INFP, often nicknamed the Healer or Mediator, stands for Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving. It is one of the 16 personality types in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), a popular psychological tool used to measure personality traits. INFPs are known for their deep sense of inner values, empathy towards others, and their ability to understand complex ideas. INFPs tend to be open-minded and nonjudgmental, and value authenticity and individuality in themselves and others.
INFPs are introverted and tend to focus inward, seeking to understand their own feelings and values before turning outward to engage with others. They are often described as sensitive, compassionate, and open-minded, and are drawn to artistic endeavors. They are highly creative and have the ability to see multiple perspectives. INFPs are perceiving, meaning they tend to be open-minded and flexible, and may struggle with decision-making & procrastination. However, they are often highly imaginative and can bring a unique and original perspective to their work and relationships.
Cognitive Functions of INFPs:
To better understand where INFP’s characteristics come from, it’s important to understand the main cognitive functions of this type. In the MBTI system, each personality type has a specific set of dominant and auxiliary cognitive functions that people use most frequently, resulting in stable cognitive patterns and characteristics. For INFPs,
- the dominant function is Introverted Feeling (Fi), and
- the auxiliary function is Extraverted Intuition (Ne) that supports the dominant function
Dominant Fi: INFPs use their dominant Fi function to process information, which colors strongly who they are and their overall perspectives about the world. Healthy Fi users are very in touch with their own emotions and may have a strong sense of personal ethics and morality. They may be private and selective about who they share their feelings with, and they may struggle with expressing their emotions in a way that others can understand.
Due to their dominant Fi function, INFPs may rely on their own internal compass to guide their actions and decisions and may often go against social norms or expectations.
Auxiliary Ne: Auxiliary Extraverted Intuition (Ne) allows an individual to generate new ideas, explore possibilities, and see connections between seemingly unrelated things. This function is always looking for ways to bring new elements into a situation, to create new patterns, to relate one thing to another in a new way. This function also makes an individual sensitive to the needs and feelings of others and great at understanding and empathizing with people.
The combination of dominant Fi and auxiliary Ne creates a person who is both idealistic and innovative, constantly seeking new ways of expressing and fulfilling their own values. Such people are likely to be imaginative, original, and independent in their thinking and action. They will be very interested in exploring new possibilities and in creating their own unique solutions to problems.
Like all personality types, INFPs have a combination of strengths and weaknesses. Some of strengths of INFPs include:
- Creativity and innovation: INFPs tend to be highly creative and innovative, as they are able to generate new ideas and explore possibilities. Their auxiliary Ne equips them with skills to anticipate potential outcomes and plan for the future.
- Flexibility and adaptability: INFPs are flexible and adaptable. Their dominant Fi combined with auxiliary Ne helps them adjust their approach to fit changing circumstances or needs. They think on their feet and come up with novel solutions to problems.
- Strong values and principles: People with a dominant Fi may be guided by strong values and principles, and may be driven to express and fulfill these values in their work. They may be committed to ethical and moral standards, and may be motivated to make a positive impact on the world.
- Empathetic and Compassionate: INFPs help people stay connected to their humanity and promote complete self-acceptance. They are deeply empathetic and compassionate towards others and have a strong sense of justice and fairness.
INFPs may have some potential weaknesses that could impact their personal life, relationships, as well as their performance and effectiveness in their workplace. These weaknesses may include the following.
- Difficulty with decision-making: People with a dominant Fi and auxiliary Ne may have difficulty weighing the pros and cons of different options and making decisions. Due to their dominant Fi, they may struggle to choose a course of action that aligns with their values and principles. This may interact with their auxiliary Ne, which may cause them difficulty in narrowing down their options from a wide range of possibilities.
- Difficulty with structure and routine: People with auxiliary Ne may struggle with structure and routine, as they may prefer to work in a more flexible and open-ended way. INFPs may find it difficult to follow established procedures, protocols, and rules.
