One of the most requested topics from INFJs is relationships. It makes sense. Research shows that there are fewer INFJs than any other personality type. This might set us up to feel alone and misunderstood. We're not the only MBTI® type to experience these things, but there are great numbers of INFJs who feel these things on a regular basis.
The truth is, you bring a lot to any relationship. You, as a human person, and you, as an INFJ. I implore you to spend time reflecting on all the things you bring to the relationships in your life (friends, family, co-workers, etc.). When we accept these positive things about ourselves, they're also more visible to others.
During your reflection, consider the following list of things INFJs bring to relationships.
Strengths INFJs bring to relationships:
INFJs are perceptive. We can usually tell when something is off with another person before others notice. And thanks to our intuition, we're set up to be creative problem solvers. Your insight and ability to problem solve allow you to support others in unique and meaningful ways.
When we're healthy and using our Extraverted Feeling, we give our time and energy to those who are important to us. When someone we love wants us to be near, we're there for them. You also support the relationships in your life by doing what you say you're going to do. We can support others by helping them see the big picture. We can support them with our insight into how to resolve conflict. When the conflict involves us, our desire for harmony motivates us to quickly find a solution.
We listen intently to those we cherish. We listen because our brains are naturally curious, and wired to seek understanding. We listen because we care and we're invested in those closest to us. We also listen because it allows us to collect information to create a strategy to help. An INFJ's empathy means that we'll feel what the other person feels so we better understand where they're coming from.
We may ignore our accomplishments or strengths because there's always a gap between what we've done and what could be...amiright? ;-) Take some time to recognize the various relationships you have in your life and write about the strengths you bring to each one.
Soooo...let's move on to potential issues you may face in relationships, mmmkay?
Common issues INFJs face in relationships
As with everything, not all INFJs are exactly alike. The following things are common among INFJs, but the way we handle them can vary from person to person. As we grow and develop, we can also minimize the impact these things have on us. As you read, think through how these common issues might impact your relationships.
1. High expectations, high expectations, high expectations
The reason we have such high expectations of others is because we have them for ourselves. INFJs have an idealist temperament (see #2) which means we strive to be the best version of ourselves. We want that for those around us, too. If we're on a path of learning and growing, it can be difficult when those around us are not.
How to deal:
Take a realistic look at the expectations you have of those closest to you. Are they based on your values and goals you have for yourself? Recognize that everyone in your life has a right to their own expectations of themselves. They can choose to grow, or not grow. They can want the same things as you do, or not. They get to decide, just like you get to decide how much energy you want to put into that relationship.
2. Unchecked idealism
Idealism is powerful (it's not the same as optimism—read this). It causes us to seek possibilities and gives us forward momentum for personal growth. This idealistic nature means INFJs prefer to focus on the future and what could be more than what is. If we don't recognize and temper our idealism in relationships, we set ourselves up for frustration. If we focus on the longing for what could be "if only ___," we may end up never feeling satisfied in relationships. We might think our new and better future is just over the neighbor's fence. Look how green their grass is! Rejecting our current relationships as never good enough can lead to despair.
How to deal:
Use your idealism to imagine a future of what could be in your relationships. Allow it to guide you. But also take inventory of the good things in your current reality. Acknowledge them often. Consider what you might overlook in your search for what's missing. Are there patterns in your life in which you reject relationships as never good enough? If so, what are you prone to overlook in relationships in a continual search for something "better?"
3. Taking things too personally
As INFJs, we're always on the lookout for the meaning behind things. We're observant of other people and their behavior, and frequently look for the meaning behind their words and actions—or inaction. This, coupled with a lack of self-confidence, can lead to taking things too personally. So when you send a message to someone and they don't respond right away, for example, you might start to examine all the things you might have done or said wrong.
How to deal:
Time for real talk: it's not about you. When you start to question what it is about you that might have caused someone's response, widen your perspective. What are the possible reasons for their response that only have to do with the other person? You can use this trick even if someone says something very harsh to your face, or deliberately tries to hurt you. What else might be going through their head? What perspective are they coming from? What's their reality? Test this and you'll see: it's really not about you. Practicing this will give you so. much. FREEDOM!
4. Nebulous boundaries
Any person who doesn't set boundaries will eventually find themselves worn out, burned out, or checked out. INFJs are no different. As introverts, we must have downtime and alone time to recharge. It's a non-negotiable. This is necessary even in the most loving and life-giving relationships. If someone is not willing to respect your boundaries, they don't respect you.
How to deal:
You're not a doormat. You're the door! Only you can decide what your limits are. The key here is to decide. Decide up front what you're willing to give to people in your life. Prioritize who you will give your energy to, and then how much you want to give. Check in with yourself regularly to see how well you're respecting your boundaries. If you find yourself over the line, make adjustments before you're so far over the line that it's no longer visible.
Related article: Personality type, communication, and relationship satisfaction