10 Things You Should Never Say to an INFP
INFPs are known for being patient, passionate, and caring individuals. If you open many typology books you’ll read about how they are accepting, open-minded and sincere. Even so, there are certain phrases that really get on their nerves. They may not over-react or call someone out when careless words are spoken, but they will gradually put up guards against people who are condescending, cruel, or belittling. According to neuroscience, INFPs show high activity in brain regions that process verbal expression and language to find specific words fitting a situation. They don’t just spew out the first thoughts that come to their mind; they are careful and conscientious. Because they are so careful with how they speak, it can be frustrating for them to live in a world where few other people consider their words as carefully. So without further ado, here are some phrases you should never say to an INFP.
This post contains affiliate links. I only recommend products I truly believe in.
Not sure what your personality type is? Take our new personality questionnaire here. Or you can take the official MBTI® here.
10 Things You Should Never Say to an INFP
“You’re Being Too Emotional”
INFPs lead with a process called Introverted Feeling (Fi). Fi is deeply emotional, but it’s also deeply private (hence it’s introverted direction). INFPs are strongly affected by troubles in the world, by cruelty, bullying, or harsh words. They may seem more emotionally impacted than other types; however, because they prefer to keep their emotions more private they also feel frustrated when their reactions show. Saying they’re feeling something “too strongly” is a sure way to frustrate them and build walls in your communication. If they’re being emotional because they are stirred by something and they are trying to make a point, trying to downplay their values or their passion will only wreak havoc on your relationship with them. If they are speaking up about something that moves them emotionally it’s time to listen; condescension will get you nowhere.
“You’re Too Naive”
Healthy, balanced INFPs have a moral integrity that is hard to corrupt or change. They believe in being true to their values and standing up for their beliefs and ideals. They have no desire to gossip or make jokes at other people’s expense and they are deeply affected by cruelty and corruption in the world. Certain people misinterpret their idealism as weakness or naivety, when it is anything but. INFPs are often more than aware of the harsh realities of the world. But they choose to hope for something better for themselves and for the future. Trying to change them or to “educate” them on the ways of the world will just seem condescending.
“Don’t Take This Personally”
Prefacing an insult or critique by saying “don’t take this personally” will only make INFPs feel belittled and irritated. INFPs are more than happy to get constructive criticism, but it needs to be done in a way that isn’t patronizing. Zen habits has an amazing article on how to give constructive criticism kindly.
“Life’s Not Fair”
They already know this. Pointing this out really doesn’t help. To be honest, does anyone actually like hearing this?
“Stop Trying to Find a Deeper Meaning”
INFPs are programmed to find deeper meanings. They look for symbolism, patterns, and connections between ideas that build to a holistic understanding of the universe. They truly enjoy finding deeper significance behind real-life scenarios, music, movies, and storylines. Taking the depth, the mystery, and the gravity away from things is unnatural to them.
“Get Your Head Out of the Clouds”
INFPs are known for their vivid imaginations and their longing to explore new theoretical ideas and avenues of thought. They have a childlike wonder about the world and about possibilities in it. Some people feel it’s their duty to “bring them down to earth” and force them to confront the concrete realities of daily life. This kind of patronizing tone completely ignores the imaginative and creative gifts that INFPs bring to life.
“You Wouldn’t Understand”
INFPs yearn to understand and to “get in the shoes” of other people. Don’t dismiss their concerns or input without giving them a chance to at least try to understand. They are exceptional listeners.
“Because I Said So”
Adhering to a rule or demand just because an authority figure “says so” isn’t natural for an INFP. They need reasons, especially if their conscience conflicts with the directions given. Because INFPs have a strongly value-focused function (introverted feeling) and because they think outside the box (via extraverted intuition) they’re likely to question and confront ideas that seem rigid, don’t feel right, or don’t align with what they believe in.
“You’re Just Like This Other Person…”
INFPs are very individualistic people. They believe that everyone has a unique personality and that people shouldn’t be compared or held up to a pre-ordained set of standards. They try not to compare people and they dislike it when people compare them.
INFPs are extremely passionate, idealistic individuals and they believe in making a difference in the world around them. They often have a cause or belief they fight for and they are intensely focused on this cause. They have a hard time enjoying superficial pleasures or ignoring the pains of others. “Lightening up” can feel empty to them. They want to just be allowed to be who they are; whether that’s serious, playful, imaginative, solemn, sad, or exuberant!
