Thinking you might be an INxJ? Not quite sure which one you might be, though? You’ve come to the right place!
There are a ton of great, in depth articles about the cognitive differences between INTJs and INFJs. I don’t want to go over the intricacies of all that here (though I invite you to check some of those essays out). What I want to do is describe the flavor of each of the two and you can decide for yourself which is a better fit for your personality.
- Are thinking about people. How things connect to people, how others feel, what people need. When an INFJ is scanning the future for likely possibilities, they are considering how those possibilities will impact the people involved.
- Have a pulse on those around them. They are able to detect changes in mood, attitude, behavior, and feelings even before anyone else knows what’s going on.
- May feel profoundly disconnected from others, and this bothers them a great deal. They have an incredible insight into human nature but this can set them apart from the very communities they wish to connect with. May blame self for isolation.
- Can be quite left brained, systematic, orderly, and drawn to STEM fields, despite NF stereotypes.
- Know how to get what they want from people and may even engage in manipulation tactics to do it.
- Are only as friendly and emotionally available as they choose. INFJs may not appear as emotionally open at first glance.
- Might be more than a little eager to engage in gossip. News involving people, especially about people connecting with other people, is always fascinating.
- May appear more inwardly-driven or outwardly-driven depending on Enneagram type. Common Enneagram types for INFJs include 1, 2, 4, 6, and 9.
- Find the world of emotions rich, interesting, dynamic, fluid, and desirable. May have intense emotions.
- Have a love/hate relationship with drama. Some INFJs can’t stand it, while others can’t get enough of it.
- May feel responsible for others’ problems. Can sometimes be taken advantage of for being a helpful and dependable friend, family member, or coworker.
- May need to develop strong boundaries between themselves and others. They can struggle with maintaining the balance of meeting their own needs.
- Deeply value relationships, especially close personal ones. May idealize the perfect romantic relationship and be disappointed by how the real thing stacks up.
- Want to be seen as helpful, caring, trustworthy, insightful, and socially valuable.
- Are thinking about logistics. How things connect to other things, resources, or possible occurrences. An INTJ is very good at balancing insights with the logistics on hand, such as time, money, or products. They may be aware of how it might impact people, but this can be less of a priority for them.
- Tend to be a bit out of touch with how others are feeling. Fi is an inward-facing function and gives insight into the inner self, leaving others feeling ignored or misunderstood.
- May feel profoundly disconnected from others, but sees this as expected or necessary. May blame others for isolation. Tends not to prioritize this as a problem to solve.
- Can be quite right brained, creative, messy, and drawn to artistic or philosophical fields, despite NT stereotypes.
- Can be befuddled at human interaction and miss subtleties that might have given them a social edge. May be honest to a fault. INTJs can sometimes lack the inherent interest in social strategy and may have to work harder to make relationships and interactions smoother.
- Are only as “smart” as they take the time to develop.
- May be irritated or disinterested in gossip. INTJs don’t always understand the social rules in a given situation and may find it hard to understand the reason behind the topic of gossip.
- May appear more inwardly-driven or outwardly-driven depending on Enneagram type. Common Enneagram types for INTJs include 1, 5, and 6. More directive types like 3 and 8 might also be seen.
- Finds the world of emotions to be unnerving, uncontrollable, alien, and discomforting. May stuff or diminish emotions so as not to have to deal with them.
- Avoids drama as much as possible. Saves drama for those who know what they’re doing.
- May feel responsible for fixing things or keeping things together logistically. Can sometimes be taken advantage of for being a solid, dependable problem-solver.
- May need to consider the impact words or actions will have on others. Can be a little oblivious about the needs of others.
- May expect relationships to fall into a quiet background hum so the INTJ can focus on other things. Can be disappointed and surprised when they realize how much work and maintenance relationships require.
- Want to be seen as competent, capable, logical, independent, and insightful.
How not to tell the difference between the two:
- Intelligence. Both types can be incredibly intelligent and insightful.
- Career choices. STEM or theology, art or nursing. Doesn’t matter. You’ll find these types in any context, because their particular strengths may give them a unique edge in that organization. It’s true that, statistically, certain types may prefer some careers over others, but don’t think you won’t find an INFJ in science or an INTJ in counseling.
- Interests. Both types may be drawn to some of the same activities, hobbies, and interests, so this isn’t a good indicator in itself.
- Faith, or lack thereof. Religious or spiritual preferences have nothing to do with personality type.
- Human decency. Social interaction requires a certain amount of grace, respect, and general civility. If someone lacks these things, it isn’t because of their MBTI type. It’s simple immaturity.
- Self esteem and confidence. It’s said that NTs tend to be confident while NFs may doubt themselves more, but the truth is that self esteem is an entirely different factor and is influenced by many things. Upbringing, environment, interactions, and so on play a role in how one views oneself.
As you can see, while the similarities between the two types are many, there are plenty of differences in what INTJs and INFJs value and act on. What they notice in their environment or emphasize in a situation is also different. If you find yourself caught between the two types, think about this list and analyze yourself at every opportunity. In a social situation, what are you thinking? What are you feeling? How are you acting? How do you want others to see you?
Keep in mind that the above lists will have a lot of overlap. You may be thinking, “Yeah, but I want BOTH things!” I’m sure you do, but which one do you want first? Which one is immediately important, and which comes second? There’s your answer.