HSP INFJ: A Guide to Understanding Highly Sensitive INFJs
by Lisa Sparrow
As an INFJ, you have probably been called “sensitive” at least once in your life.
You’re gentle and your heightened sense of intuition has helped you and many people around you. You can feel what others are feeling. People feel understood and heard when they spend time with you. These are all great qualities of the INFJ personality type.
But have you ever felt overwhelmed by crowds or simply watching the news? Have you noticed that loud places bother you more than others? Do you need alone time to recharge?
Well, you might be an HSP INFJ!
Not sure what it means? Worry not—this article covers everything you need to know about HSP INFJs, from what it’s like to be one to the best careers for sensitive INFJs and much more!
What Is an HSP INFJ?
To understand what an HSP INFJ is, we first need to decode what “HSP” means.
Simply put, HSP is an abbreviation that stands for “Highly Sensitive Person.” This term was first introduced by an American psychologist, Dr. Elaine Aron, in 1991.
In her book “The Highly Sensitive Person,” Dr. Aron describes HSPs as individuals with an unusually sensitive nervous system. Such people aren’t just emotionally sensitive—they’re also sensitive to physical stimuli like heat, smell, sound, and others.
For this reason, HSPs seek calm and quiet environments, as too much sensory input can easily make them overwhelmed and uncomfortable.
That said, it’s important to note that being an HSP is a personality trait, not an illness or a disorder. HSPs share common characteristics, such as:
- Being extremely sensitive to violence, horror, and cruelty of any kind
- Easily empathizing with people on a deeper level
- Seeking comfort, peace, and going to great lengths to avoid discomfort
If an HSP takes a personality test, most likely they’ll get the INFJ personality type as their final result. This is not surprising, considering that INFJs and HSPs share many common traits, such as sensitivity, introversion, and conflict avoidance.
So, now that you know what HSP means, it’s not difficult to figure out that an INFJ HSP is simply a highly sensitive individual with an INFJ personality type.
What Is It Like to Be an HSP INFJ?
Being an HSP INFJ comes with unique traits that can affect your daily life on a grander scale compared to others.
HSP INFJs tend to feel everything more intensely, so regular life stressors can be rather overwhelming. Because of this, some HSP INFJs develop unhealthy personality traits and responses to external stimuli.
Generally speaking, HSP INFJs tend to:
- Be quick to emotional burnout. Since HSP INFJs are more receptive to other people’s emotions, they can get emotionally burned out on a regular basis.
- Self-isolate. HSP INFJs tend to withdraw into themselves and avoid social interactions when they feel overstimulated.
- Struggle with overeating. Dealing with the external environment can be challenging, and sometimes it just isn’t possible to take a break. When they don’t have the possibility to recharge, HSP INFJs tend to comfort themselves by overindulging in food.
What Are the Main Needs of HSP INFJs?
Although some consider HSP INFJs to be “high maintenance,” this is far from the truth. Meeting your own needs as an HSP INFJ enables you to be the best version of yourself.
For most HSP INFJs, these needs include building deep connections, maintaining peaceful surroundings, and pursuing fulfilling careers.
HSP INFJs seek deep and meaningful relationships throughout their lives. Having people that provide emotional support and respect their boundaries keeps HSP INFJs grounded and secure.
It’s no secret that INFJs are often misunderstood, but the sensitivity of HSP INFJs also leads them to be called “oversensitive.” Most people simply can’t grasp their delicate nature, which is why most HSP INFJs yearn for relationships based on mutual understanding, trust, and respect.
That said, having no one who can accept them as they are can cause HSP INFJs emotional turmoil. In turn, this can make it difficult for them to empathize with others and regulate their emotions.
Quiet and Peaceful Environment
HSP INFJs need some time alone in a calm and relaxing environment (usually their home) to recharge after being out in the world and socializing with people. That’s because, whether they like it or not, HSP INFJs easily absorb other people’s emotions.
Having a comfortable place to rest and unplug is extremely important for HSP INFJs. It must be a quiet, preferably dark space that doesn’t overstimulate them. Not having access to such an environment can lead highly sensitive INFJs to sensory overload and burnout.
Similar to all INFJs, HSP INFJs tend to have a strong sense of purpose. Because of this, they seek career paths that will fulfill their dreams of bettering and changing the world.
Due to their sensitive and caring nature as well as their attention to detail, HSP INFJs make great therapists, counselors, and scientists.
If they aren’t in these fields, HSP INFJs usually opt for careers that allow a considerable amount of alone time and independence, such as graphic design and architecture.
What Makes Being an HSP INFJ Rewarding?
The personality traits of HSP INFJs are like two sides of a coin. They can be interpreted as strengths or weaknesses depending on the situation they are facing.
