If you’re an INFP personality, or know one, you probably feel drawn to INFP characters in books, movies and t.v. shows. Though the type is fairly rare in real life, there are quite a few INFP characters, because they have striking internal characteristics that make them interesting story heroes.
They have a strong sense of justice and integrity, and they’re willing to put themselves out there to live by their values. They don’t mind being seen as different, as long as they’re true to themselves, their close friends, or their cause or core beliefs.
Let’s take a look at a few examples of characters INFPs will relate to, and explore what makes them true INFPs, or at least INFP-like.
1. Jane Eyre
When thinking of true blue INFP characters, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre comes immediately to mind. She has a strong sense of justice and isn’t afraid to stand up to bullies. From an early age, she feels passionately, and acts according to her sense of truth and right -- whether that’s defending herself, her friends, or her moral beliefs, whatever the cost.
When her cousins arrogantly mistreat her, she rages at the injustice, stands up to them, and calls it as she sees it, though it gets her in trouble. In fact, she gets sent to a cruel orphanage.
While there, her friend Helen is unjustly punished for ‘vanity’ by having her beautiful hair cut off. Jane first tries, unsuccessfully, to stop it, then insists her own hair be cut as well.
She eventually leaves the orphanage, which has become her place of employment and her only home, believing there is something better out there for her. She still longs for and believes in the possibility of fulfillment and belonging, though her life has given her little of either.
Later, she is firmly guided by her own strongly held principles even when they cause her to go against her own desires and emotions, and lead her to a life of poverty and loneliness. But, in the end, that same steadfast integrity leads her to fulfillment and her sense of destiny.
INFPs often have to accept delayed gratification, but they never stop looking toward a better future.
2. Atticus Finch
Although Atticus is a single father who is concerned for the well-being of his two children, he makes some hard choices that might make their lives more difficult in some ways in the short term because he must live up to his own sense of what is right.
He offers them the truth, even when it’s hard to hear, and helps them develop principles that will see them through life with self-respect and dignity. He reasons with his children and helps them develop empathy for others.
And instead of giving in to the racism of their time and place, he works to remedy it, even though it causes his family to be harassed. How could he respect himself, or expect his children to respect him, if he didn’t do the right thing, especially when a human being who is treated unjustly turns to him for help? An INFP character can’t do it.
When asked by Scout why he was defending Tom Robinson, a black man, when the town was against it, he said: “If I didn’t, I couldn’t hold up my head in town, … I couldn’t even tell you or Jem not to do something again.”
He admits he probably can’t win the case, but explains that “simply because we were licked 100 years before we started, is no reason for us not to try to win.”
3. Marianne Dashwood
Though there may be some debate about whether this impulsive Sense and Sensibility sister is a true INFP character, INFPs will relate to her unwavering authenticity.
Marianne doesn’t care what people think about her, unless she respects or cares about them. And she sees no reason to pretend about her feelings and opinions. In fact, she finds some of the niceties of polite society, which often call for a level of deception, beneath her integrity.
“Marianne was silent; it was impossible for her to say what she did not feel … and upon Elinor therefore the whole task of telling lies when politeness required it, always fell.”
When asking about someone she’s just met, she doesn’t want just the usual practical particulars, such as where he is from. She wants to know about his more internal qualities.
“But what are his manners on more intimate acquaintance? What his pursuits, his talents and genius?”
She asks him about his favorite authors, literary passages, music, and so on, to see if their opinions and tastes are compatible. She feels and expresses everything with passionate intensity, and expects others to also do so to gain her approval.
Though for INFPs integrity is the main thing, intensity, however deeply hidden inside, defines us almost as strongly.
4. Little Lord Fauntleroy
Like the better known Sarah Crewe from A Little Princess, this other Frances Hodgson Burnett Character, actually named Cedric Errol, is kind of a hero for INFPs.
While we often feel we must fight against injustice, he simply refuses to believe anything but the best motives and actions from those he loves, and that naive idealism actually effects real change for the better.
When he meets his proud, cold, wealthy grandfather, this idealistic, affectionate child sees him as better than he is, simply because he wants to love and admire him. Consequently, the grandfather, who reluctantly comes to care for the young boy, strives to become the person his grandson believes he is.
When he finds out his ancestry, he says to his egalitarian shopkeeper friend, Mr. Hobbs, “If I have to be an earl, I can try to be a good one. I’m not going to be a tyrant.” In fact, being able to use his new wealth and power to do good for others who need it most becomes one of his greatest joys.
5. Deanna Troi from Star Trek:The Next Generation
Deanna is the ship’s deeply empathetic counselor. Though it’s part of her genetics, empathy, not just the ability to read people but to relate to them compassionately, really defines her.
She’s sought out by crew members, including the captain, for her deep insight and understanding of people. She’s intuitive, open-minded, and interested in her own and others’ personal development.
At one point she decides to take an extremely challenging test, which includes subjects that are not her strong points, for a promotion she’s not sure she wants, because she wants to feel up to the challenge, and to help others more.
She steps up, struggles, and eventually reaches her goal, then takes her new position, sometimes reluctantly. But her unique perspective makes her a valuable team member.
She’s a good example of an individualist who is an asset despite her less conventional way of looking at things and her focus on feelings rather than facts alone. To ‘mis’ quote a Sinatra song, she, like a true INFP character, does it her way.
6. Charlotte, from Charlotte’s Web
Can a cartoon spider be an INFP character? Let’s go out on a limb (or web) and say possibly.
Charlotte reaches out to befriend and comfort the lonely, bewildered new arrival, Wilbur. As a runt, Wilbur was almost killed because he was considered a poor return on investment. Later, he lives long enough to be fattened up to slaughter. In the meantime, this timid, sensitive creature struggles to fit in when the other animals ridicule him. INFPs do like underdogs.
Trying to save his life, she spins webs that spell words, searching for just the right words to convey the underappreciated pig’s endearing qualities. So, in a sense, she’s a writer with a cause, and writing is a common INFP occupation.
She uses the last of her strength in her final efforts to save her friend, even though it means she has to leave the care of her unborn ‘children’ to others. A grand but quiet gesture of loyal friendship and altruism.
All of these characters display traits that INFPs can relate to. They’re unconventional, idealistic, and caring, and live life on their own terms, even when it's hard. They inspire in us the belief that doing so is worthwhile and can lead to happy endings.