Happy Sif’s Day
Anyone who has been a part of The Grey Wayfarer family knows that I talk often about my personality type. Myers-Briggs to me does a fairly decent job of defining personality through its simple four-letter designation. Well, four letters and dash with either an A or T behind it to indicate whether one’s identity is assertive or turbulent. In my case, my full letter combo is INFJ-A. I have found that in exploring the implications of this I have discovered more about myself and it has helped me with that struggle because as we will see in a moment, INFJ’s struggle with this.
My recent musings into the subject led me to discover a YouTube video that talked about how INFJ’s are walking contradictions. It is something I have heard and explored a little but the video offered some very specific contradictions that seem to be part of most INFJ’s and so after watching it I have to ask myself if they apply to me and more importantly what they mean for me.
8 Reasons Why INFJs are Often Described as a Walking Paradox
I like firstly how the video points out that it is not that we intend to be misleading or lack conviction but that our personality type puts us into these tensions. We have a high value on personal integrity and these contradictions are mostly due to our complex nature. With that let us dive into the eight contradictions and see if and how they apply to The Grey Wayfarer.
One – Craving deep connections, but being so private:
My standards of friendship and love are fairly high. This is the product of my desire for deep connection. I want a few good/great friends not a whole bunch of different ones. When it comes to love there are certain expectations I have coming back toward me.
The problem, of course, is that I am so very private as a person. It makes it hard to form those friendships and my wife is learning that love is something very important to me and she needs to spend some time nurturing it or I start to think very dark thoughts about our relationship. This happened once right after our last child graduated high school and I was expecting that now the two of us would get to spend more time together and rekindle some of that fire we had before kids, but that didn’t happen. It almost caused a divorce seven years later. Part of that was me having a hard time talking about it and the other was my high expectations.
Two – You find people interesting and draining at the same time:
I am definitely a people watcher but interaction with them is draining, to say the least. I can spend all day on a park bench watching people and studying them. I have been that way for a long time, pretty much most of my life. But in social situations where I have to interact with people I can only do that for so long and then I have to retreat and regroup periodically.
Three – You can understand people better, but you hardly understand yourself:
Oh yeah, this is why I probably spend so much time talking about my personality and how it works. It’s more about self-understanding and trying to figure myself out than anything else. I have to think about my motives and desires, where figuring out other people’s motives and desires because of my natural empathy is far easier.
Four – You love to help others, but you find people annoying at the same time:
Yep. It made me a good pastor but at the same time a pastor that was constantly annoyed with people continuing to make the same mistakes and continued to drain my time with the same problem. I find the fascinating part of people lasts only so long and then their flaws become so apparent that I am ready to head for the door and when I can’t head to the door I feel trapped.
Five – Being a perfectionist who often forgets small details:
Yep. I have a whole slew of small routines that are designed to make sure I don’t forget the little things and everything has its place mostly for practical reasons along the same line. I like things to be clean and things to go according to plan. When small details don’t pan out, I can feel let down for sure.
I also don’t notice the little achievements I make as much. I am looking for the big goal to be accomplished, so when small successes along the way to those big goals are present, I rarely notice them
Six – You are natural loners, but people often mistake you for an extravert:
“Ed, sometimes you are hard to read” and “But I thought you would like that (insert name of a social event)”. I have heard those two a lot over the years. Mostly because I am fun-loving and sarcastically humorous enough to wade through most social situations. I am confident and my ‘-A’ tells you I am also assertive. I was a pastor that dealt with people on a regular basis. I get mistaken for an extravert a lot.
However, I would rather be home alone reading a book or writing or name that at home alone activity. I am quite comfortable with my own company so I don’t ‘need’ social situations but I do need them periodically to remind me that I am a member of the human race.
Seven – You want to be in a relationship, but often choose to be single:
I am not single but the issues of being in a relationship that is loving are pretty high for me as I possess very high standards of what love is. This actually causes a lot of problems in this area as I am very aware of what love is but most cannot live up to what I think. The video is spot on about being in love being rare as it has only happened to me three times and when it does I tend to take it hard when it doesn’t work out.
Eight – They are complex, but they have integrity:
This video describes us as being like an onion that you have to peel layer after layer away to get to a true understanding of an INFJ, and I don’t know too many INFJs that would disagree. It can take literally years to completely understand all aspects of our personality. In the end, if you take that kind fo time you may actually understand us better than we understand ourselves.
Our idealism, however, has a large amount of personal honor to it. It is no accident that the part of Asatru I struggle with the most is honor and it is the struggle I consider most important. I find it actually more upsetting to myself at my failure to uphold my honor than I give two shits about what others think of it.
Being walking contradiction or paradox is probably the most accurate thing I have heard to describe me. Whether this applies to other INFJs I would not speculate but if it is common enough to talk about this way, it is probably mostly true.
The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.