INFP personality type belongs to Idealists according to David Keirsey, a famous American psychologist and the author of several books on personality types. Otto Kroeger, another authority on 16 personality types, created a descriptive slogan for INFPs, which is “Performing Noble Service to Aid Society”. The reason why both Keirsey and Kroeger feel this way about this type is because INFPs, who make up about 4 percent of the general population, are deeply focused on their values and, basically, devote their lives to pursuing this ideal.
INFP has several descriptive names given by different authors and experts. They include:
- Healer (David Keirsey)
- Harmonizer Clarifier (Linda Berens)
- Seeker & Keeper of Human Values (Alan Brownsword)
- Inspiring Idealist (Otto Kroeger)
- Sensitive Idealist (Jonathan Niednagel)
- Thoughtful Idealist (Official MBTI test site)
Other online names: Mediator, Dreamer, Questor.
Obviously, all these names are meant to express one thing: The INFP have their own ideal vision of the world and their own take on how things should work, and they quietly push for what they feel is right. It doesn’t come as a surprise that INFP is an equivalent of pure Phlegmatic temperament in four temperaments model.
Their four-letter type — INFP — stands for Introverted-Intuitive-Feeling-Perceiving, which means they
- prefer to spend their time alone or with a few trusted friends,
- think in abstract terms and like to work with concepts and ideas,
- prioritize relationships,
- tend to do things spontaneously, without much planning.
INFPs are complex creatures and dislike anything petty. Be that career or marriage, they want things to be ideal, but the reality isn’t always where they would like it to be.
At their best, INFPs passionately work on some high goal; at their worst, they are whiners and complainers who live in their fantasy world and never take action.
INFP Personality Overview
INFPs have an unconventional streak to them; unlike ISTJs, they aren’t interested in following traditions. Instead, they prefer to explore things on their own and decide what is right without consulting anyone. They are also the type to explore alternative lifestyles: They could volunteer for humanitarian missions in far-away countries or travel the world as backpackers, supporting themselves by doing odd jobs as they go.
The INFP wants to feel like their life is meaningful — even their job must be something that fits their value system; ideally it must be something with a purpose. If these two conditions aren’t fulfilled, the INFP burns out quickly and becomes depressed.
INFPs may seem distant and reserved at first, but once you become close to them, you’ll find that they can be very expressive. They enjoy talking about such subjects as spiritual growth, ethics, people, values and how the things should be.
Some INFPs may appear messy and disorganized generally because they think that worrying much about their personal appearance or their home organization is unimportant. They might forget appointments and constantly lose things. It doesn’t help that INFPs tend to develop sentimental attachment to objects, which results in a cluttered house. Some INFPs will “clean up” by simply hiding their clutter in a separate room or attics. Their home may appear clean and organized but open their closet door and things fall out!
Others may think that INFPs have a passive approach to life: They want to live their life according to their own rules and are happy to let others live the way they please. It is partially true that INFPs generally prefer to fit in, without making waves, and avoid conflict as much as possible. When their values are threatened, however, INFPs may surprise others by their ability to fight back.
INFPs have trouble completing their projects because they always feel that things can be improved. Being their own worst critic, INFPs strive for perfection, but because they are never satisfied with themselves and their own work, their projects sometimes remain unfinished.
INFP Learning Style
INFP students learn best in a flexible environment where they are allowed to freely explore subjects of interest and where creativity is appreciated and encouraged. Although they never feel like their work is good enough and always want to postpone submitting it for evaluation, setting deadlines is a good way to force them to complete their projects. Young INFPs aren’t much into following rules, but they aren’t openly rebellious either. Because of their creative inclination, they don’t usually follow instructions precisely and may appear inattentive.
INFP Decision Making Style
When forced to make a decision, the INFP will naturally avoid logical reasoning and evaluate their options based on their values instead. Having said that, they will intentionally gather additional information, then use their creative thinking skills to produce more possible scenarios. Thinking outside the box and big picture thinking are characteristic features of INFP decision making process.
INFP in Love and Dating
As it was mentioned above, the INFP has high standards for almost everything and their love life is no exception. They will typically wait for their ideal mate for a long time, and even then they might be having second thoughts regarding their partner’s suitability. It’s almost like they have a mental checklist of physical and psychological traits they want to see in their partner; once that partner appears, they observe them carefully and take mental notes of anything that isn’t according to their checklist.
