5 Common INFJ Male Problems
From not recognizing our self-worth to struggling to find a meaningful career, being an INFJ male comes with challenges, but also solutions.
INFJs, one of the eight introverted Myers-Briggs personality types, are known for their kindness and enigmatic presence. They’re also the rarest personality type due to their function combination Introversion (I), Intuition (N), Feeling (F), Judging (J) is only seen in 1-2 percent of the population.
But despite a certain group’s rareness, there are always commonalities. INFJs share strengths like their need for harmony. They’re known for being able to sense the emotions of others very accurately and consider the needs of those around them.
On that same token they also share their unique set of challenges. Today, we’ll discuss the ordeals of perhaps the most “rare” group (in my opinion, at least). Let’s take a look at 5 Common INFJ Male Problems.
5 Common INFJ Male Problems
1. INFJ Men may Struggle with Self-Worth Issues.
A lot of people with the INFJ personality also have Highly Sensitive Person traits. As these are beautiful traits on their own like being able to empathize deeply with other people, many of us INFJ men don’t see their worth.
Truth is, many of you more sensitive men reading this have had a rough time growing up, because your sensitivity was seen as a weakness versus a strength. Most likely one of your parents, family members, teachers, friends or society at large shamed, ridiculed, discounted or invalidated your sensitivity.
You’ve might been told (explicitly or implicitly) to man up, toughen up and stop being the way you are. If you repeatedly received these messages during your formative years it is of no surprise sooner or later you start to believe them.
The issue: Toxic Shame
Due to these messages, deep feelings of shame, guilt and self-disgust are probably very familiar to you. If these feelings fester for too long they turn into Toxic Shame.
A shame so deeply felt that we are ashamed and disgusted of who we are. This eats away at our sense of identity as the unique person we are and our sense of manhood.
From an early age it became quite obvious to most of us male INFJs that we don’t fit in that stereotypical category of what a man is “supposed to be”, like being solely rational and portraying the macho persona.
Yet, in order to meet the expectations of our parents, teachers, and other significant adults in our lives and not let them down, we tried, tried and tried everything possible to fit in by acting tougher than we are and hiding our sensitive side.
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But we’ve failed every time, feeling inadequate, stupid, weak and emasculated. (More about this pattern can be found in the INFJ Male Bio series. The paradox is that even when we do manage to fit in more, we fail nonetheless, because we wouldn’t be true to our self.
Overall I sense that at the core of the INFJ’s male plight is a struggle for self-acceptance. Check out the Wisdom page for some great resources that could help against Toxic Shame.
The solution: Redefining masculinity
At some point, INFJ men await the daunting but crucial, task of redefining masculinity for themselves. This takes years and years and years, but we must.
For most men there already exists a manufactured jacket of ‘masculinity’ in a few universal sizes shipped everywhere, like the rational status-driven persona.
However, not for us INFJ men. We need to sew our own custom-made jacket of masculinity with all the different fabrics of our personality, like our sensitivity and appreciation of beauty and wear it with pride.
Only then will we reach full maturity. They say “Clothes make the man”. I say “INFJ men make the clothes”. Our own clothes.
2. INFJ Men May Struggle to Find a Fulfilling Career.
To most people with the INFJ personality traits, working to make money isn’t just that simple. We need to know and feel like the work we’re doing is meaningful and contributes to some kind of greater good.
For us male INFJs this purpose is very important. For example, we find purpose in an introspective career, such as being a psychologist, artist, writer, or musician. However, these great careers take a lot of time to build up, before we can truly indulge in them.
The issue: Contradicting needs
As INFJ men, we are truly the odd ones out, as our interests can be quirky and contradictory. We can have a deep affinity with more logical subjects, such as the sciences or data, while also enjoying creative expression such as art.
Did you notice something else about those potential careers? Yes, a lot of them are careers where it is common to be your own boss.
But the truth is it is extremely hard to meet all of those different needs in a regular 9 to 5 job. Ironically, often it is needed to climb the corporate ladder through a regular 9 to 5, before you can claim a more interesting position within a company.
