Online course: What INFJs need most (I know because I’ve coached almost all of them)

This course includes four days of video sessions and email-based course materials about the issues INFJs face that no other type has to deal with. You can purchase this course for anytime, on-demand access. 

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Melissa and I have a love/hate relationship with INFJs. We hate them because they are so judgy. And we are not judgy because we are too uncaring to be judgy. But actually we spend a lot of time being judgy about the INFJs for being so judgy.

Two days ago I was pacing my living room coaching an INFJ and it went like many coaching sessions with INFJs. I said, “To get started, what’s your personality type and how old are you?”

The person answered, “I’m an INTJ and I’m old.”

I said, “You’re an INFJ. An INTJ wouldn’t summarize their age like that.”

She told me about her divorce. And she was defensive and shut down and I said, “We can’t get anything done if you are defensive and shut down. Why are you like that on this call?”

She said she felt stupid for marrying someone like her husband and she hates having to tell people.

She is having the classic INFJ problem: she judges everyone else so she assumes they judge her. But I realized I have the same problem as the INFJs. I shout all over the Internet about how there is no reason to get a divorce and people who get a divorce are lame, and I’ve had two. I can’t stop talking about how stupid I feel.

But talking with an INFJ I realized that if I would be more sympathetic to other people then I could be more sympathetic to myself. The world doesn’t want to deal with me feeling shame. Shame doesn’t get people anywhere.

This is a problem I’ve been struggling with for years in therapy. And then I pretty much solved it just by talking with an INFJ.`

Also, Melissa with INFJs: She has a business that hires personal assistants for startup founders and people who are so rich they run their life like a startup, and she gets tons of resumes from INFJs.

INFJs can’t really do the job though because INFJs get deeply offended if they have to do stuff that doesn’t align with their values. It’s not a good trait in an assistant. But sometimes Melissa gets attached to INFJs even though she can’t place them.

And then she hired one. Annie. And Melissa loved working with Annie so much that she ended up sort of adopting Annie. The way I adopted Melissa.

Like, Melissa had to convince Annie that she should get married, just like I had to convince Melissa that she should get married. And I spent so much time showing Melissa the inevitability of kids, so it makes me happy to watch Melissa spend day after day showing Annie the same thing.

When Melissa introduced me to Annie, she had a list of things she wanted, but it was hard to get her to tell me what was on the list. Because like all INFJs, Annie didn’t want to admit that she wants things she might not get. But in the time that I’ve known Annie, she’s achieved those very hard things very quickly.

It’s fun to mentor someone who takes advice well. Annie not only takes advice well, but she’s been writing down all the INFJ advice Melissa gives her and making lists to keep track of it. Annie sent the lists to me so I could share it with other INFJs. Which made me realize that Annie needs a group.

Melissa has a group. I like to think that living with my family was the best gift I ever gave to her, but in fact, the INTJ group is the best gift. At first it was just funny to see her curating conversation everyday and assiduously moderating her group. But I started to notice she wasn’t moderating so much as kicking out the INFJs who mistyped themselves. Including Annie.

But we love Annie, and we want her to have a group. Annie needs a group. And so do the thousands of other INFJs I’ve talked to. (Note: INTJs who want to be in the group can do it via this course.)

INFJs need to see other people like them. But INFJs are sparsely populated everywhere except school honor rolls and my blog. So it’s very lonely being an INFJ. Not only are they the most rare type, but they are also not fond of exposing themselves to the world. Many INFJs can go through their life without ever interacting with someone like them. Which means it’s hard to even know what a successful INFJ looks like because you can’t even find them. But INFJs are success oriented, so they are at high risk for using metrics that are irrelevant — even toxic — to them.

The INFJ course Melissa and I did a few years ago is the most popular course we’ve ever done. So now I’m going to do something special that I’ve never done before: I’m going to create an ongoing group. After this course is over, we’ll continue to meet — online — every other week for six sessions to discuss INFJ issues.

And of course, we’ll include Annie’s lists. Because somehow, Annie has transformed Melissa. Melissa was the person who had to turn off her mic in the first INFJ course so she wouldn’t offend people, and now she’s the person giving Annie all the guidance and support she needs to find a spouse in time to have kids.

Melissa and I are NTs and it’s hard to make an NT a better person; we are not really people who want to be better people. But an INFJ is the person who can do that — they’ve infiltrated our lives and made us better people despite ourselves. Now we will do the same for you. It takes a brave person to pick the personality type that is most difficult for them, but Melissa and I are brave. And we hope you will be, too. Because together — you and us — we’ll be great.

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117 replies
  1. Caitlin Timothy
    Caitlin Timothy says:

    I need to take this class!!! But I’m an INFJ so signing up and spending money makes me have commitment-panic!!! Why do INFJs have this problem??!

    • Annie
      Annie says:

      Sometimes we need someone to tell us to do something. We have to follow directions, choose to trust even though there’s no guarantee, and commit even if it scares us. You should do this course.

      I saw this comment because I’ve been re-reading Penelope’s post repeatedly because it makes me feel good, not because she asked me to sell people (surprisingly, she did not :P).

