Anyone who has completed the Myers-Briggs Test Indicator (MBTI) will be familiar with its testing method. You answer a questionnaire based on your preferences between two psychological choices. You end up with a 4-letter personality type. But can one letter really make a difference? Let’s look at INFP vs INFJ.

You might think that because INFP and INFJ share the first three letters, they must be similar. However, this is not strictly true. There are interesting subtle differences between these two personalities. For example, INFPs and INFJs are deeply empathic, however, they show their empathy differently. 

Before we examine INFP vs INFJ, let’s remind ourselves of the psychological components of Myers-Briggs:

Attitude

Do you prefer:

  • People and things – Extraversion (E)
  • Ideas and information – Introversion (I)

 Information

 Do you prefer:

  • Facts and reality – Sensing (S)
  • Possibilities and potential – Intuition (N)

Decisions

Do you prefer:

  • Logic and truth – Thinking (T)  
  • People and relationships – Feeling (F)

Structure

Do you prefer:

  • Well-planned and structured – Judging (J)
  • Open and flexible – Perceiving (P)  

INFP vs INFJ: The Crucial Differences

As these two personality types share three preferences: Introversion, Intuition, and Feeling, there are similarities. 

  1. I – INFPs and INFJs are introverted rather than extroverted. 
  2. N – They focus on ideas and imagination rather than facts and figures. 
  3. F – They make decisions with their heart, not their heads.  

However, when it comes to INFP vs INFJ, we can see that the preferences differ for structure.

  • An INFP prefers to be flexible and keep their options open
  • An INFJ likes to plan and organise.   

The question is, can just one letter in the MBTI make a difference? Well, it all depends on how dominant that preference is within the personality.  

In the MBTI, each preference has a different level of importance within the personality. The dominant preference will have the biggest influence on personality. Naturally, the remaining preferences will help to flesh out the overall personality. However, the main personality is shaped by this one dominant trait. 

This is an interesting part of INFP vs INFJ because they have very different dominant preferences. What this means is that they are not as similar as you would first imagine. 

Here Are 4 Differences Between INFP and INFJ:

  • INFPs are aware of their own feelings

  • INFJs are aware of other people’s feelings

INFPs and INFJs make decisions based on empathy and compassion, but in slightly different ways. 

The dominant preference for an INFP is Introverted Feeling, but what does this mean? 

An INFP experiences the world with compassion and deep emotion. They understand human emotions because they are so in tune with their own feelings.

However, because they are introverts, they prefer to keep their thoughts to themselves. They don’t let the outside world know what is going on inside their heads. Often mistaken as indifference, the reverse is true.   

The dominant preference for an INFJ is Introverted Intuition. This has several implications. INFJs are highly attuned to other people’s feelings. They can tell the mood of a room within seconds of entering. 

The problem with this is that they can become overwhelmed and feel responsible for other people’s happiness. INFJs can also have trouble connecting with their own emotions. These are the kind of people that seem to have the answers to everyone else’s problems except their own. 

They will have great difficulty saying no and can become people-pleasers because they don’t want to upset others. This can lead them to become resentful and moody. 

  • INFPs are artistic, flexible, and open to possibilities

  • INFJs are analytical, rigid, and want a conclusion

INFPs lead with a dominant introverted feeling preference. As such, they place a lot of importance on their personal experiences, their beliefs and values

The way they understand the world is to relate it to how it makes them feel emotionally. Have they experienced something similar? Does this fit in with their moral code? 

INFPs will refer back to their own lives. Each time an INFP recalls a memory, it is loaded with emotion. The other thing to remember is that they like to keep their options open. As a result, making a decision can be difficult and take time. 

INFPs live in the future, always looking out for new possibilities and what could be. 

On the other hand, INFJs lead with a dominant introverted intuition preference. They look for order and patterns in behaviour in the outside world. INFJs like to control, they prefer structure and will plan and organise well in advance.

INFJs like to make early decisions as it makes them feel comfortable knowing what will happen. They are acutely aware of their environment and live in the moment, not the future. 

  • INFPs understand your emotions

  • INFJs feel your emotions

Perhaps the most imperceptible difference between INFP and INFJ is the way they understand people.

INFPs rely on their own feelings to understand other people. They look inside themselves to find the closest experience they’ve had that matches another person. They use their own experiences so that they can understand what you are going through.  

INFJs are sensitive to other people’s feelings as they put themselves in your shoes. They feel your pain. They are easily overwhelmed by another person’s sorrow or grief.

  • INFPs care more about friends and family

  • INFJs care about humanity as a whole 

INFPs and INFJs care about relationships, but again, there are differences.

INFPs value close family and friends. For them, it is the intimate interactions between a few people that give them meaning and authenticity. INFPs like to focus their attention on people close to them, those that have contributed to their lives. 

INFJs are not good at focusing on the smaller details. These are the ‘big picture kind of guys’, and it shows in relationships and their way of thinking. INFJs can feel connected to humanity as a species as well as individuals in their lives. 

Final Thoughts

At first glance, it might seem as if INFP vs INFJ differences are not that great. In certain circumstances, you may well not be able to tell one from another. But look closely, and you find the subtleties within. I wonder which one you are. 

References:

  1. www.16personalities.com
  2. www.truity.com
Janey Davies, B.A. (Hons)

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Avatar
    kelly

    Ok, so I am borderline between P and J and how I see it is that the J is my “touchstone” that keeps me grounded in what I think, but P is how I relate to what other people see as important. Being at that intersection gives me balance between running my world the way I see fit and flexibility in not expecting everyone else in the world to see things my way.

  2. Avatar
    doc

    Another gold star, Janey. Very helpful

  3. Avatar
    Shankar

    Excellent article … Interesting and true facts of people which Is exactly the same …only 2 classification are there as mentioned …I too agree

  4. Avatar
    valerie dunn

    As an ENFJ I found this fascinating. Even as an extrovert. Can’t wait until you start on the Extroverts,says my “”J”

  5. Avatar
    Kate

    INFPs are less likely to put on a facade just to keep the peace.
    INFJs will bend over backwards to keep people happy.
    INFPs value authenticity and while INFJs will hide who they really are for fear of being judged.
    INFJs like taking on other’s problems so they don’t have to focus on their own.
    INFPs are perceptive and can see through people; great at identifying patterns.
    INFPs are open minded and tolerant, INFJs judge you if you don’t abide by their high moral, self-righteous stanadards.

  6. Avatar
    Infp va infj?>

    This is so ambiguous I find both things resonate always and also I find it hard to find my type

    I am confused with this Haalp

    I feel most of infp is me but then the way infp are said to feel other people doesn’t resonate at lo. I feel people unconsciously against my necesarily wanting it, it just happens. And also I feel like I could play and be any of these types.

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