Courage to Speak

Courage to Speak

Introverts struggle with gaining the floor to comment or ask a question. Introverted seminar attenders often wait until the crowd has cleared and they stand in line to ask questions privately.  Very often the questioner is an INFJ who just cannot settle on a profile.  After hearing their questions, I suggest they check out the INFJ profile--the one titled ‘Empathizers’ with the icon of someone being comforted. Some Intuitives test out with Sensing majority, just because their upbringing has been primarily in a Sensing home where they’ve not been encouraged to dream.  Often, Feelers test out Thinking because they’ve answered questions with how they’d like to be. Feelers seem to always yearn for more cognitive behavior.  INFJs desire a personality profile that fits perfectly and are relieved to discover that they are normal, and merely a mystery to others as well as to themselves.

Review of the individual letters:

I for introversion: think first, then speak. Conversation, crowds and noise drain them of energy.

N for Intuitive: prefer having several goals, ask in-depth questions regarding their perfectionistic tendencies and explanations of why they are easily bored.

F for feeling: heart logic, must have harmony and insist that others be helped and happy.

J for structure: work, then play, can be opinionated and dislike wasting time.

INFJs resemble humming birds--'now you see them; now you don’t’. Their flower-mate is Camellia: delicate, colorful, private. They fall into 1% of the nation for females and less than l% for males.

Vivian, a new friend who recently jumped through many hoops of e-mail exchanges to finally land on INFJ profile--a joyful revelation, shares her discovery:

“Something I was wondering… I took 8 weeks of schooling to learn the right way to put on make-up and perform as a clown. My acting name was ‘Ding-Dong’ as I played the keyboard to bring the other clowns on stage for our various acts.

The only time I have courage to speak, sing or perform in front of an audience, is when I have my clown face on and that big red nose.  If I’m asked to sing or talk into a microphone when I’m not dressed as a clown…no way, as I’m very shy. That is something that has always puzzled me.  I guess nobody knows who I really am when I’m all made up as a clown…could that be it?  On the fun side, my friend, John and I have been putting a puzzle (1000 pcs) together and are having fun doing it. (We both get very quiet looking for pieces…ha) I really don’t do puzzles but, this has been a fun new thing. I like new challenges. My reply:

Dear Vivian:  It’s not so much that your friends don’t know you, but more that you become someone else on stage.  Performing behind the guise of a clown is an admission I’ve heard many times from Introverted Intuitives. Many actors, actresses, performers and musicians INF (P and some J) are quite comfortable behind makeup and instruments. It is well documented that Introverted Intuitives are attracted to many types of entertainment--speaking, song, dance, acting, painting, writing, etc. However, many musicians, actors and performers are also represented by other temperaments.

Puzzles: seem to appeal more to sensing people, especially 1000 piece, but our dad, who was ENTP (Extroverted, Intuitive, Thinking and Spontaneous) was a puzzle-lover, totally opposite from his selling job. He’d let us help but we had to look and know for sure before we placed a piece. And we had to be quiet.

My goal with Courage to Speak is to render appreciation and understanding for those of you who are designed this special way or others who may have an INFJ child or be married to an INFJ to get a heads-up on who you are responsible for, bunk with or work with to contribute to a less-stressful association.

INFJs, as I mentioned are sometimes a puzzle to themselves.  Of all types, they have the most difficult time deciding what their temperament might be.  Their vivid imaginations are entertaining to themselves and intriguing to others. They are usually excellent students who use their creativity to achieve various goals, especially fighting for a cause and comforting others.

INFJs are willing to tolerate working with their hands or involvement with boring facts if it paves the way for them to help people emotionally, preferably one at a time. An INFJ’s attitude is usually, “I’d rather make suggestions than decisions.” They wield much behind-the-scenes influence. But a hint to all of you, don’t wait for the INFJ to volunteer an idea or suggestion, request it.

INFJs are sensitive, quiet and serious and tend to be perfectionists---often working too hard on a project.  They are usually very cooperative because they are organized and crave harmony at all costs. Pleasing others and giving their best in all situations characterize INFJs. They avoid conflict of all kinds.

Criticism crushes the spirit of an INFJ (as with all feelers).  They know where they have failed but do not want it mentioned. They like to be appreciated for their creative ideas and thoughtful actions.

It is surprising to INFJs that some people are actually intimidated by their quiet demeanor and strong projected ideas regarding setting precedents with future consequences.

In my observations of INFJs, they function happily in one-on-one situations as therapists, music, clinical psychology, general practitioner, psychiatrist, psychologist, ministry, writing, research or teaching in these fields.  They excel in these fields because of their warmth and genuine concern mixed with insight and ability to complete tasks. I encourage INFJs to get as much education as possible because they are not going to enjoy hands-on boring careers.  Routine housework doesn’t usually thrill any of them.

I’ve also learned recently from an INFJ that especially in a new relationship they prefer to be asked to contribute to a conversation.  When an INFJ appears to be solemn, it doesn’t mean they are unfriendly or have nothing to share.  But if you live with or work with an INFJ, remember that conversation, especially any kind of interrogation drains them. And don’t question ‘now you see them and now you don’t’.  They’ll ease away when they are tired.

INFJ’s are especially good at writing a passionate letter of comfort or a scathing letter of someone’s poor response or behavior.  They are not easily persuaded against any of their moral beliefs.  And one last thing I really admire about INFJ’s is their adherence to confidentiality. Incidentally, in a class of 42, an INFJ (as with other INs) temperament/type isn’t even there. That’s how rare they are. If you have an INFJ friend, you are rich, indeed. The full INFJ personal profile is available by clicking the sidebar on menu and scrolling down.

The final paragraph on INFJs in my book How to Get Along with Everyone reads: “The family and acquaintances of INJFs are often unaware of their behind-the-scenes gifts of creativity, suggestions, time, energy, and finances in assisting those who need help and encouragement.  The community is enriched by their gentle, unpresumptuous ways that deserve to be acknowledged and celebrated. For Intuitives’ curiosity, I’m including details on preference order included with the profile.

As an INFJ, you extravert your second preference--Feeling decisions--which causes the world to see you as a decision maker wanting closure. You may say “no” just to get private time for your first and favorite preference--Intuition (reading, writing, music, painting, ideas, research, etc.). Although you seem to like decision-making, you enjoy your Intuitive projects achieved in privacy more.  Because Thinking head logic, is your 3rd, and Sensing your 4th preference, they will be a little more difficult to consult and use but can be developed with intention. Dusting falls into sensing.

Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the                            Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Josh. 1:9 NLT

Each one should test his (her) own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load. Gal. 6:4,5