      • Jen
        Jen says:

        Yes, I agree with, Annie. Caitlin, you should take the course. I had the exact same anxieties you mention before signing up for Penelope’s last INFJ course. And it was the best. And I refer back to the videos and the notes I took all the time. I’m already signed up for this one and, I’m very much looking forward to it.

      • Joseph mulligan
        Joseph mulligan says:

        I believe that when we are overly exposed to people we can’t hear our own thoughts and make our own decisions so if you really want to fix your problems (if you really are an INFJ) for free, start spending more time by yourself and listen to what your needs are first. It might take time but listen to your body, it won’t lie to you, but spending too much time around others will cause overload. Save your money, get a friend you can confide in

  2. Sarah E Elsbernd
    Sarah E Elsbernd says:

    Have you ever run into an INFJ who is on the spectrum? I’ve read several female autism books and relate strong to 80-90% of the characteristics described. Would you coach them any differently than a neuro-typical INFJ?

    • Wendy
      Wendy says:

      I’m an INFJ on the spectrum and I signed up for a coaching session with her in December. I’ll try to remember to let you know how it goes.

      Being an INFJ on the spectrum is interesting because you probably look way less “Aspergerry” than other people on the spectrum, but only on the surface, so people are constantly thinking you’re competent at a lot of things you’re actually terrible at. So I bet your life is a constant series of disappointing people who are shocked by the gap between your social skills and smarts (high) and your actual competence and follow-through (low). I’ve found Penelope’s advice to basically make up for incompetence by being very, very likable to be super helpful for holding down a job.

      When I signed up, I told her not to tell me to get medicated or married because I already know I need to do those things, and she agreed not to, but I am pretty sure she is going to end up yelling those things at me anyway. (I can’t wait.)

  3. Pippa
    Pippa says:

    My son is INFJ but he recently took a test at school and was told that he was ISFJ. How would you be able to tell the difference between the two types?

    • Tina
      Tina says:

      Why do you think he is an INFJ? INFJs rarely test as ISFJ. They are more likely to test as INTJ. A lot of people mis-type themselves as an N because they are testing as they want to be not who they are. But I don’t think it is very common to make the mistake the other way.

      • Joe
        Joe says:

        I’m a very strong INFJ, and one of the things that makes me very “N” is that I don’t notice the world around me unless I’m doing it purposefully.

        If you want to know if someone is truly an “N” or an “S”, change something small about their environment and see if they notice.

        My wife is forever adding potted plants to our porch or decorations inside our house, and it takes me a few days to actually notice.

        • Lea
          Lea says:

          I got test results as INFJ and when I read through characteristics, which seems like readout about myself(and I feel like crying as I do not like it, though it explains lot of things..) seems I must be that… Had always problem with socializing, though I love being with people, even organizing some gatherings with small groups of friends at my place to be with them (not often, you understand, but cannot wait for next one.. )

          I saw several times on the internet that INFJs are very focus on order, noticing things changed in their surroundings… and though I think all INFJ descriptions fit to me, this one is really not my case. I am not much into these types of routines. And I do not see reason why I should be or why it should matter for me ? Does it mean I need to retake test as I possibly may not qualify for INFJ ? (I think I would be happy not to be;-)). Is this so strong indicator ?

    • Joyce
      Joyce says:

      I have an aunt who married a Pippa, and she has a son who is a medical doctor. He seems like an INFJ but it is also possible that he is an ISFJ.

      For me, it’s harder to say if someone is N or S compared to the other attributes (E or I, T or F, J or P). For example, I don’t know how my cousin thinks so I can’t say if he’s S or N. If it helps, some people are borderline like me because I also test as ISFP sometimes.

      For your son, you can observe him if he prefers to do something with his hands or focuses on details (S) or if he likes thinking about the big picture or imagining the future (N).

      Hope this helps.

  4. Melissa
    Melissa says:

    I signed up! I’ve never done anything like this before, and it is also unlike me to spend money, but I’ve always appreciated Penelope’s work, and when I read the post, it was as if she was talking about me! And the 3-month follow up is really a wonderful feature. Really looking forward to learning and connecting!

      • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
        YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

        Why do you think she was announcing a pregnancy? All I read is that she keeps telling Melissa to get married and have kids, not that she was actually pregnant. I think that news of that magnitude would get an entire blog post if it was true.

        • S.
          S. says:

          “And I spent so much time showing Melissa the inevitability of kids, so it makes me happy to watch Melissa spend day after day showing Annie the same thing”.

          • Penelope Trunk
            Penelope Trunk says:

            You guys, when Melissa is pregnant there will be a big annoncement. A party. But first we need a marriage announcement. Because I didn’t write 500 posts about finding a breadwinner so Melissa can get pregnant on her own.


  5. Jennyusagi
    Jennyusagi says:

    What if you’re not sure if you’re INFP or INFJ? I get both depending on the test/my mood, used to be P more often but getting J more as I get older.

    • Kate
      Kate says:

      many of us moved from P to J as we age. Is it wisdom learned over time or I just don’t care so much about the opinion of others? Either way I’m comfortable with it. Age with grace.

    • Penny
      Penny says:

      Was told by a competent Myers-Briggs counselor, thst INFJS are “closet P’s” It can be hard to differentiate

      • Penelope Trunk
        Penelope Trunk says:

        Everyone is closet something. And everyone can adapt to cope with life’s demands. The question is what feels best. What is our preference.


