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The INFP Personality Type

INFPs are imaginative idealists, guided by their own core values and beliefs. To a Healer, possibilities are paramount; the realism of the moment is only of passing concern. They see potential for a better future, and pursue truth and meaning with their own individual flair.

INFPs are sensitive, caring, and compassionate, and are deeply concerned with the personal growth of themselves and others. Individualistic and nonjudgmental, INFPs believe that each person must find their own path. They enjoy spending time exploring their own ideas and values, and are gently encouraging to others to do the same. INFPs are creative and often artistic; they enjoy finding new outlets for self-expression.

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What does INFP stand for?

INFP is an acronym used to describe one of the sixteen personality types created by Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers. It stands for Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Perceiving. INFP indicates a person who is energized by time alone (Introverted), who focuses on ideas and concepts rather than facts and details (iNtuitive), who makes decisions based on feelings and values (Feeling) and who prefers to be spontaneous and flexible rather than planned and organized (Perceiving). INFPs are sometimes referred to as Healer personalities due to their sympathetic idealism and gentle compassion for other people.

INFP Values and Motivations

INFPs value authenticity and want to be original and individual in what they do. They are often concerned with a search for meaning and truth within themselves. Following tradition holds little appeal for the INFP; they prefer to do their own exploration of values and ideas, and decide for themselves what seems right. INFPs are often offbeat and unconventional, but they feel no desire to conform. The INFP would rather be true to themselves than try to fit in with the crowd.

INFPs are accepting and nonjudgmental in their treatment of others, believing that each person must follow their own path. They are flexible and accommodating, and can often see many points of view. It is important to the INFP to support other people; however, the INFP may react strongly if they feel their own values are being violated. They especially hate being steamrolled by people who insist there is one right way to do things. INFPs want an open, supportive exchange of ideas.

How Others See the INFP

INFPs may initially seem cool, as they reserve their most authentic thoughts and feelings for people they know well. They are reflective and often spiritual, and often interested in having meaningful conversations about values, ethics, people, and personal growth. Typically curious and open-minded, the Healer continually seeks a deeper understanding of themselves and of the people around them. They are passionate about their ideals, but private as well; few people understand the depth of the INFP’s commitment to their beliefs.

INFPs are sensitive and empathetic, and engage themselves in a lifelong quest for meaning and authenticity. The mundane aspects of life are of less interest to this type, and they are more excited by interesting ideas than by practical facts. They typically accept others without question, and may take special interest in offbeat points of view or alternative lifestyles. They often have a special affection for the arts, especially the avant garde, as they love experiencing new concepts in self-expression.

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How rare is the INFP personality type?

INFP is the ninth most common type in the population. They make up:

  • 4% of the general population
  • 5% of women
  • 4% of men

Famous INFPs

Famous INFPs include Princess Diana, Audrey Hepburn, Fred Rogers, John Lennon, Kurt Cobain, Tori Amos, Morrissey, Chloe Sevigny, William Shakespeare, Bill Watterson, A.A. Milne, Helen Keller, Carl Rogers, and Isabel Briggs Myers (creator of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator).

INFP Quotes

"INFPs excel in fields that deal with possibilities for people."

- Isabel Briggs Myers, Gifts Differing

"Healers care deeply—passionately—about a few special persons or a favorite cause, and their fervent aim is to bring peace to the world and wholeness to themselves and their loved ones."

- David Keirsey, Please Understand Me II

"Clearly INFPs are best when whatever they're doing serves their personal values."

- Otto Kroeger, Type Talk at Work

Facts about INFPs

Interesting facts about the INFP:

  • On personality trait measures, score as Artistic, Reflective, Careless, Sensitive, Flexible, and Appreciative
  • Among least likely of all types to suffer heart disease
  • In men, among least likely to report chronic pain
  • Second highest of all types to report marital dissatisfaction
  • Among most likely to have suicidal thoughts in college
  • Tend to be more successful than the average in learning a foreign language
  • Among types most likely to be dissatisfied with their work
  • Personal values include Autonomy and Creativity
  • Overrepresented in occupations in counseling, writing, and the arts

Source: MBTI Manual

INFP Hobbies and Interests

Popular hobbies for INFPs include poetry, creative writing, music, photography, theater, and visual art.

