This is one of my favourite articles based on the INFJ personality type and was original on the Modalities of Existence site which was unfortunately taken down and is no longer available. Thankfully I had the copy saved away…
- INFJs are, by definition, rare, reserved, and unlikely to initiate anything, which means that many of them can end up alone and misunderstood. To help with things, I’ve compiled a list of points which I think would be of great use to anyone considering dating someone who identifies as an INFJ.
- For most INFJs, omitting or distorting information is equivalent to lying, and at the very least will rouse their suspicion. INFJs have an acute sensitivity for stories which don’t quite fit. At the same time, INFJs also like to assume the best and can be extremely gullible.
- INFJs are adept at nonverbal communication (eye gaze, touching, body language, etc.). Just because they’re not speaking doesn’t mean they’re not saying something.
- INFJs have an extremely complex internal value system. An INFJ will see if you ‘fit’ into their world, and they’ll bend their own rules if they really like you. INFJs tend to have very high standards, but are also very accepting once they trust you and know you’re safe.
- INFJs can be pretty intense emotionally. This isn’t to say that they can get into a heated argument, in fact INFJs avoid conflict, however they are easily hurt and feel very deeply. It’s not uncommon for INFJs to cry if they feel something very deeply.
- INFJs are weird / odd / strange / extremely rare and they very much know it. They yearn to be understood and want to be accepted as they are (as most people do, of course). An INFJ is incredibly complex, so complex they confuse even themselves. They almost always feel misunderstood and ‘hidden’. They will be offended if you pass them off as ‘simple’ or ‘average’. Getting to know an INFJ takes work, so be prepared for that. A lot of gentle enquiry is required.
- INFJs can often mimic other types.
- INFJs are typically better in writing than in verbal communication. If you want to know an INFJ’s true feelings, ask them to write out what they think and feel.
- INFJs don’t typically engage in casual relationships. Most of them will become too attached for it to be possible. If your intentions aren’t serious then you should probably steer clear of an INFJ unless it’s very obvious beforehand that they aren’t interested in a serious relationship.
- An INFJ’s allegiance is no trifle. If an INFJ wants to stick by you, it means they really like you. Do not violate that gift.
- INFJs consciously choose the people that are close to them. They would rather have a few very close friendships as opposed to numerous superficial ones.
- They open up at a dinosauric pace. They typically hold themselves back and consider that behaviour to be part of their nature. They’ve been described as having ‘layers’ which only a select few people are privy to, the closer the layer to their heart, the fewer people are granted access. Do not expect to find yourself in the ‘top tier’ overnight. It often takes months or years to access the deepest recesses.
- INFJs, like other idealists, love harmony. While an INFJ is relatively adept at conflict resolution, they do not appreciate the unneeded creation of conflict. An INFJ will strive for harmony.
- The ‘N’ combined with the ‘J’ in INFJ means that they are future oriented. Do everything you can to make yourself seem like a long-term option. If you become destructively impulsive, an INFJ will lose the ability to see you as a long-term mate, and will become unhappy as a result. INFJs are future-oriented and have powerful imaginations and superb insight.
- INFJs are extremely sensitive. Make sure that criticism is handed as lightly as possible and constructively. At the same time, INFJs love to please their partner, and will work on an issue if presented in the right way. When to be blunt with an INFJ: never. Be honest and direct, but there’s a fine line between direct and insensitive.
- INFJs love helping people. If you’re bad at accepting help (yes, accepting help is a skill), then get ready to have problems. To reject an INFJ’s help is to reject their love, and one of the things they hold nearest to their hearts.
- An INFJ’s ability to help people goes hand-in-hand with their ability to destroy people. Their keen knowledge of people’s weaknessess means they can either help you incredibly or destroy you, however the latter is extremely rare and is only reserved for people they believe have done serious harm to them or others.
- They need patience but they give patience in return.
- They’re curious about other people. To their friends, they are very accepting. However, the closer one gets to an INFJ’s heart, the more their standards will apply to the other person, which can sometimes create issues.
- They often have darker periods where they close up. They can become monk-like and reclusive. It doesn’t mean they don’t like you, it just means they need to recharge.
- They can be stubborn once they believe they’re in the right, especially if it has to do with their values.
- INFJs hardly ever initiate anything. They like it when the other person initiates a conversation, contact, etc.
- INFJs need 2 things to thrive: trust and safety. Trusting you is about knowing that you’re ethically and morally upstanding (or at least in accordance with their values), and feeling safe is knowing that you’ll stick by them. INFJs don’t want to open up to people who might disappear overnight. If an INFJ feels they can trust you and feels safe with you, they’ll be very happy. The only added bonus is to tell them how much you appreciate them.
- Their energy drains when around others. They will need time alone to ‘feel like themselves’.
