3 Ways To Know You’re Not An INFJ 17

How To Tell You're NOT An INFJ

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time focusing on sensory activities — cooking, working out, decorating the house, etc. I’ve been spending more time watching Netflix and scrolling through Pinterest than I have, I don’t know, reading Aeon articles about philosophy, or whatever stereotypical things we intuitive types are supposed to do with our lives.

Does this mean I’m turning into a sensor? Of course not.

Personality type goes much deeper than the four letters we receive after taking the Myers-Briggs test. Imagine the MBTI test as a field. Your initial results are the pretty flowers and trees and you can enjoy and appreciate them on their own, but in order to truly appreciate them, you need to understand how they got there. The cognitive functions are like the seeds and roots that created the plants, and once you become aware of their existence suddenly your field makes much more sense.

Okay, rocky metaphor, but you get the picture.

The four letters alone really don’t give us a completely accurate understanding of our personality type. I can read the general personality description of INFP or ISFJ and easily relate to several of the descriptors. It wasn’t until I started studying the cognitive functions that I finally felt confident in my initial test results.

I’ve written quite a few articles on how to determine if you’re an INFJ or another type, but I thought it might be helpful for those still questioning their personality type to look at it from another perspective. Here are 3 ways to know if you’re not an INFJ, according to the 8 cognitive functions.

You think better out loud.
Those who are energized by group brainstorming sessions or by talking about new concepts and ideas with friends most likely use Extroverted Intuition (Ne) and/or Extroverted Thinking (Te). INFJs predominantly use Introverted Intuition (Ni) and Introverted Thinking (Ti). We process best when we can sit in a quiet space on our own. That’s when we have those “Aha!” moments that other types get when they talk out loud about their thoughts and ideas.

When you hear bad news, your initial reaction is to think about how it is going to affect you.
This would be a characteristic of Introverted Feeling (Fi). Healthy INFJs are going to tend to use Extroverted Feeling (Fe) much more than Fi. Fe is focused on the feelings of others, whereas Fi is much more in tune with the individual’s personal feelings. Imagine that a close relative passes away, a grandparent for example. Fe will initially respond by focusing on those who are affected by the loss — how is the other grandparent doing? How are my parents doing? Fi will respond by focusing on how the loss affects them — I’ll never get to spend another Christmas at grandma’s house, I’ll miss my monthly visits with grandma, etc.

You consider yourself extremely sentimental.
Sentimentality is a trait associated with Introverted Sensing (Si). Si is the INFJ’s very last function. INFJs tend to be much more future-oriented, and while we will certainly have moments of sentiment, we prefer not to live in the past. For example, someone with heavy Si might insist that they celebrate an anniversary with their partner at the place where they had their first date. Since INFJs’ Introverted Intuition (Ni) is extremely future-oriented and their Extroverted Sensing (Se) function enjoys new stimulating experiences, they would be more likely to instead suggest trying out a new restaurant they’ve never been to before.

These are just three examples among several. If you’re still not sure of your personality type, check out the In-Depth MBTI section or the explore the dozens of other online resources that discuss cognitive functions.


About Megan

Megan is an introvert and INFJ personality type who enjoys reading, researching, and writing about personality psychology and human behavior. As the founder of this blog, Megan wants to help other INFJs better understand their personality to improve their personal and professional lives.


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17 thoughts on “3 Ways To Know You’re Not An INFJ

  • Jean

    Haha This is amazing, I fall under the 3 things mentioned here though during our career seminar, we were asked to answer multiple questions to find out our personality type and it turns out that my scores in Sensing and Intuition are the same, same thing with Thinking and Feeling which means , I am balanced. Glad I read this article!Such a great read!

  • Elvinkin

    You mean you can’t be nostalgic when you’re an INFJ? There are definitely times I get sentimental when I think about a good past event… I’ve tested 3 times and come out as an INFJ each time (I’ve actually done the test 4 times, but the first time, I got ISFJ)

    • Megan

      You can definitely be nostalgic as an INFJ! Like I said, INFJs do experience moments of sentiment and nostalgia. However, it is unlikely that they would often use this as a decision-making factor.

      It is like in the situation with the anniversary date. An exception might be if their partner wanted to go to the place where they had their first date. An INFJ would be more likely to use Fe to make a decision in this situation – doing what makes their partner happy, rather than their inferior Se. Once there they would probably feel nostalgic, but it’s not the main reason they chose to go.

      Hope that helps.

  • Mon'sblog

    Why is it I keep needing to prove to myself I am an INFJ? Yep, I am still walking on the INFJ path no matter how many times I try to prove myself wrong. Thanks for the article.

