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.Β  infj 27Are there any other INFJ contradictions/paradoxes that I didn’t mention? Who else can relate to these contradictions that I mentioned?

118 thoughts on “The Paradoxical Nature of INFJs

  1. I am so glad someone feels like I do!!! As a fellow INFJ I’ve always said I was an optimistic pessimist and a walking contradiction. I’m so glad I found this because I feel a little less crazy. Do you find yourself as “flaky” at times? I do. I try to work on it but it gets difficult. Cause I just want to retreat sometimes but do everything at the same time. Its rather exhausting really.

    • Tiffany, I’m glad to hear you can relate because it makes me feel a little less crazy, too πŸ™‚ As for the flakiness, I totally understand that, but I wouldn’t describe myself that way. I’ve been let down so much by people that I try my best to be reliable and stick by my commitments because I don’t want to cause others pain or frustration, but I know that feeling that you described. It’s like if someone invited you to do something, you’d be all for it at first, but then the more you think about it, you start wanting to come up with an excuse so you can chill at home or just do your own thing.

      • Lol this is one year late but omg this whole articles describe me to a T and same with this comment. I always ask myself if people talk about me being indecisive, unreliable and lazy because I always say I’m going to do something or go somewhere etc. but never end up doing it because I can’t be bothered, or as you said, the more I dwell on it, the more I wanna stay at home instead or do my own thing πŸ˜‚

  2. I feel like I just found a pot of gold. Thank you for doing this.

    PS. What’s your favorite shoegaze song? Mine is ‘Alison’ by Slowdive

  3. I was just explaining these exact feelings to my husband and he’s like “maybe you’re bipolar”! I don’t feel like anything is “wrong” with me. Nothing like that. Just that I have conflicted thoughts and feelings. I am learning, after researching my personality type (INFJ), that I’m not alone. I was trying to explain to him that I’m both terribly lonely and enjoy being alone most of the time. I’ve struggled to make real “friends” where we live, finding it hard to find meaningful connections and have real conversations. I either feel like no one gets me, that I should pretend to be someone else (exhausting) or that I don’t really get the other moms (in my area, they’re just so plastic and boring. Or so it seems. Harsh, I know, and I’ve tried many times but I just can’t get past the surface with them and have had some negative experiences in these social circles. I always end up thinking “is it me?? What did I do? What am I doing wrong here?”).

    Most days I’m content to be by myself but, some days, I also find it very difficult. Sometimes I feel like I both hate and love myself. I hate my house and it’s “home”, I want to go out but I want to stay home too. I want to get involved and be there for people but I also want to keep my distance. I’m ambitious and lazy. Lol It’s in nearly everything I do! Very frustrating personality. I love the uniqueness of it and the positive traits are something to be proud of, however, I often annoy even my own self with my conflicted nature! Ha πŸ™‚

    • Melissa, it’s amazing how everything you said rings so much truth for me, too! First of all, I’ll agree that there is nothing wrong with you for having these conflicted thoughts and feelings. Interestingly, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder 7 years ago, but that’s because I experienced extreme mood swings that were very disruptive. I wonder if INFJs are more likely to receive this diagnosis since our emotions can be pretty intense. Don’t feel alone in your struggle to make real friends. I totally relate with everything you said. Speaking of all those “plastic and boring moms”, last week I was at a park and spotted a group of moms hanging out with their kids. I immediately thought to myself, “Wow, if I was a mom, there is no way in hell I could hang out with women like that!” I’m not good at becoming friends with other women. I can connect with them on a superficial level, as long as we talk about things like relationships or fashion, but I can’t fully express myself with most of them. They just don’t seem to get me. I feel too intense and weird for the average person, and I also get bored with others pretty quickly. But anyway, I’m sorry to hear that you’re struggling to make meaningful connections, too. If only there was a special secret hang-out spot for all the INFJs where we could all have some crazy, in-depth conversations with each other about how weird and crazy we feel. Maybe that would be the perfect cure for our loneliness!

      • Yes, I tend to have pretty intense emotions too. Like when I’m mad, I’m MAD. And sadness and frustration can be pretty bad too. But I am usually searching for ways to maintain a level of peace all the time. Of course, that only works some of the time. πŸ˜‰ But it’s been described that I go from 0 to 60 which is really not true. Because I do not show the build up that gets me from 0 to 60 (which can actually take a while), it only appears that I do. I seem fine until I erupt. Acquaintances would say I’m very mellow and sweet and cannot imagine me yelling but those closest to me know!

        Since I’ve had a child, I find my introversion much harder to deal with. I crave quiet and alone time and that’s almost impossible when you have a child. So my patience is thinner than I’d like. I’m sure that’s true of most moms though. But also, not working and being home all day has magnified the sense of loneliness that I used to be more ok with. I also feel bad for my daughter in that she does not get to be around more kids for things like play dates since we are not living nearby to any family. I put that on myself because I find it hard to make friends with other mothers. They will chat outside school about their child’s academic achievements, where they shop and who used to date who but I just smile, nod and zone out in utter boredom. Then I feel like a bitch for thinking they’re awful. Even if they called me to invite me to things, I’d probably feel more like it’s a dreaded obligation than something “fun”. Then I sit home and complain I have no one. Vicious cycle. Lol

        I would think that with INFJs being a very small part of the population, they’re hard to find unless you go online. And even if you can gather up a group, they’d probably only get together once in a blue. Haa

        Nice talking to you!

      • Haha, an eruption is probably the most perfect word to describe what happens when us INFJs get mad. This how things typically progress: Get a little frustrated, but tolerate it. Getting annoyed, but still tolerating it. Getting really pissed, and still tolerating it. Finally pushed my last button, I’m spewing obscenities and temporarily losing all my self-control. It must be pretty scary and shocking to an unsuspecting victim who has never witnessed one of our outbursts before.

        Trust me, I’m extremely familiar with that guilty feeling when you try to be excited and appreciative when people show an interest in being friends, but deep down they bore the shit out of you to the point that you’d rather just be alone. It makes me feel like a bitch, too, but it seems like we crave something a little different in a friendship compared to most people, and we don’t like to settle for anything less than what we want.

    • Lol. I only just discovered today from 1am to 5am cuz I can’t sleep for reading all the insightful info on INFJs. I’ve been diagnosed with bipolar II and been so misunderstood even been told that I am unstable when really I’ve been this INFJ person. Thank you so much for the posts; I don’t feel so alone now or like I just don’t belong in this world.

  4. I’m not sure if this was your very last Blog post but I sure hope you keep blogging!! There are so few of us out there ( I consider it magical my husband happens to be an INFJ too!) that we *should* try and stay connected. I’m 56, so I can attest to the lifelong challenges and unique experiences of the INFJ individual. Nevertheless I’m always learning and so happy to meet fellow INFJ’s. So, HELLOOOO, from Cape Town South Africa. πŸ˜€ xxx

    • Hi, Jen πŸ™‚ Thanks for the comment! I most definitely plan to continue blogging. I’ve started creating a new blog, which will be focused on spiritual awakening, so I may not be posting as much here. I’ll be sharing the address to that blog in a new post here soon if you’re interested. But anyway, that’s pretty amazing that you snatched up another INFJ! I can’t help but wonder how strange and intense it could get sometimes to have two INFJs together πŸ˜› I’m sure it’s pretty amazing at times, too!

  5. Everything you guys are saying is so unbelievably true. I’m actually in the process of ending a 12 year relationship (with an ENTJ), and one of the things he said was he thought I was too introverted to ever be married to anyone. But we were always around other people- his family, his friends- people who drained me, and I couldn’t pretend well enough… it was exhausting. Since I’m not wasting that energy anymore, I’ve had plenty of amazing one-on-one outings with my closest friends (I’ve collected them one-by-one along my many paths), and even a few good group things. But those are the very few people who seem to at least give a little energy back to me (or just also understand the need for small doses of people time).
    I started using the term “plastic people” waay back in high school, haha. I know exactly what you all are feeling, and that’s a huge reason I decided against children. For myself, I would have had to fake plastic- and I’m pretty sure that would have cost me my sanity (and every bit of my self respect). As for a real life INFJ meet-up, I propose the top of a mountain. We’d all have plenty of weird deep thoughts on the hike up (alone, of course) that by the time we all converged we’d be bursting to share and eager to hear. πŸ™‚

    • Veronica, I can only imagine how difficult it must be to date someone who does not understand our need for alone time. My boyfriend might be an even bigger introvert than I am, so I’m very fortunate that he understands me. Twelve years is a good stretch of time to be with someone, so I hope the ending of your relationship is not too challenging for either of you. I’m glad to hear you have good friends who respect your preferences and help lift you up πŸ™‚ I can’t blame you for not wanting children, either. If I had a child, I’m sure he/she would end up being a huge misanthropic introverted loner like Mommy and Daddy! Thanks so much for commenting. Also, I love your idea for the INFJ meet-up! πŸ˜€

  6. Wow! You articulated the INFJ nature so well. I appreciate the part you included about finding comfort in uncomfortable situations. I feel this too. I wonder if on some level I consider sad situations as the most hopeful ones … things can only get better. Conversely, when I am very “happy” situations, it almost makes me nervous, as there is so much to lose.