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Guest (not verified) says...

Yes...I see what you're saying here. I find when I am relaxed I end up being sympathetic. I don't necessarily think about the bigger picture and end up suffering along with the person I am with. When in 'counsellor mode' I am empathetic and find myself experiencing the "zoom out" where I understand their pain and immediately relate it to the bigger picture and the people surrounding to and connected to the individual and their pain. I am not bogged down by the weight of the emotion as much as I am able to process it and know how to help the individual. It is when I am in this "mode" that I feel most vibrant and alive. I feel like I am operating as an entire being. I suppose this would be a good example of accessing our entire function stack from the top to the bottom? To only feel what the individual is feeling means we do not process it through our function I correct? I'm new to the MBTI typing and only recently nailed down my INFP vs INFJ as a P. It was very hard as I can relate well to much of what is stereotypical of an INFJ.

Guest (not verified) says...

Thanks for your comment. So what makes you think you're more P than J?

SW (not verified) says...

I really couldn't nail it down until I understood the function stack. Even then it took a little bit. I've been living my whole life watching successful people and trying to replicate their ways in my life that I had no idea how I actually functioned. I really felt I needed to know which type I was closest to, though, in order to understand how to "be me" in a way that is both authentic and grounded. I don't want "being me" to simply be a manifestation of how confused I am about who I am (if that makes sense).

INFPs lead with introverted feeling backed up by extraverted intuition whereas INFJs are the complete opposite. 

I didn't really realize I was so inwardly focused and tbh I didn't align well with stereotypical INFP who lived stubbornly by their values. It has taken me a long time to realize my values! But when I account for a lot of childhood struggles and different things I've battled all my life I realized I just had no confidence in my ability to think for myself. When a sensitive, introverted dreamer like me grows up with a lot of TJ authority figures it makes it hard to believe in yourself. All of these people meant well but they just didn't have experience outside their effective, logical world to see any place for a kid who couldn't seem to focus or get anything done. If they had understood that we are all naturally different instead of seeing me as stupid and worrying about my ability to make my own way in the world it would have been different. But they had never been taught any differently either.

Now, as I've grown and learned to face "who I am" and to cast down the lie that the only people in this world who matter are the TJ types I've realized more and more about myself. I've learned to accept my "base self" and am embracing my creativity and ability to love and care for people beyond what is considered normal.

I still struggle with expressing my feelings. As is typical with the INFP I'll submerge the truest of my feelings and lead with my Ne around people and often show my quirky and fun-loving side (I think anyways). Even when I deeply care about someone I very rarely make that openly known but prefer to show it in small, understated actions or through very guarded language. Although this could be taken as cold and uncaring I find those I am closest to actually develop a greater attraction to my veiled display of intimacy than to open shows. I would venture to guess it reaches below the surface to their hearts rather than always using their senses. Even the sensing types can use intuition but are weaker in that area. I think the love of an intuitive person is the warmest that can be experienced. It goes far deeper than the senses and accesses the heart (not discrediting those who lead with sensing and are perfectly satisfied with sensed love) and usually leaves people with a profound sense of depth.

So, essentially, paying attention to how I processed my world helped me determine my INFPness. I have tested as only 4% more P than J but I think most of my J preferences are learned. If I was to go down to my base self I am a P who operates best when using the full function stack in order.

Hope that makes sense. I really am so new to all of this but once something tweaks my curiosity I can't let it rest until I understand it so I've been geeking out about archetypes :D

K Laura (not verified) says...

SAME!  I too am an FP surrounded by a family of TJs.  I have muddled through life with an understanding of what is considered "excellent" and "best" for everyone with an inner understanding that so didn't match up that I have written myself off as a failure for my entire life  -- and I am 60 years old! Through trudging and trying and lots of prayer and revelation, I have come to truly understand that I am not a failure or a sham (no one ever told me that, I just KNEW it).  Nope, I am an FP and my base values differed vastly from my family of origin.  Thank you for "being like me," I feel less like an alien visitor to read your remarks.  I too am a P who learned a lot of J.  It is such a relief to throw off the burden of being a forlornly miscast J and live large and free (although at times terrified) as a P.  It's hard to  unsee P through J's eyes though.

