The INFJ personality (introverted, intuitive, feeling, judging) is known for being gentle and empathetic.
So it may be surprising to find out that they are actually more likely to “ghost” compared to other types.
In this article we’ll have a look at what ghosting is, why and how INFJs may ghost, and whether this means that they are selfish or not. Keep reading for the full explanation, or skip to the seven reasons if you don’t have time.
What is ghosting, exactly?
Although the term has different definitions and possible interpretations, it usually refers to the act of ending all contact with another person, or group of people — without any warning, explanation, or goodbye.
The word “ghosting” first appeared about 20 years ago, when it was used to describe the sudden end of a relationship without any previous communication.
Then, the word became increasingly more popular, which is why today it also refers to friendship or any other type of non-romantic relationship between two or more people.
So for example, if an INFJ has been dating someone for a while, but then decides to end the relationship suddenly and without any obvious warning, we can call that ghosting
If an INFJ decides to end all contact with a friend or family member, we can consider that ghosting too.
As a side note: interestingly enough, the term can also refer to business and employment.
A quick Google search will show forum posts where people complain about being ghosted by recruiters or even potential employers (for instance, after a seemingly successful job interview).
Occasionally, ghosting may only be temporary: a person may ghost you for a few months, or even several years, then come back and start talking to you again, and possibly explain the reasons why they ghosted.
But in general, it’s for good, which is why you need to be very careful and think twice before you actually decide to ghost someone.
Is ghosting bad?
Although in some cases ghosting may be the only option available, and may even be recommended, it’s usually best to at the very minimum inform the other person before you disappear.
You don’t need to spend days arguing with them, but you do want to let them know about your decision.
Ghosting can have serious negative effects both for the person who is being ghosted and the person who disappears.
This is especially true when it comes to romantic relationships (although it could be equally painful if it happens with a family member or a close friend).
The person who ends all contact and communication may initially feel liberated, but then have deep feelings of regret, and it may not be possible to simply contact the other person again and interact with them as if nothing ever happened.
On the other hand, the person who is being ghosted may experience sadness, disappointment, or even mental health issues such as severe anxiety or depression.
They may spend weeks trying to reach the other person and, even worse, being consumed by their own thoughts and dwell over what happened.
Again: in general, ghosting should be avoided at all costs. There are, however, cases in which ghosting may be the only option available and that’s usually when dealing with abusive narcissists, insidious energy vampires, or anyone who no longer belongs to your life for obvious reasons.
How INFJs ghost
As we’ve seen, when you “ghost” you burn bridges with someone without letting them know; there’s no official communication, or warning signs; the person who is being ghosted cannot predict in any way that the other person is going to cut them out of their life.
INFJs are known for being gentle and caring, so at first it may be surprising to find out that INFJs are actually more likely to ghost compared to other personality types.
However, there’s one key thing to keep in mind to understand why INFJs tend to ghost, and that’s the fact that they are extremely tactful.
At first, this may seem counterintuitive, as the act of ghosting can definitely be brutal and abrupt.
However, if the INFJ knows or mistakenly believes that ghosting someone is more tactful than actually being brutally honest, that’s what they will do.
Also, when INFJs ghost, there are quite a few warning signs — it’s almost always a long process rather than a sudden decision or behavior.
Again, this has to do with the fact that INFJs are tactful: although they do try and let the other person understand that, soon, they will no longer be part of their life, they are often so gentle that the other person may not be able to understand their intention.
The truth is that, in many cases, if the person who’s being ghosted actually took the time to notice the INFJ behavior prior to their decision, they would see quite a few signs.
These could be mood swings, the way they talk, their energy levels, or even their phone calls and text messages (shorter and colder, and increasingly less frequent).
Let’s now have a look at the seven main reasons INFJs tend to ghost (if you can think of a reason or situation that’s not mentioned in this list, please let me know by leaving a comment). If you’re an INFJ yourself, some of these will definitely resonate with you.
Reasons an INFJ may ghost
1. INFJs hate confrontation
The way we respond to, or deal with, certain people or situations often depends on our personality alone.
Some people are naturally very good at communicating their feelings whenever they notice lack of respect, or any behavior they don’t like or understand. INFJs, unfortunately, aren’t usually very good at that.
Moreover, INFJs are calm and peaceful; they hate arguments and confrontation more than anything else, and will do anything they can to avoid situations in which they’re supposed to argue for hours — it’d be too draining for them, regardless of who they’d be arguing with.
When the INFJ believes that the alternative to ghosting is an endless series of arguments (because, for instance, the other person or group of people won’t be able to understand their views or feelings), then ghosting does become the only option available to them.
2. Physical and mental exhaustion
As the acronym says, INFJs are predominantly introverted: they tend to direct their energy toward their inner world most of the time and in most situations.
Therefore, interacting with the same person or group of people for too long and in a very short amount of time can definitely be draining for them, even if they enjoy the time spent with them.
What may happen, then, is that the INFJ will temporarily ghost someone simply because they need time to recharge — in complete solitude, or with other people.
Again, this is temporary, and it doesn’t mean that the INFJ no longer likes you: they may just need to relax and regenerate and, because of their introversion, they couldn’t do that if they had to spend time with you.
