A mish-mash of different sources from the internet. Not mine. Sources after the post.
Congratulations! You have come into the possession of your very own INFJ!* unit, probably through a poetry slam at an underground coffee shop. INFJs are highly sought after in the personality type collecting world given their extremely rare nature. *INFJ spotting is a very difficult hobby, requiring forays into the deepest recesses of bookstores, yoga studios, and the internet.* In all likelihood, they have only offered you this manual after you expressed your intense love for Fight Club and organic tea. Give yourself a pat on the back for earning their trust, but keeping an INFJ in your life once you’ve found one can be even more of a challenge. Once you’ve found and INFJ, taking your acquaintance to the level or friendship, or relationship, isn’t simple. That is, unless you have this user guide.
Overview of the INFJ
The INFJ is a strange sort of creature, often compared to unicorns. Their uniqueness is a result of two things: the way their brains/personalities are hardwired and the rarity of their personality type. What’s perfectly normal for an INFJ seems unusual among humanity as a whole because so few people function this way. INFJs are widely considered one of the most amiable and emphatic personalities. Their minds offer a good balance of emotion and logic that helps them relate to most types of people, and they highly value commitment and relationships. As introverts, though, they have limited social energy and they don’t maintain relationships with most of the people they meet.
Understanding your INFJ software’s basic functions is the first step towards successful interaction with the INFJ.
Your INFJ unit will come equipped with the following accessories:
– One (1) old soul
– One (1) journal for keeping track of new thoughts and discoveries
– Two (2) bookshelves fully stocked with books and sentimental knickknacks
– Five (5) assorted pillows and stuffed animals
– Two (2) devices capable of accessing the Internet
– One (1) caring heart, ready to make your life better
– One (1) emotional sponge
– Five (2) everyday outfits
– Two (2) old man/history teacher/librarian/professor outfits
– Two (2) classic and fashionable outfits
– Two (2) packs of tea and / or coffee
– One (1) animal companion
– Three (3) unrealistic plans for their life
– Infinite (∞) deep thoughts, ideas, and questions
– Infinite (∞) unfinished projects
Your INFJ will come preprogrammed with the following traits:
Introverted Intuition (Ni)— advanced pattern recognition software used to connect seemingly unrelated bits of information to get at the “big picture.” Sees multiple sides to every situation and often includes complex daydreams, images, symbols, multiple inner worlds, conversations that never happened, and plans to unite humanity. Your INFJ will frequently freeze due to its complex thoughts, but don’t worry, INFJ will always return to share its inner workings. You may find that your INFJ has psychic mode installed. This mode is only installed on some units and is still in beta, so be wary of predictions. Your INFJ may struggle to talk in non-symbolic language. If your INFJ warns you not to do something, it is advised to listen.
Extroverted Feeling (Fe)— a.k.a the emotional sponge / mask. Picks up on other people’s feelings, emotions, and needs, thus the knack for interpreting roles and sizing up others. They can easily understand the emotions of others and change the mood of the environment around them. Empathizes on every level, mirrors others to fit-in and meet them where they are, tries to meet needs without being asked. Not so good at handling the INFJ’s own emotions because INFJ units consider everyone’s emotions but their own. INFJs love helping people, and enjoy feeling useful. Your INFJ will motivate you and make you feel important, but often forgets to do so for themselves. INFJs also has different “masks” or personas to avoid conflict and to put others at ease. This may come across as fake or masking the INFJ’s own values, but this is, in fact, one of their values. As owner / possessor, an essential part of caring for your INFJ is to help them relieve their own emotions.
Introverted Thinking (TI) — strategy and logic center. Not as well developed as the feelings side, but often used in connection with Introverted Intuition to make sense of patterns and ideas, as well as formulate plans. Introverted thinkers have a need to make sense of the world around them. They can find common traits in seemingly unrelated things and determine how everything is interrelated. Your INFJ will likely tend to strive for efficiency and perfection, and probably has a talent for troubleshooting. May trap the INFJ in an introverted loop where they overthink everything and never reach a decision. Often when your INFJ is in a Ni-Ti loop and have received repeated abuse or neglect to a dangerously high level, it increases likelihood for an INFJ Door Slam. This is when the INFJ completely closes the door on someone, shutting them out of their lives for good. The INFJ who initiated Door Slam will treat the person as nonexistent and will not respond to that person. The INFJ door slam is almost impossible to override, and once you’ve lost your INFJ’s trust it will be very hard to regain it. However, it is very hard to cause a door slam as INFJ have very high levels of patience and tolerance.
Extroverted Sensing (Se)— sensory and pleasure observation and storage – the part of an INFJ that deals with external, sensory information. Rarely works properly. Responsible for the phenomenon that makes INFJs appear graceful one minute then literally trip over their own feet the next. Your INFJ will be relatively good at sizing up situations. They live in the moment, and long for adventure. Because of this, your INFJ will get bored easily, and need a bit of excitement every now and then. In contrast to their other traits, extraverted sensing will help your INFJ to enjoy life more, instead of focusing on analyzing everything. Their tastes are often more refined and enjoy not only creating beauty but immersing themselves in the beauty around them.
