Thursday, August 9, 2018

My INFJ Personality Type - Part I

* This post was written amongst a lot of reading over at 16personalities, and Introvert, Dear.  
These are some lovely resources, and some ideas came from them.  Go check them out for some more personality insights!
Thoughts expressed in these INFJ posts are a combination of my own experiences as well as insights from these sources.

A few months ago I took a stab at the Meyers-Briggs Personality Test to better understand how I tend to interact with others, and understand myself a little better.  I took it again this week just to see if it all still held true, and I was pleased to find that it still rang consistently true.  Through this test I discovered
that I am an INFJ-T type personality, or "An Advocate" personality type.  While there are ups and downs to every personality type, I am happy to know more about this type and to see how scary-accurate it is for me.  I've always been a little confused about the way that I navigate interpersonal interactions, and also about how I feel about myself and how I fit into the world.  I've always been idealistic and passionate, but also determined and organized. 

It comforts me to know that other people who share this personality type are feeling the same things, because sometimes I feel like an island — or rather that I just don't know how to explain my perspective to other people.  This is probably because the INFJ is the rarest of personality types — it makes up just 1-2% of the U.S. population.  

I find this very intriguing because for all of the categories I am pretty solidly rooted on one side of the spectrum, except for Judging.  If you've taken one of these tests you know that each category has an opposite to the spectrum — You are more introverted than extraverted, you are more intuitive than observant, more of a thinker than a feeler, or more judging than prospecting and such.   So it is interesting to me that I am very solidly rooted in most of my attributes. 

The breakdown of my INFJ - T personality type is : 
- Introverted 81%
- Intuitive 92%
- Feeling 76%
- Judging 60%
- Turbulent 85%

Introversion 81%

A really unique attribute to the INFJ personality type is that they are "Extraverted Introverts" — meaning that because of their interest in other people, they seem extraverted when they are true introverts at heart.  When I read this about my personality type a lot of things started to make sense to me.  I always felt that I was a quiet - type, but then people would say, "no you're not quiet."  So I was very confused, because I definitely feel anxiety when it comes to social interaction, and prefer solitary activities to things in large groups (hello, blogging and running an online business!).  Sometimes I feel if I've been around other people non-stop, that I am overstimulated and I need to "escape" to just breathe and not be "on".  INFJs are characteristically patient and understanding, which I would say is very true of myself, but when put under stress or when constantly around people this starts to erode. Yet, if I am left alone for too long, I feel disconnected and unsettled.  It's a really bizarre dichotomy, because I both do and do not want to be around people...

I want very badly to have deep connections with people, but these connections have to be quality, genuine connections.  INFJs are known for wanting to know more than surface level information about people.  We want to know what makes people tick, and we are more interested in uncovering the truth about people's thoughts and feelings, past what they present to the world.  It's also said that because of an INFJ's introverted nature, we feel deeply for people and are very empathetic, but those people most likely won't know this because we keep our feelings mostly to ourselves.  Sometimes I care very deeply about things: issues and people in my life. But I have no way to articulate these feelings. Instead, I choose to remain silent.

It's also curious what this personality explanation uncovers about my instincts in dealing with people.   I definitely need alone time to process and reflect on experiences — often I feel that I can't or don't want to make decisions about some experiences on the spot.  I feel like I need more time to think through it and make the most logical choice.  I need the time to consider all factors of the situation.  I definitely feel more comfortable when I've had a chance to sit down, process, think through all of my feelings and information, and word it to perfectly address what I want it to — much like this post.  I'm sure many people in  my day to day life would look at this and think, "I've probably never seen her be this verbose in real life" — except for the people that know me extremely well and know that I could go on talking like this for hours.  These are people I feel very comfortable around.   When I am comfortable with people, I feel safe and I can be very passionate, enthusiastic, and talkative.  INFJs are also known for wanting a small circle of close friends as opposed to many acquaintances.

The way that I interact with other people in a passing way is peculiar as well.  I am often worried about other people's opinions, so I try to read what people are thinking past what they are saying.  This calls to the whole wanting to know past surface level information about people trait that INFJs have.  Sometimes I find myself thinking, "how does this person really feel about what they are saying?", trying to uncover the "truth".  I am overly aware of people's reactions to things, probably to a fault.  I sometimes find myself trying to be the person that I sense other people need me to be, rather than an authentic "me".  

INFJs are said to understand human nature better than any other personality type, and they excel at predicting the actions of others.  Apparently we are good at noticing patterns in human nature.  I think this is true, and can apply to other areas of my life as well.  I'm also good at recognizing patterns visually, and spatially.  For instance, I'm very good with directions and also good at logic problems that involve visual patterns.

Perhaps this interest in human nature also explains why I am extremely introspective, and am constantly furthering my own self-discovery and knowledge.   I am very analytical of my own actions, like I am somehow going to uncover some "ultimate truth" about my own nature and who I am as a person.  Like I am some character in a TV show or book, and one day my human nature will be ultimately defined as dark or light.  But this isn't a real thing in the real world, is it?

I need one person who 'gets me' (hello, Drew! :) ), and I often mirror the demeanors of people I am surrounded by.  I have a manager who is upbeat?  I become upbeat.  I have a friend who is sarcastic?  Here comes the sarcasm.  It's interesting, but it also makes me question who I am on my own.  That is, until I was put into my manager role that caused me to rely on my own intuitions to function.  I think that was good for me, and now I am more able to make the decisions and day to day interactions that I want to be making without fear of being 'wrong'.

It's something I'm working on, but I also rely a lot on other people to validate how I feel about things instead of being confident in my own feelings.  I often am seeking the approval of others.  Case in point, I will probably have Drew read this over to ensure it is "okay" in the sense of "is it alright to share these thoughts of mine with the world?".

Stay tuned as I go through the other attributes of my INFJ personality in coming posts.

Until next time,

- The Lovely Red Fox

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