How to Spot an INFJ
What follows is a small selection of raw observations that can help you more quickly and accurately type INFJs. Not all descriptions will be noticeable or perfectly capture the impression of all types of observers – often, the nuance of a word changes depending on the person reading it. However, this page will be regularly updated with new descriptions, photographs, and videos to provide examples and evidence supporting the observations provided below. Please enjoy!
Muscles Around the Eyes
More than any other types, INFJs and INTJs exhibit a near constant, very noticeable squinting of the eyes. Specifically, the upper eyelids are left neutral – neither drooped and relaxed nor tight and widened. However, the muscles under the eye and extending slightly down the cheek are strongly engaged. This can be tested by closing your eyes gently, and then squeezing them closed, with minimal other facial movements. The muscles used when squeezing are the ones that INxJs have engaged most of the time. In the gif below, I demonstrate the transition between a neutral face and this squinting.
Additionally, and in contrast to INTJs, INFJs often – though not always – imbue their eyes with the warmth of an ‘implied smile’, an ‘implied frown’, or both. The smile is created by a very slight engagement of the cheek muscles, which results in an (often almost imperceptible) raising of the corners of the mouth along with a further narrowing of the eyes, albeit more focused on the outer corners, leading to the slight appearance of “crow’s feet” wrinkles. This is demonstrated in the gif below.
Likewise, the ‘implied frown’ is formed by a very slight engagement of the eyebrow muscles inward and upward, which creates a slight (again, often almost imperceptible) furrowing of the brow inwards and upwards, and also causes the upper eyelids to appear more ‘hooded’, drooping slightly toward the middle-to-outer edge of the eye. This is actually a unique combination of both ‘sadness’ (eyebrows together) and ‘surprise/fear’ (eyebrows up). This is demonstrated in isolation below.
And finally, the squint in conjunction with the slight smile and the slight frown gives a unique combination that is rarely seen in types other than the INFJ (hence why it is so hard for me to reproduce – please forgive the sloppy execution!):
Here are some close-ups on the eyes of actual INFJs. Can you spot the expressions mentioned?
Overall, INFJs typically exhibit much less eye movement than most other types. They blink quite slowly and don’t change focus as often as many others. (This is true for all IxxJs.) There is a marked difference between their eye contact when listening and when speaking.
INFJs generally look directly at the person they’re speaking to, rarely breaking eye contact when listening. Watch these clips of INFJs listening to someone else talk, and notice their efforts to maintain eye contact.
When speaking, INFJs generally make an effort to continue looking at the listener; however, occasionally – especially when taking a break to think – they will look up and to one side. Often, when they are shy, embarrassed, thinking of how to phrase something, or remembering something, they look down and to the side as well. Some particularly shy INFJs spend most of the time they’re talking looking down like this, but they will still always try to glance at the listener occasionally. Their gaze does not change frequently and they usually spend at least a second or two looking in any given direction, sometimes much longer. Watch a few clips of INFJs speaking below, and pay attention to their eye movements.
When in a neutral mood, INFJs usually press their lips inward, extending the corners of their mouths horizontally, sometimes slightly up, and tightening the muscles at the edges. They almost never leave their mouths open or entirely relaxed, especially in public. This gesture is displayed with a few variations in the gif below, followed by images of neutral INFJs.
INFJs often do a tight, closed-lip smile that looks very similar to the aforementioned neutral face with just slightly more upturned corners of the mouth. However, when genuinely happy – or when needing to appear happy, such as for a photo – they have very broad, bubbly smiles. These are usually very wide horizontally, rather than opening the mouth vertically. When the smiles are genuine (or if the INFJ is a good actor), these are accompanied by extra crow’s feet wrinkles at the corners of the eyes. Sometimes, shyer INFJs may half-heartedly attempt to cover their mouths when they smile.
INFJs laugh fairly rarely, and when they do happen they’re very muted, contained, and short. Giggling or chuckling, however, is not uncommon – especially for women, but for men as well. They may appear uncomfortable or shy about their amusement and attempt to stifle it with their hands or by turning away. Watch a few clips of INFJs laughing below.
As IxxJs, INFJs tend to be quite “skeletal thin” naturally – low body fat, medium muscle mass. However, they are more likely to put on weight than IxTJs, and they are also more likely to be sedentary than ISxJs. For this reason, INFJs are the most likely of the IxxJs – but still less likely than any extravert – to be average to slightly pudgy. Weight primarily accumulates in the stomach for both sexes, especially as age increases. Only in rare cases do they become particularly muscular – never “bulky” – or particularly obese. Below is a collage of INFJ bodies. See if you can spot the trends.
INFJs tend to sit very asymmetrically – leaning far to one side, crossing legs or hands, keeping one hand elevated while the other rests on the lap, etc. They are contained: they do not intrude into others’ space, although their limbs are often extended as far within the bounds of their own space as possible. They often fold their hands in their lap or to one side. Below are some photos of INFJs sitting.
When standing, INFJs may splay their feet, creating a “duck feet” effect that is visible in several of the body frame images above. They tend to walk in a swaying and/or slightly bouncing manner, which can cause them to appear off-balance. Please watch the video below and see what patterns you can pick up.