    • Miriam

      Could be that because for so much of our life we feel misunderstood, to actually be understood or actually completely belong somewhere is so hard to believe and comprehend that we always have that doubt that no one else could really truly understand us completely.

  • geri

    I am definitely an INFJ. I get my aha moments 90 percent of the time by myself…I think about others before I make decisions and how others are affected…and I love new experiences. I like what I grew up with and I love looking back on it all sometimes, but I am definitely more interested in moving forward.

    Cool.

  • Kamiko

    Hmmm. I really do think of myself as sentimental, but when I think about it, those moments are rare. They usually happen when I’m hit with an idea that sparks up a memory, or when I’m around friends or family who are sentimental. I went through this entire article and smiled and nodded at nearly every sentence, until I got to sign number three. But the more I thought about it, the more I realised it’s one of those things where I say I feel a certain way or do a certain thing (for example, I caught myself telling a friend of mine that I cry at a lot of things), only to come to a realisation later that what I had thought was, in fact, false. Perhaps this is a result of my Fe projecting feelings of others around me onto myself? Or maybe it’s my tendency to have to talk about certain feelings before I completely understand them?

  • Lady Galadriel

    See, I would say that I, as an INFJ have a highly developed Si, because I certainly am NOT a sensor; I do better with patterns and symbols and metaphors, interconnecting things,etc. BUT since I have moved so often in my short life, that’s what has made my Si so highly developed; which is probably rare for an INFJ. When you move to new places where you’ve never been causes you to look back quite a bit, after all. Because of this, I can be quite nostalgic. I also know that I’m not an INFP because I definitely identify much more with the INFJ function stack. I’m certainly not an Fi user; Fe is much more strong. And I would say that my Se is very well developed too. However, if I’m ever living in the past (Si) it’s because I’m in a bad circumstance and so I’m naturally looking back to when things were better. Plus when I’m making an old recipe I’ve made before I don’t follow it exactly–that’s too stressful–rather I just follow the general thing and maybe experiment a bit. lol

  • Alojamiento

    INFJs tend to see helping others as their purpose in life, but while people with this personality type can be found engaging rescue efforts and doing charity work, their real passion is to get to the heart of the issue so that people need not be rescued at all.

  • Suzette

    Thanks for the interesting article, Megan! I’m an INFJ woman. Absolutely all of my “Aha!” moments happen when I have the space and time to ponder things quietly on my own. When in a group situation, a meeting for example, I observe the others and make notes, and generally stay in the background. Then I come to my own conclusions later after I look at my notes in peace and quiet and have had time to let everything swirl around in my mind so that intuitive connections can form.

    I really do consider how others are affected by something before I consider my own needs. This could be because I’m able to put myself in their shoes so easily and understand what their response is likely to be, based on everything I know about them.

    I can relate to Introverted Sensing (Si) is the INFJ’s last function. Recently, I went through all of my school end-of-term report cards, and was fascinated to see what my teachers had written about how well or poorly I performed in certain subjects, as well as what my personality was like and how I interacted with my peers (I mostly just observed them with intense interest). But I didn’t feel much sentimentality about seeing the old report cards – I did it so that I could understand more about myself in the present and analyze which new direction to head in in the future, based on the aptitudes that I showed at school (I was in an accounting career in the corporate world, but have recently changed career mid-stream to freelance and self-employed art, design, and photography where I’m much happier). Thanks again for the article.

  • Dominic Coath

    Thanks Megan, that was helpful. Reading that through this and other things I have read I am clear that the foundation to my world and the way I think is centred around Ni. However, I don’t recognise this empathic portrait of the INFJ that is underpinned by Fe. If I had to choose Fi or Fe I would have to be honest and plump for Fi. Trouble is that there is no Ni, Fi function stack and Ni is clearly not a 3rd function for me. I don’t recognise myself in the INTJ systems builder confused by emotions, Sherlock Holmesian character either though. As an professional ecologist and lover of wildlife, I am on a crusade, Just not for the sake of people. As a kid I didn’t fit in well at school and nor did my mum, so I grew up slightly in an atmosphere of them and us, with them (i.e. outside the family) being held slightly at arms length. I don’t want to descend into an orgy of introspection (which I have habit of doing!) but I would value your thoughts as someone who has clearly done a great deal of thinking about this. I have only just scratched the surface of your blog so apologies if the answers are in there somewhere.

    • Megan Post author

      Hey Dominic, thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I think if you feel like you use both Ni and Fi with Ni being strongest it’s possible you’re an INTJ with a well-developed Fi function. Does Extraverted Thinking (Te) sound like it describes your decision making process more than Fe?