Have you taken a personality test?
DISC? Enneagram? Rorchach?
Or maybe it was a version of the famous 16 personalities quiz devised by Myers-Briggs?
If it was the latter, you would have been classified according to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). You could be one of the most common Myers Briggs personality types, or maybe you’re a little more unique than that. Maybe you’re part of the rarest personality type.
So, what is the rarest personality type?
There is some confusion over which personality type is the rarest — especially when gender, age, and location are taken into consideration.
To avoid confusion, I’m going to be writing about the rarest personality type overall — according to the 3 million participants of this comprehensive personality test based on the Myers Briggs 16 personalities.
And that accolade goes to INFJ, otherwise known as ‘advocate personality,’ ‘empath,’ or ‘counselor,’ which makes up only 1% of the entire population.
The rarity of INFJs and their contradictory personal traits make them fascinating people to discuss and attempt to understand. Whether you are a member of this psychological classification or not, all personality types can benefit from a better understanding of INFJ people and what living as an INFJ means.
To give a little perspective and to clarify for anyone still confused as to why INFJ is the rarest, I will start us off with a few facts and stats before diving into the complex ins and outs of this alluring personality type.
The INFJ personality type makes up just 1% of the population. 25% of them are males and 75% female.
Since INFJ females outnumber male INFJs 3 to 1, with a little math we can see that 0.5% of all males are INFJ, and 1.5% of all females are INFJ.
The gender-personality combination of Male INFJs (0.5%) equals the lowest population percentage with female INTJs (0.5%).
The high number of INTJ males, in comparison, prevent INTJ from being the most rare personality type overall. But if you’re an INTJ female, you can be proud that you are part of the rarest gender-type combination.
Some INFJ celebrities include:
- Al Pacino
- Cate Blanchet
- Adolf Hitler
- Eleanor Roosevelt
- Taylor Swift
- JK Rowling
- Carl Jung
- Noam Chomsky
Living as an INFJ
Many INFJs and people who share their lives with INFJs have trouble understanding what exactly is going on in their heads. This is because a lot of their traits are contradictory and overlapping. For example, they are introverts who need time alone to recharge but also require deep, stimulating conversation.
This push-pull way of living can be confusing. So, I aim with this article to alleviate some of that confusion by giving you insights into how and why INFJs act the way they do.
INFJ Cognitive Function: I Come from the Future
INFJs are great at recognizing patterns and are highly perceptive of others. They can read people’s emotions so well they often confuse others’ feelings with their own.
They can see the big picture more than the details. So, they may not remember how you take your coffee, but they will be able to perceive how you feel deep down, if you’re lying (even to yourself), and what makes you tick. This leads to many INFJs being thought to have extra-sensory perception and are the go-to MBTI personality type when looking for advice.
This foresight can be frustrating for the INFJ ‘psychic’, as others cannot see what they see, leaving them feeling the world around them is oblivious to their emotions and behaviors.
They aren’t passive observers though; once an INFJ has seen what could be, they will get to work making it a reality. Their sense of compassion and care drive them to inspire growth in others, often to the detriment of themselves.
The Empathetic Struggle
The strong empathy that is seen within INFJs can cause problems for them if not consciously tended to.
Empathy burnout is a thing, and while INFJs are connected to others’ emotions, it can take a toll on their own well being; they have to find an escape. Not knowing when to do this can lead to emotional turmoil within an INFJ empath.
Non-INFJs will be drawn to INFJs almost automatically in search of comfort and compassion, and INFJs don’t choose who to empathize with. They empathize even with people they dislike or whose behavior they disagree with. And without taking the time to recharge and find themselves again, as introverts need to, INFJs can actually end up struggling to align and lose connection with themselves. In essence, they see the other person’s side so clearly, that the boundaries between them become blurred.
The empathy INFJs feel is a wonderful trait, but they are at risk of forgetting about themselves and putting their own needs second.
INFJs like to plan — but loosely. Their judgement trait means they need some structure in their lives, but because they are also dreamers they need to allow for some spontaneity.
