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The Counselor (INFJ) Personality Type (Characteristics and Traits)

INFJ Personality Type

The INFJ personality type, also known as “The Counselor,” describes people with Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, and Judging (INFJ) traits.

Psychologist Carl Jung was the first to create the four trait dichotomies that define the INFJ personality type. Jung’s dichotomies form the baseline construct of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), grouping like-minded individuals into one of sixteen personality types. According to the MBTI, INFJ types are dominant in the four traits listed below.

  • Introversion (versus Extraversion): Introversion represents a focus on an individual’s inner world. As introverts, INFJs prefer to spend time alone.
  • iNtuition (versus Sensing): iNtuition is a measure of perception. As Intuitive personalities, INFJs gather information from grander, abstract concepts rather than concrete facts.
  • Feeling (versus Thinking): Feeling determines judgment and pushes INFJs to rely on emotions rather than logic to make decisions.
  • Judging (versus Perceiving): Judging reflects an individual’s approach to outer life. INFJs are more likely to follow routine and structure over having a flexible lifestyle.

INFJs are excellent listeners and keen observers, and these qualities have earned them The Counselor moniker. INFJs are also called The Advocate because seeing the good in people motivates them to advocate for the less fortunate. These qualities stem from three main INFJ characteristics. First, INFJs are insightful. Due to their intuition, Counselors are great at connecting the dots and seeing patterns that others may miss. Second, Counselors are highly focused, largely thanks to their passion for improving the lives of others. Third, INFJs are empathetic, a trait that makes them hyper-aware of other people’s emotions.

One of the core strengths of an INFJ personality is their unwavering belief in the greater good. INFJs want to make the world a better place and believe it is possible. The Counselor’s preoccupation with changing the world keeps them from celebrating small victories, a key weakness of the INFJ personality type.

INFJ women are more common than INFJ men. That said, both gravitate toward career paths where they can make a difference such as in social sciences, healthcare, or education.

What does INFJ stand for?

INFJ stands for Introversion, iNtuition, Feeling, and Judging. These traits are rooted in Jungian psychology and are used to analyze human behavior and personality. INFJs are quiet people who observe the world around them. As the Counselor personality type, INFJs make insightful comments thanks to their excellent listening and observation skills.

What are the INFJ traits?

Below are four common traits of INFJ personality types.

  • Integrity: Due to the INFJ’s Feeling and Judging traits, Counselors have a strong sense of justice and approach life with their values at the forefront.
  • Insight: INFJs are highly observant, catching hidden details and subtle emotions other personality types may miss.
  • Perfectionism: INFJs believe there is a right way and wrong way to live. As a result, INFJs are meticulous about everything they do.
  • Withdrawn: Due to their introversion, INFJs tend to isolate themselves from loved ones.

What are the INFJ strengths?

Below are four INFJ strengths.

  • Altruism: INFJs like to look beyond an individual’s exterior and offer a helping hand. As the Counselor, INFJs believe in generosity and kindness.
  • Creativity: INFJs are outside-the-box thinkers. They don’t feel pressured to conform to what everybody else thinks and feel free to act like themselves.
  • Insight: Due to their dominant Ni function, INFJ types have a knack for observation. They notice things that others overlook, offering wise insights and advice in the process.
  • Passion: INFJ types are passionate about positive change. They like to think big and strive to help save the world one step at a time.

What are the INFJ weaknesses?

Below are four INFJ weaknesses.

  • Burnout: It is not uncommon for INFJs to work themselves into burnout because they are so focused on perfecting a task.
  • Sensitivity: INFJ types are sensitive to criticism. While they accept feedback, an INFJ is likely to become dismissive or defensive if critiqued or judged on their beliefs.
  • Bashfulness: INFJ types typically don’t feel comfortable talking to other people about their problems. As a result, Counselors tend to bottle everything up.
  • Perfectionism: Counselors are constantly reaching for an unreachable ideal. INFs often dismiss smaller victories and focus more on mistakes.

What are the career paths for an INFJ?

The best career paths for an INFJ are those focused on helping people live better lives. Below are four examples of ideal INFJ career paths.

  • Counselor: Counselor is a great career choice for the altruistic INFJ because it suits the Advocate’s key strengths and provides INFJs with a selfless purpose.
  • Physical Therapist: Given the INFJs’ caring nature, a physical therapist career may be ideal. The INFJ’s desire to make the world a better place is never more visible nor more feasible than in a healthcare career.
  • Teacher: A teaching role, particularly as a primary school or special education teacher, is a fantastic career for an INFJ personality. Helping shape the minds of students and preparing them for life is one of the best ways INFJs can create a better future.
  • Librarian: The introverted nature of the INFJ will find solace in a library. Being surrounded by infinite knowledge will also motivate INFJs to educate and help others through reading.

