Are INFJ's really that rare? | INFJ Forum

Are INFJ's really that rare?

Discussion in 'Psychology and MBTI' started by AUM, Jun 16, 2009.

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  1. AUM

    AUM The Romantic Scientist

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    I was thinking about this issue while reading Vicky Jo's article describing INFJ's and INFP's and there it came an issue that surged inside of me...Are we really that rare? Who determined that and how accurate is that proximation? This is what she{Vicky Jo} said in respect to this issue:


    "If one more person repeats that old saw about INFJs being the "rarest" of all the types, I'm going to throw myself on the floor and enjoy a good old-fashioned temper tantrum.
    Agh!
    What is this famous old wives' tale based on?
    Is it based on David Keirsey's estimation of the type distribution?
    Okay, fine. So how scientific are those figures? Where is the research it's based on? (Because there isn't any. We know that for a fact. David made the percentages up.)
    Okay, so maybe INFJ rarity is based on the statistics which are printed in the MBTI manual. That's reasonable. So where did they come from?
    First, are we talking about the numbers Isabel Briggs-Myers estimated in 1957 based on the population of the school district where she conducted her studies?
    Alright, so perhaps INFJ was the rarest type in that school. That doesn't mean by extension it's universally true everywhere.
    So... perhaps rarity was determined after summarizing the figures according to that type survey they took. You know, the one in 1998 where telephone solicitors called various households throughout the country. They contacted 16,000 people and used the results of 3,009. (People were not given the opportunity to confirm their own best-fit preferences.)
    Perhaps INFJs were the rarest of all the types for participating in such a survey? (I know I never participate in phone surveys.) So that's all that number reflects.
    So if that study doesn't hold water... maybe we can rely on the statistics stored in CPP's computer that records all the MBTI scores. Hey, that's pretty solid evidence...
    ...until you concede that the instrument is only about 70% accurate, and the results which are stored have never been updated per anyone's validated type. (Thus, my INFJ girlfriend who tested on the MBTI as INTJ will forever be listed in CPP's databanks as having INTJ preferences, despite the inaccuracy.)
    So it's possible the MBTI has the most trouble identifying INFJs accurately. But that doesn't tell us how many INFJs there actually are.
    Then... aren't there any valid studies out there?
    Well, there are at least two sources (I have two right in front of me) that reflect different types as the smallest percentages of the population.
    One comes from Portraits of Type: An MBTI Research Compendium, [​IMG]by Avril Thorne and Harrison Gough. It claims I_FPs have the smallest representation.
    The other was printed in the Journal of Psychological Type, Vol. 37, 1996. The authors are Allen Hammer and Wayne Mitchell and their figures are based on a study that was concluded in 1992. In that study, ENFJs have the smallest representation.
    So it seems not every study results in INFJ being the rarest type.
    Of course you never hear about those studies -- you only hear that "INFJ is the rarest of all the types" (spoken in a prideful or dreamy tone).
    And this story has been perpetuated to death!
    The bottom line is, we don't have accurate statistics about type breakdowns for the earth's population (or even the U.S. population). Any statistics you might trot out have serious drawbacks associated with them, and are at best estimates -- sometimes guesses -- of what people think.
    If "natural selection" were a valid theory, there should be 6.25% of each of the 16 types in the world -- an even distribution -- so that no one type is rarer than any other. But nobody knows for certain, since nobody has done an accurate personality type assessment of the entire population of the world, nor of a representative sample from all walks of life.
    Why am I in a frothing tizzy over this? It's because this is frequently the ONLY thing people remember about the INFJ personality type! So it attracts people who are desperate to be RARE -- to be special -- to be unique-est of all. Then people crow about this "rare" label and don't want to give it up, whether or not the INFJ preferences really fit them. (Apparently it's a higher priority to be unique than it is to discover one's best-fit type pattern. Feeling special takes precedence over accurately matching the model.)
    Agh! Agh! Agh!
    Nobody knows how rare any type is, including the INFJ type.
    If you rely on this particular statistic to ratchet yourself into believing you are unique and "special," I regret to say it's worthless. And frankly -- you don't need it anyway. You're unique and special regardless. All you require is giving yourself permission to believe it. And that, my friend, has nothing to do with statistics."

    So what do you guys think on this? Does she have a valid argument or do you think there enough evidence in portraying INFJ's as the rarest type.​

    References: infjorinfp.com
    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Wyote

    Wyote Dad of the Ded
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    I think it's a valid point. The distribution of types is difficult to discern. I've always thought that the distribution of the sixteen types is probably fairly even on a global scale. Also I imagine it fluctuates. I'm still quite certain INFJs are very rare, but there should not be any importance placed on that notion. Learning about yourself, the way you operate, that is what MBTI is all about.
     
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  3. Ortorin

    Ortorin Community Member

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  4. arbygil

    arbygil Passing through

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    I think the whole "rare" thing is overrated. I know I'm rare in my work environment, but that's more because of who I am rather than my MBTI. I think there are three or four INFJs in my small office environment, but that makes sense since I'm a teaching/helps college-level environment. So there are proportionally more INFJs.

