INFJ Top Ten List: #7 - Solitude

Monday, November 19, 2012 3 Comments A+ a-

Hey, hey, hey! How is everyone?

Another chilly Monday here, and I'm a little disappointed at my lack of productivity over the weekend. It kills me to have so much I want to accomplish and then end up spinning my wheels due to fatigue or competing responsibilities. What really bothers me is when writing feels less like the release of creative tension and more like plain old work. Seriously, where's the fun in that??

So today our Top Ten item is about that good old double-edged sword--solitude:

7. Prolonged solitude kills us

While some introverts can be all by themselves for every second of the day and feel nothing but contentment, an INFJ needs to be around people. Though we still need time in solitude in order to recharge ourselves, too much time alone can leave us feeling drained, lonely and depressed. INFJs thrive on the emotions of others. We live for bettering others to better ourselves. We cannot do this if we are always by ourselves. When an INFJ does not have a close relationship, they can became depressed and feel empty.

"INFJs often feel happiest and most fulfilled when helping others understand themselves and their problems." - Personality Junkie
So what do you think? Does this describe us fairly well?

In one of Dave Superpower's YouTube videos, he calls INFJs "the most extraverted of introverts", and I'm guessing that's due to our amazing Ni/Fe talent for reaching out and responding to another person's core emotional needs. We don't even think about it - the talent just naturally engages when we're around people. They respond to our gentle sensitivity, and we get value from providing a listening ear or intuitive advice.

But it's likely that each INFJ has their own interaction limit. I will admit that I can go days without interaction. Engaging my Fe wears me out, and I prefer solitude for reflection and recharging. Sometimes I crave alone time so badly that it's almost a physical ache. Very few people understand or sympathize with this aspect of my personality.

Would too much leave me lonely and depressed? Yeah, probably. But when I feel the need to be around people, all I have to do is hit a bookstore, mall or coffee shop. I'm content with just the physical presence of others. I don't need to talk, but my Se wants the sensory stimulation of a crowd. If I desire interaction, I'll order a drink and joke around with the cashier, or make a comment about someone's uber-cool shoes. A couple of 5-minute exchanges is all I need to put a smile on my face.

So are we "happiest" when helping others? Hmm...I do believe INFJs excel at helping others. We're good at it, and it provides value. But I can't bring myself to apply that generic label to everyone with our personality type. We're all a unique blend of our experiences, education, and DNA. Personally, I'm happiest when I'm deep in the throes of a creative spike, typing madly on my laptop. I'm at my physical best when I'm working out alone. And I'm most peaceful when taking a walk by myself in the woods.

Do I need people? Sure I do. Just probably less than other INFJs. Prolonged solitude would drive me batty after awhile, but if I could get out occasionally or have company once a week, I'd be just fine, lol :-) do y'all feel about solitude? Love it? Hate it? Both, lol?

Let me know...!



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Colin Machan
November 19, 2012 at 2:38 PM delete

I was about twenty years old when I discovered that all I really wanted to do was help other people. I've lost count of the number of voluntary jobs that I have done over the years; committees that I have served on. People that I've tried to help.
Unfortunately, I learned about my own character the hard way. I very nearly made myself ill, beating myself up over my own limitations, pushing myself through prolonged encounter after encounter with the very people I was trying to help. It was only about a year or two ago that I realised that I was an introvert, and a few months later that I was an INFJ. Suddenly, all the pieces started coming together. It started to make sense.
So I needed to build in some serious 'me time' in order to keep things working! I need to allow for some timely solitude to enable me to work at my best...
I saw an image a while ago about INFJs that included the tag line "one cause after another". Love that. As they used to say in "Knight Rider", one man can make a difference. And I want to make a difference!
Yes, it drains us so much to relate with others. But as we want to make the world a better place... so we do what we can. In our own way!

February 27, 2015 at 4:36 AM delete

I love solitude. I could be on my own for hours, trying to write something or just doing some research. I can't really say that prolonged solitude depresses me. Of course everyone needs company once in a while

March 4, 2017 at 12:47 PM delete

I'm new to discovering my personality type, and it has been profoundly revealing. It has explained so much in my life (I wish I had known this much earlier in life) such as: my thought processes, my heartbreaks, my fears, my inspirations, my value system (which is like life and death to me), my sharp intuition (I used to wonder why in the heck no one else seemed to get it! and I would also be deeply hurt by others in this area too), my God-language (the way I perceive and interact with God), my intense loyalty to others (until that very sacred line is crossed, and then they are cast out forever, and even I don't have the power to reverse it), etc. I could go on and on. It has been a truly life-changing experience to essentially have stumbled across the manual to myself, and it has given me a lot of peace and understanding.
In response to your specific post about solitude, I LOVE and CRAVE solitude. In fact, I love it so much I'm actually curious how long I could survive without human contact. Of course, I know we are made for relationship but I've realized, and now been able to make peace with the fact, that I only need a few very close friends in my circle. I don't need a lot of human contact. A contributing factor would be my stage in life as a very busy mom. I don't get much quiet or solitude at all, and so the desperation for it is even greater. But lock me away with my thoughts and creativity and you will find a very very happy lady!
This area of solitude is also why I think I struggle with church so much. Church isn't really arranged well for introverts, so we either escape altogether, or suffer through the current system and get burned out.

Thanks so very much for your blog and posts! They are very valuable and helpful :-) It's nice just knowing there are others like me out there in the world, struggling through the same things I am.