What is an INFJ? Personality Traits, Myths & Cognitive Functions

The INFJ personality type is one of the rarest in the world, making up less than 1% of the population. They are often referred to as "the counselor" or "the advocate."

This article will discuss what an INFJ is and provide a brief overview of its characteristics, cognitive function stack.

An Overview of the INFJ (or Advocate) Personality Type

INFJ, also known as, *The Advocate* is the rarest personality type of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, this persona makes up less than one percent of the population.

As advocates for humanity, these types seek out truth in all matters big or small with absolute conviction for righting any wrongs they may find there.

The desires and drives of an INFJ personality type typically concern human welfare.

They can be found at work changing policies that discriminate against minorities, fighting hunger on behalf of those who have none to feed themselves, and being selfless caregivers during times of crisis.

INFJs are rare but when they find their niche in life it becomes clearer to see why this personality type makes up less than one percent of the population. They will not only be successful in the work they do, but also enjoy it immensely.

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Key INFJ Characteristics

Some key characteristics of an INFJ are:

  • Deep thinker
  • Introverted and private
  • Feels intensely but hides it
  • Quietly observant, empathetic to others' feelings with strong intuition and foresight.
  • Holds themselves accountable for their actions which they often see as a burden.
  • Quiet watcher of people's emotions/thoughts who will accumulate information before speaking out or acting on it
  • Paid attention in school--often achieve high grades because can grasp details well without putting forth much effort; however may be bored by concepts that seem simple to other students.
  • High degree of empathy leads them to feel the joy, anger, pain etc., experienced by those around them.
  • Fascinated by patterns in nature. May take up gardening, landscaping or painting.
  • Great listeners who are great at observing people's feelings and emotions without appearing to do so; this leads them to make great counselors because they understand what is going on with a person just by looking into their eyes for awhile.
  • Feel things deeply but hide it from others due to fear of being a burden or ridiculed.
  • Enjoys deep conversations that can explore intellectual topics in depth and get into the "weeds" of an issue.

INFJ Cognitive Functions

Here is the cognitive function stack of an INFJ.

Dominant: Introverted Intuition (Ni)

During their type development, INFJs rely on Introverted Intuition the most. As a dominant function, it is part of who they are and to some extent defines who they are as an individual.

Ni is an introverted perceiving function. That means that INFJs are introverts with a J in their type code even if they’re perceiving-dominant types.

They enjoy observing the world while looking for hidden meanings, patterns, and trends. Because they are perceiving dominant types, they gather information before they decide what to do with it. INFJs often have a hard time making decisions due to their introverted intuition, which may lead them to spend most of their free time considering ideas and perspectives.

What Does Introverted Intuition Do?

  • Searches for deeper meaning
  • Explores hidden patterns or trends
  • Anticipates potential implications and how things will turn out
  • Is the foundation of strategic thinking
  • Sees things from many different perspectives
  • Reads between-the-lines
  • Looks for the unseen ripple-effects of current experiences and actions
  • Explores connections and meaning beyond the surface level
  • Auxiliary: Extraverted Feeling (Fe)

    The co-pilot is the second function of an INFJ. Extraverted Feeling is used when they interact with the outside world and has decision making abilities also.

    This means when INFJs decide what to do about something they’ll look outside themselves. They’ll ask themselves, “What does everyone around me need?” “How is everyone feeling?” “What will support the well-being of the group?”

    INFJs don't take risks when it comes to making a decision. If they have to make a big life decision, they'll gather as much feedback from others before committing to anything.

    What Does Extraverted Feeling Do

  • Considers the emotional and physical needs of others
  • Leverages the emotional minds of others
  • Builds and maintains a harmonious atmosphere
  • Considers the feelings and perspectives of other people when making a decision
  • Lives by a code of conduct about what “should” and “should not” be done
  • Tertiary: Introverted Thinking (Ti)

    Introverted Thinking is the “Eternal Child” of the INFJs cognitive functions.

    Introverted Intuition is what INFJs tap into when they’re feeling playful, creative or feeling relaxed. This function also helps the rest of their psyche and Introverted Thinking focuses on creating a mental map of how things work.

    The INFJ is concerned with accuracy and understanding how everything works. It wants to know the perfect logical relationship between things, and it can tell how everything connects. However, because this function comes tertiary for them, it isn’t as powerful as their Ni or Fe.

