The INFJ personality is thought to be the rarest of the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types, making up only 1-2 percent of the population. Because there are not many people in the world like them, INFJs often feel like perpetual outsiders. And, INFJs see the world in a very unique way — a way that most people can’t understand or relate to. As a result, many INFJs feel unhappy, discouraged, and even depressed.
In a society that doesn’t understand the INFJ’s way, what does this unique personality need in life to be happy? Here are 12 things.
What an INFJ Needs to Be Happy
1. A sense of purpose
INFJs will not be content living a shallow life. Simply working to pay their bills will leave them feeling empty and restless. Sure, they can do routine tasks, but they must see how they fit into the bigger picture. They can’t just punch in and punch out; in order to be happy, they must be working to help others and ultimately make the world a better place. And the world needs what INFJs have to give. There is perhaps no other type better suited to create a movement to right a wrong.
2. Meaningful conversation
Don’t let their quiet, easy-going demeanor fool you. INFJs are just waiting to dive into your inner world and learn more about what makes you tick. They want to hear the secret thoughts you’re afraid to utter. How you’re really feeling, even though you said you’re “doing fine.” INFJs love discussing personal, big-idea topics. They especially love helping other people understand their complicated, messy emotions and grow. But don’t worry, INFJs will never use your vulnerabilities against you. So, please do reveal your inner world. Without meaningful interaction, INFJs will wither.
3. A deep understanding of themselves
From a young age, INFJs are obsessed with understanding human nature. They yearn to not only know others on a deep level, but also themselves. They may turn to journaling, travel, literature, and art to further their self-knowledge. They may hop from one career to the next, “try on” different identities, or enter into relationships with people who are vastly different from them in the search for who they are. Without intimate self-knowledge, INFJs will feel lost and aimless.
4. Human contact, not social contact
INFJs are among the most social of introverts. Sometimes they are even mistaken for extroverts. However, as true introverts, they get drained by small talk and the trappings of socializing. Rather than “social” contact, INFJs need “human” contact — that is, mutual human understanding. They need people who can enter into their very private inner world. People who will listen without judging and try to see the world from the INFJ’s unique perspective — even if it’s just a glimpse. These people are hard to come by, but they are absolutely necessary to the INFJ’s happiness.
5. Alone time
INFJs often surprise the people in their lives by withdrawing from time to time. Suddenly, the INFJ has “turned off.” They have shut themselves away, alone, and can’t be bothered by anyone or anything. This is not because INFJs are antisocial. Rather, alone time is as nourishing as food and water to the INFJ. It allows them to clear away the chatter of the world and focus on their own thoughts and feelings. It gives them time to reflect on their lives and process what they’ve experienced. Without it, INFJs will feel drained, moody, and overstimulated.
INFJs do not need as much structure as SJ types like ISFJs or ESTJs. However, being a “judging” type, INFJs require some amount of routine and orderliness to function at their best. In general, they like planning ahead rather than being spontaneous, because it gives them time to prepare (both mentally and otherwise). Their plans tend to be fairly loose and flexible, however, because they are intuitives, not sensors. Think: A weekly calendar with a few things penned in, not an hour-by-hour day planner.
INFJs are not the type to just go along with the crowd. Their easy-going nature belies an ambitious, strategic, and at times, strong-willed core. They are free-thinkers who are not afraid to (quietly) go their own way. They function best when they are in control of their life, environment, priorities, and schedule.
8. An orderly environment
Similar to #6, INFJs tend to need their environments somewhat organized. They are probably not the types to alphabetize their bookshelves (attending to tiny details in their environment drains the intuitive INFJ), but they do need things generally picked up, put away, and clutter-free. INFJs tend to like minimalist environments, because too much stuff in sight can overwhelm their already busy minds.
9. An outlet for their insights
INFJs are old souls who understand human nature perhaps better than any other personality type. Sometimes they question their own sanity, because they see and understand things that others don’t. Thanks to their Introverted Intuition function, they excel at predicting what people will do, and they easily “see behind the curtain” in any given situation. Many INFJs find that sharing their insights through writing, counseling, or leadership makes them happy.
10. An outlet for their creativity
In addition to being insightful, INFJs are creative individuals who possess the gift of language. Employing metaphors and symbolism, they tend to be excellent writers, poets, and musicians. They often feel like conversation falls short of conveying their deepest ideas and feelings, so they turn to creative expression.
INFJs are deeply moved by beauty, whether it’s a masterfully designed environment, a breath-taking work of art, or a song that touches their heart. Unlike INFPs, who live a more bohemian lifestyle, INFJs crave beautiful, high-quality things. This focus on material things may seem contradictory to their spiritual, “old soul” nature, but for them, beauty is a calming, inspiring force.
12. At least one person who “gets” them
It’s not easy for other types to wrap their mind around the INFJ. INFJs are complex people with many layers. Sometimes even they don’t understand themselves. Not everyone will understand the INFJ, and unfortunately, most people won’t even try. INFJs need at least one person in their life who “gets” them — or at least makes an effort.