Every time I meet new people, I have to have this conversation:
Person: You’re so friendly! You should come hang out with this group and then that group and then do five more social things!
Me: Yikes, no. I want to go hang out alone in my room for awhile. I’m an introvert.
Person: What? You’re an introvert??
Me: Yes, like, a SUPER introvert.
Person: But you’re so outgoing?
When I took the Birkman Personality Inventory, the man analyzing me pointed out my high need to both BE friendly and have people be friendly BACK. “You’re probably a pretty high extrovert, huh?” he said. I laughed in his face. “No, I’m definitely an introvert.” I felt kind of bad as his face fell, my personality not fitting into his schematics.
Who knew the answer that would balance my dichotomies would come from Pinterest? I was mindlessly scrolling one day when I found this pin:
Yes! That is it exactly. I love people – my favorite subjects were always literature, history, sociology, and psychology. I am fascinated by people and how we work and why and why not. I care deeply about people feeling understood and loved. I want to feel like I am a part of things, and I adore attention (with comfortable people). And then….I want to get away from it all and read in bed with coffee and my cat (I am very cat-troverted, as in I gain energy from being around cats).
Of course, I couldn’t stop with just one pin, so I searched “INFJ” and quickly found a link to “The Truth Behind the INFJ Paradox” on personalitygrowth.com.
The INFJ also craves solitude, but simultaneously craves being around people…They need to be alone to recharge and often needs large quantities of alone time to feel fully like themselves. At the same time the INFJ craves being around people and loves to be able to connect with others. This makes the INFJ often crave the opposite of what they are experiencing at that very moment.
AKA “I want to be best friends with everyone!!!” okay now leave me alone I need to watch Netflix for three days, and no, you’re not invited.
INFJs also experience a contradicting reaction to humanity as a whole…They are good at seeing the truth behind their world, making them capable of seeing the darkest parts of people. They are well aware of the cruelty and pain that people can inflict upon others. This often makes the INFJ feels cynical and angry towards people, often wanting to be away from the world because of this. At the same time the INFJ believes in people and often is capable of seeing the best in others. They want people to strive to reach their full potential, often making them capable of keeping hope for even the darkest of individuals. They are often angry and disappointed in humanity, but at the same time compassionate and hopeful.
Hahaha, yes, this is exactly my motto: “Humanity is shit, but people can be so great!”
INFJs feel emotions very intensely and although sometimes this can be hard, they both love and hate this about themselves. The INFJ may suffer from sadness and this is very painful for them, but they are also capable of seeing the beauty in it. The fact that they feel things very deeply, yet are capable of seeing the beauty in the darkness, is a very complex quality. They are more capable of appreciating things than people realize, often finding the positive side of the most dismal experiences.
This is what I spent the majority of my time in counseling discussing. “I’m often depressed, but I don’t, like, want to NOT be depressed? Because that’s when I’m most creative, and I feel most connected, and is depression always a bad thing???” I wish I’d just read this paragraph instead, and then we could have moved on to more interesting personal failings.
The INFJ can be often pessimistic towards the world, appearing constantly inside their own minds. They appear intense and serious, but also have a strong silly side to them. They are not shallow individuals and are drawn towards real and intense connections, but at the same time they can be goofy and playful. So even though the INFJ may seem intense, they don’t always take everything as serious as they may seem to. It often takes time to see this part of the INFJ, but it is a strong part of who they are. They both desire to be open, but simultaneously contain many layers to their true self.
“HAHAHA I love making snow angels, WOW this makes me think about how Western civilization has trivialized spiritual realities, but HEY I’ll race you to that snow drift!”
And then, in a lovely section entitled “How to Appreciate the INFJ Paradox,” the authors say:
Being so complex is what makes the INFJ so very capable of understanding others and loving them regardless. These complexities and paradoxes are a big part of who the INFJ is and these things should be valued and appreciated. It often makes the INFJ misunderstood by others, which can be a struggle for them. For the people who are willing to take the time to peel back the many layers of the INFJ, they will be able to truly appreciate what they have to offer.
How sweet. I hate when people call me an extrovert because there is LITERALLY NOTHING I COULD BE LESS OF, but my weird friendly introverted self helps me “understand others and love them regardless.” Haha, because you definitely have to love people REGARDLESS of understanding them. Or maybe that’s just INFJ compassion/cynicism.