run out of topics to discuss. With sensors, though, I often feel like there are topics that aren’t worth discussing because they don’t seem as interested in exploring certain ideas and subjects that appeal to me. I pick up on what feels comfortable and interesting to them and what doesn’t. Staying in five-sense reality usually keeps them more engaged, but I can become bored and dissatisfied if I have to stick with surface reality talk for too long.

What I am proposing is that in order to feel better understood by others, an INFJ will probably have better luck engaging in conversations with other intuitive types, such as the INFP, INTJ, or ENFJ. Does this mean that INFJs cannot have fulfilling relationships with sensors and should avoid them all? Absolutely not! Although it is possible that INFJs will struggle to feel understood by some sensing types, there could be certain things gained through friendships with sensors that they might lack in their friendships with other intuitives.

Something I have come to realize as an INFJ is just how ungrounded I am prone to becoming when I get so stuck in thoughts and theories that I start to ignore my physical surroundings. Spending time alone and thinking deeply are both wonderful activities, but sometimes INFJs forget that there’s a physical world out there to explore and enjoy. An extroverted sensor who is all about living in the moment and enjoys getting out to have experiences that feed the five senses could help bring more balance to an INFJ who is heavy on introversion and future-oriented thinking. Differences in personalities among friends are not necessarily bad. Although similarities can foster deeper mutual understanding, I don’t think it is always wise or necessary for someone to seek people who have personality traits that are identical to his or her own.

oppositesBut here’s the truth of it: if you crave those deep and meaningful conversations that stimulate your mind and soul, you’re probably better off talking with another intuitive. Intuitives, statistically speaking, are not as easy to find, though, which might explain why it feels like you can’t find many people who seem to understand you. When you find a good one, cherish that friendship and connection because if you’re like most of us other INFJs, trying to find the right people might feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. If most of your friends are sensors or if sensors are the type of people you encounter most frequently, and you feel that they don’t seem to understand you too well, just know that there are pros and cons to every personality. Sensors can teach you other ways of being, or, at the very least, maybe they can help you stay a little more grounded.

For an INFJ, it is extremely tempting to want the ideal friendship to the point of being closed-off to anyone who doesn’t seem like a perfect match. Not only is it hard to find our kind of people, we seem to be really picky on top of it because we know exactly what we want and expect from others. Settling or faking an interest in others so we can have more friends is not something that comes easy to us. Although I am not encouraging anyone to settle, I will remind you that sometimes those people who behave and think a bit differently can still be good friends who break up the monotony and help us avoid getting too stuck in our familiar habits and patterns because they help us see things from another perspective.

I will be completely honest with you, though, and admit that I find it very hard, almost impossible at times, to readjust my expectations. If I feel like I have to hold back too much of myself, that I can’t talk about my interests for more than a minute or so, and that a lot of effort is constantly required from either me or the other person to keep the conversation flowing, I cannot help but eventually lose all interest and decide that it would be preferable to be lonely alone than it would be to feel lonely talking to another person. While others might be able to remain open-minded and search for a common interest with that person, I usually prefer to move on in the search to find someone else whose company I truly enjoy.infj friendsIf you want to read about other INFJs who are socially bored and isolated because of it, check out this forum thread. As you will see, you are definitely not the only lonely INFJ who struggles to find the right people. Considering that one of our main complaints is that we don’t feel intellectually stimulated enough by most people we talk to, I’m slightly concerned about what that might say about modern society. Is it becoming less common to think deeply and have thought-provoking conversations about the future? Are INFJs and other intuitive types at risk of becoming less and less common? It seems like it might be preferable to have a fairly even balance of all the personality types and preferences, so perhaps a question to investigate another time is what the implications might be of having such uneven distributions of certain personality types.

I’d love to hear from other INFJs on this topic. Do you think your preference for intuitive thinking affects how well you are able to communicate and connect with others? Are your closest friends intuitives or sensors? How do you view sensors and friendships with them? And most importantly, what do you think explains INFJ loneliness?

Visit my new blog!

newHey, readers! I’m just announcing that I have created a new blog called “Awaken from the Dream” that is focused on increasing awareness and spiritual development. I’m really excited about it, and I hope you are, too! If you’re interested in expanding your mind and aim for personal growth, I think you’ll enjoy what I have to say on there. I just submitted my first post literally minutes ago, so please check it out and consider following my new blog.

