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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.

Are you an INFP?

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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.

How common 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 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.

INFP Hobbies and Interests

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

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

Quotes About INFPs

"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

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Lucas says...


Original Name is Torture (not verified) says...

Adoramos estar perto e trabalhar com a natureza. Sou professora e as crianças são definitivamente uma força da natureza, mas odeio o crescente nível de papelada administrativa. Eu gostaria de poder levar as crianças para fora para admirar as plantas e animais que encontramos. (We love being around and working with nature. I am a teacher and children are definitely a force of nature, but hate the increasing level of administrative paperwork. I wish I could take the kids out to admire the plants and animals we encounter.)

Lucas (not verified) says...


Lucas (not verified) says...

Send me a email

Lucas says...

A natureza é incrivel e quando estamos nela os pesos da vida somem  (Nature is amazing and when we are in it the weight of life disappear.)

Natalyakir says...

I think wasting so much money and time for something you don't like doing it is also a waste. On the other hand, you can do dancing and photography as a hobby, in your free time.

INFP pal (not verified) says...

I'm sorry that you feel you have to do this. But you need to be true to your inner convictions. You are young so understanding that self care over what people's expectations are what leads to happiness. If you look up the book series Pete the Cat. The author was shunned by his father about how he wouldn't make money as an artist so he became an engineer.. fast forward many years he decided to paint and write children's books and now they are very popular. And he is making great money doing what he loves. I commend you for sharing here. 

I think you need to tell you parents you don't want to be a doctor. You are wasting their money but also your life which we are promised. And I think it will spare them much heartache to tell them now rather than you end up becoming a doctor then quitting because you build up enough courage to quit. 

Do what you love!!! It's your life and you are responsible to make yourself happy 💗💗best of luck 🙏

Deeeep (not verified) says...

Hi, I know how you are feeling, as I am in similar situation. I'll just graduate this year and I hope this will end. Here's what I will tell you. I know you're worrying about how much your parents pay and you feel responsible , but if it's so hard for you, just quit it. Your time is much more valuable than the money.

SaballaSarrel (not verified) says...

Hi Shadowhunter, 

I just finished my degree, it can be exhausting and you have to push yourself to your limits to thrive and obtain the grades you need. 

Ways to look at your situation if you are committed to continuing in the medical field: 

1. you can specialize in treating the performers, dancers and so forth, which will keep you connected to the arts you love but in ways, you never dreamed possible. 

2. take between class mental health breaks by joining clubs that will allow you to express your creative side, don't just watch, do it.

3. have a sit down with your parents and be honest with them, if that is not doable, invite them to a performance in one of the clubs you have joined so they can see you perform.

4. treat your studies the way you would treat your career with a healthy lifestyle balance that allows you to tap into your creative side. 

5. speak with an academic councillor, your professors and your TA's. You would not be the first student that has had reservations about things certainly if you did not choose your career but it was chosen for you. 

Best wishes, 


zeeceezee (not verified) says...

I always thought I would have a career related to art or writing but an unplanned pregnancy and subsequent marriage then divorce resulted in an unfinished degree and financial crisis. I opted for scholarship-funded training in radiologic technology. In a very short time I realized I didn't belong in that field. I wanted to withdraw but the program administrators played the "much money invested" card to me and convinced me to stay. I finished the entire 2 year program and then did an additional 2 years of specialization in radiation therapy dosimetry, a algebra/math-intensive medical path. The combination of dealing with cancer patients and performing a STEM position daily took a huge toll on me as a creative/art type. I managed to raise a family on the great income I made but would never choose that again if life gave me a do-over. It was HARD. EVERYDAY. I came home drained and tired from struggling to appear happy for the patients. And that's what having a career in a field that doesn't make your heart sing is - no matter how much has been spent, how much it pays, etc. - it's ultimately an unsatisfying struggle. Listen to your gut. 

Day R. (not verified) says...

Perhaps you shouldn't ask people on the internet. We all have different beginnings and the different roads we take, and they, if you make the right choices, can lead you to happiness. If you are worried about money, It is better to do something you love because 1, everyone can see your love for what you do. It can inspire people. 2, It shows how much more dedicated you will be to whatever you decide to do because if you love something, you will not give up on it. 

Don't do things because they are easy or because you are pressured. Do it because you love it and you want other people to love it as much as you. I hope I see some of your work in my lifetime,

~A student, Day R.

Rah's al Ghul (not verified) says...

I read.  I have a few suggestions.

