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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.

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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Comments

Abyss (not verified) says...

this is so much accurate! now i know who i really am and thanks for everything!

Guest (not verified) says...

this is freakishly accurate 0.o

Guest (not verified) says...

for me too. it really is quite weird

Giannina (not verified) says...

I am impressed

lovelymelody1 says...

This is exactly how I feel!!!

Guest (not verified) says...

Very cool and dead-on-accurate!

vpvenkatesh says...

This is awesome! I can see who am I? Excellent!

Guest (not verified) says...

This is great! I am having so much fun! This is shedding so much light on how I see the world. Thanks!

KaiIsMyName (not verified) says...

Awesome!

not a person bot05 (not verified) says...

I TOTALLY WANTED TO BE A DESTIST I AM DISAPOINTED

Guest (not verified) says...

This analysis is pretty good.

Some additional thoughts:

The descriptions of both INTP and INFP are overly simplistic when they imply you are either only understand technical systems (INTP), or that you are an illogical idealist that bases your decisions on feelings (INFP). Some people in both groups are most concerned of finding meaning and are conceptual thinkers and deductive learners that think in absolute truths. Some INFPs objectively understand how different people can effectively, realistically work together peacefully and happily. Many of these people can also transfer between what system they are interested in or change what system they are interested in over time. Like math, everything works in relationships the difference and there are rules that cannot be broken.

At least some of the people in both groups are big picture thinker/system designers. Everything is a system (people systems, government systems, technological systems, the ecosystem, etc.)- the difference between some of the people grouped in these categories is the system they choose to focus on. ****the relationships between things and the relationships between these systems***

Jennifer Miller (not verified) says...

Very deep perception. I'm an INTP and have always been treated like a block of ice by other personality types...until now. Thank you. It's like a breath of fresh air :)

Why can't any personality type enjoy math? 

Kadir (not verified) says...

I have come out as a strongly INTP personality, and fit quite well with the described traits. But this time INFP was a slight winner. I definetely have a "world peace idealism" side, and it may be more dominant then the dry logical side (actually a strong underlying pull like gravity). So, I found the whole of info on INFP very interesting, and find that that's an aspect of me at the very least. All in all, I still think I'm a strong INTP but I do have (like all people) a personality that won't fit in a neat rectangle and spill over on several sides, so it's quite enlightening to see myself in another mirror in INFP.

Nuker89 says...

I agree. I am actually 56% feeler and 44% thinker, and around the same for Judging andperceiving. I'm barely majority INFP, and I can willingly or unconsciously switch to INTP. I think that I do this because as an INFP I value being well-rounded, and as that is a part of my ideals then I decided to learn to be both. It's too simplistic, because as an INFP I dont like conflict, but I understand there is a difference between debating and arguing. As a result, I'm a brilliant debater who understands feeling and logic but pulls out when it is a personal argument. 

Jennifer N (not verified) says...

Hello, I've learned myself to be of infp brand. I appreciate your addition of reflection to the infp/tp type description.  I enjoy the clarity with which you wrote. 

About how we tend to perceptualize, how everything has system, and about how it's all about relationship with these systems. Wow. This past year I experienced the awareness of that, exactly. The words that came through were that it's all about relationship.  To everything. This experience we find ourselves in. As body-mind-soul journey-ers , in this universe. 

And so I found resonance with the bit you wrote. Because part of my growth of self-realization has been looking back and seeing how I used to feel possibly crazy- the way my mind works, and how it just seemed/s to have this insatiable drive to understand, to connect the dots, to assist and take part in the conversation of well-being and living in harmony with everything else in the universe... I felt crazy at times prior to learning about different personality types, because I was acutely aware that many in my environment didnt seem to have the same functionings going on. But as my exploration of self discovery has continued, I've now learned to embrace those innate curiosities and intuitive drive that makes me tic. And to see how I function in the world, with the gifts that it can bring- for the greater good of humanity and Gaya and all. And so as I've been striving to understand our human experience, and different ways to navigate our time here on this planet, I've found understanding on a deeper level than I had before, of the role of relationship in this human experience with one another. As I've been exploring that concept, I've also come to understand, to unearth this knowing deep within, that this experience, in this life, it's all about our relationship... to everything while we're in these bodies. And that of course, includes relationship of humans, amidst all the co-existing systems that exist in the physical world, in society, in the environment, in the energy realms invisible to the naked eye. 

Thank you for sharing.

 

Andi M (not verified) says...

It's not that we're illogical idealists, I think it's more like we rely on our gut feelings to head us in the right direction. We are idealistic but we also hurt deeply because few ever meet our ideals, especially society as a whole. I keep saying we when I should say me or I. Just because someone feels something deeply or follows their gut doesn't mean we lack the ability to think logically or that we don't use logic. Hope that helps a few understand a little better. 

Heather B_3 (not verified) says...

Also, remember that there is a spectrum for each set of traits. For example, I utilize both my F and T function equally depending on the environment I will use one or the other more dominantly. When I was younger I used my F more until I harnessed my T ability. Now I’m more comfortable utilizing my T function. Some people say I sound robotic at times, because I’m so fact/logic based now.

