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INFJ (Introversion, Intuition, Feeling, Judging) is an initialism used in the publications of the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) to refer to one of the sixteen personality types. The MBTI assessment was developed from the work of prominent psychiatrist Carl Jung in his book Psychological Types. Jung proposed a psychological typology based on the theories of cognitive functions that he developed through his clinical observations.

From Jung's work, others developed psychological typologies. Jungian personality assessments include the MBTI instrument, developed by Isabel Briggs Myers and Katharine Cook Briggs, and the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, developed by David Keirsey. Keirsey referred to the INFJs as Counselors, one of the four types belonging to the temperament he called the Idealists.[1] In the popular spin on the MBTI Instrument, NERIS, the INFJ is known as The Advocate, in the role group Diplomats (along with the types INFP (the Mediator), ENFJ (the Protagonist), and ENFP (the Campaigner)).


Occurrence and MistypeEdit

INFJ is known as the rarest MBTI type, making up less than one percent of the general population. Interestingly, this type is also one of the most mistyped into, as one of the most common types in common tests (for an illustration, go to occurence at This gross overoccurence of INFJs is believed to be the product of the mistypes of INFP, ISFJ, and ISFP.[2] This causes most information on the INFJ online to be warped, encompassing many other types.

MBTI instrumentEdit

The MBTI preferences indicate the differences in people based on the following:[3]

By using their preference in each of these areas, people develop what Jung and Myers called psychological type. This underlying personality pattern results from the dynamic interaction of their four preferences, in conjunction with environmental influences and their own individual tendencies. People are likely to develop behaviors, skills, and attitudes based on their particular type. Each personality type has its own potential strengths as well as areas that offer opportunities for growth.

The MBTI tool consists of multiple choice questions that sort respondents on the basis of the four "dichotomies" (pairs of psychological opposites). Sixteen different outcomes are possible, each identified by its own four-letter code, referred to by initial letters. (N is used for iNtuition, since I is used for Introversion). The MBTI is approximately 75% accurate according to its own manual.[4]

  • I – Introversion (as preferred to extraversion): INFJs tend to be quiet and reserved. They generally prefer interacting with a few close friends or one on one, rather than a wide circle of acquaintances, and they expend energy in social situations (whereas extraverts gain energy in those situations).[5]
  • N – Intuition (as preferred to observing): INFJs tend to be more abstract than concrete. They focus on the big picture rather than the details, and on future possibilities rather than immediate realities.[6]
  • F – Feeling (as preferred to thinking): INFJs tend to value personal considerations above objective criteria. When making decisions, they often give more weight to social implications than to logic.[7] They make decisions based upon how it would affect others, as opposed to the status quo or how it would affect themselves.
  • J – Judgment (as preferred to prospecting): INFJs tend to plan their activities and make decisions early. They derive a sense of control through predictability.[8]


INFJs are conscientious and morality-driven. They seek meaning in relationships, ideas, and events, with an eye toward better understanding themselves and others. Using their intuitive skills, they develop a clear and confident vision, which they then set out to execute, aiming to better the lives of others. Like their INTJ counterparts, INFJs regard problems as opportunities to design and implement creative solutions.[9]

INFJs are believed to adapt easily in social situations due to their complex understanding of an individual's motivations; however, they are true introverts, and as such, they need to retreat every so often. INFJs are private individuals who prefer to exercise their influence behind the scenes. Though they are very independent, INFJs are intensely interested in the well-being of others. INFJs prefer one-on-one relationships to large groups. Sensitive and complex, they are adept at understanding complicated issues and driven to resolve differences in a cooperative and creative manner.[10]

INFJs are deeply concerned about their relations with individuals as well as the state of humanity at large. They are, in fact, sometimes mistaken for extroverts because they appear so outgoing and are so genuinely interested in people—a product of the Feeling function they most readily show to the world.[11]

INFJs are said to have a rich, vivid inner life that they may be reluctant to share with those around them. Nevertheless, they are congenial in their interactions and perceptive of the emotions of others. Generally well liked by their peers, they may often be considered close friends and confidants by most other types; however, they are guarded in expressing their own feelings, especially to new people, and tend to establish close relationships slowly. INFJs may "silently withdraw as a way of setting limits" rather than expressing their wounded feelings—a behavior that may leave others confused and upset.[12]

Other common characteristicsEdit

  • Creativity
  • Insightfulness
  • Sensitivity and empathy
  • Goal-oriented determination
  • Perfectionism
  • Inclination towards privacy
  • Strong written or indirect communication
  • Empathy Based

Statistical correlations with the Enneagram of PersonalityEdit

According to Baron and Wagele, the most common Enneagram of Personality enneatypes that statistically correlate to INFJ are the Four, One, and Six enneatypes.[13]


