We look like normal people, but have unicorn tendencies
Maybe it’s because becoming educated about just how rare we are (we make up 2% of the global population) and how we operate (we’re deeply intuitive and introverted) can make us feel like we’re mythical creatures completely unfit for this world. We are very intellect-over-physical-presence and struggle regularly to stay embodied. It’s very normal by the time we reach midlife to feel deep inside that there’s no one like us anywhere. Like unicorns, but with an alienating exclusivity that kind of hurts.
We’re most recognizable by our wildly contradictory natures
We’re optimistic and dark. Naive and edgy. Loyal but also very cold if pushed too far or if our moral code gets violated. We love people, but feel so taxed by being around people. Below are five common traits INFJs share and how we can make them work for us.
We crave solitude
Solitude means we don’t have to feel anyone else’s energy (something we can’t help but do). Lack of company actually feels lighter and we feel that. It’s amazing, magical, basic and so true. But we also get lonely; needing to be alone doesn’t protect us from that. Company costs us but loneliness does too. This perpetual balancing act can make us feel crazy, but we’re not. We’re the most sensitive of the energy sensitive. That’s so important to know.
Nature soothes us
But our connection to nature can also be bizarre and challenging. In the six months before my (really, long-overdue) divorce, the perfectly nice apartment I lived in suffered a bee infestation in the kitchen, a termite infestation out of season and wasps absolutely everywhere and apropos of nothing. INFJs are deeply perceptive to patterns and Mother Nature loves using her elements to direct us. We feel full moon, new moon, supermoon energies in our marrow and are often helpless against the heightened symptoms of chronic pain, sleeplessness, anxiety and restlessness the lunar cycles bring.
Side note: We’re usually the first person to be bitten by mosquitos, ants or similar because the typically higher levels of histamine in our blood is like catnip to insects. Once again, you’re not crazy. In this case that terrible anecdote really is true: they like you best because you’re so sweet. (Ugh.)
Fresh air cleanses our auras, something that sounds woo, but really isn’t
We feel the ephemeral rinsing quality of wind in much the same way that we feel water and soap washing our hands. Wind rushing through or around us removes . . . the collected energetic dirt. Throwing open a window clears stagnation in our souls just as it does rooms of a house. We can spend hours watching leaves twirl in breezes. We often like to be in nature without touching nature. We are soothed by it’s grounding properties but conversely, energetics of extreme weather can ruin our entire day.
Music does our talking for us
We are deeply affected by lyrics, but also by the way that one guitar string wails, that singular plunk of piano key at that particular moment. Music expresses what we often feel unable to express about ourselves to the world at large. It makes us feel beautiful, and like we’re not the only one in the world who . . . gets it. (That delicious, heady feeling.) It’s not uncommon for INFJs to beg the people closest to them to listen to this song, listen to the words, but ultimately leave such sessions feeling let down. Because for INFJs when a song resonates it taps into our deep knowing, and most people can’t relate to that. Songs that we love validate us and help us feel seen and that is a very powerful, privately potent thing.
INFJs long to feel understood by the people in their lives but it rarely works out that way
We expend a lot of energy over-explaining ourselves. Over-sharing what we love with people who are incapable of loving it as deeply as we do (the vast majority). We share share share for the connection we hope it will bring, but watch out, because this makes us easy prey for narcissists on the prowl. It’s deeply empowering for INFJs to accept that private reverence of what brings us joy is much safer, and more fulfilling, for us than desecrating our passions by trying to explain them to people who lack our depth.
Cozy and quiet things are important to us
A good book (especially one we’ve read three hundred times already), a hot mug of something to cradle in our hands, a beloved pet curled beside us, dim lighting, twinkly lights, flickering candles, incense, no one around for miles, deep, deep silences where we can revel in things like the sound of a pen point scratching across paper. Quiet and tactile on the outside helps us to feel safe because inside our minds is a constantly mutating Salvador Dali world, a Ray Bradbury novel, every memory we’re reliving, every scenario we’re imagining, every weird somatic thing we’re experiencing, trying to make sense of, trying not to get frustrated by . . .
It may seem so on the surface, but things are really not quiet
They never are, for INFJs. People who don’t know us well might think we’re boring. But inside, we process more and feel more deeply about everything than most can even imagine. Get to know us and we are fascinating, silly and wise. Our internality is gorgeous.
Our externality looks shy and unassuming, but INFJs are three dimensional experiences
We’re pools worth falling into. We may move through the world with headphones in, watching from a safe distance, go-cup of coffee or tea in our hands. Serene (looking), a little removed. That we’re perfectly content to sit around staring at walls, reading, writing, thinking and having deep conversations about neuroscience, stars, traumas, love, pain, what they’re thinking, what it felt like, what it could’ve been, the light, the possibilities and all the things no one else sees is a truly magical thing about us. Who wouldn’t want to engage in all that? Well it turns out, a pretty large percentage of the population.
The bad news can be the good news
The headphones, the polite remove, the friendly smile that gives away nothing, that’s the appearance a lot of us have in common. The bad news is that because our personality type is so exceedingly rare, most people can’t see us, the real us, beneath that surface level appearance. It’s an endless source of pain for INFJs. We need to remember that our exclusivity makes us special; we need to understand this limitation in the majority and practice holding our own magic sacred. It’s not necessarily a travesty to move unseen through the world loving what we love and knowing what we know, so long as we see ourselves. It can be the secret behind our polite half-smiles: the pretty powerful, beautiful thing about us that only we know.