Lisa from WI (not verified) says...

I agree and disagree. The thing to remember is that the types are all on a spectrum.  I personally test close to the midpoint between N and T which makes people perceive me as being very logical at times. And I do like facts, but I struggle when my logic and intuition are at odds.  

Personality is never clear cut and is ever evolving. The descriptions would help my coworkers understand me better. And being 4% of the population explains why I almost always feel that I don’t fit and people don’t understand me.

Somnath (not verified) says...

Yes I agree with you Lisa it's been very hard to someone express my feeling. I'm thinking about universe and society the creater I'm always been alone thinking and doing meditation...

len (not verified) says...

lisa=Goated

This dude (not verified) says...

Good elaboration :3

Guest (not verified) says...

INFP's and F's for that matter "prioritize" emotions, human relationships, and morals. This is not "illogical" but highly logical due to the need for positive human relationships in this life and maybe the next. INTP's and T's for that matter "prioritize" logic, cause and effect, and principles. That's the difference and no individual is 100%.

biggity (not verified) says...

This is a great observation. I live in a deeply emotional and relational world, and I seek out facts and data and apply logic to them with a high degree of rigor and consistency because I find it is extremely helpful in revealing what the emotions I'm feeling or perceiving from others actually are. I'm constantly seeking for better ways to more accurately 'see clearly', if that makes sense, as seeing the accurate context surrounding emotions or reactions helps me tease out the nuances, and that's exciting to me. If I don't seek out facts and just really on my perceptions, then I am prone to building an entire understanding of things based on my assumptions, and that can lead to decisions and behaviors that aren't in alignment with who I want to be.

I'd say it's a learned skill, but not especially difficult. The first time it really pays off because you asked someone to clarify something you thought you knew, and it turns out you were wrong and the follow up conversation helps you get better insight - well, you'll be hooked.

mandy13b (not verified) says...

I love that, I'm not going into the deep shit here but basically 'learn something from a different perspective, learn from your own mistakes, always admit and always be interested to learn for better understanding', its makes people better to just do that, I don't see anything wrong with admitting you're wrong, in my case as an honest stupid moment mostly, but sometimes as a selfish effed up moment....loads more but tbh I'm not in the mood atm...

Guest (not verified) says...

Thank you so much, I've been wondering about this too! I've taken the test so many times, and it's always a 50/50 between INTP and INFP.

Guest (not verified) says...

Actually, one common mistake with MBTI is that they define feeling-types as those who prefer emotions over logic. However, the term feeling means that we prioritize our values over logic.

Courtney (not verified) says...

yes! I really have always had a problem with the stereotype that INFPs are overly idealistic, illogical airy fairies. That is a key factor to keep in mind: Feeling vs thinking does not talk about rationality or ability to think in a complex, analytical way. There are many INFPs that actually value intellectualism and rationality. So they might actually show up in fields like philosophy or research where they can write but about something they value. My favorite way to explain the MBTI to others is that it does not aim to explain “what”, it aims to explain “how”.

Brian Rea Valdez (not verified) says...

Yes I’ve never done that? Or ever chosen emotions over logic but I have cried and I would feel honestly so weak I couldn’t even load the shotgun and shoot myself and I take things into exaggeration or so I think because that’s what my mom would tell me when she told me that because how I act upon her and disrespect my parents my children will do the same because she’s said she’s seen it in her family So therefore it will happen to me and I told are you wishing me bad luck and I cried because honestly! I felt like she was cursing me and I really don’t feel loved by my parents they just want me to do good in school get all those grades earn money but where has the love of my parents gone? Maybe that’s what they don’t realize pft it’s been at least a few months since I haven’t hugged any of them and my sibilings its been years and YET I remember the time my mom told me to hug my sister because she felt sad but I thought WHAT ABOUT ME!! And I didn’t hug her as I didn’t feel loved I would never if I were gone it would be different I wish I could out my Hispanic household where I wish to go would be Russia because it’s cold there I wrote because I want someone to understand me please judge me I wonder what I did wrong.

tabish rahman (not verified) says...

hi well i have been through something like this too I will suggest you to learn to reflect over your emotion. feeling and doing are different things when i u feel anything like you are not being loved it is just a feeling and the way you react to it is important and this helped me alot and try reflecting on yourself when you are alone not from prospective of others but yours. the thing they know amd understand are based of there experience in this life and their childhood it is the reason they react that way. try understanding and live on your own values and virtue. others can judge you but dont let there judgment effect you. at least you are the one who decides what to show the world master that art

INFP Pride (not verified) says...

I feel terrible for you and I totally can relate because I felt exactly like you growing up. YOu have to be comfortable and confident in who you are and STOP caring about what everyone thinks about you. Just be yourself and you'll be happy. No one is perfect so you dont have to be. The way you are is beautiful, special and ok. Remember that and you;ll blossom from there. Most of all you want to be a healthy person, and you get there by not letting others get in the the way of your happiness. You deserve to like yourself, and no one knows you better than yourself. YOu can listen to what others say, to dont internalize it as a defect in you. Just tell yourself that you are too important to get depressed over these things. Learn how to be happy and confident and secure and you will be happy. Good luck!

