Otto Kroeger once said, “INFJs nonstop search for learning, self-growth, and development—and wishing the same for everyone else—makes them very reassuring to others and people worth emulating.”

INFJs are sincere, sympathetic, unassuming, easygoing and reserved. Their personal values include spirituality, learning, and community service. They can often be found in careers that involve religion, counseling, teaching, healing, or the arts.

They represent only 1.5% of the population, with females outnumbering males only slightly. This makes them the least common type in the human population.

They are known for their high GPAs in college and they usually stay in college, unlike some of the other Intuitive types.

INFJs are the most likely of any type to seek therapy and they rank highest of all types in marital dissatisfaction.

In a recent survey of INFJs we asked four questions:

  • What are the top 3 challenges you face as an INFJ?
  • What 3 things do you wish others knew about you as an INFJ?
  • What 3 books/movies/courses/events have most impacted your life?
  • What do you wish you could have told your 15 year old self

Almost 500 INFJs opened up and shared their complicated inner world with us! In this article, I would like to focus on the last of the four survey questions –What do you wish you could have told your 15 year old self

Many of the answers shared some common themes. So, I have broken them all down to 5 items INFJs wish they had known when they were 15 years old, in order of frequency.

#1 Don’t Allow Others to Define Who You Are

This was by far the most common thing INFJs reported as something they wished they could change. As an INFJ myself, I found this extremely enlightening. I looked back on a life of service to the beliefs of others and wondered if it was cowardice or love that forced me to succumb. I have a paralyzing fear of hurting or disappointing those I love. And because of that, I’ve only just begun living life on my terms. This seems to be a theme for Extraverted Feelers.

18% of INFJs said they wished they hadn’t given so much power to others.

Direct Quotes:

  • “Others perspectives do not define who you are. Make your own decisions. There are no right answers, only different circumstances and values.”
  • “I would have told myself to keep dreaming and not focus on the beaten paths that the world has laid out – college, 9-5 job, etc. Think creatively about what I can offer and bring that to the world.”
  • It’s okay to be who you are and feel what you feel. You don’t have to live up to other people’s expectations.
  • “You do not have to please everyone else all the time and at your own expense. You should not feel guilty for spending time alone. Try to be mindful and follow your own feelings about your life’s decisions rather than getting caught up doing what others think is best for you.”
  • “No one – no friend, no family member, no boyfriend – is worth you giving up all of your private time. If someone demands that much of you, you probably don’t need him/her in your life. It will drain you.”
  • “”Don’t worry about trying to find, fix, or befriend someone who will love you the way you think you ought to be loved. Work on developing your talents and genius. Don’t try to accommodate others to the point where you have no identity of your own or self-confidence.”
  • “Trust yourself and stop trying to appease others. No one can ever approve of you enough to make everything okay. You have to approve of you, and if you’re the only one, that’s okay. (If I had embraced that ideology when I was 15, I would have saved myself a lot of stress and heartache.)”
  • “You are not stupid. Other people do not define your worth. You are your own person, you don’t have to have someone else’s qualities to be valid, you actually exist. And I love you.”
  • “Pay more attention to bettering yourself, and stop worrying about what others think. You can be your very best when you learn to assess yourself as you do others. Never, ever, compromise your values, morals or feelings for the sake of someone else.”

#2 Take More Calculated Risks

INFJs dominant mental process is Introverted Intuition (“Perspectives” in the Genius system). This process feels great when it is given lots of time to drift, all alone, in peace and quiet. My favorite place in the world is a graveyard in the middle of the night. It’s dark, so there is no sensory stimulation. I don’t have to worry about anybody interrupting me. And there is profound stillness and awe in a place dedicated to the dead. I’ve often spent entire nights just letting my mind drift from one thing to another. I never get bored.

It may be due to this love of our inner world that INFJs struggle with motivation. 11% of INFJs surveyed wish they had tested the boundaries more.

