Of all the 16 personality types, INFJ may be the least understood.
These people can be something of a mystery, riddled with contradictions.
In fact, INFJs can confuse themselves sometimes!
Here are six traits of a typical INFJ that baffle even those closest to them:
1. They are practical, yet creative.
Most of us assume that people are practical or creative. INFJs turn this assumption upside down – they are both!
On one hand, they like to know what they are doing before they begin a task, and they like working with goals.
However, they also value creativity, and relish the opportunity to come up with new ideas on the spur of the moment.
This can cause problems, because their practical side may kick in and spoil their creative flow.
For example, an INFJ might come up with a great idea for a sculpture or painting, but the pragmatic part of their personality may hold them back on the grounds that their plans require too much time and effort.
2. They are perfectionists, but appear easygoing.
On the outside, an INFJ usually appears calm and collected.
Those who don’t know them well can be fooled into thinking that they are relaxed people who don’t hold themselves to ridiculously high standards.
However, the “J” in INFJ stands for “Judging,” and this usually manifests itself as a desire for an organized life and environment.
INFJs are often locked in a battle between their rebellious, intuitive side and their perfectionist tendencies.
They might feel in control in some areas of their lives, yet completely lost in others.
For instance, an INFJ may have a tidy desk but a messy kitchen, or they might keep their finances in perfect order but feel completely overwhelmed when it comes to planning out their careers.
They also have a tendency to focus too much on the “big picture,” neglecting little details and smaller projects.
For instance, an INFJ might be obsessed with getting a work project just right, yet frequently forget where they put their keys.
3. They are social, yet crave a lot of time alone.
As introverts, INFJs find comfort in solitude.
They need regular alone time, because they find that social events rapidly drain their energy levels.
After all, they are introverts!
On the other hand, they often find themselves attracted to other people.
If they meet someone with similar interests, they are happy to spend hours in intense conversation.
An INFJ is the sort of person who loves to throw a dinner party on a Friday night – and then take all day Saturday to recover.
4. They are idealistic, yet sometimes fail to be assertive.
An INFJ often has strong opinions about world events.
They are idealistic, and spend a lot of time thinking about how they could make our earth a happier place.
They stand firm in their beliefs.
At the same time, they sometimes lack the strength to confront those who are trying to keep them down.
An INFJ is more likely to defend someone else than they are to demand respect for their own views.
They are reluctant to risk hurting anyone’s feelings, and prefer to avoid confrontation.
5. They value spontaneity, but love to plan.
On the surface, an INFJ may seem rather spontaneous, or even impulsive!
For example, they might suddenly suggest making a weekend trip to the coast, or going on a spending spree.
Don’t be fooled.
These people don’t function too well without a plan.
When they do something outlandish or special, they’ve probably been thinking about it longer than you may imagine.
They can’t help it – a schedule makes them feel secure.
6. They feel like outsiders, but still want to help others.
An INFJ’s complex nature often leaves them feeling misunderstood, or even alienated from their family and friends.
However, withdrawing from the world completely isn’t an option for most INFJs, because they can’t help but care about the fate of other people and society in general.
They are too empathetic to just sit back and watch – they have a strong urge to help out.
Being an INFJ can be hard work, and trying to explain how it feels to be an INFJ can just result in further confusion!
If you are an INFJ, you can take comfort from the fact that almost everyone with this personality type faces similar struggles.
If you love or work with an INFJ, try to show some patience.
Accept that they will sometimes frustrate you, and that their behavior might seem erratic!
However, if you take the time to get to know them, their rich, nuanced inner world will start to make more sense.