So, while being sensitive and very empathetic can leave HSP INFJs drained, it also enriches their lives. Here’s how:
- Seeing and accepting people as they are. Highly sensitive INFJs are great listeners who can make people feel validated and seen. As a result, people are naturally drawn to them.
- Experiencing positive emotions. HSP INFJs feel emotions on a different level. While this can make dealing with negative emotions very difficult, it also means that HSP INFJs experience positive emotions, such as love, happiness, and excitement, more intensely. This also makes them more easily affected by beauty and art.
- Perceiving details. HSP INFJs are sensitive to their environment, which makes them highly perceptive. As such, they can effortlessly read people’s body language, anticipate their loved one’s needs, and absorb new information more quickly than most people.
What Are the Challenges of Being an HSP INFJ?
While HSP INFJs have many strengths, their weaknesses create challenges for them on a regular basis. Being an HSP INFJ can be difficult for a variety of reasons, such as:
- Low discomfort and pain tolerance. Although sensitivity can be a great asset, HSP INFJs are sensitive not only emotionally but also physically. They are often unable to tolerate common types of discomfort. For example, an HSP INFJ might purposely avoid crowds or have extreme reactions to uncomfortable clothing.
- Inflexibility. HSP INFJs love routine and stability since it provides them with a sense of safety. Any changes in their routine can easily throw them off, leading to an overstimulated nervous system and dysregulated emotions.
- Difficulty setting boundaries. HSP INFJs are great listeners, but they tend to take on other people’s emotions and problems as their own. This inability to set healthy boundaries with others often causes them to feel emotionally drained and disconnected from themselves.
5 Tips to Thrive as an HSP INFJ
Let’s be honest—being an INFJ, and especially a highly sensitive INFJ, isn’t all that easy.
Nonetheless, there are certain things you can do to live a fulfilling life and reap all the rewards of being an HSP INFJ!
So, here are some tips that will make your life easier and help you thrive as an HSP INFJ:
#1. Embrace Your Sensitivity
If you’re like most HSP INFJs, you might feel that your sensitivity is the bane of your existence.
However, as you already know, your sensitive nature is also a gift. It allows you to experience life and the whole spectrum of emotions to the fullest. In a way, your sensitivity makes you emotionally wealthy!
Simply put, learning to accept and embrace your sensitivity will help you become more comfortable with yourself and with others. Let yourself feel and be open about how people and events affect you. This way, you can inspire others to become more in touch with their emotions, too!
#2. Spend Time Alone
HSP INFJs might love the company of their friends and family, but it can quickly become overwhelming and exhausting.
So, if you know that you will be in a social situation for an extended period of time, make sure to plan some alone time afterward in a safe and comfortable environment. Decompressing after social interactions will keep you grounded and sane.
#3. Minimize Sensory Overload
Sensory overload, or sensory overstimulation, is more common among HSP INFJs compared to other personality types. It can be described as an intense feeling of discomfort due to an overwhelming flow of information that your brain might not be able to process at a particular moment.
To avoid this, it is necessary to minimize external factors such as loud noises, strong smells, unwanted touch, and overwhelming scenery. By decreasing the amount of sensory input, you can feel calmer and safer in your environment.
#4. Prioritize Your Well-Being
HSP INFJs tend to be highly aware of other people’s emotions. As a result, they are more sensitive towards other people’s negative experiences and can even feel like they themselves are experiencing them.
As a result, highly sensitive INFJs will try to help others, often at the expense of their well-being, which can lead to emotional burnout. To avoid this, it’s crucial that you prioritize your well-being. So, fill your own cup before pouring someone else’s, set clear boundaries, and always listen to your intuition.
#5. Ask For Help
A good majority of HSP INFJs have a very small circle of trusted people, which in fact makes for a reliable support system. Still, like most INFJs, chances are you hesitate to ask for help as a way to avoid burdening your loved ones.
However, learning to ask for help can improve your well-being and make it easier to navigate overwhelming environments. In case there is an absence of supportive friends, consider finding a therapist that specializes in working with HSPs.
5 Ways to Support an HSP INFJ
HSP INFJs make great friends and loyal partners. Keeping them in your life requires effort, however, so here are 5 ways you can support an HSP INFJ:
#1. Accept Their Sensitive Nature
Sensitive INFJs feel their emotions more intensely than other personality types, which is both a blessing and a curse. They wear their hearts on their sleeves, but this also means that they’re more sensitive to criticism, negative emotions, and such.
If you want to support an HSP INFJ, learn to accept and appreciate them for who they are. Be gentle and help them embrace their sensitivity instead of teasing them for being too sensitive. It might not be a big deal for you, but it can mean a lot to them.
#2. Respect Their Alone Time
HSP INFJs need their quiet alone time on a regular basis. Sometimes they might need a time-out after social events and gatherings. And they want to spend that time completely alone—yes, even without you!
