The INFJ personality type is often spoken about as though it were a desirable thing to be. Words such as prophetic, deep, mysterious and insightful regularly attributed to INFJ are suggestive of their possessing ‘superpowers’.
Indeed, it is said that many people of other MBTI types claim to be an INFJ, presumably believing its comparative scarcity (1- 2% of the population) makes it something to covet.
As somebody suffering from the INFJ affliction myself, I can confirm that desirable, it is not.
I will not suffer the reader with the familiar list of INFJ traits available elsewhere, but for those aspiring to deceive the Myers Briggs algorithm, it’s perhaps worth considering the following.
INFJ’s will spend their whole life trying not to present to the world as an INFJ.
If the INFJ type were desirable, why would they do this?
Imagine a time, when you have said or done something unwise or totally inappropriate and got found out. Got one?
Remember that excruciating feeling of being exposed and singled out?
Well as an INFJ, each day brings a new gauntlet to run, with the ever present threat of being identified as a weird alien interloper.
And the worst part is, that the INFJ is found out with regularity.
More often than not, when the INFJ is in the company of half a dozen acquaintances, those who don’t consider them eccentric or aloof, will be speed dialling the guys from the X files.
Therefore, in order to avoid this last interpretation gaining wider traction, the INFJ may adopt the personality ‘chameleon’ mode.
And so, to some INFJ will identify as the self-deprecating joker. To others, the sympathetic counsellor. Still others, the self-contained free thinker. And should occasion and acquaintance demand, they may even adopt the role of the crass boor!
This last guise, (INFJ’s least favoured gambit) often surprises people, as the INFJ is usually mild-mannered and soft spoken. But the seasoned INFJ has learned that this assimilation can be a useful disarming tactic.
What’s more, it is necessary to have an instant recall as to which of these distinct roles relate to which acquaintance and situation.
Why do they do this? In an attempt to assimilate with the dominant acquaintance or the dominant disposition of the group, and to throw them off the INFJ scent.
So why does the INFJ wish to ‘throw them off the scent’?
Well to INFJ, much of conventional social interaction is anathema. Small talk is vacuous. The received wisdom, prevailing paradigm and zeitgeist of the day, no more than jejune and vapid platitudes. Consequently, assimilation is simply the INFJ’s attempt to stoically tow the societal line.
With this in mind, I would invite those people who consider the INFJ personality something to covet, to consider the workload.
Imagine a really tough day at work. Now imagine the same, with the social obstacle course described above, in addition to your regular duties. Tiring eh?
So what about the upside? Well, INFJ’s rarely suffer from boredom and are easily pleased. The frustration that other types display at having ‘nothing to do’ appears bizarre to the INFJ who interprets such times as precious opportunities for contemplation.
Similarly, they are inclined to allow what others call ‘pastimes’ to become enduring passions. Should the INFJ choose to take up embroidery, there is every likelihood that they will have unwittingly embarked upon a reinterpretation of the Bayeux Tapestry.
However, this upside comes at a cost. INFJ’s have learned to be easily pleased, to enjoy quiet contemplation and to make their own entertainment in a world that displays no particular desire or requirement for their alleged superpowers.
The workaday life can be a tiresome drudge for everyone irrespective of MBTI type. But for the superhero INFJ, the concomitant societal expectations of attitude, thought and behaviour are akin to Kryptonite.
So, should you find yourself intrigued by the ‘mysterious’ INFJ, then the chances are, that you are of a different MBTI type. And that puts you in a place where the majority of INFJ’s would much rather be.