One of the major complaints I hear from INFJs is: “I don’t belong anywhere.”
Something people always say about me is I fit in anywhere and everywhere. I have friends in the nerdy tech circle, and friends in the hippie sage-burning circle. I have friends in the digital nomad circle, and friends in the spiritual community.
But it’s not like I fit in perfectly into any group. It’s not like I am a square peg in a round hole, but I fit in just enough so people in that group consider me a good friend or close acquaintance.
I guess that’s what makes things so difficult.
There is no circle or group in which I fit perfectly. I can play the game and fit in reasonably well with all the people I hang out with. I guess that’s what it’s all about — playing the game well.
In fact, one of the major complaints I receive from INFJs who send me emails and messages is this: “I feel like I don’t belong anywhere.”
The INFJ’s Need for Belonging
Personally, I saw a huge upsurge in my self-esteem and self-confidence once I discovered my identity as an INFJ, one of the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types. I saw the many similarities between myself and other INFJs online. I didn’t have any INFJs in my offline life then. I was surrounded by people different from me, but as long as I could turn on my computer and connect with others similar to me, it was all right.
This was one of the main reasons I began my YouTube channel as well. I wanted a space for younger INFJs, lonely INFJs, misunderstood INFJs, even suicidal INFJs to gather and feel that connection that may have been missing from their solitary lives.
There’s another side to the coin as well. So many INFJs express consternation at the realization that they aren’t as unique as they thought they were. They say something like, “I thought I was more unpredictable than this. But I watch your videos and see trait after trait being described that fits me to a T. Does this mean we are more similar than dissimilar?”
Either way, this need for belonging, for wanting to be part of a community, dictates a lot of an INFJ’s behavior. I know it certainly has for me.
For example, one of the reasons I love living and working in Chiang Mai, Thailand, is I am part of a group of people called digital nomads, people who work online and live all over the world. This gives me a sense of belonging and connection with people who think like me in a way that I never had before. This makes my self-esteem jump up several notches, and allows me to live my life in a more fruitful, full manner.
Not Belonging Is a Sign of Greater Things to Come
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” ―Rob Siltanen
One of the things I tell my listeners constantly is our unique characteristics as INFJs, and as human beings, are actually our superpowers. It’s people like Steve Jobs or Rosa Parks — people who thought differently, didn’t fit in, and were misunderstood — that were truly able to create awesome change in the world.
If we keep on thinking similarly to everyone around us, we will just keep following in the footsteps of the people before us, resulting in the same old boring life. For some people this might be all right, but for most INFJs, there is this deep and intense desire to live a different, unique, awesome life that will leave some indelible mark on the planet.
We want to make an impact. We want to instigate positive change. We want to use our talents and abilities to make the world a better place, and leave it better than when we came in.
Thus, being different, unique, and not fitting in is actually a great thing. Of course, it takes time for us INFJs to truly accept this idea and harness our full potential. Age and wisdom have something to do with it.
Learn to Love Your Unique, Rebellious Nature
I’ve noticed something about the INFJs I interact with on a daily basis. The ones in their teens and twenties are usually quite shy, unsure of themselves, and still figuring out what their place is in the world — which is not uncommon for teens of any personality type. They try to fit in with the people around them while pushing their own needs and desires away.
But as we get older, we become more comfortable with the idea of who we are, and (hopefully) learn to love ourselves in a way that allows us to instigate change using our unique perspective.
Therefore, I always tell my younger listeners to not get impatient. Your time is coming, I say. In fact, the older you get, the better things get — like a good wine or aged cheese.
Don’t despair, my INFJ friends. Yes, you might not quite fit in anywhere, but as you get older, you will realize you don’t want to perfectly fit in because you like being your unique self.
But also that fitting in is actually for noobs. The misfits are the ones who truly mold the world into something better.