In addition to the professions above, you can learn about more careers that match your MBTI type through the career personality profiler.

How does an INFJ prepare for a job interview?

To prepare for a job interview, INFJs should follow the five steps below.

  1. Play to strengths: INFJs can trust their natural talents as empathetic thinkers and attentive listeners during the interview process.
  2. Stay grounded: INFJs should avoid making assumptions about what the employer wants in the future and instead focus on the employer’s current goals and objectives.
  3. Accept reality: Due to their Intuitive and Judging traits, INFJs may enter interviews with preconceptions of how things will go. Therefore, INFJs must keep this side of their personality in check and allow the interviewer to sell the company’s vision.
  4. Conduct thorough research: A little bit of research into the prospective employer will go a long way in helping the INFJ answer interview questions.
  5. Stay optimistic: A job interview is a time for INFJs to promote themselves and focus on their strengths. Even if the interview doesn’t end well, INFJ should set their perfectionism aside and try to learn from their experiences.

Are INFJs good employees?

Yes, INFJs are good employees. Their insightful nature allows INFJs to identify possible conflicts and take action before others. Furthermore, Counselors’ naturally caring and altruistic nature make them amenable and dependable coworkers.

What career paths should INFJs avoid?

INFJs should avoid career paths that have a rigid framework and stifle their creativity. Below are four examples of career paths INFJs should avoid.

  • Mechanic: Mechanics deal with fact, not theory. Their work doesn’t leave room for an INFJ’s creative and free-thinking nature.
  • Electrician: Much like the role of a mechanic, there is no scope for creativity and artistic expression while working with electrics. Therefore, INFJs should avoid this career path.
  • Emergency Services: While not necessarily rule-breakers, the INFJ will feel stifled by the strict regulations emergency responders must follow.
  • Managerial Roles: A managerial role is not ideal for INFJ types despite being empathetic communicators. The strict adherence to company policy and the need to keep everybody within predefined boundaries clashes with INFJs’ out-of-the-box thinking.

What are the statistics for INFJ personality types?

Statistics for INFJ personality types show they are uncommon, with The Counselor accounting for just 4.8% of the population. INFJs are typically found in creative or altruistic pursuits, such as writing or therapy. The gender distribution of the INFJ is heavily slanted towards women. Approximately 5.6% of women are INFJs, while only 2.5% of men identify as INFJs. The INFJ gender distortion may explain why most Counselors gravitate toward nurturing roles within female-dominant workforces.

Who are some examples of INFJ celebrities?

Below are some examples of INFJ celebrities.

  • Nelson Mandela (Former President of South Africa)
  • Martin Luther King Jr. (American minister)
  • Mahatma Gandhi (Indian lawyer)
  • Florence Nightingale (English statistician)
  • Adolph Hitler (Third Reich chancellor)
  • Daniel Day-Lewis (actor)
  • Nicole Kidman (American-Australian actress)

What are some INFJ quotes?

Below are some INFJ quotes that exemplify the Counselor’s altruism and world views.

  • “The visions of the INFJs tend to concern human welfare, and their contributions are likely to be made independent of a mass movement.” – Isabel Briggs Myers
  • “These seclusive and friendly people are complicated themselves, and so can understand and deal with complex ethical issues and with deeply troubled individuals.” – David Keirsey
  • “Gain but first make room by giving (It’s the INFJ way)” – John Ricardo Mazarite
  • “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  • “The time is always right to do what is right.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

What are the INFJ subtypes?

The two INFJ subtypes are Assertive INFJ (INFJ-A) and Turbulent INFJ (INFJ-T). INFJ-As and INFJ-Ts share the core traits of the Counselor but subtle distinctions separate the two subtypes.

1. INFJ-A (Assertive)

The core difference between an INFJ-A and the INFJ-T is the way they deal with everyday stressors. Compared to the INFJ-T, assertive INFJs are better at dealing with stress and navigating difficult situations. One notable strength of the INFJ-A is their ability to leave the past in the past. While failure annoys assertive Counselors, they do not linger on what-ifs. Instead, INFJ-As learn from their mistakes and ensure they don’t make them again. One particular weakness of the INFJ-A is their burning desire to do something extraordinary. The assertive INFJ’s determination can become all-consuming and cause them to lose sight of small but crucial victories.

