Some time before Christmas, I discovered I have an INFJ personality type. If you’ve seen letter combinations like this floating around on the internet and have no idea what they mean, they are personality types, based on the work of Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers. There’s a lot more information on the Wikipedia page.
If you’d like to discover your own, you can do a free test on 16Personalities.com.
INFJ – also referred to as “The Advocate” – is one of the rarer personality types in general life, but seems to be a common type amongst bloggers and other creatives. The letters stand for Introversion (I), Intuition (N), Feeling (F), Judgment (J).
Upon reading about this personality type, I was in disbelief at how accurate it was for me. I thought I’d discuss some of the characteristics, how they relate to my life and what I consider to be the pros and cons.
INFJ Personality: Pros
1. I’m insightful.
I tend not to see things at face value. I am a deep thinker and like to go beyond what is on the surface. Exploring the depths of my own mind as well as the various of angles of situations means my responses tend to be more in-depth than others. I feel that some of my blog posts about mental health, such as this one about workplace mental health, definitely showcase this side of me.
2. I’m passionate.
When I believe in something, I will stand strong in that belief. Though I can be quiet and introverted, it’s difficult for me to keep my opinions to myself – particularly if I feel there is a sense of injustice. I do not like to witness others being treated unfairly, and will speak up if I feel compelled to do so.
3. I’m altruistic.
As mentioned in the context of point 2, I feel uncomfortable when I perceive things to be unfair, but more so when this is on a larger scale than just myself. The actions I take tend to stem from the idea that what I am doing is for the greater good, rather than self-serving.
4. I’m in good company.
Other individuals with an INFJ personality include Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa. What I love about this is that these are all individuals who are known for their caring nature, and passion for serving their people.
5. I love deeply.
When it comes to relationships, I take them very seriously. When I love someone, I love them completely and unconditionally. This does have its downside in the sense that it’s very hard for me to recover from heartbreak, but it’s a quality I’m proud to have.
6. I’m loyal.
It’s hard to get to know me properly, but because it takes so much for me to trust someone, when I finally make that leap, I’ll be a friend for life. As it can take a lot of work to find people I truly connect with, I don’t want to lose them!
7. I’m creative.
Being able to express myself in creative ways makes me very happy! As an introvert, it’s important for me to recharge after spending a lot of time around others, and creative activities are one of my favourite ways to do this. I believe my talent for writing is entwined with my INFJ personality, so I love it for that.
INFJ Personality: Cons
1. I’m highly sensitive.
Being challenged or coming up against criticism is very difficult for me. I have a tendency to become defensive, or take it to heart – even when it’s constructive. This makes situations like performance reviews, where feedback is an integral part of the process, quite difficult.
2. I’m very private.
I’d consider this to only be a partial con. It’s tricky because it means making friends and letting people in is extremely hard. I have barriers in place to protect myself, and it takes a long time for me to open up and reveal the full extent of my personality to others. Though this is a negative, I believe my guarded nature has protected me on occasions, too.
3. I’m a perfectionist.
Again, it’s difficult for me to consider this purely a con. My perfectionist nature means I do any task to the best of my ability, and generally produce a high standard of work. Fellow perfectionists will be very aware of how exhausting it can be, though. It definitely makes you more susceptible to burning out. Life isn’t always smooth sailing, and I become irritable if things aren’t going the way I want them to. It also means my standards can be out of reach and I abandon things that don’t live up to them.
4. I can be extremely stubborn.
My strong sense of morality can mean I refuse to budge on certain topics. If I am completely convinced that I am in the right, I struggle to compromise. No matter how well-intentioned my motives may be, my stubbornness can cause plenty of problems.
5. It’s hard to find job satisfaction in traditional roles.
My desire to do something which lines up with my own morals, has a positive impact on the lives of others and provides a creative outlet means I am not well suited to certain job types. It’s not impossible for me to work in those environments, but it’s likely that I will be unhappy in doing so. This explains why retail was so unfulfilling, and why blogging ticks so many boxes.
6. I’m altruistic… often at my own expense.
I had to put this in the cons section as well because, being an INFJ, I get caught up in looking after others and often forget to look after myself. My determination to take care of those around me sometimes comes at the cost of my own well-being.