Here is the address to the new blog: http://www.awakenfromthedream.wordpress.com

I may not post as much new stuff here anymore, but I’m definitely leaving up a lot of what I’ve shared on here because I’m still getting a decent amount of traffic to certain posts. My most popular posts here seem to be ones about INFJs, so I’m glad you other INFJs have successfully found this blog. Hope what I had to say helped you in some way! I may continue making similar posts here about INFJs and other random topics, but I really want to focus more of my time and energy right now on discussing spiritual development. So yeah, hop on over to my new blog, and let me know what you think! I hope to see you there…

It’s been three years!

"The Three of Cups represents community and groups of people coming together to focus on a common goal for the greater good of others. You may find that by reaching out to others and banding together, you can achieve a huge amount in terms of sharing your positive energy and passion with others, benefiting the wider community. It is a sign that you should seek out other people to celebrate your successes along with you. " - from http://www.biddytarot.com

“The Three of Cups represents community and groups of people coming together to focus on a common goal for the greater good of others. You may find that by reaching out to others and banding together, you can achieve a huge amount in terms of sharing your positive energy and passion with others, benefiting the wider community. It is a sign that you should seek out other people to celebrate your successes along with you. ” – from http://www.biddytarot.com

Hard to believe, but today is the three year anniversary of this blog. I suppose what initially inspired me the most to create this blog was to share my embarrassingly horrible yet hilarious online dating experiences and the valuable lessons that I learned from each of them. Fortunately, as I have stated before, those experiences eventually led to something that was profoundly amazing, and that was the discovery of my soulmate. Then that amazing discovery led to other amazing discoveries, like the awakening of my mind and soul. Like some wise person has probably said before, you can’t plan that shit. There has been so much that has occurred over these past three years, both really good and really bad experiences, that I could not have anticipated happening. There was something significant to learn from them all, so I have done my best not to dwell on why any particular event has happened. I know it is a really trite thing to say, but maybe it was all meant to be.

When I look back at who I was three years ago, in some ways, it is like looking at an entirely different person. Every day, we have the opportunity to get closer and closer to who and what we really are, and I can fairly say that I’ve made some progress there. The reason for mentioning all this is because ever since I have begun to embark on this awakening, I feel like some things from my past don’t fit the new me anymore. Reflecting on why I created this blog three years ago versus the reasons why I blog today, I feel like this blog is a strange mix of the old me with the new me. Sometimes I have considered creating an entirely different blog to focus on conspiracy theories and spiritual topics for the purpose of helping to uplift and awaken people, but then I have been hesitant to abandon this because all those old experiences are still a part of me that have helped shape me into who I am today. I have decided at least to start tidying up around here for the purpose of sharing what resonates with the truth of my soul today. For all my past and future readers, I will inform you of my address if/when I decide to create that new blog.

In this moment, I would like to thank any loyal reader who has bothered to take the time to read any of my posts. I hope that you have benefited in some way from them and will continue to benefit from what I have to share. Thank you to all.

Shocking Proof That 9/11 Was an Inside Job

As if any more evidence was really needed to prove that the 9/11 attacks were a false flag event orchestrated by the U.S. government, this video that I recently saw for the first time is perhaps the last little piece of evidence that shows us just how much planning was put into the whole operation. In this video, you will see Bush sitting in the classroom on the morning of September 11, 2001 while the children were asked to recite the following words: kite, hit, steel, plane, and must. For anyone who dares to say this was merely coincidence, I am sorry to say that there is no hope for you. There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that the twin towers collapsed as a result of pre-planted explosives rather than commercial airplanes that had supposedly been hijacked by Islamic terrorists. It should take no more than five minutes of research to realize how absurd the official story really is.

If you’ve never seen it, Sofia Smallstorm’s documentary 9/11 Mysteries: Demolitions is worth watching. Of all documentaries that have attempted to expose the 9/11 conspiracy, it is still one of my favorites. Click here to view it on youtube.

