5 Reasons INFJ Personality Type Is So Hard to Understand

infj personality type

INFJ personality type is rare and complex. This makes it hard for others to understand them. In fact, we INFJ’s often have a hard time understanding ourselves!

INFJ is one of the types of Myers-Briggs personality types. Myers-Briggs types are a popular classification of different types of personality. It uses one main principle at its core: do you prefer one trait over another?

One of the reasons INFJ personality type is so difficult to understand is that many of our characteristics seem completely contradictory. There is a constant conflict between our inner and outer worlds. At times it is like we are two different people. It can be very confusing for the INFJ, as we often don’t quite know what it is we want or need.

Here are five of the most puzzling aspects of the INFJ personality type:

1. We love alone time, yet desperately need to be with people

Because INFJ’s are introverted they are primarily focused on their internal life. However, because they are also feeling, they have an external focus on the world around them.

This means that while they are introverted, they also have a real need for companionship and close bonds with others. This conflict also shows itself in their need to be private, even secretive, but also extremely sensitive warm and caring towards others. This can be difficult for others to understand and it may seem that we are blowing hot and cold in our relationships. For the INFJ, this can be confusing, too. They might block a whole day to be alone and recharge only to wake up feeling desperate for deep meaningful conversations with others. These changes in mood can be disorientating, some INFJs even worry that they have a mood disorder.

2. We are easy going but also perfectionists

INFJ personality type is both intuitive and judging, two more traits that can appear contradictory. This can mean that at times we are easy going and relaxed. Often we may be seen as a calm and serene person, however inside we are sometimes anything but. This is because our judging aspect leads us to have perfectionist tendencies and a strong value system. While we may long to be spontaneous and follow our intuition, we are held back by our need for order and control. This can mean we make many plans and lists, but often rebel against the rigid order we have imposed upon ourselves.

3. We are artistic but also rational

While INFJs are often very artistic, there is often a conflict between their creative and rational sides. We often have lots of ideas, but we criticize and judge them too soon before they have had a chance to really develop. For this reason, we may have a lot of half-finished projects. Because we are sensitive, we also find it hard to share our work with others in case they are critical. Our artistic work is our way of expressing our inner world, which makes criticism or judgment feel very personal. As a result, we often repress our creative nature. This can lead to us being very unhappy. We need to express ourselves in creative ways and feel like we are only living half a life when we don’t.

4. We are both messy and tidy

Because INFJ’s have a judging trait, we love to have beautiful surroundings. We like to artistically arrange and organize things. However, once again there can be conflict. We often wish we could be more spontaneous and embrace the chaos. Sometimes, we find our own rigid need for organization and plans hard to bear. We may also be constantly assessing our priorities and making lists and plans which the more intuitive part of us usually fails to keep. This means we swing from desiring to follow our intuition and live spontaneously with fearing failure and being criticized by others. Because of this, though we strive for tidiness, we rarely achieve it because as soon as it is done we are rearranging and sorting and making a big mess all over again.

5. We stand up for other but not ourselves

As INFJ’s we will always stand up for those weaker than ourselves. We have a strong sense of justice. If we see something we don’t think is fair we have the courage of a lion. We will argue and fight for justice to prevail. However, we often fail to stand up for ourselves. This can come from a lack of self-esteem, but it can also be because we hate to make others unhappy or cause a conflict that we will struggle to deal with. This is yet another reason why we need so much time alone because we are often exhausted by attending to the needs of others around us.

Being an INFJ personality type is difficult; there is no doubt about it. But understanding our special personalities can help us to live a happier life. When we see that these are aspects of our personalities we are often reassured because we may have previously thought there is something wrong with us, such as a mood disorder or other mental illness.

Studying our personality type and making time to attend to our needs can transform our lives from a constant struggle to one of flow. This can help us and make the most of our unique personalities and gifts.

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Kirstie Pursey

Kirstie Pursey

Kirstie works as a writer, blogger and storyteller and lives in London with her family of people, dogs and cats. She is a lover of reading, writing, being in nature, fairy lights, candles, firesides and afternoon tea. Kirstie has trouble sitting still which is why she created www.notmeditating.com to share techniques and practices for tuning out the busy mind. She is also the author of Not Meditating: Finding Peace, Love and Happiness Without Sitting Still.