1.) Stop using "u" as shorthand for "you" on the internet.  

2.) Dancing, singing, photography - anything entirely creative is an incredibly difficult industry.  You have to create something that not just your social circle likes, but MOST people like.

3.) Your career doesn't define you.  I guarantee that aside from "gotcha" questions, you or I could pretend to be anything in a bar while talking to a girl for an hour.  What do I care about?  I am employed as a Data Scientist.  It pays way more than I care.  How am I not an egghead?  I don't look at people or talk to people as if they're dumber than me.  I don't care about knowledge.  It never impressed me.  Creative types impress me way more.  Do you have a witty joke?  Tell it.  I'm the person mentally raising a glass to you.

4.) Kind of continuing 3 here.  So.  I AM a Data Scientist.  I also teach, both professionally and socially.  I also learn, usually preferring professional learning to social learning.  I also write, professionally and socially.  I give talks professionally.  (I'd say socially, but honestly most talks that I give outside of work are to myself).  I know the life of a medical doctor doesn't sound terrible appealing.  In fact - I would not do it.  I love Dr. House and would lose my shit at the opportunity to be the smartest and most knowledgeable person in every room he walks into while also saving lives.  But I disliked Biology and I especially disliked the idea that to be a doctor you have to practice on human corpses.

5.) Okay - this turned into a 3,4,5 situation because I have a lot of thoughts to get out.  Being a doctor means you get to help people.  Do you know what it's like to be a patient talking to a doctor?  When you're young - it's easy.  As an adult it gets harder.  Doctors give you terrible news.  Or bad news.  Or so-so news.  They never really give you good news.  But having a doctor that cares makes it easier.  For example: I need to get my wisdom teeth out.  I got one out with local anaesthetic and after that my dentist asked if he could do another and I said something along the lines of "I don't know".  He knew I had had enough.  He saw my shaking leg.  I know this is a Dentist and not a Doctor, but it's the same deal.

6.) Don't trust your instincts as a 20 year old.  We never end up doing what we wanted to do at that age.  If your parents have been calling the shots for a long time, you're going through the "growing up" phase of life.  This is where you start to reconcile with the fact that you have some autonomy.  Most kids make a few terrible decisions when that times comes to pass.

7.) All of that said - you control your own destiny.  Decide for yourself.  If I was your parent and knew you were pushing away from that career, I would likely encourage you.  If I was your parent and knew you'd be miserable in that career, I would push you as far away from it as I could.

theshadowhunter (not verified) says...

thank you for your suggestions,  i got to think more deeply about this because of your detailed explanation 😁

Pelipe (not verified) says...

Hi. We have the same situation. I'm also 20 yrs old and I finished my degree last year which is BS Accountancy. As of right now, I'm currently enrolled in a review center for my upcoming licensure exam to become a CPA. And from your statement, we have the same struggles. I don't have the will to study. I feel so lazy whenever I think about learning a topic. But I love music and always have the motivation to learn a song to play in my guitar. It seems like it is a therapy for me because I gain pleasure from it, but in reality I'm just avoiding the pain from studying something I don't feel so passionate about. I hope we can overcome this stress and the fear of becoming a failure. I hope you can find your motivation and never think about taking your own life. Goodluck.

Tabularasa (not verified) says...

Hey, I understand you feel the pressure of wasting your parents money, but more is going to be invested on you. As i see it you have two choices: (1) you quit med school and do something you like, and wait for your parents to accept it. Its unfair for them that you havent told them you dont like it, maybe they think youre happy? (2) you stay. But if you stay you have to own up to your choice. No matter why you choose to continue, you chose. And its your responsibility to make the best out of that decision. Its all about the mindset.

Goodluck with whatever happens with you! Everything will be alright no matter the path. 

M.Medic (not verified) says...

Hi there, I'm a final yr medical student and i feel you. I went through a similar thing, I would've much rather pursued a career in music and arts but somehow found myself doing medicine. Study was always a struggle and to this day I still barely read textbooks.

As an INFP I hate the details and much prefer the big picture stuff, this made it challenging in preclinical years when you're given lecture after lecture of 'details'

But don't quit until you have done at least a year on clinical placements- this is way different and way better in my opinion to the preclinical years. This is also when I realised that there can be art in medicine, and that medicine was indeed for me.

What got me through medicine tho was continuing to do the things i love. I kept up with music through medical school and also did other things i enjoyed such as teaching. This year i also started making videos and hope to pick up photography as a hobby.

