Have you ever heard of the MBTI (Meyers- Briggs Type Indicator) Personality Test? If you haven’t, I highly recommend looking it up and taking it. Knowing your type can help you to gain some valuable insight into how you perceive and interact with the world around you. Furthermore, you can use it as a reference point to kick off some personal growth, since it will reveal some of your possible strengths and weaknesses. I may be a psychology nerd, but since discovering the test I cannot stop trying to type everyone around me. Of course each individual is going to display these traits uniquely in their own way, but it is truly eye opening how accurate and informative the cognitive functions are on a fundamental level. Just for fun, I’ve decided to compile a list of things that make so much more sense about my life since discovering my type as an INFJ.
1. My interest and curiosity in Psychology, particularly why people do the things they do.
As long as I can remember, I’ve been an observer of human behavior. I’ve been told I stare, which I hate, but i guess it is something I do subconsciously to try and figure a person out. I have always had a genuine interest and curiosity for knowing other people’s thoughts and feelings. For example, if someone is telling me a story about a car accident they were in, I’m going to ask questions like “Wow, were you afraid?” Or “How did the person you hit react?” Before I would ask a question like “What kind of car were you in?” Or “How fast were you driving?” I’m much more interested in the way a person feels about a situation, than the details of the situation itself.
Fun Fact: I’ve noticed that every INFJ, who has identified themselves to me, has big pretty eyes. I think it’s to make you feel more comfortable while we stare into your soul.
2. I am constantly day dreaming and planning for the future.
Living in the moment is almost impossible for me, though as I’ve gotten older I definitely am trying to work on that. When I’m not psychoanalyzing everyone around me, I’m usually deep in thought, likely fixated on my future goals and dreams. It’s hard for me to be present and focus on my external environment (the here and now) without a conscience effort. This is a good thing in the sense that I’m usually thinking ahead, so I tend to base my short term decisions on what will affect me (or others) long term. However, because of this I can tend to over think things and miss the moment.
3) Getting a gut feeling about something or someone without being able to explain why.
Call it a 6th sense, or ESP perhaps.. No haha, it’s more like I’m just hyper attentive to the body language and overall demeanor that people give off. I use the word ‘vibe’ to describe others a lot; what kind of vibe they give off. It’s not like I know a person inside and out, unless they choose to open up to me, but often I can get a general sense of who they are and what they are about. I get this about places or situations as well, but not quite to the same extent as I do with other people. I always found it hard to explain, but knowing what I know now about my extroverted feeling and introverted intuition working together, it makes more sense. Basically I gather as much information as I can by observing a person closely, and then through some subconscious process that I don’t fully understand, I will conclude with a thought that seemingly comes out of left field, but is usually right.
4) I cannot stand people who are superficial, fake, or deceitful.
Along with that last point, I can also determine whether or not someone is being genuine and honest with me. I place a very high value on the authenticity and integrity of a person, other than that I really don’t have a lot of criteria for a friend. I think of myself as very accepting and open minded for the most part, but the second I sense that someone is not being genuine, I run for the hills. Another aspect of this is that I hate small talk. I am good at it, because I see it as a necessary means to opening up a line of communication, but at the same time I dread it.
5) A passion for humanity.
This is a general INFJ stereotype, that we care about the betterment of humanity and want to help. How this has manifested in my own life was actually starting this blog, oddly. After having my son (bless him, I love him) I had an extremely hard time adjusting to motherhood. In true INFJ fashion, I felt an injustice has been done to mothers everywhere by the ones before us not being truly honest about their experience. Sugar coating it with animal shaped balloons and sweet cards that read “Cherish every moment”. And then the next thing you know you’re scraping newborn poop off of the crib at 2am, and can’t remember the last time you brushed your hair. Needless to say I had a message to get out there.
6) I am a social chameleon.
