The Essential Guide to INFJ Friendships
by Lisa Sparrow
Whether you’re an INFJ, or another personality type looking to befriend an INFJ, one thing is for certain: INFJ friendships are truly unique.
In friendships, INFJs give their all. They’re incredibly loyal and will go the extra mile to make their friends feel understood and valued.
Nonetheless, INFJs aren’t strangers to friendship issues, and making friends with an INFJ can be tougher than you’d expect.
Well, if you’re looking to learn all the ins and outs of INFJ friendships, you’re in the right place!
In this article, we will cover:
- What Makes INFJ Friendships Unique?
- How Do INFJs Categorize Friendships?
- What Do INFJs Need in a Friendship?
- 3 Tips For INFJs to Overcome Friendship Issues
- 3 Ways to Build a Close Friendship with an INFJ
So, let’s dive right in.
What Makes INFJ Friendships Unique?
INFJs don’t let many people get close to them, but when they do, they have a unique friendship experience.
So, here’s why INFJ friendships are so unique:
- Intuitive insights. INFJ’s primary cognitive functions are ‘introverted intuition’ and ‘extraverted feeling’. Because of this combination, INFJs are very perceptive and empathetic, which enables them to feel your emotions almost as their own. If you’re upset, for example, an INFJ will notice and will likely ask you to share your feelings before you even mention anything.
- Unconditional support and loyalty. INFJs are true ride-or-die friends—they’ll have your back no matter what. As such, INFJ friendships often last a lifetime. That said, INFJs expect you to put the same amount of effort into your friendship too. If you take INFJs for granted for too long, you might be on the receiving end of the INFJ door slam.
- Categorization. Perhaps the most unique thing about INFJ friendships is that INFJs tend to put people into different categories such as acquaintances and true friends. While many people do this, INFJs have a much stricter definition of each category. INFJ friendship categories rarely bleed into one another, and many INFJs believe there’s an appropriate way to interact with people based on which category they fall into.
How Do INFJs Categorize Friendships?
As mentioned above, most INFJs tend to sort individuals into different categories, which also applies to INFJ friendships. Typically, they do it based on trust and emotional investment.
Primarily, INFJs do this to preserve their energy. As introverts, INFJs don’t have unlimited energy for socializing. Keeping people separated into different categories, therefore, helps INFJs efficiently distribute their social energy.
If an INFJ puts you in a particular category (and they probably will!), it might take you a lot of time and effort to escape it and become a part of a different category if that’s what you’re trying to do.
Now that that’s clear, let’s dive deeper into the five most common INFJ friendship categories: acquaintances, colleagues, casual friends, true friends, and soul friends.
For INFJs, acquaintances aren’t just people whom they’ve recently met.
Rather, INFJs see acquaintances as people with whom they share a shallow connection, no matter how many times they’ve interacted.
Generally, INFJs tend to have a friendly demeanor towards acquaintances, although they keep their distance and avoid sharing personal details.
Having a well-defined personal code of ethics is one of the key INFJ personality strengths. And to many INFJs, forming close relationships at work seems simply unprofessional.
However, this doesn’t mean that INFJs don’t cultivate work relationships. On the contrary, INFJs value harmony, so they typically get along with their colleagues. They also make it a point to be approachable, helpful, and supportive.
Still, even if you grab lunch with an INFJ coworker every day, it doesn’t mean they necessarily see you as a close friend.
INFJs tend to have an all-or-nothing approach to life. For this reason, it’s not unusual for INFJs to skip this friendship category, as it sits somewhere in the middle.
When it comes to INFJ friendships, casual friends are typically people that they don’t mind running into, but wouldn’t put in the effort to see them on purpose.
INFJs don’t have many true friends, so they value them and care about them deeply. INFJs do their best to foster true friendships and ensure that their true friends feel unconditionally supported, appreciated, and understood.
Still, INFJs are deeply private, and they tend to keep parts of their personality locked away even from their true friends.
If INFJs are lucky, they’ll have one or two soul friends during their lifetime. This is by far the smallest category of INFJ friendships and one that many INFJs, unfortunately, never get to experience.