Also, once you get through medical school, you are open to a whole world of different possibilities! Every specialty has something different to offer. Different lifestyle, different work culture, different type of jobs/tasks etc.

As INFP, my sense of meaning comes from my idealistic view that I want to (and can) make a positive change in the world, and seeing patients improve is one of those things that help keep me optimistic

All the best, and never give up!
You can have the best of both worlds. The path there might just be a bit different from what you, or anyone else, expected!

Infp engineer (not verified) says...

Based from my experience, I can totally relate to you. I loved writing and dreamed of being a writer when I was young but I needed a more practical course so i chose Engineering. I liked studying regardless of what course I'm in. I said to myself it will only take 5 yrs and when I'm done studying i can do everything i want. Unfortunately that's not the case and i feel trapped in this career I chose.

Having a job takes most of your time everyday. You will do it for the rest of your life so I suggest choose something you are passionate about or make a way for you to enjoy your interests while doing a day job.

Being a doctor will be quite demanding of your time. You'll always be on call so i really suggest you think about your career path and whether you can balance your time to do what you truly love. 

My career doesn't really give me time to explore my interests since im usually working 8-12hr shifts. It really drained me and i felt empty inside. It's not fulfilling so i quit that job and now I'm looking into other jobs where i can balance my time doing  a job that can pay the bills and have time to do the things that makes me happy. 

Ljchmomas (not verified) says...

Stick with it! I work in the field of career counseling (well, more or less), and there is a niche that you can fill with that. As an INFP, no matter what field you go into, nothing will be the perfect fit automatically - it will take a lot of you moving things around to make it fit who you are and what you want. You can help people and will have competencies at the end of that - it will be hugely fulfilling once you start working directly with people. Until then, it's like being blinded by the minutiae/uninspiring parts - if you can make it through, years later I think you will be glad. Besides, maybe you start out as a family physician or go into psychiatry or end up doing something completely different with your m.d. - humanitarian work or hospital/clinical ethics work.  It's not your parents' fault or yours - it's life and at least within medicine, you'll have resources and some ability to move around to make it what you want it to be!

Helicopter793 says...

Medicine's a broad group of careers .Most people will find their niche .You will earn you good money but if you really feel you will never be happy doing it you should consider changing career- better to do it now than later .You spend so much of your life doing your career , especially one like medicine that it is just not worth doing if you feel you will never be happy in it .

See link above for INFP careers in medicine .

I am INFP and been a Family Dr for last 26 years , originally wanted to be a journalist/ writer /lawyer or child psychiatrist but somehow got sidetracked by parental expectation etc .

Kellie (not verified) says...

I think it would be good though for your personality as you could empathise with your patients as  beit would in a rewarding career that helps people? And most GP's only see patients one on one and can help them. Maybe do as suggested and do dance classes on the days you don't have study.. However, it seems it would be a rewarding career that would help other people. Maybe you could switch to being a VET? If being a doctor is really something you don't want to do. All the best. :) 

Katarzyna Rychlicka (not verified) says...


I'm in the same situation as you (almost)! I have been always told to study law. As a result after passing my finals with flying colours I had to do it and here I am on the 3rd year of my journey. It means there's more than two to go (count in the year I had to resit after changing unis and cities). At the beginning it was heart-breaking for me to be in this course of studies but lately I've found I guess my potential ideal job after studies. I want to become a flight-attendant as I love flying and travelling and meeting new people. This concept has given me a lot of relief recently esepcially when times are hard during exams etc. 

When it comes to you, why don't you take dancing classes apart from you studies? 2 times a week can be enough to reignite the fire and inner passion inside to feel truly alive again. I'm an INFP too so I know what I'm talking about :)

Mas (not verified) says...

Hiya. I can totally relate to your situation entirely because I'm currently studying law (final year luckily) and despite only having a few months left until I graduate, I barely have any interest let alone passion for the course. Similary to you, I also love to sing (a lot), take photographs, and learning about psychology. When you said you can't even open a book, I really felt that in my soul haha. Even worse knowing that my course is all about reading, but oh well. Just so you know, there's a lot of people like us in uni doing a course we really can't be arsed to do but if money is involved it always gets a bit hard to turn around and do something else. One thing to keep in mind is that its your life and rather than being miserable at the most developmental part of your adulthood, listen to your intuition and do what feels right. I mean, you seem to be an INFP after all. Honestly though, I feel you and I wish you the best for the future and hopefully make the right choice. 

Dang (not verified) says...

