NFJs don’t just have the label of the “rarest” Myers-Briggs personality type. We’re often called “walking contradictions,” too. But what exactly does that mean?
As an INFJ personality myself, I thought I’d share some of the contradictions that I experience. These contradictions aren’t necessarily experienced by every INFJ and don’t cover the entire spectrum of internal conflicts that INFJs have to deal with. Here are eight of them. INFJs, can you relate?
Contradictions of the INFJ Personality
1. I’m realistic and idealistic, but others see me as pessimistic.
INFJs are naturally insightful. We see the world the way it is, so we’re fully aware that it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows (realistic). In fact, we’re so empathetic and sensitive to other people’s emotions and problems that it can seem like there’s no hope at all (pessimistic). But, at the end of the day, I still imagine myself in ten years with a fulfilling career, a mansion, a pack of dogs and six kids (very, very idealistic).
2. I want to make the world a better place, but I don’t know how.
I watch activists marching for equal rights and environmentalists saving baby turtles on Blue Planet II, and I admire these people for doing such amazing things for the world. But, as an INFJ, I find myself passionate about so many different things that it’s impossible to know where to start.
Altruism is ingrained into us INFJs. So I try to make changes on a personal level, opening the eyes of my family and friends to issues of positive reinforcement dog training, global warming, feminism, racism, and the LGBTQIA+ community. But, since I’m still struggling to convince my parents of my own bisexuality, I’m not sure how truly helpful I can be.
According to 16 Personalities, INFJs are the type most likely to right a wrong or create a social movement. One day, I’ll figure out what my role in helping the world is supposed to be, and I’ll go out and make a change.
3. I want to love everyone, but a lot of people get on my nerves.
I’ve never studied psychology academically, but because INFJs are both introspective and empathetic to the motivations of others, I’m very interested in the subject. It’s both useful as a fiction writer and as someone who likes to figure out where the people around me are coming from, especially when they say or do something that I don’t agree with. I don’t believe in right and wrong or good and evil, but I strongly believe in nurture over nature, and I like to figure out what in a person’s upbringing or past experiences drove them to be the person they are today.
However, while I try to understand and respect everyone, I find it considerably harder to like some people in a personal capacity. As an INFJ, I easily pick up on qualities that I find unattractive, such as dishonesty and narcissism. So I often stick to people-watching from a distance.
4. I want to be single and in a relationship.
I’m in love with the idea of being in love, but INFJs tend to be perfectionists who have very high expectations — especially when it comes to romantic relationships. We strive for incredibly deep and genuine connections, and I’m not sure that the reality of a relationship could ever live up to those standards. A lot of INFJs believe in soulmates and, although I don’t personally believe in “the one,” I do believe there are people out there who I might class as “perfect” for me.
However, at this time in my life, battling oversensitivity, self-esteem issues, anxiety, and occasional depression, I don’t think that I’m good enough to be with those amazing people. I’m still working on expanding my comfort zone and creating a stable life for myself. But when I’m ready, issues aside, I want the best for myself and I’ll likely end any unsatisfactory relationships in search of something better.
As an INFJ and a writer, I also need a lot of time to myself — so I won’t be giving up my time and energy for just anybody. So, singledom and I are becoming very good friends.
5. I love to love, but I don’t love easily.
This point applies to both people and forms of entertainment. If you knew me, you’d know that I’m a huge fan of lots of people, books, films, television shows, and so on.
However, that affection has to be earned because it’s second nature, as an INFJ, to strive for perfection and to spot the negatives in everything. This is not to say that I only love things that society deems to be “perfect.” Perfection is relative; for example, while other people may view jealousy as a bad quality, I find it endearing, under the right circumstances.
6. I love nature and staying indoors.
Nature is my favorite thing about Earth, about living here, about being alive. I want to be surrounded by it at all times, perhaps because, as an INFJ, I burn myself out easily and the sound of the wind in the trees and birds tweeting in the distance has a calming influence.
However, when I actually find myself outside, I also feel a strong compulsion to get back insideas quickly as possible. As a millennial, I like to blame this on technology, the invention of the internet, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hollywood.
Also, my own innate desire to write plays a big part. Writing is prevalent among INFJs as a way of both attempting to positively influence the world and express our most private thoughts without having to actually say them to others — whose opinions we care far too much about. There is a lack of Wi-Fi outside (I’m very stingy with my mobile data usage), and writing requires a lot of tools and pieces of paper, and preferably a plug socket for my laptop, too. When I’m out walking my dogs, my phone notes become my new best friend — and all I can think about is getting home to watch Once Upon a Time.
7. I want to look good, but I believe I shouldn’t have to.
I’m constantly battling wanting to be attractive and insisting that looks aren’t everything. Perhaps the conflict originates from my separate struggles with my looks and my personality; I focus on how attractive I am on the outside as a way to distract myself from the self-esteem knock I get when I dissect my thoughts.
INFJs are sensitive to others’ opinions, we like to be in control of our lives, and we want to feel like we’re “normal” in a society where we’re actually the minority Myers-Briggs personality type. It’s simply much easier for me to control my body image than to control the way that I think, feel, and experience life.
8. There’s a raging battle happening within me.
Considering our high expectations, empathy, sensitivity, and perfectionism, I’m sure I’m not the only INFJ who struggles with both anxiety and depression. The two conditions work together to cause a contradiction all their own. The anxiety makes me worry constantly about everything, even making up problems if my brain is running low on things to fire at me, while the depression makes me stop caring.
If you’re experiencing both at the same time, it’s a constant battle, and it often means you worry about not getting anything done while you’re actually failing to convince yourself to do anything. It’s a no-win situation, and it’s the hardest thing in the world to pull yourself out of.
I think we sometimes forget, that while the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator feels scarily accurate, people of the same type are not exactly the same. Our levels of introversion, intuition, feeling, judging, and turbulence vary greatly, and it is those differences — as well as our personal experiences, sexuality, culture, opinions, behaviors, and passions — that make us unique. Nevertheless, there are a lot of common characteristics that we INFJs share — our seemingly contradictory nature being just one of them.
Are You an INFJ?
Some of these traits are things a lot of people will identify with, and every INFJ is going to be a little different. If you can relate to most of them, however, chances are good that you’re an INFJ. Want to be one hundred percent sure? There’s an easy way to find out: Take this free personality assessment from Personality Hacker and see your personality type in minutes.