Many people have asked me this. The term comes from the Meyers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality test, which identifies how we think, feel and relate to others. An INFJ is Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling and Judging.
As soon as I look the test I wanted to know what those things meant and how they affect me in my life. I set out on a research project to figure it all out. Here’s some of what I came up with:
When I took the MBTI test it said that I am 96% introverted. That was no surprise to me. I always want to go home. Wherever I am, whatever I am doing, I want to go home.
People ask me what I did last weekend and I always say nothing. They seem sad for me that I had nothing to do. But for me, nothing is all I want to do. And it’s not really nothing. It’s more like research and exploration all from my warm, cozy bed. I love to spend my free time immersing myself in different projects and learning everything I can. And I like to do it alone, in peaceful silence. Nothing but the hum of traffic outside of my apartment and the bubbling of the humidifier next to my bed.
Being introverted also means that I need this me time. It’s not just a luxury that I enjoy because I’m single. It’s a necessity. It’s how I recharge. Being around people is very draining for me, even if it’s people that I like. I’ve had jobs in the past where I was interacting with people all day long. I would come home exhausted just from the interaction. I need that time to myself to recharge my batteries.
I am very sensitive to the things that people say. For as long as I can remember people have been telling me that I am too sensitive, that I need to “toughen up” or just not worry so much about things. I thought that there was something wrong with me. How could I be the only one feeling things so deeply?
It’s only in the last couple of years that I have realized that there is nothing wrong with me, but I am different from other people. I am very sensitive, not too sensitive, just much more so than they are. I feel things differently than most people do. They affect me on a much deeper level. I can’t just shake something off. It takes me time to process it and then, hopefully, let it go. But sometimes this time is measured in months and years, rather than days or weeks.
Take On Other’s Feelings
Part of my sensitivity is being affected by the people around me. I take on other people’s emotions, especially when they are negative. It could be something as simple as going into a coffee shop and seeing someone angry. It immediately affects me. I get uncomfortable and scared. It makes me anxious to the point that I have to get away from them.
It’s a whole lot worse when I know the person. If it’s a friend or family member I take on their emotions much more. It affects me almost as much as it does them. I absorb what they are saying and feeling to the point where it feels like those feelings belong to me.
My job in my family has always been the peacemaker. I never want anyone to be upset because it makes me upset too.
I love to dream. I spend so much time in my head dreaming about all different kinds of things. There are so many things that I want to see and do in my life, I’m sure I’ll never accomplish half of them. But I love to think about them.
I’m guilty of creating a whole other life in my head. It’s almost like a movie is playing in my mind all of the time. Any time I have a minute to leave this world, I do. I go there. It’s nice there. Everything is the way that I think it should be, not perfect by any means, but better than this world. It’s a wonderful place to escape to.
I’m not content just to dream though. I want to do as well. I spend so much time thinking about how things could be better and I come up with all kinds of solutions. So after lots of thinking and planning, I put some of my plans into action. Some things I think about for years before I get around to accomplishing them. Others are not that long. But nearly everything I do I have thought about for some time before I do it. I always have a plan, even if it’s just a rough draft.
Soft Spoken with Strong Opinions
Most people think I’m quiet. I am quiet when I first meet people. I don’t like new people so it takes me a while to warm up. I also like to know things about the people that I am talking to. I find it helps to listen for a while, to find out as much about their personality as I can before I start talking to them.
When I do open up I tend to have some strong opinions. My communication style is very straightforward and honest. When there is something that I care a lot about I can be very forward with my opinions. I think it’s more shocking to people because I am usually reserved. I only speak up when I have something important to say. They assume that someone who is so quiet will not be so direct.
Balance and all things being equal, this is so very important. I think this idea is so attractive to me because I don’t experience it very often. My life is very much black and white, all or nothing. There isn’t a lot of balance or equality.
It also strikes me because the unfairness of the world hurts me. There are so many things that are inherently unequal, but there is nothing that we can do to correct them. So, when there is something that can be in balance, then it is all the more attractive.
In my research the first thing that I notice is that INFJs are rare, making up just 2% of the population. A lot of people think this is the best thing. It does make me feel good to be unique. That’s what everyone is looking for nowadays right? The problem is you end up being like a rare car: no one knows how to work on it when it breaks down and the parts are super expensive. It’s not so much fun after all!
It’s hard for me to find people who understand me even a little bit, or who are even willing to try. I can’t say that I have even one friend that I can be completely myself with. I am always hiding something, or not saying something, just to fit in. I’m dying to find one person that I can be 100% myself with who understands me. I think that’s the ultimate dream.
I’ve learned a lot about myself since I took the MBTI test and I am still learning every day. It helps me in so many ways to understand myself, why I do things and how I process information. It’s helped me to realize that I am different, but not broken, like I had thought for so many years.