Hi, I'm sorry to hear about your situation. I know it probably feels like you are stuck in this situation and would feel very guilty for abandoning being a doctor, but if you go through with it, you won't be happy. I went through a similar situation as you and ended up pursuing my real passion five years later, and trust me, I wish I pursued it earlier instead of listening to what others were telling me what was best for you. What is best for you is whatYOU are passionate about and what makes YOU shine and happy. If you pursue your passions, even if they're not the most "realistic" or make the most money, you will find happiness and will be good at what you are doing and eventually will find success because that is what YOU love. Us INFPs can't fake passion or pursue things we feel nothing for, and we ultimately end up depressed and/or failing. I strongly believe we must do what we want to do, because those are our strengths. Just because our strengths and passions are not the usual path, doesn't mean that it's wrong. I hope that you get out of this situation before you are in too deep. 

Shutterbug83 (not verified) says...

I seem to be an infp, i studied Photography but it was too hard to get into the industry esp with health conditions and not very confident or outgoing. More ahy and reserved. Did mini lab work or photoshop but my health has gotten worse. I have TMJD a conditon of the jaw and cant actually speak much if it all, having to communicate by text.

Had a plant business online but it wasnt profitable so just a hobby now.

Before my jaw issues i was in call centres for 12 years, didnt like it but paid bills.

Need a job sitting down, no talking for an introvert whos artistic, loves animals, photography,kayaking, plants and the environment.

I get repetitive stain from data entry.

Feel abit lost.


Hey interested in hiring you to help with my plants (not verified) says...

What's up!? Bought some plants and they sort of aren't looking as healthy as they did initially. They got some weird looking flies too haha. Get in touch!

dios (not verified) says...

if they are inside they are probably fungus gnats if its outside it could be many things 

dios (not verified) says...

Concerning intp/infp confusion


ive read through quite a few comments here alot of you including myself got mixed results with thinking/feeling types. i think the fact a lot of different places wrongly see us as "airy-fairy" types does not help. its good to remember that we are in fact all of the types just we use some more then others which is why its difficult to tell. i am lucky enough to know an intp type who explained it to me that thinking types are logical but also very self centered they wouldnt care as much what others think of them and every theory they have has to be grounded in fact they arent unfeeling as i say they have the same situation where they also use some of the feeling type too just it isnt as prevelant in their thinking they wouldnt put that to how others feel as much as we would and wouldnt need to be liked like we do :D hope this helps clarify it a bit i know it might be different for others so i will leave this open for you to decide which you are but you will be great as either

dios (not verified) says...

is it just me or would schools benefit more from getting teachers to learn personality profiling like this? the way i see it, it could help them understand the way students think and learn and be able to place students nearer to each other that have more positive learning effects on each other and form friendships aswell as be able to "speak their language" i know as a student infp i would have benefitted a lot more from a teacher or another student understanding me a bit better and putting things in a way i understood rather then the systematic teaching style that is universally used. maybe even help elliviate some of the suicidal thoughts i have seen to be quite common in our personality type in that time of our lives

Original Name Is Like Torture (not verified) says...

I am an elementary school teacher and an INFP.  I agree that it would be helpful to zero in on the personality types of each student = not that I would use the information systematically of course, but knowing would help guide my practice holistically.  It would be helpful if there were quizzes geared to different age levels.  I could make one I guess.

dios (not verified) says...

this sounds like a great idea and im glad someone is running with it :) its always difficult to say how you think when often you dont really know thats why these tests dont often give the correct results plus people also put what they think they want to be, rather then what they actually are so i suppose answering questions more litterally would help like are you imaginative or logical etc. 

Yolanda2020 says...

I am a homeschooling parent of a gifted 13yr old who unfortunately cannot go to school due to social phobia & anxiety. This term we’re studying ‘Lord of the Flies’ for our English text. I decided to give him the Myer Briggs personality test as I felt this would encourage him on his strengths. He is an INFP and found the excercise insightful. I think it would be great to do this with students. I wish I’d done it when I was younger.,

Leisharn (not verified) says...

