Dominant, Introverted Intuition (Ni): Inwardly focused on integrating ideas and developing human potential

Auxiliary, Extraverted Feeling (Fe): Outwardly decisive, collaborative, and sensitive to needs of people

At Their Best
People with INFJ preferences have a gift for intuitively understanding complex meanings and human relationships. They have faith in their insights and find that they often empathetically understand the feelings and motivations of people before the others themselves are aware of them. They combine this empathic understanding with the drive and organization to implement global plans for enhancing people’s lives.

INFJs have a visionary grasp of human relationships and possibilities, which, when articulated, can elevate and inspire others.

INFJs can be considered the Compassionate Visionaries. They use Introverted Intuition (Ni) as their core – a deeply reflective, conceptual approach to work and living. They seek new ideas and enjoy models, metaphors, and theories.

They thrive in situations where they can learn about and integrate complex thoughts and perspectives. They often look for ways to improve situations. If you are a Compassionate Visionary, you are likely at your best when you have some quiet time to think about things thoroughly. You likely consider multiple options, contemplate a situation, and make a well-defined plan before taking action. To move forward by making decisions and taking action, Compassionate Visionaries tend to evaluate ideas through the lens of personal and human values. This humanistic approach helps the Compassionate Visionary sort out which of their ideas and models will help others (and themselves) to thrive and develop. Others usually see the INFJ using this secondary, goal-oriented approach, working collaboratively with others to reach goals. Others may be less aware of the Compassionate Visionary’s well-defined inner vision, or of the depth of ideas and models that guide their supportive approach.

Characteristics of INFJs
INFJs seek meaning and connection in their lives and have little use for details unless they fit with their inner vision. They use their Intuition primarily internally, where they develop complex pictures and understandings. INFJs are likely to be:
  • Insightful, creative, and visionary
  • Conceptual, symbolic, and metaphorical
  • Idealistic, complex, and deep

INFJs apply personal values and empathize to understand others and make decisions. They are loyal to people and institutions that exemplify their values but have little interest in those that do not. INFJs prefer to lead persuasively by sharing their vision. They are likely to be:
  • Sensitive, compassionate, and empathetic
  • Deeply committed to their values

INFJs want meaning and purpose in their work, their relationships, even their material possessions. They are invested in growth and development for themselves and significant others and are willing to consider unconventional paths to achieve these. They value the depth and complexity of their insights and creative gifts as well as those of others. They want to see these insights realized in the world.

INFJs are typically people-oriented INNOVATORS of ideas; serious, quietly forceful and persevering; concerned with work that will help the world and inspire others. Having Introverted Intuition as their strongest mental process, they are at their best when caught up in inspiration, envisioning and creating ways to empower self and others to lead more meaningful lives.

They typically value:

  • A reserved outer life; spontaneous inner life
  • Planning ways to help people improve
  • Seeing complexities, hidden meanings
  • Understanding others’ needs and concerns
  • Imaginative ways of saying things
  • Planful, independent, academic learning
  • Taking the long view
  • Bringing out the best in others through appreciation
  • Finding harmonious solutions to problem
  • Being inspired and inspiring others

How Others May See Them
INFJs readily show compassion and caring for others, but they share their internal intuitions only with those they trust. Because they keep this most valued, important part private, others may find them difficult to know. When they try to communicate their internal sense of “knowing,” they often express it metaphorically and with complexity. They especially value authenticity and commitment in relationships.

Though INFJs are usually reserved, they don’t hesitate to assert themselves when their values are violated. Then they can be persistent and insistent.

Others usually experience INFJs as:

  • Private, even mysterious
  • Intense and individualistic

Potential Areas of Growth
Sometimes life circumstances have not supported INFJs in the development and expression of their Feeling and Intuitive preferences.

  • If they have not developed their Feeling, INFJs may not have reliable ways of making decisions and accomplishing their goals. Then, their valuable insights and creativity stay locked inside.
  • If they have not developed their Intuition, they may not take in enough information or take in only what fits with their internal pictures. Then they will make ill-founded decisions based on distorted or limited information.

If INFJs do not find a place where they can use their gifts and be appreciated for their contributions, they usually feel frustrated and may:
  • Not give others the information they used to arrive at a decision, and thus seem arbitrary
  • Base their judgments on little data, on a sense of “knowing” that has little basis in reality
  • Withdraw their energy and insight
  • Become resentful and critical

It is natural for INFJs to give less attention to their non-preferred Sensing and Thinking parts. If they neglect these too much, however, they may:
  • Be unable to verbalize their inner insights in a way that others can understand
  • Fail to check their insights against reason and practicality, and end up following a vision that has little possibility of being realized
  • Become single minded in pursuit of a vision

Under Great Stress
Under great stress, INFJs may become obsessed with data they normally would consider irrelevant or over- indulge in Sensing activities such as watching TV reruns, overeating, or buying things that have little meaning for them.

Introduction to Type, Sixth Edition developed by Isabel Briggs Myers

MMTIC®Murphy-Meisgeier Type Indicator for Children developed by Charles Martin, Elizabeth Murphy, and Betsy Styron

Donna Dunning’s terrific blog