2. INFJ-T (Turbulent)

The INFJ-T personality is more likely to second guess themselves than INFJ-As. The core difference between the two subtypes is that INFJ-T sees their lack of self-confidence as a reason to become a better version of themselves. One key strength of INFJ-Ts is their ability to work under extreme stress. While many may crumble under pressure, the Turbulent INFJ perseveres and adapts to stress. On the other hand, one common weakness of the INFT-T is that they are more likely to get hurt in relationships. Turbulent INFJs believe in true love, and as such, may struggle to find what they are looking for. INFJ-Ts are also more likely to struggle after a breakup.

How to compare the INFJ subtypes to each other?

The best way to compare the INFJ subtypes to each other is to analyze their features. Below is a table comparing INFJ-A (Assertive) vs INFJ-T (Turbulent).

Sub-Type Strengths Weaknesses
INFJ-A Always look to learn from failure Can lose sight of the small things in search of perfection
Sociable but susceptible to peer pressure Can appear overconfident in their abilities and disinterested in others
INFJ-T Work well under pressure Likely to get hurt in relationships
Form deeper connections with a smaller friend circle Linger in regret and struggle to accept failure

What are the interactions between INFJ personality type and others?

Interactions between INFJ and others are slow at the start but evolve to include close and effective relationships. For example, it may take a while for strangers to get to know INFJs due to their introversion. INFJs won’t open up to new people right away but will reward loved ones with loyalty and affection.

Although introverted, INFJs appreciate and desire close relationships. They also often lead active social lives. Counselors enjoy spending time with friends and having fun, though they’re unlikely to arrange get-togethers or dates. INFJs have a low social battery and will retreat to recharge once they’re socially spent.

Within the workplace, INFJ types are good leaders, but they’re seldom seen in a direct position of command. Instead of giving orders, INFJs prefer to offer quiet direction, insightful wisdom, and advice to those who ask. INFJs are good listeners and excellent communicators. As a result, INFJs are responsible students and dependable colleagues.

How to communicate with an INFJ personality person?

To communicate with an INFJ personality person, keep the following five tips in mind.

  • Listen: INFJ types are insightful and often draw out good points in a conversation. However, they do so through metaphor and storytelling rather than through cold hard facts. Listeners need to pay close attention. 
  • Focus on larger goals: If communicating with an INFJ, you need to talk about the big picture. Being creative souls, INFJs do not have the same intense need for facts and prefer focusing on abstract constructs.
  • Be supportive: While communicating with an INFJ, be open and approachable. Don’t shut an INFJ down or try to dominate the conversation your way. Show respect and Counselors will do the same.
  • Allow time for reflective thought: Counselors need to assimilate information before making informed and insightful comments. To effectively communicate with an INFJ, you need to give them time to reflect on what has been said.
  • Consider the impact on others: INFJs care deeply about others. To communicate with an INFJ effectively, you will need to convey that you’ve considered the impact on others’ welfare (if relevant to the conversation).

How does INFJ behave in a relationship?

There are two distinct behavioral stages in INFJ relationships. The first stage can be slow-moving because INFJs take a while to warm up to someone. In the second stage, the INFJ will transform into an attentive, sensitive, and deeply caring partner. After they open up in a relationship, INFJs start looking for a perfect love story. Sensitive to their partner’s needs, INFJs devote themselves to their significant others and seek the same in return. Sadly, however, this profound loyalty can often result in heartbreak, as expectation and reality rarely meet.

“Even if you are someone used to wearing armor, guarded and afraid, I think love is such a strong force it would find a way through your protective guard. It will get to your heart, and you can’t put any fences around that. As much as you might try, you simply can’t.” – Sidney Poitier

How is the INFJ personality in parenthood?

In parenthood, the INFJ personality builds a deep connection with their children. INFJ parents raise their children with high expectations but nurture such a close bond that their children don’t see them as distant or pushy. INFJ parents bring up their children to be kind, friendly, and helpful. INFJ parents also actively support their children in chasing their dreams and fulfilling their potential.

“If you want to inhibit kids’ growth, keep telling them they are smart. If you want to give compliments and nurture growth, praise their curiosity and efforts.” – Unknown

How productive are INFJ business people?

INFJ business people are productive, but they can lose focus in the pursuit of perfection. Due to INFJs’ distaste for a rigid structure, you’re unlikely to find many INFJ types trapped in an office job. Nothing hinders the motivation and productivity of INFJ types quicker than endless amounts of red tape and office politics.

How efficient are INFJ science people?

INFJ science people are highly efficient, particularly within social science. INFJs’ preference for human sciences stems from their general interest in the human condition. Conversely, INFJs have little passion or patience for the study of facts and details such as within physical sciences. Furthermore, the rules and strict parameters associated with physical sciences (even within the realms of experimentation) stifle the passion and creativity of the INFJ. These constraints reduce INFJs’ efficiency in the study of non-organic matters.