Once the INFP is serious about you, expect romantic dates with all little details carefully planned and prepared for. They will give you gifts, but their gifts are likely to have a special touch or a special meaning. For example, instead of giving you something expensive and/or luxurious, they are more likely to give you something they made with their own hands or, perhaps, something that was passed to them by their family.
The INFP doesn’t realize that not all types have appreciation for such things. While some types will be blown away by such gesture, there are plenty of others who wouldn’t get excited at the prospect of, let’s say, wearing an old-fashioned ring that belonged to the INFP’s grandmother. But then again, maybe that type of people isn’t right for the INFP to begin with.
The INFP tends to hold their feelings to themselves and need to remember that their partner needs reminders of their love for the relationship to thrive. Similarly, their partners need to remember that it’s important to the INFP to hear “I love you” to feel loved.
When problems arise, the INFP feels that acutely but still, avoids talking about it. INFPs tend to hide their feelings and pretend to be okay only to overreact to something small and insignificant later.
One of the biggest INFP problems is that they often withhold their real opinion and often send a message to others that they are in agreement with them while in reality they disagree very strongly. Although they do this to preserve good relationships with everyone, it often becomes a source of distress and, occasionally, becomes counterproductive by ruining the very relationships they tried so hard to preserve.
How to Get an INFP Like You
- Be authentic: There are few things the INFP dislikes more than insincerity and pretentiousness.
- Don’t stress them with too many demands on their time — INFPs are introverted and need plenty of time alone.
- Don’t criticize them — they are too sensitive to criticism and will keep ruminating about the issue for days.
- Don’t play hard to get — the INFP might give up on you if you do.
- Don’t play games in general — with the INFP it is best to be yourself.
- Don’t force them to be punctual or do things on time. Deadlines and rigid rules stress them out and may put a strain on your relationship.
INFP at Work
INFPs want a quiet work environment and a job that is in line with their personal values. In addition, they want to work alone or with people who share their principles.
When it comes to working on their goal, the only acceptable driving force to them is sincere intentions. For example, the INFP dislikes people who are highly competitive or those who seem to be concerned about their paycheck more than the work itself.
INFP Leadership Style
People with INFP personality type aren’t naturally born leaders and assume leadership positions reluctantly. Nothing is aggressive about the INFP and so is their leadership style — subtle and gentle, as if they were afraid to offend their subordinates.
Ideally, the INFP wants to be more of a facilitator than a real director. With their values in mind, they want their team to become intrinsically motivated and work independently. Because INFPs aren’t confrontational and are usually unable to criticize others, they prefer to motivate others by appreciation and praise. In addition, they are likely to neglect some issues hoping they will eventually get resolved without their interference.
Job List for INFP
- Career Counselor
- College Instructor
- Community Service Manager
- Educational Consultant
- Elementary School Teacher
- Employee Development
- Fashion Designer
- Film Editor
- Fine Artist
- Genetic Counselor
- Graphic Designer
- HR Development Worker
- Human Resources Specialist
- Laboratory Technologist
- Massage Therapist
- Mental Health Counselor
- Multimedia Artist
- Occupational Therapist
- Physical Therapist
- Preschool Teacher
- Public Relations Specialist
- Research Assistant
- School Counselor
- Social Scientist
- Social Worker
- Special Education Teacher
- Speech Pathologist
- Veterinary Technician
Random Facts About INFP
- INFPs are great at reading people.
- The INFP can be overly shy.
- The INFP is likely to stay in a bad relationship.
- INFPs have a tendency to blame themselves for things that go wrong.
- Although INFPs are prone to self-blame, they are very concerned about other people’s self-esteem.
- INFPs frequently switch from one interest or passion to another.
- People with INFP personality type don’t care about forcing others to be like them — they know how to appreciate other people for what they are.
- Many INFPs struggle with insecurity.
- Some INFPs don’t know how to express their feelings.
- INFPs usually have a great sense of humor.
- Many INFPs are great writers.
- The INFP can be curious and shy at the same time.
- INFPs like to do things when they feel like doing them, not according to a plan or schedule.
Famous INFP People
- Audrey Hepburn
- Princess Diana
- J. K. Rowling
- J. R. R. Tolkien
- John Lennon
- Isabel Briggs Myers
- Chicken Little
- Jane Eyre
- Both Romeo and Juliet from “Romeo and Juliet”
- Ashley Wilkes from “Gone With the Wind”