What or Who is INFJ?
According to Myers-Briggs, the INFJ has a high preference for introverted intuition (Ni), it is the preferred way they perceive information. The inner world of the INFJ is much richer than the outer to them. They trust their intuition. Insights are sought from being able to process and connect ideas, feelings, thoughts in their mind.
The INFJ has a preference for making decisions based on Extraverted Feeling (Fe), the ‘feel’ of the situation, a value system based on the people involved. High on empathy, there’s a need to connect and harmonize surroundings, it’s more ‘we are the world’ rather than ‘I am the world’.
It is this balance of Introverted-Extraverted functions that makes sure no one is extremely introverted or extroverted, if they are, it points to a problem.
The J in INFJ signifies that they lean strongly towards decision making in the external world ie. extraverted in decision making over information gathering e.g I like to take decisions quickly on what’s to be done, make plans, my primary function Ni helps me stay flexible if the plans have to be changed in some way. But, plan first!
The INFJ seeks meaning in whatever they do, and just wants to make the world a better place.
The INFJs Functional Stack
The MBTI identified 8 different cognitive functions, 4 which are used for perceiving information and 4 for decision making. The functional stack lets you know what your preference is from the dominant to the latent.
The INFJs functional stack looks like this – Ni, Fe, Ti, Se, Ne, Fi, Te, Si. In this post I will describe on reflection how I think the first four functions developed over time for me.
Ni – Introverted Intuition (Dominant/Primary)
Fe – Extraverted Feeling (Complementary/Supporting/Secondary)
Ti – Introverted Thinking (Relief/Tertiary)
Se – Extraverted Sensing (Aspirational)
(Earliest memories – 10 yrs ) – Fe-Ni dominant
When I was in primary school, I had this feeling that I could do anything. Many would remember me as ambitious and playful. I loved to read ( Books like Bonfire of the Vanities) and play video games. Loved drawing and the outdoors. I was usually top of my class (11 out of 12 times). When I remember childhood, it’s in bright colours.
I was largely dominated by Fe, Extraverted Feeling function, I think one reason it developed quicker was being born into a large warm family with loads of friends. Ni was present and growing, it was a pleasure to use it in recreation and relaxation through reading, day-dreaming and storytelling.
(10 – 18 yrs ) – Ni dominated, Ti awakens
I got into secondary school when I was 10yrs old. It was a military boarding school, and I was ill for most of the first term. Looking back I realize the accepted cruelty within the system made me sick to my stomach, Fe literally shrunk.
Being Ni dominated is not a good thing and it did not win me a lot of friends. I wasn’t keen on being a part of any clique, in fact I thought that they caused most of the problems faced at school. I came across as snobbish, I made judgements quickly and became very sarcastic. People thought I could see through them.
It wasn’t until my 4th year that Ti started to gain presence. I also stopped being sick but I had already developed all sorts of anxiety related symptoms. Ti – Introverted Thinking helps to refine the judgements and decisions made by Fe-Extraverted Feeling, basically I began to question myself and think more critically.
What brought me joy in these times was fighting back the bullies, being in the art studio, anywhere by myself where I could just think (Ti). Also, holiday time, going home to my family, games and dog. I spent a crazy amount of time playing games and watching movies. We made competitions of these things, it was serious business! I depended a lot on Ti, to get me through this phase. Ni-Ti did make me quite stubborn and resilient!
(18 – Now ) – Se awakens
It was here I started to pay attention to Extraverted sensing Se. The function is very important for balancing the INFj’s dominant Ni. It’s about being present and aware of the physical world, experiencing it as it is, paying attention to the details. It can be draining if it starts to dominate Ni, which happens a lot when I’m stressed.
I began to pay more attention to my body and what I was going to do in the real world. I started to consider a career in design and got into healthy living. I found out how to ease what I discovered to be anxiety disorder symptoms.
The MBTI came into my life in this period and it was such a delight. Anything that helps me understand myself and others better, bring it on!
Having a strongly developed Ni-Ti connection helped me in moving to another country on another continent with a small almost empty red box. Someone once said I was brave. I think my younger sister who speaks russian and went to eastern europe at 17 is much braver!
Overall, it was in this period, I got to know myself again and began to want to love and act graciously towards all like in my childhood. It’s been a hard, long but worthwhile journey, though my stack currently looks like Ni Ti Fe Se, Fe is beginning to rise and support me again.
I will continue to build on my strengths, consider my blindspots, work through my weaknesses. The point of these tools like the MBTI is to help us do those things. Our cognitive functions are meant to work harmoniously, and in the right amounts at the right time, we need to know this to help ourselves and others.
The next posts on this subject will center around how to build up the functions (especially the weaker ones) and give examples of how the functions interplay in my day to day living.
I look forward to exploring and learning more on this journey.
Till next time!