“It is through science that we prove, but through intuition that we discover.” – Henri Poincare

How are the genders of INFJ personality?

The male and female genders of the INFJ personality share the same core traits, but three differences set INFJ men and women apart. The first difference between male and female INFJs is that female INFJs are more likely to show emotion in a relationship, whereas male INFJs tend to keep things to themselves.  The second noticeable difference between INFJ males and females is that INFJ males have an easier time forging relationships (platonic or romantic) with women than INFJ women do. The third key difference between the genders of INFJ personality is that INFJ men struggle to find the courage to make the first move, whereas INFJ women are more confident in relationships. 

How is the INFJ female personality?

The INFJ female personality accounts for 5.6% of the female populationINFJ women are creative, quiet, and maintain several close friends but few casual acquaintances. You will be hard-pressed to find a personality more intuitive than INFJ women. As a result, female Counselors can be great people to talk to. Although their sensitivity may lead to heartbreak, INFJ women are empathetic, reliable, and romantic.

How Is the INFJ male personality?

The INFJ male personality accounts for just 2.5% of the male populationBecause of the INFJ personality’s strong femininity, others may see INFJ men as feminine. In somewhat of a contradiction, male INFJs enjoy being social, though they don’t like letting people get too close to them. INFJ men are romantic but struggle to settle down due to their exceptionally high standards.

What are the strongest signals that someone is on INFJ?

Below are the five strongest signals that someone is an INFJ.

  • They enjoy philosophy: Every conversation seems to take on some deeper philosophical meaning with an INFJ. If long discussions often turn to topics on how to change the world, then this is a strong signal that someone is an INFJ.
  • They prefer one-on-one contact: As introverts, INFJs prefer to communicate one-on-one. Small groups are feasible while big gatherings are a near guarantee for a no-show INFJ.
  • They offer insightful advice: Because INFJs are good listeners with insightful minds, advice-giving is the unofficial INFJ superpower and a very clear personality type signal.
  • They see the best in people: INFJ personalities always see the best in people, cutting through the outer layers to see what is going on beneath the surface. They rather give people a fair chance than relying on popular opinion or hearsay.
  • They understand the big picture: As Intuitive, Judging personalities, Counselors live their lives constantly working towards a larger goal.

How to understand whether you are an INFJ or not?

To understand whether you are an INFJ or not, see if you agree with the statements below.

  • You enjoy deep conversations: INFJs take great pleasure in discussing meaningful topics and like having philosophical discussions. 
  • You envision the future: INFJs prefer to see the world as it could turn out one day instead of focusing on the present reality. 
  • People approach you for advice: INFJs are perceptive, and others often ask them for their insights. 
  • You want to improve the world: INFJs care deeply about humanity and are eager to make the world a better place. 
  • You enjoy solitude: INFJs prefer their own company, although they also like socializing with a small group of friends.  

In addition to the aforementioned questions for self-assessment, you can also learn more about your personality with a personality type test.

How to classify personality types for INFJ communication?

To classify the other personality types according to their stance on the INFJ personality type, consider the four main classes below.

  • Kindred personalities: The kindred personalities have a great deal in common with the INFJ and therefore enjoy an easy line of communication. However, sometimes having too much in common weakens the bonds.
  • Friendly personalities: The members of this class have enough common interests for communication to be smooth, but over time, differences may arise.
  • Different personalities: The personalities in this class share several similar traits as the INFJ, but it is their differences that help form the bonds of friendship.
  • Opposite personalities: Communication between INFJs and the members of this group is difficult and forced. There are too many fundamental differences between INFJS and opposite personalities for conversations to be smooth or effortless.

What are the main similarities between other personality types and INFJs?

The main similarities between other personality types and INFJs include idealism, intuition, and thoughtfulness. INFPs are most similar to the INFJ, sharing characteristics such as compassion, creative thinking, and a generally reserved nature. Additionally ENFJ and INFP both share the same idealistic traits as the INFJ. Helping others is also important to both the INFJ and the INFP. Furthermore, ENFJ, INFP, and INFJ types understand the importance of listening and not jumping to conclusions. These three personality types rely on observational intuition, making them the moral backbone of most friend groups.

What are the kindred personality types for INFJs?

Below are the four kindred personality types for INFJs.