You read my mind! That is exactly what I always thought. If only there were a school upon enrolment students have to complete a (MBTI) test and are matched teacher more likely on their wavelength. I think the system needs to change schools needs to work with psychology because they share the mind and learning and I also think the medical community needs to immerse with nutrition as the first most important treatment because they share health body and once all these systems are in harmony they they should countereact any disease or mental disorders that the world is suffering with. 

dios (not verified) says...

maybe we should put this to the intp's to see if the facts check out :D

dios (not verified) says...

interesting idea i think with medical community it has been getting better but isn't perfect with nutrition hence why we keep getting these t.v. shows telling us to eat 5 fruit and veg portions a day now but as i havent had much "inner knowledge" of the medical professions its more difficult for me to comment. but i do think we are only as strong as our weakest link so perhaps nutrition is it. i've heard others think that stress is the biggest contributing factor to illness and others think we all just need to drink more water. so really im completely lost as to what would be best. i know for me just the imbt test is difficult to get right especially when you dont know yourself i think though at least teacher training to reckognise different psychological types would be a good action. but deffinitely any form of action would be a good action .

Lindsey the INFP-T Mediator (not verified) says...

I am an INFP-T Mediator ALL THE WAY. I have taken the Myers Briggs personality test numerous times over the years and no matter how much I think I have "changed" I get the same results every time.

HOWEVER, don't depend on these assumptions too much. It's easy to feel even more lost if you get caught up in these and see them as limitations. I am a legal assistant for a State's Attorney's office pursuing my paralegal certification and even though it does not at all line up with what an INFP usually would be good at, I LOVE it. It took me a while and I felt really dumb at first, but with patience and determination I have become confident in my skills in this career. It does help that I have a fantastic work environment and a great boss.

My favorite thing about my job is seeing every day how I can help people with various needs. I help couples adopt children, I help people get out of toxic marriages, I help people buy their first house, etc. It is SO rewarding and I can't believe I finally found my niche! An INFP needs a purpose that captivates us. 

Adrienne Muller Goldstein (not verified) says...

Hi Lindsey. I am an INFP-T and thinking of going into paralegal work. How did you get into it? I do like helping people but most importantly I like to be left alone at work to do a lot of writing and planning. At the same time I like the option of stepping away from my desk and interacting with others at certain points in my day. This has been a major challenge in my career and I have ended up doing a lot of data entry type work that really crushes my soul. Did you get a degree of some kind? I definitely don't want to go to law school or invest a lot of money in education. I feel like I have an insider view of what the industry is like because my Father is a lawyer and a judge so I grew up hearing the lingo at home. I hope you see this! Let me know. Thank you.

Lindsey the INFP-T Mediator (not verified) says...

Hey, Adrienne!!

I had a job as a part-time legal secretary in high school working for an Attorney who did mostly civil cases. I was very limited at that job, not as motivated as I was younger, and it was a poorly set up Law Firm and an awful work environment. I've tried many different jobs since then and most of them helped me figure out what I WASN'T interested in pursuing. The difference between that job and the one I currently have now is day and night. I now have a very healthy work environment with trust and respect. I love this job for some of the reasons you mentioned- independence at my desk with just the right amount of social interaction. I love interacting with our clients. My boss and the other Attorney here are great!! Jobs where I'm surrounded by people all day completely drain me. This is the perfect balance for me and I think you would love it, too, if you can find the right work environment and people to deal with every day. ;) 

I don't want to commit to extensive schooling and student loans, either. If you gain enough experience as a legal assistant and you continue to improve, you will gain enough confidence and perspective to take a paralegal certificate course, which is MUCH cheaper than getting your associates degree and taking a paralegal course. I'm sure your background will help immensely and your father is a great resource for you to learn quickly. :) 

Best of luck to you, Adrienne!!!

Alma (not verified) says...

Some things are more bearable than others, but everything has to be done with a purpose, for example a chemical engineer to clean the water of a dam, a river, a lake, to benefit a community, an animal population, irrigation of crops, etc. :-)

Karen Winter (not verified) says...

Purpose is key  for sure

Margozofogj (not verified) says...

Any INFP veterinarians with any career advice? Considering this career but also having some reservations.

dreamchaser (not verified) says...

INFP here currently in vet school (just finished 4th year). It is a highly rewarding career but be ready for many reality checks as you go through vet school/ encounter clients from all walks of life. 

Confused and Scattered (not verified) says...

Everyones opinions I connect with but feel no closer to certainty in choosing a path to follow. 

I know that whatever I choose I will be happy with because I will do right by my values, but I'm tired of drifting and what I'm having trouble with is Choosing!! How do you decide?

