The INFP personality type, one of the 16 personality types described by the Myers-Briggs personality test, is one of the rarer personality types, found in 4% of the population.
This personality is often called ‘the idealist’ or ‘the mediator’ and is characterized by a preference for introversion over extroversion, intuition over observation, feeling over thinking, and perceiving over judging.
1. We’re good companions
People with INFP personality type reportedly make good long-term companions. Although we can usually count their friends on one hand, we’re very caring and protective of those we’ve become close to. We’re fiercely loyal to both people we care about and to our own values.
2. Our values are important to us
Because of our bias for introverted feeling, those with INFP personality type have a strong sense of what our personal values are and this can be one of the most defining features of our personalities. Though we avoid conflict as a rule, when it comes to defending our values or those we care about, we can become forceful and confrontational.
3. We’re considerate of others
Having a strong feeling preference, INFP personalities are sensitive to the needs of others and are good at perceiving how people feel without being told explicitly. We’re also respectful of others’ need for independence and space, as, being introverted, we have a strong need for our personal space too.
4. We’re hopeless romantics
The feeling bias that the INFP personality type has, combined with our preference for intuition and introversion, makes us very romantic. The preference for feeling makes relationships very important to us, while our introversion means we don’t easily relate to people and look for long-term, exclusive bonds. This combined with a preference for intuition – which makes us prone to fantasizing, idealizing, and romanticizing people and situations – means the reality of people and the world can disappoint us.
5. We can be overly confident in our intuition
The dependence on intuition (relying on impressions and then seeking patterns and constructing meaning) rather than on sensing (relying on the information observed exactly as it is and drawing logical conclusions) means that those with INFP personality type can be very astute in reading between the lines at best, and paranoid and accusatory of others at worst. We’re more interested in what’s going on below the surface, and although we often make correct assumptions, we should be wary of being too trusting of our own intuitive abilities and being too confident we ‘know’ things that may not have a grounding in reality. If we have bad experiences, we can become distrustful of others because of the tendency to pattern seek and connect events in our heads.
6. We should be careful about not misinterpreting people
INFP personalities rely more on intuition than sensing, more on feeling than thinking rationally, and more on what is going on inside their heads than outside. This means we can remember things in a different way to the way they happened. For example, let’s say you tell an INFP personality something that happens to hit upon one of our sensitivities. 1) We’ll remember how we felt when you said it rather than what you said; 2) by the time we’re finished connecting it to every other bad thing you ever said to us, what you said will be no longer recognizable; 3) when you ask us to repeat what you said originally, it’ll sound ten times worse than what you actually said and you end up wondering when you entered in the twilight zone.
7. We’re great listeners
In most situations, though not necessarily with our nearest and dearest, those with INFP personality type are genuinely more interested in other people than in talking about ourselves. We shouldn’t claim this as a sign of our selflessness, as we find searching for patterns in the behavior of people interesting and useful. We believe strongly in the validity of subjective feeling and experience, as that’s what we most identify with.
8. We tire quickly of company however
Because of our sensitivity and introversion, INFP personalities can become quickly exhausted by human interaction. Too much noise, talking, or sensory stimulation can make us irritable, over-emotional, or even physically ill. This doesn’t mean that we dislike other people, and being sensitive, we’re horrified when people get the wrong idea.
9. We’re often misunderstood at first
The combination of introversion with intuition and feeling makes INFP personalities seem distant and aloof at first. This is partly because of a tendency to live in our own heads, day dreaming and fantasizing, and partly because of our innate shyness and fear of rejection. Because we’re often heavily armored psychologically, people might assume we’re arrogant or cold. The opposite is usually true on closer acquaintance, when we can be warm-hearted and fun.
10. We can be disorganized and impractical
Because of the preference for perceiving over judging, people with INFP have both the positive characteristics of the perceiving type (flexibility, adaptability, openness, etc.) as well as the negative (disorganization, messiness, indecisiveness, etc.). It’s worth INFP types working hard on our organizational and practical skills to avoid becoming flustered and stressed when having to cope with the kind of daily practical tasks which all of us are called upon to deal with in life.
I used a combination of self-observation and research in this article. Are you an INFP personality type? Do these things apply to you too or do you think I have been overly subjective in my description? Let me know.
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