I am an INFJ. I’ve taken the test ad nauseum and that’s the type I’m pinned with; which is totally fine with me. The percentages of J and P do ebb and flow a bit, depending on the day, mood and circumstance. However! The letters remain, regardless of percentage.
Percentages? Letters? J and P?
Allow me to explain. I feel I should preface this by stating that I haven’t taken the actual Myers Briggs Type Indicator assessment in quite some time. I interpreted a workshop years ago for a company hosting their annual team-building conference and it was there, in a room of 100 strangers, that I took the assessment and saw I was an Introvert.
Introvert? What does that mean? I was intrigued, but also too young to really care. I tossed the information somewhere in the grey matter between my ears and didn’t think of it again until years later. Yet, the word lingered. Introvert. Introvert. Introvert.
It wasn’t until I was living in Austin that this word would change my whole world. Wandering the aisles of the Yarborough Branch of Austin’s Public Library, I found two books. One on how we all can support the growing homeless population (the husband and I had been making about 100 bagged lunches every weekend, and distributing them outside of homeless shelters, and I wondered what else we could be doing) and another book about my introverted super power.
I was so excited I could barely stand it. Introvert Power was the book that helped me understand me and the simple fact that—there was indeed nothing wrong with me. I’d grown up always feeling like there was something off about me. Now I understand, I’m just an introvert. Nothing is wrong, I’m just wired differently, and figuring out how to navigate my way through an extrovert-centered world.
And even more notable was just last year when I stumbled upon a free personality test and found, I am an INFJ. Well, what in the hell does that mean? It meant not only was I wired differently, I was wired like a very small percentage of the population; 1% to be exact. One. Percent. Well, shit. Now what?
I jumped down the rabbit hole and found so many books and podcasts on INFJs, Introverts, and personality type. It felt so good to finally feel understood, and know I was not the only one feeling out of place. There are others like me out there. I kept studying and reading up on all things introvert/INFJ. I found an INFJ writing coach who introduced me to an INFJ writing tribe and the rest is history.
Here are 3 things I have somewhat a firm grasp on:
- The main thing to note as far as differences between Extroverts and Introverts is—where/how we energize. Extroverts are energized and inspired by being outer world focused. They feel rejuvenated most when in social situations. Introverts are energized while recharging inside their own inner worlds. They often reboot themselves when they’ve had time to process a feeling/event/circumstance alone. Depending on the type of Introvert, this could take a couple of hours or take a few days.
- The rest of the letters—S/N, T/F and J/P—apply to all other ways each personality type functions and which processes they have learned to rely on mostly since childhood. As we’re growing up and putting together the pieces of our own world theories, we tend to favor one process or function over the other. Simply put, you may prefer to use your five Senses rather than iNtuition, you may opt to Think your way through situations rather than Feel them, and your ability to Judge (have a routine, structure) may be stronger than your ability to Perceive (have more flexibility than a Judging type). Needless to say, there’s way more to it than what I’ve written. Consider this just a preview.
- Another thing I find particularly interesting are the dominant and auxiliary functions/processes for each letter describes above. As I stated, since childhood, we’ve learned to rely on and use one function over another. The function we prefer is our dominant function; the one we trust. The auxiliary is hopefully a process we’ve somewhat developed and can use in certain situations. An example could be the difference between being right-handed or left-handed. I prefer to use my right hand, I’ve developed that skill enough since childhood, that it’s my dominant hand. However, I can squeak by using my left if need be. It’s not pretty, but I can do it. I actually broke my right clavicle bone years ago and had to take an Art exam with my left hand; not my best work, but I was able to do it since I had developed enough of a reliance on my left hand to use it when I really needed to.
Regarding the dominant and auxiliary functions is where I believe the percentages come in. Recently, I took a free assessment (again!) and my I was at 79% (sometimes it’s at 97%), N was 87%, F was 83%, and J was at 57%.
This basically means:
- I prefer to spend more time living in my head than out among people (Introverted).
- My mental energy is mostly spent on my restless imagination, inspired by tomorrow’s possibilities (iNtuitive).
- I’m friendly, personable and value the social arts (Feeling—interesting that someone so introverted is a people person, yet here I am and great 1:1).
- And I approach my work and decisions with a rational plan and dislike last minute surprises (Judging—which if you notice, I’m in the 50%-ish area). That simply means, depending on the situation I could be flexible if need be (here’s where I prefer to have a plan, relying on my dominant function of structure, but can be amenable using my auxiliary function when needed).
Obviously, I could go on, as I’ve barely scratched the surface. I’m more than open to having a discussion, being corrected (gently, INFJs shut down when confronted with harsh criticisms) and delving deeper.