The MBTI Changed My Life Forever (Story of a Gay INFJ)

INFJ.infj-head

Four simple letters possessing seemingly all of the answers to my questions in life. I owe a giant thank you to the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (more simply called the MBTI) which was administered to me this past fall in my Management Skills class at Rutgers University.

_MBTI-logoThe MBTI is essentially a personality test that sorts people into one of sixteen possible personality types. The Myers-Briggs personality type indicator arranges general preferences people have into four specific dichotomies. The results are intended for people to gain a greater understanding of themselves and to learn how they interact with others. It’s a phenomenal tool for gaining greater insight on your inner world.

Okay, okay, I’ll admit it. Initially, I was pretty upset when I was told on the first day of class that I would need to pay $30.00 for what I believed to be “just another personality test” since I foolishly assumed it would be all hocus-pocus with nothing to differentiate it from the ones I can take online for free. As a first semester freshman who had already spent over $500 of my own money just on textbooks, it was hard to fathom why I needed to pay more money for such a basic thing. Well little did I know.

Looking back, the money given to take the MBTI was WELL SPENT in respect to the value I derived from taking the assessment. In fact, I truthfully can’t even assign a monetary value to the amount of insight it has provided me with. Let’s just say when I opened up my personalized report, I literally gasped in awe and even got emotional as I read on. (I’ll explain why later.)

Before I go on, I want to quickly summarize the two possibilities within each of the four sections of the MBTI and explain the meaning behind those weird four-letter codes you probably see scattered across the internet.

INTROVERSION (I) vs EXTRAVERSION (E)

introvert-and-extrovert-personality-test

It is paramount you understand that this is NOT about whether you are “shy” or “super outgoing” nor is it about being “social” or “anti-social.” No. Rather, it is focused on recognizing where you draw your ‘energy‘ from: be it from your inner-world or the outer-world.

Do you yearn to attend social gatherings and parties? (E)
Or do you thrive during alone time? (I)

Would you rather grab food in a large group? (E)
Or eat alone or with one close friend? (I)

INTUITION (N) vs SENSING (S)

6a00d8341c570e53ef0163006da079970d-500wi

In my opinion, sensing and intuition are the two most difficult to distinguish. This section is focused on how you interpret information.

Are you very observant of your physical surroundings? (S)
Or do you over-analyze conceptual details? (N)

Do you interpret things very literally? (S)
Or do you see beyond what is explicitly stated? (N)

FEELING (F) vs THINKING (T)

The third section focuses on your use of logic or emotion in making decisions.

Do you choose what seems logically sound? (T)
Or do you consider how your decisions may affect others? (F)

Are your decisions fairly consistent? (T)
Or do you find yourself making special circumstances? (F)

PERCEIVER (P) vs JUDGER (J)

The fourth and final section is about the approach you take in structuring your life.

Do you prefer to follow a schedule? (J)
Or just go with the flow? (P)

Do you pre-plan an agenda? (J)
Or stay open to new possibilities? (P)

Your Personality Type

Based on your answers to the questions above, you arrange the four letters to determine your personality type! To give you an example, “INFP” would be one personality type whereas the total opposite would be “ESTJ”. All 16 possible combinations include ISTJ, ISFJ, INFJ, INTJ, ISTP, ISFP, INFP, INTP, ESTP, ESFP, ENFP, ENTP, ESTJ, ESFJ, ENFJ, and ENTJ.

It is important to understand that ALL TYPES ARE EQUAL. No one type is “better” than another. The MBTI is called an “indicator” for a reason – this is not a “test” because the word “test” implies that there can be a right and wrong answers- which in this case, there are not. We are looking for trends.

So which personality type do you think you are?

When I got my Interpretive Report back, my life was changed forever.

Screenshot 2014-02-06 at 11.21.54 PM
The e-mail that changed my life.

Screenshot 2014-02-06 at 11.17.40 PM

According to my MBTI, I got I, N, F, J.
Okay, but what did that mean? I read on.

Screenshot 2014-02-06 at 11.18.15 PM

I was intrigued. I decided to Google “INFJ” to see what I could find. Websites like this, this, and this helped me grasp what exactly I was discovering about myself.

 I literally gasped as I read the MBTI report in my dorm room. My roommate asked, “Rocky, are you okay?” and I responded, “Oh yeah, sorry about that. I’m just discovering something pretty, uh, crazy about myself right now. Sorry, I didn’t mean to react aloud like that!” In a hurry, I picked up my laptop and ran outside to sit beside a tree. My eyes started to tear up a bit. Not because I was sad – in fact, it was quite the opposite. I have never felt so enlightened in my entire life.

Introverted. Intuitive. Feeling. Judging.

A four letter combination linked to a description that fit me PERFECTLY. While the MBTI report was general in some respects, what I read online was not. I felt like I was reading something written about me in such a powerful way that’s almost hard to describe unless you’ve experienced it before.

