7 Things That INFPs Experience As Children

What is it like being in the mind of an INFP child? What unique struggles and joys do they tend to experience? Let’s take a look!

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Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

7 Things That INFPs Experience As Children

#1 – A Deep Awareness of The Emotions Around Them

INFPs are highly in tune with their own emotions, and also the emotional safety and tension of the environment. They have sensitive antennae for conflict and strain in the atmosphere and will do what they can to avoid it or heal it. They care deeply for their loved ones and will experience great inner turmoil if their home is a place of conflict.

#2 – A Rich Imagination

INFPs are extremely imaginative and idealistic. As children, they often make up fantasy stories in their heads and enjoy daydreaming about the future and all its possibilities. While other children might want constant stimulation, young INFPs can be entertained with their lush, visionary ideas. Unfortunately, some INFP children are dissuaded in their imagination and this can lead to devastating results.

“(INFPs) live a fantasy-filled childhood, which sadly, is discouraged or even punished by many parents. With parents who require them to be sociable and industrious in concrete ways, and also with down-to-earth siblings who conform to these parental expectations, Healers (INFPs) come to see themselves as ugly ducklings…Wishing to please their parents and siblings, but not knowing quite how to do it, they try to hide their differences, believing they are bad to be so fanciful.”
– David Keirsey, Please Understand Me

#3 – Deep, Intense Emotions

The first mental process that INFPs develop is called Introverted Feeling, or “Fi” for short. This function is all about processing one’s own values, emotions, and gut feelings and understanding what is important and what it all means. INFPs are sensitive, gentle children and feel things very deeply. Insults, harsh words, neglect or rejection all hit them harder than many other types because they take it so seriously and feel it so deeply. They may appear quiet and easy-going on the outside, but many INFPs feel much more intensely on the inside than people realize.  They won’t usually open up about their feelings unless a great deal of trust has been established.

#4 – A Love For Misfits

INFPs tend to feel like misfits growing up; after all, they only make up 4.4% of the US population. They have a heart for the misunderstood, rejected, or lost people (and animals) of the world. They are the kinds of children who will pick out the ugliest, most abused animal the animal shelter and call it theirs. They have a driving desire to protect anyone who seems left out or marginalized and this follows them throughout life and tends to inspire many of the causes they fight for or defend.

#5 – Uneasiness in the Physical World

INFPs tend to live in their minds; they are fueled by their imagination, values, and purpose in life. They tend to get so caught up in restless imaginings that they lose sight of the physical world around them. They may put down their homework without realizing it and not be able to find it later…only for their mom to come across it in the pantry or on the bookshelf!

Personality experts Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron Tieger say of INFP children,

“Parents of INFPs often have to repeat themselves and can become frustrated when they realize their child isn’t listening….INFPs can be so completely distracted that they really don’t hear you. Their feelings are thundering in their ears much louder than you ever can – or should!”
– Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger, Nurture by Nature, Understand Your Child’s Personality Type – And Become a Better Parent

#5 – A Love of Symbols and Metaphor

The INFP child finds joy in symbolic resonance and meaning in the world around them. They tend to be gifted at speaking in metaphor, writing poetically, or making unusual connections between random ideas and things in their environment. You can see this tendency towards symbolism and poetry in the work of Edgar Allan Poe, William Blake, A.A. Milne, and William Shakespeare, all of whom are rumored to have been INFPs!

#6 – Artistic Perfectionism

To a young INFP, art isn’t just for fun, and a story isn’t just entertainment. Everything they create is deeply personal and significant. They have extremely high standards for their creative pursuits and won’t usually show their projects until they feel completely satisfied with them. Even then, showing their work feels like a personal experience and they are often hesitant to do it. If their project is met with criticism or generalized compliments it can be extremely frustrating for them because they pour so much of their heart and soul into their creations.

#7 – A Feeling of Being Different

INFPs are a rare and unusual personality type, and they tend to feel it strongly in their younger years. They are less concerned with the tangible details of their lives and more concerned with meanings, the future, and understanding their purpose in life. They are often seen as “too serious” as children or “too imaginative” or “too sensitive”. But with all their serious determination, imaginative creativity, and sensitivity they are able to change the world and make it a more beautiful, compassionate place.

What Are Your Thoughts?

Did you experience these things as a young INFP? Do you have any wisdom to share? Let us 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!

