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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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Peter7 (not verified) says...

I had onesided friendship with all my highschool friends. It crushed me when I realized it. Still recovering.

Marielis (not verified) says...

I haven't had an actual close friend in years. Old friends of mine only come to me because they need help with school work, they don't reach out to me because they just want to talk. And I know that I don't reach out to them either, its just hard for me to make friends, it's hard to have a conversation with people. But I'm not going to force myself into being different from how I am.

Bradley K (not verified) says...

I can definitely relate to struggling with friendships. Since leaving highschool nearly six years ago I have found it very difficult to maintain or create new friendships, often finding that I can be a little reserved and probably lack luster in the early stages of building a friendship, but also tend to feel awkward calling or messaging friends "Hey do you want to hang out?". That said, I have managed to build a couple of new friendships, however, most of these tend to be related to either university or work, and because I am weary these relationships may end suddenly, or not be the best, I am going to try to some new hobbies and see how I go that way. Difficult given the current global circumstances. 

In regards to 'love life', I always found it difficult when I was younger as although I was interested in 'love', I often found that I seemed to be approached by those who I didn't really feel 'got me', if you know what I mean. Thankfully, I eventually met someone who I just seemed to gel with. I wasn't really looking for a relationship at the time, but I think that's why it worked out so well, and now we have been together for almost five years. That said, I imagine our situations in regards to 'love life' are reasonably different as being a guy I wasn't really 'pursued' by anyone (mostly women) overly 'aggressive' (in terms of their advances) so I don't imagine I would get the types of comments you do (sometimes labelled 'mysterious' but I always found that cringe worthy, I always felt a little more reserved). 


Jake Miller (not verified) says...

Try Dnd it is part of creative writing and part theater and if you get a good group you'll have people who like similar things you do and hopefully make some meaningful friendships. This has worked out great for me and is something I enjoy as an INFP.

Mars (not verified) says...

Hi Natalia.  You are not alone in this.  I have found that I stuggle in friendship and love too, for the very same reason. I'm not sure what the cure is for  us INFPs, aligned with our personality type and I'm still looking.

Kaitlin (not verified) says...

Yes all the time. The way I see it is most people have friends that come and go. I have had many times when I have tried to make friends but they always ended up canceling on me at the last minuet. I think I was just trying to make friends in the wrong place(like at my job). I started to realize that college and my job was not the best place for social connections. So I think I should really start a hobby and join a club and see if I gradually become friends with someone.  But if theres one way I would like to end this it's that there are plenty of people in this world that will like you for you! Trust me! That's the beauty of having a world where there are so many different personality types. 

Jacquik (not verified) says...

I can relate to the friendship dilemma.
I had a friend who would always vent and impose her wants and needs onto me. When I began to set boundaries and say no more often she got angry and felt abandoned. So I left the friendship.

Recently I walk away a lot sooner than I used to when I deem a friendship or relationship unhealthy. 

An area I could do better in though is discussing my areas of conflict before moving on because I tend to leave without fully discussing why it is I left.
This is rarely ever good for both parties closure.

Brigid (not verified) says...

Yes, yes, and oh yeah. The better and more authentic or in tune you become in your journey of self discovery, the more you will find yourself being put in the counselor role and with all that brokenness coming at you the more you fortify the walls. I find it so ironic that INFPs live for human connection and often help people to find it, however it is something that eludes us personally. Loneliness is just a reality for most of us INFPs. I wonder why it is that we are able to attract others like ourselves and enjoy a soulmate. Is it because the spaces between INFPs are full and blocked with broken lives?

Damasonsmum says...

Well you probably also get let down easy too don't you? Opening up to someome, trusting them is uncomfortable. I think my ex is an INFP... He's a good guy just lost. Like most of us.


Natalia (not verified) says...

Haha yes. I do get let down easily, partly because I care too much. 

Ellie L. (not verified) says...

I completely agree with the hatred of opening up, I have so much trouble just expressing my emotions and feelings. The only thing is I'm awkward when people try and vent to me. I'm inexperienced with tons of things and that makes me hard to get advice from, my advice is all "What seems best?" other then actual experience. 

Nat art (not verified) says...

It's funny how we share the same name and feeling.  I'm eparently an infp. I feel exactly the same as you said. So you aren't alone😅

But oddly, I find myself over share things but not out of choice. I can't talk about nothing so when a small talk is taking place, I need to talk about something with value. So I start share things about me to keep a conversation up and then I feel so exposed. It can be even a childhood memory and I already feel like they know too much. 

Elia (not verified) says...