Direct Quote:

  • “It’s okay to feel the things you feel. Your opinions are just as important as everyone else’s. If you want to be “seen” as you really are you have to be brave and show yourself; it’s okay that not everyone is going to “get” you, as long as you can live as freely as you can. People can hurt you only if you give them the power to do so. Live more in the moment! Seriously, you live in your head too much. Travel, feel, taste, take in everything and feel it without trying to figure out what it all means.”
  • “You have the potential to be a hero, to be anything you want to be. I know this to be true – although beware of the trap of arrogance and conceit. You just have to accept yourself and remove the masks. You know what I mean.”
  • “Yes, you do in fact move through the world differently…you are not crazy. Just remember to get out of your head and try something that scares you. And most of all, you are enough just as you are.”
  • “Keep calm and channel your over thinking energies into constructive change.”
  • “Stop procrastinating and just do it! You can’t waste your life worrying about a future you’ll never get to create if you’re too busy worrying. Take a chance and have a bit more fun, always put your problems into perspective.”

#3 Everything is Going To Be Okay

The third most common piece of advice INFJs would offer themselves was some much needed insight into the future. Teenagers are notoriously myopic. Perspectives is a future focused process and in its undeveloped state it can become paranoid and fearful of the future. So, although most of the surveys thus far have had this piece of advice, it means something extra special to INFJs.

9% of INFJs would tell themselves the future is bright. An additional 5% would tell their younger selves to stay present and stop obsessing over what may never happen.

Direct Quotes:

  • *Go your own path! No one but you determines your success or happiness. If you’re going through hard times, remember that you’re changing – you’re growing! Sooner or later you will start to see the gifts you’ve been blessed with due to the struggles you have been through. It will be worth it!”
  • “You’re hurt now and you’re bleeding, but someday you will realize that this pain gave you something you can’t get any other way. You just need to let yourself live.”
  • “It gets much, much better. There are others out there who are more like you. You can heal the pain to a large extent. It will be okay. Follow your desires to be an artist, and push yourself.”
  • “Everything unfolds perfectly.”
  • “Not everything is the end of the world and it’s okay to be emotional. Love yourself. You’re going to grow up and have a cool apartment right down the road from that record store you love with the cool zines and it’s going to have a BALCONY (!!!!) and you’ll be published and happy and skinny. Everything you’re going through now is so the adult you will challenge herself harder. I think you would be proud.”
  • “Take the time to enjoy your life. Slow down, you’ll get to the future quickly enough. Enjoy what you have in front of you. You need to find your passions to become truly happy. Start doing the things you love. Stop focusing so much on other people and how much you want to be like them. You CANT be anybody but yourself; it’s impossible and it will never make you happy.”

#4 Stop Being So Hard On Yourself

INFJs auxiliary cognitive function is Extraverted Feeling (“Harmony” in the Genius system). This function concerns itself with getting the needs of everyone around it met. INFJs are particularly good at this because they lead with Perspectives, which gives them special insight into people’s motivations and desires. The dream team combination of Harmony and Perspectives is not perfect, however. Every now and then, an INFJ will say or do something that receives negative feedback from the outside world. This cuts the INFJ to the core because they honestly expect better of themselves. I have been known to torture myself for decades over the thoughtless things I have said or done.

8% of INFJs wish they could tell their younger selves to ease up on the self-criticism. An additional 4% would like their adolescent self to stop obsessing over being perfect.

Direct Quotes:

  • “I’d tell myself to stop trying to fit into some sort of stereotype and use all the bad things that happened to me as a reason to be a better person. There’s also something I try to make myself understand even now, but it’s hard – ‘Stop taking things so personally.’ It would’ve been easier if I had learned this at the age of 15.”
  • “You are special. You are not strange or weird or crazy. Just a beautiful, rare gem. Go with your gut in spite of what other people tell you. Listen to yourself. Love yourself!! (I have always struggled with this. If I’m not perfect then I’m not worth loving.) Cut yourself some slack. Not everything has to be perfect! Sometimes it’s best to let go and just enjoy. Cut others slack. They aren’t perfect either. (Also a hard one for me. I hold others to an impossible standard.) Let go of what you can’t control.”
  • “”Don’t be so self-conscious. Don’t put yourself down so much, you are fine! ACT, ACT, ACT on your thoughts. Calm your anxiety and center yourself. Working on yourself is GREAT, keep at it. Please be kind to yourself. Let go of the idealism, moral conscience and responsibility. Don’t over-analyze, just enjoy the ride.”
  • “Pleasing everyone is impossible so say ‘no’ and accept your decision. There’s no such thing as perfect so your best is enough. Care for yourself along with everyone else because it will catch up with you someday if you don’t.”
  • “You CAN do this on your own. You’re smart enough. You’re intuition WILL guide you. Love yourself and never be afraid of failing. A man will never complete you. YOU complete you.”

