1. Accept that you will never really understand your INFJ. If it were possible for anyone to 100% understand any INFJ, an INFJ would have wrote a book on it by now. But the truth is, even we INFJs can’t completely understand ourselves, so we don’t expect you to. But we can tell when you’re trying, and that means a lot.
2. Listen to what your INFJ is not saying. You know the quote that goes something like “the quietest people have the loudest minds”? That is very true of INFJs. The quieter we are, the more we probably have on our minds. We want friends and partners who understand that and will want to talk to us about it, and more importantly, listen.
3. Know that INFJs really aren’t that serious. Yes, we have a lot on our minds. Yes, we can be sensitive. Yes, we like to partake in serious discussions and debates at times. But we are happiest when we can just be playful, carefree and weird with someone who accepts that side of us.
4. If you’re not happy, your INFJ is not happy. If someone we love is upset, we take on their feelings as our own. We are extremely empathetic. Sometimes even the sadness in the eyes of the person checking us out at the grocery store is enough to dampen our mood for the rest of the day. This is a quality that makes INFJs different from a lot of other types. We value people who understand this and don’t take every mood shift personally. It’s just hard when you feel what everyone else is feeling all the time.
5. INFJs can be very stubborn. INFJs hate conflict and avoid it as much as possible, but if you hit the right nerve we will jump in and defend our opinions and values to the death. Later we will probably secretly try to understand your perspective (because we’re always trying to understand everything about everyone) and that might even cause us to agree with you a little, but we won’t tell you that. ;)
6. INFJs can forgive, but we never forget. If you hurt us and then apologize, we’ll probably forgive you and give you a second chance. But we will never forget the hurt we felt and we will be cautious around you for awhile afterwards.
7. INFJs are experts at hiding their feelings. We tend to bottle a lot up inside, so on the outside everything appears completely fine. Even the most intuitive types (except maybe other INFJs) can’t typically tell when an INFJ is upset. We both like this and hate this about ourselves.
8. INFJs feel a lot of responsibility, always. We need to make sure everyone is happy, but we also need to be there to listen to everyone’s problems. We need to make sure everything on a project goes right, but we also need to make sure everyone working on the project gets a say in what is happening. We need to make sure we get there on time, but don’t want to make anyone upset by rushing them. We are internal perfectionist and put a lot of pressure on ourselves. But we don’t come across as a typical type A personality because those type of people stress people out and we don’t want to stress anyone out. So we just keep our perfectionism to ourselves and it drives us crazy a little.
“People today don’t even know who Jesse Owens was. They don’t have no idea what happened in 1936 [at the Olympics in Berlin]. That’s what’s scary, because our history is being lost. The world should recognize how Owens transcended race. His life was so remarkable. And he came up during the time of no drugs, no steroids, none of that, yet his record [winning four gold medals in track and field in a single Olympics] stood all the way till Carl Lewis [who matched the performance at the 1984 Games]. He really put the U.S. in the forefront of the world for taking down the German empire. It’s funny, because when he got back to the United States after winning those four gold medals, there was a ticker-tape parade to the Waldorf-Astoria—and would you believe, they wouldn’t let him in the front door? He had to go in the service elevator. It’s very epic, very beautiful to play him and introduce him to a new generation.”—
The rest of the interview focuses more on Mackie’s role as Tupac Shakur in the upcoming Notorious, but his comments on Jesse Owens are spot-on. You can learn more about Owens and why he’s so important at the website run by the Jesse Owens Trust.
Not saying Quvenzhané’s name is an attempt, consciously or unconsciously, to step around and contain her blackness. Yes, sometimes black people have names that are difficult to pronounce. There aren’t many people of European descent named Shaniqua or Jamal. Names are as big a cultural marker as brown skin and kinky hair, and there’s long been backlash against both of those things (see: perms, skin bleaching creams, etc.). The insistence on not using Quvenzhané’s name is an extension of that “why aren’t you white?” backlash.
It is easier to be colorblind, to simply turn a blind eye to the differences that have torn this nation apart for centuries than it is to wade through those choppy waters. And Quvenzhané’s very existence is enough to make the societal majority uncomfortable. She is talented, successful, beautiful, happy, loved, and adored–all things that many people don’t figure that little black girls with “black” names could, or should, be. Their answer? Let’s make her more palatable. If she insists on not fitting the mold of the ghetto hoodrat associated with women with “urban” names, let’s take her own urban name away from her.
Refusing to learn how to pronounce Quvenzhané’s name says, pointedly, you are not worth the effort. The problem is not that she has an unpronounceable name, because she doesn’t. The problem is that white Hollywood, from Ryan Seacrest and his homies to the AP reporter who decided to call her “Annie” rather than her real name, doesn’t deem her as important as, say, Renee Zellwegger, or Zach Galifinakis, or Arnold Schwarzenegger, all of whom have names that are difficult to pronounce–but they manage. The message sent is this: you, young, black, female child, are not worth the time and energy it will take me to learn to spell and pronounce your name. You will be who and what I want you to be; you be be who and what makes me more comfortable. I will allow you to exist and acknowledge that existence, but only on my terms.