I feel the exact same way! I overshare a lot of stuff when I'm trying to keep conversations going, which usually ends up in me feeling defenseless to those who are manipulative. 

Prince (not verified) says...

THIS. Exact same problem of over exposing myself. I hate it.


justanotherINFP (not verified) says...

hey you  :), I just saw you already got plenty of comments, but since I feel kinda the same way, I am going to leave one of my own, although I don't know if it will help you, but it will at least let you know, that you are not alone (and even though I feel sorry for you, I gotta admit I am also relieved to know, I am not the only one struggling with that problem).

I habe been studying for quite a few years now, always failing, changing subjects and so on. I started to think I was lazy or stupid and to become really frustrated and moving closer to stuff like anxiety, depression and burnout (not saying I got it, because I did not go to a therapist, so I've never been diagnosed with such, but my closest friends, the few I shared my feelings with and the ones that really saw through me - and I believe I am not an open book when it comes to negative emotions - suspected). So first of all: take care of yourself, if you get a feeling you need help, then don't hesitate to get some.

But just lately I started thinking a lot about where my problems are coming from and I started realizing that it is something else I want to do and that I lost my goal along the way. I always got kinda pushed into studying, leaving me with little room to question if I even wanted to do so (I am happy now, because I learned a lot, but I would never put a child through the same thing, it was hard and I struggled a lot, putting it mildly), but at least I could choose my subject, if it was something I was likely to find a job afterwards, even though I am paying for it all by myself. So I was at least not forced into studying something I don't like. But I absolutely get you, with not being able to open your book, not getting anything in your head even if you try for hours (but sometimes it helps to try for a very, very long time, then the resistance of my brain or subconscious or whatever just suddenly crumbles and I am able to learn, mabe you could try that) and distracting yourself with other stuff, yet still feeling exhausted, because in the back of your head, there is always the nagging "but you should"-thought.

What is starting to help me through this is writing, I really like wirting (don't worry, I am German, so the storys I write are usually almost free of spelling and grammar mistakes) and I hope to make it my profession one day or at least earn some of my money with that and work less at an usual daytime job. So maybe if you keep in mind, that you can still use your free time to dance and take pictures and maybe someday turn it into a profession, it will help you get through it. As a doctor you will definitely find a job, so you don't have to worry about paying your bills and you can do a lot of good and that can really make an INFP happy, so once you got through studying you might start to like it. But to get through it, keep in mind you don't need to do it for the rest of your life, but you will always have a safe plan b. At least that thought helps me and I am starting to enjoy studying a bit more everyday :).

theshadowhunter (not verified) says...

hello, i am 20 years old currently a medical student in 2nd year and in a road to become a doctor . I ..... don't want to be... a doctor but my parents say that this is the ideal job for me , i like to dance, sing, do photography but whenever i sit to study i couldn't...i don't know why but my mind rejects it so much that it's become hard for me to even open my book 😭 whereas during that time i watch videos of dancing ...i am told that i have no choice at this point to change my carrer coz a lot of money is being invested on me ...sometimes i feel that it will be ok, i will be able to accept it's just 6 yrs u will be able to do it and after that u can do whatever u want to do but the thought of waiting till 6 yrs of gives me chills . Lastly i know i might sound like a brat ranting about my problems and wasting my parents money but all i wrote here is genuine and i have never told anyone about it so thank u for reading and if u have any suggestions for me feel free to tell me .

im sorry (not verified) says...

I know how  you feel.

I graduated from med school last year. And now Im here looking for other things i can do, because i hate being a doctor.

I the first 2 years i just wanted to drop out but then i was ok with becoming a doctor, i adapted, wasnt happy or sad, just ok with the situation, now im depressed and sick of life. 


Bradley K (not verified) says...

I completely understand where you are coming from. Like many others here, I did really well at primary, and highschool. Then before I had even finished school I was accepted into a mechatronics enginnering degree. My family was not extremely well off, but somehow managed to pay for me to move to the city and support me while I looked for work. This sounds great, and I am so, so greatful for the opportunity, but at the time I didn't know what I wanted to do. My parents were what I would call 'pushy' in terms of wanting me to study something they deemed worthy (lawyer, doctor, engineer etc. - the classics), but although I enjoyed certain parts of it, for the most part I absolutely dreaded it. Eventually, after some complex family interactions, I decided to move interstate to another city with my now current partner, where I got my feet on the ground and started figuring out exactly what I wanted to do. After completing two full years of my engineering degree I ended up swiching to a social work degree. Since starting I have begun working as a support worker, helping many families and individuals in their day to day life, and am absolutely loving every second of it, including my degree. I have made many industry connections, and am extremely hopeful for the future. I know I will have likely taken a significant paycut, but my partner and I are both fairly well off still. She is a neuropsychologist and you know what I am doing, and we are both very happy with where we are at in life having just brought our own house last year. 