But don’t take this personally—it’s simply their way of recharging and resting. They still enjoy your company and will be back once they are ready.
#3. Avoid Being Judgemental
Because of their sensitive personality, HSP INFJs are prone to taking things personally. They can feel attacked or criticized if you use harsh words or judge them without listening to their side of the story.
So, if you want to be a supportive friend, partner, or family member to an HSP INFJ, avoid being judgemental. Always listen to what they have to say and try your best to hold back your criticism.
#4. Be Consistent
HSP INFJs rely on a predictable and consistent schedule to feel secure. As such, unexpected changes can make them feel anxious and stressed out.
As such, you want to be consistent with your behavior and reliable with your promises. And, if things get out of your control, try and be patient. If you give them time to process the situation without putting any pressure on them, any HSP INFJ in your life will appreciate you!
#5. Manage Conflict Peacefully
To say that HSP INFJs dislike conflict would be an understatement. As peace-loving individuals, they do their best to avoid confrontation and go out of their way to prevent disagreements. However, even the best relationships don’t come without an occasional conflict.
If you want an HSP INFJ to feel comfortable around you, you must learn to handle conflict peacefully. Avoid raising your voice and insulting them, as they can take it to heart and will likely remember it for years. Instead, try to communicate constructively and find common ground.
Not to mention, your ability to handle conflict in a healthy way can teach HSP INFJs to become less conflict-averse. As such, it can help them become more comfortable with sharing their doubts, fears, and other feelings that they’d otherwise keep bottled up.
How Can HSP INFJs Avoid Toxic Relationships?
HSP INFJs are highly empathetic and might tolerate negative behavior because they are too understanding. As a result, HSP INFJs can end up in toxic relationships that cause them harm.
To avoid getting into toxic relationships, HSP INFJs need to follow 3 simple rules:
- Don’t rush. Take time to learn what makes you happy and what doesn’t. And, instead of rushing love, invest time into getting to know the other person. This way, you can learn to see whether you’re building a fulfilling and genuine relationship or a one-sided one before you get too emotionally involved.
- Set boundaries. Although most INFJs love unconditionally, you must set clear boundaries within your relationships. By doing this, you are making sure that your needs are met and your wishes are respected. Understand what you are willing to accept and what is a big “No.”
- Pay attention to how they make you feel. As an empathetic person, you are in tune with your emotions. Use it to your advantage and try to notice how the people around you make you feel. Do you feel inspired and happy after seeing them? Do you feel unhappy after hanging out with them? Trust your feelings and take action accordingly.
3 Best Jobs For Sensitive INFJs
Like most INFJs, highly sensitive INFJs strive to have fulfilling careers that reflect their values and beliefs. Although they can choose various career paths, some jobs allow HSP INFJs to realize their full potential better than others.
So, let’s take a closer look at the 3 best jobs for highly sensitive INFJs: writer, mental health counselor, and visual artist.
Because INFJs’ primary cognitive function is introverted intuition (Ni), they have rich inner worlds. This allows them to think deeply and develop their imagination and creativity.
As a result, writing is one of the most popular hobbies for INFJs, but it can also be a great job for those who enjoy writing and have the necessary skills for it.
Creative writing can be a great field for HSP INFJs who love to use their imagination, but many also pursue careers in technical writing, copywriting, and similar.
#2. Mental Health Counselor
Therapists, psychologists, and other mental health professionals need good listening skills and must be highly empathetic.
Both of these qualities are common among HSP INFJs, as their auxiliary cognitive function is extraverted feeling (Fe). Being able to use these skills with clients can be a rewarding and fulfilling career for an HSP INFJ.
#3. Visual Artist
Some HSP INFJs prefer to enter more creative professions that require a unique perspective on the world.
Fields such as art, graphic design, and architecture allow HSP INFJs to create a piece of the perfect world they imagine in their minds. Creative projects allow HSP INFJs to share their inner world with others, thus helping them make a difference in the world.
And that’s all you need to know about highly sensitive INFJs. Hopefully, this article helped you understand yourself or HSP INFJs around you better!
Here’s a quick recap of the main points mentioned in this article:
- HSP INFJs are INFJs with a very sensitive nervous system, which makes them easily affected by other people’s emotions and external stimuli, such as lights, sounds, and smells.
- In life, highly sensitive INFJs typically seek deep connections, meaningful careers, and peaceful environments.
- Learning to embrace your sensitivity and ask others for help are some of the most effective ways to thrive as an HSP INFJ.
- Accepting their sensitive nature, following through with your plans and promises, and handling conflict in a healthy way can help highly sensitive INFJs in your life feel supported and appreciated
- Highly sensitive INFJs can become great therapists, writers, and artists. They also make great friends and loyal partners.