Why INFJs struggle to ask for help

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When was the last time you asked someone for help? I'll wait while you think back...



Still thinking?

Maybe it wasn't hard to come up with an example. If so, that's fantastic!

Many times, though, INFJs avoid asking for help. Is this true for you?

Why is it so hard for INFJs to ask others for help?

1. Introverted Intuition can create tunnel vision.

An INFJ's dominant cognitive function, Introverted Intuition, is a convergent process. This means your brain juggles the various patterns it observes until it fits them all together into a single insight. When INFJs have an insight about how something is to be done, it may be difficult to entertain other possibilities or options. You may hold tightly to your idea, even in the face of evidence that something is not working out. This tunnel vision can cause you to ignore all other perspectives because you feel certain that your insight is the best way. Take note of when this has happened in your life and consider how reaching out for help may have allowed things to go more smoothly.

2. Your focus is on how to help others, not yourself.

The nature of Extraverted Feeling is to look outside yourself to create and maintain harmony with those around you. It makes you want to give and help in order to reach this balanced state. Because it's outwardly focused, you may forget to consider yourself as a factor in harmony. A habit of doing this can cause you to lose track of who you are. Asking for help is a sign of maturity and self-awareness. It means you know your limits and you know when it's time to be on the receiving end of helping.

3. You may believe you don't deserve help.

Do you blame yourself for the things that go wrong in your life? Do you look internally and wonder, "What's wrong with me?" These kinds of thoughts build the foundation for feeling as if you don't deserve help from others. You may feel as if the difficulties in your life are there because of who you are. The MBTI® Manual states, "Introverts are more likely to look to themselves first for causes of difficulties rather than to others and the environment" (p. 266). On the other hand, extraverts tend to look to things outside of themselves first to explain what's happening in their lives. As an introvert, then, you may feel as if you don't deserve help because what you're going through is somehow your fault. But that's just not true. By understanding how you're built, you can speak truth to the lie that you don't deserve help.

4. You don't want to be a burden.

Have you ever hesitated to reach out to someone because you didn't want to bother them? Or, maybe you decide to share your thoughts and feelings with someone, but then feel bad about it afterwards. Many INFJs struggle with this, too. You may feel as if others won't understand or that you'll push people away if you share your true self. Simply expressing what's on your mind can help you feel much better than when you keep it all hidden inside. I've witnessed this many times in coaching sessions. There's often a noticeable difference in my clients' energy from the beginning of the call to the end. The key in sharing, or asking for help, is to choose the right person who will listen, without judgment, criticism, or advice (unless you ask for it).

5. You might have perfectionistic tendencies.

Many INFJs are perfectionists. If you're not sure if you are, Megan over at INFJ Blog has a list of 15 signs you're an INFJ perfectionist. You might not ask for help because you want to do things on your own and in your own way. You may avoid starting something if you don't feel you can do it perfectly. Asking for help doesn't mean you're a failure or that you're missing something everyone else has. Asking for help means you accept and respect the unique skills and abilities of others. Open your eyes and see the wealth of resources in those around you.

What do you think? Do any of these hit home? If so, consider what story you tell yourself when you think about asking for help. Think about writing a new story. For example, instead of thinking of yourself as a bother when asking for help, you could consider the following:

  • Asking for help means I'm giving someone an opportunity to shine by using their skills and abilities.

  • Asking for help means I'm offering respect and love to the other person by inviting them into my life.

  • Asking for help means I trust the other person—a very high compliment!

These are a few examples of alternative ways to look at asking for help. Make sure you redefine asking for help in a way that's most meaningful to you.