The Idealistic, Creative Type
Sensitive, Curious, Caring, and Imaginative
The INFP in Brief
INFPs are loyal, conscientious, contemplative individuals who focus on inner growth and development. These types strive for a life that has more meaning than a regular paycheck and a predictable, stable routine. These are the dreamers, the explorers, the writers and advocates of the world. They use their Feeling process to understand themselves and their values. They believe in championing the underdogs, contemplating life’s mysteries, and sifting through their virtues and vices in a search for connectedness and purpose. INFPs may seem reserved and hard-to-read at first, but underneath their somewhat mysterious demeanor, they are often filled with lush imaginings, fiery passions, and steadfast convictions.
Not sure what your personality type is? Take our new personality questionnaire!
- Driving Force. To live a life in alignment with their values and ethics. To stand up for a cause they believe in. To experience inner harmony and integrity with one’s self.
- Backup Strength. Awareness of possibilities, potential, and alternatives. Highly imaginative and creative, with a strong focus on the big picture.
- Weaknesses: May be disorganized and have difficulty with structure and efficiency. They can struggle to maintain objective, logical consistency in their decisions.
- Stressors: Lack of alone time, conflict situations, rigid rules and schedules, unstable relationships, having a job that lacks personal meaning, being forced to “act” in order to get along with people.
The Meaning of the Four-Letter Code (in brief)
I = Introversion. INFPs focus inwards before responding to the outside world. They gain energy from alone time when they can reflect on their own thoughts.
N = iNtuition. INFPs prefer focusing on abstract possibilities and ideas rather than concrete data. They prefer imagining what could be rather than dwelling on what “is.”
F = Feeling. INFPs apply personal values and ethics to decision-making. They want to live in congruence with their moral code and they consider the emotional impact a decision will have on others.
P = Perceiving. INFPs like having a lot of options and tend to be adaptable and spontaneous. They like to mix work with play and enjoy an exploratory approach to life.
Rumored Famous INFPs: Albert Camus, George Orwell, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, A.A. Milne, Bill Watterson, Franz Kafka, Edgar Allan Poe, John Milton, William Blake, Vincent van Gogh, Hans Christian Andersen, William Shakespeare, George R.R. Martin, John Lennon, Kurt Cobain, Robert Smith, Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, Tori Amos, Bjork, Florence Welch, Morrissey, Thom Yorke, David Lynch, Andrew Garfield, Heath Ledger, Chloe Sevigny, Regina Spektor, Chris Martin, Matt Bellamy, Lana Del Ray.
One of the most defining qualities of the INFP personality type is their talent in helping to clarify issues of ethics, identity, and values. The life of the INFP is a constant series of choices about whether something is worth believing in, worth defending, important, unimportant, authentic, phony, manipulative, or sincere. They mull over major choices and analyze them intensely to make sure that they feel true conviction about the choice they make. These types are less concerned with societal constructs and rules and more concerned with their own individual moral code. They create this code throughout their lives by analyzing values, beliefs, emotions, consequences, and experiences to discern what they really believe is true for them. They are more focused on the individual than the collective and are often champions of issues like justice and freedom and self-expression. Some of their values may wind up being widely accepted, while others may be completely independent of any social norms or traditional beliefs. It’s extremely important to INFPs to be able to nurture and protect their inner emotional life and to have the freedom to create their own internal belief system.
INFPs are also people of imagination and vision. They enjoy looking out into the world and exploring possibilities, options, and potential. When they are inspired by something, that inspiration branches out into many different contexts, birthing more and more ideas and prospects. They strongly trust their imagination and enjoy generating hypotheses that can help them to have a clearer picture of what something really means. In their day-to-day lives they work in bursts of energy. However, they are capable of great concentration if their imagination is stimulated and they are doing something they believe in. They tend to struggle with procrastination if what they’re doing lacks meaning or doesn’t align with their values.
