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