- Your energy will easily affect them. If you seem unstable, etc., it will seep into them and poison them. It has often been said that an INFJ’s partner has to be strong, and this is generally true.
- INFJs live in a world of fantasy. They can have problems consolidating their idealism with the reality of the world.
Useful quotes from the internet about INFJs:
“INFJs are all about deeds, not words. Don’t fuck up anything when you are granted a stage by an INFJ. It may take a long time before they give you that stage. Remember that they are intently testing you at that point. Talk all you want after that audition, providing you pass the test. The conversation will be most pleasant forever after… until you fuck up.
Eight years of marriage to a textbook INFJ has taught me the power of truth. I have seen what happens to people who deceive an INFJ. They are dropped like a hot pan.”
“I do think that’s one of the main features of the INFJ type, vital even: a strong sense of right and wrong; they can’t tolerate wrongdoings of any kind. But at the same time, I’ve observed that INFJ’s attitude over their sense of morals comes in two variants; Jesus-like ones that say “turn the other cheek”, and the badass Kenshin ones that punish wrongdoers.”
“I have an INFJ friend, who is someone I would never EVER want to piss off, I’ve seen him angry only once in my life, and he goes all out then, lashing out to the point that it’s fearsome and it takes nearly an hour for him to cool down… it would start with him just suddenly becoming quiet and very isolated and then bam! If ever in a war, that dude is on my side as a general!”
“We go through great efforts to keep everything civil, friendly, and harmonious, and we even allow people a certain amount of “buffer space”. But once you’ve overstepped that boundary or pushed things too far, then BAM! Tactical. Nuclear. Strike.”
“When someone gets the better of us, and they do so in a way that is not admirable, they become mortal enemies that must be vexed immediately.”
“I agree with the above. I will take a lot of abuse now, but once I am pushed to a point and feel I have nothing to lose or protect, well, you are pretty much dead meat. I will sit on every piece of ammunition I have and let the offender do their best, and then in the end, I let it all loose.
If you get on their good side, you have made a wonderful ally for life, and most likely they will use their arsenal to protect you.”
“I’m an INFJ, and I sometimes mentally play out what I’d like to say to someone I’m angry with, but I have never (and would never) take physical vengeance on anyone. I’m incredibly patient, but do eventually have a point where I will calmly tell someone what they have done to upset me and whether or not I will be able to get past it. If it’s something I can’t get past, that’s pretty much the end of things with that person.”
On holding back:
“My tendency to hold back IS who I am, and I am okay with that. I embrace that.
Because I am here and my friends know it. I am at my maximum potential when I am taking care of my family, yes, but I have many close friendships I nurture on a regular (every few weeks) basis, and they are almost as important to me.”
“INFJs take time to open up. They are slow burners. I find I can’t really get to know them until after many prolonged conversations. But after you enter their realm of trust they are the sweetest, most genuine people.”
“If I pursued a lot of meaningless sexual relationships, I can guarantee you I would be miserable in the end. It’s not in my nature. I am 100% aware that I’m someone who has to have a certain level of emotional bonding and trust to have sex with someone, and while I’ve had friends give me a hard time for it in the past, I accept this about myself. I can’t turn that off, and I know it. So, instead of living in denial, trying to be “the tough chick who can have sex like a man,” I hold out for someone who actually values my true nature. If I didn’t do that, I’d only be hurting myself over and over again. Denying your true nature in an effort to be “fashionable” or “modern” or “independent,” in my opinion, really comes back to bite you in the ass.”
“I can’t see the appeal of casual sex, for me I have to be in a relationship with someone before I’d consider sex with them. Sexual intimacy is much more valued and emotional to me and I do not want to waste that on people I don’t know or do not have a special bond with.”
“I take care of and very much value my body. If I’ve just met that person, I feel really uncomfortable with the idea of a stranger touching me the same way as someone who respects and loves me. I don’t judge others for what they do with their bodies, but I know what feels right and what doesn’t feel right for me.”
“Can’t do casual. Must be committed. Feel safe.”
On Feeling Different:
“I have always felt extremely different from others. I know when people are sick, even sometimes right down to what is bothering them. I am automatically drawn to people in pain and instinctively help people through hard times with out even knowing I am doing it.”
“INFJs are more “for the cause”, not free-love.”
“INFJs look scary love-wise.”
Other Useful Quotes:
“If I go to a party, I find that I do latch on to one or two people I feel comfortable with or click with, and try to have a meaningful conversation with them of some sort. I CAN mingle well, but I prefer not too as it’s draining for me. I am not an extrovert so I know I will not be the life of the party, but I do not expect myself to be, beyond making a bold entrance, which I kinda like to do. I like the excitement of hanging back and wondering who will give me the vibe, or who’s energy I’ll pick up on, and if that will be a surprising find, as in someone I wouldn’t ordinarily talk to.”