Why Do INFJs Seem Extraverted? (5 Positive Reasons)
Jun 22, 2022
A walking paradox by being both mysterious and private, yet having “The Social Chameleon” as a nickname.
Speaking as an INFJ male with INFJ friends, I have definitely some hands on experience with this paradox.
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.
INFJs are often mistaken for extraverts and are also called “The Extraverted Introvert”.
But what is the INFJ’s secret to their unique charm and social awareness?
Let's dive a bit deeper into some important reasons!
5 Positive Reasons Why INFJs Seem Extraverted
1. INFJs seem extraverted, because of their Extraverted Feeling cognitive function
Well.. the word “Extraverted” of Extraverted Feeling is kind of a dead giveaway isn’t it?!
Yes, Extraverted Feeling is the secondary function or auxiliary function of the INFJ, which brings balance to their dominant function Introverted Intuition.
When a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) type has a dominant introverted function, the secondary function is extraverted to bring balance (and vice versa).
INFJs balance their Introverted Intuition (inward focus on their internal world of thoughts, ideas, images, deeper layers of meaning and pattern recognition), out with Extraverted Feeling.
Extraverted Feeling focusses outwardly on other people and the world in general.
The INFJ is famous for always striving for social harmony between individuals and within groups.
They are experts at this and it’s all powered by Extraverted Feeling.
It makes the INFJ always focussed on the emotions, moods, needs and energies of others.
Extraverted Feeling: the INFJ’s secret social super power
Extraverted Feeling allows INFJs to feel the room’s emotional temperature and know exactly what to do to keep it nice and warm for everybody.
For example, in a social setting, the INFJ makes sure they are talking perhaps only 20% of the time, and allows others plenty of space (the other 80%) to talk and express themselves.
Extraverted Feeling shows in the INFJ continuously adjusting their energy so that it matches the person they are interacting with, while maintaining an easy-going, relaxed, positive atmosphere.
You’ll see Extraverted Feeling manifested in the INFJ when they lead with humor when starting conversations with different people at a birthday party.
You’ll notice that an INFJ will talk to many different people when at a social gathering and spread their positive inviting energy around as a joyous act.
Does someone seem to be left out of the group, because they seem shy or don't know how to mingle?
No worries, the INFJ already sensed it from afar and swiftly swoops in and includes them by striking up a lighthearted nonjudgemental conversation and casually introduces some other people to them.
INFJs can really be exuberant at social events and move through the crowd as a host even-though it’s not their party!
People who’ve met me have been perplexed numerous times after I’ve shared with them that I’m actually introverted.
When a friend of mine was receiving her Doctorate degree (PhD), I was standing outside the entrance to the ceremony chamber in a suit.
While I was waiting for our friends to arrive, I greeted every guest that was already going inside to take a seat.
Some of those unfamiliar guests thought I was the ceremonial host!
The INFJ’s nickname “the Social Chameleon”, seems to be well earned. All of the above make INFJs seem extraverted.
Nevertheless, after a while we’ve had more than enough of our share of social interaction.
Then we’ll need to head back to the introvert cave where we’ll retreat into introspective hibernation mode until the next full moon!
2. INFJs seem extraverted, because they are deep feelers
It seems that many INFJs could also be considered highly sensitive people.
A Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) is someone who was born with a more finely attuned nervous system that picks up on more subtle stimuli in their surroundings, like soft sounds, subtle colors and emotional energy.
Due to that, they are astutely aware of details and subtleties in their surroundings, but the trade off is that they are more easily taxed when stimulated through the senses.
HSPs tend to be deep feelers and therefore seem to have rich inner lives, consisting of vivid imagination, strong intuition, and a deep appreciation for beauty.
INFJs are known for all of these things.
INFJs are idealistic beings, moving eternally towards the metaphorical and metaphysical horizon in the future where they see their needs for altruism, philanthropy, integrity, morality, meaning, creative expression, beauty, authenticity, nurturing relationships and freedom being met.
Unfortunately, in a society that is reluctant to foster the needs of the creative, introverted and dreamers of our kind, INFJs find themselves often uninspired, depressed and worn-down while trying to build a life on the fringes of our modern day society.
My cup runneth over: the INFJ’s deep joyful state
However, when the INFJ is able to meet most of their essential needs, they tend to light up so brightly that it’s blinding.
As deep feelers (often HSPs), they tend to feel all of their emotions very deeply.
When they feel those positive emotions as a result of meeting their needs, those emotions can become so intense for them that those emotions run over.
Almost anyone who comes into contact with them in this state can feel the pure exuberant joy emanating from the INFJ’s pores.
For example, an INFJ that is making some tangible progress with their creative endeavors and walks down the street acknowledging everybody in their immediate surroundings with a joyous countenance, inviting gaze and a charming smile, because the INFJ feels so delighted by meeting their need for creativity.
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The self-actualised INFJ, will be very much open to the world to share those intense feelings of happiness, joy and peace naturally. My cup runneth over..
Meaning there’s so much contentment that the excess needs to flow outwards.
The INFJ in this state is very much extraverted, much more than usual.
Now, it is a real challenge for most INFJs to reach that state, but they manage to periodically shift in and out of that state.