    • Joyce
      Joyce says:

      Hi Jennyusagi! Here’s a summary on INFJs and INFPs:

      INFJs can get enough alone time. INFPs need much alone time.
      INFJs endure conflict for a principle. INFPs are more flexible.
      INFJs need closure. INFPs do not need closure.

      I’m INFP and all three qualities are true for me. Hope this helps.

  6. Tom
    Tom says:

    This is probably the best sales letter that has ever been written. Because it feels like a letter from a life-long friend.

    Come to think of it, most of your posts feel that way.

    Can’t wait for the course!

  7. Storey
    Storey says:

    Will the sessions be recorded? I’d love to participate live, but the sessions start while I’m commuting home.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Yes. But you have to buy it now. We probably won’t sell the recordings after the course is done.


      • Penelope Trunk
        Penelope Trunk says:

        We will use more real life examples of INFJs. And we will show you how to learn by looking at each other. Seeing the truch about other people is the INFJ superpower. But your INFJ blindspot is seeing yourself.

        I’m guessing that part of that blindness is due to you not encountering other INFJs. But I think you can use your ability to see other people clearly on other INFJs and then you’ll see yourself more clearly.


  8. WE
    WE says:

    Why would you want to take a course on being who you Are? I have been learning more about my personality type. We are judged because we are misunderstood. Interestingly I have many who think infj personalities are wonderful caring loving people.

    • Wendy
      Wendy says:

      Penelope didn’t say INFJs *are* judged. She said that *we* judge people. And that we think other people judge us, the implication being, we presume they do so way more than they actually do.

      Well, we are right in the case of Melissa and Penelope who judge us for being judgy. :P

      • R.M.
        R.M. says:

        Thank you. I felt the same. My thought is that maybe we seem judgy to one who doesn’t fully understand our F-type. I know I’ve been guilty of an emotional reaction that leads to thinking someones a jerk but once I’ve processed I can see things more objectively. It isn’t a judgement so much as an initial response to an emotional reaction. Do find any truth in this.

        As for feeling judged and fearing being judged I think it’s more about understanding and being misunderstood which can seem like judgement. I’ve often felt misunderstood.

        Does any of this sound familiar?

        • Rach.
          Rach. says:

          (I don’t assume to speak for all INFJs) I find that I judge myself too harshly, and in result of that assume that others are judging me just as harshly. I think intrinsically this is where the judginess” stems from not the other way around. If I am judgemental towards other people it is a self-defense mechanism. I also find that I become emotionally guarded around people who don’t have the same standards I do because I feel that I can’t trust them. I’m not saying this is a good habit, but it is just the way that I process things… I think it might be because the INFJ introverted thinking process is deductive reasoning versus the INTJ extraverted thinking process is inductive reasoning.

    • R.M.
      R.M. says:

      Better to say INFJs feel judged because we are misunderstood…if that makes sense. Maybe all is INFJs should just find a quite corner and talk together. Seems they have found a way to bring us together. Maybe they should make a course helping other types to better understand us.

  9. Maria Killam
    Maria Killam says:

    Penelope! This is my wife! I will make sure she signs up! This will hopefully help me as well. It’s tough living with someone whos values are so high that people rarely measure up :)
    Love this post!

  10. Lady Blue
    Lady Blue says:

    Can I join this group? I’m an ENTP and my ideal type is supposed to be INFJ (the other ideal type is INTJ, but I can’t stand them romantically, so that’s out). INFJs are so rare that needless to say, making close connections has been quite difficult for me.

  11. Deanna
    Deanna says:

    I really want to do this. Mostly because when I first scored as an INFJ it was suddenly clear why I’m so weird and have no friends and I like the idea of interacting with others like me — but a few recent tests have typed me as INFP. So, I’d hate to do this as an INFJ if I’m really an INFP.

    • R.M.
      R.M. says:

      But do you imagine you won’t learn something regardless. Js and Ps have quite different ways of organizing the world around them. If you are a P then it might help you better understand your friends who are Js. For example: don’t contact me (I’m a J) about getting together the day of. I’m a planner. Being spontaneous is unpleasant for me. Maybe you have a friend that is the same way. Don’t worry a refusal to get together may not be about you. You may have jyst interrupted your J-friend who had just made coffee and sat down to watch that movie s/he’s been meaning to watch for a month ;)

    • Joyce
      Joyce says:

      Hi Deanna! For differences between INFJs and INFPs, here’s a recap of my comment below:

      INFJs can get enough alone time. INFPs need much alone time.
      INFJs endure conflict for a principle. INFPs are more flexible.
      INFJs need closure. INFPs do not need closure.

      I’m INFP and all three qualities are true for me. Hope this helps.

      • Lina
        Lina says:

        Hm… I identified as INFJ in my 20s and I think I transitioned into an INFP in my 30s… But I think based on your three criteria you may identify me as an INFJ. Though I’m not sure if I need closure, perhaps not, it depends… As for alone time… I need A LOT of it, but I remember times when I got enough of it. Not in many years though, so now I find myself constantly craving it – but that has to do with my family and work situation, I just have very little alone time to begin with. If I lived and/or worked alone, I’m sure there would be times when I would feel like I have more than enough alone time…

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      There is an INFP course that I recorded a few years ago. So if you emroll in this course and you determine that you’re an INFP, I’ll give you that course for free.


