Updated: Jun 29, 2019
I don’t know about you, but the older I get, the more comfortable I am in my own skin, and the more accepting I am of who I am.
I have been doing a lot of reading recently on personality types and decided to do a Myers Briggs style personality test to see which of the 16 personality types I am (https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test). The test informed me that I am an INFJ type. I don’t usually take these things too seriously, but the more I read, the more I am certain that this ‘type’ suits me perfectly.
INFJ is short for Introvert, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging.
Apparently it is the rarest personality type, making up just 1% of the global population (always knew I was a bit different ;p). Famous INFJs include Oprah Winfrey, Nelson Mandela, Nicole Kidman and Adam Sandler (didn’t expect that one!)
Deep down I know I am an introvert, always have been, probably always will be. But what confused me a lot over the years is how people have described me and how I have viewed myself. I feel like I am full of contradictions. I was often called quiet and reserved growing up. Yet, others would describe me as bubbly, friendly and social. How can you be quiet and social? It made no sense! I also LOVE my own space and time to reflect and re-energise. Yet, I enjoy talking and can speak to anyone. One thing I have come to understand is that there is a MASSIVE misunderstanding around the term ‘introvert’. It is often associated with shyness yet they are two very different things. Shyness is a discomfort in social situations, whilst, according to CG Jung, introversion/extroversion relate to how we focus our energy (i.e internally, externally, how we respond to social interactions/stimulation and so on). Whilst many introverted people are shy, this is not always the case. Equally, extroverts can be shy. Most of us are somewhere along the scale between introversion and extroversion.
Another contradiction is that I hate unnecessary clutter and disorder, yet my desk is frequently a mess. I have always described my life as organised clutter. I am a fantastic multi-tasker, yet feel stressed when time pressures are put on me.
INFJ’s are sometimes referred to as extroverted introverts. This finding made me giggle. It is literally how I have described myself to Matt a number of times. If I am in the company of someone I feel comfortable around, I can talk forever, and I will passionately stick up for something I believe in no matter the audience. However, I like to have a close circle of friends rather than a huge network. I also need lots of quiet downtime to recharge. No matter the social gathering, whether it’s with a group of old friends, a networking event, or in the office with colleagues, I will always hit this point where I feel like I need to go home, or I become exhausted. I’ve always been the same. I love being around people, but it tires me out!
So what exactly are the traits of an INFJ personality type? I have summarised below the definitions from a couple of sources including http://personalitypage.com/ and https://www.16personalities.com/infj-personality
The world is taken in by INFJs primarily by intuition
Things are dealt with according to how the individual feels about them, or how things fit with personal values
INFJs place great importance on having things orderly and systematic in their outer world; constantly defining and re-defining priorities. On the other hand, INFJs operate within themselves on an intuitive basis which is spontaneous (hello, contradictions!)
INFJs have an insight into people and situations; they get ‘feelings’ about things
They are quite private individuals and tend to hold a part of themselves back
They hold a special place in their heart for people they are close to. They are concerned with people’s feelings and avoid hurting anyone. They are very sensitive to conflict and cannot tolerate it well (100% agree!). They may internalise conflict and experience health problems when under a lot of stress (err, yes! IBS runs riot when I’m stressed)
They trust their own instincts above all else. This may result in stubbornness. They believe they are right. (I am always right!)
On the other hand, they are a perfectionist who doubts they are living up to their full potential - there is always something else they should be doing to improve themselves. They believe in constant growth. (Completely agree with this)
They have strong value systems and don’t believe in compromising their ideals - though soft-spoken, INFJs have very strong opinions and will fight tirelessly for an idea they believe in. They are decisive and strong-willed, but will rarely use that energy for personal gain – INFJs will act with creativity, imagination, conviction and sensitivity not to create advantage, but to create balance (I am a libra and need balance in my life; without it I get really stressed)
They are natural nurturers, patient, devoted and protective
INFJ’s are also reknowned for being creative. They usually work in areas where they can be creative and somewhat independent. They have a natural affinity with art. They can also be found in service-oriented professions (This totally rings true with me)
They are not good at dealing with very detailed tasks.
So there we have it. My personality type dissected. I would be really interested in hearing what your personality type is, and if there is a link between introversion / extroversion and creativity. Please do leave a comment if you’ve ever done a Myers Briggs (or similar) test :)