I know most of these are in relation to how I interact with people, that’s because between growing up in a large family and pursuing a career as a hairdresser, I have highly developed extroverted feeling. With that being said, I’ve noticed that I am very adaptable to different social situations. I have a sort of persona for work, for home, for with friends.. ect. My personal thoughts on this are that it’s less about fitting in, and more about trying not to stand out. I am never trying to be someone I’m not, however, I tend to be conscious about what parts of myself I’m willing to share depending on who I’m with. Plus I think it makes people comfortable when you conform at least a little bit. I’m not the person who laughs during a funeral, to put it simply. The main thing about INFJ’s with this, is they’re still being authentic. My ‘personas’, as I put it, are still very much parts of me. I just share different parts with different people, if that makes sense.
7) Thinking in pictures and general concepts rather than facts and data.
This is one of the weirder things to explain, and probably the biggest thing that sets us apart from other types. It comes down entirely to Introverted Intuition, but it seems even the experts have a hard time finding the right words to explain this cognitive thought process. I can only speak for myself personally, but when I use this function it is mostly a subconscious effort. The best way in can describe it is.. okay let’s say I am having a conversation with someone. While they are talking I’m listening, but at the same time I’m connecting dots in my head to try and reach some kind of greater understanding. The thing that gets weird is the dots can come out of nowhere. It’s like I store information in my brain and can access it any time whether it’s seemingly relevant or not. It essentially results in me coming up with revelations that you otherwise wouldn’t have gotten just out of the conversation itself. At it’s best it can make me out to be incredibly wise and insightful, but at its worst it can just make things awkward especially if A) My thoughts weren’t totally rooted in reality, or I didn’t have all the information to form a conclusion yet, or B) The other person doesn’t see the connections or relevance of the thought. So yeah, I have this working both for me and against me, but at least now I understand why.
8) I’ll call this one perfectionistic paralysis.
Basically whenever I come up with an idea, usually a creative endeavor, I will form a vision of exactly what I want to accomplish and how I want it to look. But after that, when it’s time to actually execute upon it, I get overwhelmed with all of the small details and end up scrapping the whole thing. For example, I’ve been wanting to start a YouTube channel for almost a year now. I got a camera, a tripod, and an iPad Pro.. basically all of the tools I will need, as well as a list of ideas for videos. However, the process of learning how to use everything in order to create high quality content, something good enough for my perfectionistic standards, is completely overwhelming and thus I have done nothing with it so far. I’m trying to get better at this, especially now that I understand how it’s actually holding me back in life. I’m learning to trust the process, and accept the fact that things are not going to be perfect. Even people who create amazing things are often the most skeptical of their own work, so sometimes you just have to put it out there or else nothing would ever get done.
9) The infamous INFJ door slam.
Apparently there is this term going around on the internet that references people with the INFJ personality cutting people out of their lives, essentially. This isn’t talking about actually going around and slamming physical doors, but rather it’s the concept that we will put up with a lot until we suddenly won’t anymore. And it’s pretty accurate in that sense. I can only think of one time in my life where I have ‘door slammed’ somebody, and I surprised even myself at how cold I could be to this person. As someone who craves deep connections and relationships with others, its just in my nature to be warm hearted and caring towards most individuals. But this particular person crossed so many lines that I had to turn off my extroverted feeling completely and become very logical in my decision to remove them from my life. And once I did, there was no going back. It’s strange being someone who is so used to using their feeling function when it comes to other people, to suddenly start using their thinking function, but I’m thankful for this ability because when necessary, it saves us from allowing others to continue to inflict pain on us. Which in my book is all good.
10) And finally ‘All or Nothing Syndrome’.
I’m loving that there are names out there for all of these things things I’m afflicted with on a daily basis. Anyone who knows me well has probably heard me say at some point that I’m an all or nothing person. Everything from cleaning my house to taking on big projects, this is how I will operate. I think my husband would say that this is the most annoying thing about me. It must be an extension of perfectionism, but it’s like unless I can do something all the way exactly how I want to, I tend not to do it at all. I have had to force myself to get better at this since becoming a momma though. Sometimes I only have time to unload half the dishwasher (which drives me crazy) but I have to remind myself something is better than nothing.
So there you have it! There’s a ton more to typology that I’m still discovering, but those were some of the things I found fascinating about knowing my type and seeing it play out in real life. If this was interesting or helpful to you I will hopefully be doing a lot more research into this subject, maybe how it relates to motherhood. Let me know if this is something you guys would kind to see more of!