In his 1990 Ph.D dissertation, C.F. Gibbons of the University of Arkansas found that the INFJ type was one of the four most common among musicians, with INFP being the most common.[14][not in citation given]

INFJ and Career PathsEdit

At work, the INFJ is focused on the task of bettering the human condition. INFJs are dedicated, helpful, and principled workers who can be relied on to envision, plan, and carry out complex projects for humanitarian causes. INFJs are typically organized and prefer work that allows them to complete projects in an orderly manner. They are often independent and tend to prefer a quiet environment that allows them the opportunity to fully develop their own thoughts and ideas. Besides, INFJs have extremely high expectations of themselves and sometimes others. The ideal work environment for an INFJ is harmonious, industrious, and oriented to a humanitarian mission, with co-workers who are similarly committed to positive change.[citation needed]

This desire to help and connect makes the INFJ more qualified for careers in Healthcare, especially the more holistic varieties, very rewarding for INFJs – roles as counselors, psychologists, doctors, dentistry, life coaches and spiritual guides are all attractive options. The ideal job for a Counselor allows them to use their creativity in an independent, organized environment to develop and implement a vision that is consistent with their personal values. INFJs often pursue expressive careers such as writing, elegant communicators that they are, and author many popular blogs, stories and screenplays. INFJs are clever, and can function in any of these fields, but to be truly happy, they need to be able to exercise their insightfulness and independence, learn and grow alongside the people they are helping, and contribute to the well-being of humanity on a personal level.[citation needed]

Common INFJ Career MatchesEdit

The following careers are possible matches for individuals with the INFJ personality: Counselor, Clergy, Therapist, Writer, Missionary, Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Dentistry, Social Worker, Educational Consultant, Child Care, Child Development, Church Worker, Teacher, Musician, Anthropologist, Sociologist, Photographer, Professor, Librarian, Artist, Chiropractor, Actor/Actress, Dentist/Hygienist, Physician, Veterinarian, Consultant, Designer, Human Resources, Marketer, Trainer. [15]

Cognitive FunctionsEdit

A diagram of the cognitive functions of each type. A type's background color represents its Dominant function, and its text color represents its Auxiliary function.

Drawing upon Jungian theory, Isabel Myers proposed that for each personality type, the cognitive functions (sensing, intuition, thinking, and feeling) form a hierarchy. This hierarchy represents the person's default pattern of behavior.

The Dominant function is the personality type's preferred role, the one they feel most comfortable with. The secondary Auxiliary function serves to support and expand on the Dominant function. If the Dominant is an information gathering function (sensing or intuition), the Auxiliary is a decision making function (thinking or feeling), and vice versa. The Tertiary function is less developed than the Dominant and Auxiliary, but it matures over time, rounding out the person's abilities. The Inferior function is the personality type's fatal weakness. This is the function they are least comfortable with. Like the Tertiary, the Inferior function strengthens with maturity.[16][page needed]

Jung and Myers considered the attitude of the Auxiliary, Tertiary, and Inferior functions to be the opposite of the Dominant. In this interpretation, if the Dominant function is extraverted, then the other three are introverted, and vice versa. However, many modern practitioners hold that the attitude of the Tertiary function is the same as the Dominant.[17] Using the more modern interpretation, the cognitive functions of the INFJ are as follows:[16]

Dominant: Introverted intuition (Ni)Edit

Attracted to symbolic action or devices. Ni synthesizes seeming paradoxes to create the previously unimagined. These realizations come with a certainty that demands action to fulfill a new vision of the future, solutions that may include complex systems or universal truths.[18] This function commonly leaves INFJs feeling misunderstood, because it allows them to predict events with seemingly eerie accuracy.[19] Though this is the dominant function of INFJs, many are not aware it is there, because many are forced to fall upon their Auxiliary or Tertiary functions to survive feelings of misunderstanding.

Auxiliary: Extraverted feeling (Fe)Edit

Fe seeks social connections and creates harmonious interactions through polite, considerate, and appropriate behavior. Fe responds to the explicit (and implicit) wants of others, and may even create an internal conflict between the subject’s own needs and the desire to meet the needs of others.[20] This function is often the main decision-making function and it contributes to the intense empathy INFJs are known for.