I guess what I am trying to say is that it sounds like you would be great as a practicing doctor of medicine, and I am sure if you were to continue you would likely be very 'successful' (whatever that means), and have the time and money to do what you want in your spare time once you finsih your degree. However, there are always alternatives and although at times these may be extremely difficult, and potentially cause short-term rifts between you and those you care about, they can sometimes be the best decisions you ever make. At the end of the day it should be your decision what you choose to do and no-one elses, regardless of the pressures put upon you by yourself or others. Be true to yourself, and remember sometimes the hardest things to do, are the things we need to do most.

Yesh (not verified) says...

I am in the exactly same situation. But ten years forward. I'm 30 now. This was what happened to me and might happen to you as well. 

I had to study electrical engineering and I relate to your words 'my mind rejects the information'. I was a bright student in primary and high school and scored good, but engineering was just not for me and I had to do it because of parents and society.

Anyway, I graduated and also got a job where I stagnated in the same position, with no promotions or hikes for seven years. I just couldn't get myself to perform at my best, the work was mundane and there was no meaning in it. I lacked motivation.

However, outside of work, I was extremely active. I was a Stand up comic, and I established a non profit company for Spoken arts and comedy. I also produced so many shows in the city. This gave me immense satisfaction - something I never got from my day job. So I eventually quit and got my MBA and now I'm looking to start from scratch again and have a new life, but with a vow to never go back to my old job again. 

The intense boredom and lifelessness of my day job made me do other things outside of it. But imagine I had the same motivation for engineering. I'd have progressed to a high position by now and be earning millions.

So my opinion is that even if you become a doctor, it will not satisfy your creative needs. This will make you compensate by doing many things outside of work, which may be considered by society as 'waste of time' or 'you could be saving human lives Insead of this' etc. Be prepared for it - because others don't understand INFP's need for these activities and creative vents. It's as important to their survival and sanity as anything else. 

Yesh (not verified) says...

I just read the other comments and I agree that as a doctor, you'll connect with many people on a deep personal level. You'll be able to genuinely listen to them and help them. And I'm sure this will give you immense satisfaction.

Others may wonder what's so unique about this doctor, why do so many people feel healed or much better after consulting you. But we know it's your intrinsic nature to be compassionate and make people feel better. 

We need more Infp doctors. 

Adonyaja says...

@shadowhunter, i hate to say it, but you're going to be miserable if you don't bail.  If you're going mainstream medicine, IOW *not* naturopath or using any alternative practices like acupuncture or reflexology or orthotropic dentistry or etc (ask me, i have a list lol), the feeling of living in a straight jacket will never leave you, and you will feel more and more confined and feet in cement and all that. 

I am so sorry to talk like this, but if there's any way you could explore alternative practices you might find something that actually thrills you because you would be helping people fix themselves, doctors "manage" disease, they aren't taught to treat the body as a whole, or encouraged to study alternative stuff, in fact it's discouraged. 

You MUST find your joy and find ways to express it in your life, and I mean as soon as possible.  You're going down a path that I'm pretty sure will end in misery.  Pleasing your parents is short-lived. 

If you're not happy, you start making other decisions to compensate and you become miserable as hell.  Not truly being who you are is living a lie. 

I support you in questioning everything and trying to be honest with yourself.  You have to live with yourself, not your parents.  I'm sorry if I sound mean but your parents do not know you very well, apparently.  It may be they have some unfulfilled dream of their own they want to play out in you, or they want to tell their friends, Oh yes, my darling child is a doctor, blah blah blah. 

Well, it's your life, honey.  Please jump ship, make the break, don't delay, move to another town if you haven't already.  Your parents, as much as you love them and they love you, they really need to let go of you. 

Maybe you're like me, I grew up in the shadow of an overbearing, "life of the party" mom who thought I "should" do this or that, when i was absolutely *D Y I N G* to dance ballet.  I am giving myself that gift NOW, fervently wishing I'd had the strength to stand up to her then, but I am much happier now than I was.  I am making ME happy.  YOu are the only one who really knows what makes you happy. 

One more thing.....sure it's an "expensive" mistake, but we all make mistakes.  It's okay to make mistakes as long as we're learning from them.  Continuing this path to make your parents happy will cost you dearly if you don't bail now!!!  Just sayin!!!

Troubadoura (not verified) says...