    • Thanks, Nova! I myself don’t fully understand why I don’t mind sadness. I can totally see the point you made about how being down can inspire hope for a brighter tomorrow. Maybe it plays into our idealistic nature, allowing us to envision changes and possibilities for the future.

  7. Hmm, this describes me pretty much in total. I became a fan of the smiths, just because its melancholic…… I avoid people in groups like a plague……. I feel alright when I figure out solutions for others problems….. I feel beautiful when I am ignored completely in a crowd……. yes, I am an infj too……

    • Hello, fellow INFJ πŸ™‚ I know all about preferring melancholic music that most people would describe as overly mopey and depressing. And yes, I imagine avoiding groups is a special talent for many INFJs! Thank you for commenting.

  8. This post speaks to my soul! Thank you so much. πŸ™‚ I’m feeling pretty defeated tonight and really feel the sense of being understood even more so these days. I have great friends and family, a wonderful boyfriend… I shouldn’t be complaining, right? But I truly feel that no one I know truly gets me. I’ve ALWAYS felt that way. It’s not like I’m looking for a replica of me… It just hurts when I truly decide to open up. More often than not, I end getting weird looks and even my boyfriend is often at a loss for words and says things like, “I don’t know… That’s just weird.” My family tends to ignore me when my deep, inquisitive, philosophical self comes out and they even think it’s a bit humorous and “cute.” Much like you and other fellow INFJs, solitude is a necessity, but super intense connections (at the soul-level) are what I both yearn for and lack. It helps to know that other people understand what I’m going through.

    • Hi Eva, I’m sorry to hear you’re feeling lonely and misunderstood lately. I’ve been feeling some hardcore alienation, too, since my spiritual awakening began last year. It feels as if I have no one to turn to who can understand this. INFJs typically feel quite different than most people, but those INFJs who are fully embracing the spiritual path might as well be aliens who are wandering this planet. I rarely find people who are interested in engaging in the kind of deep, intellectual conversations I enjoy. When I’m lucky enough to experience it, it leaves me feeling so fulfilled. I don’t think a lot of people can handle our emotional and intellectual depths, and I totally understand your yearning for intense connections with people who actually understand half of what we say.

      • I’m sorry that you’ve been dealing with something similar. I, too have been waking on the spiritual path. Every interest or way of life I take on, the more I alienate myself, and lower my chances of finding someone who really gets me. I talked to my boyfriend about this and how I feel like I’m “too intense, “too overwhelming” and “too sensitive” for most people. People from my past have even said so. Then he intervened and sa, “You mean too vibrant? You can never be too vibrant.” πŸ™‚

      • Haha yes, it really does seem that as we become closer and closer to our true selves, we further diminish our ability to connect with many people on a deep soul level. I don’t know if you experience this problem, too, but I imagine most INFJs are not especially good at being phony and adaptable. For many of us, being authentic is more important than fitting in and being likeable, so sometimes that means our only option is to stand alone. I love what your boyfriend said about being “too vibrant.” Maybe we’re also too real among all the people who wear too many masks?

        Btw, thanks for following my blog. I started following you on my other one, awakenfromthedream, since I don’t post much here anymore.

      • Absolutely! I think we can be especially intimidating to those mask-wearers. “Too intense” to them, just means “too painful,” because that means they have to face their own authenticity or lack thereof. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say that we INFJs are superior.

        I can completely relate to everything you have said. I think being on a quest to finding truly kindred souls will be a life-long one for me. I can’t expect replicas, just gotta find some more INFJs. I’m on an INFJ forum and there are A LOT of us out there… But I’d like to meet a few in real life.

        You’re quite welcome! Thank you for following my blog. πŸ˜€

  9. Almost everything you said is true. The only excemption is the sadness: I never like or look for sadness. What bothers me most is this duality: it seems to me that there are two complelete opposite persons inside of me 😦

    • Thanks for commenting, Diane πŸ™‚ Yes, the duality makes things confusing. Like how is it that I’m the most reserved person in a group, yet I can be sometimes be the most open book when sitting alone with one person? How can I feel so hopeless and cynical about society yet have faith in individuals? Due to our lack of consistency, I’m sure we’ve surprised and confused people who’ve observed us in various situations.

  10. It’s strange that we INFJs are the type who can be the ones who would never run out of topics to talk about in a conversation but yet in a flash be interrupted by our incredible bipolar mood swings. As someone who also lived like a life like yours for like my entire life, it always felt like no one truly understood any of us. One moment we could be serious and meaningful and next we could be a mischievous soul who just wants to go insane. That attribute is probably the cause of how others (even close friends & families) are misled into judging each of us as temperamental creature which can’t seem to control ourselves. However, this is why we strive to find another like us in this populated yet lonely planet. It’s just really upsetting to find myself subconsciously looking for other INFJs as well but to no avail even after many years. I guess I would treat this platform as an outlet for de-stress, if you don’t mind. Thanks for all the info above and good day!

    • Hi Sk, I totally know what you’re talking about. I confuse people around me because my moods can shift quickly. Sometimes there’s a reason for it, but other times I don’t even know what happened. It’s frustrating for sure to be called overly sensitive and moody or for people to misunderstand the reasons why I have suddenly got upset or annoyed. They’ll assume it’s something trivial, which ends up offending me more. We definitely aren’t the easiest creatures to understand. It’s challenging to find other INFJs, but I hope you’ll at least find people who try to be understanding of your INFJ quirks. Thank you for commenting!

  11. Thank you for finally putting exactly how I’m feeling in written word. I find myself exhausting and just long to be ‘normal’ but on the other hand I think ‘I wish people would be more like me and the world might be a kinder place.
    I feel so out of place in this world, constantly observing and never feeling a part of it.
    I think it’s hard for INFJs in this world that is so shallow and full of materialism.
    I feel like humanity seems to have lost its heartbeat and the INFJs are the only ones that have noticed.
    Then I look at what I have just typed and think….stop being so fucking weird!!! Shut up!!!…. So yeh I’m exhausted with this familiar scenario I find myself in. X

    • Haha, I totally understand everything you said. I have those days where I feel very isolated and different from everyone around me because I desperately want to talk about things that “normal people” probably don’t ever discuss. Instead of engaging in conversations about the mundane stuff, I stay quiet and drift off into my inner world of thoughts about life and what lies beyond it. I think we might be too deep and serious to feel a sense of belonging among most people we encounter.

    • Wow, didn’t know there are people like me out there; it’s awesomely sad( if that makes sense) I never post comments either but here I am posting my 3rd one like I gotta connect with ya’ll or something. I know, I’m odd… But so are ya’ll? Lol

      • Yep, we might have a rare personality type, but you can find a good number of us weirdos all over the internet πŸ™‚ So thankful for technology and the ability to interact with more of my kind of people!

  12. I never leave comments but this really moved me so I felt you deserve to know. This is exactly how I feel, you nailed it. Had a bad day today, first day of college and felt like I couldn’t connect with anyone. I’m so glad there’s someone out there who gets it, even if I don’t know you in real life !! It’s reassuring to know I’m not just insane . And I completely agree with Tiffany and wanting to do such ambitious things but getting tired easily , and with the ‘flakiness’- it’s like I crave deep meaningful connections with people, but when I sense it getting deeper something makes me feel uncomfortable about that responsibility I have for the other person’s feelings, and I pull away. Maybe my sensitivity makes me afraid to commit.

    • Aww, I’m so glad you decided to leave a comment πŸ™‚ I didn’t expect that many people to relate to what I’ve written here, but it makes me smile knowing that I’m helping other INFJs feel less alone and less crazy for having all these quirks. Also, sorry to hear you had a bad first day of college! I can relate with that because when I’m around a new group of people, I usually feel like the oddball in the corner while everyone else is quickly becoming friends with each other. I spent much of my time in college as a complete loner because I wasn’t into partying or doing things to be socially accepted. I walked that journey alone, and you may end up doing the same. Hopefully you’ll eventually find someone you can connect with. Whatever happens, I wish you the best!

  13. I am an INFJ too and can identify with many of the contradictions you speak of.
    Several years before I even knew I was INFJ, I wrote hundreds of poems. And in one of them, I did a very interesting thing without realizing the paradox implications. This may sound a little bit wacky, but I referred to myself as an “illusion of illusions”.