Tertiary: Introverted thinking (Ti)Edit

Ti seeks precision, such as the exact word to express an idea. Ti notices the minute distinctions that define the essence of things, then analyzes and classifies them. Ti examines all sides of an issue, looking to solve problems while minimizing effort and risk. Ti uses models to root out logical inconsistency.[21]

Inferior: Extraverted sensing (Se)Edit

Se focuses on the experiences and sensations of the immediate, physical world. With an acute awareness of the present surroundings, it brings relevant facts and details to the forefront and may lead to spontaneous action. Weak Se in the INFJ may result in a detachment from the sensory reality, but when the function is in use it adds a playful counter to the serious nature of Ni.[22]

Shadow functionsEdit

Later personality researchers (notably Linda V. Berens)[23] added four additional functions to the descending hierarchy, the "shadow" functions to which the individual is not naturally inclined but which can emerge when the person is under stress. They are not usually seen. For INFJ these shadow functions are (in order):

  • Extraverted intuition (Ne): Ne finds and interprets hidden meanings, using hypothetical questions to explore alternatives, allowing multiple possibilities to coexist. This imaginative play weaves together insights and experiences from various sources to form a new whole, which can then become a catalyst to action.[24]
  • Introverted feeling (Fi): Fi filters information based on interpretations of worth, forming judgments according to criteria that are often intangible. Fi constantly balances an internal set of values such as harmony and authenticity. Attuned to subtle distinctions, Fi innately senses what is true and what is false in a situation.[25]
  • Extraverted thinking (Te): Te organizes and schedules ideas and the environment to ensure the efficient, productive pursuit of objectives. Te seeks logical explanations for actions, events, and conclusions, looking for faulty reasoning and lapses in sequence.[26]
  • Introverted sensing (Si): Si collects data in the present moment and compares it with past experiences, a process that sometimes evokes the feelings associated with memory, as if the subject were reliving it. Seeking to protect what is familiar, Si draws upon history to form goals and expectations about what will happen in the future.[27]


  1. ^ . Temperament
  2. ^ Gage, Kris (2017-12-15). "Read This If You Think You're An INFJ". Medium. Retrieved 2019-06-07.
  3. ^ Myers, Isabel Briggs (1998). Introduction to Type: A Guide to Understanding your Results on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Mountain View, CA: CPP, Inc.
  4. ^ Myers, Isabel Briggs; Mary H. McCaulley (1985). Manual: A Guide to the Development and Use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (2nd ed.). Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologist Press. p. 52. ISBN 0-89106-027-8.
  5. ^ "Changing Minds: Extraversion vs. Introversion". Retrieved 2009-01-10.
  6. ^ "Changing Minds: Sensing vs. Intuiting". Retrieved 2009-01-10.
  7. ^ "Changing Minds: Thinking vs. Feeling". Retrieved 2009-01-10.
  8. ^ "Changing Minds: Judging vs. Perceiving". Retrieved 2009-01-10.
  9. ^ "The Myers & Briggs Foundation - The 16 MBTI® Types".
  10. ^ "Keirsey Temperament Assessment". Keirsey Temperament Assessment.
  11. ^ "INFJ Profile".
  12. ^ Baron, Renee (1998). What Type Am I: Discover Who You Really Are. New York, NY: Penguin Books. p. 141. ISBN 978-0140269413. ISBN 0-1402-6941-X.
  13. ^ Wagele/Baron, p.155
  14. ^ Reardon, Christin M. (June 2009). "DIFFERENCES IN MYERS-BRIGGS PERSONALITY TYPES AMONG HIGH SCHOOL BAND, ORCHESTRA, AND CHOIR MEMBERS" (PDF). Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University. Retrieved July 5, 2014.
  15. ^ "INFJ Personality Type — The Confidant". Personality Max. Retrieved Feb 3, 2016.
  16. ^ a b Barron-Tieger, Barbara; Tieger, Paul D. (1995). Do what you are: discover the perfect career for you through the secrets of personality type. Boston: Little, Brown. ISBN 0-316-84522-1.
  17. ^ Myers, Isabel Briggs; Mary H. McCaulley (1985). Manual: A Guide to the Development and Use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (2nd ed.). Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press. ISBN 0-89106-027-8.
  18. ^ "Cognitive Processes: Introverted intuition". Retrieved 2009-05-12.
  19. ^ Granneman, Jenn (2017-03-03). "21 Signs That You're an INFJ, the Rarest Personality Type". Retrieved 2019-06-07.
  20. ^ "Cognitive Processes: Extraverted Feeling". Retrieved 2009-05-12.
  21. ^ "Cognitive Processes: Introverted thinking". Retrieved 2009-05-12.
  22. ^ "Cognitive Processes: Extraverted Sensing". Retrieved 2009-05-12.
  23. ^ "". Retrieved 2008-05-21.
  24. ^ "Cognitive Processes: Extraverted intuition". Retrieved 2009-05-12.
  25. ^ "Cognitive Processes: Introverted feeling". Retrieved 2009-05-12.
  26. ^ "Cognitive Processes: Extraverted thinking". Retrieved 2009-05-12.
  27. ^ "Cognitive Processes: Introverted sensing". Retrieved 2009-05-12.

External linksEdit