To TheShadowHunter:  It definitely sounds like you're in a dilemma. It's good that you have shared.  That, alone, helps to relieve some of the stress.  The fact that you have made it to medical school, and are now in your second year, means that you are way above average in intelligence, and for that, alone, I congratulate you. 

What is notable is that you said that you cannot even open your books.  That is very serious.  But it's not the end of the world.  It just means that you are very stressed out.

Have you considered completing medical school, and specializing in a field of medicine that involves sports injuries? Dancers often have injuries.  Perhaps during the summer, you could take dance classes to fulfill that part of yourself that loves dancing.  Then another summer you could take photography.  Have you thought about combining medicine and photography?  Medicine is actually a much more FLEXIBLE degree than people think.  You do NOT have to go into private practice, or even a hospital!

If you are still working on your cadaver, you might want to look more closely at the muscles and involve dance, and try to find beauty in that aspect of anatomy, just to keep yourself going. Try to imagine the cadaver dancing!!!! I know that sounds a bit crazy, but INFPs are imaginative!!! What if your cadaver injured itself, and you were the only doctor? How would you want to heal this cadaver, so that it could resume dancing?  Wouldn't you want to be the best doctor possible for your cadaver?  I don't know if this will help you, but it is certainly something upon which to reflect.

Additionally, perhaps you could have a heart-to-heart talk with your parents and share with them your concerns, if you feel that they would at least be willing to listen.

Please do not overlook the value of praying to the Lord, Jesus. If  you're Jewish, then you would prefer to say "God."  In any case, humbling yourself before God in desperation and sincerity will not hurt.  God often ignores crocodile tears,  but He  takes desperation seriously.  If you are willing to pray to Him, please also ask Him to help you RECOGNIZE His help and/or answer.  Since He is God, He is NOT obligated to answer you on YOUR terms.  Remember that always. You may have to wait for an answer for longer than you want to. THAT is a hard reality for us humans to accept.  We OFTEN say that God failed us, if it appears that He did not answer us according to our expectations, or if it appears that He flat out IGNORED us!  Keep praying! Be RESPECTFUL to Him!  You may find yourself FURIOUS at Him. No problem. He can handle it.  Your anger or rage at God will be an avenue to discover things about yourself  that you did not know were there. You may feel so guilty that you want to hide from God, but don't. Secret: He know where you are!!! :-)  He knows everything about you, including the tantrum part of you! So just keep asking, until you get an answer.

If you don't get an apparent answer, then I advise that you ask for His guidance as you process what to do, and then move forward as best as you can.

Perhaps it would also be a good idea to talk to the medical school dean. God is very practical, and He usually rewards a person in ACTION. Only a MOVING ship can be steered!! The dean may be more personable than you think.  He or she, too is human, and has heard a LOT of stories!!

Perhaps you should write out your desires.  What exactly do you want to do? Do you have a clear plan of action to get there? Do you see yourself being a professionl dancer, photographer or singer? Do you have levels of talent in these fields that merit further study?  Have you talked to people in these fields? Do you KNOW anyone in these fields with whom you could speak? Please contact them, and gather information, so that you can use it before you speak to your parents.  They will at least be able to respect the research that you have done, and will likely be more open minded to your thoughtful proposal of a career change.

I hope this has been helpful to you. Parents' feelings and desires can be intimidating, but you do not have to be crippled by them.

All the best.



Infp doctor (not verified) says...


 Please listen to your parents. I am saying this because once i was exactly where you are now. I wanted to pursue arts and medicine seemed like something forced on me. But today i am a doctor and i feel so blessed to be one. 
all the things that you want to do now like singing and photography, you ll still be able to do after starting medical studies and after becoming doctor too. 
good luck!!

flinklewhip24-7 (not verified) says...

Hey man, I feel for you. I gotta say though, who cares what your parents think? If you completely go with your heart youll most likely find it to be a way greater pay off. You've only got one life to live, don't let your parents choose it for you. 

The going will be tough, and you may not always love dancing the way you do now. Maybe it'll be music, or visual arts, or something completely different. Go with the flow, let your heart lead. This life we've got is a ride, might as well surf with the waves then go against them. No one knows what you want most in the moment other then you. Why trust anyone else to decide?

If you wait any longer all you'll be doing is investing more time and money into this career path. Take the leap, jump off board and don't let anyone convince you otherwise. Do it and the sting of regret you'll feel will be quenched by pure joy.

Good luck with your life, I truly hope you follow a path you love. 

sasha (not verified) says...

Another thing is... if in 6 years you're going to do what you want... why waste your time now and why waste your parents money if it's not something you want anyway? Let's pretend your parents don't care about what you do for school/work.... what would you do for the next 6 years?

sasha (not verified) says...

