Every INFJ male holds the questionable accolade of having the rarest personality type.
If you’re an INFJ man, or you have one in your life, you may question whether or not that’s something to celebrate!
Being an INFJ male could equally be described as a blessing and a curse – and I should know – I’m a male INFJ myself.
In this article, I provide an honest and thorough insight into the world of INFJ men, as well as a few revealing anecdotes. You should find it particularly useful if:
- YOU are an INFJ male (especially if you’ve just completed a Myers-Briggs test and discovered your personality type for the first time).
- You are involved with an INFJ man – especially in an intimate relationship.
- You are an INFJ female (because much of this stuff will still be relevant).
We will start right at the beginning.
- What is an INFJ Male?
- A Quick Background: Discovering I Was an INFJ
- The Key Traits of an INFJ
- Where INFJs Excel
- Where INFJs Struggle
- INFJs and Mental Health
- INFJ Males in Romantic Relationships
- Careers for INFJ Men
- Advice for Living as an INFJ Male
- Wrapping Up
- More to Read
What is an INFJ Male?
An INFJ male is a male who possesses the INFJ personality type, as identified by a Myers-Briggs type indicator test.
The INFJ personality type is often described as “the counselor” or “the advocate.”
(There are official tests available, but also numerous free online tests and books that promise to help you identify your Myers-Briggs type).
The INFJ acronym breaks down as follows:
I = Introvert (as opposed to Extrovert).
N = Intuitive (as opposed to Sensor).
F = Feeling (as opposed to Thinking).
J = Judging (as opposed to Perceiving).
Don’t worry if none of that makes sense to you yet – all will be revealed later in this article.
A Quick Explanation of Myers-Briggs
Myers-Briggs tests put everybody into one of 16 different personality types, based on characteristics such and introversion vs. extroversion, and whether they primarily sense or feel, judge or perceive.
Before we go any further, it’s crucial to emphasise that MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) is a theory of psychology, and one that has plenty of detractors.
However, its classifications have long served as a useful tool to help people understand themselves and their relationships. Despite attempts to discredit MBTI, it’s still been used for psychometric testing by 89% of Fortune 100 companies.
You’ll find plenty of online debate about Myers-Briggs. For the purpose of this article, it suffices to say that if you don’t “believe in it,” it’s probably not worth you reading any further.
HOW Rare is an INFJ Male?
INFJ is widely considered to be the rarest personality type, with between 1 and 3% of people testing as that type. INFJ males are rarer still, estimated to account for just 0.5-1% of the population.
A Quick Background: Discovering I Was an INFJ
Before we move on to the key traits of an INFJ, I shall give you a little background, which should serve to illustrate why I’m suitably qualified to talk about this.
When I first took an MBTI test and discovered I was an INFJ, it starkly and suddenly made a LOT of things make sense.
I’d long felt that I was a bit “different” to most people – especially other males. I’d frequently been labelled as “sensitive,” and “in touch with my feminine side” (in both positive and negative ways!) I’d also – on way more than one occasion – been assumed to be gay. (I’m making no generalisations about male INFJs here, merely sharing my experience).
Finding out that I was an INFJ was oddly liberating and empowering, and immediately helped me to like and understand myself more. (Finding out my wife’s personality type, and how our respective types can both complement and clash, was equality revelatory – but that’s for another article).
The Key Traits of an INFJ
- Idealistic: We care about the plight of others and can often imagine ways to make things better – both for the people around us, and for the wider world.
- Intuitive: It’s not over-the-top to describe INFJs as mind readers. We have a highly tuned sense of intuition and can readily tune into other people’s emotions. (This has negatives as well as positives, as we shall see shortly).
- Empathetic: INFJs truly FEEL the emotions of others – in some cases knowing something is wrong before less “emotionally tuned” loved ones even realise themselves. INFJs have empathy that goes way beyond sympathy and compassion.
- Principled: INFJs have a strict sense of fairness and justice – one that they can be surprisingly ruthless in protecting and living by.