As the rarest personality type, INFJs often feel misunderstood. Therefore, they crave to build deep, soulful connections and experience the same level of empathy they show others. Luckily, that’s exactly what they find in their soul friends!
Soul-friend connections are very intimate and vulnerable, as this is the only type of friendship where INFJs feel comfortable revealing their true selves. Soul-level friendships create a sense of belonging, which allows INFJs to feel truly understood.
What Do INFJs Need in a Friendship?
By nature, INFJs are perfectionists, which means they also have high standards for friendships. INFJs crave friendships that fully satisfy their needs, which isn’t always easy to find.
So, here are the main INFJ friendship needs and requirements:
- Deep connection. If there’s one thing that drains INFJs, it’s small talk. In fact, most INFJs would rather be alone than waste time on shallow conversations. Because of this, INFJs prefer having a few close friends with whom they can have a deep mental and emotional connection with, rather than dozens of casual acquaintances.
- Honesty. INFJs are very intuitive and perceptive, so they can easily tell when someone isn’t genuine. Since they have strong values and morals, INFJs don’t take lying, manipulation, and other such behavior lightly. Not to mention, INFJs don’t trust people easily in the first place, and if you break their hard-earned trust, it will be very, very hard to build it up again.
- Safety. INFJs are private and sensitive people. They know they can be hurt easily, which is one of the main reasons why they don’t trust many people. As such, INFJs need to feel safe in a friendship - otherwise, they won’t open up.
4 Reasons Why INFJs Struggle to Make Friends
When it comes to INFJ friendship issues, struggling to make friends is undoubtedly something that most INFJs have experienced. Here’s why:
- Rare personality. Perhaps because INFJs are so rare, they often struggle to find like-minded people that truly get them. What’s more, although INFJs can easily understand others, they rarely feel as being understood themselves, which can make them feel lonely even around other people.
- Shy and private nature. INFJs are shy, guarded, and even secretive. They don’t open up easily. To others, this may come across as arrogance. Not to mention, many people simply don’t have the patience to wait until INFJs let them inside their world.
- High standards. INFJs have high standards for themselves and other people around them. They can be very idealistic, which leads to unrealistic expectations in friendships. This makes INFJ friendships complicated, as no one—not even INFJs—can live up to their high standards and expectations.
- Introverted. As introverts, INFJs enjoy their own company and need plenty of alone time. If INFJs don’t push themselves to socialize and foster their friendships, they can become self-isolated. Not to mention, this can make their friends feel abandoned.
3 Tips For INFJs to Overcome Friendship Issues
Although INFJ friendships can be complicated, they don’t always have to be!
Here are 3 tried-and-tested tips that will help you overcome INFJ friendship issues and make new friends:
- Challenge your assumptions. Because INFJs rarely feel understood, you might assume that no one will ever get you. This can lead you to distance yourself from other people. If you want to make friends, however, you need to keep your assumptions away and just give people a chance. You never know who might surprise you!
- Connect with different people. As an INFJ, you might prefer the company of other introverts, primarily because they won’t expect you to open up too quickly. That said, building relationships with extroverts can open up new possibilities for you and help you come out of your shell.
- Lower your expectations. Having standards is healthy, but INFJs tend to place unrealistic expectations and standards on their friends. However, if you actually want to make friends, it’s important that you stay realistic. So, instead of looking for perfect people to connect with, look for such that strive for personal growth.
3 Ways to Build a Close Friendship with an INFJ
By now, you know that making friends with INFJs can be quite a challenge. Nonetheless, INFJ friendships are unique, deep, and definitely worth pursuing!
Here’s how you can build a close friendship with INFJs:
- Give them space. INFJs are introverted and independent, so constantly hanging out with people can leave them drained. To build a close friendship with INFJs, make sure to give them enough time and space to recharge their social batteries.
- Reach out. INFJs can and do reach out, but always being the one who’s showing initiative can make them feel unwanted. This is especially true for INFJ-Ts, as they tend to have low self-esteem. Eventually, this might lead them to retreat into themselves. So, don’t hesitate to text INFJs first - they’ll definitely appreciate it!
- Hang out one-on-one. INFJs are introverts by nature, and large crowds can make them uncomfortable. So, if you want to get to know an INFJ better and build a closer friendship with them, offer them to hang out in an intimate setting instead.