    • Joyce
      Joyce says:

      Hi, Ian! If it helps, Penelope wrote about the difference between an INFP and INFJ on her homeschooling blog from June 26, 2015:

      “An INFP needs so much alone time they pretty much spend their whole life trying to get enough. An INFJ needs alone time, but they can get enough.

      An INFJ will endure conflict in order to uphold a principle. And INFP will not hold as tightly to principles — and INFP is more flexible about how they think — and also, and INFP cannot endure conflict as well as an INFJ.

      Mostly, though, and INFP does not need closure — leaving everything open and rethinking things again and again is fine for the INFP. The INFJ wants to analyze, be done and move on.


  12. Raven
    Raven says:

    I am unclear on whether this applies to me or not. I strive not to be judgy or to judge people because I know how it feels to be judged…in fact I tell myself that the only people I judge are judgemental people because I feel that how you judge others says more about the judger than the judged. I fear being judged by others but I know who among those important to me won’t judge me and it is with them I share those things I need to share but won’t share with anyone. Perhaps what makes me different is that I have my own and very very close INTJ to balance me out and two very close ISFJs to help me with my own self awareness. Maybe I am more judgemental than I think I am in a stealthy way I can’t easily recognise. I just wish I could see myself reflected in this because of like to be able to understand myself better. Am I the only one who doesn’t see it?

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Read the comment below, from RM.

      What you describe in your comment is that you avoid the typical INFJ problems because you have non-INFJs around you.

      The comment below yours describes how its a core problem for INFJs that they feel it is not ok to be themselves.

      So your email is very INFJ in that you are hellbent in being able to see your weaknesses and fix them before anyone can point them out.

      Ironically, that turns out to be an INFJ weakness.


      • Winter
        Winter says:

        I’d love to understand what qualifies you as an INTJ to tell INFJs how to figure themselves out. As a T what makes you think you can fully understand Fs. Also…1% of 9 billion is still a lot of people. I doubt you’ve come near coaching even half of them. Just saying…

  13. R.M.
    R.M. says:

    I didn’t feel liken saw myself in what you has to say but having taken time to think I think no see the disconnect. You identify yourself as an INTJ which means you react to things logically does. As an INFJ I react to things emotionally first. I have to take the time to process my feelings and then understand them. At times I imagine that initial reaction can seem like judgement but for me it’s not about judging the other person it’s actually about reaction and processing it. Someone might say something that I initially interpret as negative and my emotional response is “what a jerk” but then given time I can see it’s probably not meant in that way and can tackle it in a more intellectual way. I know NTs and what I recognise in them is a clear headed logical reaction to events. I am lucky enough to have NTs who recognise how I process things and help me process. I can only hope you do the same for the NFs you encounter.

    I imagine if you’ve coached so many INFJs that you must have learned to recognise what I’ve explained above but I missed where you identified this as part of the challenge. My emotions are often where I need the greatest self awareness. I need to recognise that my reaction isn’t always justified and i am able to recognise when im spinning out and pull myself up before it goes to far.

    As an INFJ what I need most is permission to feel what I feel even if it isn’t fully justified and time to process and recognise that most of the time people aren’t deliberately pushing my buttons.

    Elaborating on that, it is important for all people of all types to recognise that emotions are personal and aren’t something to be easily controlled. There is no “should” when it comes to emotion. For example: If you aren’t terribly close to a relation that passes and you don’t feel anything greater than a kind of detached sadness that doest reach the point of grief that’s okay. You aren’t a bad person if You don’t tell more. You feel what you feel. Another example: personally I rarely feel the outrage over things most people around me feel. Most of the time I just feel profound sadness. It’s not something that is easily explained. I’m not sure If anyone reading this would understand but I’ve been told many times I should feel a certain way and I can’t explain why I don’t. As an INFJ I often feel misunderstood and judged myself. You spoke above of INFJs thinking they are being judged because they are judgemental but I’d like to suggest that it may also be that because we are such a small part if the population is hard to find people that can fully meet us wjetecwe are so we become used to having to meet people where they are. It isn’t that we are judging people so much as trying to understand how others are seeing us because we are so used to never fully seeing eye-to-eye with the people around us. I often find that if I take a conversation far enough I will stumble over an interaction or two where I’m left thinking “im pretty sure s/he completely missed what I was trying to say” or “that wasn’t anywhere near my point”.

    Maybe I’m missing your point too…maybe you already know all if what I’ve already said and I’m just feeling misunderstood but I’m hoping other INFJs might relate to what I’m saying.

    • Joyce
      Joyce says:

      Thank you, R.M. I feel only detached sadness when people die, even when my father died. All I felt was he was in a better place.