Hey Shadow hunter, how far along are you in your degree? In accounting there's a term we often use called "sunk cost". The time you have invested up to this point is something you can never get back, therefore it shouldn't be a part of your decision going forward. Let's use an example of a romantic partner. For 4 years it was awesome, but now the relationship sucks, do you stay because it used to be good? Or do you go because you know you could be happier somewhere else? 

Another thing to consider is... lets say you only have 6 years left to live, would you be resentful and angry that you spent them doing something you didn't like? Are these negative feelings going to be attributed to your parents? Will it impact your daily mood/ excitement for life?

If it's yes then don't continue down this path. It's not worth it for your sake, and your parents sake. As life goes on you will become more and more independent of your parents and what you will have is your own life. Will you like that life even when your parents are gone? When they are no longer here, who are you doing this all for? 


Rose111 (not verified) says...

Shadowhunter - you will make an amazing doctor and this world needs more people like you in that field. You could move into becoming a doctor of art therapy, or of the mind - working with people on a deeper, emotional, creative, or psychologcial level could be very rewarding for you. Good luck and whatever you do, I am sure you will bring the best of the INFP qualities. The people who are lucky enough to connect with you with be blessed by your innate ability to 'listen deeply' and locate/heal the underlying shadows and blocks that feed the root of their pain and dis~ease.

StillFindingHerWay (not verified) says...

Hi shadowhunter.  I cant tell you what to do, but I can tell you what a life spent pursuing passions of the heart and spirit has led to for me... At times it has deeply meaningful and I have felt completely fulfilled.  I have traveled, I have met people, explored the most interesting ideas and places, been fascinated by art, history, humanity, nature.  I've enjoyed the moment thoroughly.  I've found ways at times to help others connect to their truths and to find meaning.  But as the years progressed I realized more and more that others were able to provide for themselves in ways I was not.  I started to worry about my ability to provide for myself in the long term.  I worries that all my carefree, live in the moment, enjoy the truth and beauty of what is... that that was all leading me to being stuck rather than free.  


Eventually I had a child and those nagging worries hit me in the face like a ton of bricks.  My marriage fell apart. What little safety net I had was ripped out from underneath me and I came to an awakening... My mohter was right.  It's a beautiful thing to pursue beauty, art and truth, but this world requires practicality. You have basic needs that need to be met.  That's not to say you can't do that pursuing an artistic path but it will be much harder.  You likely will have to hussle, a lot.  Work multiple jobs to make ends meet. And be ok with times of scarcity and not living the 'best life' you see everyone flaunting.  It can be fulfilling at times, especially when you feel you are living in alignment with your truth and values.  But it can be draining at times.  Often you need to compromise your values to sell your services or wares or those of your employer. You will often be underpaid and under appreciated.  You may need to cow tow to popular beliefs in contradition to your own in order to gain popularity, reputation, all the things you need to be successful as an artist, dancer, lay healer...  If you are certain you are ok with this and that art and expression are your be all end all passion then by all means pursue that life.  Do it with eyes and heart wide open.  If on reflection you find yourself needing a sense of stability and security so that you can truly pursue your passions with freedom, then please pause and consider that path.   True it may have to be put on hold while you pursue other goals but honestly it probably wont be put on hold... rather your art and passion will continue to thrive and flourish and sustain you through your journey...  For example, I have a friend who is a resident and one of the most wonderful artists I have met and she continued to paint and draw through med school.  Just a quick thought.  I'm happy to speak further.  Good luck.  Trust in you.  

The Transfer Student (not verified) says...

Hey shadow hunter,

I just want to say I was in a similar position as you. I'm I'm currently 21 in my fourth year of college (and it's not my last lol) and I started out as an architecture student. My mom told me it was the right direction to go in and I'll make a comfortable living, but in truth I was never passionate about it and I didn't have the willpower or dedication to push through the program. Unfortunately I didn't realize this until my sophomore year and I was making D's in my most important classes 😬. I was in the same boat in "wasting" my parent's money and was told I should just stick through the 5-6 years of architecture schooling and do something else after the degree is completed. But don't you think it would be more of a waste to spend thousands of dollars on a major you 1. Don't enjoy and 2. Will never use? That's a real god damn waste of money my friend (and medical school is EXPENSIVE). It took a lot of tears and arguing but I got out of architecture school and went for something I've actually been wanting to study, language and culture! So I'm now a double major in global studies and Chinese language and culture and I'm pretty satisfied and NOT depressed over being stuck in a major I barely enjoy for half a decade. Why not switch to something like commercial photography with a minor in dance or singing? Commercial photography has avenues for revenues and if you like photography but not necessarily the commercial aspect it's okay because you will still learn valuable skill for improving photography that you can use for whatever subset of photography you like in the future for a side project or your career when you graduate. If you do a minor in dance, you still get to engage with it and maybe you could join a dance studio on the side for improvement over time. Yet you won't have to rely on dance as your bread and butter in the future because you'll always have photography to lean on. 

