Hey there. As I mentioned in my forum introduction, I'm an INFx who has been pondering his MBTI type for several weeks (maybe months, I can't recall). I've read Vicky Jo Varner's website, infjorinfp.com, several times, yet I'm still unsure. I was hoping that a more... interactive approach could help. I'll list, then, the "on one hand"s and the "on the other hand"s that have plagued me for waaay too long, in case someone can make heads or tails of my ramblings. Thanks in advance!
By the way, a bit of the following info is based on an experiment I made last month, wherein I asked a person closed to me about several things - cognitive processes, temperaments, interaction styles, short descriptions, et cetera, in a "which one of these fits me most?" fashion. Just so you know what I'm talking about. I'll call this person "K.C." for convenience.
* The cognitive processes test I took pegged me as an INFP, apparently because I have pretty good Fi (more on that in a sec).
* According to K.C., I favor the Informing style (as well as the Behind-the-Scenes pattern), fit INFP profiles (as a whole) better and have good Fi and Ne.
* I'm somewhat socially awkward, not being a big fan of social conventions that seem too structured or stifling, as well as somewhat clueless about the "social atmosphere" around me, which strikes me as a lack of Fe.
* I frequently have strong, visceral reactions to things, which often go unspoken. They are also quite ambivalent - for example, I can both appreciate the beauty of a work of art and envy deeply the artist who created it, in a sort of admiration/hatred combination.
* I don't have much of a social life, which strikes me as low Fe. However, I suspect this might have something to do with the unfamiliarity of studying in a university... though this streak has been going on for four semesters...
* I identify a lot more with my ISFP mother than with my ESFJ father - the latter comes across as pretty damn judgmental and controlling, like a "Jewish mother" stereotype. (Fi vs. Fe?)
* I often do my best to be tolerant toward people and respectful in regard to their emotions (Fe seems a bit more like, "shape up, dude!", according to Vicky Jo)
* I don't usually celebrate holidays as eagerly as my relatives, which, according to Vicky Jo, comes across as a lack of Fe...
* I'm mostly a "live and let live"/"that is none of my business" kind of person. I'm ready to help (if asked nicely ), but I don't want to interfere too much in people's decisions (the "for your own good" line is not my favorite)
* I couldn't be mistaken for an extravert if I tried. Quite a few INFJ profiles (and INFJs themselves) mention being mistaken for an extravert, so I thought this was worth noting. I'm very reserved - a bit of a shrinking violet, even - and have a bit of a struggle doing small talk - it was one of those this they had to teach me, y'know?
* I've struggled with my typing for quite a while, which, according to Vicky Jo, is a pretty good sign that I have a lack of Je (extraverted judging).
* Even when I'm pretty pissed at someone, I find it hard to scold them (especially since I hate being scolded). I've heard INFJs are more comfortable criticizing others, so...
* I'm pretty damn sheepish when asking for something. Unless it's a matter of urgency, I'm all like "um... could you please... y'know... if it's not too much of a bother..."
* I react (internally) pretty badly when people are being judgmental - for example, when someone talks about "those crazy teenagers with pink hair" and whatnot.
* According to K.C., I fit the "INJ child" profile better than the "IFP child" one; also, s/he was pretty confident about me fitting the INFJ description from this page, as well as Vicky Jo's description of how Ni and Fe "show up".
* I very much fear embarrassment/humiliation - in this sense, I really mind how people perceive me. Could this be Fe?
* I often try to be polite in a conventional way - "please" and "thank you" and all that jazz. I even started bowing to bus drivers for a while, but my parents thought it was weird and didn't convey gratitude in a sense they could understand (again, Fe?).
* I'm quite perfectionistic, which I've heard is a trait common among Js. I often berate myself if I miss deadlines or arrive late at appointments.
* I often identify more with ENFJs than ENFPs. The latter - or, at least, media depictions of the latter - often annoy me, seeming either oblivious to others' feelings or sneakily meddlesome, ready to "bring people out of their shells" or "make them live life more fully", in addition to being those "Wooo... what does this button do?" types. I'm pretty sure that's quite stereotypical, but I thought it might be useful info nevertheless.
* I'm a bit of a "toe the line", rule-abiding kind of guy - the kind that almost never got in trouble at school. (However, I'm ostensibly not a SJ - the Guardian style sometimes seems kinda dry or humdrum to me.)
* I'm somewhat selective about what I tell people, often looking out for their reactions. From what I've read, NFPs have more of a childlike candor about them. However, it is quite difficult for me to lie, so I just keep my mouth shut.
* Someone in this forum once mentioned that NFPs approach eagerly those "fleeting moments of connection" with somebody, even if they might never see them again. That doesn't sound appealing to me... I'm on the lookout for constancy and reliability - even though I fear deeply that I might not provide the commitment I seek.
* I often think I "should" feel a certain way, that "there is no reason" for me to have a certain feeling. Sometimes it makes me more even-tempered - which is a good thing - and sometimes it makes me deny myself the pleasure of "knowing what I want" - which kind of isn't. On a related note...
* I seldom express my opinions - even denying that I have any. They ask me, "where do you want to have lunch?", I say, "I dunno. You?", partially because they have plenty of divergent opinions without my help.
* I've been called "rigid" due to my OCD-ish behavior, as well as my misguided politeness ("I won't eat until she arrives. You guys can start without me.")
* I'm pretty neurotic about time. My watch is my guide through the strange world I inhabit, and I've made a habit out of using an alarm clock on weekends (partially because there are few things more humiliating than hearing someone say "hey there, sleepyhead!")
* I don't often find myself in an "activist" position, since I'm reticent about speaking my mind - when I actually have an opinion, that is. In this case, it's not so much about "hurting feelings" as it is about "creating dischord and opposition".
* I often ask myself whether or not I'm being selfish, so I try my best to be helpful and even somewhat obsequious (Fe?) For that matter, I often feel like I owe people something, if that makes any sense.
* I don't often rail against The System or The Man or The Industry like it seems many INFPs do - though I do acknowledge that innovation is sometimes frowned upon in entertainment fields (then again, maybe it's just one of those INFP stereotypes...)
* My Si is pretty terrible, leading me to think maybe it's my worst function (as in the Berens model)
* I'm no good at the whole "spontaneity" thing. Like, at all. Kind of an uptight guy.
* While I can be somewhat over-sensitive to people's comments, I don't come across as someone who's very emotional or vulnerable at first glance (according to Vicky Jo, INFPs often forget to hide their vulnerability)
* Sometimes, my internal lanscape can feel somewhat barren, to the point where I once thought I was a sociopath or something like that (could this be the infamous INFJ Tin Man Syndrome?)
* I often try to anticipate what I (and others) are going to do - I get kind of nervous when we go out for dinner and start driving without knowing where we're going.
* It's kind of hard for me to really relax. While I'm somewhat lazy, I'm not nearly as "go with the flow" as INFP are said to be.
* While INFPs (according, again, to Vicky Jo) like debating (due to aspirational Te), I kind of bristle at the thought of doing so, especially in a public forum (as in an actual place, not just on the 'net)
I admit that some of the things said above are kind of stereotypical, so I'm hoping to debunk some myths along the way in this discussion. Also, feel free to ask for details or to ask more questions!
So, what do you guys make of this? Any feedback is deeply appreciated. Thank you.
Disclaimer: I do not want to create another Fi/Fe sixty-pages-long debate; I'm just asking for feedback from people with more experience than me.