    In the context I used it, the phrase “illusion of illusions” had nothing to do with ancient Hindu philosophy which holds that all of creation is a dream and we are dreaming it. I was only 17 years old when I wrote it. I wrote that phrase because I knew that people often misunderstood who I really was as an individual, or more specifically as I later came to find, as an INFJ. What they’d think they knew about me would actually end up being an illusion more misleading than any other illusion (or false impression they’ve ever had of anyone else); hence “illusion of illusions”. I had good reason to believe that others couldn’t, in a hundred years of trying, understand my own nature. Several years later, I discovered that I was an INFJ. Also learned that INFJs are prone to being misunderstood by others. Then it became clear that what I wrote in the past were the missing pieces of a bigger picture: the INFJ picture. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this little story. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you for sharing that πŸ™‚ I think I started feeling misunderstood at a pretty young age, and I’m sure many other INFJs can say the same. Sometimes I want to say that feeling different from most people is merely an illusion, but other times, it seems like some of us are just not able to blend in among the crowd. It’s like when you encounter another INFJ or a personality type very similar to ours, and you feel like you’ve hit the jackpot because you suspect this person might understand maybe half of your quirks that no one else seems to get. But yeah, even then, we still stand a good chance at being misunderstood! Oh how lovely and frustrating it is to feel like a weirdo…

  14. I typed that earlier comment when I was pretty tired. Anyway, you’re welcome. What you said about being misunderstood from a young age makes perfect sense given that 3 out of 4 people in some countries (like the US) prefer S over N. Two different ways to process information.

    S is more like “seeing is believing” to form their interpretations/conclusions (and that’s one reason misunderstandings occur more easily), while strong NF have developed their abstract thinking/feeling skills to a level where they can often draw more accurate interpretations about people and events without needing to see first.

    If you are an INFJ and live in a society that consists of mostly S types, that is why you may feel like a weirdo that can understand things differently than most people. It can be lovely and frustrating at times, I agree. Anyway, have a great day!

    • Wow, I had no idea that the sensors outnumber us to that degree! Then you add to that the fact that some cultures (like here in the US) consider extroversion the norm/ideal. I guess we’re doomed in some ways to feel like we’re on the outside. All of this is making me wonder if there are certain cultures or previous times in human history where being an INFJ would not feel quite as unusual. Thank you for giving me something else interesting to consider! πŸ™‚

  15. I took the personality test yesterday and I’m an INFJ. These descriptions and reading about others that have the same thoughts and feeling as I do is overwhelming and wonderful. I recently went through a breakup and I’m struggling with finding who I am. My ex always called me strange, an overthinker, and said I made up stories in my head. I’m a dreamer, a hard worker, feels alot, musician, artist, overthinking, sensitive, want to be accepted by others, want to be left alone but wants to be social too. I would get in situations like meeting his friends or family where I felt emotional exposed (but was smiling on the outside) and then I would shut down and have to leave. He couldn’t understand this nor could I. I thought I was either not smart or had a disorder. Thank you for sharing this. It’s a feeling of relief and comfort knowing other people have these struggles/uniqueness too. It I’m discovering who I am (finally) and that makes me smile.

    • Hi Lily, I’m glad to hear this recent discovery is helping you better understand yourself. Haha, believe me, I’ve heard the same about being a strange one who thinks too much. I take both of those as compliments since thinking and being authentically myself are very lovely things to do. I think it’s especially important to find a partner who understands and appreciates your quirks since we have a tendency to feel misunderstood by almost everyone else. It’s not helpful to experience that in a romantic relationship, too, because it can further increase the sense of loneliness. I can tell based on what you’ve shared that you are not dumb, and I’m doubtful that you have a disorder. You just have a case of the rare INFJitis like the rest of us here. Thank you for joining us and leaving a comment so others who read this will know they’re not alone πŸ™‚

  16. Im really glad I can relate exactly to you… sometimes I wish i wasn’t born because im so different, yet Im glad to be alive cuz I’m one of a kind.. May I ask you a question? Idk if you can relate but whenever I get lonely for too long I go insane. I need my alone time to recharge but if I’m left that way for too long, I end up with having instense negative thoughts of myself or others & start being overly cold-hearted,mean, rude,distant etc. How do i deal with this?… Please reply asap.

    • Hi, alien. I find that an interesting name you chose because I’ve been researching alien phenomena lately….I most certainly can relate with the negative effects of spending too much time alone. I love a lot of alone time, but I hate loneliness when it strikes. Loneliness causes me to feel sad, hopeless, bitter, and disconnected from the world. Considering that even us introverts are social creatures who need to feel loved and connected to others, I encourage you to develop more friendships. I know it can be very challenging to find the right people, but it’s not healthy for us to suffer due to our unmet social needs. There are plenty of lonely people on the internet right now, so maybe you could meet people through a dating site or a personals ad. Maybe you were seeking advice on how to cope with the negative feelings, but it sounds like the underlying issue is that you’re not connecting often enough with people. Please consider reaching out in as many ways as possible to find a kindred spirit in your area. Also, when you feel lonely, avoid staying at home for too long. Connect with the world again by being around people. Take a book or journal with you and sit on a bench downtown or at a park. Go to a store and have a little friendly conversation with someone there. Just find a way to experience some form of human connection. I think it’s vital to our well-being.

  17. Your article truly spoke to my heart!! It is like you read my ‘diary’.. words I have been writing since I was 10 without return.. I have been going through a rough time lately and you made me fell a little less lonely and misunderstood. It is very difficult to find like-minded people.. I like being alone doing my ‘philosophical researches’ , but at the same time I crave interaction with others. Unfortunately though, every time I decide to leave my ‘solitude’ (where at least you are not being judged) , I deeply regret it. Others don’t understand me ,while I see right through them (having a highly unnecessary level of empathy and insight..)… It is horrible, disheartening being the odd one left out.. They say that we feel most alone when we are with others.. It feels like you are in vicious circle of self-hatred and sudden feelings of ‘superiority’? Depression.. Why is it so impossible nowadays to have a deep, meaningful conversation? To connect with others on another intellectual level while still having fun of course..? Not to talk about the fact that I feel like I have 7 different personalities( Hyde and Jekyll) , a living breathing contradiction! It feels like you don’t belong anywhere, you don’t fit in, like you are a foreign body , an alien as others mentioned.. Music , art and books is what keeps me going and makes me happy, but daydreaming 24/7 isn’t particularly healthy nor does it make any difference in reality. My true goal is to help others ,but being a law student everyone assumes that you have to go through mud and be an extroverted, manipulative, professional liar to achieve anything.. I don’t know.. All these thoughts makes me feel paralysed. Being an INFJ is truly a lonely path , hopefully though we will all find our way and experience fulfilling lives!!! P.S. Sorry for the loooong rant and my English. You are a hidden gem! Keep inspiring!!!

    • Hi Maria, thank you for the really kind words! I appreciate you sharing your perspective as another INFJ, and I’m sure it will benefit those who feel lonely when they read your comment. I know just how difficult it is to find like-minded people. Honestly, my boyfriend is the only person who completely gets me on multiple levels. I had never felt completely understood by anyone until I met him. I basically have no luck at all with friendships. People either deeply disappoint me due to their selfishness or flakiness, or my interest in the friendship fades because we’re not really on the same level. I feel like I have to hold back a lot of who I am with most people because they don’t seem comfortable with the total package that I am. I’m making an effort to put myself out there and am trying to be hopeful that I will hit the jackpot one day and find a wonderful friend. Just keep trying to put yourself out there. I know it gets discouraging after a while, but we have no clue who’s out there until we bother to look. Also, keep this in mind, in this modern society where things seem chaotic, backwards, and out-of-balance, it’s probably a really good sign that we don’t fit in. A lot of modern norms and values aren’t ones I respect, so I’d rather be the oddball who doesn’t conform to much of the dysfunction I observe all around me. All us oddballs, loners, and misfits may struggle to find our place in this strange world, but I don’t think we’re necessarily doomed to eternal loneliness. I hope you’ll embrace all your weirdness and quirks because someone is bound to appreciate it πŸ™‚

  18. You are absolutely right ,I feel the same way too! You get out of your shell , you get disappointed and discouraged with the ‘feedback’ you receive, and then you start thinking why do I even bother in the first place? But these rare connections you have with people you may not expect in the beginning are without a doubt worth trying! We will never know until we actually get out there . And once again better a misfit with ‘integrity’ than a follower and copycat of (as you very well mentioned) modern norms and values I don’t really respect either.. After I posted this (I have never commented on anything before since I am a little wary of the internet world) I was wandering around your blog and I was fascinated by your views, experiences and interests! Conspiracy theories, self-improvement, psychology, the paranormal, Audrey Hepburn( I couldn’t believe my eyes..!) are all things I love. I went through my high school years ‘sleepwalking’ ,like I was a ghost. Not bullied but not fitting in either since I very soon realised I never would and in the end I didn’t want to. Same thoughts as yours went through my mind ”am I too cold and distant?, ”is the fact that I consider my studies important intimidating and boring?”, ”do I look like a snob or a nerd?”.(ha, not to mention the fear of being a cat-lady..) I falsely believed that when I went to college all these would change, which they didn’t ,cause what I met were arrogant, immature ‘rich’ kids or really nice, kind people that simply weren’t compatible to me at all. Don’t get me wrong I don’t believe that everyone should be the same or replicas of me, as that would make the world a seriously dull and one-dimensional place. Diversity is beautiful and thought-provoking. Anyway, because this is getting too long again I just wanted to let you know that stumbling upon your blog was an awakening for me. It showed that I don’t need to pretend I am someone I am not, or there is something wrong with the way I am. I will just stay true to myself and continue to believe that we can make a difference somehow ! Once again thank you and also thanks for replying before πŸ™‚ You and your boyfriend are very lucky you have each other! I wish you the best !!!