 I hope this help my friend. And heed my words now, you are ONLY twenty there is no need to waste time doing things you don't enjoy doing. That's what actual adulting is for and let's face it, no young 20 year old is ready for actual adulting.

Dr - (not verified) says...

I know how you feel.

When working with patients, you’ll be able to truly connect with patients and help them heal. That is going to feel incredibly rewarding.

The mundane, busy cookie-cut structure will be HARD to handle. You’re going to sometimes drive people crazy because they won’t understand your way of seeing and doing things.

 You’re going to need balance in your life outside your career. 

Never forget, despite what people pressure you to do, you are your own person. You ultimately decide your life.

My best,

Dr -

Mohamad Al Wadaa (not verified) says...

I suggest you to complete in the field of medicine and specialize in the field of psychiatry.  You seem to love art.  You can integrate psychiatry through art therapy and you can provide social services that provide psychological comfort.

DJ1987 (not verified) says...

Hey shadowhunter,

From a Fellow INFP Medic....I totally understand how you feel. In my own case I grew up in a STJ environment and did want to be a doctor because I was excelling in academia. However I really started to struggle in my 3rd year of medical school when structure was taken out and we had to go do our clinical rotations. I decided to push through because I didn't want to waste my parents money and on the day of graduation I simply felt 'thank God this is over!!'

Some of my colleagues dropped out to pursue other career paths including photography, law, and fashion/art. Whilst others graduated and went into family businesses, health administration, business/personal coaching.


I used to dance with two ladies at uni who both ended up in sports medicine. Whilst it was something I considered, Dermatology had more appeal to me and that's what I'm currently doing and in as much as I enjoy it, the plan is to work part-time and explore other passions like writing, dancing, calligraphy and travel to live a more balanced, financially secure life.

 So what's my advice to you?

1. You can chose to take a gap year to do a mixture of medical and non-medical things to explore your curiosities further. A friend of mine (INFJ) was feeling disenchanted and went travelling + doing electives. Today she's a locum GP who travels when she wants and works when she wants.

2. Complete your degree and forge a portfolio career. Like I said earlier I studied with someone who dances and leads workshops whilst working as a sports medicine doctor

3. Tell your parents how you are feeling. You could strike a deal with them to take a year out to explore your passions and if it doesn't work out to go back and finish Med school or you could simply drop out.

if you have any questions do not hesitate to ask.

Motherlode (not verified) says...

Hey, there. I'm an INFP as well, 24 by now, and I know exactly how you're feeling. As it is usual for INFPs, I was afraid to pursue what I wanted, thinking it was too impractical and would have no financial return. In the other hand, I was too confused to choose a graduation, so I just picked Law college bc my mother and other relatives graduated in it. I mean, if they did it, so can I, it can't be that bad. The outcome? By the 4th year (the graduation had 5 years), I was very unhappy and more confuse than ever, even had to make therapy for months. I felt the same as you when studying law, struggled too much to be able to read and understand any book, bc my mind was kind of blocking it. Anyway, bc 4 years had passed, I decided to go on and graduate, so I did. It has been over a year now and I'm still working my mind on be brave and finally make the first step and pursue what I want, using this graduation as a mean to an end (I, too, was afraid to give up college at the last years bc of the money my parents were investing on me). Of course, what happened to me isn't a rule, it doesn't necessarily will happen the same to you. Have in mind (and as an INFP, I believe I can say it) that not everything is lost and graduating at medicine isn't the end of the world. But, as scared as we are to make choices, you'll have to choose what to do next. Graduate or not, tell the truth to your parents or not (which doesn't necessarily has to be all at once, it's a process), ask for help of how to put in practice your plans to pursue your dreams, etc. If you feel stuck, you could ask help from people next to you, who know you better than me, a strange from the internet, and lay down your options. Choosing is scaring, because if we fail the feeling really weigh us down, but what better way to know yourself than making mistakes? You'll find out one more thing that you don't like hehe. I know adulthood is scaring and making choices by now also means spending money, but if you're feeling stuck, you must move, right? Anyway, I hope what I said can be of help (or at least make any sense to you). Good luck.

