Since INFPs are one of the rarer personality types, I have not often gotten to know “one of my own kind.” At least, I don’t think I have.
But I do know what it’s like to live as an INFP. Based on this ‘insider knowledge’, I think I can make some reasonable conjectures about what might happen when an INFP meets another INFP — and it runs the entire gamut of experiences from total bust to mighty boom!
Here’s what happens when two of these imaginative idealists collide.
Given that INFPs are Introverts who often stay buried in their own thoughts, two INFPs meeting for the first time might not say a single word to each other! They certainly won’t converse extensively enough to discover they have this trait in common, at least not initially.
I’d like to say there will be this dreamy movie moment where we recognize our own kind, time stands still, and we feel fulfilled and at home at last. Some of that could truly happen, in time, but usually not at first glance.
It takes us a while to warm up, so if we only meet each other once or twice, we may never even know we’ve met another INFP. Missed opportunity. Sad end of story.
2. It’s a slow, slow burn
If we do see each other on several occasions, perhaps because we have mutual friends or we work or volunteer together, we’ll have more opportunities to recognize our shared type.
As we observe each other and ask careful questions, at some point we’re likely to recognize some INFP traits, such as our quiet preference for keeping the peace, our empathy and compassion, or our deeply buried passionate nature.
We may notice that they don’t say much, and wonder if there’s more to them than they let on. If it becomes obvious that there is, we’ll likely know we’ve met another INFP, because the experience is so familiar to us.
Once we suspect we’ve met another INFP, we’ll likely get past our reserve a little sooner and show this side to each other. Then, as long as we’re otherwise compatible, we’ll find it easier, and more fun, to interact with each other. I’m always excited to meet another INFP, because we’re more likely to ‘get’ each other — a rare experience for our type.
3. We’re disappointed
INFPs are idealists, and we tend to idealize people, especially those we want to think well of. If we know we’re going to meet another INFP, we'll likely be curious, excited, and full of longing for someone we can relate to. We’ll probably have high expectations a real person might not be able to live up to.
Then we meet, and, since neither of us warm up fast, we may not talk much at all. Or we might stay safely, but unsatisfyingly, on the surface. We might also be quiet because we have so much we want to ask or say that we don’t know how to start. Either way, our first encounter, at least, may not live up to what we’d imagined.
But that doesn’t mean we won’t become friends and value each other. It just won’t likely be as immediate and transcendent as we’d hoped.
4. We feel like we’re looking in a mirror
When we see another INFP, we may be seeing them a lot like how other people see us, which is not always comfortable. INFPs don’t always present that well at first glance. Seeing someone very much like us, but quite different from how we want to see ourselves or be seen by others, can be a harsh awakening.
Then our empathy will probably kick in, and we’ll try not to judge on first impressions. If we make the effort to get to know each other, we’ll improve on better acquaintance. And of course we’ll eventually see some of the things we like about ourselves and our type as well. But it may not be love at first sight.
In spite of that, our sense of fairness will move us to give them a chance, and to be honest about our own shortcomings. From there we may seize the opportunity both to enjoy the ease of being with someone like ourselves, and even to use this “mirror” to improve the image we project.
This uncomfortable mirror experience may come on both sides. If we go on to become friends, we’ll probably analyze our initial impressions later, and laugh about it. We may also be a bit ashamed that we didn’t immediately admire our new friend as much as we do now.
5. We clash
INFPs are deeply values-driven and we feel very strongly about what is important to us. If those values or strong interests are dramatically different or conflicting, then despite — or because of — our similar temperaments, things may not go well (understatement!).
We may just not be drawn to each other or we may actively engage in conflict. What’s happening here is that we are each trying to defend our own strongly held life view.
INFPs are generally easygoing and try to understand the other person’s point of view. But we are as immovable as boulders when it comes to our values. A serious difference in values or opinions may repel us like reverse magnets. It may even draw us into a kind of battle in defense of our principles.
If there is a formula for something like enmity for INFPs, it would be conflicting interests and opposing values, embodied in the same personality type. If we don’t succeed in “fixing” the other INFP, often we’ll simply retreat in disappointment (or disgust) rather than engage in extended friction.
6. We become fast friends
If — and this is the all-important if — our values and passions are compatible, we are likely to become good friends and loyal allies.
If you have a deep interest in something unusual, say, medieval folk music, or the history of golf, or whatever, and you meet someone with the same passion, suddenly you feel you have found your own kind. What a relief to be able to talk about your favorite subjects without having to constantly explain, and without being met with confusion, boredom, or resistance!
And because we are deeply loyal by nature, once we’ve found a true friend, we can be a staunch ally and firm asset to each other, probably forever. At the very least, we’ll enjoy each other’s company immensely, work brilliantly together, and feel safe enough to get past our reserve much more quickly than usual.
Two compatible INFPs will have endless things to say to each other once they get started. Observers may be astounded that our apparently still waters are stirred to the surface with greater-than-usual speed and intensity.
7. Sparks fly
If all the other conditions are right for romance— we’re the right gender, age, etc. and we’re both single — once two INFPs have started to form a bond, falling in love could be an easy next step. And when INFPs fall, feelings may soon become deep and intense.
For INFPs, love isn’t so much about finding a life partner or playmate as it is about finding a “soulmate” — someone who completes us, deeply understands us, and with whom we can share a level of communion that is rare in most relationships.
After the initial excitement, this could go a few ways:
- We find we’ve idealized each other and only seen the things we have in common. Once we start to see each other’s flaws, we may be disillusioned and decide the other one is not “the one” after all.
- One of us gets scared. The feelings are too intense, or we’re worried that we’ll find out something wrong when it’s too late, so we close up or back away.
- We decide it’s worth the effort of working through our imperfections and making a commitment. A two-INFP marriage has the potential to do well, as long as we work out how to deal with potential conflict — something we may not be good at — ahead of time.
8. We do great things
One INFP can dream of great things. Whether that’s work, art, or anything else, an INFP alone can see what amazing things are possible. And sometimes we work really well alone to achieve them. But get two or three of us united in the same cause, and the results can be amazing!