Why Are INFJs Intimidating? (7 Confronting Reasons You Should Know)

Apr 16, 2022

shocked woman

Renowned for their warm and gentle presence it can be quite shocking for some to find out INFJs also have a few intense qualities to them that can have an intimidating impact.

The INFJ is one in 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.

Curious how INFJs can be intimidating? As an INFJ male I have conjured up a list! Let’s find out!

7 Confronting Reasons Why INFJs Are Intimidating

1. INFJs can be intimidating, because of their INFJ Stare

What’s the INFJ stare you ask? The INFJ stare is that characteristic penetrating, soul piercing stare many INFJs have, which is their thinking expression.

You might catch an INFJ sitting somewhere, staring into the distance, a wall, the ceiling or intensely stare at you during conversation.

When you encounter the INFJ stare, you’ll feel that the INFJ is reading your soul. It can be quite intimidating, especially since INFJs won’t break eye contact while staring at you like that!

Of course they don’t mean to intimidate you!

Perhaps out of intrigue and enthusiasm about you or something you’ve said, they don’t feel the social cues that ask for breaking eye-contact every 5 seconds anymore as you’ve triggered their curiosity.

Or they might be trying to read you, as INFJs are experts at intuiting someone’s nature and intentions by reading their body language, subtle facial expressions and absorbing their energy so to speak.

Or they are in deep thought about the subject of the conversation you are having.

They might also be day dreaming about something else and you just happen to stand within their gaze’s range.

In the latter case, you’ll feel the INFJ is staring through you, while being lost in their thoughts with a zoned out, diffuse focus coming from their eyes as they stare into the eternal distance where you just happen to stand.

Many people get intimidated, because they don’t know what to make of this intense ironclad stare that seems to read out your soul’s core essence and all of your past lives!

And no wonder! Yet, INFJs despise unnecessary conflict, so chances are they don’t have any hostile intent.

They are just being possessed by an interesting thought.. Once again..

2. INFJs can be intimidating, because of their mysteriousness

INFJs are known to be very private individuals.

During a conversation with them you will experience their exceptional ability to have you share your deepest secrets with them within a few moments.

Yet, to your surprise, hours after the conversation ended while you are back at home cooking dinner, you realize that you actually know nothing about them!

Paradoxically, you wouldn’t feel deceived, but rather intrigued! Why?

Because, the rare confidant energy which INFJs exude and use to seduce everyone into telling their secrets is alluring.

Even-though you feel kind of exposed, at the same time, you have a comforting visceral feeling that your secrets are safe with the INFJ.

You might even realize that you needed to unload that weight a bit, and you may feel lighter.

Yet, you really wonder what made you tell them all those things you perhaps never even told your best friend!

You try to figure out the INFJ, but because of their privacy you have little to go on. Still waters run deep they say.

And just like the scuba diver that descends to the ocean floor, but can’t see the bottom yet, many people can be intimidated by the INFJ, because those people may nervously try to anticipate how deep the INFJ’s waters actually run.

female ocean swimmer deep underwater

Photo by Inchs on Pexels

3. INFJs can be intimidating, because of their unwavering devotion

As discussed in my article 7 Essential INFJ Male Relationship Needs, INFJs tend to be idealistic, determined, passionate and devoted.

Despite the cloak of mystery INFJs hide underneath in style, it’s often hard for them to hide these strong character traits.

INFJs hold their values, interests, dreams and aspirations in high regard.

How INFJs value altruism, are interested in people, dream of creative expression and aspire for a life of freedom and autonomy can be intimidating to anyone who claims to have any sort of ambition.

Because, often they might find that their own devotion to whatever cause pales in comparison to the seemingly unwavering devotion of the INFJ.

This is because INFJs tend to have an all or nothing approach to everything, which stems from their idealism and perfectionism.

They need to move towards their envisioned bright future at all cost or else they’ll die.

This is because that envisioned future promises meeting their core essential needs for creative expression, autonomy and high quality relationships.

To the INFJ manifesting their dreams is something completely different from just being a luxury or privilege. To them it’s a moral obligation.

This all or nothing approach is of course not mandatory to reach most goals, but others might look at the INFJ’s devotion and can’t help being intimidated by their “all in” mentality with everything the INFJ cherishes.

Because, just as they say with a bacon and eggs breakfast: “The chicken is involved, but the pig is committed!”