Kerim (not verified) says...

So true!

Guest (not verified) says...

This is true. I feel like I'm in-between INFP and INTP and can be interchangeable when it comes to interests

Guest (not verified) says...

You're absolutely correct about this.

10 years ago I scored at INTP and last week I scored at INFP. When I took a look at where I fell along the scale for thinking and feeling my score was almost dead center, with just a small fraction leaning in the 'feeling' side of things. I was told by a psychologist that the labels themselves do not reveal as much as where you fall along each scale of the spectrum and that you also have to consider how different situations can exercise (or bring out) different aspects of our personality.

Guest (not verified) says...

It was hard to distinguish my own personality when it came to the "thinking" or "feeling" type. I'm very balanced in both of those categories so I totally see what you are saying here.

Guest (not verified) says...

I had the same exact thoughts

Bob Veats (not verified) says...

Same

Guest (not verified) says...

It isn't that INFPs don't think. It's more about how decisions are made.

Guest (not verified) says...

This is an interesting observation.. as my spouse and I both bridge two types as well along the "thinking" and "feeling" axis. He's an INFP/INTP... and I'm an INFJ/INTJ.

Guest (not verified) says...

When someone speaks with you regarding inward things in themselves--pain is easiest to decipher, I think-- do you hear them and understand... or can you feel them?

mandy13b (not verified) says...

Wow, I've always felt people more than anything....understand the pain, just because I felt more, or could put myself in their shoes and my imagination always took me to the pain, or their shoes....so weird really, thanks for sharing.

Guest (not verified) says...

I can feel them - and often times words aren't required.

Urbanoutsider says...

Same.

Russell_P (not verified) says...

If I understand correctly... you are describing the difference between empathy (understanding what they feel) and sympathy (feeling what they feel). I think we can choose to do either (or both) in a given situation. Does that sound right? I am learning about counselling, and am lead to believe that counsellors need to practice empathy over sympathy. Empathy will help a person feel understood (what they need) where sympathy is more about what the counsellor is feeling and needs to be carefully filtered trying to help some-one. Tell me if I am wrong.

INFPs (among other types) are attuned to feelings, in ourselves and others. Is sympathy vs empathy what more about how we choose to deal with these feelings? They are related, but not the same, and not mutually excusive... and are tools INFPs more naturally have at their disposal.

 

Vincentbronk (not verified) says...

Actually sympathy is understanding and epathy is feeling. Just to make sure you understand

Lotus (not verified) says...

You are incorrect regarding your understanding of empathy and sympathy. IMO.   Sympathy is feeling sorry for someone or what they are going through. Empathy is both understanding and feeling the other person, that is,  you as the listener are able to put yourself in their shoes/ in their total experience.

Fleiki says...

You've got that backwards, Russell_P.  Empathy is not just understanding, but being able to share or feel the feelings of the other person.  Sympathy is feeling pity for someone or understanding their feelings, but not necessarily feeling what they're going through.  I cried uncontrollably at the funeral of a friend's brother.  Later, another friend commented that she hadn't known I had been so close to him.  I explained that I was mostly crying for the pain that his mother, a woman I knew well and loved, was going through.  My heart was aching for her.  That is empathy, not sympathy.  But then, I had to fight back tears of joy when a kid on the opposing team hit one out of the park and got a home run - how exciting that must have been for him!  I didn't even know him!  That's also empathy. (But I couldn't suppress the grin on my face and that got me strange looks from a couple of the kids on my own team, the one I was coaching! Ha!Ha!)

Angela Marcotte (not verified) says...

I would say that both sympathy and empathy go hand in hand because to understand you have to be able to feel it too?

Right..... especially for us INFP?

Nick Dale (not verified) says...

I don't think that's correct. 
Empathy is the ability to 'feel' what others are feeling, to 'put yourself in their shoes', so to speak. Sympathy is simply feeling pity or sorrow for someone's situation. It's more distant but not visceral, as empathy may be. 
I would imagine counsellors would need to be empathetic for sure, at least it would certainly help. But there would need to be ways to protect themselves from going too far into empathy and remaining objective. 

LoLo says...

Omg thank you for saying this! I don't know why but the distinction between empathy "being in someone else's shoes," and sympathy, "feeling a sense of concern for another's circumstances."were mistakenly conceptualized and defined. I'm really glad I was not the first person to mention the discrepancy. I'm a Communication's major and my professor's focused on this concept. Empathy is explained and defined as "standing in a person's shoes. Feeling what they feel  That's where the highly debated "Empath" expression comes from. Sympathy is when you give someone your best wishes or commiserate.

 I'm sure that was just an oversight by the original poster  I apologize for interjecting bc of a pet peeve  

 

https://www.dictionary.com/e/empathy-vs-sympathy/

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 stack...am 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.

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