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Other Articles You Might Enjoy:

3 Weird and Wonderful Secrets of the INFP Personality Type

10 Things You’ll Relate to If You’re an INFP

The Rare INFP Male

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An in-depth look at what it's like to be an #INFP child! #MBTI #Personality

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  1. Wow another homerun! You described my entire life in this article. Thank you for writing this I once spent 11 years in therapy with someone who I guess wanted to “save me” .

  2. Susan you described me to a T… I feel so grateful to have finally in my 60’s to have so much more deeper an innerstanding of the beauty of my soul. I’ve felt like an alien on this planet all my life. Now I know I am not alone.
    I’ve been an ultra distance endurance cyclist most of my life and for the last decade an ultra distance adventure runner as nature and animals have been the only places and beings that seem to allow me to feel without judgement and I feel everything so deeply. I’m beginning to seek ways to connect with in meaningful way other INFP’s. That’s my deepest dream now. I’ve crossed paths with a few over this past year or so and every time it so heart breaking to let them go back into the great unknown not knowing if it’s even ok to ask them for or offer my contact information after what’s usually a few minutes during a Rideshare journey.

    I’m right now planning out and equipping myself for 2 yr 20,000 miles run that will look like a continuous “w” starting at the Mexican border below San Diego and going up Pacific Coast Highway to Vancouver and back down the Sierra Mountains to the the border a bit east of San Diego and repeating this pattern until I get to Miami Florida.
    I will begin to reach out to my Social Networks online and give them a heads up as to whether they would want me to weave them into my journey and coordinate a visit along the way. Especially those I know are INFP’s.
    I plan on encouraging everyone who hasn’t taken an MBTI test to take one so we can’t truly innerstand each other and also to identify whose likely to truly be another me in their inner realms ????????????????????‍♀️

    1. Erskein, you’ve written so openly, beautifully and directly from your heart – your words have resonated so far inside me – I too am an INFP – thank you.

      All the very best with you massive run challenge, enjoy ever step. Look forward to hearing how you’re doing 🙂

    2. Erskien, I agree with Margot… and I felt everything you wrote as I, too, am an INFP. I cried reading this article because it described me so perfectly… and it makes me sad thinking of us INFP children out there alone, feeling (and being) misunderstood.

      Your trip sounds amazing!! I hope it was what you envisioned. And I especially need to say this: please, ALWAYS ask for contact info if you feel a connection with someone… chances are, they’re feeling it too. The worst that could happen is they decline, in which case you’re where you would be if you hasn’t asked. So, since you’re an INFP, decide to trust that incredible gut feeling that is a huge part of who you are.

  3. You must have known me when I was a child. I’m 61, so when I was young introversion was meet with distaste. My parents, who I love/d dearly always wanted me to be the star of the show and were very emotional people. I have always felt overwhelmed. When I read the book “Quiet” I then understood myself and let me be me. I credit Susan Cain for allowing me to be okay with me.

  4. This is very interesting to me because I am an artist and writer. The perfectionism and risk of sharing speak to me. I want to get my work out into the world, but it is still a challenge. And yes, I was probably pretty frustrating for my mom because I’d forget homework or chores in favor of following the trail of thoughts in my head. 😉

  5. So true. I really value this validation of my personality and passion. I was also a survivor of childhood abuses, humiliation and neglect. At age 12, I was a tortured “philosopher”, contemplating the meaning of life. I wanted God to take me back, to where I came from and the only place where I belonged, felt safe and loved. Adulthood did not look attractive or viable for me. Despite my extreme loneliness and desperation, I held onto heaven and heaven has held onto me. Everything is about meaning and beauty, to me.

  6. This is me right now, except I am not a child 🥺 I don’t know what I was like when I was younger except maybe imaginative, innovative and smart, and a joke/prank lover. I still am. I was a serious yet fun child, when you got to know me. My neutral face makes me look like I’m ready to eye roll you, or I’m angry/feeling negative emotions. I also LOVE metaphors, and use them very often to explain things so my younger sister can understand what I’m saying. She says it makes it more confusing.

    I’m so confused!! I take the test and it says I’m an INTP, read about ISTPs and have thought ever since I was one, and now—
    0-0 there’s so many different variables… like whether I’m more intuitive or sensing, thinking or feeling, introverted or extroverted. I’m so even on all of those things, and I don’t even understand how to know if I perceive or judge more. I think I perceive, but you can’t be sure can you?? Ohhhh… 🤦🏽‍♀️

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