All INFJs need to achieve their goals is an inkling of what they can achieve and a rough guide of how to get there. The rest will be guided by intuition and judgement.
INFJs are achievement-oriented people and are able to imagine the impossible, then make it possible with strong organization and planning skills.
The Eye of the Beholder
INFJs appreciate the beautiful things in life. An aesthetically pleasing environment is calming and inspiring for an INFJ.
This beauty can be experienced through nature, song, or human connection. However, this love of beauty extends to material things. This contradicts their logical minimalistic nature and can come across as materialistic. For the most part, these material things do serve a purpose and that purpose is to bring comfort to the INFJ and to nourish their soul. It’s not about owning as much as possible, it’s about surrounding themselves with things that make them happy.
INFJ Relationships: The Extroverted Introvert
One reason an INFJ could experience empathy burnout is because their desire for deep meaningful connections with people can leave them neglecting their need to withdraw and recharge.
INFJs are true introverts by nature, meaning that time alone to them is like sustenance. However, they will come across as an extrovert around people they know and when fighting for a cause they believe in. Their desire to build deep connections with people, and curiosity to understand them, is caused by their extroverted feeling.
After some time INFJs’ energy will drain, and they will need to retreat in order to recharge. This can happen seemingly out of the blue.
So, when an INFJ disappears or withdraws suddenly, it can seem strange to non-INFJs. And if they have experienced empathy burnout, they can even lash out and say things they don’t mean.
Loss of control is due to the overwhelming emotions they are feeling and the lack of emotional energy to control them (and even know which emotions are their own).
Putting Up Walls
INFJs need to be strict with their boundaries in all relationships. Because of their overwhelming need to help and to relate to others, even if they know they are being manipulated they will still do their utmost to help that person.
This need can be extremely damaging, meaning INFJs have to keep their values and boundaries rock solid. This also means that they won’t have huge circles of friends, and instead choose quality over quantity.
INFJs won’t let just anyone see their inner workings, and can come across quite reserved. But once they let you in, you will be privy to their reflections on life, ethics, emotions and the intensity of their values.
Going It Alone
INFJs are strong willed and are more than capable of walking the road less traveled. Even though they will deeply want to help anyone and support them on their path, if they feel their values are being compromised they will withdraw.
An INFJ’s compassion is strong, but their capacity for ingenuity is stronger. If an INFJ feels that someone’s intentions are not pure, they will not follow blindly. Instead, they would rather walk their own path.
Sharing Is Caring
Always striving for the deep connections that INFJs crave can lead to some beautiful moments and life-long relationships. However, if these connections are lacking, INFJs need to satisfy their needs in other ways.
You will often see INFJs as counselors, writers and leaders, as these are outlets for INFJs to share and act on their insights of human behavior.
INFJ Careers: Let’s Get Creative
INFJs’ understanding and curiosity of the human behaviors that surround them gives them plenty to express creatively, usually in writing, but they are also scientific thinkers.
They will excel as much in a ‘thinking’ career, like medicine, law, or finance, as they would a creative one. But it is their creativity that they need to express in order to be happy.
Creating art is the INFJ’s way of releasing and portraying the many contradicting, and often confusing, thoughts and emotions they experience.
INFJ Communication: Make Love, Not War
INFJs are not an argumentative personality type, and will avoid conflict wherever possible. This is generally a good trait; INFJs use their persuasive nature and love of harmony to bring calm and tranquility to many situations.
However, INFJs are sure of their values, and if their vision is not understood by others, disagreements can arise. This is because when an INFJ’s view of the world is not reciprocated, they can become disenchanted with others and may believe they have ulterior motives or bad intentions.
INFJs need to accept that the world will not always agree with them and that disputes should not be swept under the rug to avoid confrontation. Instead, communication should remain open, and they should use their skills to keep tensions low. Working with other personality types is not easy, but an aware INFJ is able to set boundaries, stand up for their needs, and work on a peaceful resolution.
A Sensitive Subject
INFJs can take criticism very hard, even small nitpicks within a pile of compliments will sit with them for days.