- Driven (Mainly) By Emotion: Sometimes INFJs are described as “emotional” or “impulsive.” These descriptions at once accurate and unfair. INFJs who have yet to “grow into themselves” can behave impulsively, but more developed INFJs tend to spend a lot of time learning – both about themselves, and the views of others. While emotion plays a part in every decision an INFJ makes, the chances are that those decisions are backed by plenty of logic too.
- Stubborn: INFJs can be strict in their routines and rituals and, as mentioned before, are also strict in their principles. This can manifest itself as being inflexible and intolerant. Being more charitable, INFJs tend to consistently give of their best in a world that’s not designed to make their lives easy (especially for INFJ males!) Routine and adherence to an internal moral code is a way that many INFJs keep themselves sane.
- Deep: There’s no other word to use! INFJs spend a lot of their time in “existential contemplation,” and often willingly talk about complex and (sometimes) personal issues that others shy away from. On the flip-side, INFJs tend to find small-talk and superficiality a huge turn-off.
Just from scanning that list, you will see that the INFJ male is made in a way that’s very much out of step with “traditional gender roles.”
A Few Examples
The above explains the theory, but how does all this manifest itself for a real life INFJ male?
Here are a few examples of from my own INFJ existence, to put some of this stuff into perspective:
- I (usually) know what people are thinking: Yes, I know this may sound conceited, but intuition really does exist. I tend to know what a client or an interviewer wants to hear. But I also know when the mood in a room changes, the moment somebody decides they don’t like me, or if I’ve said something that’s “landed badly.”
- I absorb people’s emotions: The “dark side” of having a lot of empathy is that you absorb energy from others – both positive and negative. This can mean you feel and experience joy more deeply than others, but are also hugely affected and drained by conflict and “negative vibes.”
- I’m ready to give my all – until I’m not: I will put up with a lot of nonsense from other people, and give people second chances and the benefit of the doubt. But when I’m pushed past a clearly defined limit and decide to step away, I will almost always remain steadfast in my decision. The “INFJ Freeze Out” is a real thing – Google it!
- I see being “woke” as a good thing, and a duty: I’m constantly learning about other cultures, people and viewpoints – and often empathising with them. In the case of viewpoints, I’m always willing to change my own if shown suitable evidence. INFJs are constantly evolving.
Where INFJs Excel
As I’ve said a couple of times, being an INFJ is both a blessing and a curse. Here are some of the plus points:
INFJs can be of great support to others
There’s a reason INFJs are known as “The Counselor” (I’ve actually trained in counselling myself.) As well as having a well-tuned sense of empathy, INFJs are generally both willing and eager to delve into the “affairs of the heart” stuff that many people shy away from.
People often turn to INFJs when they’re going through hard times, and the INFJ genuinely enjoys being able to help. (We can also take great offence when that help is taken for granted, but we’ll come back to that later!)
INFJs can benefit from their instinct
Being able to intuit what people want to hear can be great in an interview situation! But intuition is also an INFJ trait that could reasonably be placed in the “with great power comes great responsibility” category. It’s fair to say that intuition can be used to manipulate.
There’s a huge irony here. While some might assume that INFJs would use their intuition to get what they want, it’s perhaps more common for us to mould ourselves to other people’s expectations – to our own detriment.
INFJs can be good for the world
The INFJ’s innate sense of justice and idealism can often translate to altruistic pursuits and charity work. INFJs want the world to be better, and often dedicate their time to trying to make it so.
INFJs can help with social cohesion
Although INFJs are introverted (in terms of classification), they are still social beings, like all humans. In a stilted social situation, it can often be the INFJ who gets the different groups talking and interacting. INFJs can seem reserved, but that doesn’t translate to shy.
Where INFJs Struggle
To balance out the plusses, here are some of the trickier parts of being an INFJ male:
INFJs often burn themselves out emotionally
The popular meme that says “who looks after the person who looks after everyone else?” might as well have been created with INFJs in mind.
INFJs willingly give up their time and emotional energy for others. Some even choose to do that as a career. But it’s sometimes at the INFJ’s own expense. Often, the person who’s been helped moves on contentedly, without realising that the INFJ who helped them was left drained by the experience!
I think it’s fair to say that this can be a particular problem for the INFJ male. In a male friendship group, the INFJ male will tend to become the “go to” person for anything deep and meaningful – and not have anybody to turn to for the same kind of support.