I'm late twenties and I've been in an out of different jobs never feeling truely satisfied in my work, love parts but not all. I've been a visual merchandiser (loved the creativity, not the sales), a dresser for opera (loved being around artists), I've worked in hospitality (loved when I was the reason people had a good time), as a tutor in university (loved seeing students progress), a personal sltylist (loved seeing people feel good about themselves) and volunteered in animal shelters (i love animals). I've travelled a fair bit (love new visual sights and cultural experiemces), I enjoy getting my hands a little dirty (gardening, painting, pottery, building something and seeing progress) but nothing too hard, just enough, I love hikes and swimming (being in nature basically) and dancing and yoga (i love movement and self expression of the body), I love beautiful things that are made with love and care (appreciation for others crafts).

I enjoy too much and feel overwhelmed.

Therefore I want to make these things, I want to dance, ride, walk, run, jump, be in nature, I want to try writing as I have stories to share, I want to clean up the environment and get a community together that can clean up together and work towards positive change and I want to make people happy and help wildlife.

How do you do all of this or just decide on some of it?

How do you find a career that is satisfying enough that is will fulfill life (for the career side of things)? I know you can carve a niche career and you can combine things but which and how?

dios (not verified) says...

i had the same problem but chose wisely i thought of all the things i enjoyed doing most and combined them to what i considered myself most accademically suited for and decided i loved to draw and i loved being in the garden potting up my herbs and thought hey garden design might be fun (satisfy other peoples requirements, gets me outdoors, lets me explore my creative side. So far i havent been disappointed by my descition i went to college for 4 years learnt a little and then went on to a garden nurserie/center where i could create doing the plan displays and help customers choose the right thing for them i found it also good that i was challenged out of my comfort zone into the realms of dealing with customers that wanted to haggle etc. that and i knew if i got a desk job i'd probably get fat :D but its been 13 years now there the boss is great the staff are tollerable :D and i wouldnt have it any other way now. but i think its also true to say theres no wrong choice for you here what you go for will most probably challenge you in different ways and you will adapt to what suits your personal values 

Nathan who wants to save the world (not verified) says...

I relate to this a lot. I'm in my early twenties and haven't finished any studies yet. But I decided to focus on what I want in life and that is also a lot. But then I realized that I want to make this world a better place, especially for wildlife and nature. And that's how I found the study of applied biology, which is scientific, but also very practical and creative. This way I get to work with nature, wildlife, plants, I will see the world. It is meaningful and that's what I want. And maybe this way I will find inspiration to write. I'm a dreamer and this idea makes me dream more. So yeah. 

Alina Sorger (not verified) says...

this is exactly me.. thank you so much for sharing! i am also comepletely overwhelmed, but it's nice to know to be not alone

AnonymousTiff1976 (not verified) says...

I can certainly understand your excitement toward life yet your overwhelm and confusion regarding which direction to take a career.

I'm now 43 and have been told at times I have done many things and am knowledgeable compared to the age I am.

I've always had the mindset to suck the juice out of life. I had the opportunity to go to a formal university, but no. I would rather experience life.

We are adventurers! This explains why I've had so many experiences, jobs, travel, and lived in various places.

A part of me wanted to live stable. But the idea of driving the same way to work at the same job I've had for 25 years repulses me. I feel life drain from me at the thought of it.

So, I'm now married to a stable guy, with a stable career, that understands my abstract ways and makes room for it while I pursue yet another artsy euntepreneul opp.

My best advice, accept that part of you. Accept it all. You my friend are a rare blue diamond among diamonds. Don't try to fit into the mold of this world because it will erase you and crush you. With the majority being 'type A's' find your/our peeps. Then when you want to build something big find a ESTJ, I did and married him ;-)

anonymous268 (not verified) says...

Hey I don't have an answer for you but just wanted to let you know I'm going through the exact. same. thing. So you are not alone.

Squeak (not verified) says...

Ha!  You sound like me.  I have so much to do.  I'm now in my late 30's and am having to prioritize some of the things I do.  I run a riding stable, I build and set equestrian jumping courses for horse shows, I also teach at an alternative school, which means I teach 7 different science classes to students that progress at their own pace.  I think the key is to find a place that keeps stimulating your curiosity and challenging your love for learning new things.  For me, I'm having to think about backing out of the horse business and I'm starting to focus more on my teaching.  This is because I feel I need to spend more time with my family.  My family gets frustrated sometimes, because I will work from the moment I get up to the moment I fall asleep on all of my projects.  I have to make sure I carve out time for them because they really are the most important to me.  Fortunately, I'm married to and ENFP, so he's just as much as a disorganized dreamer as I am, just more social.  He understands my crazy drive to do all of the things is who I am.