The Paradoxical Nature of INFJs

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI don’t know about you other rare INFJs out there, but sometimes my paradoxical nature frustrates me. On top of that, to be considered the rarest personality type is tough! I am sure that other personality types struggle to find people who “get” them, but it seems like finding my kind of people has been one of the biggest challenges for me as an INFJ. Many of us are walking a lonely path, that’s for sure.

I don’t know if all these apply to other INFJs, but here are some of the paradoxes that confuse/frustrate me:

  • I crave solitude and fierce connections with people at the same time. I’ll use an example. Let’s say I’m standing on the beach while looking out into the horizon and enjoying the breathtaking beauty of that moment. If I was in the presence of another person, I might secretly desire to be alone. It’s not that the person is annoying me or preventing me from enjoying the moment. I’m just so familiar with no one’s presence but my own that I don’t need others around in order to be happy. But then if I was standing all alone on that beach, I would likely have fleeting moments of loneliness where I wished that I had someone standing beside me. infj 16
  • When communicating with someone, part of me wants to be very guarded and reserved because I am not terribly trusting of people or I assume they will not understand me, but the other part of me wants to reveal so much in order to establish a meaningful, heartfelt connection with that person in that moment. I think to myself, “Should I hold back to avoid letting them see how weird and intense I am, or is it worth exposing myself so I can possibly have a deep, genuine connection with this person?” infj 17
  • While I have a pretty cynical, negative outlook on society, I truly believe in each person’s potential to be a good human being. Also related to this is the fact that I tend to dislike people when I observe them in a group setting, but I can grow quite fond of them when interacting in one-on-one conversations. Perhaps this is because people are often better at showing their vulnerability and true nature with one person instead of a whole group. infj 20
  • I can be hella pessimistic and serious yet ridiculously idealistic and silly. I guess this isn’t all that frustrating for me, but I think it makes it more difficult for people to understand/connect with me. My serious/intellectual/philosophical/meaningful side shows more than my silly/goofy/”letting loose” side, and I don’t think a lot of people are attracted to that. But I think if more people were open to what I was saying, they’d see my cheerful, positive side come through. infj 19
  • Beyond the calm aloofness I project towards people I don’t know well lies an intensely empathic person with a really big heart. I’ve had a few people tell me that before they got the chance to know me, they assumed I was stuck-up and unfriendly because of the way I initially came across. Though I don’t want anyone to think of me as cold and distant, I just don’t feel like expending a lot of energy into displaying enthusiasm for people who may not be worthy of my time. The unfortunate thing is, by holding back and not showing much interest, I probably make it harder for people to approach and connect with me. infj 23
  • Like the average person, sadness is a painful emotion for me to experience, but I think it is also extremely beautiful. Sometimes I avoid it but am able to embrace it at the same time. I know that doesn’t sound quite right, but I try not to judge sadness as a negative emotion. Unlike the average person, I am drawn to things of a sad nature (e.g., sad movies, sad music, sad books, things full of heartache, loneliness, misery, and grief). I don’t completely run away from sadness like any normal person would. Maybe I find a strange comfort in what’s uncomfortable, or maybe it’s just that I accept sadness due to my emotional nature. corpse bride
  • I’m extremely calm and passive until I’m extremely pissed. I imagine the few people who have seen my dark side were very surprised when it was unleashed. I go from sweet little meekling to monster when provoked. It’s sometimes hard to feel emotions so intensely and to lose so much control when something upsets or angers me. I’m even the type of person who gets shaky and cries after the confrontation is over because it is truly that intense for me.infj 15
  • As an INFJ, I am very empathic and can almost always understand where others are coming from, but I don’t often sense that level of understanding from others. I feel like so many people don’t get me (or aren’t even interested in understanding me), but I do a pretty good job of understanding and supporting others. Maybe it’s just my experience (though I’m highly doubtful of that), but I feel invisible and overlooked a lot of the time. I could do my best to understand another person and show a genuine interest in their life/thoughts/opinions but often get little in return. This feeling that others don’t understand or appreciate me can send me into an insecure state of, “What is wrong with me? What is it about me that turns people off so much? Am I too weird/serious/sensitive/intense/boring/hard to understand/not suitable for human interaction?” Again, walking the path of an INFJ can be a really lonely one.infj 26
  • To have the rarest personality type seems like both a gift and a curse. Sometimes I love being an INFJ. Admit it you fellow INFJs, it made you feel special when you discovered you have a rare personality type. But then if you’re like me, I bet sometimes you wish you felt like an ordinary human with ordinary thoughts and ordinary desires. My god, to be normal for a day! I can only imagine what that must be like.  infj 27Are there any other INFJ contradictions/paradoxes that I didn’t mention? Who else can relate to these contradictions that I mentioned?

