Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What's an INFJ?

INFJ.  It sounds like jargon.  Like an acronym for something with a long confusing title.  I suppose that's true because it stands for Inutition, iNtuitive, Feeling, Judging.

So what does it all mean?  Well, one day last spring I decided to take the Myers-Briggs Personality test in my quest to understand my personality better.  We'd done the Keirsey Temperment Sorter in school which is quite similar.

I took the test... and it was long!  I was dying to see the answers--my assessment.  I have a sort of obsessive desire to know things, especially know more about myself and how I interact with others.  I wanted to bite my fingernails while I waited in suspense.

I sorted out all my answers and came up with an acronym.  INFJ.  I read the assessment and went cold as statement after statement hit my personality on the nose.  I had never encountered a "quiz" like this to be so revealing.  I really didn't want to share my findings with anyone at the time because it felt like I was naked in front of the world.

But now I'm proud of who I am.  Here are a few of the characteristics that dropped me to my knees:

Excerpts taken from Portrait of an INFJ

"Only one percent of the population has an INFJ Personality Type, making it the most rare of all the types."

"They know things intuitively, without being able to pinpoint why, and without detailed knowledge of the subject at hand."
"They are usually right, and they usually know it. Consequently, INFJs put a tremendous amount of faith into their instincts and intuitions."

"INFJs have uncanny insight into people and situations. They get "feelings" about things and intuitively understand them."

"Consequently, most INFJs are protective of their inner selves, sharing only what they choose to share when they choose to share it."

"INFJs hold a special place in the heart of people who they are close to, who are able to see their special gifts and depth of caring."

"They may tend to internalize conflict into their bodies, and experience health problems when under a lot of stress."

"On the other hand, INFJ is a perfectionist who doubts that they are living up to their full potential. INFJs are rarely at complete peace with themselves - there's always something else they should be doing to improve themselves and the world around them."

"They believe in constant growth, and don't often take time to revel in their accomplishments."

"In the workplace, the INFJ usually shows up in areas where they can be creative and somewhat independent."

"The INFJ individual is gifted in ways that other types are not. Life is not necessarily easy for the INFJ, but they are capable of great depth of feeling and personal achievement."

Anyone who read my "You As A Brand" post will likely recognize some similarities between what I wrote then with the characteristics listed above.

Take a moment to reflect on your own personality.  If you're as curious as I am I bet you're half way to the website already.  It's amazing how much better you can perform at work, school, or home when you have some idea why you do the things you do.


Anonymous said...

I did a Myers-Briggs a few months back and was compelled to comment on this post because I'm an INFJ too.
The perfectionist part is too right, I'm constantly trying to better myself or tweak any work I produce to being the best it can be. The introvert/extro part is interesting because for me it depends on how much energy I have. If I've been locking myself away and busy for awhile I find I definitely act more extroverted and really want human company, on the reverse of this - too much human company (i.e. 4 birthday parties in a week) will zap me of energy and I'll need time to myself and to recover.
Dont take time to relish accomplishments also rang true, once something is done I'm onto the next without a second thought.

Great post :)

alirayner said...

I totally agree with you on your desire to be an extrovert based on energy levels. I find I am the same way. Through my own experience I realized that when I decide to stay home for awhile (before a job or after I leave a job) I ge really lonely & crave human company. But on the flip side when I'm really busy all I crave is to be at home alone. It's a very all or nothing approach and quite often I just don't feel like I'm in control of that. I'm always wishing for green grass on the other side of the fence.

Thanks for your comment!

City Soliloquy said...

That's the part that gets to me too, not being able to be in control of it. Especially during times where I feel like I have to be at a social event or I can't say no to an invitation it almost feels like it is a chore to go. I sometimes feel guilty for not being social 100% of the time, now I just realise it's just the way I am which I'm slowly coming to terms with. Though normally once I get there for the first few hours I really enjoy it, work the room and converse then need a bit of a breather. I guess I need to find some balance.

I read somewhere that introverts are often misunderstood, we aren't to be hermits and we aren't always shy by any means. I never have problems with talking up in group situations, I like being surrounded by people when I'm energised and when I get into the swing of a presentation I enjoy it. I think the main difference between intro vs. extro is the energy issue, extroverts gain energy from people, introverts get drained by people. Neither is a bad thing! I think for a long time introverts have had quite a negative rap, but on the other hand often extroverts are seen as being loud and imposing.

I really love the direction your blog is going again, like Ali's life/personal development, so I will definitely be back and forth.