My advice is that you are young, continue trying new things.  Look into fields that are interesting and will keep you growing.  Even though people wear me out, so I make sure I have my alone time, I love seeing how different approaches work for different people.  I love trying to figure out humans and horses.  I do well switching between helping a student with a physics problem, to explaining the endocrine system, then going home and helping a timid rider control a thousand pound animal.  Especially teaching at an alternative school, I have lots of kids that need help and need someone to fight for them.  I will warn you, after 15 years of this, I find my emotional strength failing.  I truly love what I do, but as I get older, I feel I need to go into more of a support role for new teachers.  I tell my students that I still haven't figured out what I want to be when I grow up, and that's ok.

May I reccomend a field where you help people who are struggling?  The most rewarding thing to me is supporting someone to get better.  To watch them learn, succeed, and ultimately find their own path.  I work well in small groups and meeting an individual's needs.  The only downside is, that when my students end up going down the wrong path, it really hurts.  The highs match the lows, I guess.  I handle this by working on a book that each chapter is dedicated to one of my students.  Will I ever publish it? Probably not, but it feels good to sit down and write.

Good luck, You sound like a wonderful, interesting person.  Never lose your curiosity and love for life.  You've got this.

Breeze Blown Wildflower (not verified) says...

Hello fellow INFP's!  (Skip to ** to get to the heart of it).

So I know this is silly/hard to ask strangers career advice, but I am at a pretty pivotal point in my Life and desperately searching for guidance and even deeper understanding of myself as well of my wants, needs and what is practical. 

So I just finished my AA but am still torn on what career route to go, but feel I need to decide soon, especially If I want to go to college for anything long term. 

Originally I was really interested in becoming an Art Therapist, the idea of combining my Love of Art with the opportunity to help and heal others seemed PERFECT. But the Idea of 4-6 years worth of tuition debt for life just feels SO daunting, and it is worth noting, I have ADD, so it takes me sometimes 3x longer than others to focus and get things done, though I have managed to get A's and B's an be on honor roll (and often high HR) in HS and college. 

Anyway, also, I am very empathetic as well, and also, unfortunately.. Possibly linked to mild daily drug use (pot) coupled with stress and nutrient deficiencies, I have had two "psychotic episodes" within the past 2 years where I completely lost touch with reality the 1st time- much more briefly the second time. My family were of course very worried and admitted me into a psychiatric hospital, where there were some Art Therapists staffed, and if that is a major employer of Art Therapists, I don't know if I could handle being in that environment for very long. I am typically pretty optimistic but I could see myself feeling depressed if I have patients with depression and other struggles I cannot fully help improve. Sadly I even went to a funeral for a nurse I knew who worked there who ended her life recently, which adds to my wariness. 

Though I would still like to consider that, recently I have been really considering a different career path which is my number one question. 

***Most recently I have begun to very seriously reconsider my thoughts of pursuing a career in writing. Now before you judge me, I would not typically be this scattered and emotional in most topics I write about and have actually had quite a few teachers and friends tell me how much they enjoy my writing and even go so far as to show other people. I feel I communicate most thoroughly and articulately when I write my thoughts out and would feel that a career in writing would allow me to continue learning, sharing knowledge with others and keep my brain fluid and sharp. 

Possible cons: Since I have always had trouble focusing, and more importantly..had trouble with meeting deadline.. I could never focus at home while people were awake, so I would spread out on the kitchen table and stay up all night and in highschool especially had chronic insomnia, sometimes sleeping as little as 20-40 minutes. Psychiatrists and family believed my lack of sleep leading up to my psy. episodes also triggered it. So, although I may be able to work on writing during the day now, I fear when life gets more hectic -with kids etc.- I could end up staying up late to meet deadlines and setting myself up for unhealthy habits for life. Especially since when I get too mentally invested in things I often forget to eat as well. 

* Also, I have actually finished half of a certification in floral design as well, and have an interest in it, and have been applying to floral shops again for the time being, but I have my doubts on being solely in a floral shop or solely a writer, so Have been thinking of at least going part-time for both, but then again, that just ups the likely hood of wearing myself thin and would kind of stink because though at least I would have at least one confirmed source of income (from florist) I would likely not be able to get insurance through either source If I am split 50/50 so it's difficult. 

I just can't see myself being completely devoid of physical color and creation in my life, but on the flip side, I had worked in a floral shop for only a short period of time before I had another psychotic episode-this time physically had to step away based on a delusion I got from the similarity of a person's personal message and my life and went home early when I was only working part-time (after full time for 2 weeks straight for the first time working in a while). It was scary, and again though numerous things could've contributed I thought it almost felt like I had too much time to just think. Freely and continuously about anything, since the job -especially at an intermediate level- does not require a lot of thought. 