INFJs feel emotions intensely, and won’t express themselves unless they’re in what they deem as trustworthy company.
Opposition toward their values and beliefs will come across as personal attacks and INFJs will suffer. Fighting through their conflict avoidance is important here, as INFJs won’t voice their thoughts to just anyone.
16 Personalities’ Compatibility with INFJs: How to Make Friends, and Inf(j)luence People
INFJs are often thought of as perpetual outsiders. This is because it can be difficult for different types of individuals to understand this personality type.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could see how your personality type interacts with INFJs?
I know it would… Keep reading 🙂
INFJ vs ENTJ
Of all the Myers Briggs personality types, INFJs will find conversations with ENTJs some of the most stimulating. Topics will be deep and meaningful, but ENTJs will probably be more vocal due to their extroverted nature. INFJs will be attracted to ENTJs controversial opinions and curious nature, but could be turned off by their sometimes critical and blunt behavior.
ENTJs take a more cold, calculated approach, while INFJs are led by their heart. There is a balance between the two though; if they can avoid the frustrations of their differing values, they can help each other improve on some of their shortcomings.
INFJ vs ESTP
The polar opposite of the INFJ, you would imagine that these two personality types should avoid each other. However, there is a lot that these two personalities can benefit from by building a relationship. And considering ESTP is one of the most common personality types, that’s a good thing.
At first, the deeply logical and practical values of ESTPs can clash with the deep emotional intimacy that INFJs crave. INFJs may struggle to find enjoyment in conversations that focus on ‘real things’ rather than the abstract and philosophical.
But if they can meet halfway, they may find the fun-loving ESTPs being able to bring INFJs out of their heads and into the moment. While INFJs can help ESTPs to think more from the heart and be less clinical in their value system.
INFJ vs ESTJ
Being the two Myers Briggs personalities most likely to clash, there is still a lot for INFJs and ESTJs to learn from each other. Just in small doses.
ESTJs’ enthusiasm and energy can be quite overwhelming for an INFJ, and having to drag conversation out of INFJs can be frustrating for ESTJs. ESTJs can be suspicious of change and choose to stick to traditions. INFJs can help them see a more abstract way of thinking and embrace change, while ESTJs can add a layer of structure and practicality to INFJs fantastical and idealistic values.
With a bit of time and deliberate interaction, these very different personalities can have a very positive impact on each other.
INFJ vs ISTP
ISTPs spend more time experiencing the world than they do thinking about it. They can appear unmotivated and lazy to INFJs, but they are simply valuing freedom and flexibility more than structure and routine.
This is another personality pairing that could easily clash but that, with a bit of understanding, can bring both parties toward a more balanced way of living. INFJs can bring a softer and more emotional energy to the ISTPs’ practical values.
INFJ vs ISTJ
ISTJs don’t have the same visualization as INFJs, and will rarely get excited about the same ideas unless they see them in reality.
ISTJs may view INFJs as unrealistic, disruptive, and their ideas for change as unnecessary. The INFJs may see ISTJs as dull, stuck in their ways, and unimaginative.
There will no doubt be frustrations during interactions between these two types of personality, but where there are differing views and ways of thinking there are opportunities for learning from each other.
INFJ vs ESFP
INFJs may often take the listener role during interaction due to ESFPs’ extroverted nature.
They have the same deep care for others, but how that surfaces differs. INFJs take an idealistic view and try to empower others to a grander view of the world. ESFPs will take a practical and more ‘instant’ approach to the help they give. They need tangible results to feel the success of their help.
This is a great common ground for these types from which they can help each other. INFJs to be more practical and realistic, and ESFPs to be a bit more organized and visionary.
INFJ vs ESFJ
INFJs’ and ESFJs’ views of the world may clash. ESFJs don’t have the same vision as INFJ, and they don’t have the same interest for ideas and theories. Patience and tolerance is important from both sides.
They do have a similar outlook when it comes to organization, however. This means they will work great together when creating systems and structures. There may be disagreements as to why, but the how is clear for both.
