A Conversation with an INFP
INFJ Counsels an INFP:  The Rarest Types in the Myers-Briggs.

This is an example of a live email conversation between a client after she took the MBTI and shared her results.  I thought it would be informative, but also provide you with a sample of what a $15 coaching fee would provide you in terms of your professional and personal development. 

We continued to email for days, so this is not the full conversation, and there is no limit to how many times we will go back and forth.  When you feel you have full information, that's when we end our discussion. If you need additional information after a few weeks of trying these new skills, you can send me an email and keep going so that you incorporate this new knowledge into how you interact in the workplace. In other words, you transfer your learning into real change that improves your skill set.


"Only 1% of people internationally score as an INFJ or an INFP, which explains why they don't find a lot of like-minded souls in real life and connect very quickly when they do find themselves interacting with their same MBTI preferences.  I happen to be an INFJ and that explains why you and I have had such a fast connection in our email exchanges.

 I sent you to a free site---16 Personalities.Com, which is VERY good, but to take the actual test would cost about $150 and then you'd have to pay me or someone licensed to give you a full interpretation.   I’m providing this to you as one of my email clients at only $15 (which is really not going to cover my costs or my hourly rate; but hopefully makes you take this information more seriously since it was not freely provided).   So allow me to go into detail (by the way, can you send me the actual image you received, so that I can see how clear or unclear, strong or weak, your actual letters were? I will add additional suggestions for your unique score and how to gain more access to your gifts and develop your weaknesses or gaps in a future email).

Here's how I teach it in my workshops...and I was trained this way, so I'm biased, but I think I can support this bias.

Some practitioners say that we have the ability to be a little bit light in one area, and strong in another and that means we are sort of Feelers or F for instance, but not as strong as another....so we can conclude that we can "swing both ways" when a T or Thinker situation presents itself.  But that's not what I find and not what I was taught.  A person who doesn't score STRONGLY, very clearly on each letter is still trying to figure out who they are.  They are still listening to cultural or parental messages and are not able to clearly and affirmatively identify themselves.  And our lifetime goal, is to get ALL of those letters to STRONG...so that we can self-advocate.  So that we can communicate our needs, be aware when we are asked to be out of type, which ultimately causes STRESS AND PROCRASTINATION.  Those are the two things to watch out for.

 We all have to function outside of our type, our preference, to get along in this world, but if we do it too long, without moving back into our natural path, we will experience stress (anxiety, even anger) and procrastination (which many people call LAZY---I don't believe in lazy---more about that later).  So, it is incumbent on us to make sure we find activities to put us right again.  So that we can go back out and be out of type, if necessary, again.

Your type is the exact opposite type of the culture of the USA.  Our culture teaches very early that one needs to be an ESTJ.  This type is very one-sided, likes things black and white, right or wrong, and will LOUDLY declare that rightness.  Our first experience in school for being an E (and a loud one) is Show and Tell.  We force children, even Introverts or people who struggle with shyness (which is not as aspect of Introversion----that's a myth or a misunderstanding of the dichotomy---Introversion and Extroversion are about ENERGY---how one gains it and how one depletes it).  So, we force everyone to get up in front of a group and talk.  And what do teachers do when an Introvert is sitting quietly, not raising their hand to be called on (because Introverts need their thoughts, their verbal sharings, to be fully thought out before speaking?), well, they CALL on them when they have not shown a desire to be called on. A very rattling experience and usually very embarrassing as well.

 So yes, you know at such a young age (I have no idea how old you are, but you strike me as so enthusiastic and energetic, I assume you are still in your 20s), you already have enough self-awareness to score as an INFP.  Just remember, you will ALWAYS feel like you are alone or even sometimes in extreme self-doubt, wrong.   But you are needed.  Oh, so needed.  The INFJ and the INFP are two people who MUST change the world for the better (and isn't that what we've been talking about this whole time)?  And the really cool part is they will do it without wanting to take credit for it.  Just the simple act of knowing we are making a difference is enough reward for us.  Even if the people we are changing don't realize it.  We don't need fame or fortune.  We just want to be doing what we feel is good for the planet.

MBTI practitioners often lament about the scarcity of INFP and INFJ.  Philosophically, it is this type that will change things as they are today. But again, when you do find one, they are likely quietly blogging or teaching a small group of people (wink, wink) and not standing at a podium with a microphone talking to the media!