      • R.M.
        R.M. says:

        It can be difficult when people pass and you find you feel like you should feel more. I’ve had relatives pass and felt guilty because I haven’t felt a deeper sense of greif. Someone (my own personal INTJ actually) pointed out that feelings are personal and that there is no controlling them or “should” when it comes to our emotions. It can still be difficult to explain to others when they expect certain reactions but it helped me to feel that how I felt was as legitimate as any other. I’m glad that what I posted did something similar for you. :)

  14. Brandon
    Brandon says:

    I am not understanding what is being offered here I am INFJ I took the test not even knowing the types and got infj. I know I am capable of great things cus I have achieved so much already but never satisfied. 8 months ago i got hurt bad at work ended up in the er during that time wasn’t sure if I had a girlfriend or not she wanted a break 4 a week and she was in basic and then breaks up with me 4 weeks later 2 weeks before she back and she was the first one I actually care about in all of my relationships. She made me feel like I could do anything when I had doubt and then she destroyed me i lost my self completely mentalnbreak down I never took time for myself and I gave and gave to evryone trying to make the team better. I am now happier it took 8 months of therapy and not working it was hard and it wasn’t i only had me and my family to get me out of the darkness I never had help i proved people wrong I tried 2 times to od and fail at that but I believe in god and he wants me here for a reason and I never had anyone like her before that gave me the push when I needed it or when I got upset had the balls to get in my way or tell me i was being an idot or wrong she understood me. So my issue is I want to help people not over do it and my long term goal seems so out of reach I need to jump and it’s harder for me cuz I made mistakes that as an alternative to rehab my parents control my money and it’s hard to trust them because I got an big inheritance but because of my mistakes I feel like I a child when I ask for advice I feel like a child asking them were baby’s come from I have been clean almost 3 years basicly did it on my own and I don’t ever want to do it again people don’t believe me but I am all or nothing how I was trains as a chef do something do it write or not at all. Why am I stuck I want my own business rental properties and to help addicts by paying a good wage to cook in a restaurant run by non violent offenders and it would work as a support group as well. I just don’t understand y I get hurt so bad to the point that I thought suicide was better no more disaponting people or me.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      I don’t know what you are, but you’re not an INFJ. An INFJ would not write sonmuch about themselves in an open comments section. And an INFJ would not ignore as many grammar rules as you do.

      So maybe that explains you not understanding “what is being offered,” because its not for you.



    • Joyce
      Joyce says:

      Hi, Brandon!

      I’m sorry for what happened to you but I agree with Penelope. You are likely not INFJ.

      I make grammar and spelling mistakes because I’m INFP and sometimes don’t proofread. But the INFJs, ENFJs, and INTJs that I know always have flawless grammar and spelling, and they are not native English speakers.

      I imagine that you are likely an ISFP.

      The I likely comes from having few relationships. You are deep and focused on one or few people.

      The S likely comes from your being a chef. You like to work using your five senses.

      The F comes from writing as you would normally speak. You feel a lot of emotions.

      The P comes from not having control of your life. You tend to let things happen to you.

      Let me know if this helps.

  15. Anna
    Anna says:

    I would really like to take the course. I’m doing a lot of soul searching and growing right now.

    I’ve been shedding my shame and codependency and improving my poor executive functions. I’m goal orientated, I see the whole picture and like to plan, but I lack task initiation big time. Like thinking forever of doing your class but then getting scared and thinking some more about it… Going in circles…

    So I’m confused if I’m a P or a J. But I’m definitely a NS.

    But again unsure about the I and the E. When I feel safe I like to put myself out there. But people (simple ones) wear me out.

    Should I take this course or a different one?

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      The only people who are this confused about their type are INFPs or ENFPs. This confusion is because you are so flexible in your thinking and so enticed by possibilities that youncan imagine yourself being a wide range of types. No other types can do this.

      An ENFP can actually function as any type – if they need/want to. An INFP less so. But either way, no J tests as a such a wide range of types.


    • Joyce
      Joyce says:

      Hi, Anna! You sound a lot like me, and I’m INFP. My parents are both ENFPs and they always believed that they are capable of doing and being anything. You might want to take several personality tests and compare your results. Hope this helps.

  16. Jen
    Jen says:

    “” The person answered, “I’m an INTJ and I’m old.”

    I said, “You’re an INFJ. An INTJ wouldn’t summarize their age like that.””

    That made me laugh :D

  17. Poppy
    Poppy says:

    Oh, I SO want to do this, I loved the other INFJ course, but I’m in Spain and the course runs at 1 a.m. for me, which would be acceptable for a couple of days but it’s definitely too much for four classes + six follow-ups. I might get it later, though, and watch the recorded sessions. But I wouldn’t hesitate to do it if the schedule was more convenient for me, so INFJs out there, JOIN THE COURSE, NOW! DO IT!

  18. Tarrah Lewis
    Tarrah Lewis says:

    I am also an INFJ and my biggest struggles are telling people how it is gently, without telling them off or worse, writing them off; or vice versa. I tend to start things and not finish, or fear starting things because of anxiety.

  19. Vanessa
    Vanessa says:

    Nope. INFJ here, and after a coaching session with Penelope a few weeks ago during which she yelled at me and talked over me the whole time (No one likes you! Why aren’t you married?!) I felt like she surprisingly really didn’t get me as an infj. She was like, you’re not an introvert, you need meds. Huh? Sadly it was a waste of time and money.

    • Joyce
      Joyce says:

      Hi, Vanessa! I got similar advice although I’m INFP. She emailed me that my mother and I should get tested for Asperger’s syndrome.

