They’ve been called a lot of things: The Unicorn, The Special Snowflake, The Oracle, The Protector, The Physic, The Counselor. But whatever you want to call the rarest 1% of the population, it’s hard to deny that they’re the most elusive type among us. In fact, it’s a fairly safe bet to assume that no one is actually an INFJ but in their own deluded, self-aggrandizing minds. MBTI buffs, particularly of the NF variety, love to self-efface from the vague descriptions online and wave the INFJ flag. That’s precisely why, whenever someone who is unfamiliar with the MBTI tool and cognitive functions takes the test in front of me and gets the INFJ result, I take astute interest in them.
Are you actually an INFP?
The thing I always want to know first is ‘Are you actually an INFP?’. Why? Because INFPs frequently mistakes themselves for an INFJ. First of all, INFJs and INFPs are really, really similar in appearance and by appearance, I mean they take on the same mannerisms, tend to behave the same ways, and reach the same conclusions. They’re also the two most frequently misunderstood NFs (Introverted Feelers). The reason why is a bit complicated and has a lot to do with how cognitive functions work. Without getting into the boring details, INFPs (understandably) mistake the fact they lead with a Judging function (Fi) with being a Judging type. This isn’t the case, however, for reasons which are even more complicated and involved and I don’t care to make your eyes cross by getting into the mumbo jumbo of how functions work together. If you really want to know what the difference is between INFJ and INFP, it’s discussed in great length here. If you’re still confused, this test will give you a better clue if you’re torn between the two.
INFJs Are Not Who You Think They Are
It’s true. They’re social chameleons, like Mystique from X-Men, they can observe and take on the shape and form (behaviors and mannerisms) of any other type. At work, INFJs may look like INTPs (laid back geniuses) and socially, they may resemble ENFPs (charismatic idealists) or ESFJs (social organizers). Actually, they can seem like any type, depending on which side of their multi-faceted, multi-layered personality they want to show you in whichever social context you happen to be in. You may even think an INFJ is your type, since they like to frequently use the social tool called ‘mirroring’, which is basically observing and copying your mannerisms in order to gain rapport with you. For this reason and a lot of others, INFJs are notoriously difficult to type. The only sure way to know is to have someone take the test and confirm that they are an INFJ. You will be surprised to find who is actually an INFJ. I like to think that I know people pretty well and I still tend to miss identifying true INFJs.
INFJs Can Predict The Future
Well…kind of. Actually, it’s that they lead with the most mysterious function, Ni (Introverted Intuition) which is able to instantly make connections; both past, present and use them to establish patterns, which will produce knowledge of the most likely outcomes. INTJs also have this ability but in a different context. For those of you who play video games, it’s kind of like this: two classes may have the same abilities (for example, close combat melee weapons) but one class masters dueling swords while the other uses a broadsword. That’s kind of how cognitive functions work for types: INFJs and INTJs both use instant connections to establish patterns and determine likely outcomes..but the INFJ is an expert in determining what people will do whereas INTJs are better at determining what logical events will happen.
If you want to know, at any given point, what a person will likely do when put into X situation, ask an INFJ. They will be right about 97% of the time. That’s because INFJs understand people almost instantly and on the deepest level you can conceive. INFJs build a multi-layered, subconscious profile on everyone that comes into contact with them. This ‘profile’ is not something consciously done or even understood by the INFJ but rather, it’s a function which operates in an automated way: kind of like your body’s circulatory, limbic, and metabolic systems. You don’t have to tell your body to breathe. It just does. So it is with INFJs and their people-related connections. They justknow people, inside and out and since events are often caused by or related to human behavior in some way, INFJs often give the impression that they can predict events like an INTJ. Remove the human element from the equation however, and you’ll find that INFJs are less adept at this particular brand of foreboding. Now, this isn’t a good thing or a bad thing. I’ll use the analogy of a video game, specifically a Role Playing Game. If the task or duty at hand requires you to the desired knowledge or reaction out of other players or NPCs, then you would want to switch your character into the INFJ class. If the task or duty involves understanding non-human systems (engineering or IT comes to mind), then you’ll want to switch your character into the INTJ class. Both classes can do each other’s jobs with relative efficiency but if you want the extra advantage, you’ll want the class that specializes in one or the other.