4. INFJs can be intimidating, because of their curiosity

Curious minds make for curious cases. Openness to experiences is often positively associated with intelligence (DeYoung, Quilty, Peterson & Gray, 2014).

INFJs are known for their sincere curiosity for people, abstract and complex concepts from the arts, humanities and sciences.

Due to the tendency of INFJs to indulge in their interests relentlessly, it is often the case that they have acquired a high level of intelligence as well.

This can be intimidating to others who speak with the INFJ, because the INFJ often showcases an impressive well rounded general knowledge of things acquired via their widespread curiosity.

As you may know, INFJs are also very empathic and interested in the inner worlds of other people.

Therefore, they tend to ask a lot of deepening questions that help reveal someone’s core essence or deeper side.

However, these recurrent INFJ deep dives into someone else’s psyche (even-though they are sincerely interested) are often not appreciated, because having someone you just met asking you existential questions like that at a birthday party can be very confrontational and intimidating!

Take it easy INFJ!

5. INFJs can be intimidating, because of their strong sense of independence

Have you ever tried to tell an INFJ what to do? No? Why not? My guess is that you probably have already sensed that wouldn’t go so well.

The reason is that INFJs have a tendency to move through life like lone wolves, iconoclasts or mavericks.

They recognize every individual as a sovereign being and they take their own sovereignty VERY seriously.

Even-though INFJs can easily blend into any social structure or hierarchy by taking on a role or persona that would make them function for at least a little while within that social structure, INFJs in fact do detest hierarchy.

Especially when it requires blind loyalty of its participants to whatever authoritarian entity that reigns supreme within that structure.

INFJs aspire to be strong, financially free and independent agents who can not only survive, but also thrive as they build the life they want.

Man standing alone on pier watching sunrise

Photo by Tyler Lastovich on Pexels

They demand this strength of themselves as they know it is the essential foundation needed to build their dream life on.

INFJs also deeply care about being strong enough to carry their friends and family through trying times.

It can be intimidating for others to witness INFJs being so focussed on their independence, because it may seem like INFJs don’t like being part of a group, getting help from people or that they don’t like the company of others so much.

This may be true and consequently scare people off.

Yet, in the shadows of the INFJ’s reclusive existence they work hard on manifesting their desired goal of independence.

Because just like the wolf that went rogue by leaving the pack, the INFJ believes you need to be at least twice as strong to make it on your own.

6. INFJs can be intimidating, because of their observant nature

What do the clothes you wore two weeks ago, your ever fluctuating emotional state and your core personality structure all have in common?

That it didn’t get past the INFJ!

INFJs are known to have keen observational skills.

Subtle sounds, colors, lights, scents, touch, tastes, facial expression, shifts in moods, quality of social interaction, behavior patterns and voice tonality are easily observed and registered.

It most likely has to do with the fact that many INFJs were also born as Highly Sensitive People.

According to clinical research psychologist Aron (1999), around 1 in 5 people (or any species for that matter) are born with a more finely tuned nervous system that can more easily pick up on subtle stimuli, but is therefore also more easily over aroused.

This may be the INFJ’s secret weapon when it comes to accurately observing their surroundings!

On the flip side, this natural gift for exceptional observation skills can be very intimidating to others, because it seems that they are unnoticeably being monitored and can’t get away with anything while in the presence of the Sherlock Holmes INFJ!

7. INFJs can be intimidating, because of their competitiveness

Believe it or not, behind the INFJ's enigmatic, soft spoken yet warm empathic nature, lies a fierce competitiveness!

As was mentioned before, they are devoted and passionate beings and that passion surely shows whenever INFJs compete.

They absolutely love a real challenge! From sports to video games, it doesn’t really matter.

However, don’t be alarmed, to the INFJ in most cases this is just all in good fun.

As they are very growth oriented, eager to learn and push their boundaries, competition is something that allows for them to explore all of that.

However, the sheer intensity with which they might try to beat you at Super Smash Brothers can be intimidating!

Usually INFJs aren’t sore losers. But.. only if they lose while knowing for sure they gave it everything they had.

If INFJs didn’t try their very best and lost in the end, they definitely are sore losers all right. But they’ll only be angry with themselves!


Aron, E. N. (1999). The Highly Sensitive Person: How to thrive when the world overwhelms you. London, England: Element. Book

DeYoung, C. G., Quilty, L. C., Peterson, J. B., Gray, J. R. (2014). Openness to experience, intellect, and cognitive ability. Journal of Personality Assessment, 96(1), 46–52.



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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