There’s something oddly satisfying about taking online personality quizzes. All you do is kick back, answer a bunch of fun questions, and just like that you learn which Harry Potter house you belong to, your perfect career path, your best astrological match — the list goes on. Online quizzes are a surefire way to feel uniquely understood, especially if you take the popular Myers-Briggs test and realize you have one of the rarest personality types: INFJ.
If you’ve taken the quiz before, you know how extensive it is. “The Myers-Briggs test consists of a series of self-reporting questions that help determine a personality type based on the work of Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology,” Jodie Solberg, CHT, a mental wellness coach and certified hypnotherapist, tells Bustle. “Your type reflects how you view and move through the world, and can be very useful in recognizing your own strengths as well as mitigating some of your potential weaknesses.”
Of the 16 possible outcomes, the INFJ personality type — which stands for introversion, intuition, feeling, and judging — is the rarest, accounting for only 1.5% of the population, according to data from the Myers & Briggs Foundation. The next rarest types are ENTJ (1.8%), INTJ (2.1%), and ENFJ (2.5%), while the most common personality types are ISFJ (13.8%), ESFJ (12.3%), and ISTJ (11.6%). If you happen to be this rare personality type — INFJ — bask in your uniqueness, and then read on below for more info about yourself.
What Is The INFJ Personality Type?
One leading trait of an INFJ personality is that they tend to be introverts. “The introverted trait signifies that you tend to focus your attention on your internal thoughts and feelings compared to someone extroverted, who gathers their energy through being active in the environment and with people around them,” Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a neuropsychologist and faculty member at Columbia University, tells Bustle.
It’s likely why you prefer chilling at home to attending loud social events, or why you crave lots of alone time in order to recharge. INFJs are also highly intuitive, Hafeez says, which means you’re really good at listening to your gut and sussing out situations. These personality types also have a knack for empathizing with others.
As for the “F,” which stands for feeling, it refers to the way INFJs follow their heart when making decisions, rather than using logic. Their emotions and the emotions of others impact their choices more than facts and objectivity. “Lastly, the ‘judging’ characteristic represents someone most comfortable when their future is mapped out and prefers sticking with a plan rather than letting things play out,” says Hafeez.
Why Are INFJs So Rare?
INFJs account for only 1.5% of folks who take the Myers-Briggs test. The reason they’re so rare? “INFJs are said to be walking contradictions,” Hafeez says. “They are introverted but love to help people and socialize.” These unique gems want to keep the peace and advocate for social justice — even if that means simply helping a friend and even if it burns them out (more on that below). “INFJs also feel strongly about their values and beliefs and can be assertive,” Solberg says, “which isn't often a trait we think of introverts having.”
The combo of INFJ traits is what makes them super empathetic, compassionate, and caring. “INFJs tend to have a small, close-knit circle with whom they share deeply loyal relationships with,” Solberg says.
It’s easy for INFJs to see things from various perspectives, too, which is another reason why these personality types are really good at empathizing with everyone. “INFJs believe in working in their strengths and what they are passionate about, which tends to be helping others,” says Solberg.
If you’re an INFJ, you tend to be really observant and can understand other peoples’ feelings, explains Hafeez. “They are excellent at knowing what people think before they even say their thoughts out loud. Because of their ability to read people well, they are also great listeners.”
It's not surprising, then, that many great minds, including historical and political leaders both past and present, are INFJs: Martin Luther King, Jr., Hillary Clinton, Stephen Hawking, Nelson Mandela, Sylvia Plath, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Al Gore, Jodie Foster, and Susan B. Anthony all fit this personality type. (For fun, Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, is also considered an INFJ.)
If INFJs struggle with anything, it’s criticism. They’re extremely sensitive to it and often get defensive, which Solberg says likely stems from a tendency towards perfectionism. INFJs will work tirelessly, whether that means helping others in their community or helping friends. They put their own needs last, which also means they’re prone to burnout.
Hafeez says this personality type is also quick to stand up for friends while simultaneously struggling to stick up for themselves. “INFJs have a particular skill for seeing through people’s facades, however, they tend to be overly trusting once they are close to someone,” she tells Bustle. It’s a trait that opens the door to folks who take advantage of an INFJ’s kindness.
Remember the comment above about walking contradictions? While INFJs are great at choosing and maintaining friendships, they’re also extremely tough to get to know. “They struggle with vulnerability and rarely ask for help when trying to solve a personal problem,” Hafeez says. They often seem a bit mysterious, and not necessarily in a good way.
To strike a better balance, there are several things an INFJ can do. “They should try to accept that not everyone will always agree with them and that it’s OK to make a mistake or be wrong,” Hafeez says. “They should also trust themselves and those around them and ask for help when they need it. Rather than focusing on hidden meanings, they should enjoy the present moment and think less about the past and future.”
The Best Careers For INFJs
According to Solberg, INJFs naturally see things from different perspectives. “This makes them excellent at negotiating peace and advocating for others in the face of injustice,” she says. If you’re an INFJ, you might feel drawn to careers that allow you to help others and put all your unique traits to work. Think counseling, psychology, teaching, social work, and even a career in non-profits or politics.
INFJs are also strong communicators, which is why writing could be appealing, whether that means penning books, blogs, or screenplays. Music, photography, design, and other artistic pursuits might also seem fun, as they’d allow you to focus on deeper themes of personal growth and purpose. The INFJ personality type may be rare and at times tough to define, but it certainly comes with a long list of uniquely useful traits you can offer the world.
Jodie Solberg, CHT, mental wellness coach and certified hypnotherapist
Dr. Sanam Hafeez, neuropsychologist
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