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INFJ-A vs INFJ-T: Picking Apart the Nuances

The INFJ personality type, known as the Advocate, is one of the rarest personality types. They’re known for their empathetic nature and strong sense of personal integrity.

But within this personality type, there are two distinct variations: INFJ-A (Assertive Advocate) and INFJ-T (Turbulent Advocate).

Understanding the differences between these subtypes can provide a deeper insight into the many intricacies of INFJs.

While both INFJ-A and INFJ-T personalities share the same cognitive functions, there are some distinct identity traits that add a little nuance, which is what we’re going to dive into next!

Understanding the INFJ Personality Type

But first, a caveat. Myers-Briggs and the whole personality typing field is a tool for understanding why people do what they do. But it’s not a roadmap for the whole of anyone’s personality or existence. 

Some things may be relevant to you, others not. Some conclusions drawn from these tests are controversial – people have robust debates about their accuracy and usefulness. 

Here’s what I say – if you find it useful and it helps you understand yourself and the world around you, why not? It’s a thought-provoking exercise and we’re all capable of being thoughtful, discernible people (I hope). 

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INFJ-A vs INFJ-T: Key Differences To Know

An Overview of INFJ Traits

INFJ, which stands for Introversion, Intuition, Feeling, and Judging, is a rare personality type in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). They are often referred to as Advocates or Counselors due to their naturally empathetic nature and strong desire to help others – one of their core values.

INFJs tend to focus on feelings and intuition.

This means they heavily rely on their emotions and gut feelings to make decisions and connect with others. They have a natural ability to understand and empathize with people’s emotions, which often makes them excellent listeners and confidants.

One of the distinguishing features of INFJs is their introverted nature. They tend to prefer solitude or small group interactions.

Even though they are empathetic and can understand others’ emotions quite well, it doesn’t mean they love being around people all the time. They need time to recharge and reflect on their thoughts and feelings. 

Going full monk mode and seeking out quiet environments allows them to access their inner wisdom and gain a deeper understanding of their intuition.

Their strong sense of intuition also gives INFJs the ability to pick up on patterns and possibilities that might be hidden to others. 

They are often viewed as visionary individuals who can see the bigger picture and think outside of the box, allowing them to develop innovative solutions to problems.

In addition to their intuitive nature, INFJs are also characterized by their judging preference. This means they lean towards structure and organization in their lives.

They appreciate routines and often prioritize their commitments, which contributes to a sense of stability and control over their environment. (You can imagine how opposite environments make them feel.)

INFJ-A vs INFJ-T: Understanding the Subtypes

There are two subtypes of INFJs: Assertive (INFJ-A) and Turbulent (INFJ-T). 

While they share many similarities, there are some notable differences in how they react to stress and approach problem-solving. Assertive Advocates (INFJ-A) tend to be more confident and laid-back, while Turbulent Advocates (INFJ-T) may experience more stress and be less self-assured.

Now a quick note on Myers-Briggs subtypes. 

The Myers-Briggs subtypes (A and T) were introduced by the website 16 Personalities as a fifth personality dimension within the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) framework. But it’s not formally affiliated with Myers-Briggs, a distinction some people care a lot about apparently. 

This addition of subtypes delineates each of the 16 personality types into Assertive (A) or Turbulent (T) types. The T-A dichotomy is believed to be based on the Big Five taxonomy’s neuroticism domain, as the other four Myers-Briggs preferences correlate with the Big Five domains.

Which is all to say it is not part of the original Myers-Briggs framework and also not widely adopted or accepted by those who study personality types. 

It’s kind of complicated, and luckily there are smart people out there who can speak to it more authoritatively than me. 

If you’d like to hear a truly unique, deep dive perspective from a personality expert on the 16 Personalities subtypes (at 1.5 speed because he talks slowly), definitely check out this video. 

Okay, now back to the INFJ subtypes. 

Understanding INFJ-A (Assertive)

The Assertive INFJ (INFJ-A) is one of the two subtypes within the INFJ personality group. INFJ-As are distinguished by their confidence and inner calm when faced with setbacks or adversity. They focus on their strengths while working on personal growth and development.

