Of the 16 personality types established by the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI), one stands out as the rarest of them all. The "winner" is the INFJ combination, with only 1.5 percent of the general population estimated to be this personality type.
Unless you're very familiar with the test, those letters probably mean nothing to you. But each letter represents a category that, when put together, pinpoints some of the main components of the INFJ personality.
According to the Myers-Briggs Company, these are the characteristics of a typical INFJ person:
- They seek "meaning and connection in ideas, relationships and material possessions."
- They're interested in understanding people's motivations.
- They're insightful, as well as "conscientious and committed to their firm values."
- They have "a clear vision about how best to serve the common good."
- They're organized and decisive when implementing their vision.
- They're also "quietly intense," creative, sensitive and serious.
Breaking it down further, here's what the letters themselves stand for, in INFJ.
I - Introversion. Would rather focus on the "inner world" than the outer one. Introverts are reserved, content to be on their own and prefer to know a handful of people really well rather than a whole lot of people superficially.
N - This one's a little confusing, because it stands for "intuition." Intuitive people pay attention to meanings and patterns, and are more fascinated by what's possible, rather than what's past. They enjoy abstract theories and are less likely to remember details of something that happened and instead recall an overall impression. This type is the opposite of the Sensing type, who pay more attention to information from the five senses and the facts rather than to feelings.
F - Feeling. People in this category are more inclined to make decisions based on the circumstances of the people involved and individual concerns. They care less about facts and more about variables. They value harmony and compassion, and would rather be tactful and kind than tell it like it is (if the truth is harsh).
J - Judging. These people like to get things decided. They like to make lists, finish work before pleasure and have things under control.
So why is this type so rare? John Hackston, head of thought leadership at the Myers-Briggs Company, says they don't have any specific research on this. "However, my best speculation is that first, it is consistently the case throughout the world that there are more people with a Sensing than an Intuitive preference. Percentages of those with Sensing preferences are usually about 75 percent of the population," he says via email. "Second, these [INFJ types] are people with Introverted Intuition as a significant part of their makeup and it may be that this is an inherently unusual way of being."
The Myers-Briggs assessment is commonly used in both education and business circles because it helps to understand individual communication styles and what works well with each person.