Also.. I don't really desire to be a manager at a floral shop, ideally just a head floral designer- but with small shops especially that can be impossible, and sometimes you can really only start making decent money as a manager.. So I am very torn. 

Starting to feel like I am not a perfect fit for anything, but I have so many interests and some that really push and pull me. 

Like I cannot tell if a path I would like to pursue most is just so far fetched I have pushed it off for years.. Part of me when I get feeling charismatically swept away by fellow INFP female singers, I keep feeling like there's a chance I could go somewhere with that somehow. I have sung in a choir for years- mildly lame setting, but bottom line I got to sing in school for an hour instead of other bs- and have gotten several compliments from others and my teacher even said she truly thought my singing was my gift in this life (she believes each child has something) but from what I heard didn't say it to everyone.. but regardless, One of the biggest things I feel stops me is, though I'm fairly decent looking- not flawless of course, but I have been identified by my style and such- after a serious eye infection years ago, they said my eyes would always be too dry to wear contacts again, and they still won't even let me buy them, and I just feel like most people who make it anywhere just aren't wearing glasses on stage. 

Especially being a woman who likes to sing a bit more sultry, and have just always valued my eyes as an asset (I got glasses in 3rd grade and contacts in 4th) being dependant on glasses and having it interfere with the aesthetic I prefer has always bothered me a bit.. But, I honestly don't care to blow up as a huge singer/artist or anything, because I wouldn't really like that kind of attention/press, but I do value the artistic freedom and connections that can come with at least making it semi-big. For example more dreamy music video and travel opportunities. 

That's also why I think writing could be good for me because maybe it can help me become better at songwriting and possibly at least be able to fulfill the sweet Idea of me playing in a coffee shop somewhere as a hobby and way to make connections. Luckily I have found the love of my life, but I just don't know where to make friends as an adult.. 

Sorry for Rambling so Much! I'm just so lost and torn and have been for months, any advice would be so kind! Thank you for reading if you took the time to skim! 

TLDR: Hopeless dreamer debates between Art Therapy, being a Writer for online articles, A Floral Designer, somehow trying to become an alternative singer or a risky mix of multiple of them. 

AndreCosta (not verified) says...

I'm amazed at how your mind is wired, it's basically the same as me.. quite scary reading the text you wrote it's essentialy revealing how you process information and make up decisions in your mind. What I can tell is that recently on Facebook on a post (the bigest infp group there) someone wrote about a Value oriented life vs a goal/purpose oriented life, I was struck about this because I never really thought about things this way ( we are kind of already doing it but not giving it a proper perspective) I'm going to paste his comment here and think about for a couple of days, or whatever time you need!


I don't think Goal/Purpose Driven development works for INFPs.

I've been doing personal development for 30 years so I figured out my purpose awhile ago. Here's the thing -- I can't do Purpose-Driven Development. It doesn't fit . Purpose-Driven Development is highly geared towards the Extraverted Thinking cognitive process. Unless that's the dominant process of your personality type, those methodologies are incredibly difficult for Fi-dominant/Te-inferior personalities.

Instead, I switched to Value-Oriented Development which is more about the right direction then it is about the right destination.

Purpose-Driven Development is centered around clarifying purpose and goals and then figuring step-by-step plan to achieve them, both internal and external work.

Value-Oriented Development works by clarifying values and then re-aligning your day-to-day with those values.

Goals that felt right in my 20s weren’t what I wanted anymore when I was in my 30s with kids. Goals and purpose change. It's called dynamic inconsistency. However, my highest values: growth, freedom, belonging, creative self-expression are still the same.

Purpose-Driven focuses on What and then figuring out how to get What. Value-Oriented starts with How in order to clarify What.

Examples of Purpose-Driven goals:

What career should I have that I’m passionate about?
What relationship do I want to have?
What should I do to make myself happy?

Examples of Value-Oriented:

If growth is a top-value, how do I continue to learn and grow so I don’t become bored with work or with anything I do?

If connection is a top-value, how do I create connection with anyone, not just people I’ve known for years who have busy lives that I don’t see as often as I like?

If freedom is top-value, how do I create more choices for myself in an economic system that requires a job?

Value-oriented personal development is focused on taking those things that I do in my life and figuring out how to align them with my values so my life feels authentic. It’s about the day-to-day journey, not about achieving a future result in order to feel you're "fulfilling your potential."

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