Can you relate?
I’ve always felt different. I’m extremely emotional, intuitive, and deeply feeling. I’m artistic, flighty, often ungrounded, and consider myself stormy at times. I’m a perfectionist and often give up on things that are not going perfectly well. I’m extremely critical and judging of myself, and I know immediately how people are viewing me (I can feel other people’s feelings, to a fault).
I know when someone is being deceitful. I know when someone is hurting, even if they are trying to hide it. I can walk by a stranger, and I know their story. I can see pictures of people, and feel what they are feeling at this moment. I know when someone is full of s*%#. I’m usually right in my intuition and often conflicted with my inner and outer world because most people are hiding their true selves, yet I cannot be fooled. I see the truth. I need transparency, closure, and to see the full picture.
Although I may appear outgoing, I’m socially awkward at times and have a hard time relating to people. I have few but close friendships and have to make a conscious effort because I could easily stay home all the time. I require time to myself in order to re-ground. Crowds, lights, and loud noises are extremely overwhelming to me.
I need to have task completion. Having a million opened, detailed tasks can be unbearable at times. I need to fully see and understand the big picture, and feel at peace with it. I deal with things based on how I feel about them, which often leads to disarray because I can be unrealistic. I need to have clarity and answers, and transparency at all times. I’m complex.
I’ve always felt a little off. A little odd. A little different. Like I don’t belong on this particular planet. Like a fish out of water. I’ve struggled with anxiety over this most of my life because I can’t seem to relate to most people. I believe our personality in adulthood is affected by our childhood, and childhood trauma creates more complex individuals. Not good or bad, just more complex. I will be exploring more of this in future posts, but I believe our personality traits are a combination of both genetic expression from all the experiences of our ancestors, as well as personal experiences, particularly in childhood as the brain is developing pathways.
I’m not a fan of labels. We are all different and complex in our own ways. I’m not special or unique. However, in trying to understand myself so I can continue my path of helping others to heal, I’ve determined that my personality is that of an INFJ, and we make up less than 1% of the population. INFJ’s often tend to be writers! Go figure!
What is an INFJ?
On the Meyer’s Briggs Personality test, an INFJ is “Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging”
Although we may appear outgoing (because of our general interest in humanity, and figuring people out), we need to retreat frequently to find order in the chaos. At the heart of it, INFJ’s are introverts, and we need frequent alone time, in order to feel a sense of peace. Having time to ourselves is imperative, but it doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy being around you. We will be a much better partner and friend if we are given that time and space to ourselves.
How do you love an introvert?
Although as a culture we tend to look down upon “shyness” and we think everyone needs to be outgoing (outgoing = successful), we need to learn to accept that not everyone is a social butterfly. Accept that just because someone is retreating, it doesn’t mean they are being standoffish. Don’t take it personally. Give them the space they need to recalibrate. Don’t be overbearing or pushy with them. Try to understand that they need to retreat in order to feel okay. It’s as necessary as sleep, nutrition, and sunshine!
You cannot fool an INFJ. We just know. So if you are lying, we will call you out. We always know, and we are very accurate. Our ‘gut feelings’ tell us, or we dream about it, or we feel it, or it is shown to us in one way or another. Our intuition and empathy (ability to read and feel others) are literally off the charts, to the point where other people’s feelings can envelop us. We tend to be in healing and artistic/expressive professions.
We love to rescue people, to a fault. It’s important that we learn to acknowledge and separate how other people are feeling, otherwise it can be suffocating to us. I believe in general our culture is losing empathy, and this is the core of love. Therefore, being intuitive and empathetic is a blessing and a gift. The world needs more of us. However, like the yin and yang need balancing, too much empathy can be emotionally intense, and we will need to close ourselves off and back away, to protect and guard against feeling so intensely.
How do you love an intuitive empath?
Do open up to empaths, they are the great listeners of the world, but don’t constantly ‘dump’ your garbage on them, which can be easy to do (because, well, we show interest-and that is rare). Even if it’s not your intention, we tend to believe that your issues are our issues too, and it’s hard to separate and not internalize.
We feel and absorb negative energy strongly, where others can separate their own thoughts and feelings from the thoughts and feelings of other people. Most of the work here, we have to do ourselves. We have to learn to distinguish if we are absorbing someone else’s feelings and put up our invisible shield around us when someone is ‘dumping’ negativity on us, or around us. The best way to love someone who feels deeply is to understand them and reinforce to them that they do not have to personally carry the load of the world’s problems.
Connected with the previous, INFJ’s feel strongly. Feelers tend to be emotional in their thinking (and are often seen as irrational), and therefore we make decisions solely on how we internalize and feel about situations, rather than based on reality. This can get us into trouble at times, because we may ‘cut our nose to spite our face’ at times. However, our feelings run the show, and we can’t help this.
How do you love a ‘feeler’?
The world can be a harsh, scary, cold place for people who feel strongly. We need sensitivity in our communications. The way you communicate with us is just as important as what you are communicating (if not more so). This is true in the workplace, and with personal relationships. If something comes across as harsh, or brash, we will make a decision based on how the information was communicated, rather than the information itself. We will store that in our mind, and we will file you in our brain as ‘threatening’ (whether you truly are or not, this is how we internalize our world). Being sensitive in your approaches with us is necessary for us to feel safe, and at peace with you.
People with judging traits are not flexible. We don’t like options. Options are extremely overwhelming to us. We need to see the entire picture, and we need a game plan, so we can feel at peace with it. We need predictability and order. I remember feeling dread every time a college professor would say “we will get to that later” or “we will revisit this later” It was a looming, impending feeling.
I now understand why I was feeling this way. We need to fully see the big picture and have a clear, unobstructed understanding, and set strategies in place. We are hard workers, and we value work ethic. We get it done, task by task. We are the checklist writers. We need task completion, before moving to the next task vs having multiple open tasks without a plan in place. We like order and get overwhelmed easily in chaos. We seek closure and understanding, and we need to get the job done as efficiently as possible.
How do you love someone who has ‘judging traits’?
Don’t be too vague! We prefer specifics. Layout the plan. Do as you say you are going to do, ‘actions speak louder than words for us. We feel secure when we follow through and make decisions. We perceive ‘wavering back and forth’ as aimless. We need closure (we require it) and definitive answers, so offer closure whether it be at work with a task, or any life/relationship situation.
Can you relate to any of these personality traits in yourself, co-workers, or loved ones? Although INFJ’s make up less than 1% of the population, many of us hold some of these personality traits. The biggest thing is to understand that not everyone internalizes the world in the same way you do. Strive to be more sensitive, loving, open, gentle, and sincere in your interactions.
This blog is based on my musings, and my opinions. I am not a medical professional. Don’t take my advice as professional. My blog posts are for informational purposes only, and shouldn’t be seen as financial, health, nutritional, medical, legal, etc advice. Consult with a professional before taking any sort of action. I reserve the right to change how you I manage my blog, I may change the focus or content on my blog at any time.
We could be friends. I understood exactly what you said.
As a male INFJ – I can say that this applies to me as well.