#5 There is Nothing Wrong With You

As is true with all the Intuitive surveys thus far, INFJs acknowledge their differences and the pain which comes along with being a Fruit Loop in a world of Cheerios.

7% of INFJs would tell their younger selves that there is absolutely nothing wrong with them. Another 6% wish they could have been more comfortable with who they were.

Direct Quotes:

  • “Everyone is different, and that’s not only OK but necessary. You are the way you are by design. And it’s good. You can give to the world in quiet ways, via depth of conversation, and interacting in your way. You need to be you and not someone else. Do what you love.”
  • “This is clichéd and cheesy but that’s because it’s a universally acknowledged virtue – Be Yourself. Be true to who you are; you’ll be happier that way. Also, before I go, I’d like to share something with you. I know you’re a pretentious little fuck, so you’ll enjoy this. To quote John Keats, ‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty- that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'”
  • “If I could go back in time, I would tell the younger me to slow down. I had a list of things I wanted to accomplish that was miles long and I got it all done before my 30s… slow down, kid. Take it all in. Live in the moment, appreciate and savor everything you have right now. Stop trying to please everyone and make yourself more of a priority, because in the end the only relationship you have that you can trust, that is eternal, the only true love is the love you develop for yourself. Stop being so critical. You are wonderful, perfect and unique in your own way. Appreciate yourself.”
  • “There is nothing wrong with you. You are worthy of love from yourself and from others. You deserve to be treated with respect and kindness no matter what. Once you learn to love yourself then make self-care your number one priority and everything else in life will be experienced with a sense of joy, even the painful times.”
  • “You are beautiful. You are smart. You are worthy. You are enough.”

Never Stop Caring

I have a vivid memory that has defined my life. At the age of 13, I remember making the choice to never feel again. I was sitting on the floor of my bedroom, my back against the door, and I was sobbing for the hundredth time over injustices I thought my family was experiencing. I knew to the very marrow of my bones that life was never going to get any better. The pain would never stop. My only apparent option was to become a robot.

And it worked. I never shed another tear. Not even at my mother’s funeral when I was 19. My voice flattened and became emotionless. My face became a permanent mask of controlled expression. My body hardened to reflect the shell I was hiding behind.

Now at the age of 43 I am trying to regain my connection to myself and the world. But what did I lose along the way? What connections were never made and what lessons were never learned? I may be a lot further along in my development if I hadn’t shut it all down 30 years ago.

Apparently, I am not alone. 5.5% of INFJs would tell their younger selves to hold onto their humanity, no matter the cost. An additional 3% would plead with themselves to always remember kindness when dealing with others.

Direct Quotes:

  • “I wish you didn’t try to cover your genuine feelings and love for people with cynicism and unnecessary judgments.”
  • “Focus on your emotions, try and understand them as much as you can – you’ll want them later.”
  • “Nothing will ever feel okay inside, until you learn to see yourself through the lens of love and gratitude and learn to be as kind to your vulnerable self as you are to your vulnerable friends.”
  • “Don’t try to give up your heart. Don’t try to be the best at everything because it’s not gonna happen. You can’t stop wars, you can’t stop injustice, you can’t stop hate, you can’t stop greed, you can’t make everyone happy and that’s okay, it doesn’t make you a bad person. You don’t need to punish yourself and you don’t deserve to die. You can’t make your scars disappear but you can fill them with gold, like in kintsukuroi. And I’m not gonna say that it’ll get better because it won’t – you’ll just become tougher.”

Want to learn more?

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We would love to hear more about the advice INFJs would give to their teenage selves. Please share them in the comments below.


  • Esther
    • Esther
    • August 7, 2018 at 10:38 pm

    So I’m 19 now. I’m still a young, I know. I would tell my younger self to let it go. Do you. You’re not like everyone else,so stop trying to be. Don’t beat yourself up so much, it might be hard to love yourself, accept all your flaws, but try. We can’t all be the same, someone has to turn the heads?. Just Live, Baby and follow your dream. Be unapologetically yourself. I’ve had a bit of a dark time, but I’ve learnt to love myself and understand being me is a blessing. You’re strong, girl❤

  • Wayne
    • Wayne
    • July 29, 2018 at 7:08 am

    I am not sure if I am a dominant thinker or feeler. I used to care a lot about how others view me but only recently I started to care more about my needs. Not sure if that is good if I am an INFJ. Any thoughts?