Maximom89 (not verified) says...

I've identified with many things/people/statements in my life, but I've never felt more like I was reading/ editing my own words. You definitely confirmed that I was on the right page as an INFP.......I have too many questions to articulate in this setting. Reading your comment was unexpected and inspiring and random.... I feel so compelled to ask you, specifically, all the complicated questions I've been struggling to resolve for a while on my own. But I'm a perfectionist... and super private... plus I respect you and your experience/ insight. SO, at your convenience, I would love to continue the conversation through email. Thanks!! 

Christine (not verified) says...

I just want to say you made me a good way. I’ve struggled with finding myself & every bit of this described my life. Thank you! You’ve helped bring me into a new light 😊

Zainab says...

You just described me perfectly !

Rodney (not verified) says...

Loved your story. I think your last paragraph tells me you are an INFP. Like you my score on P was low. So low it was J. ;D Your very last sentence says it all to me. I discovered this test when an older couple I know well said to me one evening. "you know, just when we think we know you, you go to new depths, and we lose you. We realize, we have no idea of your depth and knowlegde ( passion for conviction)." A night or two later they felt the need to apologize, and explain what they meant. Intially I took it as a complement I think. I know that would've made me feel uncomfortable at first. And then changed the subject. I just assumed everybody had depth and passion (intensity), but just didn't show it for some reason. I explained to them, I was not offended at all and thanked them for their thoughts. It made me come across this test about 7 months ago, and it has had a profound effect on me. I always knew I was different and seemed to own it. I just didn't know to the extent of the differences. Also it has helped me explained why I could never get the depth I saught from my Mother, to this day. But it makes it easier. In regards to expressing feelings in my intinate relationships, I assumed I was. But now I see it wasn't always percieved as expressing my feelings. My feelings come through the things I do. This is how the last relationship broke down. She asked to see my feelings, and just couldn't see them. But they were there for all to see. My heart was on my sleeve, and in my actions, and my words were misunderstood. She just saw a sturdy rock, calm under adversity. In control of all emotion, at all times.The damage was done, she'd already pushed me away over time. Hurting me little by little, and because of my avoidance of confrontaion, you can guess the rest. She felt like she was just another of my causes, under my wing. She felt that it wouldn't matter who she was, I loved all equally. Which I guess is true to a degree. But she was the one I chose to be with, but that must not have mattered enough. She thought I loved her like a sister, more than a lover. When she explained that at the end, I suggested that wouldn't be such a bad thing, as I love my sisters more than life itself. I don't live with my sisters I live with you and your 5 children. We are close but we don't live in each others pockets. I have always been the Father figure for my sisters as we lost our Father young. Anyway, you don't need to know all this. Just thought I add some relationship challenges as a male INFP. Thanks for your story.

Caroline_W (not verified) says...

I can relate to this so much! You could easily have been describing me in this post. Thank you for making me see myself clearer! 

Bankeg (not verified) says...

This is so helpful, thank you! We have a lot of similar interests and like you, growing up I wasn't really aware of my personal values and was very confused about who I was

Leo7Seven says...

I agree ! I used to see my emotions as weakness but through learning and experience I have been able to balance feeling and thinking appropriately.  Understanding what people feels comes to me naturally and according to the degree of relationship. Also having gift of psycho-analysis; meaning i can psycho-analyse situations through ignoring some elements of an information given to me and inventing or adding another chunks of information to fix the puzzle in order to arrive at my own "truth"- I can empathize and sympathize at will. 

Jordon Gitrey (not verified) says...

True statement! When I did this, my counselor called it tengential thinking.

Guest22145 (not verified) says...

Are you sure that's psychoanalysis or are you being delusional? Ignoring given element and inventing and adding chunks of information to form your own truth does not seem to help anyone else. 

Drishti mittal (not verified) says...

How did you learn to keep balance? 

len (not verified) says...


Somnath (not verified) says...

By knowing you self with help of meditation and finding the truth and happiness... 

Guest (not verified) says...

I had the exact same problem!

Guest (not verified) says...

YES! Thank you.

The Healer (not verified) says...

Same!Love it!

Choppa (not verified) says...

Have you an career advice for INFPs? 


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