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 One Person's Journey

 I first tested INFJ many years ago, and I didn't follow up on it; I just accepted the test result. Years later, when I read Keirsey's book PUM2 [Please Understand Me II], I came up INFJ several times on those questionnaires--but my J/P score was always very, very close. If I just interpreted one or two questions a bit differently, I could come up INFP instead of INFJ. Still, the INFJ description sounded close enough (as long as I interpreted certain passages liberally so that they fit me), so I stuck with the result.

Then I met some INFJs online, and over time I noticed that they seemed very different from me in certain ways. It's hard to articulate, but I guess they were more proactive, more intent on reaching out to people and being catalysts for transformation. In terms of Linda Berens's interaction-styles model (see, INFJs have a chart-the-course style, while I'm pretty clearly a behind-the-scenes person.

That made me wonder, and I started reading more type descriptions. Some of the ISFJ descriptions sounded more like me than the INFJ ones. So, I started wondering if maybe I'm an ISFJ. That really shook up my mindset, because it meant I had a Stabilizer temperament and was not a Catalyst after all. (If you really want to understand the other temperaments, try them on for size!)

Around the time Dr. Berens was making an official appearance as guest speaker in Temperament Talk, I decided to take the actual MBTI "test" and see what came up on that. I ended up taking the Majors PTI "test" as well; and I came up INFP on both.

Meanwhile, I had started reading about the cognitive processes (see, and as I read the descriptions closely, I noticed that only the INFP pattern really fit me. That was the strongest indicator so far. The key factor for me was Si (introverted Sensing): I knew it was relatively strong in me (which is part of the reason I thought I might be an ISFJ, since that type has dominant Si), but for INFJs it's extremely weak (or manifests in a more negative way).

So, I went back to the type descriptions and compared INFJ and INFP (and ISFJ for good measure), reading them from a new perspective.  Now I could see that chart-the-course style in INFJs and the behind-the-scenes style in INFPs (the latter being another reason I considered ISFJ briefly). So, for now I have my best-fit type.  Unless some contradictory evidence comes along, I'm pretty sure my type is INFP at this point.

But it took some study to get to this point. It wasn't just a matter of filling out a questionnaire and being done with it.

--Patrick (informing, responding NF/Catalyst)

If you are sorting between INFJ and INFP, you may wish to visit my other site, which has been designed to help illuminate their differences.

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A Second Journey

Years ago when I was in high school I was given a MBTI test which indicated that I was an INTP. I thought it was all fairly interesting but since the description didn't speak to me and only seemed to really address superficial aspects of my personality I disregarded the whole thing. 

Recently I have become interested in type again and took a rather dodgy online test which said I was an INTJ. While INTJs described the more rational side of me which likes to over-analyze everything, the description was even less like me than INTP. Confused, I began to learn more about what the the letters meant and how they all related to each other. I understood my mistake: it's less about who you are on the outside and more about your inner motivations. Less like the qualities you think you have and more about the patterns to your actions. When taking the MBTI it was like I couldn't really figure out what perspective I was supposed to be answering questions from as often both choices were equally compelling when looked at with different things in mind. Are INFJs often mis-classed in this manner? 

The IN letters always felt right, but what confused me is that it seemed like I was in the middle of the F/T and had no idea what the J/P were supposed to represent. I've always described myself as a thinker who is equally emotional and passionate. My folly was taking the literal meanings of "thinking" and "feeling" when looking at type. When I asked myself do I handle my thinking process by looking at the facts or by putting myself into a situation and vicariously experiencing, it became clear that I really was an F after all! I've always been a master of looking at things from other angles, thus endlessly doing something to satisfy my Ni. At the core of it all, as much as I hate to admit it for how much I value logic, have been my feelings, values, and a strong sense of what I'm focusing on having to be something worthwhile. They pull the strings and direct what outlets my Ni obsesses. 

I began reading about the INFJ type and those descriptions read more like the real me than any other type. I then stumbled on your websites. Nearly everything you've described in the INFJ handbook fit me eerily well. Charting the course fits the way I work out problems perfectly (actually it's more about the problems we most enjoy to work out, isn't it?).  Even though I chose to develop and favor my introverted thinking (often getting caught in what you perfectly described as "analysis paralysis"), my real type was always there behind the scenes coloring the way I perceived the world and pulling my strings. It was a really amazing epiphany. I'll admit I've always been addicted to those "AHa!" moments. Like the flash from the camera in a dark room. in that moment of brief illumination, part of the steel skeleton that holds everything together becomes visible. Though you may never be accurately able to convey the beauty you glimpsed, for that moment you finally UNDERSTAND and the whole way you look at the world shifts around. 

There are so many other things I could point out; so many of the personal things you mention are mirrored perfectly in myself, but the real point is to thank you for compiling all of this information on your websites. You have really opened my eyes to a lot of things about myself I took for granted, was scared to admit, or was even flat-out wrong about. 


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If you want to feel confident about your type pattern and live more deeply into who you are really meant to be, I recommend my Type Discovery program. Not only will you identify and feel confident about your four-letter code, you begin living in alignment with who you truly are. Please visit my professional site at to learn more.

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