Assertive INFJs tend to be more outspoken and are sometimes referred to as extroverted introverts.

They require time alone to recharge like other introverts, but also enjoy expressing their thoughts, ideas, and opinions with others (when the spirit moves them). This usually allows them to communicate effectively with others and navigate social situations more comfortably than their turbulent counterparts.

I would not be surprised if a lot of INFJ 5w4s are also Assertives.

A cartoon graphic of a person hugging himself. His shirt says self-love
The Assertive INFJ-A

INFJ-A Working Style:

When comparing the working style of INFJ-A individuals to their Turbulent (INFJ-T) counterparts, Assertive INFJs tend to display less anxiety and a healthier work-life balance that there INFJ-Ts.

Even though they strive for excellence, they manage to keep stress levels relatively low. This allows for improved productivity and a more harmonious work environment. (We should all be so lucky!)

INFJ-As in Relationships

In terms of relationships, INFJ-As maintain a strong sense of self, prioritizing their emotional well-being. They tend to assert their boundaries and communicate openly when they feel hurt or offended. This ability to address conflict head-on, as highlighted in this article, differentiates them from the more conflict-averse Turbulent INFJs, who often struggle with confrontation.

Below is a brief list of some key traits associated with Assertive INFJs:

  • Confident: INFJ-As display self-assurance and belief in their abilities.
  • Resilient: They can adapt well to setbacks or disappointments.
  • Open-minded: Assertive INFJs are receptive to new ideas and enjoy respectful debates.
  • Effective communicators: Their ability to be both introverted and extroverted when needed helps them navigate social and work situations with ease.

Understanding the Assertive INFJ allows for a better grasp of this personality subtype and further appreciation for their unique blend of traits that make them both adaptable and insightful individuals.

Understanding INFJ-T (Turbulent)

The Turbulent Advocate, or INFJ-T, is characterized by their fluctuating emotions and deep sensitivity (I’m an INTJ-T, so I get it). 

They have a tendency to experience stress more frequently compared to their Assertive counterparts (INFJ-A).

A woman sits on a couch with a calm look on her face holding a pillow close
INFJ-T Key Traits

INFJ-T Social Situations

In social situations, INFJ-Ts tend to be more reserved, and they may experience anxiety. They often worry about the perception others have of them, 16Personalities explains, leading to an increased concern about social approval.

However, their emotional sensitivity enables them to form deep connections with others, which is a valuable trait in friendships and relationships.

INFJ-Ts at Work

At work, INFJ-T individuals can be highly driven by perfectionism (often to a fault). They are committed to achieving the best results, often putting in extended hours and investing significant effort to meet their high standards.

Turbulent Advocates are motivated even when faced with stress and anxiety, making them valuable assets in any workplace.

They may burn out, but they’re going to give it their all.

INFJ-Ts process emotions intensely, sometimes overthinking situations which tends to make their sensitivity even more heightened. This can make them even more empathetic, but also more prone to stress and overstimulation

INFJ-Ts in Relationships

In relationships, Turbulent Advocates are major cheerleaders for their partners. They have a strong desire to support and uplift them.

Their emotional depth often translates into strong bonds, where they truly go out of their way to understand and empathize with their partner’s needs and feelings.

On the other hand, INFJ-Ts may struggle with self-doubt or insecurities within relationships, sometimes needing reassurance to maintain stability. This can come across as needy, especially to more extroverted partners like ENTJs.

Here’s a quick comparison of INFJ-A and INFJ-T in different scenarios:

ScenarioINFJ-A (Assertive)INFJ-T (Turbulent)
SocialConfidentReserved, Anxious
WorkGoal-OrientedPerfectionist
StressResilientSusceptible
INFJ-A vs INFJ-T Comparison Chart

Now remember – at the end of the day personality types are just one framework we can use to understand ourselves and each other. It’s fine (and normal) if you don’t tick all the boxes of traits and tendencies listed here. But maybe it gives you some insight into INFJ-As and INFJ-Ts.

If so, we’ve done our jobs!

Are you an INFJ-A or INFJ-T? Tell us in the comments below! What’d we get right? What did we miss? Would love to hear your thoughts!

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INFJ-A vs INFJ-T – Pin Me!

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