Lately, I’ve been reflecting on the similarities and differences between INFJs and their “sister types”. By this, I mean the personality types that are only one letter different from INFJ. In my experience, I connect easily with people of those 4 types (ENFJ, ISFJ, INTJ, and INFP) based on the similarities of our personalities. However, I also am fascinated by just how much of a difference in our personalities one letter can make.
INFJs and ENFJs: Until this past year, I had only known ENFJs as acquaintances. However, this year I started rooming with a good friend of mine who I found out is an ENFJ. I’ve gotten to know her very well this year and I feel that she’s given me a lot of insight into this personality.
Similarities: INFJs and ENFJs share the same 4 functions, but in a slightly different order. As a result, I find that we view the world in a very similar way. Introverted intuition is my primary function and the ENFJ’s second function. As a result, we both enjoy abstract or hypothetical conversations. We are both focused on the big picture and sometimes get overwhelmed with details. Additionally, both my roommate and I have a tendency to get distracted by new ideas or possibilities. For example, it’s not uncommon for both of us to go to the grocery store to get a specific item and then realize once we’re home that we got everything we needed except for that item! We also are both true romantics. She’s my go to friend when I want to watch an emotional or romantic movie. This is probably because we both share extroverted feeling as a function. It’s my secondary function and the ENFJ’s primary function. As a result, we are very in tune to the emotions of others. We enjoy talking about people dynamics and love talking about Myers Briggs. Whenever we attend a social event together, we always analyze everyone’s MBTI types once we’re home. We also have very similar interests. We both love music, traveling, and spending time in nature. Additionally, she’s one of the few people I know who can also get lost in a bookstore for hours. We also have similar struggles. We are both prone to anxiety and often struggle to live in the present. We both put a lot of pressure on ourselves and are very driven by perfectionism.
Differences: The obvious difference between us is that ENFJs are extroverts while INFJs are introverts. As a result, my ENFJ roommate gets energy from spending time with groups of people, while I find it draining. Therefore, she is more likely to go to parties or big events than I am. Additionally, she feels a bit stir crazy after too much alone time, while I feel energized and refreshed. I also think that ENFJs are more emotionally expressive than INFJs. My roommate is usually fairly open about her feelings and willing to share them with lots of people while I only share my feelings with a select few. She also accepts people into her friendship circle more readily, while I am a bit more selective. Additionally, I think that ENFJs are more decisive than INFJs since they lead with a decision function while INFJs lead with a perceiving function. Lastly, I find that we have a different relationship with extroverted sensing. Extroverted sensing is her tertiary function and my inferior function. My ENFJ roommate therefore tends to enjoy extroverted sensing activities like shopping, eating out, or watching movies. Since it’s my inferior function, I have more of a “love-hate” relationship with extroverted sensing. I enjoy it for a while, especially during times of stress, but I also get easily overwhelmed by too much external stimulus.
INFJs and ISFJs: I feel that I know this type very well. Two of my closest and most lifelong friends are ISFJs and I have known many others. Although I find that sometimes I struggle to connect with sensors, ISFJs are definitely an exception and I’m always surprised by how effortlessly we connect.
Similarities: INFJs and ISFJs have two functions in common. First of all, we both share extraverted feeling as our second function. As a result, I find that we are very sensitive to each other’s needs and emotions. It is natural for us to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes and as a result, I feel very understood by this type. A lot of ISFJs I’ve talked to also relate to taking on other people’s emotions. I find that we have very similar insights and reads on people after being in the same social situations. I also think that ISFJs and INFJs are the most extroverted of the introverted types. My ISFJ friends understand that frustrating tension between genuinely wanting connection with others, but also needing time alone to recharge. Additionally, since we both share introverted thinking as our tertiary function, we both can sometimes appear surprisingly logical and methodical. I think that both of our types can be mistaken as cold, when in fact we deeply and genuinely care about people. Additionally, I’ve noticed that our introverted thinking causes both of us to be very hard on ourselves and extremely perfectionistic. We also both tend to value minimalism and simplicity in our physical environments. Lastly, I’ve noticed that both of our types tend to have a thirst for adventure. I’m not sure why this is, but almost every INFJ and ISFJ I’ve known has a bit of a daring side that comes out once you get to know them.