      • Vanessa
        Vanessa says:

        Hi Joyce,
        Thanks for your reply! Penelope also suggested I might have Aspergers… It’s certainly worth considering.
        The highlight of my coaching session with Penelope may have been when she was yelling (repeatedly)”You have nothing to offer!” Obviously it’s no secret she has Aspergers.

        • Joyce
          Joyce says:

          Hi Vanessa, thank you for the insight!

          I replied to her email and wrote that I had to write many questions because my questions to her during the INFP course were not answered. She talks fast, so I am preparing myself with more questions this time around.

          I also wrote to her, “I hope you do not yell. If that’s not possible, I would like a coaching call by chat instead of a voice call.” Let’s see if that makes a difference.

          Ok, I have to make my resumes so that I can send it to her tomorrow because my coaching call is on Saturday.

    • Wendy
      Wendy says:

      A lot (and I mean A LOT) of ENFs mistype as INFJs. Which is understandable since they’re the most introverted extroverts. Penelope accuses everyone of being INFJs, so if she says you aren’t one, you’re probably very, very obviously not an INFJ, haha.

      A good way to tell is to think back on if you’ve ever spent at least one weekend all alone, without seeing any friends or family in person. If you loved it or at least weren’t too bothered by it, you’re an introvert. If you were really lonely by the end of it, you’re an extrovert. ENFPs and ENFJs often dislike parties and crowds, and being around a lot of people can exhaust them, but they do always want to have at least ONE person they really like around, or they get lonely and sad.

      And if you do in fact have Asperger’s, that definitely will create social anxiety and difficulty in tolerating being around a lot of people.

      Another reason the Asperger’s thing is important because if you don’t figure that out, you basically have a profound blind spot to recognizing where and how you get in your own way of what you want out of life.

      • Wendy
        Wendy says:

        (The purpose of my comment was not to attack you but to point out that there was probably some pretty good advice in that call if you can get past getting stuck on the non-consequential stuff that hurt your feelings. The feeling that time and money’s been wasted really sucks.)

    • Win
      Win says:

      If it makes you feel any better a friend of mine who is INTJ thinks Penelope is spewing b.s.. stay strong. We don’t need people to tell us how to be especially if they clearly don’t understand.

  20. Sharon Teitelbaum
    Sharon Teitelbaum says:

    I’ve twice tested as an INFP on the Myers=Briggs: once 10 yrs ago and once 25 years ago. But I know I’ve become more judgy and I recently tested as an INFJ on a similar type of assessment. Should I take this course?

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      The course will help you know your type for sure. And if you turn out to be an INFP I’ll give you that course for free.


  21. Jordan Ortiz
    Jordan Ortiz says:

    After 2 years of denial, testing and retesting INTJ, AND a coaching session, I’m giving in to the INFJ inside

  22. Bernadette
    Bernadette says:

    Yay Penelope! So excited to take another course with you. I’m glad that I can join in now that I’m living in the US! This is perfect timing because I need advice on my life direction and definitely feel like I have a ‘blind spot.’

    Other INFJs- I have taken the previous INFJ course and a private coaching session with Penelope, and found her advice to be invaluable. Penelope is blunt, incisive and her courses are always really fun!

  23. Rach.
    Rach. says:

    I am an INFJ and thought this was a very interesting article, and I liked it! However, (I don’t assume to speak for all INFJs) I find that I judge myself too harshly, and in result of that assume that others are judging me just as harshly. I think intrinsically this is where the judginess” stems from not the other way around. If I am judgemental towards other people it is a self-defense mechanism. I also find that I become emotionally guarded around people who don’t have the same standards I do because I feel that I can’t trust them. I’m not saying this is a good habit, but it is just the way that I process things… I think it might be because the INFJ introverted thinking process is deductive reasoning versus the INTJ extraverted thinking process is inductive reasoning.

  24. Ed
    Ed says:

    I’m an INFJ with complex PTSD from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s been really hard for me to relate to anyone. Lots of isolation from social situations but I feel comfortable doing it. I am involved in things I like to do but not social circles involved in those things.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Hi Ed. I’m really sorry about the pain you have. I can’t even imagine how hard it must have been in Iraq and Afghanistan. Something I’ve noticed from my own PTSD is that I end up not really functioning as my type. For me, I’m an ENTJ but the only thing that is really reliable for me is the N. The PTSD makes me not as steady in personality attributes where I would normally be very strong.

      I say this only to help you sort through who you are and what is reliable for you and what isn’t. Maybe other people will chime in about PTSD and personality type. I find that while I don’t know exactly what PTSD does to someone, I can tell when I’m talking to someone who has PTSD because they are not consistently one type.

      To be clear, seeing that a person has PTSD is not just someone seeing someone who is testing as a P and a J or someone who gets a lot of different results. It’s someone who is surprising in their response – like, the response has no precedence. For example an ENFP is predictably going to test as 5 different types. And an INTP often tests as a J. But an INTP would not test as five different types, and an ENFP would not test as an INTP. And I am an ENTJ but I often look like an INTP which is really weird for an ENTJ.

      So anyway, I find that seeing how I am unpredictable as an ENTJ helps me to see how PTSD is affecting me. And I was thinking this observation might be useful to other people with PTSD.