    • It often amazes me just how much us INFJs have in common. I’ll discover people on various sites on the internet who have similar interests, values, and opinions and think to myself “What an awesome person! I could be friends with someone like that.” I later find out that they’re an INFJ, too. I’m starting to think we should all create an INFJ group in our area on to find our local soul sisters and brothers πŸ˜€ …..I completely relate to the disappointment you felt at college. For some silly reason, I thought moving to a larger city and being around college students was going to make it so much easier to find friends. I ended up feeling like an old lady on an entirely different mental and emotional level compared to classmates. I sometimes find myself connecting much better with people who are a few decades older than me. I seriously think INFJs are the old souls trying to function in a young soul society. We don’t fit this crap, and that’s ok. It just makes our path more difficult, unfortunately. After our little exchanges here and a couple of articles I came across yesterday, I’m finally feeling inspired to write a new post on this blog related to INFJs and our difficulty with fitting in. Thank you for that! I definitely wish you the best, as well πŸ™‚

  19. Haha that is so true …As a twenty year old I always feel like I am either forty or ten… ‘Maturer’ than others on an intellectual level but a ‘kid’ in terms of their life experiences or their ”decay, deterioration”? caused by life.(I am not sure how to express it ). They are young but they are no longer ‘young’…I too always found it easier to relate and socialize with people older than me. And in the end? Who cares ? You communicate with those who share a similar mindset. Age doesn’t matter. As for the INFJ group that would be an awesome idea ! Too bad we are like miles away.. 😦 haha(I am from Greece you see). I will catch up with your post when you upload (with my personal email cause that’s for my school) and check out your other blog! I am looking forward to it πŸ™‚

    • Yes, I totally get it. It could be another one of those INFJ contradictions πŸ˜› Sometimes I feel like an old soul intellectually, but other times I feel silly and like I lack experience in the real world sense because it has been hard to find my place. I consider myself a late bloomer….It always seems easier to find a similar-minded person on the other side of the planet than someone in my own city. I’m fortunate that my boyfriend lives less than 200 miles away, but potential friends are usually located much further away. At least the internet lets us know that our kind exists somewhere out there! Thanks for checking out my other blog. I’ve published my new post here about INFJ loneliness:

  20. I will second the comment above! I was an old soul as a child and always spoke to the adults at kids parties I went to. Nowadays, at 30 years old – I feel like a child with my sillyness and I love playing games and having childish fun, whilst retaining the mature and self aware side of my personality. I have never felt that I connect with anyone else in my age group at any age!

    I have few friends, very few real ones (maybe none but I don’t want to admit it to myself). I just look upon my friends with such dismay these days – I’m not being nasty, it’s just that they are ALL extroverted, but they are not true to themselves. They put on a mask, I crave authentic and meaningful connections and I cannot find it in my group of friends. I avoid group outings at all costs – but as individuals they can be such different and much more genuine people.

    My boyfriend is an INTJ (100% T) – we are so alike and yet so different, he has very little visible emotion, it is well and truly rationalised. He is like Spock from Star Trek – I know those feels are hidden in there somewhere. He’s good for me though – I have learned how to be a little more stable but I think part of me just wants to win an argument, but with his logical way of thinking its almost impossible! But my way of feeling has also rubbed off on him too.

    Do you ever feel like you want to change something in the world – and feel such passion about it but find you are too shy, or maybe reserved, or maybe pessimistic to actually do something about it?

    Anyway, great blog post. I came across it after googling are INFJs lonely. It was like I wrote every single point myself πŸ™‚ I heard an Alanis Morrisette song today and I forgot how obsessed I was with her as a 12 year old! I think she might be INFJ, maybe INFP.

    • Aoife, I wish I didn’t, but I know very well what you mean about mask-wearing friends. It’s one of the biggest turn-offs, isn’t it? Upon meeting someone who has friendship potential, I usually feel hopeful and excited at first. But once I observe that person doing something really phony, like totally kissing up to people they dislike, I lose a ton of respect for that person and suddenly feel less interested in developing a close friendship. It’s like, how do I know that person actually likes me if they pretend to adore people whom they’ve already told me they dislike?
      I have always avoided group outings, as well. It amazes me how well I can connect with someone if it’s just a one-on-one interaction, but then the connection is often greatly diminished if another person gets added into the mix.
      I’ve read that INFJs and INTJs are often a really good match πŸ™‚ I don’t know if it’s the same for other INFJs, but my boyfriend has accused me of acting cold sometimes and seems to get exhausted when all I want to talk about are intellectual topics that stimulate my mind, which to me sound like INTJ traits. I’m not suggesting that I think I’m an INTJ since my emotional nature is too strong for that, but I recognize how INFJs and INTJs have enough similarities that they could potentially be great friends/partners.
      And yes, I believe both pessimism and my shy/reserved nature sometimes prevent me from doing all that I want to do to help others. Sometimes I feel extremely passionate/inspired/motivated to tackle a huge issue, but then frustration and a hopeless feeling can suddenly appear and prevent me from achieving all my goals.
      I was an Alanis fan when I was around 9 or 10 years old. Listening to 90’s music makes me feel so nostalgic! This video suggests that she is an INFP, but INFJ sounds like a strong possibility:
      Thanks so much for commenting! You sound like yet another lovely INFJ πŸ™‚

  21. I have never read anything more accurate. I’m a INFJ, I’m only 16, but ever since I was little I knew it’d always be hard to be social, and that I may never feel understood. I have gone through so many friendships, that I can’t even remeber how many, because in the end it always seemed like it came down to who I was. I never changed, and I will never change. I yam what I yam. To this day, it is so hard for me to connect with anyone, because I often feel like if I open up all the way they’ll run away, but at the same time I hate not letting people in to see who I am. The couple times I have let people in to see all of me, sort of speak, they have ran, but the ones who’ve stayed, have stayed forever. My mother, when I was younger, had me tested so many times because she couldn’t even understand, and I could never seem to explain how I felt to her. I’ve come to love my personality though, because I find it easy to see the beauty in everything but also the truth with it. Thank you so much for this, it feels good to know somebody else feels like this, and is traveling their own twisty up and down road.

    • Hi Sahara, how wonderful it is that you’ve discovered the MBTI at a young age! I was maybe 19 when I came across it, but I think it would have been helpful to have known about it a little earlier. The challenges you’ve been experiencing sound pretty typical for an INFJ. I wish I could tell you that it gets easier to connect with people and make friends as we get older, but that hasn’t been the case for me. Quite the opposite, I feel like the more I discover and embrace who I am, the fewer people there are to whom I can connect. It gets frustrating sometimes when I desire deeper friendships, but I don’t think it’s worth sacrificing who we are just so we can fit in more easily. It sounds pretty funny and silly that your mother had you tested because she could not understand you. I guess you were a total enigma to her! It’s good to see that you’re coming to accept and love yourself as you are πŸ™‚ Thanks for commenting!

  22. Thank you for sharing these aspects of your INFJ life. I am an INFJ, too, but I have never met anyone like me yet. It is nice to know that I am not crazy, but that my controversal nature has everything to do with my personality type. Thank you!

    • Thanks for commenting, Jana πŸ™‚ I’m willing to bet that most of us INFJs haven’t met many others like us, either. I’m getting close to 30 and have only met 2 people in my lifetime who are fairly similar to me. Those aren’t really good statistics!

