Friday, June 4, 2010

Getting Into Character: The INFP (Introvert, iNtuitive, Feeler, Perceiver)

Today we continue our specific look at the sixteen types in the MBTI line-up. This is going to be so fun, because even if this is not your particular label, more than likely you will recognize someone you know and love revealed on the page. I need to let you know that this is NOT a professional opinion or blog—I’m just teaching you what I've learned over more than ten years of studying personality.

I’m not going to repeat my description of the dominant preferences and such, but if you haven’t been following along, go back and read the beginning of the first week’s post, which you will find under the April archives (The ESTP). I’ve highlighted the part you need to read in green, so you can easily catch up.

Last week we looked at the ESTJ's take-charge attitude. This week we will change every letter and see if INFPs are really that different from their ESTJ friends.
Living Life with an INFP: Take a look in the title at the descriptors used for this personality: introvert, intuitive, feeler, perceiver. It should come as no surprise to anyone that INFPs are people who experience strong feelings, deep thoughts, and are extremely self-aware. INFPs in your life may often seem lost in thought. Their personality is deep waters. They are understanding, compassionate, caring people who focus on the personal. They hold deep convictions and very developed values.They seek to help others understand their values and ideals as well. INFPs are open to spirituality and are not put off by the mysteries of religion.INFPs are visionaries who see the future as full of possibilities and wonder.

Career/Service Area Choices for an INFP: In their careers and service choices, INFPs will be most happy in environments that are close to home, support a positive vision for the future, and are free of red tape, bureaucracy and competition. INFPs don't dwell on the details, but prefer to work and serve in areas where they can make the world a better place through fun and meaningful activities. They will find success in environments where they are allowed to be private and keep to themselves, where there is a spirit of harmony, and that have a personal focus. As workers or volunteers, INFPs are known to be calm, quiet, cooperative, flexible, and often artistic. Some occupations that frequently appeal to INFPs include: counselor, editor, consultant, teacher/trainer (especially English, fine arts), social scientist, writer/journalist, social worker, nurse, artist/actor, psychologist, designer, assistant, account/banker/economist, or clergy.

Free Time for an INFP: The leisure pursuits for an INFP may be difficult to distinguish from their work. They have a tendency to spend a lot of time researching their activities and spend a long time slowly building them, often returning to past hobbies rather than exchanging them for new ones. Their free time is often spent alone in things such as reading, gardening, and music. However, INFPs can be charming and outgoing when they want to be and their flexibility, humor, and gentleness make them popular to be around.

Warnings for the INFP: Too much of any good thing can be a bad thing, so here are some things INFPs need to beware of: focusing so much on the possibilities of the future that they fail to take into account other people's point of view or they get stuck in an idealized view of reality. INFPs shy away from criticizing others and sometimes tell people what they want to hear rather than what they need to hear. Their valuable insights go to waste when INFPs fail to share them with their friends, family, and co-workers. Leaning toward perfection may make INFPs procrastinate. They need to let go of the idea of getting it right and opt for getting it done. The tendency for INFPs to be so self-aware can cause them to be overly critical with the people around them. This criticism turns ugly especially when they feel their values are not being taken into account and can come out as illogical fault-finding in everyone around them.

Spiritual Helps for the INFP: INFPs will likely enjoy spiritual pursuits that allow them to process alone through prayer, meditation, reflection, and journaling. Often their worship will be embodied in an artistic fashion--music, writing, works of art. INFPs often enjoy spending time in worship, study, or praise with only one other trusted person or a small group. INFPs may be "giants of the faith" and are admired for their consistency in living out their values. They may work out their faith in helping others meet their spiritual or practical needs.

What Others Say about the INFP: INFPs are wonderful friends. They are harmonious, inquisitive, creative, have genuine concern for people, enjoy bringing people together, and are committed, devoted friends. Known as empathetic and loyal, they help the rest of us focus on what is important and lasting.

Okay, who do you know that is an INFP? Let me hear from you if you are!

Next week, let's change it up by switching the last two letters. INTJ's--you're up!


  1. This sounds like me. I need to take the test to find out what I really am because I don't remember! But I know I am the Intuitive, Feeler, Perceptive part. Not sure about the Introvert. I am but I've had to learn not to be as a pastor's wife.

  2. That's too bad when life circumstances make us into something that doesn't come naturally to us. I'm sure it's still there in you, though.

  3. I'm trying to catch up, having just found your blog recently. I love this stuff! I want to take the test! Do you have the information on how to take it somewhere on your blog?

    This article sounds a lot like me.

  4. Kari, the easiest way is to go back through and read all the Getting Into Character posts, starting in January. They are just the Friday posts, but it will take you through all 8 components of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Then you will know your "label".

    You could also do a search on the Internet under Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or MBTI and find a free test. Let me know if you need more help.

  5. Hi Nikki. Thanks for this post. I have just done a quick personality test and according to it, and to your description above I am an INFP. I was an elementary school teacher in Canada. Since moving to Israel almost 19 years ago, I have been teaching English and love it. My religion is very important to me as is my family. I feel that I am a good friend but don't seem to feel that I have very many good friends.

  6. Dear Anonymous, thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. INFPs can be wonderful friends, as you read in their description. However, INFPs (like every other type) have some characteristics that may cause difficulties in relationships if you are not aware of them. Look at the weaknesses for your type and see if maybe they are causing problems in your friendships. However, many types have fewer relationships but these relationships tend to be deeper. Other types have many friends but their relationships are more shallow. Perhaps by focusing on what you do well, what might be causing trouble, and pouring your energy into those valuable relationships you already have, you will feel happier about the friendships you have already invested in. Blessings on you as you strive to live within the framework of your unique creation.

  7. Hi Nikki !!! I am an INFP. Thanks for the post.

    Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year !!!

  8. The test says I was!!! And this sounds like me