INFJ and perfectionist – the terms seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly. Or climate and change.
The perfectionist tendencies of the INFJ are an unfortunate byproduct of what makes us special. We love a good cause, especially one that matches our high ideals.
And don’t misinterpret the use of the word “unfortunate” here. The service INFJs provide due to our idealistic nature can be the stuff of legend. Think: Ghandi and Jesus.
But when INFJs set the bar airplane-altitude high for ourselves and others, we can easily crash.
One of our main strengths as INFJs is our insight. But again, an insight-perfectionism smoothie never tastes quite as good as an INFJ thinks it should. Here are some examples:
● You gave a great presentation, but a few people around the board table didn’t look as impressed as they should have.
● The fund-raiser made a ton of money, but last year’s group raised more.
● That shirt and tie didn’t look as good on as it did in the store.
● This hotel room is really nice, but the upgrade is better.
● Poverty is a problem, but what are you going to DO about it?
The different types of INFJ perfectionism
Any INFJ can fill in the blanks with his own special brand of perfectionism. If you can’t find yours, you might be missing the elephant in the room. Or the pile of dirty laundry, as it were.
Speaking of which, would a perfectionist accept a messy room? Yes, it’s possible. An INFJ might skip cleaning all together if it means they can earn an A+ on a job. You see, we INFJs are often big picture people.
The need for solutions
I struggle with big issues such as race relations, or haves and have-nots. Like everybody else, I want to help. However, I want a solution, and I want to implement it yesterday. Or I don’t want to think, or talk about it at all. I must either fix the problem or deny its existence. There is no middle ground.
Sensitivity to criticism
INFJs are typically sensitive to criticism. Hypersensitive. So even if the boss listed nine things that were great about the presentation, the one “needs-improvement” will eat away at us like, well, introverts on chips and dip at a party.
Procrastination is another byproduct of INFJ perfectionism. The fear of completing something that won’t enter the hall of fame is enough for the perfectionist to never start.
Or we might start it, and never finish it. Have you ever spent twenty minutes crafting a two-sentence email … inviting friends to lunch?
So those are the manifestations of INFJ perfectionism, but how about some methods for dealing with it?
7 Ways To Overcome INFJ Perfectionism
1. Recognize these reactions as thoughts, not reality.
My life changed for the better in a big way when I realized that the judging voice in my head was not the reality of the situation. It was just my inner-critic having his way. Understanding this will help INFJs feel happier.
2. Replace the critical thoughts with realistic ones.
Literally write them down on notecards or type them into your phone. Then remind yourself that “nobody’s perfect” the next time you misspeak during a meeting at work.
3. Turn your advice on yourself.
INFJs are typically much easier on others than on themselves. Pretend you are somebody else who is dealing with your situation. What advice would you give her to deal with her disappointment in herself? Then take that advice yourself.
4. See the big picture.
It’s cliche, but it’s also good advice. Does it really matter that you taught 5th period with your zipper open? As my good friend reminds me all the time, “Soon it will be November.” In other words, time will pass by and nobody will care about your mismatched socks.
5. Be imperfect on purpose.
Try out a new recipe and celebrate its delicious imperfection. Share your creative writing before it’s “ready” (it never is, by the way). Invite someone into your untidy home. You will most likely find that everything will go well. But even if it doesn’t, you’ll see that the world won’t stop spinning. Or if it does, it won’t be because you wore dark undies with a white skirt.
6. Tiptoe through procrastination.
Break big projects down into little, highly accomplishable chunks. Feel the success of finishing over and over again, and then…
7. Reward yourself.
You just finished a blog post? Don’t read it again looking for the best verb for sentence two in paragraph three. Instead, head to the local coffee shop for a pumpkin spice latte, play a video game, sprint up a hill carrying two small children, or whatever it is that makes you happy.
Hey, you’re an INFJ, a servant leader by design. You’re awesome, and getting better with each and every blemish. Take care of yourself instead of everybody else for once.
If you’re interested in connecting with other INFJs from around the world, join Introvert Spring’s private INFJ forum. We are truly a buzzing community! You’ll gain access to unique and 100% private discussions, INFJ blog posts, member events, and videos.
I’d love to know how perfectionism affects your life and, more importantly, how you deal with it. Let me know in the comment section below.