Differences: The most obvious difference between our types is that ISFJs are sensors and INFJs are intuitives. I therefore find that my ISFJ friends are a bit more grounded in the real world than I am. They’re more aware of their physical needs like remembering to eat and sleep. Additionally, my ISFJ friends tend to be more scheduled and routined than I am. I enjoy making schedules and plans, but I am very comfortable adjusting them if I find something more interesting to do. ISFJs on the other hand, stick to their plans faithfully and are more disciplined when it comes to finishing things. I’ve also noticed that ISFJs are sometimes a bit bewildered by my nerdiness or quirky obsessions. Although they are very willing to listen to my ideas and theories, they tend to have more practical hobbies and interests. Probably our biggest difference comes from our different primary functions. ISFJs lead with introverted sensing, a function that centers on memories and traditions from the past. In contrast, my introverted intuition is a future-oriented function. Therefore, I’ve noticed that things like holidays, special occasions, and big milestones are much more significant for ISFJs than they are for me. It’s hard for me to really appreciate milestones because I’m so focused on where I’m going next. Lastly, ISFJs are incredibly detail oriented, while I tend to focus on the big picture. I’m always amazed at how my ISFJ friends will ask such specific questions about something I shared with them a year ago. The clarity and accuracy of their memories never ceases to amaze me.
INFJs and INTJs: My sister is a borderline INTJ (she shows little preference for judging or perceiving) and two of my good friends are also this type. Additionally, I’ve had a good number of INTJs as acquaintances, which is surprising since this type is fairly uncommon.
Similarities: INFJs and INTJs both share introverted intuition as our primary function. As a result, we perceive the world in a very similar way. We both easily make connections and see patterns in the world around us. My INTJ friends also enjoy philosophical and abstract discussions. INTJs are also usually quite nerdy and that is how we most readily connect. Every INTJ I know loves literature and film. We can spend hours discussing the latest book we’ve read or movie we’ve watched. Interestingly, I find that our conversations usually center on the symbolism or deeper meaning of a story instead of the actual events. Additionally, I’ve noticed that both INFJs and INTJs tend to be quite driven and share a desire to make a tangible difference in the world. We are both very goal-oriented and have genuine respect for each other’s passions. We also both value our independence and struggle to let others in or to help us. Additionally, we both share extroverted sensing as our inferior function. Therefore, we both can get overwhelmed by too much sensory stimulation including loud noises, bright lights, or crowded situations. At the same time, I’ve noticed that in moderation, both of our types have great appreciation for sensory experiences like art, music, nature, and food.
Differences: Although INFJs and INTJs share introverted intuition as our primary function, our secondary functions are drastically different. INFJs use extraverted feeling to make decisions while INTJs use extraverted thinking. As I result, I tend to focus on people’s feelings, needs, and preferences when making decisons. I care a lot about what people think and I want to make sure that my decisons help get everybody’s needs met. In contrast, INTJs tend to make decisons based on what is most efficient and effective. Additionally, since INTJs have introverted feeling as their tertiary function, they care a lot more about staying true to themselves regardless of what other people think. Therefore, I’ve noticed that they are more willing to make unpopular decisons if they think that their choices will be the most effective in the long run. I’ve also noticed that although both of our types enjoy creating systems, INFJs are more gifted in creating and supporting systems of people, whereas INTJs have greater talent in creating scientific or mechanical systems. Lastly, I’ve noticed that INTJs tend to be a bit more introverted than INFJs. My INTJ friends are even more content being alone than I am and are usually quite satisfied with just a couple close friends.
INFJs and INFPs: Of these four sister types, INFPs are the type with which I have the least experience. I recently reconnected with an old friend who I found out is an INFP. However, other than him, I’ve known maybe one other. So take these descriptions with a grain of salt!
Similarities: Although we actually don’t share any functions, I’ve noticed a lot of similarities between our types. INFJs and INFPs are both very idealistic and are often frustrated by how disappointing and disillusioning the real world can be compared to what we imagine or dream about in our minds. Additionally, we are both deep feelers and often experience a wide range emotions, both positive and negative. Moreover, both of our types have a strong creative streak and therefore enjoy forms of expression like writing, music, and art. We also put a lot of value in our close friendships and strongly value deep and meaningful conversations. My INFP friend also enjoys discussing hypothetical possibilities and abstract theories or concepts. Additionally, I’ve noticed that like INFJs, INFPs can become quite nerdy about the things that they’re interested in.
Differences: An obvious difference between these types is that INFJs are judgers and INFPs are perceivers. As a result, I’m a bit more organized, structured, and easily stressed than my INFP friend. Additionally, I think I feel more pressure to be active and doing something, while INFPs are very comfortable being low key and relaxed. I’ve also noticed that while we’re both feelers, my extroverted feeling causes me to be more focused on what others think of me and making sure that everyone is doing ok. In contrast, INFPs use introverted feeling. This function focuses on personal feelings and making sure that all of your decisions are true to your authentic self. As a result, my INFP friend seems a lot more comfortable with himself than I am and less driven by what people think about him. Lastly, I think that while INFPs care about connection with people, they are a bit more introverted than INFJs and comfortable spending larger amounts of time alone.
I would love to hear about any of your experiences with these types. Which ones are the easiest for you to connect with and why? What similarities and differences have you noticed between INFJs and these types? I would love to hear your thoughts. 🙂