6 INFJ Functions and Characteristics

Of all the 16 personality types based on the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Test Indicator) co-authored by mother and daughter team, Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers, INFJ (Introversion, iNtuition, Feeling, Judgment) is one of the rarest type, composing 1%-3% of the American population.

INFJ individuals are known to be intuitive, dedicated, patient, introverted and good counselors. They are naturally shy and are not comfortable when it comes to conflicts and confrontations. People with this personality type are idealists who want to make the world a better place. Oftentimes, they would rather stay quiet than say hurtful words to others. They also are observant of the people around them, serious in their relationships, loyal and motivators. Expressing their feelings is one of the challenges they face being INFJs.

Famous people who are known to have this personality type include Carl Jung, Adolf Hitler, Leo, Tolstoy, Eleanor Roosevelt, Oprah, Plato, Adam Sandler, Gandhi, Dante Alighieri, Thomas Jefferson, Agatha Christie and Michelle Pfeiffer.

The four-letter code of INFJs which describe their preferences is as follows:

Introversion – They get their energy from being alone or having few friends around and can easily get tired when in the midst of people.

iNtuition – Rather than perceiving things from physical data and tangible facts, they take things based on their instincts and intuition. They tend to focus on the abstract rather than details.

Feeling – Their decisions are made based on their emotions and personal values rather than objective logic.

Judgment – They are highly organized and they prefer to stick to their principles, knowing that they are correct.

Hierarchy of Mental Functions

Based on Carl Jung’s theory, there are eight cognitive functions in every personality type although four are mostly used and preferred over the remaining four. The top four functions of every personality include:

Dominant – This is considered to be the strongest function and one where a person feels more comfortable with. This responsible for bringing out what a person does best or is good at, whether it be in a positive or negative aspect.

Auxiliary – Also called as supportive, this function supports the dominant function and usually makes up at least 15% of a individual’s personality. Both dominant and auxiliary functions are manifested growing up until the age of 20.

Tertiary – As the third level in the hierarchy model of cognitive functions, this function develops usually later in life and used by an individual at times of challenges. A person’s weakness is sometimes indicated in this level.

Inferior – As the name suggests, this is the weakest among the four functions and like the tertiary, is developed as a person matures. This is also seen in a person when he or she is under stress.

The Four Main Functions of INFJ

Introverted iNtuition
Ni is the primary function of an INFJ wherein he or she sees the world from the inside. An INFJ has the gift to receive insights and ideas without knowing where these thoughts come from but more often than not, they are accurate and correct. This is what makes INFJs mystical and at times difficult to understand. A person who has Ni as a dominant function finds it hard to express himself or herself.

Extroverted Feeling
Fe is the function that is seen in an INFJ when he or she interacts with other people. It is what makes him emphatic of other people’s situations. This process gives the INFJ the desire to interact or withdraw from people. Moreover, this is the reason behind their being polite, courteous, friendly, well-mannered and considerate.

Introverted Thinking
Ti is used by an INFJ to analyze, solve problems, and figuring out how things work. This is what drives an INFJ to look at things from different perspectives. This function helps an individual think more critically and is where the element of logic is added which was not as apparent in the growing up years. However, an INFJ might not be able to find Ti as necessary since the tow upper functions have already given him or her strong convictions about the truth. But as an INFJ matures, he or she might be able to see and appreciate the significance of Ti.

Extraverted Sensing
Se, being the weakest and fourth cognitive function in an INFJ, usually enters the picture at the ages between 35-50 years. It is in this stage where he or she will be more interested in details, using the five senses instead of intuition. This can also be the time when a person who has the INFJ personality type will be interested in playing musical instruments, collecting and classifying objects and learning about crafts. Surprisingly, this is also the time when an INFJ will feel the desire to be in the company of other people.

Characteristics of INFJs

INFJs are nurturers who can be emphatic of others. They are also protective and devoted which make them loving as parents. Careful not to hurt other people’s feelings, they are cautious with what they say.

They put great importance in being systematic and organized and this is seen in the way they look for the best ways to accomplish things and often redefine their priorities in life.

Being intuitive also gives them the gift to understand feelings of others. Some also speak of having psychic powers of sort because they often feel it when something bad has happened to a loved one.

As introverts, they sometimes find it difficult to express themselves, something that makes other people find them mysterious. They also have the habit of keeping things to themselves and are often quiet and shy.

INFJs are warm and gentle people who are also generous. At work, they are the type who can be creative and prefer to work independently. They are suited to be in service-oriented careers as they are not into details and they have the excellent ability to listen to people. They can also excel in sciences.

They are also sensitive to criticisms and conflicts that sometimes, they refuse to accept their relationships are falling apart. However, they are also quick to move on once they have realized a relationship is over.