Sixteen Months of Type — INFJ

This is the fifteenth post in our 16 Months of Type series and we focus here on INFJ. To remind you, we are using our material on managing life transitions with psychological type from Building Your Career Transition Strategy as the jumping off point for each piece and then connecting this material to the self-discovery process that frequently accompanies life-changing events (LCEs). Read on!

INFJ, Introversion, Intuition, Feeling and Judging
When facing an LCE, INFJs typically want an approach that is aimed at personal development and improvement. If your preferences are for INFJ, you tend to seek information on the latest theories and are quick to see connections between these theories and possible paths to improving your life circumstances. Having unhurried time to mull over all pertinent and compelling data is typically important to INFJs and is a crucial first step for them in coming to grips with unanticipated events. Given this time, people who prefer INFJ usually have a flair for developing well-structured plans for coping with LCEs that are uniquely tailored to their individual goals and aspirations. They are typically patient with complexity and willing to contemplate possibilities that may seem unfathomable to others. Using their imagination to envision a better future for themselves and their significant others energizes most INFJs. This typically drives them to do all they can to prepare for happier and more settled times ahead. INFJs can be tireless and passionate change agents when their ideas are respected and incorporated into whatever path is chosen.

When INFJ preferences are overdone, however, people who prefer INFJ may continue to research new ways to approach their reintegration journey long after they have discovered a “good enough” way to proceed. INFJs may be so determined to devise an elegant and novel strategy that they miss what can improve their lives immediately. They may overlook commonsense, practical methods that could be easily and conveniently implemented. INFJs can run the risk of being so captivated by their vision of the ideal solution that they may fail to recognize that its application cannot be made to work in reality. In fact, this search for perfection may be so alluring that those who prefer INFJ can lose track of the fact that reintegration is a process – one that has random components that cannot always be directed. They can exhaust themselves by taking on too much responsibility and may need to be reminded that delegation preserves their strength for the long haul as well as allows others the opportunity to contribute.

When facing an LCE, INFJs typically need an inspired companion to mentor, guide, and support them on their transition journey. An encouraging companion with whom they can discuss their values and their dreams can help those who prefer INFJ to pinpoint the outcome they most desire. A supportive companion can help INFJs feel comfortable delaying action until their insights feel more fully developed. A trusted companion can talk over ideas, helping INFJs turn complex concepts into more easily expressible forms, therefore eventually better utilized by others. Because INFJs can be conscientious to a fault, gentle reassurance that they will be able to make a difference goes a long way to putting them at ease when facing challenges. Such a companion can also help them channel their inquisitive nature toward experimenting with fun, (yes fun!) practical steps acted out straightaway to balance their tendency toward perfectionism and living in their imaginations. Caring, steady encouragement helps INFJs restrain their internal critic as they practice new behaviors. Furthermore, a calm and loyal companion can provide them with opportunities to withdraw and reflect. Such a companion knows that this time is important, even if on the surface the INFJ appears to have it all figured out.

When such a companion is not present in the life of people who prefer INFJ, they may struggle to communicate what is going on in their internal world. INFJs often need a breakthrough or “ah-a” moment to spur them to commit to a process. Sometimes a flash of insight doesn’t arrive when needed. The lack of a patient companion willing to help INFJs unpack and express their personal vision in down-to-earth language may result in indecision and/or inaction. Wanting an over-arching scheme that encompasses every potential possibility may distract INFJs from finding effective short-term solutions tailored to ease daily living. A wise companion can help them take a break from pondering long enough to try out an approach. This allows INFJs the chance to obtain concrete feedback on an idea’s suitability given the current situation. This also permits those involved to see how they might help or fine-tune things earlier, lessening the burden on INFJs and improving the process as well as the outcome for all. Such a companion can also remind INFJs that the ideal is just that and that pressuring themselves to have it all figured is a fool’s errand which discounts the richness and beauty of direct experience.

Self-Discovery Tool Number 85
If you prefer INFJ (or you have someone in your life with this four-letter type code), the following questions may help as you process a life-changing event.

  1. How can you find ways to enrich your experience by connecting with others and reaching out to share stories, time, and strategies?

  2. How can your past experiences be a guide to what might help you manage things more successfully now?

  3. How can you take an objective inventory of which approaches to your new circumstances are working and which are not?

  4. How can you build flexibility into your goals and plans to take advantage of learning opportunities as they appear?