  • Eric Côté
    • Eric Côté
    • June 1, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    I’m 46 now. I’m INFJ too. Reading your comment was like reading something I may have written at your age.

    You’re blessed to have resources like this site, the Web, YouTube, etc. to educate yourself and help you know yourself better.

    It does get better. Develop trusting yourself, develop your feelings, start working on getting out a bit more, even if it’s just to go a natural setting, push your boundaries bit by bit. Take your time, and don’t push yourself. That secret feeling of mission you feel inside will pop out when you’re ready (you’ll be ready even if you think you’re not, you will, hehe).

    Follow that, do your dreams. Don’t let negative people get in your way, and let people in that you feel are OK, because they are. They love you. They may not be blood, but they’ll feel like family.

  • Claudia Roderick-Gilbert
    • Claudia Roderick-Gilbert
    • May 1, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    Alex, you’re not alone. And I’m sorry for the way your life has been, I truly am. I’m a 15 (almost 16) year old INFJ, discovered by my mum who is a proud ENFP, who also found out that my dad is an ENTP. The two personality types we’re supposed to get along with the best. Funnily enough, I don’t get along with my mum at all, and my dad tries so hard but simply can’t understand me. I used to feel, so much… Until college started, I learned that panic runs in my family after experiencing a dose of it the first term into year 9. I disappeared as a person, succumbed to the darkness, to panic and anxiety. Bullied after ‘they’ started recognising my discomfort, teased it, and they never got any wiser. For two years, year 9 and 10 I was completely lost. I prayed dark things to happen to me because I couldn’t do the dark things myself… not because I cared, the only thing stopping me was the physical pain… but they never came true. Likely because my father and his family are full christian and my nanna prays for us all every night, my dad being dedicated to loving God and his returning love, I suppose he prayed for my protection once, so it wasn’t God who stayed me alive. Not by choice, anyway. I believe in God, but I don’t agree to his ways, and to this day I’ll still believe his sparing me not a mercy. In fact, anything but. I lived in what seemed like infinite fear of everyone, everyday for two years. I prayed to God, but my struggles only worsened. During year 10 I found the strength somewhere to change, and I’m fully proud to say that it wasn’t God who got me here. No no, it was all me. All the suffering, and the pain… I had to believe that I could believe in myself. And I did. By myself, no matter what anyone says. Or started to. Today, I’ve hidden my feelings, somehow. My creativity requires me to pull them out again but it’s only followed by panic so I’m still in the turmoil. It’s my 3rd year at college now, and burying my feelings got me most of the way here. I don’t want to go back for fear, but I do because I need my feelings. But now I can’t remember what inspiration feels like, I’m starting to forget feelings, intuition. I think. Intentionally and unintentionally. All I’m trying to do is make it better. Know I’m trying, we all are.
    I was gone for too long, I screwed myself over thinking I was counselling myself, which technically I was, what with becoming tired of waiting for the help to come and asking my parents for a psychologist or doctor to help me. They never listened, but then again I never really knew how to speak to them. They’re not wealthy, paying for a doctor would be a burden on their shoulders. I didn’t care, I just wanted to fix myself. I lost my great passion for creative writing, sketching and songwriting. I didn’t follow my passions in school. That’s all I know. Does this mean it’s the end of all that that I am?
    Does any of this deem me unworthy of being an INFJ? I think I’m trailing off slightly it’s almost past midnight and my day starts at 7. Believe me this isn’t my daily routine. I wish you luck on on your future endeavours, Alex. Now I know what you shared about you and you can know a bit about me. I can promise you this, though, I will continue to fight if you do, I will try to find myself in all of this that the world dumps on us, as long as you find your place. ?