  23. I never usually leave comments but this blog is spot on. I’m only 16 and i’ve always felt as if I’ve never really been able to truly connect with anyone and while I love alone time, I guess there’s a part of me that’s somehow craved a good, deep & strong friendship/bond that I see most girls & boys my age have with each other… and idk what it is about me, but it’s hard to achieve that for myself. I love meeting new people & generally socialising, but after a while I get so drained & exhausted that I need time to retreat and sometimes my mum (not sure what type she is) doesn’t understand that and says stuff like “I barely see you” “It’s like you’re living in your own apartment” hahaha. And also idk if it’s the same with other INFJ’s, but that whole concept that says we sort of ‘mimick’ the behaviour of people around us to fit in with the environment, I always feel taken back and confronted after I’ve done such things and I’m like “woah.. wait that’s not me.” You know what I mean? Lol. I’ve always taken interest in listening and being attentive to others, but it seems that every time I speak or whatever, I’m overlooked and ignored and it’s like well… what was the point in that. And I tend to open up less and less. But anyways, enough of my rambling lol. This was amazing πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Yasmin πŸ™‚ I totally have the same problem of not being able to develop deep and lasting friendships. I really enjoy socializing sometimes, too, but after a while I find that 1) I eventually feel exhausted and crabby from too much social stimulation, and 2) I lose interest in most people for trivial reasons related to their personality or behaviors….I think I’ve caught myself doing the “mimicking” thing a few times, but I’m not sure that I do it a lot. Maybe we do it often without realizing it?….It’s too bad that you don’t feel heard. I felt that way a lot as a teenager, like very few people were interested in understanding me or getting to know me on a deeper level. To be only 16, it sounds like you already have a lot of self-awareness, so that’s great! I hope you’ll eventually find a like-minded person who understands you and appreciates you as you are πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Anusha. I think that INFJ rage image is the perfect representation of our super sweet nature that can turn totally volatile when we’re pushed far enough to react. Awesome to see that you’ve shared your own INFJ contradictions on your blog πŸ™‚

  24. Totally relate. Another contradiction for me is wanting to let go of a toxic person in my life but still stubbornly trying to hang on thinking I can “fix it” cuz there’s gotta be a good person in there somewhere I just “have to” find it even when I know it’s killing me inside.

    • Ugh, I’ve been there & done that! I think a lot of women, no matter what personality type they have, have chased after the wrong kind of man. It’s possible, though, that INFJs might be more prone to this kind of behavior because once we begin to trust someone and let them into our lives, we don’t like the idea of immediately discarding them. We might know that it would be best to move on, but it’s tempting to wait to see if the person will change for the better. We just don’t like giving up on people.

      • Agh, I love following the comments on this post. I can relate to everyone here. πŸ™‚ I’ve done so much soul searching and learning about myself (and my personality) this year and it has not been easy. It is both a gift and a curse. I think it’s great that INFJ’s can find this post and relate to it and know they’re not really alone. πŸ™‚

        On the latest comments, I’ve tried to “fix” people, talk sense into them, expect the better of them, reason with and teach them lessons in kindness and whatever else before, expect more from them, etc, believing that my words, disapproval or disappointment (when warranted, at least in my own eyes), advice, and genuine encouragement can somehow make a difference for the better but usually it does not and I probably end up looking more self righteous than how I actually intended. That’s not how I see myself but I do wonder if I’m seen that way sometimes. I’m also far from perfect and sometimes do not even take my own advice (even knowing I should). Funny that I should hand it out but sometimes I feel like I inexplicably know or am compelled to, as “quiet” as I am. ;)~ Happy Holidays Manda!

      • Happy Holidays to you, too, Melissa πŸ™‚ Hope you’ve been well! That idealistic/perfectionistic streak in me causes me to do the same thing you mentioned about giving advice and expecting more out of people. As bad as it sounds, there are some people who, in my eyes, are a waste of time. You could beat them over the head with solutions and encouraging words, but it is like they are on a mission to keep repeating the same mistake over and over. It’s those people who obviously struggle with issues but show a lot of promise who I am most likely to encourage….until I finally realize they’re not going to change until THEY want to change. And yes, I bet I sometimes end up sounding more self-righteous than I’d like, too. It makes me laugh when people tell me, “Well, you’re not perfect, either” because I know I’m far from it, and I’ll admit it in a heartbeat. I don’t know if I give off an air of superiority to some people, or if I’m good at striking defensiveness and insecurity in these individuals. To some people, it might seem like we’re preaching or nagging, but I think our advice giving is just our way of saying, “Hey, I care a lot about you. I want only the best for you, and I believe in your potential to be the best that you can be!”

      • Just want to reply to Melissa’s comment below… I agree 100% about when you try to encourage people around to your way of thinking! I’ve found it fairly futile until they have reached a place in their own lives to actually listen to you. Unfortunately based on my own expectations of people … that time may never come but if you do find people willing to listen and take it on board – They’re the type of people you want to be friends with and it will be a lasting friendship. I’ve got one friend (apart from my boyfriend) who is almost (ALMOST) in that place πŸ™‚

      • Fabear, I’ve had to learn the same about when to encourage people and when to back off. Most INFJs have a deep desire to motivate, support, and help people overcome their challenges, but often the sad reality is that people don’t want to improve their situation. They are so used to suffering, are too lazy, or don’t value themselves enough to want to change. What helps me is to remember that I’ve been in their shoes many times before. While I was making a foolish mistake, everyone around wanted to help and gave advice on what I should do, but I ultimately learned my lesson the hard way. It’s great that us INFJs want to inspire and motivate people to do well, but sometimes it becomes obvious that some people are too stubborn to ever listen to us. There are those who we might be able to help, and those we should probably leave alone so they can learn on their own.

      • This is true that the INFJ are natural protectors and knightly, but I too have suffered greatly for not knowing when to let go, say no, give up, have boundaries, and I just don’t understand what’s wrong with people, to intentionally hurt people in whatever way and be good with it.

      • Yep, setting boundaries is hard. I like that we care so much about people, but I think life would be a bit easier for us if we weren’t such feelers who are concerned with how our actions affect others. I don’t think we’re fully capable of understanding those who intentionally hurt people and disregard how they feel. We just aren’t wired that way, and it’s not a bad thing! This world could use a lot more love and compassion.

      • It’s a shame that INFJs are rare in a world where more could be what is needed. Do you think the INFJ personality type is being weeded out of humanity’s genetic make-up due to natural selection?

      • I’ve thought about why our numbers are so low, and the explanations that seem possible to me are: (a) maybe society values or needs more of certain types than others, or (b) it is easier to be another personality type due to the way society functions. Many modern cultures prefer certain traits over others, so maybe parents subconsciously shape and encourage their children’s personalities to fit the preferences that society values. Sometimes it feels like modern society doesn’t have much of a place for the old souls, the visionaries, the quiet philosophical ones, the ones who want to shake things up and get rid of the broken systems. What keeps things going are the doers who obediently follow the social norms and don’t make much a fuss about the future. You are rewarded more for fitting in, so maybe people who were more like INFJs at a younger age slowly abandoned certain personality traits and eventually morphed into one of the more common personality types. Also, it can be challenging to remain a sensitive person in a dog-eat-dog society where a lot of unnecessary bad things happen. I doubt this theory explains it all. In fact, I might be way off. I just don’t think, according to many modern societies, being an INFJ is entirely acceptable or desirable.

  25. I almost never comment but here I am because this post is amazing. I am so happy I found this blog(actually a friend of mine who is an INTP told me about this blog). I can completely relate to it. I was feeling as though I am an alien who never belong anywhere or just insane. Glad to find people like me out there it nice feel not alone and understood. Thanks again for the beautiful blog!!

    • Thanks for the kind words, Dhanush! I’m glad to hear that this post and the comments others have left here have helped you feel less alone πŸ™‚ I have come to realize how incredibly common it is for INFJs to feel like an alien/outsider. I promise you that there are many people out there who feel extremely similar to the way you do, but we’re randomly scattered all over the planet and can sometimes be discovered in the least expected places.

  26. Wow. I’ve not long found out that I’m an INFJ, but reading this has blown my mind. I guess I’ve always known that I am not “normal”, but never realised to what extent. Finding out my personality type has probably been the best thing I have done for a long time. Reading up on INFJ’s has dramatically improved my understanding of myself, and has answered a lot of unanswered questions I had. Especially when looking at failed relationships! Haha. I’m not sure about you guys, but I always feel like what I give is never recipricated, or that you’re always never truly satisfied with your relationship on a whole. One thing I’ve really struggled with is keeping myself happy in relationships, it seems an impossible thing to do. It’s so frustrating because it’s not that you don’t care for the person you’re with, the issues soley lie with you. Letting my emotions control my actions has done nothing, but shoot me in the foot, over and over again. I can imagine being with an INFJ is exhausting! There’s such a spectrum of feelings and emotions that I exude. It’s definitely given me more perspective on why maybe I always think there’s something fundamentally wrong with me, when there really isn’t. I just haven’t found anyone that understands me.