Se will either function properly to balance Ni and ensure the Ni’s ideas are feasible, resulting in healthy functions such as cooking and gardening. If it malfunctions and causes Ni burnouts, it will lead to unhealthy processes such as binge shopping and consuming excessive amounts of pastries.
- Place cup of tea or coffee (preferably from their collection) next to your INFJ.
- Put a book of preferred topic or any gadget with Internet access in your INFJ’s hands.
- Set your INFJ’s animal companion next to them.
- Allow your INFJ to charge by reading / Internet surfing and cuddling their animal companion.
- If step 4 does not work, initiate a conversation about psychology / other topics with your unit.
- If your INFJ still doesn’t start, take them to a dusty bookshop or any place of their interest and allow them to roam for hours.
- If INFJ does not want to go out, give them attention and small amounts of physical affection (including but not limited to hugs and hand holding).
- If your INFJ is uncomfortable with physical contact, supply them with plenty of pillows and warm blankets.
INFJs come in different sub-types with their own special powers, and a single INFJ may include more than one of these mutations:
Deep (default) – Asks too many questions. Zones out only to excitedly return and talk about dinosaurs and stars. May accidentally talk in cryptic symbolism.
Therapist – Activated when confronted with emotions. Uses hugs and possibly the Sarcastic mode to cheer you up. Will sit with you quietly until you are emotionally stable and then bombard you with questions, water, and food.
Sarcastic – Activated usually when in a boring situation. Uses Ti to make very funny, sometimes cutting remarks on the stupidity of the topic.
Protective Dad / Mom Friend – Activated after Therapist. Will beat anyone who hurts you with a bat. Will not let you stay in a bad relationship. Overly protective.
Closed off science nerd – Overly excited about elements and Newton’s Three Laws of Motion. Will lock themselves in their room and read 42 Wikipedia pages. Activated when around NT units.
Building Connection With Your Unit
INFJs typically appear quiet yet friendly upon first acquaintance. Like most other introverts, they dislike small-talk, but they can fake it for a while. If you want to have a casual chat about every day subjects, the INFJ will react politely until the conversation ends and then leave, most likely without revealing anything about themselves that they consider important (including the fact that they’re an INFJ).
To get an INFJ to consider you a potential friend, you’ll need to engage them in conversation about something that matters to them. This means taking the conversation to a deeper level, one that gets to the “how” and “why” instead of just “what” and “where.” They’ll want you to share these sort of things about yourself, as well as ask about their own interests. Here’s a couple examples:
At first, you’ll probably be the one initiating conversations with your new INFJ unit. Once they know you really are interested in talking with them (and if they’re interested in talking with you), they’ll start to open up and make the effort to keep in contact. Keep in mind that understanding is one of the most important things to an INFJ. If they feel like you “get” and accept them, they’ll be more likely to let you get close.
INFJs sort people into different friendship levels. Remember, your INFJ has a limited amount of social energy and they’re only going to spend it on the people who need them the most and/or the ones they care most about (ideally you’re in the latter category). Advanced users who’ve become friends with the INFJ (at least one step-up from acquaintance) will see new sides to the INFJ personality.
Active Counselor — INFJs aren’t nick-named “The Counselor” for no reason. Even complete strangers will pour out their life’s problems to INFJs. This often confuses the INFJ, but they’re willing to listen and occasionally offer advice. When you’re close to an INFJ, though, their counseling becomes more active. They listen with the intention of understanding you as completely as possible, and then offering comfort and/or advice as-needed
Daydreamer — INFJ have what they call a “rich inner world.” They spend a huge amount of time in their heads, and rarely verbalize what’s going on there. If they trust you enough, though, you might actually get an honest response instead of an evasion when you ask “What are you thinking about?”
Deep Thinker — this is one of the quickest ways to level-up your friendship with an INFJ. Once they know you’re comfortable diving deep into discussions, they’re more likely to share their own views. Unlock this mode by being careful not to vilify arguments that you don’t agree with — INFJs don’t mind respectful disagreement, but they hate conflict and won’t open up if they think you’d feel threatened by their honest ideas.
Playful — a relaxed INFJ in the company of people they’re comfortable with is the exact opposite of up-tight and quiet. You might be surprised how off-beat their sense of humor is and how open they are to new and exciting experiences.
Passionate defender — INFJs often feel very strongly that they want to make things right in the world. While they’ll talk about their chosen battles with anyone given the right context, having a friend who’s interesting in the same things and/or supports their passion is huge. Also, they’ll defend you if the need arises.
Relationships with other units:
NFs: Often activates Protective Dad Friend and Therapist modes. INFPs may feel devalued by INFJ, but will get along eventually.
NTs: Gets along well when in Sarcastic mode or Closed off science nerd. Good for bouncing ideas off of. NTs check the feasibility of INFJ’s ideas.
SJs: Difficult to communicate between each other, especially when INFJ is in Closed off science nerd mode. INFJ enjoys how responsible and put together SJs are.
SPs: INFJs appreciate SP’s spontaneous and fun loving nature. SPs may overwhelm your INFJ with their sensing function.
