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Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
Most articles about you paint you as a scatterbrained but lovable daydreamer. You’re the stuff that fairy tales and unicorns and confetti are made of, right? Wrong (or partially wrong in some cases). You have a deeply analytical mind and use your innovative knowledge to change reality and create evolution and transformation. You focus on the big picture and use your creativity and actions to energize everyone around you and make things happen!
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A lot of articles about your type focus on your sometimes troll-ish behaviors. Sure, you like a good debate and an argument can stimulate your mind. But that’s not all there is to you. You’re an adaptable, creative individual who likes to break the mold and find ingenious ways to solve problems. Innovating, leading by example, and displaying technical expertise are areas you excel at. You can be very patient and focused during chaotic moments when everyone else is losing their head.
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According to most stereotypes, you’re the weepy emo kid who lurks in your bedroom writing poetry. But what many people don’t realize is that your sensitivity can actually make you stronger than most – not weaker. Sometimes your sensitivity to injustice can make you a hero of legend (think Joan of Arc) or an outspoken activist against corruption. You’re an idealist who will work relentlessly to create a better world – sometimes in fiery, powerful ways that will put those INFP stereotypes to the test.
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If I hear one more person call INTPs “lovable robots” I think I’ll scream. There’s so much more to you than a collection of data. You’re someone who seeks enlightenment and truth beyond all things. Your curiosity and skepticism drive you to discover new truths and innovations. You’re drawn towards the profound as well as the technical – deeply moved by philosophy, poetry, and brain-teasing riddles alike. Your hunger for the meaningful and transformative is something that many people miss in their hurry to label you.
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Cookies and warm hugs, anyone? Many type descriptions paint you as a human version of Olaf from Frozen. But you’re really more like Mufasa in The Lion King. Visionary and purposeful, you are driven to make the world a better place. In pursuit of your vision and the potential you see in others you can be formidable but gentle. You’re a mentor who knows how to motivate people to be better versions of themselves. That might involve moments of cookies and warm embraces, but it also can mean standing up against injustice, and speaking hard truths to someone who’s going the wrong direction.
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People often see your type as formidable, status-seeking, and all logic/no heart. But underneath that ambitious, no-nonsense demeanor you have a passion for select causes and individuals. You show people you care by making plans and strategies that work for them. You’re drawn to the profound and philosophical and want to live a life of meaning and personal significance. There’s more to your heart than people guess at first glance, but you only show that to a select, trusted few. Deep down you know you’d be willing to take a bullet for anyone that you care about. Your loyalty and steadfastness are intense and often overlooked in stereotypical type descriptions.
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People might write you off for being lost in your head, reclusive, or sensitive. But there’s a power in you that many people miss. You have insight, profound empathy, and single-minded determination. You long to bring your visions and goals to fruition and make life beautiful for the people you care about. You look for meaning and significance in every situation and are more than willing to lend a hand (and a smile) to people who feel invisible or left out.
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Your words might seem esoteric to some, and you might appear distant and unreadable to many. But your mind is a veritable playground of philosophical ideas, insights, strategies, and goals. You thrive on putting theories to work and you’re a master at integrating ideas into complex systems and making them effective for people to use. But even with all that going on, you’re not as stoic as people think you are. You have a strong moral compass and profound loyalty to the people and causes you care about. Your inner values and feelings are deep and passionate, but you only share them with a select and trusted few.
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Enthusiastic and passionate, many people see you as a social butterfly or a “party animal.” And because they’re so quick to label you, they don’t take the time to get to know you for the more complex person that you truly are. Yes, you’re an adaptable extravert with a lot of enthusiasm for living life fully and optimistically. But you are also resourceful, quick-witted, practical, and emotionally deep. You are the kind of person who would run into a burning building to rescue someone. You’re also the kind of person who weighs and analyzes your choices and values and feelings when you’re on your own, trying to assess whether you lived with integrity. There’s more to you than the labels people are so quick to place on you.
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Action-oriented and daring, people often see you as the “jock” or the impulsive thrill-seeker. And whether you are or are not those things, there’s also more to you. People often underrate your ability to solve complex problems, analyze data and find logical inconsistencies, or demonstrate technical expertise. You get a thrill from finding practical ways to apply your knowledge and stretching your mind to gather new, useful information.
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Many definitions of your type paint you as a hippie artist singing “Kum-bah-yah” in a remote (likely vegan) community. Now, maybe this IS what you’re like. But there’s a certain steeliness about you that most people are quick to underestimate. You’re more down-to-earth than fanciful, and while you’re idealistic – you crave ideals that you can put action behind. You seek adventure, excitement, and impact. You’re not afraid of boldly venturing where less brave souls would dare to go, and risks don’t frighten you away from the rewards and direction you aim for.
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You probably got in trouble for rule-breaking as a kid, and maybe that rebellious edge has gotten you labeled as a “troublemaker” throughout your life. People often underestimate your intellect because they’re so distracted by the fact that you won’t do things by the book. Your mind is quick to organize data, to reason, and to solve problems. You’re analytical and pragmatic, only throwing out rules that get in the way of efficiency and logic. Your self-determined, independent nature means that you don’t feel a compulsion to “prove” your logic to other people. As a result, sometimes people are quick to rule out your decisions as “hasty” or “impulsive,” because they don’t realize the time and thought that you really put into something.
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Your friendly, warm nature often gets you labeled as the “Mom” of the MBTI® community. But what this label fails to articulate is how pragmatic and proactive you can really be. You’re someone who prizes having a level head, organizing your life so you can accomplish your goals, and meticulously attending to details that might trip up other types on a regular basis. You believe in being competent at whatever task you undertake and will work tirelessly for the values that you hold dear. You might do this while simultaneously baking 8 dozen cookies for a charity bake sale, but that’s another point entirely.
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Your take-charge, no-nonsense persona can leave people feeling intimidated – and some may quickly write you off as “bossy” or all head/no heart. But what they fail to realize is that the motivation behind your pursuits is one of concern for people and your community. Sure, you may like achievement for its own sake – but you also strive to take care of your community, family, and loved ones. You are absolutely determined to provide a life of stability and security for the people you care about, and you have a soft spot for vulnerable or hurting people. You may not show your concern through lovey-dovey words of affirmation or platitudes, but you’ll show it through heartfelt action and practical advice.
Your gentle, giving, soft-spoken nature can get people putting you in the “sweet” or “tender-hearted” box rapidly. And while you might be sweet and tender-hearted, it can annoy you when that’s all people see. Yes, you’re gentle. Yes, you are sensitive to the needs of others. But you’re also pragmatic, hard-working, quirky, and fun-loving. You’re not afraid to roll up your sleeves and join people in the trenches when they’re struggling. That takes grit – which you often have in abundance. You can put a tremendous amount of power and focus into your goals, especially if those goals will benefit the people you care about. You can also surprise others with your offbeat, creative sense of humor. You’re so much more than the “caretaker” that you’re often labeled as.
To people who don’t know you very well, you come across as reserved, no-nonsense and dutiful. Your quiet, somewhat mysterious demeanor can make people write you off as “hard to know” or overly-serious. People may not realize how much heart you put into your actions and how strictly you hold yourself to your personal moral code. You’re someone who believes in living a life with integrity and purpose, but you’re also someone who has a gentle side. Your observance of the experiences going on around you makes you insightful about human nature. You also have an idiosyncratic, unorthodox sense of humor once people get to know you well!
What Are Your Thoughts?
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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!