The INFP and Stress
What Do You Think?
Do these phrases bother you? Do you have any other ideas of what not to say? Let me know in the comments!
Find out more about your personality type in our eBooks, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type, The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic, and The INFP – Understanding the Dreamer. You can also connect with me via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!
Other Articles You Might Enjoy!
10 Surprising Truths About INFPs
Why INFPs and INFJs Are Drawn to Sad Things
These are very accurate for me but I have to elaborate on point #4, “Life’s Not Fair.” To be more specific, it’s the phrase “Who says life is fair” that infuriates me because it is generally said as a reprimand, as though it’s a crime to care about life’s injustices.
I am utterly amazed at how accurate your studies outline the characteristics of the personalities. I can only speak for myself of course but, as an INFP you are spot -on!
I just wish my self understandings had been so affirmed by all this knowledge …… years ago thereby saving myself unnecessary self doubt when ” advised in all sorts of ways by well meaning people who regarded me as ” too different to survive living in the “real” world. However, better late than never. Thank you very much!
Best wishes ,
As an INFP I cannot stand “it is what it is.” I find it thoughtless and lazy.
Another phrase that I am angered by is I’m sorry you feel that way…I.e. my feelings aren’t valid or a consideration. Also, the person that uses that statement most likely lacks empathy.
I’m sure I have more but I’ll end with I can’t stand when discussing something personal the other person devalues what you’re sharing by comparing it to others. Or a situation and the other person says well we didn’t allow so and so to do that so you can’t. What are we children? And we aren’t talking about other people right now. Stick to the topic at hand and evaluate it. If a situation is similar to another it doesn’t mean that it should be cut and dry the same outcome. Each situation should be evaluated as is and not compared.
Ugh, that phrase (“it is what it is”) is truly irksome!
What annoys me is when I tell people something I deal with a lot from others and they go “that’s not true.” They then proceed to either give excuses as to why I’m totally not being mistreated, or my favorite, they start blaming me for the situation.
I would like to know how it is that one can know what’s going on in somebody else’s life when they don’t even pay attention to them but ok. That totally makes sense.🙄
Thank you, I appreciate informative information and after reading what you educated me with has helped greatly understand who I am. Agreed with all ten , number 11 would be when someone I hardly know says
“ trust me “
“Things have always been this way, so nothing you do is gonna change things.”
“Why do you have to be weird.”
“Don’t go rocking the boat./Don’t make waves.”
I have this INFP cousin (I am ENFP) thanks for letting me know what NOT to say to her!
Thank you for all your emails and comments. I can acknowledge my own frustrations when all of these comments have been made to me. This helps me to be aware of myself and respond in a proactive way instead of reacting in a non helpful way. Every time I read your material, I am very thankful for your many insights into personality types or tendencies.
Very accurate! One of the most accurate lists I’ve seen (hard to admit since I’m in a group that hates to be compartmentalized😂). I also hate when people tell me “you HAVE to try…” or “you HAVE to go to…” when they are recommending something. I hate how demanding it is. Seems a bit silly to get annoyed when people are trying to be nice and suggest something but the fact they think they know me well enough to insist I HAVE to do something because they liked it so they assume I’ll be into it also. I don’t HAVE to do anything! And the people who do this always seem to be the people who haven’t paid enough attention or listened to me well enough to even know what I like. Why can’t they say “I really enjoyed (such and such), you might also.”
Ohhhh, you’re so right. My “favorite” is similar to yours – i truly hate it when people give me something with “you will love it”. ’cause, nope, now i wouldn’t, now all I’m thinking is that you think you can decide for me what i like. And my friends, i asked them not to do this and usually they’re trying, i can see it. But my sister! She’s the one who surprises me with her believing that what she likes is what i like without questions. And even though i asked her too not to assume that she knows my likings (sometimes even I don’t!), she still do this ugh
I can’t stand the phrase “Grow Up”
“Get a grip”
“You’re too much for people”
“Why can’t you just be normal”
“Why do you half to be so detailed and or specific with everything!”
“True love doesn’t exist”
“The world doesn’t work that way, live with it!”
“Why are you so slow”
Or the worst one, “use your brain!”
These cut deep for me.