INFJ men can be lonely
It’s a sad inevitability that people who share a personality type with just 0.5-1% of their peers will have a tendency to feel lonely. It amounts to a very small pool of people who truly “get you.”
Contrast this with the comparatively common “protector,” the ISFJ, estimated to account for 14% of the population. If you were one of these, you’d be 14 times more likely to meet people who think the same way as you.
There are several factors that play into a lonely existence for male INFJs. Aside from the fact we think differently, we don’t tend to be “into” the same things as our male counterparts. Nobody at the football match wants to have a deep conversation about our latest read from the “Mind, Body and Sprit” section!
The INFJ’s rigidity and strict moral code also tends to keep friendship groups small. It takes a lot for an INFJ to truly “let anybody in,” especially as they grow older. Furthermore, while INFJs can be tolerant and understanding, once they decide to let a friendship go, they rarely change their mind.
INFJs struggle to be themselves
Many INFJs try to counteract being different to most others by trying to act the same as them. Over time, it can become difficult to identity how much of the true person is left underneath.
I’ve certainly spent a lot of my life doing this. Plenty of people I’ve met over the years would – no doubt – remember me as a loud, extroverted party animal. But that’s not me at all.
Don’t underestimate an INFJ male’s ability to convincingly mask their true selves. In many cases they will have started the process from a single-digit age.
One thing I can say, however, is that there’s a happier life awaiting those willing to live more authentically. (It’s quieter and by some measures more “boring,” but I think it’s better!)
INFJs and Mental Health
There’s plenty of supposition out there about INFJs being particularly susceptible to mental health issues.
Obviously there’s no firm data around this. Your Myers-Briggs personality type isn’t something a psychiatrist or doctor asks for! However, it is reasonable to assume, based on the things we’ve already discussed, that INFJ males could be particularly vulnerable to mental health conditions.
I certainly have my own fair share. I have generalised anxiety, OCD, and periods of depression. I’ve also, over the years, been very much aware that I’m susceptible to addiction, although thankfully it’s never become a major problem. (In fact, just over a year ago I gave up alcohol, leaving me mercifully vice free!)
Being realistic, there are many parts of being a male INFJ that could have a negative impact on mental health:
- Struggling to fit in – right from an early age.
- Not feeling understood.
- Resorting to alcohol and other substances in an attempt to feel more “normal.”
- Taking on too many other peoples’ problems.
- A mismatch between the INFJ’s rather utopian idealism, and what the world is really like.
If you’re reading this as an INFJ who’s struggling in any way, I would highlight the importance of rest, self care, and having somebody to speak to. Professional therapy can be enormously helpful, and as an INFJ, you’re likely to be more receptive to its wonders than most.
INFJ Males in Romantic Relationships
Being in a relationship with an INFJ male could be great because:
- They’ll be hugely aware of your needs – sometimes before you are yourself.
- They will always be a great shoulder to cry on.
- They will almost certainly be faithful – the INFJ moral code wouldn’t permit them to be otherwise.
- They will buy fabulous gifts.
- They will probably inspire you with creativity of some kind – art, music, cooking.
- They will keep the place tidy!
But being in a romantic relationship with an INFJ male could also be a bit of a nightmare, because:
- They WILL be a bit needy and high maintenance (I’m allowed to say it – I AM one!)
- They could put you through tiring highs and draining lows.
- They will probably moan about politics, whether you care about them or not.
- You won’t stop them “telling it like it is” if something doesn’t fit their moral framework.
- They may well spend their lives trying to find a satisfying career (more on that next).
Careers for INFJ Men
Finding a satisfying career can be a frustrating endeavour for an INFJ. Making good money is unlikely to provide adequate satisfaction in itself, and -perhaps more than for any other personality type – that “making a difference” factor is likely to trump the number on a monthly pay-check.
Self employment can also prove an attractive prospect for an INFJ. There are many aspects of a “traditional” work environment that can prove undesirable for INFJs, from the overstimulating daily commute, to navigating superficial politics and – let’s be honest – tolerating certain other people.
Here are some of the jobs that INFJs typically gravitate to:
- Writing – allowing for a quiet work environment and freedom of expression and creativity.