  • Alex Marie
    • Alex Marie
    • January 20, 2018 at 10:55 pm

    I am 17 years old about to turn 18, I’ve been going through hardships, I kept noticing and noticing something isn’t right. Everyone in my household always tried telling me, “be yourself, don’t try to hard to make friends”, I’ve been trying to make them, and in the end I keep failing. I’ll be graduating in 2020 sadly, but anyway. Two days ago I found out I am an definitely an absolute TRUE INTJ, my childhood was the best, but wasn’t. I developed depression in early kindergarten and I was taken away at a young age over false accusations. I came back to my home, and things were good…but I changed for the worst due to being abused at a foster home which I didn’t belong in. I obeyed my parents, and I remember how I never felt comfortable cussing etc. I just remember all these years everyone’s telling me “I’m just different” I knew I was and still am. I always say "sorry"a lot because it’s my soft side. I’m a writer and a artist, Ive been drawn to modern things especially books..and I had a near death experience at a younger on age, which god brought me back. Here I am thinking of doing an autobiography. But anyways..

    When I talk, everyone never seems to understand me, they always look at me funny and I remember how I have a tendency to stare into people’s souls always thought I was awfully creepy everyone even thinks that..but sometimes it’s good for eye contact, but also seeing through their soul to figure them out, and when something is wrong in always telling my sister’s “There’s something fishy about this person..I can’t seem to put my finger on it, but he’s not interested, he’s here for something..” later on I am right.

    But everyday at school I sit alone, not like I choose to, but.. I trust myself…I trust my thoughts. Every time I’m friends with someone or dating someone. My thoughts distract me. “This isn’t right if this person really likes me why have me to go see him outside of class when I can get in trouble?”

    My left brain tells me; “Oh just do it! He’s not that bad go lie to the teacher about leaving something.” So I did and walked out of the class, finds out he’s not there.

    Then I see students running up to me. “Your bf is with another girl did you know that?” I shrugged and I no longer cared. Later on I felt regret doing such a thing to make someone happy by trying to please them, instead isn’t interested.

    All my relationships weren’t real, immature, lasted for three days. That’s it.

    When I do make my own “friends” they never call me, text me, or talk to me, just shove me out. And if I’m friends with an adult about two years older than me. They still act like they didn’t graduate.

    All my life….it’s been like that. I kept thinking. Am I cursed? Ugly? Etc.

    Now it’s like I regret and absolutely wish, when I was 12 and 13, I didn’t become friends with some idiot of a female, I tried to impress to become my friend by pretending to be something I’m not. I feel so fake, everyday I still can’t help, but think about it.

    My grandmother must still be disappointed in me. I watched her die at age 4.. so as growing up everyone wonders why I hardly smile, not take jokes, how can I tell if someone is joking to me if they sound so sarcastic? Every joke I hear is the same thing..

    But yeah… It feels amazing to figure something out about me, almost like god wanted me to know. Being an INFJ is amazing, or at least (Trying to be optimistic about myself) I am unique, someone no one can copy..but what sucks is..I’m always distant..I’ll be sitting here and everyone sees me as the bad person, it’s like I intimidate them with my “mysterious” energy.

    And..I remember last summer how I changed my new path because I realized I had to become something really makes me feel blessed that I found this missing part of me, but yet I still don’t know who I am, I feel invisible..detached, even at my school.. no one notices me and I remember this student in class blurt it for no reason at all.. it’s confusing. “Your just a pigment of a picture.”

    I feel constantly paranoid walking into the doors, nobody sits alone trust me, I sit alone at lunch everyday. I’m unwanted in their groups. I tried everything to approach. When I look into their eyes I see their blank expressions as they talk, they shut me out when I speak and ignore me. I have to yell l reeeally loud for then to hear, when they do they gawk and laugh at me. It’s that unwanted and uncomfortable energy you get when you know your not a part of their groups.

    And the introverts at my school all have friends. I’m the only INTJ…

    I’m still working on myself, but it’s hard to accept something about yourself when you live in a town and a state you don’t belong in.

    I miss Illinois… and I miss the old younger me when I was happy, I remember I always thought I was beautiful, I didn’t care how different I was..and now it all changed due to realization. I stopped smiling in 5th grade when I really realized no one wanted to be my friend, I was the only one who would draw. Its hard to let go of the past, it’s hard to keep telling yourself you have everything no one has and I should be happy. My family is alive, but why am I not happy? These are the thoughts I still have before reaching my adulthood. I’ll regret it later on.. I have so much to learn for and discover yet. Least I’m not alone, it feels great that I’m not just a invisible pigment.

    My mom is also an INFJ, my dad he’s the opposite of that, but he can relate to some. That must also explain why I’m so much like my mother, and what I changed into as a child. My mom had childhood problems as fear is that..I don’t want to lose someone who understands me.

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