But therein lies the problem. A lot of us have withered and died psychologically before that happens due to our unmet needs for autonomy and creativity. Is that perhaps why a lot of us aspire for entrepreneurship of some kind? Plagued by perfectionism we can easily quit any job that isn’t conducive to nurturing our full potential, regardless of the current state of the economy.
Idealists as we are, we pride ourselves on this job hopping like it’s a skill. Because, we always manage to find a last minute job that keeps us from starving. But this tendency has a huge flaw.
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The solution: How to successfully navigate the INFJ career crisis
As if in quicksand, we keep trying very hard to find that perfect job, but to no avail. As we blast through hordes of different jobs, the average time we spend in them gets shorter and shorter before we jump to the next one.
By switching jobs so frequently we burn up a lot of sheer will power which diminishes our tolerance levels for those same bullshit jobs by the month.
If we had focussed that will power by staying at one job at a particular company, we could’ve ensconced ourselves in a more interesting career by now. Instead we are now trapped in a vicious cycle of relentless job hopping without the mental energy to endure them for a possible promotion( which only comes when you’ve done your time).
Now you feel unfulfilled, bored, and burnt out, uncertain of what you should be doing, (since you already tried so many different jobs). What makes matters worse is because you haven’t invested your time in one place, career-wise there is also no tangible progress or any return on investment to look forward to in the near future.
You now are starting to panic, because you feel you’ve wasted many months or even years living this way. You are now no longer fresh out of college and companies prefer younger people over you due to your age and trigger happy job switching CV. You have ended up in what I call the INFJ career crisis. (Read more in 5 Worst Jobs For Introverts)
A solution of sorts would be to determine what’s your heart’s desire and start pursuing that TODAY. We INFJ males tend to look for the perfect circumstances, but there aren’t. You need to start working on what you want to create in this life right now next to your current perhaps unfulfilling day job, even if it’s only an hour a day.
In this way you’ll be meeting your needs for meaning and autonomy which will sustain you as you gradually work yourself out of the INFJ career crisis and towards your dream.
3. INFJ Men Are Prone to Live a Solitary Life.
Solitude is as important to INFJ males as food and water. We thrive in it, nurturing our soul with introspection, reading, creating or just calming the often (highly sensitive) senses. During these quarantine times, I bet you have encountered the full extent of how good we actually do thrive in that peace and quiet. A little too well wouldn’t you agree?
The issue: Our need for solitude
Two weeks could easily pass in which there was minimal human contact and we wouldn’t even give it a second thought. Our social circle however, isn’t as amused: our delayed responses to messages, minimal initiation of contact or last minute cancellation of the social distance get-together we’ve promised to attend.
If those people around you still call you their friend, that means they’ve accepted who you are by now. However, they know how diligently we need to work on our dreams and they greatly admire us for it!
There are a myriad of factors that can contribute to that deep need for seclusion we have. As mentioned earlier a lot of us encountered some form of trauma, deep shame or depression during our childhood. Read more about this pattern in the INFJ Male Bio series. This could’ve made you hyper vigilant for potential danger, therefore being alone is the only way to really calm down.
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The solution: Tactically retreating
There is another pattern that is perhaps more pronounced in males. This links back into the second problem of not being able to find a fulfilling career that makes money. When we face problems or challenges that are complex (like figuring out our life’s purpose), we have a tendency to withdraw.
This isn’t about giving up, but it’s a tactical retreat back into our introvert sanctuary or cave (a place where we spend most of our time anyway) to analyze and reflect deeply upon the issue.
Purpose and direction are absolutely important as the moral idealistic beings we are. Something just doesn’t sit right with us if we are unaligned with that inner compass, but still are going about our business like everything is fine. It is like it disturbs our whole being. Everything else almost becomes sort of insignificant or a hindrance.
Social gatherings, parties and other social obligations now become even more annoying and we can easily banish them from our lives until we have figured out the solution (or at least a new strategy/plan of action which rejuvenates our spirits).
The solitary life is our antidote to an existential crisis, but after that much needed soul searching we are ready to go out there and meet the world again!
4. INFJ Men May Become Accustomed to Being Invisible.
Many of us do have a little extraverted side, which can be activated in social situations. During that time we can be the life of the party for a short while.
Our Extraverted Feeling function, which is represented by the third letter — F (Feeling) –, makes us harmonious beings, well aware of the feelings and needs of those around us. As such we strive to maintain harmony in groups or social events almost at all cost. This is where our nickname the “Social Chameleon” comes from.
The issue: Fading into the background
Despite this being one of our greatest strengths and a personality trait most people absolute adore about us, it has a flip side. INFJ males are always challenged to walk the fine line between nurturing harmony and losing themselves in the process.
It is truly a gift to be able to adjust so well to our surroundings and make everyone at ease. However, just like the animal chameleon, what happens when it blends in too well? You can’t see the chameleon anymore.
We are so good at making others feel seen and heard, that we aren’t seen. For example, by our gentle presence and asking the right questions, others feel safe to open up to us.
What’s sad is that we are so well-adapted to this therapist role. This doesn’t mean that we don’t have any friends that are genuinely interested in us as a person. We do. But giving is so deeply rooted in our nature that this mode is switched on by default.
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The solution: Introspection in order to become visible to ourselves again
Perhaps, it’s also that we haven’t met a lot of others like us and therefore assume that no one would be interested in the random existential feverish dream mind-haze we reside in. Why bother sharing, as understanding ourselves is already a tough puzzle we haven’t solved in the slightest?
While everyone is enjoying the party, we INFJs are measuring the room’s temperature. We are seen by ourselves. Just by noticing how quirky, paradoxical and weird we are on the inside and meeting it with a little acceptance. And by not expecting anyone to understand.
As long as we keep meeting ourselves with introspection at least we aren’t invisible to ourselves. In solitude we shake off the impressions and emotions of others and become visible to ourselves again!
5. INFJ Men Can Be Seriously Intense.
Remember the random existential feverish dream mind haze mentioned at problem 4? Well, because we are always in this state we can be engaged in small talk with someone and all of sudden take a sharp left turn mid conversation.
The issue: We go from 0 to 100 real quick
All of a sudden we steer the conversation about the weather to how time itself is eventually consuming everything in this world and that we should give it our all to accomplish our goals before our incarnations seize to exist. And that was talking to the mailman. Sounds familiar?
Photo by Francisco Gonzalez on Unsplash
We often forget that not everyone is open to talk about life and death at the cocktail party. Nor are others always open for us to help them introspect. Not saying they never are, but there’s a time and place for everything. Often surface-level conversation is as deep as it goes and that’s totally fine.
The solution: Utilize your INFJ superpower!
I know we pride ourselves on the existential subject matter we ponder about, which probably made people with different personalities go insane. This is one of our superpowers!
By this sage-like ability we can think about the complex mysteries of human existence and translate our insights into our creative work to help inspire others. The world depends on your full potential! INFJ men.. Show us who you are! (Also read about Another 5 Common INFJ Male Problems!)
In the end it’s safe to say that many of us may have struggled or are struggling with these challenges. Are they just temporary or the INFJ predicament? Whatever they are, let’s try our best to overcome them and reach that next level in our development!
Food For Thought
1. What are typical problems in your experience?
2. What are typical problems for Females with this personality?
3. What are typical problems for this personality?
What is your personality type? Take the MBTI test!
You Might Also Like:
- Another 5 Common INFJ Male Problems
- 7 Essential INFJ Male Relationship Needs
- INFJ Male Bio: Growing Up as an INFJ Male (Age 0-6)
- The Highly Sensitive Person: The DOES Acronym Explained by a Highly Sensitive Man
For the total list of recommended reading, please go to the Wisdom page.
* INFJ Male Psychology is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program, and as such earns from qualifying purchases for some of the links.