One of the stereotypes about the INFJ personality type is that they have a sixth sense-like ability to predict what will happen in the future. Many INFJs perpetuate this stereotypes with claims that they feel as though they have psychic powers. But are INFJs psychic?
While INFJs do experience strong intuitive insights, it’s not the same sort of psychic ability that’s going to allow you to see the future in a crystal ball or make a killing at the race track. In this article, I’m going to discuss what Introverted Intuition (Ni) looks like in INFJs and why it’s often confused with a sort of psychic ability.
INFJs psychic “powers” are actually their dominant function, Ni, at work. According to Carl Jung in Psychological Types:
“Since the unconscious is not just something that lies there, like a psychic caput mortuum, but is something that coexists and experiences inner transformations which are inherently related to general events, introverted intuition, through its perception of inner processes, gives certain data which may possess supreme importance for the comprehension of general occurrences: it can even foresee new possibilities in more or less clear outline, as well as the event which later actually transpires.”
INFJs often have strong hunches based on unconscious reasoning, especially when it comes to other people. These “aha” moments are the result of the INFJ unconsciously detecting patterns and connecting the dots to form a conclusion, which is often (but not always) accurate. Since the perception process is unconscious, the conclusion seems to come out of nowhere, even to the INFJ. Therefore, INFJs have trouble explaining how they formed the conclusion. When probed by others to explain their insight, the INFJ often responds that they “just knew.”
Introverted Sensing (Si) is the 8th and last function in the INFJs function stack. This makes them extremely different from ISFJs and ISTJs, who lead with Si. Ni and Si are both introverted perceiving functions. This means that they explain how we access information internally. According to Jung, both functions are subjective and unconscious. The difference is that Ni perceives ideas, and Si perceives objects.
Si is skilled at making sense of the present using previously learned information and impressions. Think of Si as the reviewer or editor. It skims new information and says, “Yes this looks correct based on what I know” or “No, this seems odd compared to what I’m familiar with.” While Si makes sense of the present by its understanding of the past, Ni makes sense of the future by what it conceptualizes in the present.
Introverted Sensing-dominant types do use intuition and experience intuitive insights, but these are weaker than their sensory perception. Intuition can easily get mistaken for fear or paranoia. In Psychological Types, Jung explains the Si types use of intuition as follows:
“His unconscious is distinguished chiefly by the repression of intuition, which thereby acquires an extraverted and archaic character. Whereas true extraverted intuition has a characteristic resourcefulness, and a ‘good nose’ for every possibility in objective reality, this archaic, extraverted intuition has an amazing flair for every ambiguous, gloomy, dirty, and dangerous possibility in the background of reality.”
Intuition-dominant types are often excited about future possibilities, while Sensing-dominant types, primarily introverted sensors, tend to be more conservative with their future goals and ambitions.
Ni is the dominant function in both INFJs and INTJs. Because of this, these types share several similarities. However, the INFJs intuition focuses primarily on understanding people and relationships. INTJs focus their intuition on understanding systems and information. Both types often claim to experience a leap in logic where the core issue or solution seems to appear out of thin air.
Ni-dominant types need to spend a lot of time researching and making sense of the external world. This is because their intuitive insights don’t come with a step-by-step manual. To explain these insights to others, they often have to take the time to process and connect the dots.
Younger Ni-dom types often expect others to understand their subjective and intuitive understanding of the world. They experience significant challenges when they realize that few others see the world exactly as they do. However, once an INJ learns to develop their intuition in conjunction with their auxiliary function (Extraverted Feeling in INFJs and Extraverted Thinking in INTJs), they can excel in helping others grasp deep intuitive insight. Because of this, healthy and mature INJs are sometimes considered “prophets”, a term used by Jung when describing the Ni-dominant type.
INFJs are most successful when they use their Ni with their auxiliary judging function, Extraverted Feeling (Fe). Fe makes decisions based on what it detects about the energy and moods of other people. Strong Ni-Fe is talented at reading others and helping them gain a deeper awareness of their strengths and weaknesses. Many INFJs find success and fulfillment as counselors and coaches because of this skill.
INFJs are good judges of character. They look beyond how someone presents themselves to understand the person’s intent. They are quick to pick up on someone who is being fake or has less than pure intentions. Ni-Fe can also see how a person would react in a given situation. INFJs can skillfully guide people toward the choices that are healthiest for their particular personality and situation. They prefer to guide based on what works best for the individual rather than what works best for the majority of people. INFJs can’t help but to see multiple perspectives and understand that there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution to individual and relational problems.
INFJs aren’t psychic in the traditional sense of the word. However, since Introverted Intuition is the dominant function in less than 5 percent of the population, it often feels impossible for many to understand and explain. Introverted Intuition isn’t simply “just knowing” something. It subjectively and unconsciously recognizes patterns in ideas and connects information to produce those “aha” moments that INFJs experience so frequently.
Are you an INFJ who feels like you have psychic abilities? Leave your experiences, feedback, questions, or thoughts in the comments!