INFJ-stress-head-smIn past posts like “Antisocial” or “At Peace”?, I was really questioning why I am the way I am and NOW I UNDERSTOOD EVERYTHING. In posts like Daily Prompt: INTJ, I described my introversion without even knowing what introversion was! (Haha funny- I’m just noticing the MBTI reference in the Daily Prompt’s title now- almost one whole year later. Never knew what it meant.)

MY LIFE WAS FINALLY STARTING TO MAKE SENSE. (For the most part…)

I also learned that INFJs are the least common of the 16 personality types. We make up around 1% of the world population- and less than 0.5% are men. I am also gay which supposedly drops the statistical percentage closer to 0.0086% of the population! Guess that helps explain why sometimes I feel really alone sometimes…

Taking the MBTI was an emotional breakthrough for me. I have been happier and more self-aware ever since I got my personalized report back. I hope those of you reading this post learn something about yourselves too because I know how amazing it feels. If you haven’t done so already, you should consider paying to take the real Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator – it was well worth the money! Once you know your type, take the extra step and do some research. Find out more! Don’t limit yourself to what’s listed on your report because there’s a whole world of information out there just waiting to be discovered!

76 Comments

  1. Martha Kennedy

    It’s been interesting for me throughout my whole life. As INFJ’s tend to be friendly caring people, we’re often mistaken for Extroverts (by people who don’t really get it). Because we are a rare personality type with a strong thread of individuality, we’re often mistaken for “rebels.” Because we operate from intuition and feeling, other people’s rigidity and formalism seems stupid. The Myers/Briggs was very helpful to me teaching business communication. Making it part of a research project for YEARS showed me that most students who choose business are extroverts and thinkers. Only one student in the several years I used this project was also, an INFJ
    http:// mindwanderweg. wordpress. com/

    1. It’s true! I’ve been mistaken as an extrovert many times and believe many people are surprised when I tell them I’m really an introvert – there are too many misconceptions attached to the word. In my business class, I was the only INFJ and the trend you mentioned was definitely apparent! It’s funny how things like that happen. I’m glad the MBTI has helped you too. 🙂

      1. Christophe E Jackson

        I really appreciated this post. I am INTJ and can related to many of the adventures and comments in this posts. I seem to paradoxically live at the nexus of many paradoxes. Understanding of perspective is everything.

  2. neofiasco

    Have you read the book Quiet by Susan cain? I tested “I” (wow, I just made that sounds like a disease right there…weird) myself. I first heard about the book through a TED talk, and how accurately she described my situation. Anyway, it’s a good book to read if you have the time to explore your introvertedness. But definitely, one of the more life-shaping books I’ve read

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  6. Definitely changed my life too. I’m a gay infj female and it suddenly opened things up for me so much! Sometimes it makes me feel more alone, but knowing this stuff mostly helped me. Things make more sense now and I can even cut myself more slack now when other people don’t click with me because I know I’m not alone, I’m not the only one. I am also more understanding of other types too, because I can better understand where they’re coming from and that’s a blessing to me. 🙂

    1. Yes, exactly! That’s why the MBTI is great. It allows us to understand not only ourselves but the people around us as well. I’m glad you’ve had a good experience with it too.

      It’s nice to meet another gay INFJ. I’m happy you found my blog and thank you for following! 🙂

    2. Hi AJ.Lion, and Too Basic For a Name, i too am an INFJ and gay. The MBTI has been such a great help with understanding myself and others, but especially realising that i am part of a very very small number of people in this world. It makes me feel alone and i wish that i was not an INFJ ( tested so many times and always the same result ) but it does provide a level of comfort and insight that also makes me feel understood when i read about others in the same situation. Thank you for the time that you have made for this blog and comments, it helps 🙂

      1. Hi INFJason (haha I like the name) I am happy you have found the MBTI to be such a useful tool for you. The INFJ population is small but we’re out there. 1% of the total population is actually still a very large number of people alrhough it does make us hard to find. Hope you found this post (and others) interesting! 🙂

  7. Nice elongated explanation. INFJ, I am suppose to be ENFJ (The Giver). I took the test recently when another blogger had posted a link. Reminded of your blog, as you had mentioned this test earlier.
    Although I felt I am more of a blend between ‘The Artist’ and ‘The Giver’.

      1. Generally yes, but at the same time I could be shy too, if I meet a whole group of strangers who know each other, I feel like an outsider. But if I meet a group of strangers who don’t know each other, then I tend to make the first step to talk to a person. And if i know people, then I’m very comfortable an at ease. So it really depends.