  • ISFJ: ISFJ is a kindred personality to the INFJ because both INFJ and ISFJ are highly empathetic characters. The main difference between the INTP and ISFJ personalities stems from how they view the world. While the INFJ is looking to change things for the better, the ISFJ is a fan of stability and the status quo.
  • INFP: INFP is a kindred personality to the INFJ because both are intuitive feelers looking to build authentic connections with people. The main difference between the INFP and the INFJ is in their core values. The INFJ is all about working hard but the INFP is about making sure they have fun.
  • INFJ: INFJ is a kindred personality to the INFJ because they share the same base personalities. The main difference between the INFJ and INFJ types is that both will struggle to strike up a conversation and make the first moves in new friendships.
  • ENFJ: ENFJ is a kindred personality to the INFJ because both have a shared commitment to helping those around them. The main difference between INFJ and ENFJ types is their base energy levels for socializing. The ENFJ is too energetic for the quieter INFJ.

What are the most friendly personality types to INFJ?

Below are the four most friendly personality types to INFJ.

  • ISTJ: ISTJ is a friendly personality type to the INFJ because both are looking for meaningful connections. The main difference between the INFJ and the ISTJ is the way they envision the future. The INFJ wants to shape a better future, while the ISTJ cannot visualize the change INFJs envision.
  • ESFJ: ESFJ is a friendly personality type to the INFJ because both enjoy finding time to spend with family and friends. The main difference between the INFJ and the ESFJ is how they communicate. The INFJ prefers to communicate in abstract terms while the ESFJ is far more direct.
  • ENTP: ENTP is a friendly personality type to the INFJ because both spend time analyzing a situation and thinking about how to make it better. The main difference between the INFJ and the ENTP is that the INFJ is driven by their values, while the ENTP is driven by logical thought.
  • ENTJ: ENTJis a friendly personality type to the INFJ because both share a conversation style that favors the abstract. The main difference between the ENTJ and the INFJ is their value base. The INFJ values morality and ethics, while the ENTJ is more about logical objectivity.

What are the main differences between other personality types and INFJs?

There are three main differences between other personality types and INFJs. The first difference is INTJs’ outlook on life. Whereas personality types like ISTJs are traditionalists, INFJs are open-minded visionaries who want the world to change. The second difference is in INFJs’ communication style. INFJs are polite and respectful, whereas INTJs are often brush and blunt. The third difference is in INFJs’ approach to planning. Counselors are well-organized people who like to think ahead, whereas other personalities (such as ISFP) live their lives spontaneously. 

What are the opposite personality types to INFJs?

Below are the four opposite personality types to the INFJ.

  • ISTP: ISTP is an opposite personality to the INFJ because the ISTP is all about living in the now. The main difference between the INFJ and the ISTP is in the lack of idealism shared by the ISTP. Instead of looking at the future like the INFJ, they are more interested in the action of the present.
  • ESTP: ESTP is an opposite personality to the INFJ because of their different relationship ideals. The INFJ seeks to build deep connections with people while the ESTP is more about having fun with people. The main difference between the ESTP and the INFJ is in how they communicate. The ESTP is all about the what, while the INFJ is concerned about the why.
  • ESTJ: ESTJ is an opposite personality to the INFJ because of their differing base concerns as the INFJ is interested in making changes for the better. The ESTJ, however, is somewhat fearful of change. The main difference between the ESTJ and the INFJ is that the ESTJ is a highly logical personality driven by reason, while the INFJ is far more caring and compassionate.
  • ESFP: ESFP is an opposite personality to the INFJ because the ESFP is a loud and action-based personality. The main difference between the INFJ and ESFP is that the ESFP is firmly grounded in the now with little thought for what happens down the road.

What are personality types are the most different from INFJ?

Below are the four personality types that are most different from INFJ.

  • ISFP: ISFP is a different personality type from the INFJ because the ISFP is not interested in deep or personal connections with other people. The main difference between the ISFP and the INFJ is in how they prefer to communicate. The ISFP talks in facts, while the INFJ is all about the grand vision.
  • INTP: INTP is a different personality type from the INFJ because the INTP is a very brash and blunt personality. The main difference between the INTP and the INFJ is that the INFJ is an emotional personality while the INTP prefers to keep their emotions close to their chest.
  • INTJ: INTJ is a different personality type for the INFJ because the INTJ is all about making the most efficient and logical decision. The main difference between the INFJ and the INTJ lies in how they want to be the voice for change. The INTJ believes in improvement through technology and business, while the INFJ is more interested in helping those less fortunate.
  • ENFP: ENFP is a different personality type from the INFJ because the ENFP is an active talker while the INFJ is more interested in listening. The main difference between the INFJ and the ENFP is in the appreciation of routine and structure. The INFJ enjoys having more of a routine while the ENFP is a far more free-spirited personality.