    • Hi Cameron, your comment reminded me of a popular INFJ meme on the internet that says something like, “Before MBTI, thought I was crazy. After discovering MBTI, my personality is a glorious masterpiece.” It’s awesome to hear how much it has helped you to learn about INFJs. The world suddenly seems like a much nicer place when you realize there’s a whole INFJ tribe out there who totally understands our quirks. And yes, you are so right about INFJs and relationships! I think it takes someone special to appreciate us and be understanding of our fickle emotions. I sometimes struggle with staying satisfied, as well, probably due to perfectionism. When things start looking less than ideal, I get overwhelmed and start questioning everything. I eventually get my emotions under control, though, so I can return to the reality that almost all relationships are going to have ups and downs. If I had to sum up the perfect person for an INFJ, it would be someone who is loyal, sensitive, and patient and possesses depth in their intellect and emotions. Thanks for commenting!

  27. This is the absolute best article I’ve ever read, on the INFJ perspective. By pointing out the paradoxes, you managed to make it case study too, as another interesting aspect of the type is our ability to receive, yet transmit information. This has the dual effect of making us great conversation partners, where we as the INFJ feel a connection with others, yet feel totally disconnected them the next time we see them, simply due to our ability to more or less feel them, even when they are not there physically. Then the next time we see that person, we have future-thought about them, to where we can’t be present with them. From there, we anyways have to reconnect, which can feel awkward and full of a totally brand new vibe, which may or may not leave the fantastic future you thought of, after the first meeting. These Paradoxes are pretty much a daily struggle for INFJ.

    • Thanks! You have managed to pick up on a couple of other INFJ traits I don’t think I have ever considered. I can certainly relate to your words. Your comment made me reflect on how deeply human we are, yet most of us also describe how deeply alien we feel. What baffles me sometimes about interactions with people is how fragile and unpredictable the emotional and intellectual connection can be. It seems like I never know how I really feel about the strength of a friendship. In one interaction with a friend, the connection intensifies. In the next, it drastically falters. With some people, it keeps alternating between strong and weak over and over again. A lot of people seem more laidback about their friendships and can simply enjoy each others’ company. Not so easy for me. Thank you for commenting πŸ™‚

  28. I’m not going to leave much, but thank you for this. I could relate to everything you wrote, and it was the pick-me-up I needed to feel like I’m not the only one when I am depressed (like right now). Thank you πŸ™‚

    • Aww, so glad this helped you! When we’re feeling down or lonely, I don’t think we’re always necessarily seeking solutions. It can be enough to receive confirmation that we’re not the only one who feels the same way πŸ™‚

  29. I’d be lying if I say that there isn’t one thing that does not match with me. I’m an INFJ and I feel like you’re my spirit animal. I’m constantly torn between these paradoxes and actual senses of the situations. It bewildered me at times but honestly I’m seeming to cope up with it.
    Admittedly, I was happy when I found out I was a rare type but it got frustrating later on but at this point I’m highly satisfied with myself. I’m happy to know how I am and to have known for a fact I’m so different makes me feel even cooler. Yes, there are things that goes out of hand when it comes to people like us but we also have the power to look at everything with a different aspect.
    We feel and we do not feel. We either over think or couldn’t care even a scanty bit about anything. That’s strange, odd and ridiculous.
    But that’s how we are and a ‘to-be-honest’? I’m fucking proud of it.

    So, high five, mate! We are sailing the same boat!

    • Haha, yes! INFJ paradoxes are insane, but I think we just have to learn to embrace all the crazy awesomeness that we are. Good to see you’ve reached that place of embracing yours!
      I am still constantly surprising myself with paradoxical behaviors, like the one where we’re normally gentle and polite toward a stranger (maybe to the point of being passive), yet we can be vicious and passionately defensive if they do something we consider cruel or selfish. It’s like we don’t know how to be moderate about our behavior sometimes. People are likely to get one extreme or the other with us. I guess it keeps things interesting for us and others.
      Fellow INFJ, you’re awesome! We all are! Thank you for commenting πŸ™‚

  30. Dear friend, can u plz tell me if infj personalities r self destructive when everything is not up to their standard or nobody understand them or ignore or underestimate them or if they feel ther is no good cause to motivate them any longer?

    • Hi Farhana,

      I’m not sure that INFJs are significantly more likely to engage in self-destructive behaviors than other personality types, but I can definitely see how INFJs are prone to self-destruction. INFJs often seek perfection and control. If they can’t achieve those (who can?), there’s a good possibility that they could develop unhealthy habits to cope with their anxiety. If an INFJ is upset about something, I can see them taking out their pain and resentment onto themselves rather than onto others since an INFJ is usually very concerned about the feelings of other people. INFJs don’t mind helping others, but we often struggle to reach out when we need help. Without much support, we can get easily overwhelmed, which could also lead us to engaging in self-destructive behaviors because we feel like it’s too hard to cope. I can’t speak for all INFJs, but in my past experiences, I sometimes adopted very self-destructive behaviors when I didn’t feel valued or felt that things were out of control. Being both a perfectionist and a highly sensitive person, I often find it harder to cope with stress. When you consider how rare and misunderstood INFJs are, it doesn’t come as a surprise to me that a lot of us feel stressed, out of place, and struggle with self-esteem/self-worth issues.

  31. Pingback: Confessions of an INFJ – coffeeshoppsychology

    • I imagine that careers that center on writing, counseling/supporting, and/or teaching would allow INFJs to put their natural abilities to good use. INFJs are typically driven to do things that benefit humanity, instead of striving for wealth and status. Working alone or in one-on-one settings are ideal. I hate to sound generic, but each person needs to consider their unique interests and skills to find the perfect fit.
      Put some serious thought into how much daily social interaction is required and the kind of environment you prefer. Forcing yourself to work against your preferences can lead to unhappiness and burnout, especially if you’re highly sensitive like a lot of INFJs. Consider running your own business if you want to exert as much control and freedom as possible.

      Check out “jobs for introverts” at

      And this is an interesting breakdown of different domains of interest for INFJs:

  32. I finally found some validation from this article in regards to saddness. I’ve know all my life I’m attracted to sad songs, sad movies, and just saddness in general. I knew it was strange and never knew why I was built this say. I often felt so alienated because of my saddness. I felt it so often and so intensely that I’d forget about the people and world around me. I must say I enjoy saddness because it’s such a real and authentic emotion. I’m glad someone as talked about this same subject in relation to INFJs. I don’t feel as so crazy now! Thanks.

    • Cody, I’m glad you found validation in this πŸ™‚ The attraction to sadness has been present in my life as far back as I can remember. My favorite animated movie as a child was called “Scruffy”, which was about a puppy who experienced one heartbreaking tragedy after another until she finally got her happy ending. I’m not completely sure why some of us appreciate sadness, while the majority of people think we’re weird for enjoying it so much.This might sound haughty, but is it possible that the kind of people who enjoy sadness have more intellectual and emotional depth? It just seems rather simple-minded to crave nothing but fun, happiness, and laughter all the time. There is more to life than the good times. The sadness and pain we experience in life are truly gifts that transform us on a deep, significant level. We don’t grow and develop more fully into a well-rounded human being when it’s just fun and happiness all the time. I think being able to appreciate sadness means you are able to appreciate what it means to be fully human. I believe we are simply wise beyond our years.

  33. A lot of this described me so well. I’ve been going through one of my cycles of feeling desperately alone (even though I know that if I went out into a social gathering, I’d immediately regret it) and feeling like I come last in everyone else’s lives even though I so often feel like I put them first in mine. 3 friends flaked out on me to go spend time with other friends after I helped them get through some tough times over the holidays, and I was having my bout of, “there must be something seriously wrong with me that they can talk to me when they want something, but don’t seem to find my number when they’re making plans.” I hate hate hate it when I have that bout, but it’s fading away now and on average, I can go 3-6 months without caring that I don’t really have anyone I feel I can connect with on more than a superficial level. I get resentful about it now and then, but I’m slowly trying to come to terms with the fact that other people are never going to be as mindful of me, or my feelings, as I’m capable of being towards them–and that it’s not intentional on their part. That last bit I think is the hardest to swallow. But reading others’ experiences (in your blog, and in the comments) definitely is helpful in making me feel like I’m not alone. I just need an INFJ bff so we can ignore each other for 6 months and then text to have a one on one lunch and chat about something more than fashion and the weather or gossip when we’re craving socialization! Shame we’re so hard to find! Thanks for writing about your experience.

    • Hi Jen, I’m sorry to hear you’re not feeling appreciated lately. It’s a problem that I can understand. Sometimes it seems like we become everyone’s therapist/shoulder to cry on during their tough times. There is a positive way of viewing this. I think it means we have several admirable traits that people notice. Others likely see us as compassionate, reliable, and trustworthy. When you have a personal problem, you want to go to the person who cares, is wise, and actually tries to listen and understand. So in a way, it is a privilege to be the kind of person who is able to help others. Not everyone possesses the sensitivity and sincerity that we do. It is a gift. But as you know, many people are not as sensitive or mindful of our feelings and needs, so we get overlooked or taken for granted. It can hurt so much when you know others repeatedly forget to invite you to outings or will drop plans with you if something else comes along. When I realize something like that is happening, I kind of pull away entirely from the person or group. I’d rather be a friendless loner than spend my time with people who have lukewarm feelings about spending time with me. It’s like that quote: “Go where you are celebrated, not merely tolerated.” But anyway, I also relate to having bouts of loneliness followed by periods of time where I am content spending most of my time alone. I’m currently in a phase where I am trying to focus on my own growth, so spending time alone feels ok. I hope you’re eventually able to find better friends who value all that you have to offer. Being the kind of person who helps others is very admirable, but it’s just not fair when you can’t expect the same in return. Thanks for commenting.