Depending on your personality type, these tips may be fairly easy or difficult to implement. In any case, befriending an INFJ is definitely worth a try.
As best friends, INFJs are incredibly supportive, empathetic, and devoted. Once they let you into their inner circle, they'll put you first and stand by you no matter what. Although they love their alone time, you can rest assured they'll always make time for you. Needless to say, having an INFJ best friend is nothing short of a blessing!
INFJ Friendship Compatibility with Other Personalities
When it comes to friendships, INFJ compatibility is highest with other NJ personality types. Like INFJs, these types embrace abstract thinking and enjoy meaningful conversations. Thanks to their similarities, INFJs tend to feel comfortable and understood in their company, which helps them open up and form intimate friendships.
With that out of the way, let’s see how INFJs get along with other personality types: Analysts, Explorers, Sentinels, and other Diplomats.
INFJ Friendships with NFs (Diplomats)
INFJs are one of the four NF-driven personality types, also known as Diplomats. Because of their similarities, INFJ friendships with other NFs are typically heartfelt and emotionally deep.
Diplomats have a high level of emotional intelligence. They’re able to provide emotional support and create a safe space to share feelings and emotions, which is important to INFJs.
NF personalities are also comfortable with emotional intensity. Because of this, INFJs are most likely to open up and share their deepest feelings with other Diplomats. This allows for an intimate and vulnerable connection.
INFJ Friendships with NTs (Analysts)
Because ‘extraverted feeling’ is the first extraverted INFJ cognitive function, they heavily use it to interact with other people. This makes INFJs warm, understanding, and sensitive to other people’s emotions.
As a result, INFJ friendships are often one-sided, as other people use INFJs to dump their emotions.
NT-driven personality types, also known as Analysts, don’t openly display or discuss their emotions. For this reason, INFJs often find talking to NTs relaxing, as they don’t drain them emotionally.
On top of that, both NTs and INFJs enjoy abstract conversations, discussing ideas, and thinking about the future. As such, INFJ friendships with Analysts tend to be intellectually stimulating and inspiring.
INFJ Friendships with SPs (Explorers)
Unlike INFJs, SP personality types (also called Explorers) aren’t intuitive. They’re firmly grounded in reality and prefer to think about the present day instead of speculating about the future.
As such, INFJ friendships with SPs can be somewhat complicated, as SP types often have trouble relating to INFJs.
Nonetheless, INFJs are often attracted to SPs’ spontaneity and enthusiasm. As a result, INFJs are often inclined to try and build a friendship with SP types.
Despite their differences, healthy friendships with SPs can be very beneficial for INFJs. SPs can teach INFJs to enjoy being present in the moment, expose them to new experiences, and encourage them to fulfill their dreams.
INFJ Friendships with SJs (Sentinels)
As perfectionists, INFJs look for perfect compatibility even in their friendships. Because of this, INFJs sometimes avoid building friendships with SJs, who are also known as Sentinels.
As mentioned above, INFJs need to have both an emotional and a mental connection with their friends. They crave deep conversations and enjoy discussing abstract ideas.
However, Sentinels are very down-to-earth. They live in the present moment and often find deep conversations draining. In many aspects, SJs are the opposite of INFJs.
That said, INFJ friendships with feeling-driven Sentinels (ISFJs and ESFJs) can end up being emotionally fulfilling. Still, because SJ types aren’t intuitive, INFJs might feel that the friendship lacks depth.
And that’s a wrap!
By now, you know all there is about INFJ friendships, from what makes them unique to how to pursue a friendship with an INFJ.
Before you go, let’s run over the key points of this article:
- Some of the main things that make INFJ friendships unique are the intuitive insights and the unconditional love that INFJs offer to their close friends.
- INFJ friendships typically fall into one of these five categories: acquaintances, colleagues, casual friends, true friends, and soul friends.
- INFJ friendship needs include a sense of safety, honesty, and deep mental & emotional connection.
- Connecting with a variety of different people, staying realistic, and becoming more open can help INFJs to overcome friendship issues.
- If you’re looking to build a friendship with an INFJ, consider showing initiative, spending more time one-on-one than in large groups, and giving them enough time and space to recharge.