The difference in our two types? The P is very flexible, open, accepts changes easily. While the J is more organized, even rigid in some ways, and time sensitive.  One is agreeable and easy going; the other gets things done and on time.

Otherwise, we are Introverts....which is again, about energy.  It means nothing more than we need to be alone and in a quiet environment to become grounded and rested.  We, of course, have to extrovert on a regular basis.  And Jung himself said, "No one person is all one way or the other; that person would find himself in an insane asylum."  We must modify our approach or stretch ourselves to meet the demands of the outside world.  THAT's why people say they are both.  Because we get lots of practice in doing both.  But the question is:  Does it ENERGIZE you to be around a lot of people and stimuli?  Or does it ultimately make you tired and scattered (even irritable)?  That's the sign of the Introvert.  They can be very socially at ease, very good at presentations and speaking in front of others, introducing people at parties and so on, but it takes its toll. And Extroverts (and remember our culture insists that we be extroverted), don't understand this.  They label the need to be alone as odd or anti-social.  Now secretly, they wish they had a spoonful of this ability, for they are constantly in the business of seeking more and more stimuli, more and more distraction.  They in the extreme are what we call Emotional Vampires.  Taking and taking, talking and talking, just to keep their energy levels off.  Boredom or what they feel is inertia is SCARY to them. They almost PANIC...oh no!  I'm getting DEPRESSED...I'm going INSANE....so naturally they call us that when they observe our introversion.

This is all being said, so that you can do what I did NOT do in my younger years:  Advocate for yourself. Exercise self care first.  You can have reasonable conversations with people that state your needs and purposely put yourself into introversion.  I often had to create false arguments or fights to get alone time.  I had to move myself to exhaustion or even illness, to get a couple of days in bed under the covers.  So be aware that if you're working a large project or anything else where you need to concentrate and deliver, you need to CLOSE THE DOOR or work at home.  Distractions in the form of interruptions or external noise, just people talking in the hallway, will interfere with your overall process.

The N is Intuitive...and the reason they use N is because I was already taken!  Nothing more scientific then that!  While S on the MBTI, is an indicator that this person only takes in information (or believes data) that can be confirmed with the five senses (thus the name SENSOR), the N believes and uses quite effectively, that their "gut" or intuition is also a viable sense and to be used in decision making.  The N also could stand for NEW...as in they like things to be improved or even just changed for the sake of novelty. 

S's, on the other hand, are the watchdogs of tradition.  If Dad did it that way, then I will do it that way, no matter what evidence is shown to me to prove otherwise.  S could stand for STUBBORN.  Martin Luther King was the ultimate N....I have a dream....and it took over 40 years until we even were able to catch up with that (though I would argue we are still struggling).  His dream was unique, new and different.  Apparently, other civil rights leaders wanted equality under the law.  Just the same funding or allowances that whites enjoyed.  But Martin wanted INTEGRATION.  Where white children sat next to black children in school!  Even the progressives thought he was mad.  A true N if there ever was one.

Now it’s time for T vs. F.  F or Feeler.  Every female in our culture is socially conditioned to be an F (share with others, consider others feelings over your own, be nice always.  Anger is a no-no).  But only 2/3 of females score F on the MBTI.  Likewise, all men are socially conditioned to be a T (big boys don't cry, sadness or tears are not acceptable, walk it off, man-up, keep it all inside).  Thus, we have a very dysfunctional society when we forbid two very natural and normal and appropriate emotions from each gender respectively.  A Feeling Female has a blind spot though:  Thinking.  Now we ALL feel and we ALL think...but it's the order we do it in or HOW we do it, how much emphasis we place on one or the other.  And easy example is considering the purchase of a car.  The T would address this need by gathering data, facts, resale value, reliability and consider the financial limits of this purchase.  Once a car starts to meet all the criteria, they start to FEEL attracted to that car.  The F will see a car and FEEL an attraction to it...and then ensure that this is the right decision by backing it up with research, data, facts, resale value and the financial limits.  And yes, in the extreme a T is very hesitant to pull the trigger on any and all decisions created stagnation and frustration for those around him (sometimes even called stingy) and the F may purchase things that are not within their abilities, hoping it will all work out somehow, but showing up as impulsive or irresponsible to others.