    Where I went to school, there might've been a handful...I definitely felt rare in high school, but who doesn't? Every kid feels alienated in high school. Even the popular kids feel alienated in high school!

    Vicky Jo's point is valid. Actually, what frustrates me more are wanna-be INFJs because the typing sounds so "exotic." It makes me wonder at the possibility of INFPs being more rare. Would there suddenly be an influx of people becoming INFP?

    Rarity doesn't make anyone special, it's just who they are. If we're really going off the rarest type according to current data on hand, INTJ females are the rarest type I've heard, followed by INFJ males. Maybe they go to those MBTI conferences and have people test their type. Who knows?
     
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    AUM

    AUM The Romantic Scientist

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    I didn't know people based their type on this characteristic. I sounds messed up.And like she said "biases are destructive".
     
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  6. Cecilff2

    Cecilff2 Emancipator of Poultry

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    Something seemed odd about that quote and then I noticed that the amount of INFJ's was less than the area and yet there was a high ratio of INFJs to land.

    Should be something like 1 INFJ per 2.1937 km or .847 miles. If those numbers are correct.

    Anyways, I don't think we're quite as rare on the internet, we're relatively safe here. I have yet to find an INFJ anywhere I've lived though. Not enough people in this state I think.
     
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  7. Ortorin

    Ortorin Community Member

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    Yah, now that I think on it, your probably right... I guess I might have missed a zero or two when doing my math, lol.
     
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  8. Faye

    Faye ^_^
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    I like being rarest! (Edit: Sometimes)

    Eh, I guess it doesn't matter.
     
  9. arbygil

    arbygil Passing through

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    Some do, and it *is* messed up. A lot of people want to say, "this is the reason why I can't get along with anyone! I'm an INFJ!" or, "this is the reason why I'm having problems in school/why no one understands me/etc"!

    No, those are personal problems. Doesn't mean you're an INFJ just because you believe you're special. You're special because of who you are, not because of your MBTI. Being human makes you special. You beat out a million tiny sperm to be born. THAT makes you special. You can read and write and have a computer. THAT DEFINITELY makes you special from the majority of the world. MBTI is just...normal. I think some people make it more important than it needs to be.

    Or maybe I'm just an old cynic today. ;)
     
  10. IndigoSensor

    IndigoSensor Product Obtained
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    While I do agree there is no way to tell that INFJ's are indeed the rarest. It is very likely that we aren't the rarest type. However, I still hold the conviction that INFJ's are not very common.

    I am not going to lie, I would be dissapointed if I were to learn that INFJ's are common. The reason being is I am proud that I am different then most (not just because I am an INFJ, but because I have a unique personality, and I am highly individualistic.), it is sort of conforting to know I am not just another cookie cutter type personality.

    The only thing I could really conclude is that S's are more common then N's.
     
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  11. arbygil

    arbygil Passing through

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    Meh. It's okay to be unique, and it's nice...but I'm already unique. It is nice to be normal, sometimes...

    I think I'm going through a crisis again. I'm too weird for the office!:hippie:
     
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  12. OP
    AUM

    AUM The Romantic Scientist

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    Peace N' Love baby...we should be hippies LOL
     
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  13. Julia

    Julia Community Member

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    This is true. Add to that the sites that describe us as exhibiting psychic phenomenon. The descriptions have advertising appeal. I don't know what this means, but I don't feel much in common between myself and Vicky Jo, being way more introverted, analytical, and having an intense detachment/empathy dichotomy that is visible in my interaction. I guess you can only really see the Fe in the presentation. That clip about INFJ vs. INFP confused me further. Externally I had more in common with the INFP interviewee, but can't seem to escape the whole Ni-dominant thing. I guess this is a soft-boundary system where the defining connections are loose.
     
  14. Blind Bandit

    Blind Bandit Blind Man Being Lead to Nowhere
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    I hate being so rare being an INFJ male is well not good. At least not in America.


    But I'm comfortable in saying that I and N are more rare than E and S respectively.
     
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  15. youngster

    youngster Community Member

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    i agree
    iv read comments on other websites of people saying that they have never met/sspoken to an INFJ before but really they must of pased by loads of times, they just didn't recognise them
     
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  16. Ortorin

    Ortorin Community Member

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    I know a way to fix that, everyone should wear a badge with their MBTI type on it! If everyone learns the diffrent types, and knows each others types, not only will people be able to meet others like them easier, but it would help cut down on hurt feelings! Win win!
     
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  17. MonkeyGrassGirl

    MonkeyGrassGirl Regular Poster

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    I've known a ton of INFJs on the internet (not in the majority, still, but a large representation), but I've always considered that a product of the fact that we're introverted but like relationships, and our propensity to express ourselves through writing more than verbal conversation.
     
  18. Koba

    Koba Community Member

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    NT LICENSE HEREBY REVOKED

    GOOD DAY SIR

    Edit:
    Oh come on. Watch sailor moon, befriend a few women, and move on.
     
    #18 Koba, Jun 16, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2009
  19. Ortorin

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    I just got so excited when I was getting all the info down I forgot to check my math! I swear I don't make mastakes like that normaly! :)
     
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  20. Koba

    Koba Community Member

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    Hm....
     
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