  25. Tyler
    Tyler says:

    This one goes out to all those omnificent, omnipresent, yet invisible INFJs silently sifting through the countless comments while delicately dictating beautiful replies in their minds and yet never hitting submit, because the audience in your mind is more real than the audience online.

  26. Amanda
    Amanda says:

    I’d love to see some more info on what this coaching program can help with… also I’m not sure if it’s just me but was really thrown by one of the first lines where it stayed you hated INFJ. I’d be curious to know how a ‘hatred’ of this type can translate into a coaching experience. Thank you!

  27. Cáit
    Cáit says:

    I hope to learn soon that my husband has a promotion and raise and then maybe I would take it.
    I have a question for other INFJs. This is the conspiracy theorist personality but that dimension is so rarely discussed, why?

  28. Lili
    Lili says:

    I have question for you. Do you know what the forth function in the INFJ stands for? Because if you did, you’d know that the judging function stands for how INFJs approach life as more of a structured rather than the counter parts INFPs flexible. Judging is not the same as judgmental. Please research your material first. You are telling others they are judgmental when they are not. It seems to me you are overcompensating for something. Reflect on that.

    • Ausser
      Ausser says:

      As a P that has struggled for many years to get along with J types, the distinction is not nearly as big as you make it out to be. In my experience, people who “see life as more structured” generally can’t help being effectively judgmental about anyone who doesn’t, and about themselves as well. Js are always trying to nail down and prematurely “settle” and “name” everything so that everyone can move on to the next thing as though life and people are to-do lists.

      I’m torn between feeling empathetic about the straitjacket that Js put themselves into and just wanting to avoid them because I know that I will irritate the hell out of them for no necessary reason that I can see and that’s just a whole bunch of no fun. Maybe it looks different to a J but to me it feels pretty judgmental at the end of the day.

      • Lili
        Lili says:

        Mature INFJs (I don’t mean only age maturity) can easily tap into their Ni that helps them navigate the human condition. And what others perceive as judgmental attributes, is actually a deep and acute level of discernment.

        And where the Judging function is concerned, it helps not only structure and organize the internal world with the outside one. It’s a tool to see patterns and reach a deeper understanding of the world and what makes us humans tick. This doesn’t happen overnight, as it requires a healthy relationship with one’s self. Js and Ps make an excellent team, given they both want to make their relationship work, wether it’s romantic in nature, business or familial.

  29. Shawn
    Shawn says:

    I am thinking about taking this class mostly for the entertainment value. I watched the INTJ class (before I accepted that I am an INFJ), and it was very fun.

    I don’t think I have been around another actual INFJ, at least I haven’t been aware of them. I wonder if INFJ’s get along well, or if they just annoy one another after a while.

    I also wonder why INFJ’s are disproportionately drawn to blogs like Penelope’s and to coaching? And why are we so lousy at self-promotion when we are all so clever?

  30. Michelle
    Michelle says:

    I am an INFJ. While I am curious to hear Penelope’s advice and even more compelled to take the course because of the potential for a community, ultimately, I am unwilling to spare the money.

    For others like me: perhaps we can collaborate in the comments section to achieve a portion of what Penelope’s course offers.

    To start, I can offer two insights into ‘problem areas’ for INFJs.

    1. Regarding careers — I find myself incredibly motivated to begin with, I quickly receive promotions, and then I hit a plateau. Things become rote (too detail-oriented / repetitive), I lose motivation, and I get stuck, spending my days daydreaming about abstract concepts (feminism, how to solve environmental crises) and content in how well I interact with my coworkers rather than focusing on furthering the company for whom I work or furthering my career.

    2. Regarding relationships — I have been in two, long-term abusive relationships. (Currently in the middle of a divorce — husband is a narcissist and transgender.) Why is this a pattern for me? Perhaps other INFJs identify with this — it is incredibly challenging, if not impossible, for me to believe and accept that others are not internally like me. I simply do not know how to comprehend that others may be, at their core, selfish, irrational, and/or amoral.

    So, to pare down: How to move beyond the motivation plateau at work? And how to accept that there is evil in the world without trying to change it through love?

    If no INFJs benefit from this, perhaps P can use it in her course!


      • Michelle
        Michelle says:

        I’ve been gnawing at the INFJ “love” problem for half a day. In my experience it unfolds like this:

        — I can perceive what people are doing and why they are doing it precisely. Although it seems as though I am judging, internally, I believe most everyone is acting from the same source: love. I perceive people’s misdeeds as mistakes of ignorance. I perceive all communication as attempts at bonding, at love. I genuinely enjoy everybody (in the specific context of truthful / intimate conversation). Many people do annoy me, but it is too easy for me to forgive them. I know that I enjoy being alone best of all.

        — I come to a place where I need to choose a friend or a romantic partner. I have no criteria for these categories. It’s easy for me to choose people who must serve a specific function in my life (e.g., business partner) but when I need to choose someone to love, the choice seems arbitrary — everyone is lovable and yet I need space from them all.

