The short answer: INFJ (Introverted-Intuitive-Feeling-Judgment) is the most complex Myers-Briggs Personality Type.
Let’s examine INFJs and why this personality type is so complicated.
What makes the INFJ personality type so complex?
INFJs can be intense, complex individuals. Aspects of their personality can seem paradoxical, which makes them even harder to understand. For example, as Introverts, INFJs gather energy in solitude and self-reflection, and they often need some “alone time” every day to feel refreshed. As such, they typically enjoy spending time by themselves or with a small circle of close friends. At the same time, they are “people people” who are acutely aware of others’ emotions; their Intuition helps them read body language and general aura, sometimes even more than the content of what others are saying to them. In other words, an INFJ might be able to tell a colleague or friend is having an off day from their overall demeanor, even without their explicitly saying they are having a hard time. Moreover, INFJs’ Feeling tendencies mean that they often make decisions based on a gut reaction or emotional response rather than a systematic, linear approach, yet their Judgment stops them from waffling or reconsidering once a decision has been made. They are warm and empathetic yet efficient and organized.
In short: INFJs are decisive, efficient, and organized while still being emotional, warm, and empathetic. They are also Introverted yet acutely sensitive to others’ feelings and needs. These apparently contradictory characteristics make INFJs the most complex personality type. INFJs are complex because different aspects of their personalities seem to contradict one another. However, these traits are also what make INFJs fascinating.
To better understand INFJs and their paradoxical personalities, it is helpful to focus on specific combinations of personality characteristics that seem contradictory. Let’s look at a few of these dyads and what they mean for INFJs.
INFJs value other people and build deep relationships while remaining introverted (I vs. F)
Even though they are introverted, INFJs still need meaningful interpersonal relationships to thrive. In fact, as Feelers, these relationships are essential to INFJs’ ability to live emotionally whole and satisfying lives. INFJs feel most fulfilled when they can positively influence others, especially through a mentorship role. As a result, they are frequently drawn to careers that involve nurturing interpersonal relationships, such as teaching or counseling. However, these careers can also be uniquely exhausting since INFJs may feel emotionally and intellectually drained. For INFJs, learning to balance the desire for connection and interaction with a need for introspection can be a complex process that needs some practice, but it is worth taking the time to master.
INFJs are highly creative people who also have the ability to stay focused on making their visions reality (I vs. F. vs. J)
Many people with artistic or creative talents tend to float easily from one pursuit to another. Even if they can transform scraps of paper or rubbish into works of art, they may be impulsive and unable to follow through with their vision, leaving a mountain of half-finished projects in their wake. In contrast, INFJs not only see the potential in everyday objects, but they are also able to identify and execute the intermediate steps that are necessary to complete their tasks. This focus may make them feel isolated from some creative circles as well as from more practically-inclined, Thinking groups. Again, finding a way to be true to these seemingly contradictory personality traits can take effort.
INFJs weigh multiple options carefully while also being decisive (N vs. J)
INFJs’ Intuitive tendencies make them imaginative. Regardless of the situation, they enjoy the challenge of coming up with a range of possible courses of action that push the envelope. For example, an INFJ planning a classroom field trip might look beyond typical outings like zoos or aquariums to more creative options like a crayon factory or orienteering workshop. Simultaneously, their Judgment reins them in and helps them make decisions quickly so they can focus on execution. For INFJs, learning to balance “brainstorming” with “implementation” can be challenging but is well worth the effort because that shift is what propels them from the “planning” phase of a project to the “doing” phase.
INFJs balance tradition and innovation (N vs. J)
It can be challenging for people to see the value in tradition and routine while also being comfortable putting their unique spin on it. For INFJs, this balance helps them stay organized and focused on the big picture while still providing interest and variety to daily life. For example, INFJs might have lunch at the same time every day, but they might like to change what they eat or where. They might enjoy participating in a sport or physical activity each evening but vary what they do or with whom. One day, an evening tennis match might have a different feel from a sunset run the next, but each activity still provides a thread of continuity and structure. In the same way, an INFJ might plan a similar menu each year that they host a holiday but choose to modify decorations or side dishes to bring their creative flair and keep things fresh. This balance of originality and structure can make INFJs seem complicated, but it is just another layer of their personality.
How can INFJs thrive?
Because INFJs are so strongly invested in others’ well-being, they may have difficulty setting healthy boundaries. If an INFJ feels that they are being pulled in too many different directions or feel overwhelmed, it can be helpful to learn to say “no” and take a few hours or days for themselves to reflect and recharge. While doing so may be challenging, it is worth it because, without this downtime, INFJs may have difficulty being fully present in the moment, even if they are technically fulfilling their social obligations.
Moreover, because of their sensitivity to others, INFJs may obsess about things they said or did, particularly if they believe their actions may have inadvertently offended someone else. In these situations, speaking directly to the other can provide insights into others’ actual interpretations of their behavior and stop the cycle of social anxiety. Explicitly articulating their sometimes complex needs can not only help others better understand them, but also help them better understand themselves.