- Counselling – plays well with an INFJ’s ability to tune into and help other people.
- Human Resources – INFJs make great HR people, ensuring employees are fairly treated and promoting a positive working environment.
- Project Management – INFJs may be seen as “sensitive,” but being sensitive to the needs of different people and departments is a strength in project management. Furthermore, it’s a myth to think that INFJ’s aren’t very capable of dealing with deadlines and pressure.
- Science – can deliver on the “making a difference” factor, and usually comes with a quiet working environment.
- Design – and other creative pursuits – ticks plenty of boxes for INFJs, including indulging their creative sides, and allowing lots of opportunities for self employment.
- Librarian / Book Shop Worker – you would struggle to find an INFJ who wouldn’t relish spending their working life surrounded by books.
- Non-Profit Worker – INFJs are wired to want to make the work a better place, so any kind of advocacy and charity work is likely to appeal.
It’s important to emphasise that no two INFJs are exactly the same, and that a personality type doesn’t preclude you from any career. However, these are certainly good good starting points.
Advice for Living as an INFJ Male
We shall end on some advice for living as an INFJ male, based on a lifetime of being one, including half of it knowing I am one.
Always strive to learn more about yourself
Some people are steadfast in their habits, their views and their priorities. If you’re an INFJ, the chances are you view such an approach as hugely flawed.
I’m personally of their view that if I’m not looking back on plenty of my past decisions, viewpoints and ideas as foolish and ill-advised, I’m neither learning enough nor paying enough attention!
Self analysis and evolution is terrifying to some personality types, but it can be a joy to an INFJ male. ENJOY being a work in progress.
Stop trying to “fit the mould”
If 99% of people don’t think like you, it’s human nature to wonder if it’s you who’s getting it wrong. But the world needs its “counsellors,” just as much as it needs the fearless ENTP “warriors.”
Dame Helen Mirren famously said that she wished she’d spend more of her earlier years “telling people to f&*k off.” That’s NOT what I’m advocating here (well, not exactly!) However, I have wasted a lot of my own life trying to “brute force” myself to be more extroverted, more “one of the crowd,” and more like other people.
I can whole-heartedly assure you than life is both richer and more serene on the other side of that.
Protect your mental health
Absorbing peoples’ emotions is exhausting. As an INFJ male, you might thoroughly enjoy social occasions, but need far more time to recover from them than others.
I only truly realised the extent of this when I quit drinking alcohol. I’d always wondered why I got far worse hangovers than other people. But I was truly mystified that I still felt that hangover feeling when I’d not been drinking at all.
It turns out that a “social hangover” is very much a thing. A far bigger issue is how drained you can become after weeks or months of helping other people with their problems – and if you’re an INFJ, you’ll probably be doing a lot of that.
Don’t be scared to get away – whether that means to the bath or the comfort of your bedroom, or on a little solo trip. More than any other personality type, INFJs need to remember the importance of “putting their own gas mask on first.”
Don’t expect other people to deliver the same empathy you do
As an INFJ, you are an expert in interpreting other peoples’ needs. Sadly very few personality types come close to doing the same thing.
This can lead to a lot of disappointment and bitterness. But the sad truth is that you could go through your whole life never meeting anybody who gives you the kind of emotional support you give to other people.
Rather than railing against this, try to be more aware of the other strengths people bring to the table.
Don’t get hung up on gender stereotypes
I’ve been keen to avoid gender stereotypes in this article, but they do have some relevance here.
If you’re an INFJ male in a heterosexual relationship, there’s a good chance that the dynamics of that relationship won’t conform to (old fashioned) societal norms.
For example, in our household, I do all the grocery shopping and most of the cooking. I’m the one who instinctively knows what to get people for Christmas and birthday presents. And if one of the children is in an emotional mess, it is me that unravels it and is usually the chosen “shoulder to cry on.”
But meanwhile, my wife does all the driving (I’m an anxious mess behind the wheel), and would only let me assemble flat-pack furniture with considerable reluctance!
My point is that worrying about these stereotypes is just another way to try to “fit the mould.” It will likely never feel comfortable. Your efforts are far better spent on building functional relationships based on the you that actually exists.
