A Few Caveats
Please bear in mind that none of this has to be a stereotype that rules your life. You're a unique individual with a unique background, and this description is simply a generalization based on statistics and averages. Don't take what you read here as limitations, but as an invitation to grow outside your core strengths. And especially don't use this description as an excuse. You're better than that! :) Besides, why box yourself in? Type is a starting point, not an ending place. Enjoy it and then grow from it.
INFJs are estimated at:
- 1.79% of the American population (sample size 9,320; Myers & McCaulley, 1985)
- 1.7% of the UK population* (sample size 1,634; Kendall & McHenry, 1998)
- 1.27% of the Australian population (sample size 3,373; Macdaid, McCaulley, & Kainz, 1986)
- 2.4% of the New Zealand population (sample size 993; Bathurst, 1995)
- 3.1% of the Singapore population (sample size 1,733; Lim, 1994)
*Be chary about comparing the UK estimate with the others. There's a long explanation.
The INFJ is a deep, complex type, seldom seen and little understood. (I'm tempted to draw a comparison here with mythical creatures, but I won't.) As introverts, they are content to keep inside their inner world, intriguing those who try to probe their gentle but inscrutable exterior. Is there a way into this inner realm? Perhaps, perhaps not; when it comes to relationships, INFJs choose quality over quantity. They prefer to build close, intimate bonds with a chosen few and invest deeply in this select group of people.
While INFJs may be seen as withdrawn or even secretive, the truth is that they care quite a bit about what others think of them--sometimes too much. They take criticism very personally, and may be unintentionally hurt by others. When this happens, an INFJ may hold their hurt inside and let it stew, never really expressing how they feel. Instead of confronting the person who hurt them, they may take the less painful route and simply avoid the other person or even cut them off entirely. Other people may see the INFJ as "too sensitive," while the INFJ for their part sees others as "unsensitive." Conflict is anathema to this type, unless said conflict is undertaken in the service of a cause the INFJ is upholding. Speaking of causes.
Like other NF Idealists, the INFJs are committed to a better tomorrow. Quiet but determined, INFJs will continuously press to make everyone's life a little bit (or a lot) better. An INFJ may write an article to spread awareness of domestic violence, or volunteer at an animal shelter. People-focused and possibility-oriented, they see a brighter world in the distance and work to make it a reality. It is their Intuition, focused on ideas, possibilities and the future, and their Feeling, focused on building harmonious relationships, that drives this world-reforming engine.
With their tendency to hope for better things, INFJs may be perceived as overly idealistic, stubbornly principled, or "naive." It is true that INFJs can benefit from the input of other types in their attempts to reach their goals, but in general their idealism is a good thing for a cause. Their sincere belief in their vision serves as an inspiration to more cynical folks who would otherwise say, "It'll never change" or "this is hopeless" and give up. And of course, those who never try, never succeed. With a pinch of practical wisdom and knowhow from other types, an INFJ can cover their weak points and make an effective agent of change in the world.
INFJs tend not to care much about the little details of a project; they prefer to map out the broad strokes and let the "who what when where why how" work itself out. As Judgers, they do make plans and set times and goals, but they avoid getting down to the real nitty gritty as the Guardians would.
INFJs are caring folks and good listeners to boot. Kind and affirming, they make others feel safe around them and tend to have a good many insights into people. Since INFJs also happen to be an artsy lot, their insights emerge creatively in the form of literature, poetry, illustration, blog posts, etc. (Whether INFJs like expressing themselves on Youtube videos or in song is up for grabs; one would suspect that these introverts would prefer forms of creativity that allow them to remain off camera. But who knows?) Always on the hunt for meaning and symbolism, INFJs readily express themselves in metaphor and symbols. They seek to display warmth and authenticity in their creativity and day to day interactions.