BaradCuda (not verified) says...

Money can not buy you happiness! And your happiness is not for sale. (1 Tim 4 : 14) You are made to be great at what you believe in, and no amount of money will change that. Your parents might be dissapointed for a short while, but they wil get over it and learn to support you for who you where meant to be! Good Luck


Philip McDonald (not verified) says...

You could buy a dog and name it happiness

MoonWarrior (not verified) says...

Hi there ~ I was researching the INFP personality types and I was drawn in by your comment. I don't know you but I will tell you what I would tell a friend: If becoming a doctor doesn't light a fire in your soul, it may not be for you. Don't accept anything that doesn't feel authentic to who you are, so if you don't want to be a doctor, talk with your parents. Life is too short to waste it living someone elses your own. That being said, because {I'm guessing} you're an INFP, you're also a healer...which means you may find being a Dr. is {just one of} your natural gifts. There are no rules that say you can't be a Dr. AND a dancer, photographer, etc. and it may be hard to imagine a world like this, it is absolutely possible. If you truly can't stand the thought of being a Dr. at all, don't force yourself. Live your life for YOU, always. Until you have kids...then live it for them ;) Best of luck to you <3

Jara (not verified) says...

I knew that I should be a counselor since I was a child, but I chose to major in Business because my parents advised me to be "practical". Well, even though I entered college at 16, it took me 9 years to graduate with a bachelor's in Business Administration/Marketing (with a 3.5 GPA) and...long story short: now I'm a counselor in the least practical field ever: faith-based community outreach! But I practice my faith every day. 😆

Follow your intuition. God gave it to you to make the right choices for yourself. If your parents argue about it because they're paying the bill, then just share my story with them: my mom wasted 9 years' worth of tuition for me to become what I was created to be (which I didn't need to be trained to do in college!). 😉

Who gives intuition to the heart and instinct to the mind? - Job 38:36 NLT

Alex Reuter (not verified) says...

Oh my gosh, thank you for writing this comment! I was just perusing these and I am working my way toward eventual counseling licensure and have been so worried about how I will be faithful to the Lord and myself through counseling because my faith is honestly the most important thing to me! It's great to hear that someone else is out there going after it! Truly, truly there is a way when God leads! 

Moongazer (not verified) says...

I wonder if you have thought of the possibilities being trained as a doctor cam bring. You could take your skills abroad to suffering people who are very poor or in war zones and meet a huge cross section of people. It also pays really well. Well enough to work part time. Then you could be a dancing doctor with a big enough salary to support your passion. If your dancing ever really took off you could ditch your medicine altogether or come back to it when you are older as dancers don't have many opportunities after a certain age. If you are bright enough to plod on with your course without too much personal cost I would do it and then continue to pursue your dancing part time.

Creek Breath (not verified) says...


I don't really have the qualifications to advise, but I'll try to offer some things to think about

Might there be something that lies between healthcare and dance, like somatic/bodywork therapies, recreational therapy?

What are your strenghts? What nourishes your consciousness? What is your bliss? How can you integrated into the practical world?

It can be challenging when parents impose what they think is best. Your health and search for authenticity comes first. It is challenging to break free, carve our own path while also considering practical wisdom from elders. 

There are a lot of resources online and in the community that can help you clarify that path constructively. It can feel frustrating, disheartening but you'll find your gift and step into it at your own pace. It may be helpful to keep in mind that it's pretty common for career changes to happen. You might really enjoy one career for several years and then feel a need to change, and that's okay.

Of course, there are also a lot of other options, like going off grid, joining a monastery, trying out AmeriCorps.

Community service and shadowing can also help you clarify your path, seeing what fits and what challenges arise, troubleshooting, and developing professional skills

Also, keep in mind that while these tests can provide insight, people are not a fixed set of attributes. There is a big spectrum of consciousness and unconscious shadows. It may help to read Gene Keys by Richard Rudd. It creatively links traits to DNA. For example, the 63rd gene he writes is a spectrum of doubt to truth with inquiry as the flight towards truth. It is related to codons of Grace-dishonour, Tenderness- "weakness", Compassion-Turbulence. I'm only just starting out, so I can't really explain the connection to genes but it could be worth exploring. I think the idea is related to epigenetic and conscious influence on our biology

Hope this helps =)

Creek Breath (not verified) says...


I don't really have the qualifications to advise, but I'll try to offer some things to think about

Might there be something that lies between healthcare and dance, like somatic/bodywork therapies, recreational therapy?

What are your strenghts? What nourishes your consciousness? What is your bliss? How can you integrated into the practical world?