It’s been surprisingly cathartic to produce this article. It’s one of those that will feel thoroughly worthwhile if it helps just one person. So if you’re an INFJ male and this has resonated with you, do let me know in the comments.
I’m also always happy to hear from readers direct, especially those with the rarest personality type(!) so feel free to contact me.
More to Read
- Read The Ecstatic Soul: A New Look at the INFJ Personality
- Find out a bit more about me here.
- Read my Benefits of Quitting Alcohol.
16 thoughts on “The INFJ Male: Your Comprehensive Guide to the Rarest Personality Type”
hi infj male here and I should be sleeping right now but I came across your article and couldn’t help but read the whole thing and it got me excited. I would agree to all except the moan about politics stuff because I’m not so into politics. Nevertheless its an uplifting article, and very relevant, thank you for writing this. Very often when I’m with people, a thought comes into my mind, and seconds later that person says the exact thought that went into my mind, I don’t know if that is just coincidence or what but is that an infj thing?
Sorry for the slow reply – been on holiday!
INFJs are often described as psychic! I think it’s more a combination of empathy and intuition 🙂
Hi! INFJ male here. This article was a pleasure to read, knowing more about yourself and getting to know the sad truth that INFJ’s are mostly misunderstood. The point of INFJ males being lonely really resonates with me a lot as even though I have many friends and even a best friend, I tend to be reserved and not share my problems out loud. Then comes the problem of love and I will die but not have the courage to say “I love you” to a person I like, and then regret seeing them with someone else.
Actually, can you give me some advice on how to approach as an INFJ as I always realize when someone is giving me a hint but I tend to mess it up and not make a move. This all made me realise why I’m still single but still not making a move, fearing that its a short time thing and I haven’t found “the one” yet.
God damn I wrote a lot, but please if you can give me some insights it will be great. Thanks!
Sorry for such a slow response – I’ve been working away.
I guess if you’re saying “I always realize when someone is giving me a hint but I tend to mess it up and not make a move” – the solution has to be to make that move and risk rejection. Everybody has to do that, and I’d say that as an INFJ you’re probably less likely to misread the signals than most others. That said, it’s still not impossible to get it wrong. So few people “get” INFJs that it’s possible to be blinded by the lights when you meet somebody who seems to be on the same wavelength.
Ultimately, putting it “out there” that you’re interested in somebody is a risk, but the worst that can happen is rejection. And you never truly know, at the start of something, if it’s destined to be long term or short term. It’s best to take on the mindset of enjoying the journey, whatever happens. 🙂
Hi from another INFJ male and first of all thanks for this articel.
Just started to get more Information on INFJ and their character. Guess, ist helps me to understand myself a little better and how to fit or not fit in this world. Not only being an INFJ male in my mid 30s, i am also gay. And I know, how lucky I am, being in a good relationship for years, i sometimes still feel lost and do not know where I belong to. Knowing that I am INFJ started to help me to settle my thoughts and understand myself on how I would react/behave/Act in situations that is not obvious to everybody. Not sure if this makes and sense to anybody….
Do you guys have other INFJs (maybe Even males) as Friends? I am always wondering if it would be helpful or not? Unfortunatly it is not that Easy zo find other INFJ contacts.
All the best, Jens
I don’t have any close INFJ friends (that I’m aware of). I think perhaps it would have been helpful in earlier life, but nowadays (I’m 44) I feel pretty self-sufficient. I have a wife who understands me (despite being very different to me), a good therapist(!), family members I’m close to, and enough (perhaps relatively superficial) friendships to tick the “sociable” box.
I quit drinking about 18 months ago, and since then I’ve really come to embrace my introverted side. I’m pretty tentative about forming new friendships these days. I think as I get older I’ve just become much more content in my own company!
Howdy I am another INFJ male. I am 65 and have always been the odd MAN out. I was a computer analyst for most of my life but have also done many, many other types of work. I appreciate that you have stuck your neck out there with this article, we kinda like to do that but understand that 99% of the population won’t understand what we are talking about and just how hard it was for you to publish your article. Kudos to you and things will only get worse, sorry get better but you know what I mean. I truly do hate the fact that I can read a room just as fast as I walked in the door, it sucks smetimes hoping that there may be a mysterious person in there just to find everyone the same. Sorry for rambling but that is what we do, Right?