  8. Love the MBTI, it opened my eyes too. Also, the TED talk mentioned earlier rocks! Susan Cain gives a talk titled “The Power of Introverts” and it touches on the common misconceptions of introverts (I think it can be easily googled). I’m an IFSJ, but on the cusp of certain ones so that makes things interesting 🙂

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  11. I recently just learned about INFJ personality and like a normal internet junkie would do I started researching on it. I like the way you explained it here. I had fun taking the test to see what personality I am and guess what? I’m also INFJ! I love that you said here that no personality is better than the other because sometimes I feel like people who are more outgoing are looked at as the better choice for everything. I am introverted I’m aware of my strengths and weakness but I’m finding it hard for other people to see my strength because they easily judge me for being really quite and not that sociable, That’s why I love reading blogs and interacting with people that has the same personality traits as I am.

    Regards,
    Tavia Crruz

    1. Hi Tavia!

      Glad you enjoyed my article! In a world occupied mostly by extroverts, many people struggle to understand the tendencies of an introvert. You just have to remember that you’re your own person and even if you come across as a little antisocial or shy, you’re simply behaving in a way that comes naturally to you! It’s important not to fight this too much for your own mental health.

      So nice to meet another INFJ! Welcome to my blog!

  12. I found your blog through the daily post tag, and started browsing around; it’s been a great read so far, so consider yourself as gaining a new follower. 🙂

    I identify so much with this post – to the point where I’m actually a little teary right now, as dorky as that may be. I’ve always tested INFJ on personality inventories my whole life, but it wasn’t until this past semester that I was able to learn even more, by enrolling in a student leadership program and taking the official MBTI.

    Out of the entire course, I was one of three enrolled men and the only gay person in the room – so imagine my surprise when I learned that, on top of that, INFJ was the rarest type, and male INFJs are minority in /that/ percentage. I felt pretty alone, but I was also invigorated by what I had learned. Suddenly, my quirky nature (which my parents had always affectionately referred to as “my individuality”) and thing like my hair-dying obsession my senior year of high school made a lot of sense. I’ve never been able to suppress who I am without extreme discomfort. A lot of people in my life have labeled that “rebellion” or the need to “be different just to be different”, and it’s not about that at all – it’s about authenticity.

    I’ve never been mistaken as an introvert, but that’s probably because I have an extremely strong preference for introversion (over 89%). However, I do have a tendency to end up in leadership positions because my desire to help and support people naturally leads to assuming responsibility.

    Because of the MBTI, I was finally able to decide what I wanted to go to school for, which is practicing psychology. I have a way to go before I need to decide exact focuses, but I would like to work with adults, I think.

    1. Hi Burlywoods! I’m so happy to see you’ve been enjoying my blog. Let me start off by saying welcome! I agree with everything you said. Our INFJ personality really IS all about authenticity even though some people might not recognize that. I’m glad the MBTI has helped guide you in uncovering your future and discovering your interests as I’ve found it has done the same for me.

      Thank you for following and I look forward to getting to know you better. Hope to hear from you again! 😀

  13. I am a gay male INFJ, too! I thought I was the only one. I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks for sharing your story. Perchance, have you taken the enneagram yet? I’ve found that I really enjoy it, too. I’m a 4w5…

    How have you experienced being such a rarity? Sometimes I like it and sometimes I hate it. It’s hard to find someone with whom I can really relate, but I’ve found a few people here or there. I think I mostly struggle being a part of the “gay community” as a whole. It seems to be much more extroverted and focused on sensory experience than I can handle. I find that I don’t associate much with it at all. Has your experience been similar?

    Also, have you heard of the Highly Sensitive Person? I also scored highly with that. I think that most INFJs are highly sensitive people. Just curious. Thanks for sharing!

    1. No way! So glad you found my blog, ebablinskas!

      I have seen the enneagram before and remember something about being most similar to the “9 – Peacemaker” category. I haven’t explored that as much as I’d like to. I’ll have to look into it more! Same goes for the stuff about Highly Sensitive Persons.

      I think being an INFJ has its pros and cons. I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND WHERE YOU’RE COMING FROM REGARDING FITTING IN WITH THE GAY COMMUNITY. It IS very focused on sensory experience and extroversion. Sometimes I feel a bit too laid back and quiet to really fit in completely. But that’s ok. I did join a gay fraternity (which I made a separate post about) and in my frat, I am happy with my family!

    2. I’ve had problems fitting in with the gay community as well. I love them for who they are, but extroversion and Sensory experiences are highly valued and I’m just not like that. I too am a Highly Sensitive Person and this means things like the club/party scenes where other gay people usually meet up are difficult for me and often not a lot of fun. I don’t have a lot in common with those people. Try the LGBT center near you though, they may have quitter meet up groups where you’ll have more things in common with the people there.