3. Taking a step back
This usually applies to relationships: when the INFJ believes that they need time to think and reflect on their current relationship, they may decide to take a break, so they can make decisions in a calm and reasonable way, without being too involved emotionally.
There may come a time in which the INFJ isn’t sure whether they’re in the right relationship, or whether they should keep dating their partner or look for a new one.
Taking a step back allows them to get some perspective, get in touch with their own feelings, and think about their relationship in a more objective way.
INFJs are very sensitive, and can get hurt quite easily. However, as explained earlier, they absolutely hate any form of confrontation and will avoid arguments at all costs.
So when someone they know acts in a way that’s disrespectful, or says something nasty to them (at least from the INFJ’s perspective — the other person may not even realize they are hurting them), they will usually hide their feelings and pretend nothing happened.
But regardless of their immediate reaction, or lack thereof, the INFJ will still take action in order to protect their mental and emotional energy from the person who hurt them.
And in some cases, they will determine that ghosting is the best solution. This could be temporary or permanent depending on how much they have been hurt, regardless of the other person’s intention.
5. Hermit mode
There may come a time in the INFJ’s life in which they spontaneously decide to spend a few weeks or months in complete solitude.
This is commonly referred to as hermit mode, and while it can happen to all personality types, intuitive introverts — particularly INFJs and INFPs — are more likely to be inclined toward it.
INFJs can be very determined: when they decide to devote all their time and energy to a particular goal or experience (a new project, their career, a spiritual goal, a sabbatical, or anything else), they won’t be afraid to go all in and remove anything that may distract them.
And because of their introverted nature, other people could indeed be a huge distraction for them.
During hermit mode, INFJs will avoid social interactions as much as they can — not because they dislike the people they usually interact with, but because their energy must be invested into something greater.
That being said, hermit mode could make the INFJ realize that he or she no longer wants to spend their time with some of the people they have ghosted; in which case ghosting may be for good.
6. Zero tolerance for toxic people
Narcissists, compulsive talkers, energy vampires, or extremely selfish individuals in general — INFJs have zero tolerance for them, and will cut them out of their life as soon as they spot a few red flags.
Because INFJs are sensitive as well as empathic, they will easily burn out if they spend time with people who tend to drain their energy.
So after a couple warning signs (typically, their own feelings) the INFJ will decide that the person they’ve interacted with no longer belongs to their life.
And to avoid unnecessary arguments or explanations, which could drain their energy even further, they’ll simply ghost them — end all contact and cut them out of their life.
7. Stress or depression
The seventh reason an INFJ may decide to ghost is if they’re going through a tough time. This could be a period of their life in which they are dealing with mental health issues, or even just stress.
Their introverted nature may lead them to think that they need to suspend all or almost all social interactions until their current phase comes to an end, and as a result, they will ghost the people they know.
This could definitely be part of their dark side as interacting with others and expressing their feelings could actually help them deal with whatever problem they are facing.
But as they belong to the judging (J) type, they can be quite stubborn at times, and when going through a tough time they may decide to avoid people no matter what.
This is one of those cases in which the INFJ’s behavior has nothing to do with the other person — they don’t ghost because they have been hurt or disappointed, but simply because of a phase they think they need to go through on their own.
Are INFJs selfish?
The INFJ type can seem selfish at times simply because they need to protect their mental energy. INFJs are sensitive and empathetic and may appear selfish when dealing with people who may be too draining or demanding.
Also, in stressful times, some of their worst traits may emerge, and they may become too self-centered.
Their personality type is gentle and caring; they are tactful and will never hurt other people’s feelings unless it’s an absolute necessity.
However, as we’ve seen in this article, they are definitely capable of becoming emotionally detached when they decide someone no longer belongs to their life, hence the ghosting process.
The truth is that regardless of their caring nature, INFJs tend to be very clear about their priorities in life. This has to do with their intuition as well as their (sometimes unhealthy) idealism.
When these two traits are taken to an extreme, the INFJ may become too rigid and uncompromising, and cut out anything that affects their feelings in a negative way.
Compared to other types, their personality is more likely to develop all-or-nothing thinking. When applied to people, this could translate to ghosting, which may hurt both the INFJ and the person or people who are being ghosted.
The healthy INFJ will rarely ghost, and will rarely be selfish (unless, of course, they are dealing with toxic people, in which case ghosting may be inevitable).
But ultimately all personality types have a dark side, and during a difficult time of their life some of their negative traits may become predominant. These negative traits, however, do not define who they are — they are simply a side of their personality they need to learn to control.
Thanks for reading! Are you an INFJ yourself? Have you ever ghosted someone? Leave a comment and let me know 👇
I am reading this because of just “Ghosting” a friend i recently met. I really like her plus in a bit lonely but I cannot do repeated energetic drains. I know she is a good person but has alot of unresolved pain that I just am too sensitive to deal with I wanted to help her but it got to overwhelming. I haven’t known her long enough (3 months) so I just don’t think I want to invest anymore. The issue is were neighbors 🙄 so I will still run into her sometimes. I really tried to be her friend but it’s just not a healthy fit for me and since she isn’t aware of empaths/HSP or has no self awareness of her issues I just can’t confront her I see no point. It’s very sad because I really wanted friendship but know my limits.