The INFP personality is referred to by different names. Because this type likes to spend time alone in thought, visualizing a better existence, the INFP is sometimes labeled as “The Dreamer” or “The Idealist.”
The INFP’s compassion and ability to identify with the human experience and the emotions of others often leads to this type being referred to as “The Empath” or “The Healer.”
However, the most common term used to describe an INFP individual is “The Mediator.” This is because the INFP despises conflict and avoids it at nearly any cost. Using an innate ability to understand the feelings and viewpoints of those around them, the INFP type truly desires to help others.
- I – Introverted: Introspective, reserved, quiet, solitary
- N – Intuitive: Inspirational, imaginative, self aware, idealistic
- F – Feeling: Diplomatic, empathetic, warm, considerate
- P – Perceiving: Spontaneous, flexible, relaxed, adaptable
Often feeling misunderstood, as they makes up only about 4 percent of the population, INFP personalities are likely to focus inward, determining the best way to make the world a better place.
Preferring to spend time alone, INFPs will typically connect with just a couple of very close friends or family members. Spending too much time in large groups is draining for those with this personality type, causing them to retreat to regain energy.
INFPs look to the future. They tend to see the big picture and find meaning through symbols and patterns rather than looking at the details.
Guided by internal values, those with this personality type are not driven by what is logical or or even practical. Though often laid back, INFPs can become energetic and give everything they have to complete a project that aligns with their beliefs.
Independent and imaginative, INFP types can come up with creative solutions and may find themselves expressing their thoughts and feelings through artistic or altruistic pursuits.
Possibilities fascinate those with this personality type. By mulling around ideas in their minds, they can often predict what could happen in a given situation.
The INFP can spend so much time imaging what could be that a person of this type often loses sight of the surrounding environment. Not typically concerned with the little details, you may find the living or working environment of the INFP to be disorganized or cluttered.
Not only do INFPs enjoy spending time developing in their own personal growth, they extend that same compassion to others, helping them to reach their goals.
Preferring flexibility and spontaneity, they find it hard to stick with strict schedules or constricting rules.
Criticism can be difficult for INFPs to handle as they are often the first to see their weaknesses and beat themselves up over them. Highly sensitive, they are easily hurt, especially if they feel their values or beliefs are being threatened.
Because those with this personality type prefer depth over breadth, they enjoy meaningful, stimulating conversations that let their imaginations fly. Small talk or irrelevant communications are not only boring to these individuals but may also be irritating as well.
Due to their genuine concern for others, INFPs are good listeners. However, this can often be a problem as close friends may take advantage of this fact and tend to dump all of their problems on them, often leaving INFPs feeling personally obligated to take on such responsibilities.
Highly loyal and devoted, INFPs often take on more than they can handle, but they’ll do what they say even if it comes at a personal cost. Though difficult, setting boundaries and engaging in alone time can be an important factor in keeping the all-too-common melancholy at bay.
Being ruled by their hearts rather than their heads, those with this personality type find importance in making decisions based on how the outcome will affect the feelings of others.
INFPs use their excellent communication skills to connect on a deep level with others. It tends to be easy for those with this type to learn new languages.
Striving to be individual and unique, those with this type don’t like to conform and will often fight to maintain their individuality.
There are many words that are commonly used to describe INFPs:
The INFP looks at the world with optimism. The idealism of the INFP is often admired by those that are close to this type. While this person’s optimism is often contagious, the INFP can be accused of wearing rose-colored glasses.
This type appreciates fairness and harmony. With a deep distaste for everything that is unjust in the world, the individual of this nature doesn’t like the thought of anyone dominating another. Instead, the INFP wants everyone to have the chance to participate and be heard.
The INFP is truly dedicated to a cause. When something sparks the innate values of someone of this type, the INFP will not only dream up a creative solution but will work to put those ideas into action for the betterment of humanity.
This personality type is open minded. Preferring to avoid judgment, the INFP is likely to validate the values and perceptions of others as much as this person’s own.
The INFP takes things too personally. Because the individual’s decisions and ideas are fully intertwined with feelings on any given topic, the least little bit of criticism can feel like a blow to this type’s internal sense of being.
Someone with this personality type often cannot see the forest for the trees. Always looking for patterns and meaning to develop the big picture, the INFP can find it difficult to put ideas into practical use.
The INFP can get caught up in a vision. Since this personality type enjoys spending time daydreaming up creative solutions or future possibilities, it can be difficult for the INFP to separate fantasy from reality.