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15 Comments

  1. Julie February 14, 2017 at 7:59 am - Reply

    Loved the article! It is all too familiar. But thank you so much for writing it. Eases my mind a bit about why I am the way I am . At least now I know it’s just me and my awesome personality! Lol Thanks for shedding light on the infj paradox. It’s helped me tremendously.

  2. Katie February 14, 2017 at 7:24 pm - Reply

    I’ve often thought of myself as a walking, talking oxymoron, and reading your article only seems to confirm that. However, seeing my own internal struggle in black and white helps to make some sense of the hodgepodge of conflicting emotions. Thank you.

  3. Joe February 15, 2017 at 6:37 pm - Reply

    I’m an INTP. I dated an INFJ. She was the greatest gal in the world and we’re still friends. She let me be who I am and encouraged me to do better. I helped her have fun and taught her a lot about nerdy things. Would date again.

  4. Ann Tamer February 16, 2017 at 4:53 am - Reply

    What does INFJ stand for?

  5. Kirstie Pursey
    Kirstie Pursey February 16, 2017 at 6:15 pm - Reply

    I am glad people have found this article helpful. I thought I had some sort of mood disorder before I discovered I was an INFJ!
    INFJ stands for Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging.
    Thanks for the kind comments

  6. Laura February 28, 2017 at 7:40 pm - Reply

    I love this article. It helped me a lot. I showed it to my therapist to better describe my issues. Now I’m stuck on “what now?” I’ve kinda always known these things about me, but how do I resolve them? It feels like the holy grail for me.

  7. DeAndre Knighten March 11, 2017 at 3:21 am - Reply

    Experiencing the world as an INFJ is intense. What I’ve found to be the best remedy for the cognitive dissonance is a mixture of meditation and acceptance. You can use meditation to bring self-awareness to determine what values you hold close to you heart and soul and aren’t tainted by the rationalizations of the mind. This is a great tool but on its own you’ll still have a few contradictory values that appeal to different parts of your soul. At this point it’s good to stop looking for answers and validating yourself. Just accept that you are not your quirks, You are not an introvert or an extrovert. You are a human that sometimes likes to be alone and other time likes to be social. This doesn’t make you an anomaly, it makes you normal.

  8. Brenda Keegan March 11, 2017 at 9:48 am - Reply

    I agree it’s nice to be described, I am just like this, I didn’t even recognise it had actually got a label! Like the last lady said though where do we go from here?

  9. Max March 11, 2017 at 8:49 pm - Reply

    Hello Kirstie!
    Thanks, really great article!
    I’ve too found to be an INFJ type, after taking a test on https://www.16personalities.com/ some time ago. Never heard of this Myers-Briggs classifications before, but after I first read about my type on the page, I was stunned by the similarities and how the text described details of my inner world. The article here describes really crucial points for probably most INFJ types. If you want to dive even deeper into your personality type, I can recommend the website I mentioned, I’ve even bought the INFJ ebook a week after taking the test.
    Have a great time, everyone. 🙂

  10. Phil March 12, 2017 at 11:54 pm - Reply

    Barnum effect. Myers-Briggs has a very poor reputation amongst psychologists.

  11. Bren March 17, 2017 at 8:16 am - Reply

    Someone wrote an article about “me”.

  12. Marvin May 17, 2017 at 12:36 am - Reply

    Thank you so much for this article. I struggle with all 5 conflicts that is written here and some times I just want to know that somebody somewhere has a better understanding of what I’ve been through every day.

  13. Lotus May 17, 2017 at 2:10 am - Reply

    You hit the nail directly in the head! Thank you for helping to explain the craziness that is INFJ me…

  14. Breanne R June 6, 2017 at 4:03 am - Reply

    It’s so wonderful to see the other INFJs here learning more about themselves. I have been on my own ‘exploratory personality pilgrimage’ for almost a year now, but I still love stumbling across articles like these.

    I found myself laughing in a paradoxical combo of wonder and relief at how much sense these contradictions make to me. I struggle the most with 3 & 5… But I’m trying to be aware and be more compassionate with myself.

    To all INFJs reading this, I want the same for you too!
    Just remember that you have been put on this Earth for a reason, and that the world NEEDS our unique gifts. So just keep on being you. 😉

  15. Richard June 16, 2017 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    I was totally amazed reading this, it described me perfectly 100%. I thought i was alone but it is comforting to see others here the same as me. I can finally understand whats going on….. a big thank you

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