I've always been fascinated by the Myers Briggs personality types, and I frequently use the type assessment in my work as a coach and self-improvement teacher.
Your personality type definitely influences how you relate to other people, and understanding your type can make a huge difference in your choice of friends and romantic partners, as well as your ability to empathize with the people you care about.
In case you don't know much about personality types, here's just a little background. Isabel Briggs Myers, and her mother, Katharine Briggs, created the Myers Briggs assessment to make the theory of psychological types, first described by Swiss psychologist ‘Carl Jung, understandable and useful in people's lives.
Jung describes four distinct preferences that make up our personalities, and these preferences can be arranged into 16 different personality types. Here are the four preferences as described by the Myers Briggs Foundation:
Introverted (I) or Extraverted (E): Do you prefer to focus more on the outer world or on your inner world?
Sensing (S) or Intuition (N): Do you prefer to focus on the basic information you take in, or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning?
Thinking (T) or Feeling (F): When you make decisions, do you prefer to first look at logic and consistency or first look at the people and special circumstances?
Judging (J) or Perceiving (P): In dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided, or do you prefer to stay open to new information and options?
Once you know your preference in each these areas, you have a four-letter type, and each of the possible 16 types has very unique and distinct characteristics and traits. (Here's a free personality test based on Jung's typology.) I happen to be an INFJ (introverted, intuitive, feeling, judging) personality type. INFJ is the least common of all types, occurring in only about 1.5% of the population in the U.S., according to the Myers Briggs Foundation.
Although they are the rarest type, INFJs tend to be particularly interested in self-awareness, personal growth, and relationships. So my guess is that many of you reading this post are INFJs because you've been seeking out information about who you are and what makes you tick.
Here's the Myers Briggs Foundation's general description of INFJs:
Seek meaning and connection in ideas, relationships, and material possessions. Want to understand what motivates people and are insightful about others. Conscientious and committed to their firm values. Develop a clear vision about how best to serve the common good. Organized and decisive in implementing their vision.
Did you notice that very first two sentences in the description reveal the INFJs keen interest in relationships? Of all of the types, we are particularly intrigued with and motivated by our relationships with other people.
Here are 8 reasons INFJ relationships are extraordinary and powerful:
1. INFJs seek meaning.
We tend to seek out relationships that are far more than superficial. We crave deep, intense, meaningful interactions with people who share our commitment to intimate connection and growth. It might take us more time to find our “tribe,” but once we do, our relationships have a level of depth and sincerity that is profoundly fulfilling.
2. INFJs are warm and compassionate.
Whether you're in a friendship or romantic relationship with an INFJ, you'll find they are selfless, warm, and trustworthy. Because they so highly value relationships, they strive to be the best possible friend or partner. In fact, they are always desiring to improve or perfect their relationships. They are excellent listeners and extremely supportive and compassionate. If a conflict arises, INFJs are usually the first to seek resolution and are very willing to find compromise.
3. INFJs are invested love partners.
INFJs fall deeply in love and enjoy showing love to their partners and sharing their rich inner life with their soulmate. They are committed to the relationship and will work tirelessly to maintain a strong and intimate bond. INFJs are service-oriented, so making their partner happy is very important to them. Because they have such high expectations from their love relationship, INFJs do best with a partner who is equally committed and invested in a healthy, meaningful connection, and someone who is willing to offer affirmation and emotional intimacy.
4. INFJs are soul-filled lovers.
For INFJs, sex is an expression of love rather than lust, and they will rarely engage in it casually. They view sex as a communion of the souls, adding to the bond between them and their mate. INFJs are passionate partners, and see sexual intimacy as a way to make their partners happy. INFJs cherish not just being in a relationship, but the joy of becoming one with another person, in mind, body and soul.
5. INFJs are empathic.
INFJs have uncanny insight into people and situations. They can read the mood of a room and get strong feelings about other people. They have natural intuitive abilities that allow them a depth of understanding and compassion other types don't possess. Many INFJs are highly sensitive people (HSPs) or empaths and can almost feel the emotions of those around them. Because of their empathic and caring nature, INFJs attract many people to them, although they are generally selective about their closest friendships.
6. INFJs are values-oriented parents.
Most INFJs take their role as a parent very seriously. They are devoted, warm and loving parents, and they want their children to grow as independent individuals with strong values and principles. INFJs listen to their child's point of view and will take into consideration their ideas and suggestions, as they want their children to learn to think on their own and make sound decisions. As their children become adults, INFJs especially enjoy having a deep and meaningful relationship with them.
7. INFJs are creative and visionary.
INFJs try to express their complex inner worlds through creative pursuits. They have rich imaginations and can easily visualize their ideas. The are excellent communicators and writers and have a high degree of imagery and metaphor in their writing. INFJs often use their creativity to draw people to a mission, to beautify the environment, to help people envision possibilities, and to improve the human condition. They tend to notice patterns and trends to develop creative visions and ideas.
8. INFJs are dedicated, principled workers.
When INFJs are in the right careers, they are highly valuable employees or professionals. They want a career where they can make a difference, while utilizing their creativity and organizational skills. They are creative problem solvers, have innovative ideas, and are principled workers who can envision, plan, and carry out complex projects aligned with their values.
In team environments, INFJs are mindful of group process, and will listen attentively to the opinions of others while synthesizing ideas and input to create a unified vision. You'll often find INFJs in helping professions such as counseling, teaching, or the ministry.
If you see yourself as an INFJ, you might also recognize some of the less positive traits of this personality type. In spite of our warmth, compassion, and creativity, we can sometimes be dismissive, intolerant, and intense. We may have unreasonable expectations of others and be less that patient with their weaknesses. But because we value self-awareness and inner growth, INFJs can improve these problem areas through self-reflection and by applying the same insight and determination we use for causes we value.