- Difficulty with teamwork and collaboration: A dominant Fi and auxiliary Ne may cause difficulty in collaborating with others, as INFPs have a tendency to be independent and self-directed in their thinking and actions. Their Fi may make it difficult for them to adapt their values and ideas to fit the perspectives of others. They may also have difficulty with authority and hierarchy for the same reason, and may resist being told what to do or how to do it, especially when it doesn’t align with what they believe in.
However, in the right environment with the right people, INFPs tend to get along well with others and are often quite understanding of different opinions.
INFPs may be well-suited for careers that allow them to express their individuality & align with their personal values (because of Introverted Feeling) and creativity and ingenuity in problem solving. (to suit their extraverted Intuition – Ne) . Overally, they truly enjoy and excel in listening & understanding deeply and use that understanding to help others heal and grow through creative impactful communication. Some common and suitable careers for INFPs include:
- Counselor/therapist or social work: INFPs may be drawn to careers that allow them to help others and make a positive impact. They may be well-suited for roles as therapists or social workers, where they can use their empathetic and compassionate nature to help and guide others.
- Writer or artist: INFPs may be imaginative and creative and may enjoy expressing themselves through writing or art. They may be well-suited for careers in these fields, where they can use their talents to create original and meaningful works.
- Educator: INFPs may be passionate about learning and exploration and may enjoy sharing their knowledge with others. They may be well-suited for careers as educators, where they can inspire and guide others to learn and grow.
- Marketing: More career-oriented INFPs can find satisfaction in the promotion and sales of products and businesses that they truly believe in.
INFPs in the workplace are typically creative and imaginative, which makes them a valuable asset to any team. They are usually very supportive of their colleagues, and prefer to work in environments that are non-competitive.
As employers, INFPs are understanding and flexible, owing to their auxiliary Ne. They tend to value their employees and strive to provide a positive and comfortable working environment. They are usually good at delegating tasks and helping their employees to reach their potential.
On the other hand, as employees, INFPs are loyal, reliable, and their dominant Fi makes them go the extra mile to ensure that the job is done correctly.
INFPs typically respond to criticism in a thoughtful and self-reflective manner. Because of their dominant Fi, they may also be resistant to criticism if it challenges their strongly held values or beliefs. INFPs need to understand the reasoning behind criticism in order to accept it.
INFPs may thrive in workplaces that allow them to be creative and independent, and that align with their personal values. They may also appreciate supportive and collaborative work environments that allow them to work with others in a harmonious way.
In relationships and friendships, INFPs are likely to be deeply caring and supportive, and may go to great lengths to help those they care about. Their dominant function, Fi, helps them to process and understand their own emotions, as well as to deeply feel the emotions of others using mirroring (imagine themselves in that situation). This can make INFPs deeply understanding and compassionate towards their friends and loved ones. This combined with their auxiliary Ne makes them accepting and non-judgmental partners, who are able to see multiple perspectives and understand others’ feelings and needs.
However, INFPs may struggle with being overly sensitive and taking criticism personally in a relationship. They also may have difficulty with expressing their feelings or speaking up when they are hurt or frustrated. They sometimes tend to be too idealistic, which may lead them to expect perfect harmony and ignore any potential issues in a relationship.
It’s important for INFPs to be aware of their own feelings and take time to process and express them in a healthy way. It is also important for them to be patient with their partner and to make sure their communication is clear and honest. Compromise and understanding are key elements in any relationship, and INFPs should strive to be open to these.
Some prominent INFP figures include Mother Teresa, William Shakespeare, Prince, and J.R.R. Tolkien. Fictional INFP characters include Newt Scamander from the Fantastic Beasts Series, Frodo Baggins from The Lord of the Rings, and Dr. Spencer Reid from Criminal Minds. INFPs’ strong sense of morality and the strong desire to understand and help the world and its people are clearly evident in all these people and characters.
In conclusion, the INFP personality type is a unique and very special one. They are sensitive and often idealistic, and put their heart and soul into the things they care about. They have an innate ability to see the potential in everything and strive to make the world a better place in their own unique way.