INFJ vs ISFP
The two share a need for down-time, although both could find the other talking them out of socializing for the sake of comfort.
INFJ and ISFP both have strong values and deep empathy for others, but INFJs will lean towards making the world a better place, and ISFPs will be more grounded in their approach.
The differences in communication, willingness for change, and the way they see the world could invite frustration. But the slower pace and dislike of over stimulation that they share is ample ground for growth.
INFJ vs ISFJ
Two introverted and empathetic personalities with similar passion for their values, their biggest difference comes from how they approach life.
INFJs will talk using abstract ideas, metaphors, and big picture theories. ISFJs focus on the now and have meticulous attention to detail. This can cause clashes between the two, but if both are willing to adjust toward the other, they can do great things together.
INFJ vs ENFP
Considered by many as the ultimate personality type for INFJs, ENFPs also seek deep emotional bonds.
Conflict is unlikely between these two as both are able to put themselves in the other’s shoes. When there is a clash, both will be determined to find a middle ground.
Conversations will take a trip through the abstract as they have a similar view of the world.
INFJs can rely on ENFPs to bring some welcomed energy to a relationship, but may have to withdraw at times in order to recharge. Each type can help the other find an organizational balance, with INFJs keeping ENFPs more structured, and ENFPs reminding INFJs that it’s OK to let loose sometimes.
INFJ vs ENTP
While INFJs will love ENTPs’ abstract way of thinking and love of deep meaningful interactions, they may not like the argumentative way they approach them.
The ENTP population is a lot more spontaneous than INFJs, and they can help each other find a balance between structure and flexibility.
Both are empathetic in nature and share a common goal of helping people, however it is the ENTPs’ more methodological approach that can prevent the INFJ from acting in an emotionally driven decision. In contrast, INFJs will give ENTPs a direct line to their heart, allowing for a more human decision-making process.
INFJ vs INTP
INFJ and INTP personality types are drawn together for their deep, intellectual conversations. They appreciate the challenges they present to each other.
Both share introverted intuition and this trait can make it difficult to connect quickly with people. The good news is that these two types are similar in this regard, which means they are likely to get to the point of bonding much quicker.
INFJ vs INTJ
INTJ and INFJ personalities are quite similar. Where they differ is that INTJs will choose efficiency over personal needs, and they will try to avoid too much emotional connection.
Things can get a bit tricky with these two personalities when they try to get things done, as they both look at the big picture and struggle to look at the details. INFJ and INTJ personalities have a lot of passion for their values. However, INFJs won’t discuss any controversial topics openly unless with a trusted companion. INTJs have no problem bringing these topics up and discussing them at length.
INFJ vs ENFJ
With very similar outlooks on life, there are a lot of things that will allow INFJs to connect with ENFJs. However, INFJs will need to withdraw and recharge while ENFJs will constantly seek out human interaction.
Their strengths make them great companions, but their big-idea thinking and idealistic attitudes can leave both far from grounded.
And any conflict can be horrible for both parties, as both seek to avoid it. Luckily the creativity shared by both personality types can lead to positive solutions.
INFJ vs INFP
INFPs, although similar to INFJs, sit more on the artistic and free side while INFJs have a bit more structure.
INFPs also direct their strong emotional sense toward themselves more than others do. This can lead to some frustrations from the INFJs, whose feeling is extroverted.
The two will share great conversations with each other. But, from an outside perspective, the INFP population will seem like they are chaotic on the outside when, in fact, they have a good sense of themselves. Conversely, INFJs will seem calm, collected, and structured on the outside but are struggling with what’s inside themselves.
Just the Tip of the Iceberg
INFJ — the world’s rarest personality type — is perhaps one of the most interesting. Due to their contradictions and preference to only open up to those closest to them, many view INFJs as mysterious. In fact, it is hard to define INFJ behavior and, as with any other type, it is up to the individual to assess their personality — how to act around others, work on their shortcomings, and play to their strengths.
Therefore, I hope this short guide on the rarest MBTI type has given you some insight in how to do this and encouraged you to delve further into understanding yourself and others around you.