    • Hi Jen,

      When I was younger, I gave my friends many second chances. That didn’t work out well, given how people usually are. Nowadays I use a different approach and people in general have only ONE chance. If they do one thing that’s incredibly low (even if it’s unintentional), I often give them the silent treatment (only to test) and ‘weigh their souls’. Think ‘scales of Zeus’. The test they must pass goes like this: upon noticing that I act differently, no longer smile or acknowledge them readily, give no advice, and have a disturbing lack of interest in them, they must be smart enough to ask me directly: “What’s wrong? What can I do to fix things?”

      It’s a simple solution.

      In effect, I’m gauging their reaction to relationships gone wrong. It’s my “penalty box” for them.

      Unless they bring up these key questions (or similar) to indicate they possess a certain degree of desire or intuition for fixing a relationship by directly asking the friend they hurt, I often see little point in continuing my friendship with them. Because without any curiosity to:

      (1) find out what’s wrong
      (2) find out how they can make everything right

      there’s not much good communication going on. Strong relationships are based on good communication.

      The two questions address both directly.

      Have your 3 friends seen or witnessed any difference in your behavior since flaking out on you?

      If so, have they shown two traits: (1) a willingness to find out what’s wrong, (2) a willingness to take responsibility for their own actions.

      If not, is there anything to show they care about your feelings?

      If not, then RUN FROM THEM. They’re not real friends. Or see them as friends on a superficial level only.

      It’s about your friends’ understanding of the law of reciprocity (a.k.a. the Golden Rule)

      Are they giving back to you adequately, or just taking advantage of you?

      This test I use gives a way to quickly filter them, and is likely similar to how many INFJs arrive at a decision to keep friends after relationships go wrong.

      The solution to the test (the two questions) is so simple and common sense (or should be), it’s terrible how so many people fail at it. Good communication in strong relationships is crucial. The test lets you separate the superficial from the real ones.

      If your friends are too passive or act uncaring or don’t notice something off during the ‘silent treatment’ test, they’re superficial. To be real friends, they must take action, to show they care enough and have the capability to meet you halfway, to maintain the friendship after doing something that bothers the other person (you).

      Give superficial friends their due until they actually take initiative to repair any major difficulties they may have caused you. Lower your expectations of them. See them as superficial and hang out on a superficial basis, if you like. Don’t help them with their tough issues anymore, until they address the issue they caused you first. Treat real friends as real friends should be treated: with 100% respect.

      If the friend has done nothing yet to cause the test to take place, I keep things neutral/friendly until I know the person better. The test may never take place, but it’s a litmus test that can determine how well the friend can maintain a relationship with an INFJ personality — since we are pretty selective and have our own code of social conduct.

      Sorry about the wall of text.
      I know it sounds harsh, but this helps me to separate people into circles of “positive influences” and “negative influences” so I can maintain my sanity.

      Do you (or ShoegazeAndCats) agree with this test? Anything wrong with it? Is it too much?

      • Cobalt, I think this is a great approach for weeding out the superficial friendships from true, meaningful ones. The biggest problem I foresee with it is not necessarily related to the design of your test. It’s more of a weakness that some of us possess. I typically hold people to high standards and have no problem shutting someone out if the connection was never that strong. But when I make an unusually deep and instant connection with someone (which very rarely happens!), I will try so hard to lower my expectations and overlook their mistakes simply because I know how hard it is to find someone I truly connect with on an intellectual and emotional level. I try to make excuses for their behavior, or I try to convince myself that I’m ok with a more superficial type relationship with the person, but it never works. As much as I repeatedly tell myself I’ll be ok with it, I end up getting hurt over and over until I eventually get fed up and lose all interest. That’s when I quickly shut the door on that person, often without speaking a word to them about why I’m disconnecting. I just can’t force myself to settle, which is great because most of the time when I decide to disconnect, the person doesn’t ever bother to continue communicating with me any longer, proving to me that they weren’t a real friend at all. It would have saved me from experiencing pain if I could have accepted from the get-go that the person did not care, but being overly eager blinded me from the truth that I would have been able to see if the connection had not been as strong. A frustrating reality for me is that some of the kindest, most loyal people are the ones I don’t have enough in common with to develop a fully satisfying friendship. And then there are those who have the depth and substance that I desire, but for whatever reason, they are terrible at communicating and treating their friends properly. But anyway, going back to your test/approach, I don’t see anything wrong with it. Some people might think it’s too harsh and strict, but it’s not if you have high standards and expect friends to treat you well. I will remind myself to put it into practice whenever I find myself getting really excited about a new connection. Actually, now that I think of it, I’ve been forming similar “tests” in the past couple years. As soon as a potential friend is slow to get back to me without an apology or doesn’t ask me a single question in a conversation (when I’ve made the effort to ask them multiple questions), I immediately lose interest and scratch them off the list. When you decide you’ve had enough of unfulfilling friendships, you no longer care if your pickiness means that you’re alone. Thanks for giving your input on this unfortunately common dilemma.

      • ShoegazeAndCats,

        I apologize for the very late reply (I meant to reply). I’ve been dealing with seasonal affective disorder, which is no fun. It’s made me tired often. Also, your reply to me doesn’t have a “reply” option so I’m replying to my own earlier comment.

        I’ve experienced everything you talked about. In fact, that “weakness” was something I used to do all the time, upon finding that very rare person there’d be an unusually deep and instant connection to. I’d rationalize that person’s hurtful behavior by assuming I needed to work on my social skills a bit more to get desired (caring) behavior out of others or maybe not come across as too interested in them, etc. Instead of doing that nowadays, I am trying different approaches.

        That method I mentioned earlier is just one way to do it. Another one I’m trying (related to people not initiating first) is to realize that most people are “followers” and we might be the “leaders” / initiators. Many people expect others to take the initiative, the lead, such as always being the one to contact them first and then these people will complement with their own abilities in other areas. I know it sounds irrational and like the other person doesn’t care enough about you to reach out to you first… but recently I was in contact with a developer who developed a very popular game that has earned millions.

        I have programming knowledge and an interest in game development, so that’s the common ground between him and I. We were playing together in a game, and he kept telling me he really enjoyed talking to me. However, he never contacted me first, even if he doesn’t have many friends and was playing during his free time. I tried to not take things personally, and kept contacting him first. Interestingly, it did prove beneficial as I helped him do much better in the game, while he gave me tips on how to become a developer. He’s just like the family I grew up in… never contacting me first, mostly talking about themselves and never asking me how I’m doing etc… so I think that if INFJs like you and I think in terms of ourselves being assigned the role of “initiator” / leader and them as followers who complement in their own ways, then it’s easier to not take things personally. Even if we know the kind of relationship we’re looking for (on an emotional/mental level) may not be possible with these people.

        Also, you told Jen that you’re in a phase where you’re focusing on your growth. I did that about 10 years ago. I’m currently in a phase where I’m trying to make being INFJ something that’s easier to manage in the real world. Instead of just complaining or relating to others, I try to come up with original solutions. Because I know life’s not easy when others are so different from us.

        Again, apologies it took me awhile to reply. Thanks for your earlier feedback.

      • Hi Cobalt,

        No need to apologize. I’m sorry to hear you’re dealing with SAD. For the past few years, I’ve been struggling with adrenal fatigue, so I know all too well what it’s like to feel tired all the time! Hope you feel so much better when spring rolls around.

        Yep, I know what you mean about trying to rationalize the other person’s behavior and/or looking for some kind of way to blame myself for their lack of interest. With the last person I befriended who was like this, sometimes it seemed like she treated all her friends like they were disposable, which helped me not take the situation so personally. But then other times, it started to seem as though she made an exception for a select few, which caused my insecurity to creep back in. I would repeatedly ask myself the same nagging questions: “What makes the chosen ones so special that they’re a priority, while the others are not?” and “Was I just imagining that I shared an amazing connection with that person that they didn’t notice at all?”

        I can totally understand your perspective of needing to step into the initiator role with certain people, but I’ve encountered a problem there. I’ve become highly sensitive to being ignored. I’m not sure if I’ve had the unfortunate luck of finding some of the flakiest or busiest people around or if there is a reason I am being avoided, but for a stretch of time, nearly every effort I made to reach out to others was ignored. And now not a single one of them ever contacts me simply to ask how I am doing. Maybe I don’t even cross their mind anymore. From their perspective, it might not have anything to do with me. They may lead busy lives and are trying to balance several established friendships, but the lack of responses felt like continuous rejections to me. Is it possible people have become flakier than ever and don’t value one another as much?

