Believe it or not, hundreds of online quizzes are based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®). They address all kinds of questions from “Which Harry Potter House would you be in?” to “What kind of dog are you?” People take these quizzes for fun because taking a Myers-Briggs Personality Type assessment can make people feel better understood as if they are just recognized for who they really are. These quizzes and the complete MBTI® Assessment are based on Carl Jung’s work in analytical psychology, as well as the efforts of Isabel Myers and Katherine Briggs to make Jung’s work more relevant to the real world and more accessible to a lay audience. Today, millions of people, teams, and companies all over the world use MBTI® test, analyses, and reports to conduct job searches, make hiring decisions, maximize organizations’ effectiveness and efficiency, improve personal relationships, leverage personality strengths, and so much more.
According to the MBTI® framework, there are sixteen distinct personality types, each of which is represented by an acronym that denotes a combination of four scales: Introverted (I)- Extraverted (E), Intuitive (N)- Sensing (S), Feeling (F)- Thinking (T), and Judgment (J)- Perception (P). For example, an ESTP is someone who ranks highly on the Extraverted, Sensing, Thinking, and Perception scales while someone with the INFJ personality type ranks highly on the Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judgment scales.
It is important to note that these types are not evenly distributed through the population—some types are more common than others. The rarest Myers-Briggs personality type is Introverted-Intuitive-Feeling-Judgment (INFJ), which accounts for just 1.5% of the population. Let’s take a closer look at what makes INFJ people so unique.
What is the INFJ Personality Type?
To understand the INFJ Myers-Briggs Personality Type, we need to consider each scale individually first. Then, we can explore how they interact with one another to create the preferences of this rare personality type. First, INFJs are Myers-Briggs Introverts. As introverts, INFJ Myers-Briggs Personality Types typically gather energy from focusing on their internal feelings, thoughts, and general status. They may need alone time after a highly social day, for example, or may prefer to spend their free time going on a hike or listening to music in private, without the input of other people. Furthermore, as intuitive individuals, personality type INFJ people tend to collect information about the outside world through others’ facial expressions, tone, body language, and overall attitude rather than the content of what others say. For example, an INFJ may notice a friend hesitating before agreeing to make plans, and then modify their proposal without the friend expressing explicit discomfort. In addition, their feeling tendencies indicate that INFJs often make decisions by considering their own and others’ emotions or values in lieu of a linear, systematic approach. Finally, high rankings on the judgment scale mean that INFJs execute their plans actively and decisively; they rarely modify or reconsider decisions once they have been made.
When all these characteristics are considered, INFJ personality types can seem like a bit of a tossed salad. INFJs are decisive yet emotional, and they are introverted yet keenly sensitive to others’ needs. They are staunchly dedicated to their values as well as to their friends, and they will assert themselves if they feel that either are being attacked, even though aggression is not typical for introverts. These apparent contradictions coupled with their reserved personalities make INFJs the rarest Myers Briggs type. As such, it takes time, effort, and dedication to truly understand an INFJ.
Nuances of the INFJ Personality Type
Because of their seemingly oppositional preferences, INFJs have been called enigmas and even walking contradictions. In this section, we will explore some of the dyads that make Myers-Briggs INFJ personality types the rarest out of the sixteen combinations.
INFJs prefer to make decisions quickly while also considering multiple options (N vs. J)
INFJs’ judgment gives them decisive tendencies; that is, they prefer to complete each task before moving on to the next. They prefer to live orderly lives and need the closure that achievement imparts. At the same time, their intuition predisposes them to continue to generate new possibilities, even after they have a host of viable options, a habit that makes it difficult to conclude tasks. For example, when faced with a tight deadline, an INFJ may feel caught between their innate creativity and the desire to fulfill their obligation in a timely fashion. When INFJs develop an awareness and control over these tendencies, they can reap the benefits of their unique and complementary proclivities for creativity and implementation.
INFJs are introverts who care deeply about people (I vs. F)
INFJs’ feeling tendencies draw them to people. They crave intimate conversations and meaningful connections with others in both their personal and professional lives. For instance, they generally prefer careers in which they can support others and help them grow, such as opportunities to be teachers or counselors. At the same time, as introverts, INFJs recharge their energy reserves by spending time alone, reflecting on their day, or even just looking through social media. This combination makes personality type INFJ people keen observers of the world around them. They have deep, emotional experiences and vivid imaginations, which helps them see others’ potential as well as remain invested in helping them realize it. Those who are fortunate enough to develop close relationships with INFJs may describe them as both reserved and passionate—while they deeply love and care for their friends, family, and others dear to them, they also need “recovery time” independently.
INFJs are both creative and rational (I vs. F vs. J)
INFJs are keen observers. They are like sponges, almost unconsciously absorbing details about the environment as well as the other people who surround them. Some INFJs may feel the need to process all this information through creative expressions, such as poetry, art, or music. Others find solace in journaling or other strategies for reflecting on complexity. This inherent creativity also makes INFJs surprisingly playful, since they look at things in unusual ways. For example, INFJs may enjoy finding unique ways to repurpose household items, such as making coasters from old mason jar lids or making homemade paper from tattered fabric scraps. Just like they do with people, INFJs have a knack for seeing potential in everyday objects. That said, INFJs’ childlike playfulness is again balanced by their Judging preference, which helps them stay focused and organized enough to execute their visions. Unlike their INFP counterparts, INFJs rarely abandon projects once they have started.
INFJs engage equally with the forest and the trees (N vs. J)
In other words, INFJs have an equal affinity for microscopic details and global perspectives. This is because INFJs’ intuition helps them are easily able to grasp general goals and trust their overall perception of a social context, and at the same time their judgment tunes them into specifics as minor as choosing the perfect word for a story or the ideal shade for a piece of artwork. That said, INFJs may have trouble moving between these two perspectives. For example, if they are writing an essay, they may be so absorbed in their overall argument that they have difficulty proofreading their own work.
INFJs are both reserved and rebellious (N vs. J)
Unlike many creative types who reject tradition in all its forms, INFJs value the stability that tradition imparts. They may start their day with a morning ritual or routine, such as drinking a cup of coffee on their porch or balcony, to get ready for their day. Doing so gives them the alone time they need to be fully energized, as well as allows them to clear their minds of any stray thoughts before focusing on their to-do list. INFJs typically value time with family, friends, and loved ones during holidays as well, since these traditions set the tone for their year and give life a sense of rhythm that they find comforting.
At the same time, INFJs find ways of infusing novelty into their world, perhaps by changing their holiday menus or by designing unique decorations that give their home and celebrations personality.
How can INFJs find balance?
Because of their seemingly paradoxical proclivities, INFJ personality types can become easily stressed or anxious. They are also hyperaware of others’ feelings about them as well as how their own actions may affect their friends and loved ones. To find balance, INFJs should try to come to terms with the fact that others may not always agree with or support them. Furthermore, such feelings are normal and may not warrant them changing their own behavior. Instead of overthinking subtext, INFJs might try asking clarifying questions to help them stay in the present moment.
Why are INFJs the rarest Myers Briggs Personality Type?
In short, INFJs are the rarest Myers-Briggs Personality Type because their various preferences seem to contradict one another. They can be reserved and difficult to understand, but if others take the time to coax them from their shells, INFJs can be dedicated friends with fascinating personalities. They are never boring to be around, and they have an almost child-like ability to love with their whole hearts.