Have many conversational tics that indicate (or betray) both attention and emotion. These include “uh-huh”s, “yeah”s, “mmmm”s, taking large breaths before speaking, smacking the lips when they intake breaths, etc. They’re less likely to physically indicate listening or emotions, such as by nodding or making strong facial expressions. They almost never interrupt people, and rarely seem annoyed to be interrupted themselves. Outside of the aforementioned eye and mouth movements, INFJs have very inexpressive faces – shock, disgust, and anger are unlikely to be registered unless the emotion is extreme. Re-watch the INFJ videos above and see if you can spot these traits.
INFJs usually speak very deliberately, oftentimes incredibly slowly. They generally tend toward a soft, gentle tone of voice, although they’re able to increase their volume and forcefulness in the right context (public speaking, arguing, etc.). They may stutter or struggle to find their words, but they almost never seem to go off on tangents or forget what they were going to say. They rarely state their opinions strongly and will often attempt to hide or avoid directly saying how they really feel about something, even if it’s obvious via context clues. (e.g. “Well, who can say if she’s lying? But it’s possible someone might, in her situation.”)
INFJs are often fidgety in social situations, shaking a leg or twiddling their thumbs. This intensifies when under pressure. They don’t usually interact with objects (e.g. clicking a pen), however.
INFJs don’t use very many physical gestures (e.g. thumbs-up signs), although they do gesture vaguely when they speak, and may reach out to touch the person they’re talking to in order to establish rapport.
INFJs often shift uncomfortably in their seats and change position. They may insist on standing or getting up and walking around on occasion, more out of discomfort than built-up energy.
INFJs can spend many hours working on their projects, whether they be tinkering with computers or creating artwork. They tend to be very hesitant to show their work to others, especially once they’ve invested time and effort into it. (They’re more than happy to show off new tools or equipment they’ve purchased, however.)
In social groups they gravitate toward the edge of the group, a vantage point from which they can observe others without being observed themselves. They usually show up to their engagements, although it may be difficult to get them to commit to something in the first place.
They tend to be quite ill and sickly, especially suffering from insomnia, anxiety, and stomach upset. Generally their health improves tremendously with increased engagement and welcome activity, and worsens when they’re expected to participate in something they’re not interested in.
They’re unlikely to startle easily, and slow to lose their temper or display emotion in public, although they get annoyed and emotional fairly easily on the inside and are likely to display this more around their intimates. As soon as a problem has been resolved, INFJs forgive and forget extremely quickly and return to normal, although don’t be surprised if they bring up a past slight in a future argument.
Many INFJs are quite careless with their health and gravitate toward moderately reckless activities, such as riding motorcycles, mixing alcohol with prescription drugs, and smoking. In general, though, they are more cautious and private people.
Most INFJs dress in a plain, nondescript manner. This can range from very nerdy or casual to very elegant and classic. Women in particular may be quite trendy in a muted, classy way, but most INFJs will stay away from any trend that is too loud, colorful, or avant-garde. The exception is for INFJs who strongly identify with a particular subculture, discussed below. If it meets their subculture’s expectations, they can dress very garishly and brightly. Regardless, most INFJs’ favorite color to wear is black.
As a general rule, most INFJs do not strongly identify with any particular subculture, but there are a few exceptions. Some INFJs gravitate heavily toward xNTP-dominated subcultures centering around science fiction, fantasy, gaming, etc. They’re likely to invest in physically purchasing things like figurines, gaming chairs, etc. that demonstrate this passion, as well as attending conventions or participating in discussion groups, but won’t talk much about it outside of these groups.
Another common subculture for male INFJs in particular is a sort of mish-mash of gothic romance, flamboyant, and queer culture, which can also extend to a kind of “Vegas magician” vibe. INFJ men who belong to this group often dress very flamboyantly and sexily, using either very bright or very dark colors to signal their belonging to these groups. There are quite a few INFJs in the heavy metal scene as well, especially symphonic or epic metal.
Some INFJ women (and likely men too, though I haven’t personally observed it) also enjoy the xNFP-dominated “anime and aesthetics” vibe. Generally INFJs don’t wear very much makeup, but when it’s a hobby or passion, they can be quite skilled at it.
INFJ homes are not usually particularly tidy, and messes of papers, wires, books, etc. are not uncommon. However, they’re usually fairly good about keeping their homes hygienic and free from dirt or infestations. Dust may be another story.
Similarly to clothing, INFJ home decorating can range from very plain and austere to very classy and aesthetically pleasing, with a stop off at “wild subculture” station along the way. INFJs tend to enjoy investing in objects, decorations, or gadgets that represent their interests.
INFJ music tends to either be very peaceful and calm, epic and emotional, or shocking and boundary-pushing. For the latter in particular, deeply gothic and romantic elements are often included.
INFJ movies tend to be very atmospheric, wistful, and gently tragic. They may also include elements of betrayal and mystery.
I don’t have many examples of INFJ artwork, but I expect it to follow these same themes – romantic, atmospheric, and often dark. Junji Ito’s iconic horror comics are an excellent example to enter into consideration. Carl Jung himself also drew many iconic illustrations for his work.
Their literature – well, I suppose you’re starting to see the pattern here. In addition to the aforementioned qualities, I would also expect to find a number of INFJ authors included among science fiction and fantasy collections, although unfortunately I have not personally identified any yet. Elizier Yudkowsky’s “Rational Harry Potter” rewrite is an interesting investigation into INFJ writing style, as well. Additionally, INFJs often write nonfiction, particularly on the subjects of philosophy, politics, psychology, and spirituality.