12 Movies for the Lost, Confused, and Disillusioned

As I have mentioned in some of my previous posts, I have reached a point in my life where things don’t quite make sense. I recently graduated from graduate school and am feeling the pressure to start making decisions, but I’m still not sure in which direction to go. My original career plan doesn’t seem quite so right anymore. Maybe my confusion and lack of direction is all part of the spiritual awakening process, or maybe this is a phase that so many other recent college graduates face when they try to transition from the academic world to the work world. I think both explanations could be applied to my situation considering I’ve spent the past seven years in college and have undergone some significant awakenings throughout the past year.

Anyway, it’s a difficult place to be in when you feel driven to do something with your life and to help others, but you’re just not sure what it is that you should do. I am positive that so many other humans on this planet are facing or have faced the same problem. When you add other typical symptoms of a spiritual awakening into the mix, like fatigue, disconnection from the physical world, loss of passion/motivation/purpose, heightened sensitivity, loss of identity, and emotional ups and downs, it can be an extremely tough, overwhelming, and confusing place to be.

I recently watched a movie called The Giant Mechanical Man that stars two main characters who feel like lost drifters who must accept that they don’t have life all figured out, despite the fact that they’re in their thirties. I thought it was a really good movie, and it inspired me to come up with a list of movie recommendations for others who feel lost, stuck, or confused about life.

The following list of movies all center around characters who feel lost in life and dissatisfied, at times, with living an ordinary existence. If you know of any other movies with a similar theme, please mention them below so I can preview them later. Also, just a warning: A lot of the movies below are more of the slow-paced type, so if those tend to bore you, it may benefit you to skip these.

1.) Into the Wild – Based upon the true story of a young college graduate who gave away all his money and abandoned the safety and security of a conventional life in order to live a life that is more connected to nature.

2.) The Giant Mechanical Man – (Available on Netflix) A love story about two people in their thirties who are having a hard time figuring out what they want to do with their lives. My favorite quote from the movie: “I feel like modern life can be alienating, and it can be like you’re mindlessly walking through it, like a robot. And you can feel lost. I guess I just want people to know that they’re not crazy…”

3.) Ghost World – Two friends who’ve recently graduated from high school are trying to plan for the future, but one is having a harder time figuring out what exactly she should do.

4.) The Graduate – (Available on Netflix) Most people immediately think of the affair with Mrs. Robinson when you mention this classic, but it also a movie that shows the desperation and anxiety that a young man faces when he graduates from college and is bombarded with questions about what he is going to do with his life.

5.) Ruby in Paradise – (Available on youtube) This is a movie of a young woman who flees from everything that is familiar and heads to Florida without a plan. It is there that she begins to understand herself better and what she wants from life.

6.) Rid of Me – A woman rediscovers herself and what she wants after enduring a divorce from a man she desperately loved.

7.) Trees Lounge – (Available on Netflix) The main character, Tommy, has lost just about everything that was once important to him. Throughout the film, it seems like he’s just drifting.

8.) Lost in Translation – An older actor and a young college graduate are both feeling lost and disinterested in their current relationships. Their encounter in Tokyo provides them the kind of connection they’ve been craving.

9.) The Good Girl – A woman who becomes increasingly dissatisfied with her slacker, dim-witted husband and her dull job at a discount store meets a young, troubled guy who can possibly add a little excitement to her monotonous life.

10.) Office SpaceThis movie is so popular that I hesitated to share it, but the characters and the plot of this movie perfectly capture the frustrations and dissatisfaction that go along with working a mind-numbing job.

11.) Metroland – The main character suddenly reevaluates his marriage, his lifestyle, and the choices he’s made when his old friend comes back to Metroland for a visit.

12.) Blue Valentine – (Available on Netflix) A marriage goes stagnant when one partner wants to move forward and grow while the other remains directionless without a single goal, other than to try saving their failing marriage.