Nicknames: Dreamer, Healer, Mediator
INFP (Introversion, Intuition, Feeling, Perceiving) is an acronym used in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), describing one of sixteen personality types. An INFP’s cognitive functions are Fi/Introverted Feeling (dominant), Ne/Extraverted Intuition (Auxiliary), Si/Introverted Sensing (Tertiary), Te/Extraverted Thinking (Inferior).
INFPs are genuine idealists. They look for the good in other people and in bad situations. They may be seen as reclusive, calm, peaceful, shy, and reserved—although under the surface, they are passionate and imaginative. They follow endless loops of possibilities and see things from many perspectives.
They try to figure out the unnamable depths of their minds. They often feel misunderstood by other people, unable to truly express what is inside them. They sense that there is a limit, a divide, between what exists so intimately for them, what is true for them, and the outside world. For those who are likeminded, INFPs can be a source of inspiration, a harmonious undercurrent, healing the relationships they’re in. They can be playful and spontaneous, dreaming through different possibilities as they arise.
INFPs are individualistic, non-judgmental types. They are often far harsher on themselves than they ever would be on others! They introspect to learn what their most important values and beliefs are. INFPs desire to grow daily in their authenticity, transcending themselves mentally, emotionally, spiritually. Each INFP’s path is their own. They generally don’t seek to impose on others because they so often feel imposed upon, misunderstood in nature, ordered to act like someone they’re not. They prefer instead to gently nudge people to the right path, whatever that may be. They are sensitive to the perspectives of others, caring for them, despite their flaws. For mature INFPs, they are compassionate toward other people’s flaws because they have meditated on their own darkness. They have known the dependence of light upon the shadow. They have suffered as others have suffered. They care for others because they are interconnected to who they are, because they are them. Humans, while flawed in so many ways, are filled with so much potential.
INFPs seek the meaning of their lives. They seek their own truth. They have this need to express what is within themselves but they have trouble doing so. To explore their values, beliefs, ideas, to discover the endless nuances of themselves, they turn to art. They paint portraits, compose songs, write novels. They are sensitive to the world and see many perspectives, sorting them out. They have no need to conform to the crowd, which makes them appear weird, off-beat, and even peculiar, depending on the values of the group.
While they are mostly accepting of people, if one of their values are challenged, they may react strongly. They may show a fiery passion that was previously hidden. They may not even speak, sullen with offense. If an INFP’s ideas are criticized in an open and truthful and loving manner, where possibilities are exchanged, they will appreciate the discussion, even if they are hurt. A person who is dogmatic and talkative and overbearing, however, will be disliked by the INFP.
INFPs seem cool on the surface. They keep most of their ideas to themselves. While they are capable of meaningful and nuanced conversations (which they prefer), they will not open up, talking about their intimate lives, unless they can trust the person they are speaking with. A close friend may discover a richness that only few know about. INFPs are passionate, private people, content to go their own way. They listen patiently to many people, curious, learning about their lives, helping them without asking for anything. At the same time, so few know about the INFP.
Sometimes they are overwhelmed by the world. They see all the suffering, all the sadness and fear and conflict, which people have, which they have. They may feel sad when they do too many things, when they see too many people, without having a time for their own solitude.
INFPs need peaceful aloneness to renew themselves, over and again. A walk in the woods, a book in the shade of a redwood tree. Silence on a car ride. Children running through the park with a kite. Sunlight on a meadow.
They must find a balance between expressing themselves, helping others, and being alone.
They can easily be overwhelmed by the demands of the world. Likewise, they can isolate themselves in their own thoughts, turning into hermits. Sometimes they can go through melancholy moods, thinking about existence and their place within it and what it means.
As an INFP matures, they become more attuned with themselves and their genuine desires. When they are at their healthiest, they understand when they need to be alone, when they need to help, when they need to create, when they need to love. They learn how to let go, while establishing boundaries. They inspire people with their compassion, love, kindness, creativity, and open-mindedness. As they mature, they do things they resisted before like dealing with more practical, day-to-day, life. At the same time, they stop taking things so personally. They may even open up more to others, despite their reservations. INFPs are individuals who seek meaning in uncertain paths, often alone, sometimes with a trusted companion. They wish to grow. They wish to love. They wish mostly to be understood.