Ha, yes, absolutely. I often talk in streams of consciousness and fail to complete many of my sentences!
“understand that 99% of the population won’t understand what we are talking about”
I figured, when I wrote that, that that 99% of people wouldn’t be reading it anyway!
Wow.. so after discovering that I’m an INFJ-T and with all the podcasts and research, I’m finally feeling and understanding how my thought process is normal for me although I will admit it’s kind of sad to not have so much by INFJ men out here and the women have tons of groups but still I’m thankful for the info I have been able to uncover especially this article.
I am 72, and figured out 2 years ago that the only type I can be is INFJ. Actually I am a lot like an NT, Enneagram 5w4, except that I am also an Empath.
I get most frustrated with loosing things. It doesn’t occur real frequently, but when it does, I might spend days or weeks searching for the missing item, then almost without failure, when I give up and go purchase a replacement for the item, I find the old item sitting in the place that I decided to put away the new replacement item. I speculate that this is because of the way my memory is stored where everything is interconnected along strings of associations. Also my memory works kind of like the index of a computer disc drive. I keep a mental image of my pantry or whatever storage to remember where I saw the item last. So if somebody moves the item, it’s lost to me, and I have a lot of trouble recognizing things that I am trying to relocate with my eyes because I fail to recognize the item that I am looking at as being the item that I am searching for. I speculate that this is because of my inferior Se. Am I describing an experience that is common to INFJ males?
I certainly get really distressed when I lose things because I’m not somebody who generally DOES lose things. As such I get very irritable and obsessive about finding them! It had never struck me as an INFJ thing, but perhaps it is!
Does your memory store along strings of associations like mine? I have been unable to decide/determine which pattern that memory attribute fits in. Is it part of being INFJ, or part of some other attribute that INFJ shares with other types, like a particular learning style or something.
Is this another common experience for male INFJs? I often felt rejected by my peers in my childhood, and those memories are very painful. I wish I could get some kind of understanding or acknowledgement but that is simply not an available option for me. No one around me can relate it seems. It makes me feel like some kind of weirdo. My only option is to hand all these painful memories to God and then simply let them go.
I certainly had trouble fitting in at school, but I frame it differently now. Discovering I was an INFJ helped me understand WHY I didn’t fit in – I was different, and I wasn’t easily going to fit in.
As I got older I began to learn the “formula for popularity” and managed to fit in and be fully accepted, but only by being someone I wasn’t and putting on an act. As I grow older, I’m no longer willing to do that. I’m content being authentic and giving in to my introversion, even if it means a duller social life and a smaller list of Facebook friends. I’m happier like this than I think I’ve ever been.
I don’t think that Donald Trump is a male INFJ, but I have noticed that his memory recall works like ours. He will be relating some story that illustrates the point he is trying to make and suddenly another memory might pop into his head that is related to the story he is telling us about, and he might interrupt his current story to mention the second memory that is related before continuing his first story. Whenever I recall some memory, my intuition throws in one or more related memories with it. I am starting to wonder if the interconnection of our memories is more about how our intuition accesses our memories. Oh well who knows.
Hey, how organized are male INFJs supposed to be? I have heard and read online that INFJ males are very organized and women will love them because they keep an immaculate house. This is just NOT me. I mean, I organize my iPhone to the extreme, and I organize my environment into visual memory, and I try really hard to have a place for everything and everything in its place, but I get sidetracked and forgot to complete tasks a lot. I mean things pop into my mind that needs to be taken care of all the time and I have learned that if I don’t take some action on the task or idea while I am thinking about it, I soon forget it and fail to complete the task. Also, sometimes I will set out to perform some chore, and on my way I might notice some other item that needs fixing or whatever so I stop and take care that and in doing so I forget to complete the chore I originally set out to accomplish. That one I have a solution for if I remember to follow it. It’s not convenient for me to carry around pad and pencil to scribble down ideas when they pop into my head. Maybe there’s an App that I can use.
Is this how most INFJs function when attempting to organize their exterior world or am I just strange?