Due to this shifting, INFJs get glimpses of how beautiful life can be and how wonderful they can feel.
Those glimpses are what keeps them metaphysically traveling towards that beautiful envisioned promised land.
The closer they get, the happier, more enthusiastic and more outgoing they seem to become as they increasingly share their delight with the world!
3. INFJs seem extraverted, because they get energized by profound conversations
Even-though INFJs will engage in small-talk when the situation calls for it, usually they stay away from it.
For example, every now and then they’ll join in on the juicy coffee machine conversations with co-workers to stay in the social game (and to keep tabs on the gossip spreaders).
However, most of the time the INFJ tries to steer away from small-talk which is typically uninteresting to them, and actually draining.
Habitually careful about what they say and how much they disclose, the INFJ can come off as reserved.
No small talk energy, but BIG talk energy!
Unless the conversation hits some deeper layers or profound topic, you wouldn’t hear much from the INFJ.
You better come with that BIG Talk Energy (#BTE)!
From looking up to the sky and mentioning the weather, to asking what’s the meaning of life.
From discussing the most efficient route to work, to questioning why we even have a 9 to 5 job.
From talking about the cheapest smartphone deals, to wondering how to achieve the freedom in life to be with our loved ones in person.
Oooh when you flip the small talk with the INFJ on to something profound like that, you better hold onto something!
People might have been blown away by the surge of energy coming from the INFJ when hitting the right topical spot.
All of a sudden the INFJ shares their innermost thoughts, beliefs and perspectives on those heartfelt subject matters and can talk your ears off!
They are very much engaged, animated and conversational now!
INFJs enjoy such profound conversations very much, because they are deeply nurturing to them. They could talk to you for hours!
INFJs seem extraverted when immersed in earnest and substantial conversations within the domains of psychology, philosophy, arts and spirituality, just to name a few.
Especially, when they are surrounded by the right people to have those conversations regularly.
4. INFJs seem extraverted, because of their need for Self-Development
The envisioned promised land to which the INFJ is metaphorically traveling towards is ultimately an internal destination.
It’s about embodying those things you would like to see in the world and then see it reflected in the outer world by manifesting it yourself first.
Due to the fact that the INFJ dreams of philanthropy, freedom, beauty and creativity (just to name a few), the typical INFJ is almost in a perpetual state of self-development in an attempt to approach their highest ideals.
INFJs are always self-critically scanning for fissures in their own armor, incompleteness of their mental/emotional toolbox, flaws in their character design and practice continuous improvement to fix, expand, and correct whatever it is they’re lacking despite it being very painful at times.
Growth Mindset: the INFJ mindset?
Regardless of the fact that many INFJs aren’t falling within the shy introverted and socially inept stereotype, still as true introverts, they need to actively develop their social skills.
At one point they perhaps recognized that they were lacking in the social skills department to some degree and with their growth oriented mindset, were very motivated to improve them.
That’s also why INFJs seem extraverted, because through Self-Development, chances are they’ve worked on their social skills and were able to expand their extraversion.
Especially, since their Extraverted Feeling function (see reason 1), gives them enormous potential to grow into warm, heartfelt and charming communicators.
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The MBTI measures Introversion and Extraversion on a scale for each type.
As an INFJ your Introversion score can be somewhere between 51% and 100%.
The remainder is classified as Extraversion.
For example, your INFJ score on the Introversion vs. Extraversion scale could be 80% (Introversion) and 20% (Extraversion).
Even-though, you are most likely predominantly either introverted or extraverted, it is uncommon for people to be either 100% introverted or 100% extraverted.
So that means there’s always some room to grow and expand the underdeveloped domains of your personality!
Something INFJs relentlessly participate in.
5. INFJs seem extraverted, because of their curiosity
Being called “The eternal student”during your academic life is usually not a good thing.
Yet, in spirituality or the school of Life so to speak, being an eternal student is seen as a very wise approach to life.
INFJs are often the eternal students of the school of Life, because they are naturally intensely curious.
INFJs rest in their introspective, contemplative state most of the time, wondering about the meaning of life, how to create a beautiful life and indulging in observing the miracle of life unfold all around them.
In their free time they spend a lot of time feeding that curiosity by studying the subjects that trigger their curiosity.
For example, psychology, philosophy, art and sciences.
When you are in conversation with an INFJ, you’ll notice that they tend to ask you a lot of questions.
They’ll ask you about you, who you are, what drives you, your perspective on life, your core ideals, what your passion is and will listen carefully to your answers.
Because as eternal students of life, they believe you might have some wisdom they can learn from.
INFJs tend to practice an active listening style with open ended questions.
Which means they’ll give you a lot of space to speak and regularly they’ll interject with more open-ended deepening questions to really get to the core essence of those particular interesting thoughts and concepts you are expressing.
INFJs seem extraverted, because out of curiosity they’ll ask a lot of questions they will formulate carefully, and sincerely try to understand you despite their potentially opposing views.
When the INFJ’s curiosity is triggered, their communication style is considered warm, patient and skillful.
It seems they really know what they’re doing when they gracefully uncover the beauty of someone’s core essence with their sophisticated conversational skills.
A true Social Chameleon indeed!
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