Can't decide whether you're an INFJ or INFP? Find out which one fits you better! #INFJ #INFP #MBTI

Are You An INFJ or an INFP? How to Find Out!

“Am I an INFP or an INFJ?” This is a question I get every day as an MBTI® practitioner and blogger. The reason this question comes up so frequently is because there are so many unreliable online tests out there. These knock-off personality quizzes claim to be as accurate as the official Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®, but they are lacking the reliability and validity testing that went into the official MBTI®. As a result, numerous people are being mistyped or getting different results each time they take the test. The most common mistype to come from these online tests is the INFP/INFJ mistype.

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

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Why are so many INFPs and INFJs mistyped?

The majority of online tests focus on the letter dichotomies (E or I, S or N, F or T) without considering the cognitive functions. Because of this, a very slight preference towards the P dichotomy or the J dichotomy could change your entire type. This isn’t how personality typing should work. INFJs and INFPs share zero cognitive functions. Plus, to make it even more confusing, INFJs lead with a perceiving preference, and INFPs lead with a judging preference. In turn, many INFPs type as INFJs and many INFJs type as INFPs! Are you confused yet? Let’s try to simplify things!

Let’s start by taking a look at the different cognitive functions for the INFJ and the INFP.

INFJ Functions

INFP Functions

If you look closely, you can see that the INFJ uses introverted intuition (Ni), extraverted feeling (Fe), introverted thinking (Ti), and extraverted sensing (Se). The INFP uses introverted feeling (Fi), extraverted intuition (Ne), introverted sensing (Si), and extraverted thinking (Te). There is not one function that these two types share.

How can I tell if I’m an INFP or an INFJ?

Are you an INFJ or an INFP? Find out with this infographic and in-depth article!

How INFPs and INFJs Use Intuition

INFJs lead with introverted intuition. This is their dominant function. Their #1 favorite driver. They use it so much that they probably don’t even realize they are using it. More than anything else in the world, INFJs are going to look at patterns, perspectives, and the big picture. They privately consider the purpose and meaning of life, and analyze human patterns and behaviors. They like to discard possibilities until they come to the one most likely possibility for the future. Their intuition is like a tall, narrow tree, with very deep roots. It has lots of depth, not as much breadth.

INFJs feel “detached” from the world, as if they are observing it from a distance. They “zoom out” of situations to try to see how the pieces fit into the big picture. It’s important for them to look at an idea from many angles and predict which idea has the most plausibility of becoming “real.” This is more natural to them than considering their feelings or values.

You can see the INFJ perspective of the overall meaning of things and the “big picture” in Dante Alighieri’s writings.

“Heaven wheels above you, displaying to you her eternal glories, and still your eyes are on the ground.”

INFPs do not lead with intuition. They lead with introverted feeling. Extraverted intuition is their 2nd favorite function and they enjoy using it but it’s not as automatic as feeling is. Extraverted intuition sees a multitude of ideas and possibilities in the external environment. Unlike the INFJ, who focuses on discarding possibilities until the right one is reached, an INFP adds MORE possibilities to the picture. They can see one thing and extrapolate numerous ideas and connections from that one thing. Brainstorming and bouncing from idea to idea is natural to them. Their intuition is like a tree with short roots but broad branches reaching out in many different directions. It has lots of breadth, and extrapolates many connections.

INFPs tend to feel different from the rest of the world. They have a strong individual set of morals, values, and ideals that they strive to live by. Being authentic and living in alignment with their moral-code is vital to their well-being. Their intuition gives them a creative outlook and an innate ability to see many possibilities and alternatives for the future. 

You can see the INFP feeling of “difference” beautifully described by Edgar Allan Poe, who is an INFP.

“From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were – I have not seen.
As others saw – I could not bring

My passions from a common spring.”

How INFJs and INFPs Use Feeling

INFJs use Extraverted Feeling. This is their 2nd favorite, or auxiliary function. It balances out their intuition. INFJs notice and absorb the moods and emotions of the people around them. They usually know how to alter their behavior to promote external harmony. The INFJs feeling function is like a tree with shallow roots, but long branches reaching out and absorbing emotions and feelings everywhere around it.

INFPs use Introverted Feeling. This is their favorite function, the one they use without having to try. INFPs constantly analyze how things fit in with their value system. They have a deep, individualistic set of values that they strive to adhere to in every aspect of their lives. INFPs are independent and seek to maintain an independent moral code that is refined more and more over time. They are constantly in check with their conscience to determine if something is “right” or “wrong”. They “step into other people’s shoes” to try to understand how they would feel in their position. This is called “mirroring” emotions. INFPs feelings are extremely deep, with a lot of focus. Their feeling function is like a tall tree with deep, long roots that refine and dig deeper into the INFPs own values, morals, and emotions.

