Why The INFJ Doesn’t Quite Fit In

The INFJ is often portrayed as a mystical being, some sort of fortune-telling medium that has wisdom well beyond their years and a keen sense of predicting the fates and successes of people around them. They have a shaman-esque ability to know people (their pain, traumas, complexes, strengths, potentials, etc)

woman holding string lights

Despite their introverted nature, I do observe them with larger than expected social circles and in leadership positions (outside of Fortune 500, however). This fact is at odds with the title of this article.

INFJ Cognitive Functions

The reason I say that INFJs don’t quite fit in — despite the many people that reside in their social group is that the INFJs themselves feel they are alien to others.

This feeling comes from their lead process of Ni (Introverted iNtuition) which oftentimes is unable to articulate itself fully. Ni is a function that perceives patterns within patterns, data points inside of data points, and from that, predicts how things are going to be. However, these predictions don’t always trace back to their origin in a neat manner.

Introverted iNtuition (Ni) is the same lead process as the INTJ, but with different and highly distinct manifestations. With the INTJ, their second (and what we’d call Auxiliary Function) is Extraverted Thinking (Te); while the INFJ has Extraverted Feeling (Fe) as theirs.

What Te wants to do is organize objective data into a plan of action and motion; essentially getting things done. What Fe wants to do is organize social data into the most acceptable way of operating.

abstract digital artwork

When you combine Ni and Fe, you get a personality type that wants to shape humanity towards its most utopian vision. Articulating this can be exceedingly difficult.

What they are typically trying to articulate is how to help, save, transform, and reform society and humanity. This is why you see them in roles like counseling, social work, mental health, psychiatry, and in volunteer and philanthropic endeavors.

When you observe other famous INFJs like Jesus, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and Jordan Peterson, you can see that they are broad-reaching and ambitiously idealistic towards improving the fate of humanity. 

In a society that is heavily weighted towards a collective ESTJ (think Corporate CEO) persona, the INFJ internally feels on the fringes of thought and orientation. Their human-centric vision is greatly overshadowed by the objective-materialist society of the ESTJ.

Advice for INFJs

My advice is less prescriptive than usual as it’s not a strict numbered list of “how-to’s.”

For INFJs, cultivating a very tight inner circle of friends who will listen and go down the rabbit hole with you is going to prove mentally beneficial. Those who can add to your ideas and provide insightful feedback without instantly shooting them down will be keepers. Inversely, those that are open to expressing their own inner thoughts without reservations, are hugely valuable to you.

gray concrete spiral stairs with no people

Starting your quest to transform society is better served on a smaller level, usually volunteer work, charities, church groups, 1-on-1 counseling sessions, etc. Once you see the changes taking root on a small scale, then you can create that cult following that becomes pervasive and widespread. I use “cult” half-jokingly because there are historical INFJs who turned their utopian vision into a dark hellscape. 

Lastly, make sure to allow yourself to indulge every once in a while without feeling guilty that you aren’t being productive or progressing in your crusade to fix society TODAY. We have seen how disconnecting from the problem, counterintuitively, helps us to solve it.

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