It can be challenging when parents impose what they think is best. Your health and search for authenticity comes first. It is challenging to break free, carve our own path while also considering practical wisdom from elders. 

There are a lot of resources online and in the community that can help you clarify that path constructively. It can feel frustrating, disheartening but you'll find your gift and step into it at your own pace. It may be helpful to keep in mind that it's pretty common for career changes to happen. You might really enjoy one career for several years and then feel a need to change, and that's okay.

Of course, there are also a lot of other options, like going off grid, joining a monastery, trying out AmeriCorps.

Community service and shadowing can also help you clarify your path, seeing what fits and what challenges arise, troubleshooting, and developing professional skills

Hope this helps =)

Creek Breath (not verified) says...


I don't really have the qualifications to advise, but I'll try to offer some things to think about

Might there be something that lies between healthcare and dance, like somatic/bodywork therapies, recreational therapy?

What are your strenghts? What nourishes your consciousness? What is your bliss? How can you integrated into the practical world?

It can be challenging when parents impose what they think is best. You and your health come first. It is challenging to break free, carve our own path while also considering practical wisdom from elders. 

There are a lot of resources online and in the community that can help you clarify that path constructively. It can feel frustrating, disheartening but you'll find your gift and step into it at your own pace. It may be helpful to keep in mind that it's pretty common for career changes to happen. You might really enjoy one career for several years and then feel a need to change, and that's okay.

Of course, there are also a lot of other options, like going off grid, joining a monastery, trying out AmeriCorps.

Community service and shadowing can also help you clarify your path, seeing what fits and what challenges arise, troubleshooting, and developing professional skills

Hope this helps =)

David Park (not verified) says...

theshadowhunter, My advice, due to my personal experience, pause your education, and go out and experience the world. How you do that, is hard for me to say, but again I can relate. I went to college, back in the 60's, because that's what I was told to do. After obtaining my degree in Zoology, I wasted years trying to fit the mold. A long story short, follow your heart, and you will not regret it. You're young, and want to please your parents, and I suppose they're footing the bill, so you feel obligated. I understand. Breaking out on your own is scary, but is fertile ground to growth, and happiness.  Caveat: we need physicians, but not those that really don't want to be. Good Luck, Dave

Tuttle (not verified) says...

Two years into an MD is not a lot of time or money sunk (in the grand scheme of things).  I am a 54 year old INFP who spent the last 30+ years trying to function in the business world (posing as an INTP...I am a Data Scientist).  While I have never truly loved what I do, I have been rasonably successful.  I intended to be a teacher, but in the US, that is not a terribly lucrative career.  I grew up poor and decided I did not want to poor any longer.  So I went with using my degree in math and computer science to make money rather than teach others.  I am now getting ready to retire from business.  I am considering buying a tutoring company and starting a second career.  So it is possible to do multiple things in your life...many people do.  That being said, I only needed 4 years of college, which is half what your MD requires.  I'm not an expert, but I imagine the two years you've put in so far could easily be applied to a shit in degree to something else.  What about something that combines what your parents hope for you with what you truly love?  I'd guess dancers need help from exercise physiologists (or doctors who specialize...e.g. sports mediucine).  I definitely wish you well and I hope you are able to talk to your parents and come to a point where their hopes for your life are relieved and you can be committed to what you are trying to do.  My nephew is recently coming to grips with a similar situation to yours.  The difference is he is through his undergrad work.  When he said to me that he is "in too deep" to possibly change paths, my answer to him was "YOU ARE 23 YEARS OLD!  You're not in too deep.  You are standing in the shallow end barely knee up to your knees.  The one thing I can tell you definitively, is you are have LOTS of time to come to grips with what you really want and I can assure you that you will still have options when you're old and gray like I am.  I wish you all the best.

Susanna (not verified) says...

Don't waste your time studying something you don't want as your profession and are not interested about. It's your life, not your parents', and they can't demand that you need to be something that they want you to be. You are a creative person, and it seems like your heart and mind yearns creativity. Make your profession to be something that relates to photography, dancing, singing or so on... Although, it would have been better if you've said this all before applying to medical school, so that the money would not have gone to waste, but what has happened has happened and we can't do anything to change that. Have a serious discussion about this with your parents. You can not get those 6 years back after all, and they go to waste if you've decided that you are going to aim for some other profession after your medical studies. Good luck.

Lucas (not verified) says...

Eu estudei contabilidade, mas meu sonho é ser agricultor (I studied accounting, but my dream is to be a farmer.)

theshadowhunter (not verified) says...

so what are you thinking of doing right now ??

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...


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