Imagine moving through the world as a quiet observer, deeply attuned to the unspoken emotions of those around you, yet often feeling like an outsider in your own story.
This is a shared reality for those of us who belong to INFJ — the rarest of the Myers-Briggs personality types.
As an INFJ myself, I’ve often felt like a silent observer, keenly sensitive to the emotions swirling around me, yet frequently feeling like a stranger in my own narrative.
In this piece, I’ll explore 8 struggles that uniquely resonate with us, INFJs.
If you, like me, are an INFJ, you’ll find your experiences and feelings mirrored here. If you’re not, welcome to a glimpse into the often misunderstood world that we INFJs navigate every day.
1) Feeling misunderstood
Have you ever felt like you’re speaking a different language, even when everyone around you is technically speaking English?
It’s a fundamental struggle of being an INFJ — feeling misunderstood.
And this doesn’t mean you’re not comprehended — it goes deeper, touching the very core of our being.
We INFJs often think and feel in ways that aren’t easily captured by conventional language. This usually leaves us feeling isolated in a world that seems to operate on an entirely different level.
You’re in a room full of people, sharing your thoughts and feelings, but the blank stares or off-target responses tell you that your inner world isn’t getting across.
It’s almost as if you’re trying to explain color to someone who only sees in black and white.
But why does this happen?
Well, INFJs are known for their nuanced and complex inner lives.
We process emotions and thoughts deeply, often noticing subtleties that others might miss.
When we try to convey these intricate thoughts and feelings, we can be met with confusion or oversimplification from others.
But here’s the thing: despite feeling misunderstood, we INFJs are often reluctant to keep explaining ourselves.
2) The paradox of needing connection and solitude
Let me share an example from my own life as an INFJ.
I’ve often found myself caught in a tug-of-war between craving deep, meaningful connections and needing time alone to recharge.
I remember one weekend when I had made plans with friends. I was looking forward to it all week, excited to engage in stimulating conversations and create shared memories.
However, when the day arrived, I was overcome with a profound need for solitude.
In simple terms, I found myself torn between my desire for human connection and my need for alone time to recharge my emotional batteries.
This didn’t mean that I didn’t like my friends or that I was antisocial.
It was just my INFJ personality trying to strike a balance between social interaction and personal solitude.
This paradox is a constant struggle for INFJs, who need both deep connections with others and alone time to process their thoughts and feelings.
It’s a delicate balance that we try to maintain, but it’s not always easy or understood by others.
3) Overwhelmed by others’ emotions
As an INFJ, it’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed by the emotions of others.
We have a natural ability to tune into other people’s feelings, and often, we absorb these emotions as if they were our own.
Yes, this heightened sense of empathy can indeed make us excellent confidants and friends.
But it’s equally true that sometimes it leads to emotional exhaustion if we don’t set clear boundaries.
Here’s the deal:
On one hand, we want to be there for others, offering our understanding and support. On the other hand, we need to protect our own emotional well-being.
What’s the solution?
Taking care of our own emotional health while caring for others.
I know it’s not easy but it’s a unique struggle that INFJs often understand all too well.
4) Striving for perfection
Ever considered that the quest for perfection might be more of a curse than a blessing?
For us INFJs, this pursuit often manifests as a relentless drive to achieve an idealized version of everything:
Our work, relationships, personal projects, and even ourselves.
It’s like we’re constantly painting a masterpiece, but no stroke of the brush ever feels quite right.
This unyielding desire for perfection is rooted in our deep sense of idealism.
We are not just dreamers, we are dreamers with a vision.
We can see the potential in people and situations so vividly that anything less than what we’ve envisioned feels like a bitter disappointment.
But here’s the counter-intuitive part: in our quest for the perfect, we often overlook the beauty of the imperfect.
Think about it.
Isn’t there something uniquely charming about a hand-written letter with a few smudged words, or a homemade cake that’s lopsided but made with love?
In the same way, our lives, with all their flaws and missteps, are real and authentic.
Yet, we INFJs can get so caught up in the ideal that we fail to appreciate the perfectly imperfect moments.
5) Longing for deep connections
At our core, INFJs long for deep and meaningful connections.
This means that we yearn to share our inner world with others, to engage in conversations that go beyond small talk, and to create bonds that stand the test of time.
But guess what?
Such connections are not easy to find.
The thing is that the world often seems more inclined towards superficial interactions and fleeting relationships.
This can leave us feeling a profound sense of loneliness, as if we’re standing on one side of a vast chasm, with everyone else on the other.
Our longing for deep connections is heartfelt and intense, and at times, it can be painful.
It’s not a quest for popularity or a large social circle. It’s a desire to truly know and be known by another human being.
This heartfelt longing is a unique struggle that INFJs often understand.
We may not always find what we’re looking for, but we never stop hoping that one day, we will.
6) Battling decision-making anxiety
For INFJs, decision-making can feel like navigating a minefield — each step fraught with anxiety and second-guessing.
This internal battle is intense, often leaving us paralyzed and exhausted.
But why is making decisions such a Herculean task for us?
At the heart of our decision-making anxiety is our deep-seated need to align our choices with our values and the potential impact they have on others.
We’re not just thinking about the immediate outcome — we’re pondering the ripples our decisions will create in the grand scheme of things.
It’s a weighty responsibility that we take very seriously.
But here’s where it gets tricky.
Our intuition, usually a trusted ally, can sometimes flood us with too many insights, leaving us overwhelmed.
When combined with our tendency to foresee long-term consequences, even the simplest choices can turn into a mental tug-of-war.
So, how do we navigate this?
- Trusting our intuition, but not being ruled by it
- Recognizing that not every decision carries equal weight
- Accepting that some uncertainty is a part of life
7) The struggle with self-expression
Ever felt like you’re an ocean of thoughts and emotions trapped in a bottle?
That’s the essence of the self-expression struggle for us INFJs.
Our inner world is so rich and complex, yet when it comes to sharing it, we often hit a wall.
You see, like you’re having a beautiful, vivid dream but only remember fragments when you wake up.
Take, for instance, a simple conversation about how our day went.
While others might see it as a straightforward exchange, for an INFJ, it’s a labyrinth of thoughts and emotions.
We might have experienced a profound moment of connection with a stranger or an epiphany while reading a book during lunch.
But when asked, “How was your day?”, these rich, nuanced experiences often get reduced to a mere “It was fine.”
No, it’s not because of the lack of desire to share.
It’s because of the immense difficulty in translating our inner world into words that do it justice.
8) Easily overwhelmed by sensory input
Did you know that INFJs often experience sensory input more intensely than other personality types?
Imagine walking into a busy mall. The buzz of people talking, the bright lights, and even the smell of food can feel like too much.
Every sound and sight hits harder, making what’s just background noise for others feel like a flood for us.
This intense way of experiencing the world is unique to INFJs.
First of all, we’re being easily distracted but also, it’s all these sensations can tire us out more quickly.
Simply put, in loud or busy places, our energy can drain faster than others might realize.
As INFJs, managing this sensory overload is key. It’s about knowing when to step back and find a quiet spot.
But trust me, recognizing this part of yourself will help you handle the world in a way that works for you.
Just try to face the struggles and accept how deeply you feel and process everything around you.
Final words: Make the most of your unique personality
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