INFPs will rarely alter their ideals or identity to “smooth over” things in the outer environment. Internal harmony and authenticity will always be more of a priority than external harmony.

INFJs Tertiary Introverted Thinking and INFPs Tertiary Introverted Sensing

INFJs will use tertiary introverted thinking to connect all their ideas in a way that makes sense to them.  They strive for logical consistency and enjoy organizing thoughts in their mind and piecing together bits of information. Categorizing and sorting out information is often enjoyable for them – they enjoy understanding the principles and underlying framework for things. They also like to analyze the emotions and moods of other people so they can understand them better.

INFPs will use tertiary introverted sensing to ground all their ideas and processes with what they’ve experienced in their lives. INFPs have a certain nostalgic quality about them and like to remember what’s happened before and what they felt before. They use Si (introverted sensing) to recall numerous details about a past experience, how it made them feel, and what they learned from it. This gives them faith in their experience and an ability to remember things vividly. They often have favorite books, movies, and songs that they enjoy re-experiencing again and again. INFJs tend to have little cause for nostalgia and will usually pick a new book over re-reading a favorite.

INFJs use Introverted Thinking (Ti) as their “relief” function. During stress-free times, INFJs enjoy tinkering with ideas and principles. They enjoy doing brain-teasers and mental puzzles. They like to categorize and research.

INFPs use Introverted Sensing (Si) as their “relief” function. During stress-free times, they enjoy revisiting places they’ve been, ideas they’ve explored, or pulling information from the past or history. They can be very nostalgic and enjoy reminiscing about past experiences.

 INFJs Inferior Extraverted Sensing and INFPs inferior Extraverted Thinking

The inferior function is the least developed of all the functions for each type. It’s also the most sensitive, and the most “at odds” with the dominant function.

INFJs have inferior Extraverted Sensing (Se). They are so often “in their heads” that they can lose touch with the world around them. They can also become very frustrated if the world around them is in a chaotic, disorderly state. When under intense stress, an INFJ might fall “into the grip” of extraverted sensing, and start over-indulging in sensory pleasures; over-eating, making impulsive decisions, drinking too much, over-exercising, being impulsive and reckless.

INFJs in a healthy mood can use Se in a positive way to enjoy a hobby that calms them; some INFJs become skilled gardeners, bakers, or they might enjoy bird watching or stargazing as a way to calm down and relax.

INFPs have inferior Extraverted Thinking (Te). Because it’s inferior, they can sometimes seem irrational because all their other functions tend to “crowd it out”. Just like INFJs can be so stuck in their heads that they can walk into walls (due to inferior Se), INFPs can be so occupied with their ideals and values that they lose their logical focus (due to inferior Te). Under extreme stress, INFPs can fall “into the grip” of inferior Te. This can make them seem overly directive, harshly critical, or sarcastic. They may become obsessed with righting wrongs or fixing errors.

INFPs in a healthy mood can use Te very effectively to bring their ideas and values to life and to give them a logical direction. Te can help them to put their ideas out into the world in a convincing, rational way.

In Conclusion…

I hope this helps you to understand the real differences between the INFP and INFJ! I also hope this helps you to figure out if you are one of these types. Let me know if this has been helpful, or if you have any problems with it! I’d love to talk it over in the comments! If you’d like to find out more about the INFJ personality type, check out my new ebook The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic.

INFJ Understanding the Mystic


There is a lot of helpful information about these two types if you are still seeking clarification. Check out these links!

Watch a Myers-Briggs Certified Master Practitioner discuss the difference between INFJs and INFPs!
My True Type: Clarifying Your Personality Type, Preferences & Functions
Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence
The MBTI® Manual

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  1. After reading this, I am think I am INFJ But I almost always test INFP . That being said I relate more to what I read about INFJ. I’m still confused.

    1. I test INFJ and INFP interchangably. It’s almost like my mood of the day changes my test outcome. This article confused me more as well. I identified more with INFP in a couple of paragraphs and more with INFJ in others. I am terribly confused.

      1. Your experience is mine as well, from the interchangeable testing as well as relating in this article. I’m beginning to think that we may be an even more rare 17th type the INFC (confused) lol.

