Do you crave deep bonds? Yearn for connections that seem like destiny? But then have to excuse yourself in the middle of a crowd to just go and stand alone for a while? If so, then welcome. You might be an INFJ.
INFJs are in a tricky situation where their coworkers might see them as extroverts until their social battery dies, and the coworker is left wondering what happened. It’s not personal!
INFJs, like all introverts, get their energy internally. So what happens when these personalities inevitably mix with public situations?
I (Introverted) N (Intuition) F (Feeling) J (Judging), also nicknamed The Advocate, can often struggle socialising at work. Here are 15 reasons why.
1. Protecting the Protector
INFJs are often also referred to as The Protector. Known to be a part of the Diplomatic subgroup of the 16 personality types, INFJs search for a peaceful situation. However, if someone they love is in danger, the claws come out.
This is their protective instinct. And, of course, the protective instinct also applies for themselves.
They are private and secretive and often feel the need to hold back parts of themselves that they feel their colleagues may not understand. This gets in the way of their vulnerability, and their walls are always up.
Their need to protect themselves from other’s criticism goes directly up against reason #2.
2. Enough with the Small Talk!
Although my personality type changes every time I take this test and I evolve and grow, I am most recently an INFJ. So personally speaking as an INFJ, please don’t ask me how my day was. Unless you really want the long, honest answer to that.
Other INFJs agree, we want to talk about the stuff that matters – tell us your hopes, your dreams, what drives you.
The problem is that this isn’t exactly deemed “workplace” appropriate by our coworkers. That’s why they partake in small talk. But we have big personalities, and that’s why we struggle with the “small” part of small talk.
3. Isn’t There More?
Those big personalities mentioned earlier? INFJs often feel as though they have a greater destiny and that they might be meant for more than working a 9-5.
So if they’re currently at a job that they don’t see themselves in long term, or perhaps this job isn’t their purpose in this life, they can grow unmotivated, making them less likely to engage in conversation.
They might isolate themselves from coworkers who they haven’t shared their hopes and dreams with.
4. Mood Swings
Speaking of 9-5s, work is inarguably long hours and a lot of effort. INFJs simply can’t stay social for that long without their energy levels depleting.
People often see coworkers more than family and friends. So a group of people that don’t know INFJs on a deep level is who they spend most of their time both.
It’s hard to constantly be switched on, so they eventually switch off.
INFJs reach their burn out stage, so even if they’ve been socialising all day before this, they’re now just not up for a chat.
5. The Extraverted Introvert
When INFJs do, inevitably, reach that point of the day, their coworkers might be confused.
This person that they’ve been thinking is super social, an extrovert, very outgoing, suddenly now doesn’t want to talk. And sometimes, the coworkers get offended.
INFJs are in a tricky situation where their coworkers might see them as extroverts until their social battery dies, and the coworker is left wondering what happened. It’s not personal! Just give them some time to recharge.
6. Hitting the Extremes
More on being on opposite poles, except a different kind of extreme: more specific this time. Most INFJs have it in their personalities to have professions involving creativity and independence, as the Myers-Briggs personality test explains.
The test results also explain that INFJs may avoid detail-oriented tasks… until they don’t. There are some INFJs who go in the other extreme and become very meticulous and take on a perfectionist role.
And when they see other coworkers not being perfectionists, they turn critical of them.
And it’s hard to have a polite conversation with coworkers you want to critique.
7. INFJs Know Best
INFJs trust their own instincts above anyone else’s, because of their intuitive senses. They have a gut feeling and often get stubborn about it.
But a part of socialising, especially as an INFJ who hopes that socialising turns into meaningful relationships, is making yourself vulnerable and seeking advice from others. Making people feel needed builds bonds.
But vulnerability and seeking others’ advice are two things INFJs are not good at. Why would an INFJ admit they are wrong when they know they are right?
8. The Mind Reading Curse
Yes, no one can technically mind-read. But INFJs come close. They have those gut feelings – they just innately know something. But this actually prevents them from talking to other people as easily as their extraverted counterparts would.
If INFJs feel off about someone, they will avoid them. They trust themselves.
But if they share this feeling with others, people probably would just roll their eyes, further making INFJs feel as if they don’t belong.
This is the other side of the mind-reading curse…
When the INFJs aren’t right about their gut feeling, and they really just end up overthinking it.
They can lose sleep and time just analyzing certain actions that may not mean anything, and soon lose touch with the outside world, which isn’t good because…
10. One in a Hundred
… Because they’re already one in a hundred.
They’re are the rarest, and this doesn’t help the feeling of loneliness… feeling like no one else understands them.
It is easy to feel like an outsider who just doesn’t fit in, especially when they are constantly feeling intuitive things that can’t be explained verbally. INFJs want everyone to feel welcome and at ease, but struggle with putting themselves at ease.
11. No Conflict, Please
The F in the INFJs stands for Feeling. Because of that part of their personality, they need peace and harmony in their friendships and relationships.
So when conflict arises, it takes a physical toll on INFJs.
Not to mention the mental stress, and when they set boundaries for themselves to stay away from conflict, they are also distancing themselves from their coworkers.
12. People Pleasers
Struggling at socialising doesn’t mean INFJs avoid it. In fact, INFJs often socialise a lot, and then either their battery dies, or they fall short.
INFJs are undeniable people pleasers. They want to make others happy, feel protected, and welcome.
But this technique may also be a defence mechanism.
Due to their sensitivity, INFJs may think that if they make someone happy enough, they won’t receive criticism from them.
This is a reason they struggle at socialising because all types of communication can seem like so much work, it’s no wonder their social battery dies.
INFJs thrive on one-on-one conversations, but workplace conversations are, almost by definition, group settings.
They become group gatherings and then the INFJ is stuck in a conversation with ten other people, and when they excuse themselves from it, they appear anti-social.
Or, a conversation could already be occurring between two other coworkers, in which case it would be even harder to join in.
14. Social Chameleon Backfiring
All that being said, INFJs are still social chameleons. They absorb what everyone around them is feeling, good or bad.
While they are great at empathizing, they can overload on this empathy.
They become so concerned about improving the moods of others, and they become lost and alone when trying to manage their own.
15. The Inside vs. The Outside
Above all, the inner operations of an INFJ perform in opposition to how they want their ideal outer world to work.
The biggest characteristic of the INFJ is their intuition, which exists inside themselves: the intangible feeling that guides the way they act. But their outer world reality needs to be tangible and systematic.
The workplace has to work in a certain way for INFJs to feel comfortable, but this way does not correspond to how INFJs brains work, so there is a disconnect.
INFJs may struggle more than others when it comes to socialising in professional environments where they aren’t surrounded by people they place their complete trust in.
But this does not mean they cannot strive. If INFJs are anything, they are inspiring and passionate, and they draw in all types of people because they know how to make everyone feel good and safe.
To all the INFJs, trust your intuition and remember, sometimes a few minutes of recharge is all you need!
Hi everyone! I’m Iman, a dramatic writing student at New York University, currently studying abroad in Berlin. I’m an INFJ-T and a storyteller. I love traveling and exploring, and finding out other people’s stories. I also have a passion for psychology because I’m super interested in how people think and what makes them tick.