        — I find that I make my decisions based on what’s “morally right” (while also understanding that morality is arbitrary). In practice this looks like this: I dated a man in college for four years because we lost our virginity to each other. I finally broke up with him and attempted a one-night stand to prove to myself that I could be selfish. I ended up bringing my one-night stand across the country with me and dating him for three years. I was single for two years. (Not really: I dated a spy for the NSA, very wealthy, he would fly across the country to see me; he was an INTJ and I thought he was brilliant — however, he was amoral and selfish. I WISH I could have made that relationship work, but that would have been more miserable than my marriage.) Then I decided that it was time to get married and have a baby, so I called my high school sweetheart, not because he was the easiest guy to get along with, but because I thought it was “the right thing to do.”

        — How ARE you supposed to choose who to love?

        — Every one of my relationship decisions has been selfish. When I “do the right thing” I know that it serves two purposes: first, I literally cannot sleep at night if I make a mistake in my life (especially a moral one) because the voice of my superego is so persistent (reliving every mistake I’ve ever made); secondly, telling myself that I am “good” serves to bolster my sense of self, which tends to be fragile, because I am more perceptive of other people’s behaviors, motivations, and needs than of my own.

        — This leaves me with a conundrum. How can I tell myself that I love everyone when all of my relationship decisions have been selfish? And does that mean that I do not love anyone at all, including myself? This is the most bothersome part, and for some reason, the only part that I wish to correct.

        • California
          California says:

          You really need to stop beating yourself up. If you give more than you get — and if you are an INFJ, I am betting that you do — do not feel guilty.

          As for choosing who to love, it’s your life. Love the person with whom you can live a life that you love. It’s not always obvious who this person is, but when you are with this person, you will find yourself turning down numerous temptations because, as Paul Newman quipped, “I have steak at home. Why should I go out for hamburger?”

    • California
      California says:

      I am going to start off by saying that I find you very likable for some reason just by reading your comment. INFJ here, and here are my two cents with regard to your questions.

      “How to move beyond the motivation plateau at work?”

      Get a selfless motivation. I don’t care about money, power, or really, myself. But I would do just about anything for my daughter. That’s what makes working insane hours worth it to me: because I get the money that I need to buy what I want for her.

      “And how to accept that there is evil in the world without trying to change it through love?

      I found it a lot easier to accept the evil in the world once I accepted and stopped trying to change myself. I only stopped in my thirties because neurological development is close to complete by the age of 25 and most changes thereafter are mere scratches on the surface. Once I accepted that my flaws were probably there to stay, I accepted that the world was the way it was, and that I had to work with the status quo.

      You probably already know this, but being in abusive relationships is not specific to personality type. People tend to repeat their family histories in their personal relationships.

        • California
          California says:

          Thank you for your kind words, Phuong.

          I am not taking this course. I know what I need, and I do not need to get to know 500 INFJs.

          • Michelle
            Michelle says:

            You’re right that I need to stop beating myself up. You’ve learned to accept yourself. I am younger than you — that’s my excuse — but I need to do the same.

            Thank you, California.

    • P
      P says:

      Michelle, thank you for sharing your excellent questions here. It’s so helpful to read your experiences. I’m an INFJ and wrestle with these exact questions.

      “How to move beyond the motivation plateau at work?”
      I still haven’t figured this out either. Instead, I now work for myself. I can move into new projects, and shift my focus whenever I feel the need. It was a long road to get to this point professionally, but it’s been worth it and great so far. I have an overarching mission for my work. How I execute this vision can be continuously revised as I learn more.

      “And how to accept that there is evil in the world without trying to change it through love?”
      I’m still working on this too. For now, I’m being intentional on where I focus my energy and time. One example: I work on voter registration and political education for disenfranchised communities, instead of trying to change the minds of people whose values I don’t agree with. I’m not sure if there’s a connection that can be drawn to romantic relationships from this example. I guess I’m still trying to change things through love, but directing it toward the path of least resistance. This way, my impact is maximized, I stay true to myself, and I don’t burn myself out in the process.

    • Vanessa
      Vanessa says:

      Apparently INFJs have a propensity for entanglement with narcissists… I’ve recently found that out myself, the hard way. I really want to believe that everyone is motivated by love and has goodness in their heart, but sadly, sometimes ego is an even bigger force in some personalities.

      As for the career motivation conundrum, I experience the same thing, and I’d love to figure it out!

      Introvert Spring has an INFJ community forum that you might be interested in:

  31. Tom
    Tom says:

    I paid for the course but never got my login info, and have apparently been missing it. Please check your email.

    By the way, the number you give on your receipts as your business phone number, 917 852-7772, has been disconnected.

  32. Ann
    Ann says:

    I really think you are missing nuances to personality type by ignoring the Enneagram.

    You are a type 1, and that’s a very judgmental type. INFJs are often 9s with a 1 wing, a defensively judgmental type.

    Enneagram asks where do we find our core existential motivations and coping style. It’s why as an ENFP I hated your course because I’m an overcommitted (and steadfast) ENFP 1, not a more typical dreaded flaky ENPF 7 or 4. So my challenges are very different.

    You can help them with MBTI but you can’t get to their heart. The really deep, entrenched — and really promising — stuff is found through enneagram type.

  33. Marshall
    Marshall says:

    INFJ -make type here- and you want to talk about under representation…but i am nearly 50% a perceiver- it’s the one trainable and changeable trait. I am also Assertive vs Turbulent so I think that is key to wellness…

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