What I have found as an HR professional, is that the FEELING MALE and the THINKING FEMALE are actually a preferred outcome.   While these two people feel very judged by our culture, they are actually the true diplomats and conflict managers of our society.  A Feeling Male is able to be a T with ease, because of his social conditioning; but he is actually an F and can easily move into that world with equal excellence.  While he may be accused of being "a sensitive male" which is almost a slur and suggestion of his sexual preference, he is able to handle things like a quarrel between his employees because he can focus on both managing the results while simultaneously maintaining relationships.  An advanced outcome if there ever was one.  The poster boy for the Feeling Male is Barack Obama.  And a diplomat he truly is.

Now, the Thinking Female has her issues with cultural messages and judgment too.  For a T female is often strong, decisive and knowledgeable.  Which is our culture reads as a bitch.  Yep!  That's exactly what we call her, assuring that she keeps this fabulous trait under wraps or risk the wrath of social rejection.  But a Thinking Female, just like her counterpart the Feeling Male, can "swing both ways."  She can play the Feeling Female with ease, while actually having full access to her Thinking function.  An excellent manager if there ever was one.  And the poster child for Thinking Female?  Hillary Clinton.  And just look at what we do to her in our culture.  She's shamed at every turn.

As a Feeling Female, you need to watch out for your blind spot: Thinking.  You should and MUST go into every situation purposely focusing your THINKER.  It is very dormant.  Instead of going into a meeting naturally thinking about others, how it will affect people, ensuring that the decision meets up with your value system (which you would do in your sleep and even if you were ill or intoxicated), you must focus on the facts, the data, the proof and the financials of it all.  That will provide you with the balance you need to be a good decision maker.  Likewise, the Thinking Male must do the same thing:  focus on what others are feeling, notice body language and tone of voice, be aware that his way is not everyone's way and so on.

Now for the final letter or dichotomy.  J vs. P.  Judgers (and in this case the label doesn't always apply, so please be aware that J's are not always judgmental and P's are not necessarily perceptive!).  J's are time sensitive.  They feel ANXIETY when they are late...or even right on time!  Right on time is LATE in their thinking.  They BARELY made it.  And that causes anxiety.  Where the E and the I are measuring ENERGY, the J and the P are measuring anxiety statesP's are very open-ended, enjoying processes, much more than destinations.  They feel anxiety when someone insists on a deadline or to be punctual.  For them, 4:30 is still within the 4:00 hour, and really can't you be a little flexible and not so JUDGMENTAL? 

They are also clutter bugs.  They do not need their environments to be exact, precise, clean and orderly.  They make piles, they don't even see those dirty clothes in the corner.  While the J is the one who put in the break room:  "Your Mother Doesn't Work Here; Please Clean Up After Yourself!"  The J becomes mentally scattered when their environment is scattered or in disarray.  And this is where J's and P's are rich for conflict.  Many of the arguments in the workplace are around this behavior.  The J's will even write up the P's when they are the manager. It can be determined that the P doesn't need to be right on time for his or her job, that he can always find what he needs in the piles, but the J insists that he needs to be on time and neat and orderly nonetheless.  HR often has to swoop in a manage this personality difference.  P's were the crammers in school.  They get an adrenaline charge and do their best work at the last minute.  They will wait until the day before to complete a project or request.  This drives the J's crazy, because when you give them a deadline, their anxiety is in full alert, and they want nothing more than to check it off their to-do list.  And a J ALWAYS has a to-do list!

MBTI is the stuff of emotional intelligence.  And Emotional Intelligence (EI) is now considered the best indicator of workplace success (registering four times higher than IQ).  We all know the smart guy down the hall who has two master's degrees, but no one really knows him, and he seems kind of weird, so we avoid him....vs. the high school graduate who is fun, friendly, remembers your kids' names and always considering your view or feelings.  Emotional intelligence requires these five things:  Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, Self-Discipline, Empathy and People Skills/Communication Skills.  And the MBTI shows you where you have these things and where you do not.  And therefore, you can address these gaps and become more successful, more productive, less stressed and avoid procrastination."

What are your questions now?  Where did you see yourself in the above descriptions and where do we need to discuss things further?  Are you currently dealing with anyone that is your opposite and would like information on how to approach them?  All of these things are possibilities from this one report."

For your own interpretative report, send your results from 16 Personalities to stephanie@work-stress-solutions.