An individual with this type may struggle with logic. When decisions are made without taking into consideration the impact on the feelings of others, the INFP struggles to accept these impersonal judgments. It can take some time for this type to process the information enough to regain equilibrium.
Relationships with INFPs
As they are with all aspects of their lives, INFPs are very idealistic when it comes to finding a companion. They can spend hours at a time envisioning the perfect relationship, creating the ideal dream partners. Because the standards are set so high, it can be difficult for prospective mates to even hope to live up to such standards.
They prefer to take their time getting to know others, ensuring that their persons of interest match up with their ideal. This isn’t all bad as it gives time for others to get to know these types as they can be quite private and slow to reveal themselves to those around them.
Once in a relationship, INFPs love wholeheartedly. They’ll slather on the affection and provide positive affirmations to uplift their partners. However, it’s important to note that they require the same in return.
As those with this personality type avoid conflict, arguments are less likely to occur. When they do, however, INFPs need to step away from the situation in order to process their feelings internally. This better allows them to come back and take a more objective approach to finding common ground.
When it comes to friendships, those with this personality type prefer to spend their time with those that share similar values. They often admire those that have traits that are opposite their own as long as those traits don’t threaten their values.
Because introverts need time alone, they prefer to engage with those who don’t try to smother or control them.
Always encouraging, INFP parents strive to instill morals and values in their children. Warm and supportive, they prefer to lead by example rather than placing rules and restrictions. Since these parents are likely to give their children freedom to explore and seek their own paths, it can be difficult for those with this type to provide rules and structure.
Work Habits of INFPs
Though INFPs prefer to work alone, their compassionate nature makes it easy for them to work with others. However, because these types don’t like being told what to do, it’s important for them to find a job that provides them with loose boundaries and the ability to make their own decisions.
Work must be meaningful for INFPs, or they won’t see a reason to do the job at all. They love to embrace their creative sides for the good of those around them, often playing devil’s advocate to show others an alternate viewpoint.
The best careers for INFPs are those that allow them to showcase their artistic side or that let them help others in a meaningful way. While there are too many options to list, here are some of the most common occupations chosen by INFPs.
- Occupational therapist
INFP Cognitive Functions
The way that we interact with the world can be boiled down to four cognitive functions or processes. This tier shows which functions are more readily available in the INFP’s arsenal.
- Dominant Function: Introverted Feeling
- Auxiliary Function: Extraverted Intuition
- Tertiary Function: Introverted Sensing
- Inferior Function: Extraverted Thinking
As the dominant function, introverted feeling is what allows INFPs to discover who they are. This can be viewed as a moral compass, allowing those with this type to develop their values and beliefs.
INFPs need to process their feelings internally before they can take their ideas or solutions to the outside world. Because this is the easiest function for INFPs to access, they often do so without trying.
Since this is the auxiliary function, INFPs can readily access this trait. Extraverted intuition seeks new possibilities. INFPs often dwell on many what-if scenarios as a way to seek out novelty and to avoid boredom.
Whereas intuition is extraverted, it means that INFPs views external events, seeing meaning in that which can provide opportunities, to put their ideas into practice. INFPs are good at reading between the lines.
As a tertiary function, INFPs may have a little difficulty accessing this trait. Because the tertiary function is opposite the auxiliary function, it can be seen as what keeps those with this personality type grounded and able to deal with responsibility.
What they gather from their five senses is introverted, allowing INFPs to compare situations with those they experienced in the past. While practical, this can result in these individuals reliving memories and the emotions that came with them.
The tertiary function is the least developed of all of these roles. Extraverted thinking is what allows INFPs to bring some type of organization to their environments. Extraverted thinking, when developed, can let INFPs make arguments based on logic.
Because extraverted thinking is the least developed, it is most likely to come out during times of stress. With little experience in using this function, many of their arguments or thoughts can be based on incorrect use of logic and reasoning.
Some INFPs you may be familiar with include J.R.R. Tolkien, Princess Diana, Fred Rogers, John F. Kennedy, Jr., Kurt Cobain, William Shakespeare, and Laura Ingalls Wilder.
INFPs are often seen as guiding lights to those around them, providing support and guidance in difficult situations. They view the world on a grand scheme, seeing things as good versus evil rather than simply as what’s right and wrong.
Profoundly impacted by both their inner and outer worlds, you can count on INFPs to provide enlightenment and encouragement.