  14. Belle

    I did the test several times, I got 50:50 of being INFJ and ENFJ. When I was young, I’m really very shy till high school I start to build up my self-esteem. People and friends see me now as energetic, vibrant individual but deep down in my life I love to read and hate to shop like normal girls do. I can express my feeling well to others and also by writing down in my diary. So perhaps I think I somehow switch between I and E from time to time? Or I’m just an am invert with intuitive, feeling and judge mental?

      1. Belle

        In that case, I think I gain energy by being alone even though I always enjoy being with friends, I’ll need to rest after socialising or hanging out with friends! However sometimes when I’m sick, I gain energy from my friends too . Maybe I’m just ambivert or I simply haven’t understand my trueself well enough.

        1. According to MBTI philosophy, you’re either one or the other with varying levels of “how much.” For instance, I lean towards the introverted side but only by ONE point. Which explains why I find it so easy to extrovert when need be but still require a good amount of time alone to recharge. I don’t struggle with a lot of the problems many introverts face. Perhaps you are like me!

      2. Belle

        Wow, bingo! I’m exactly like you finding it quite easy to be an extrovert and ya, still need to recharge by being alone. Thanks for clearing my mind about it, still I am INFJ then 🙂

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  17. Michael O

    Hi-

    I am an older (60) gay male infj also. My father I believe was an infj and my mother, who died when I was very young, sounds like she might have been an infj. Anyway, I have also found not to have much in common with the stereotype gay community. I am wanting these deep relationships, and they seem to be more into the E and S, as you mentioned. But I have noticed that people generally respect me a lot, and I do have a decent sense of humor, though I do need a lot of alone time to recharge. I work in social services and sometimes when I am around a lot or extroverts, I have to go hide for a while. I have a strong set of values that is extremely important to me, though I don’t think it makes me better than anybody, but I find it’s something I need from a good friend and especially, for a relationship. I am glad that finding out that you were an infj made sense and that you felt verified and understood!

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  20. I am gay from indonesia an enfp, im fallin into an infj type guy, it is rather hard to love him since i cannot understand him at first with a very versatile attitude towards me, sometimes he was very warm and caring, another time he was very cold and distant, but then i realize. That is him, and with help from infp person who is friend of mine, she told me to realize that the love must be a teacher for me to feel the love but leave the lust, to love him without possessing and needy of something towards him, now i love him the way he is, hard, hurt, but still i stand to love him hehehe…

    1. Nice to meet you, Lorddhika! It’s funny because I understand what you’re talking about. INFJs tend to be VERY warm yet they can still come across as distant. I think this is because of the time it can take for us to open ourselves up. I’m glad to hear that it sounds like the two of you are on the right track. Let me know if you want any INFJ-related advice!

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  25. I felt the exact same way when I learned that I was an INFJ. I finally made sense to myself haha and it was so wonderful to know I wasn’t the only one and that I wasn’t crazy. 😛 haha I’ve found learning other people’s MBTI type helps me understand them a lot better too.

  26. We just tested at work and I am ISFP, which is exactly what I am! My coworker is ISTP which explains why we have always joked about us playing ‘good cop, bad cop’ with our clients. She is hard-core and tells it like it is, whereas I smooth things out and soften the blow. We are a perfect work combo!

  27. sarakay

    It astounds me how much the MBTI can reveal about the way our minds work. I had the same reaction as you, crying tears of joy, when I began to understand how incredibly fitting the INFJ personality type was, like someone was finally describing the things in my mind that I’d never had the words for. As a fellow gay INFJ, I understand your feelings of isolation. We are wonderfully rare people. I’m beginning to do some deeper research on the INFJ mind, and can’t wait to see how this new information changes my life!

  28. BMM

    Hey! I’m a 20 yrs old male, gay, infj too, living in conservative country. Before MBTI I was totally lost in recognizing myself… I read lots of books, articles, only to feel similarity with people but I was too stubborn to admit that I’m actually quite unique. It is not easy being me, definitely. I am different than most, if not all, of my male friends, also I’m gay, and there’s no place for LGBT in where I live (yes no one knows I’m gay). And what I think the most difficult is to find somebody to love (love’s probably a strong word but I can’t think another more fit)… with my deep consideration with life partnership and values, it’s super, mega, difficult.
    I found your page in desperation while typing ‘gay infj’ and actually felt happy once I saw someone too, an infj, and gay! Sorry to make you read long paragraph about my life, idk but it just felt good. Hope you’ll write more 🙂

    Cheers

    1. Peter

      Hey, funnily enough I came across this blog post by looking up ‘gay infj’ as well. It feels weird to be living in a world where the general gay stereotypes evolve around being outgoing, fashionista and stuff like that. Also glad to come across the comments telling stories about how they’re INFJ, and gay 😀

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  30. Christophe E Jackson

    I find this post highly interesting as a gay male and INTJ. I’m often mistaken as en extrovert many times. It too a while to truly understand how true these findings were and consistent. Great posts! Thank You!

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