INFJs are constantly evaluating their relationships, keeping at least one finger on the pulse of the relationship at all times.
It is my experience that most INFJs won’t even bother to invest in a relationship if they sense someone is lacking in authenticity and/or has major ego defensive issues. (The exception to this rule is the INFJ that is attracted to the idea of making a “project” out of a relationship – taking on an egoic partner as a challenge, someone in need of enlightenment, etc. This, of course, is a risky and inadvisable move; one that I believe is unhealthy for the INFJ.)
If an INFJ is working from a healthy place, (s)he will likely be looking for these qualities in a relationship: openness and honesty, patience, genuineness, a minimum level of intellectual compatibility, good communication, friendship, perceptivity and receptiveness from his/her partner, and some level of interest in social issues.
What do INFJs need to feel satisfied in a relationship?
Communication. Communication. Communication. They really struggle with partners that either cannot or will not communicate. This isn’t necessarily limited to the expression of feelings, though this is important, but thoughts, ideas, insights, etc. Conversely, they also need to be able to feel comfortable communicating with their partners. INFJs are surprisingly verbal (more so than any of the other introverts), and they need clearance to speak candidly about their perceptions, even at the risk of offending of their partners. This is why a lack of ego defensiveness in their partners is so important.
Communication takes precedence – the idea being that with open and honest communication, almost any other challenge can be navigated – but other things that INFJs need to be satisfied in a relationship include respect (especially for their Ni insights), semi-regular expression of love/affirmation, willingness from their partner to devote time and energy to work on the relationship, a high level of trust, and some level of willingness to try new things and share new experiences.
What should INFJs avoid in relationships?
Again, ego defensiveness is number one. An ego defensive partner can also induce ego defensiveness in the INFJ. When the relationship starts to go down that road it can be extremely destructive. INFJs tend to do very poorly with passive aggressive behavior, which can quickly lead to the erosion of respect and love in the relationship. They are not like Fi types who can internally manage their feelings. Instead, INFJs actually do better when they keep their feelings out in the open where they can be appropriately managed and dealt with. If their partner can’t handle this, then it might not be the right relationship.
INFJs also need to be wary of the pitfalls that are specific to their inferior sensing function. It is important that they not be blinded by physical attractiveness, sexual compatibility, or material wealth to the potential character flaws in their partners. Placing these factors ahead of other more substantive N traits (like intellectual compatibility, mutual respect and understanding, etc.) should be avoided.
What advice can you give INFJs looking for the ideal relationship?
I would say that INFJs may actually need to be wary of searching for the “ideal relationship” as such thinking tends to fuel the perfectionism that can get INFJs into so much trouble. INFJs have lofty ideals where people are concerned. The truth is that while this is genuinely well-meaning, it can have very damaging consequences if not properly balanced with realistic expectations. INFJs put high standards on themselves and they expect the same from their partners. But people are flawed (goodness knows the INFJ isn’t perfect either), and they will fail to satisfy the INFJs ideals from time to time.
INFJs do better to select a partner with great potential and willingness to learn and grow. This means finding someone with the qualities mentioned above such as a lack of ego-defensiveness, openness and honesty, etc.