Your INFJ may forget to eat when in the following modes: Closed off science nerd, Therapist, Protective Dad Friend, and Deep. Notice that they may forget to eat in their default mode, so feed them at least two (2) times daily. Your INFJ will not die if left to fend for its own food, but it may shut down temporarily.
Your INFJ will groom regularly if it has a duty such as school or work. Your INFJ may forget to groom if it has an extended break. INFJs are often detached from reality, caught up in their own world. As a result, they may forget to take care of themselves. Be sure to remind them to bathe and change their clothes now – they’ll thank you for it later.
Your night owl INFJ unit will try to convince you and themselves that they do not need sleep. Do not listen to them. They need at least four (4) hours of sleep. INFJs have a tendency to be insomniacs when in their default mode. Their activities and thoughts often prevent them from getting the rest they need. Remind your INFJ that they can worry about these things tomorrow – they aren’t themselves when they are tired, and that isn’t a mess you want to deal with.
INFJs are not unbreakable or more resilient than other people. In fact, they tend to be more sensitive (many are HSPs as well as INFJs). Sooner or later, something is going to trigger a stress reaction in your INFJ.
Anxiety — many INFJs deal with anxiety of one form or another, often related to over-thinking. Try talking with your INFJ about what triggers their anxiety and finding out if there’s anything you can do to help. In many cases, just knowing you care without judging them is a huge relief.
Obsession — stressed-out INFJs may respond by becoming obsessed with controlling the details of their environment. Don’t bother trying to convince them (at least right away) that they’re being illogical. Instead, encourage them to get out in nature, exercise, read a book, see a movie — something to break the cycle inside their head.
Withdrawal — while INFJs need a certain amount of alone-time, complete withdrawal from the world for long periods of time is not normal or healthy. This type is prone to depression, and in some cases need professional help to overcome and/or live with that condition. INFJs are highly unlikely to let you know they want support, but make sure to offer empathy, understanding, and affirmation.
Help! I lost my INFJ in a bookstore/coffee shop/similar venue!
Your INFJ is probably hiding from other humans, or engaging in a deep conversation with an old man. Fear not, they will come find you in no longer than 2 hours.
Do I get to keep my INFJ?
Yes, probably! INFJs often bond for life, both platonically and romantically! Once you have established a relationship with INFJ it is hard to get rid of them. But be careful of the INFJ door slam.
I left my INFJ alone for a weekend and now they’re shut down. What do I do?
Refer to Getting Started. If you have a well established relationship with your INFJ, perhaps integrate cuddling/hugging into the Getting Started process.
Probably not. INFJs don’t door-slam unless they’ve been deeply hurt. It’s a last-resort defense mechanism. If you really want to restore the relationship, let the INFJ know you want to get back into their life and then give them some space. Pestering the INFJ will only board the door up more firmly.
Is occasional grumpiness normal?
Well, of course!
Everyone gets grouchy now and then, and INFJs are no exception. Whether it be frustration, anxiousness, or anything in between, they are bound to get unhappy at some point. In this case, give them space and offer support when necessary.
If they are so good at caring for others, can’t they take care of themselves?
Not quite. INFJs often get caught up in the needs of others and end up forgetting about themselves. This is why they might need a bit of help. Without a good friend or two, even the most responsible of introverts won’t be able to thrive.
If they care so much about everyone, do they really like me in particular?
Sure they do! Contrary to popular belief, INFJs don’t automatically love everyone. It’s only natural to dislike some individuals, and even the INFJ can hold grudges against those that bother them.
If an INFJ talks about you often and voluntarily decides to spend time with you, you have likely been deemed worthy of their affection. They are very loyal, too, so you have no need to question their reliability. They will always be there for you, even at your worst.
Many INFJs grow up feeling misunderstood and embrace the uniqueness of the INFJ label when they discover Myers-Briggs. If you attack their sense of individuality, the INFJ will react defensively (often by shutting you out of their life rather than direct confrontation). Let your INFJ know you understand that they feel rare, unusual, and out of place, but remember they may also need a reminder that they really are part of the human race. Healthy INFJs won’t insist that they are better than other people or push you away for reminding them that they’re human.
Those four little letters mean so much to many INFJs because it means they’re not alone. It means they are not too sensitive, too quiet, too weird, too intense, or whatever other lies they picked up during their childhood. It’s permission to focus on being the best version of themselves instead of tying to fit in with other people.
As stated before, an INFJ’s primary method of processing the world is introverted. It’s easy for them to get distracted from the world outside by the world that’s inside their heads. If they looked “spaced out,” that usually means they’re thinking about something that is (at least momentarily) more interesting than what’s going on in the outside world. Please don’t poke or shout at the INFJ to get their attention — speaking to them or a light touch should be enough to bring them back.
When an INFJ stops responding to communication attempts that don’t take place in person, there are several possible explanations. It could be similar to what’s going on when they get distracted by their inner worlds, in which case they should get back to you eventually. Or they might not think your comment needed a response. Or they might be sending the message that they don’t want to talk with you without actually saying that to your face. Or they could be struggling with a stress-reaction (see “Troubleshooting and Support”). Sometimes it’s hard to tell.
Again, congratulations on your newly acquired INFJ unit!