        The only strategy that seems to work for me now is to be very picky and somewhat upfront with a potential friend about my expectations. It means I have only one reliable friend now, but that’s ok. I do much better with having one friend who respects me vs. five who can sometimes show an interest. I’ve currently lost my tolerance for being ignored, chasing after someone to get their attention, and engaging in one-sided type friendships. I refuse to settle for some people’s definition of a friendship.

        It sucks to feel like the initiator all the time, but I’m glad you’ve found benefits by taking that approach. I’m sure it pays off when the person is responsive each time and you eventually come to the conclusion that the person may not be so good at initiating contact. And good for you for focusing on solutions! Us INFJs need all the solutions we can get on functioning and thriving in the world.

        Thank you for your further insights. Take care, and I hope you feel better soon!

    • Hi, fellow INFJ πŸ™‚ I still have a Facebook account, but it’s really about time that I delete it. I have refused to go on Facebook in over six months, simply because I have become sick of it along with most forms of social media. If I was an active user, I’d gladly add you πŸ™‚ Thank you for the comment and for reaching out.

  34. So many familiar points here… πŸ™‚ I was just writing for my own blog about what readers could expect and could only describe it as a paradox, as I’m an INFJ as well and a romantic individualist. Do you also know your Enneagram?

    • Yes, I’m also a type 4 (individualist) with a 5 wing (that particular combination is called the bohemian). I’ve read in multiple sources that many INFJs and INFPs are type 4. In the four temperament personality theory, I suspect the majority of INFJs are melancholics. Thank you for commenting and following my blog! πŸ™‚

      • Oh man, same here (4wing5)! I was just thinking to myself this morning that if someone were to read my journals after I’m gone, they’d come to conclude I was very fond of love, nonsensical ramblings and sadness, haha! Anyway, I suspect that theory holds lots of truth. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the reply!

  35. Your beautiful sad article may have been written a few years ago, but the message is still powerful and true. It’s the extreme loneliness I find in myself when I experience others who don’t seem to care as much as I feel I do and they don’t have my back either. I invest big time into my friendships and of course it’s always the intense INFJ way… I still get surprised when the let down arrives, even though I already sense when its coming, perhaps that’s the constant childlike feeling of INFJ’s and the extreme belief in the good in this world, the euphoria of potential.

    I wonder if there are any others out there that seem to be able to read very deeply in to others and know their souls, but also know when the drop is coming – it’s truly a blessing as much as a big curse that I can see very clearly before something happens. Some people call it clairvoyance or telepathy, but I just think it’s an extreme connection and powerful sense of others.

    I’ve noticed people will spill their darkest secrets to me, then they realise what they’ve done and they run…(!) Never to be seen again. I’ve also sensed when someone else can feel I can read them and they either attack me or run. When all I want is for them to know I can handle their secret and I can help… it’s awful when you’re treated like a mirror of truth from which others just want to smash.

    Your article gave me a lot of comfort for my sadness because it’s always good to know that you’re not alone out there with this blessing/curse. It often feels like I am looking at life from above or from the outside of a window looking in – like the world is in this huge vacumn and I walk around its hard shiny edges wondering, pondering… and yet feeling a huge sense of relief I am free from it, yet loneliness when I sometime want to break out and celebrate – it’s a very strange and crazy place to be.

    • Hi Seagreentangerine,

      I’m sorry for taking a while to reply to your comment. I’m glad this blog post brought you some comfort. Your comment reminds me of the quote, “You’ll end up really disappointed if you think people will do for you as you do for them. Not everyone has the same heart as you.” This is the “curse” part of being a thoughtful, idealistic, and highly sensitive person. We want to care, to help, to love, to trust, and to believe in each person’s potential, but far too often we have been let down by other’s lack of concern and unwillingness to reciprocate what we have offered. It’s painful and discouraging to be hurt repeatedly, but the simple truth is that a lot of people just don’t care as much.
      When you act as a mirror of truth or provide a place for people to be authentic and vulnerable, there’s a good chance they will feel intimidated and want to run. I doubt they have encountered it much in their life, so it probably scares them a bit when they initially experience it. I can sense someone’s level of emotional openness or guardedness through eye contact. It led me to discovering emotional walls my boyfriend had built that he didn’t even know existed, but it was all so obvious to me.
      Hopefully this won’t sound too conceited, but I think people could learn a lot from us INFJs when it comes to emotions, empathy, love, respect, sensitivity, and authenticity. We are advanced in a lot of these areas, but sometimes it feels like the majority isn’t quite ready to embrace our gifts or to try to find those same qualities within themselves.
      It’s tough indeed to feel like an outsider looking in when I’m among people. And you’re right, there are times when it’s liberating to feel separate from it and times when you long to know what it’s like to fit well within it. On the one hand, I don’t want to fit in with the madness and dysfunction of society, but I don’t necessarily want to feel like I am so against it. Yep, it’s a crazy place to be.
      Thanks for commenting πŸ™‚

  36. “I can be extremely calm and passive until I’m extremely pissed.” Oh my word, do I relate to this SO much. It’s so hard when people expect you to be this gentle, nice, little cinnamon roll all the time even when they tick you off! But I find when I’m this situation I try my hardest to shut my mouth because the moment I open it I just KNOW that everything will come out as offensive. I try to be as nice as I can to everyone because I feel like that’s part of social expectations and yes, I can be naturally sweet to my friends…but it’s so exhausting to be this “angel” everyone perceives you to be. They don’t understand that a calm, quiet INFJ could explode too. What’s worse too is instead of shutting up about it, they tend to talk your ear off and force you to smile when you really don’t want to. AAAAAAAARGGGGGHHHH!!!!!
    Sorry, l just needed to vent. >_<
    Thank you for this article! 😊

    • Venting is welcome here! πŸ™‚ A lot of us crave a place to open up and be understood, so I hope this blog serves as an outlet for that. “people expect you to be this gentle, nice, little cinnamon roll” <—- This made me laugh πŸ™‚ It's so true. The look of disbelief on their faces is priceless when we've hit our limit of putting up with people's crap. Even though we lose control of the words we spew when we go into angry hulk mode, sometimes I think it's better not to hold back. They might get their feelings hurt, but people need to know when they're being a dick or an ignorant dumbass. I hear some people say they regret what they say or do when they get angry like that. Not me. When I've been pushed to my limit, there's a valid reason. Besides, no one needs to be a sweet angel ALL the time! Thanks for commenting, and sorry it took me so long to reply.

  37. You describe to me so perfectly. Its scary. I always feel people don’t understand me. And that I’m going to be alone forever but at the same time i love being a lone. I’m at a constant battle with my self. I keep so much of me hidden and put a wall around who I really am that people think I’m a snop but when I do let people see some what of who I really am they just give me a confused look. So I know how you feel.

    • Katherine, thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences as another INFJ because it also validated what I often experience. It’s tempting to isolate and keep ourselves shut off when our honesty and vulnerability is met with odd or disapproving looks. After a while, we feel like why do I bother? We’re ultra sensitive to people’s reactions, so it’d be incredibly helpful if they’d remember to be more understanding if they want us to stop being so reserved and guarded. I find that people aren’t happy with my silence, but then they’re sometimes not happy with my truth and honesty, either. My thought on this matter is, stop trying to pry me open and then be critical or invalidating of the things I didn’t even want to share in the first place.

  38. This article was so interesting to read. It describes me so well!! One thing I find is that as we tend to be people-pleasers, we sometimes like to sit back and let others take the lead and we’re happy to follow. But we also have the capability to lead only to find that it’s exhausting to be around people. I used to be in a supervisor role but found that I was constantly tormented by my feelings about people and different situations. I often got sad and depressed when I upset people when enforcing rules or making unpopular decisions. When I quit, I felt so relieved not having the responsibility but every now and then, I feel like I would want to take up that type of role again to change things for the better in my workplace. Am I crazy or just really conflicted? Take the backseat or step up to lead? Anyway, I know this is an older article but the contents are ageless. Thanks for the insight!

    • Nope, I don’t think that sounds crazy at all! We are idealistic, perfectionistic visionaries who strive to be fair and take others’ needs and feelings into account as we make decisions, so I can understand the desire to be in a leadership role. But as you said, the high level of social interaction and the pressure to try to please everyone could become stressful and exhausting. I would ask myself, “Am I super motivated and passionate about the idea of making this a better workplace, or would it likely lead to too much stress and imbalance in my life?” Goals that inspire are absolutely worth pursuing but not the ones that destroy our health and happiness. Thanks for commenting, Jane. I’m glad you enjoyed reading this.

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