    2. Well it definitely helped clarify the difference between the two types, but it didn’t help me definitively place myself in either. ???? I can see myself clearly in each example, and I have specific experiences come to mind as I read the traits of both types! Can someone be both/neither/squarely in the middle?

      1. If you’re in the middle, you might be overthinking things OR neither would be the right match. Check out ISFJ and ISFP and see if either fits you better

  2. On Personality Hacker I mistyped as INFJ, and subscribed to your blog as an INFJ. I’m an INFP. How do I resubscribe to your blog as an INFP?

  3. first test i did i was an infp recent test i did said im an infj like my mother but after reading this im pritty sure im an infp. lol

  4. I scored a 50/50 on the test… that didn’t help. But this was a very informative article that was enjoyable to read nonetheless.

  5. I’ve been tested as a INFP but after reading this article and studying the difference between the two..I Resonate with both it possible that a person can be both types..confused

  6. For anyone confused about these types please focus on understanding the lead functions!

    If you feel deeply about things unconsciously always, feelings are super loud and can’t be shutdown, probably you are Fi dominant, if you find the external world feeds your intuition more so than it coming from inside you. If your feelings are louder than the intuitive leads you get you are most likely FiNe

    If you are constantly looking for patterns and connections without even noticing, when someone tells you something it relates to this and that and thus means x thing will happen and you have to soften your predictions according to how ready for them you actually feel the other person is, if the external world feeds you feelings, you are most likely NiFe

    This types share no functions, understanding the functions is of upmost importance!

    External world feeds them feelings, Inner world insight, patterns and connections to an absolute understanding of reality, how do I feel about this is something you have to consciously decide to consult, what others feel and what should be done is always there and you can always feel it, a person is next to you, you literally feel what they are feeling and stopping it is a conscious choice.

    External world feeds you insights, Inner world feelings, feelings that shape how you perceive the world, how do I feel about this represents no effort, it just happens, if you project your imagination in a way you can actually feel the other person you can feel what the other person is feeling, a conscious choice

    Cyclical summary

    Infp In to out: feelings out to in: insights, empathy: a conscious choice Listening to your feelings: a subconscious permanent happening

    Infj in to out: insights out to in: feelings
    Empathy a subconscious permanent happening, Listening to own feelings: A conscious choice

    Hope this helps someone~ !!!

    1. Thanks, that helped me a little bit! Well, I think you made it very clear. It certainly helps a lot of people, it’s just that in the first few functions I felt like INFP, but the more I got into it the more I thought I was thinking like INFJ.

      Here is a little summary of my situation (you don’t have to read it, I know it’s boring xD)

      The first time I did an mbti test, I got INFP (with 1% difference with INFJ) But I had doubts, and I did it again later. I got INFJ with still 1% difference with INFP… Then now I’m an INFP again. So, of course, I had done some research myself to make sure the test was reliable, and I read all the types myself, because I don’t like to say “I am such and such a type” just by taking a test that I may have answered wrong (because of comprehension concerns, or maybe honesty). I deduced that I act more like an INFP, that I have morals and feelings more like an INFP, but that in my relationship with others (I am often forced to) I am more like an INFJ. Also, my sense of empathy is more like INFJ, and my values and understanding of the world more like INFP. I allowed myself to say that I was between the two, but here it is, it stresses me out, so I’m still there ;-; (which also makes me closer to INFJ because I hate spontaneity, it stresses me out a lot, but I feel like I’m “lazy” and not trying hard enough. I am very apprehensive and I am by nature stressed and pessimistic, and individualistic. I have a strong sense of morality but I am also an emotional sponge that is easily manipulated in that sense.
      Namely, in both cases I am a 100% Turbulent type.
      If you can help me, it would be very nice 😀

  7. Did I get it right ?

    INFJ inner world feeds them insights , outerworld feelings

    INFP innerworld feeds them feelings, outworld insights

    did IIIIII?

  8. Wow! Thank you. I have always felt like such a bad INFP with my flexible morals and inability to figure out my feelings. INFJ explains it all!

    1. I really think I need someone older to explain this in a way I understand. I don’t understand the way you word things. My Gen X brain tends to perceive info better when it’s coming from someone my own age. For example, “INFP in to out: feelings out to in” doesn’t make sense to me. It’s reads as gobbledygook. I want to be polite, but I can’t say “no offense” or “not to be rude” or whatever because that’s interpreted as the opposite. Basically I’m trying to tactfully say “thank you for the effort, but your explanations aren’t helpful for me”.

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