The INFJ might be the rarest of the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types, making up only 1-2 percent of the population. We’re nicknamed “the Advocate” because we have an “inborn sense of justice and morality,” but rather than simply wishing for it, we take concrete steps to make our dreams real. And yes, in between trying to change the world for the better, we make great friends, because we care deeply about you.
But we’re introverts, so we’re selective about who we let into our lives. We don’t click with just anybody; we’re the weird artsy fusion restaurant in a mall full of burger joints. It takes a lot for someone to scale our metaphorical walls and enter our inner circle, but when they do, we make every effort (and then some) to make it last.
Are you fortunate to be friends with the rare INFJ? Every introverted-intuitive-feeling-judger is different, and four letters can’t define all that we are. Nevertheless, here are five important things you should know about us.
What You Should Know About Being Friends With an INFJ
1. We’re not ignoring you, we’re just processing.
As an INFJ myself, I promise you this silent nod and smile we have going on is not us ignoring you. INFJs aren’t daydreaming and hoping you don’t ask us any questions. Quite the contrary. We’re analyzing what you’re saying and trying to jump on your train of thought.
When my best friend is upset, I’m the quietest I’ve ever been. I’m listening to her vent and lining it up with my own experiences — so when I do talk, it’s meaningful, and she can see that I get it. I try to connect with her in any way possible because I know how it feels to stand alone in the wake of your life falling apart. I don’t want her to be in the same position.
So don’t disparage us when we go quiet. We’re just doing our INFJ thing. Trust me, it will be worth the wait.
2. We, too, need time to rant.
As highly sensitive people, INFJs tend to pick up on other people’s emotions, and in some cases, absorb them into themselves. If you’ve ever witnessed your INFJ friend fasten themselves to another person’s problem instead of worrying about the big flashing warning light hovering above their own head, then you’ve seen this feature in action.
Unfortunately, by focusing on others, sometimes we end up neglecting ourselves. When left unattended, our problems become a pressure cooker waiting to explode. When it’s time for us to explode, we need someone to unload to. We need to discuss our feelings and work through what’s stressing us out. Otherwise, we may feel we’re being edged out by others’ problems and we don’t matter.
So please, take the time to hear us out when we need to rant — even if it’s about a problem that you told us to fix one hundred times already. If you listen to us, we’ll be forever grateful. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been emotionally distressed over a simple issue because I let that warning light above my head become critical.
3. We suffer from separation anxiety.
INFJs value long-term relationships, so as a side effect, we can be a little clingy. Do we show this clinginess? Probably not, on account of us being private and introverted. But that doesn’t mean it’s not there.
When we settle into a friendship and finally feel like we can just be, we’re weary that the other shoe will drop. In fairness, most of our relationships have ended when the other shoe dropped. When the person we trusted twisted our secrets into arrows and shot them at us. When the information we shared with them was used against us.
So, yeah, we’re clingy. And with clinginess comes separation anxiety.
When a good friend dodges our texts, and we haven’t seen that person in a while, we feel compelled to fix the situation. How? By worrying. What did I do wrong? Is he angry at me? Should I text her right now and apologize?
With this whirlwind of questions comes a pang of nostalgia and that intense feeling of missing you. Please, be kind to your INFJ friend when he or she texts you out of the blue, picking apart and apologizing for a minor issue that you didn’t even see as a problem. If you’re close to us, we can’t lose you.
4. Don’t be offended that we haven’t shared everything with you.
Seriously, I’m like James Bond with my secrets. There are very few people who know about my painful moments. Even fewer people have seen me cry.
Like I said, INFJs yearn for deep, long-lasting relationships. However, most of what we find are half-attempted friendships that leave us feeling drained. So we keep most of our thoughts, feelings — even what we did today — to ourselves. We’ve been burned before. We give out personal information like gold coins. There’s more where that came from, but what you receive is valuable to us, and now to you.
I know, it can be infuriating to feel like someone’s closed off. We hear you, but we need time to see that this friendship won’t collapse under the weight of our unique crazy. Please don’t be offended that you don’t know every aspect of us. You will get there eventually.
5. If you want to get to know us, hang out with us one-on-one.
Like many introverts, it’s only in private that we show our true colors. Think of us as roly poly bugs. If we’re overwhelmed or we get startled, we curl into a protective, hard ball. We’ll sit and watch the conversation but won’t contribute much of personal substance.
But if we are comfortable, we’ll open up. Some of the best conversations I’ve had occurred during one-on-one time.
For example, one of my best guy friends and I had a very personal, hour-long conversation about snow and what it symbolized to each of us. It reminded him of his travels and the friends he met in the places where it snows. For me, snow is the promise of Christmas and sweaters and all things comfortable.
So, if you truly want to get to know us INFJs, get us alone. We might talk your ear off.
INFJ, what do you wish your friends knew about you? Let me know in the comments.