Although INFPs are introverts, they greatly enjoy brainstorming and discussing possibilities and ideas with people. Through conversation and in-depth discussion, they are able to flesh out their imaginative ideas and explore even more possibilities and relationships. When INFPs are in a creative state, and in the company of good friends, they can appear quite jovial and engaging. This tends to happen more in one-on-one scenarios than in large groups. In large social gatherings, they often appear distant and reserved, small-talk seeming unfulfilling and shallow to them.
In careers, INFPs prize creativity, originality, and freedom. They want to be able to have a variety of tasks as well as plenty of opportunities for independence. They tend to work well on their own, especially if they believe in what they are doing. They show occupational trends in counseling, writing, and the arts.
At Their Best:
Healthy INFPs are accepting of others for who they are and are skilled at noticing the unique strengths and potential that they and others possess. They have tremendous integrity, imagination, determination, and creativity. Often visionary thinkers, INFPs at this stage are able to see connections and meanings that may be missed by others. They are steadfast believers in their cause and will go to great lengths to stand up for their beliefs. However, they do this in a gentle, measured way that is non-aggressive or forceful. They recognize that at the end of the day people are responsible for their own actions and lifestyle choices. At their best, INFPs balance their ideas and vision with an ability to relax and enjoy life as it comes. They are mindful of their health, priorities, and relationships. They use their strengths to produce long-term plans and initiatives that will improve the world. They are concerned for people and are open-minded and tolerant, often excelling in one-on-one counseling. They respect other people’s values, views, and opinions as long as those people are not harming others in the process. At this stage, they can accept harsh realities without becoming self-righteous or judgmental.
At an average level, INFPs are empathetic, sensitive, caring, and imaginative. They tend to appear modest, curious, and open-minded. They enjoy artistic and creative endeavors and may fill their spare time writing stories, listening to music, or drawing. They tend to be attentive, supportive, and creative in the efforts they undertake. At this stage, INFPs can have a hard time paying attention to details and they often struggle to stick with routine tasks. When tough decisions are presented to them they may focus primarily on how they feel, what seems of value to them, and their relationships, rather than realizing that the objective, logical approach is sometimes best. They may seek advice from their opposite types to balance out their decisions. At times, average INFPs may avoid truths if they go against their beliefs or ideals. They may selectively choose what they will pay attention to in order to sustain their commitment to what they want or believe.
At an unhealthy level, INFPs become isolative, resentful, and easily offended. They tend to have warped their dominant feeling process so that they have a hard time understanding different perspectives and values because they are so wrapped up in their own. They will use their intuition to imagine an ideal world, but it tends to be an unrealistic utopia rather than something that is attainable. They may fixate on this world rather than trying to go out into the real world to experience real life. During conflict situations, unhealthy INFPs may state their viewpoint decidedly and then withdraw. They can be especially self-righteous when it comes to arguments about any type of ethical or value-laden information. At this stage they may feel like they are misfits or outcasts and that they alone are the ones crusading for good. They can be especially critical of others and defensive of their views. People tend to feel like they have to “walk on eggshells” around them.
Personal Growth Recommendations for INFPs:
- Make sure that you are getting plenty of time for yourself during the day. Quiet time for reflection, analysis, and creativity is essential for your well being.
- Don’t completely isolate yourself! You need alone time, but it’s also essential for you to get out into the world and try new things. Brainstorm with your friends, spend time in nature, take a class! Interacting with others can help you to enhance your Intuition and develop more balance.
- Spend time addressing your values. What are five things that you would devote your energy to, or even die for? Don’t worry about what other people want. Only think about what you believe.
- Enhance your Thinking side by creating a plan for your day. Ask yourself what is the most efficient way to start your day while getting your emotional needs met? Is there a sequence that you could follow that would enhance your life?
- Pick a goal you have for yourself and break it down into steps. For example, “I want to lose 20 lbs” could be changed to, “I want to lose 2 pounds a month for the next 10 months. I will do this by A- Journaling food intake, B – Taking a brisk walk 4 nights per week, C – Only eating dessert 2x/week”
- Take time each day to tune into your body’s signals. Are you hungry, thirsty, tired, in pain? Sometimes it can be easy to forget these things as you explore new ideas. Pause each day to take care of yourself physically.
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!
This article contains affiliate links.
Learn More About Your Type: