Why Are INFJs Hard To Love? (6 Heartbreaking Reasons)

Jun 17, 2023

It’s no secret that the INFJ’s love life story tends to read like a poignant paradoxical romance novel.

Despite some of their very loveable traits, like empathy, generosity and attentiveness, it can actually be very hard to love INFJs!

The INFJ is one of the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types, making up roughly 1-2 percent of the population.

“INFJ” is an acronym which stands for Introversion (I), Intuition (N), Feeling (F) and Judging (J).

These four core characteristics describe the cognitive functions INFJs use the most to navigate through life.

Sadly as a seasoned INFJ male myself, I can attest to this when I look back at my past relationships!

What could be some of the reasons that make it hard to love INFJs? Let’s investigate 6 heartbreaking reasons!

6 Heartbreaking Reasons Why INFJs Are Hard to Love

1. INFJs are hard to love, because they may struggle with self-loathing

Can you love someone who doesn’t love themself? A poignant age old question that seems to elucidate the INFJ’s plight with such surgical precision that it almost becomes rhetorical.

INFJs have an increased risk to develop self-loathing or low self-esteem during their formative years.

This is because their highly sensitive nature and the corresponding needs are often misunderstood or overlooked by family, peers and society at large.

Especially, when we can infer that in general sensitivity is seen as a weakness.

On top of that we live mostly in an extraverted world where introverts like the INFJ may have a harder time to fit in or meet their introverted needs consistently.

Now, this is not to say that all INFJs struggle with self-loathing or low self-esteem.

However, many may develop self-loathing due to repeated discounting, misunderstanding, bullying, unmet needs and not being able to fit into the general public over a long period of time during their formative years may severely hamper their ability to form a healthy self-image and sense of self.

Sadly, this predicament is reflected in the many emails I receive and the web forums where INFJs discuss their mental health problems and confess how they actually hate being this personality type.

INFJs are often hard to love, due to their self-loathing. Because, when you loathe, hate or are disgusted by yourself, you wouldn’t understand why someone would or could love you.

When someone comes along that actually is loving and affectionate towards the self-loathing INFJ, chances are the INFJ will shut down or distance themself from that love.

Because it might be too uncomfortable to feel that love which doesn’t correspond with the self-loathing INFJ’s heartbroken, gut wrenching, shameful and disgusted feelings towards the Self.

Forcing the potential loving partners and friends to try, try and try again to love the INFJ, but eventually give up on the INFJ who just can’t seem to receive their love, due to a low grade self-loathing that seems to always simmer in the background.

2. INFJs are hard to love, because they may fear intimacy

Now we know that INFJs tend to be very private individuals who are very meticulous when it comes to selecting their close friends and romantic partners.

This is of course in principle not a bad thing, since the world can be a cruel place full of betrayal and callousness.

However, INFJs are known to take their level of privacy and their relationship standards to another level.

Photo by Timur Weber on Pexels

Many times this (extreme) guardedness of their heart follows an intimate incident where they get their heart broken.

In many cases it takes only one bad experience to have INFJs put their guard up, as they now fear intimacy, perhaps even for the rest of their lives.

As highly sensitive beings it is perhaps no surprise, because when you are particularly sensitive like the INFJ tends to be, you’ll have a lower threshold for (emotional) pain which makes you get hurt more easily.

On top of that, since they tend to be very open, trusting, caring and perhaps a bit too naive and gullible when they are young, an emotional betrayal, abuse or break up cuts right to the core, in many cases making them close off their hearts forever to not be hurt so intensely again.

Sadly, this fear of intimacy makes them avoid intimacy, which makes it extremely hard for people to love INFJs.

Because it’s also very painful for those who try to love the INFJ to have their love rejected over and over and over again as they desperately try to climb the walls of the INFJ’s fortified heart.

3. INFJs are hard to love, because they are misfits

Since INFJs are rare, making up roughly 1% of the population, fitting in with the general population of which you may not have as much in common with can be a real challenge.

Unfortunately, INFJs may have a harder time finding like minded people or kindred spirits for that same reason.

Finding people you really connect with on the basis of mutual interests, corresponding personality traits, and the same morals and values is already hard enough.

Let alone, when your personality make up is considered to be one of the rarest on the planet.

Now, it may be that opposites attract in certain cases, and it isn’t so that people purposely don’t want to love the INFJ.

It just happens to be the case that INFJs have a smaller pond to fish in for potential romantic partners, due to their lower prevalence within societies at large.

4. INFJs are hard to love, because they are extremely private

It’s very hard to love someone who doesn’t let themself be known. As ever private the prototypical INFJs tend to be, they definitely fall into that category.

