Intuition or Paranoia? How to Tell the Difference 7


I live alone and 99 percent of the time I love it. The other 1 percent? I guess sometimes I get a little paranoid imagining ‘what if’ scenarios. In reality, this is silly considering that I live in a safe part of the city that hasn’t experienced crime in years. I think what makes my occasional paranoid feelings worse is that I’m an INFJ, and sometimes these feelings can feel a lot like intuition.

INFJs dominant function is Introverted Intuition, also known as Ni. Ni subconsciously gathers information over time and uses that information to predict future outcomes. Since the information gathering isn’t usually happening at a conscious level, it often feels as if our predictions come out of nowhere.

The truth is, INFJs in general aren’t actually psychic or prophetic, we’re just very in tune with what is going on around us constantly, even if we don’t realize it. Therefore, we’re able to draw accurate conclusions about the future based on what we already know.

Intuition on it’s own is great, but an intuitive individual who also lives in fear and paranoia can be a dangerous thing. This is why it’s extremely important to be able to tell the difference between the two.

So what are some of the differences?

Intuition is calm, paranoia is afraid.
If you experience a feeling that is accompanied by anxiety and panic, it’s not your gut talking. Paranoia is fear-based. Think of some of your biggest fears. If a feeling is associated with one of them, it could be paranoia instead of intuition. When you have an intuitive feeling, you often feel calm. It’s as if you’re watching the situation on a TV screen, aware that you have little control over the general outcome.

Let’s say that your intuition does sense something bad is about to happen. Instead of panicking, it will calmly direct you to do what you need to do to protect yourself and others. This is one reason INFJs tend to respond well in crisis situations.

Intuition comes from the gut, paranoia comes from the head.
You’re experiencing some health problems and you’ve Web MD’ed all the possible causes. As you lie in bed at night you think of the stuff you’ve read online, what your friends and family members have experienced, and what you know from watching multiple seasons of Grey’s Anatomy. You’re convinced that you are dying of a horrible disease.

In the above scenario, you are using consciously gathered information to form a conclusion. There is definitely a possibility that your conclusion could be right, but it’s not coming from your intuition. Intuition is a gut based feeling. This is why it’s so hard to explain.

Intuition is based on information, paranoia is based on emotion.
You have what you believe to be an intuitive feeling that your partner is cheating on you. You confront them about these feelings and they immediately tell you not to worry and list off the reasons why they’ve been acting distant lately — work stress, family problems, etc. How does their response make you feel?

If you feel relieved and like you were getting worked up over nothing or if you continue to feel strong negative emotions like anger or jealousy, then you were/are probably experiencing emotion based paranoia. If you feel calm, but still not able to fully trust your partner, this could be your intuition talking. In these cases, listening to your intuition is extremely important.

Intuition is powerful, paranoia is insecure.
How does the emotion make you feel? Small, insecure, and worried? Or brave, strong, and aware? Paranoia makes us feel scared of the world we live in. It’s what causes us to develop conspiracy theories, fear others who aren’t like us, and constantly worry about what is going to happen next.

Intuition, however, is a powerful feeling. It’s an understanding that we don’t control the universe, but we do possess a heightened sense of awareness that allows us some control over our particular journey in life.


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.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

7 thoughts on “Intuition or Paranoia? How to Tell the Difference

  • Ekva blogger

    Thanks aaa llooot for the article……!!
    I am an INFJ
    I could always feel that most of the times it wasn’t my worry but predictions……!
    u made it clear…..Amazingly!! 🙂

    it’s awesome to

  • MaryBelle01

    Wow, really amazing insight! Bring prone to paranoia at times, this info will be very helpful in letting me know when to take my thoughts with a grain of thought. Really beautiful description of true intuition too!

    “Intuition, however, is a powerful feeling. It’s an understanding that we don’t control the universe, but we do possess a heightened sense of awareness that allows us some control over our particular journey in life.”

    Bookmarking this page! Thank you so much!

  • Henrietta

    Thank you so much for this article! I’ve been trying to tell apart intuition and paranoia lately. Whenever I was paranoid I remembered I’m an intuitive type and started to freak out even more because I thought my paranoid/intuitive feelings would definitely happen. Now I can see the difference and it’s a big relief 🙂 you helped me a lot!