I’ve always been introverted with a side of social anxiety, but lately I’ve felt as though my anxiety has significantly increased. To combat this and better understand myself, I’ve been doing a lot of research about introversion and social anxiety. My hope is to better educate myself on these traits as well as possible coping mechanisms and personal growth opportunities that would work best for me. I first took the Myers-Briggs personality test years ago but decided to take it again to really dig deep into my wiring. I found a great version of the assessment at 16 Personalities, and they have, by far, the most in-depth free report that I’ve seen on this type of assessment. (Note that I also took about five other versions of this type of test to make sure that my result was accurate.)
Unsurprisingly, now that I’ve read up on it, I am an INFJ. INFJ equates to Introvert, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging. This personality type is the rarest of the 16 and makes up less than 1% of the population. That’s one in every 100 people. Between 16 Personalities and the other assessment results I received, it was literally pages and pages of information on being an INFJ. Rather than just copy and paste all of that information, I want to touch on the facts that really struck me, and just generally use this post as a way to organize and reflect on this data. And what better way to do this than…::dramatic whisper:: bullet points.
- The INFJ personality type can be referred to as “The Advocate” or “The Counselor.” The role of this person is diplomat, and their strategy in life is constant improvement. This actually made me chuckle because it’s very spot on for me. People often seek me out for advice or to vent, I really despise confrontation so I try to be very diplomatic, and I am a personal growth junkie.
- INFJs tend to see helping others as their purpose in life. They need to know that what they are doing has meaning, helps people, leads to personal growth and, all the while, is in line with their values, principles, and beliefs. This is something that has become very apparent to me the last couple of years. It’s one thing to be good at your job, and another to love your job. And I realize that I truly desire work that is not only creative but impactful. I like knowing that I am working for a purpose, even if that purpose is to make people laugh and be happy.
- INFJs crave creativity too. They often pursue expressive careers such as writing, elegant communicators that they are, and author many popular blogs, stories, and screenplays. Well, here’s hoping 🙂
- Though soft-spoken, INFJs have very strong opinions and will fight tirelessly for an idea they believe in. They are decisive and strong-willed, but will rarely use that energy for personal gain. This is me to a T. I’m fairly quiet in most situations, as I prefer to observe and think before acting/speaking, but woo boy do I have strong opinions. I will make sure to share them, especially if I feel as though there is inequity or injustice going on (especially to others, not just myself).
- INFJs need time alone to decompress and recharge. lolololol uh, yeah. Most weekends find me hiding at home, alone, so I can shed the stress and social interaction cache from the work week and recharge before getting back to it on Monday morning.
- When INFJs come to believe that something is important, they pursue that goal with a conviction and energy that can catch even their friends and loved ones off guard. Yeah, pretty much. #sorrynotsorry
- INFJs yearn for authenticity and sincerity – in their activities, their romantic relationships, and their friendships. They are unlikely to go for friendships of circumstance, like workplace social circles or chatting up their local baristas, where the only thing they really have in common is a day-to-day familiarity. Rather, INFJs seek out people who share their passions, interests and ideologies, people with whom they can explore philosophies and subjects that they believe are truly meaningful. Yessss! I am really sick of needing to defend the fact that I cringe at small talk, despise work happy hours, and generally dread “just because” functions. It’s not because I’m an asshole or standoffish, it’s because these type of social interactions (and the anxiety that I feel leading up to them) are painful and, in my eyes, pointless.
I think it’s really important to note that “introverted” does not necessarily mean “shy.” To me, being an introvert means that I just prefer to be quiet and observe. It means that I am highly sensitive to external stimuli – noise, light, crowds of people, scents, etc. These are things that I zero in on and am affected by physically. It means that I get my energy from being by myself and enjoying solitary activities like reading and writing. It means that social situations and gatherings take a lot out of me, and that I don’t always hate them, but I will more than likely dread the lead up to them. I just find all of this information really fascinating and comforting. Most of the time, I feel like an awkward socially anxious freak of nature, so to see what I feel and how I act documented in various ways by various sources makes me feel a little less misunderstood and lonely.