    How Ti Shows Up for INFJs:

    • An interest in the meaning of words or experiences
    • Focus on deciding without following just one way of thinking
    • A curiosity for the background mechanisms behind things (for example, learning how various things are made or laws intersect)
    • A strong dislike for logical fallacies
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    Inferior: Extraverted Sensing (Se)

    INFJs can be easily thrown off by Extraverted Sensation, which they find impressive in other people but impossible to master for themselves.

    Se is focused on gathering immediate concrete data from the world around one’s self as well as responding quickly to stimuli and incoming tasks (like a phone ringing or a ball coming your way).

    People with high-functioning Se (ESPs & ISPs) are usually fluid, graceful people who can interact about the world around them and notice details. They also remember things in detailed factual detail.

    How inferior Extraverted Sensing Shows Up for INFJs:

  • Sensitivity to a lot of sensory input from the environment
  • Lag when responding to sudden changes in the environment
  • A tendency to bump into things or trip over them.
  • During cases of stress, Se may influence INFJs to be hyper-impulsive, indulgent, and sensory-seeking
  • As the INFJ matures, Sensitivity to the present will give them a grounding in reality
  • Personal Relationships

    INFJs have a talent for language and generally enjoy expressing themselves with others. They usually only share this inner life with those closest to them, but they are often good listeners. This trait can make them leaders who champion change in quiet ways.

    INFJs are driven by a strong set of values and seek out meaning in all areas of their lives including relationships and work. People with this type of personality can be described as deep or complex. This type may not have many acquaintances, but their close friends who know them tend to form bonds that last for a long time.

    INFJs are interested in helping others and making the world a better place. They tend to be excellent listeners and are good at interacting with people which whom they are emotionally close and connected. While they care deeply about others, INFJs tend to be very introverted and are only willing to share their "true selves" with a select few. After being in social situations, INFJs need time to themselves to "recharge."

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    INFJ Career Paths

    People with the INFJ personality type do well in careers where they can express their creativity. Because people with INFJ personality have such deeply held convictions and values, they do particularly well in jobs that support these principles. People with this personality type often do best in careers that mix their need for creative expression with their wanting to make meaningful changes around them.

    The introverted type INFJ is usually a high achiever and excels in academics and the workplace. They can be perfectionists at times and tend to put a great deal of effort into their work. Employers find that they're hardworking, positive, friendly people who are easy to get along with; however due to being an introvert who needs time in solitude from time-to-time, they may also need some downtime every now and again.

    INFJs can sometimes struggle with exerting authority. They are sensitive individuals and can help their subordinates feel appreciated in the workplace. Jobs that require routine or strict rules might not be a good fit for INFJs.

    Popular INFJ Careers

  • Artist
  • Actor
  • Entrepreneur
  • Religious worker
  • Musician
  • Librarian
  • Counselor
  • Psychologist
  • Writer
  • Teacher
  • Photographer
  • Potential development areas for INFJs

    INFJs may appear as individualistic, private and mysterious to others. They may keep their personal thoughts in a vacuum, resulting in a vision that is difficult for them to communicate with others.

    Tips for Interacting With INFJs


    This  type is a little difficult to get to know for a few reasons, such as they're reserved and private. They also have high standards and can be hurt easily; but they often hide their feelings from others. Interacting with an INFJ usually involves understanding them by showing respect for the need to retreat or recharge their energy levels. You can be a good friend by taking your time with this person and understanding their perspective in order to accept the strengths that come with it.


    INFJs are known for being very close to their children. They have high behavioral expectations and want the best for them. They encourage their kids to pursue their interest and talent so they can succeed to their full potential.


    INFJs tend to use their Fe developed function to understand people and enjoy relationships. They tend to do best in romantic relationships with someone they share core values with. As a partner, it is important to provide the love and emotional intimacy and support an INFJ desires.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is an Infj personality?

    An INFJ is a rare and special type of introverted person. They have an intense curiosity for the inner workings of people while still being very focused on their own internal world.

    Why is an Infj so rare?

    The INFJ type is so rare that we only make u one to two percent of the population. Out of this percentage, it is said that only a few will be INFJ type and out of those people, most are introverted by nature.

    How do I know if I am an Infj?

    The only way to know for sure is by taking a personality test, or a self-test like CS Joseph provides here

    Additional Resources

    Who are the INFJs? (YouTube video by CS Joseph)

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