As introverts, they keep their inner world safely hidden away and don’t like to talk a lot about themselves.

As social chameleons, INFJs are very much focussed on making other people feel comfortable by giving them a lot of attention and space to express themselves.

Now, many people love them for being generous with their attention alone!

However, to truly be loved for who you are, you must show those sides of you that can make you vulnerable.

Your deepest beliefs, most authentic dreams, your intimate emotional inner world experiences and how you view the world.

INFJs usually may have a hard time to let people in or take a very long time to do so, because they want to stay in control, or protect themselves emotionally and mentally just in case.

Despite this tendency, they may easily establish connections with numerous people due to the INFJ’s powerful social ability to match almost anyone’s energy to foster harmonious social interactions.

However, these connections tend to stay at a surface level as long as the INFJ keeps its privacy at an extremely high intensity.

5. INFJs are hard to love, because they may be hyper-independent

It is well known that INFJs tend to be lone wolf types who value mental strength, and self-reliance.

It’s as if they strive to be so strong and independent so that they can take care of themselves and others easily.

INFJs tend to be reliable personalities that will help their significant others without any hesitation when the moment calls for it.

As “readers of minds” INFJs might even start to help you with something you didn’t know you needed help with yet!

They may even secretly pride themselves on this altruistic bent. However, when the time comes that the INFJ actually needs to depend on somebody else, things can get a bit tricky.

Photo by Roman Odintsov on Pexels

It’s at these moments where the INFJ’s hyper-independence might show.

Since they like to generally be very much in control of their lives, they find it hard to be reliant on others.

Because the vulnerability that comes with relying on others, the risk of being let down or the INFJ admitting that they need help with something means that they aren’t in control anymore.

Furthermore, when INFJs themselves need help, they might judge themselves harshly by seeing themselves as weak, or a burden to others, even though INFJs usually don’t judge others who need help.

Which is kind of a paradox. The INFJ’s self-criticism is part of the high expectations of themselves which can easily reach insanely perfectionistic levels bordering on obsessive compulsion and masochism.

Since they are also often highly empathic and sensitive to emotional energy, they are wired for establishing and maintaining harmonious social relations.

By asking a lot of help, INFJs quickly think that they put their precious harmonious social relations in jeopardy, because it may frustrate their friends and family.

So hyper-independence is often the INFJ’s chosen strategy.

Unfortunately however, it’s hard to have an intimate relationship with a hyper-independent person.

Because intimate relationships ask for both people to depend on each other in a healthy way. Relationships require you to be interdependent.

When someone loves you, they like to help you.

But by coming off as if you never need your significant other for anything, or by not including them enough in certain areas of your life, because you try to always be so capable, strong and self-reliant, your partner might start to wonder why you wanted a romantic relationship in the first place!

6. INFJs are hard to love, because they tend to be people pleasers

Like was mentioned before, INFJs tend to be renowned for their generous empathy and great ability to sense what’s needed to make almost any social interaction a harmonious one.

As pleasant this seemingly natural talent can be, INFJs can also easily take it overboard.

Many INFJs struggle with being too accommodating, too empathic and too focussed on the feelings and needs of others.

To the point where INFJs have a heightened risk of becoming people pleasers and compulsively try to please everyone at the expense of their own mental, emotional and physical integrity.

Now there can be many reasons why INFJs might fall into the role of the people pleaser.

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It could be an old lingering coping mechanism they’ve used since childhood to survive living with selfish or abusive caregivers.

Or perhaps, as typically kind personalities, they value love and kindness so much it became their life’s creed.

Or because they are so good at pleasing others, they got praised a lot for it during their life to the point it became a huge part of their identity and self-image.

An identity and image they now try to uphold.

Whatever it may be, it’s generally hard to love a people pleaser, because they keep their own true feelings and needs hidden away from everyone.

People pleasers usually believe they can’t take up space, because it’s all about pleasing other people.

As such, you’ll have a hard time knowing what’s truly going on inside them.

In fact, people pleasers often have a hard time recognizing what’s going on inside themselves as well!

Because the mask they wear or role they play out as people pleasers can be so ingrained that they’ve lost touch with themselves.

And to truly love someone, there needs to be an authentic person there to love in the first place, not a compulsive role being acted out on autopilot merely trying to bend itself in whatever form it thinks others want to see.



As a psychologist with a Master's degree in Clinical & Health Psychology, and as an INFJ male, highly sensitive human being, the author aims to blend the objective, subjective, mind, body and spirit for a holistic view on true well-being
for INFJs, Introverts, Highly Sensitive People and Empaths!



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