I'd like to begin by explaining what emotional intelligence is because not everyone understands it in all its complexity and stages. It is only by understanding what it is that light can be shone on the levels of emotional intelligence that INFJs have.

Much of what is written about emotional intelligence is confusing. Contradictory models have grown up and taken people away from its original definition, which was developed by Professor Peter Salovey from Yale University and Professor Jack Mayer from New Hampshire University, both in the USA.

The first point to make clear is that emotional intelligence is only about emotions and emotionally driven behaviour.

Is there one level of emotional intelligence that can be applied to INFJs?

There are many facets to emotional intelligence. Basically, it considers how smart or intelligent we are with our own emotions and others' emotions, how well we understand and perceive emotions, and how effectively we use emotions to facilitate our thinking and problem solving.

There are many skill sets within the emotional intelligence model of Mayer and Salovey. Their original model contained 16 different stages of skill which occur from childhood to adulthood.

It is important to understand that emotional intelligence Is not a single figure or measure. It is not an all or nothing skill. Instead, INFJs have the potential to exhibit a broad range of emotional intelligence skills and they will be better at some of these skills than others.


The INFJ is one of 16 personality types arising from the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). It is a personality profile which is based on preferences and not on measures of skill. This means that just because an INFJ has a preference he or she will not automatically be skilled in its use.

In addition, there are many individual variations across separate INFJs. Not all INFJs are the same.

Just as there is a distribution of scores for cognitive intelligence (IQ) and most people have an average intelligence, the same applies to emotional intelligence. Most of us will be average in some way, as that is what average means.

Of all the emotional intelligence skills which do INFJs find the easiest to develop?

Theoretically, the emotional intelligence research indicates that emotional intelligence is independent of personality. I would like to suggest this may not be completely accurate.

If we look at the cognitive functions of the INFJ, for instance, it is clear that our Auxiliary function (which is an important aspect of our INFJ personality) is to do with emotions, i.e. extraverted Feeling (Fe).

This suggests to me that we may find it relatively easy to develop a whole set of emotional intelligence skills around other people's emotions. We may be skilled at reading how other people are feeling, and even in being able to detect the emotions, vibes or atmosphere in the environment.


Empathy is a term often applied to INFJs. We are generally considered to have the potential for high levels of empathy. Does this makes us highly emotionally intelligent?

Not necessarily so, or at least only in one aspect, the detection of others' emotions. What we do with the emotions we have picked-up will also be an indicator of our levels of emotional intelligence.

Have you heard of INFJs who become stuck in the emotions they have absorbed? Or of empathic INFJs who become overwhelmed by the feelings they have detected? I most certainly have. Getting lost and submerged in someone else's emotions may not be emotionally intelligent and can cause burnout.

What would an emotionally intelligent INFJ be able to do differently?

INFJs with high levels of emotional self-management skills, one significant aspect of emotional intelligence, would be able to process the emotions, shrug them off and move through them quickly.

This is a high level of skill not all INFJs have, and it can be developed but not by all.

There is another aspect in INFJs which may also not be well developed, and this relates to our own emotions.


If we return to the cognitive functions of the INFJ you might notice that introverted Feeling (Fi) is not amongst them. Instead, introverted Feeling (Fi) is the domain of the INFPs not the INFJs.

The significance of this is that INFJs may find it harder to know quickly how they are feeling in contrast to how others are feeling. They may be so involved in others' emotions that they miss their own.

I know this is true for me. Although I am far more skilled at this than I used to be, I may not realise until after an event how I was feeling but I knew what was going on in everyone else.

Emotional self-awareness may be lacking in INFJs.

Emotional self-awareness is a significant foundation skill for certain aspects of emotional intelligence. If INFJs don't recognise accurately how they are feeling how can they manage their emotions adroitly?

In some instances, without additional development work, they can't.

Planet INFJ: The Book

How can INFJs develop even higher levels of emotional intelligence?

INFJs may have high levels of skill in some aspects of emotional intelligence but not in others. It doesn't mean these skills can't be improved, they can in many cases. Given the right amount of time spent in learning and developing proven and reliable emotional intelligence techniques and strategies more skills for INFJs are possible. The rewards can be enormous, as I have discovered.

  1. "Planet INFJ" aims to inspire INFJs, the world over, to develop even higher levels of emotional intelligence. Emotions are discussed throughout the book along with techniques for managing them. In Chapter 8, we discuss the problems of empathy and when "Their emotions become our emotions" and "The way out of emotional absorption". In chapter 7, April, one of our INFJ Insight writers, explains "Why I don't hang on to the emotions I absorb". In chapter 14, I give a detailed account of the emotional intelligence techniques I use and share a detailed account of a trip I had to a psychologist where I discovered how to free myself from difficult emotions. INFJs can become truly skilled. Join us on "Planet INFJ" to discover how.
  2. "Planet INFJ" helps us all understand why there are differences between individual INFJs and what causes them. It covers the topic in the whole of chapter 3, which is entitled: "The personal differences of INFJs - why aren't we all the same?" Differences in emotional intelligence is only one of the many characteristics that differentiate individual INFJs. See how you stack up and what your points of difference are. It could guide you to even greater self-understanding. Happiness!
  3. Developing our emotional intelligence can bring extra flare to our already existing skills; come and light up the sky on Planet INFJ now.


Are you troubled because you want to be an authentic INFJ but find yourself being rebuffed, ridiculed or dismissed? Are you retreating into the safety of your own private world? If so, you risk becoming isolated or lonely and your wonderful INFJ strengths and gifts being wasted. Don't let this happen to you. "Planet INFJ" will help you find the perfect balance between being understood and accepted AND being an authentic INFJ.

Authenticity is the core value of INFJs; come join us on Planet INFJ, where authenticity reigns.