The Intuitive Introvert: INFP Type Explained

introverted intuitive feeling perceiving type

Are you a highly intuitive introvert who cares deeply about personal emotions and ideals?  Do you have little motivation for mundane daily tasks, but pursue your goals and passions with unusual intensity?  If so, you might just be an INFP type (just like me!).

According to the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator, the four letter code for this personality type is Introversion, Intuition,Feeling and Perceiving.

  • Introversion (I): How do you relate to the world and focus your energy?
  • Intuition (N): How do you perceive information?
  • Feeling (F): How do you make decisions?
  • Perceiving (P): How to you orient yourself to the outside world?

Feelings focused

INFPs tend to be focused on our inner world of emotions.  We often make decisions based on feelings rather than logic. If given the choice, we usually prefer to talk about emotions and dreams, rather than hard facts and logic.  While everyday details bore us, we are fascinated by the Human Condition. Although INFPs are often reserved when expressing our emotions, we do care deeply  about our relationships and ideals.

Introverted intuitive

INFP type personalities rely heavily on our own intuition to guide us through life.  We are highly intuitive when it comes to understanding other people’s motives and emotions.  Although not usually detail-oriented, INFPs can be very observant of the emotional states of those around us.  We might not be able to remember what color the walls were painted, but we will likely be able to recall our feelings in a given situation.

Defensive of ideals

Like most introverts, INFPs avoid conflict like the plague.  Fortunately, we are very flexible and laid back most of the time, so we are good at preventing conflicts.  The only time that we might become aggressive or excessively defensive is when one of our primary ideals is violated.  We are passionate defenders of our cause.  For this reason, we can become irrationally outraged when our core values are questioned or threatened.

High Standards

Even though INFP types are not known for being detail-oriented, we often have incredibly high standards when it comes to the things that matter most to us. We will go great lengths to further our cause.  Because of this, we tend to be unnecessarily hard on ourselves.  We can easily overlook how far we’ve come, as we push forward toward our goals.  If we don’t remember to celebrate our victories and enjoy the moment, we risk becoming overly obsessed and even depressed.

Hopeless romantics

Even if we don’t show it, most INFPs are hopeless romantics.  We are sensitive creatives who are in love with love. This puts us at risk of being carried away by our own fantasies of the perfect partner, while the real deal goes unnoticed right under our nose.

Does this sound like you?  If you’re and INFP, too, I’d love to hear about your experiences and challenges.  

michalea chung

 

 

43 Comments

  1. I’m an INFP. Aaaand, yep, that’s me.

    One more thing: we usually feel misunderstood. After all, we’re only like 4.4% of the population (if you wanna know the most frequent type, look no further: ISFJ with 13.8%)

    I guess that all personality types have got something interesting. I’m kind of curious abou *NT*. Imagine a thinker person… RELYING ON HIS INTUITION!

    …got a bit carried away on that one

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    • Sorry, sent without ending. This phone does what he wants!

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    • Thanks for sharing that statistic, Ivo. I didn’t know we were so rare! 😉 I will do a post on an NT type soon.

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      • This is ridiculously accurate! I’m 17 and I’m really struggling to accept that this is just who I am and that its okay. I think it’s because there aren’t many people like me.

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  2. I am a Infp and my family thinks that I way to much in the clouds but I learned to love it gives me that some people don’t have so yay

    P.S Fun Fact Being ignored causes the same chemical reaction as a physical injury.

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  3. If it doesn’t bother you, when you have time, Michaella, give your toughts for INTJ. Please, it would be great 😛

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  4. I’m an INFP as well. Although, as I get older, my P is turning into a J. (Not sure what that means!) I completely agree with Ivo about feeling misunderstood. I think that’s why we tend to be fiercely loyal to those who take the time to get to know us.

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  5. I’m an INFP, too. Although, as I get older, my P is turning into a J. (Not sure what that means!) I completely agree with Ivo about feeling misunderstood. I think that’s why we are fiercely loyal to those who take the time to really get to know us.

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    • You’re probably right, Joanna. I feel a strong sense of loyalty to the few people who get me.

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    • Technically, P vs. J couldn’t actually change. I think it’s more likely that you’ve mistyped yourself. If you study what MBTI is based on, the Jungian Functions, it quickly becomes apparent that INFPs and INFJs are vastly different, even though they are only one letter apart. I’m an INFP, and I’ve gone down this road too. Myers-Briggs is far more complicated than it appears on the surface, and I highly suggest that you look into the functions. However, once this complexity is understood, Myers-Briggs makes a lot more sense and you have a better understanding of your type. 🙂

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    • I am everything except I am detail oriented. I have read through the comments and have understood and felt everything. We are the people who are misunderstood and usually the only people who get us are other like us. I haven’t even really been able to share my feelings because I feel like no one gets me. Tat they won’t understand how I feel. It doesn’t help that all the people O have every opened up too have either burned me or moved away. I am not sharing this for pity. I want to share this because I want others know what it is like to deal with this and because I feel like I can talk to people online and share stuff I never could in the real world. Thank you to whoever read through this whole thing.

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      • Katy unread the whole thing, and girlie I know how you feel. Being misunderstood, having problems with people who put you down when you put yourself out there. It’s hard being different, and at the same time I wouldn’t have it any other way. I think being an INFP we carry the weight of the world on our shoulders, but we do everything we can to stand tall, to show people that we aren’t weak, there’s nothing holding us down. And on the hardest and heaviest of days, when people finally see us struggling with that weight, they underestimate us. I have been in two long term relationships (one was a marriage) and in both I stayed too long, carrying so much weight with me. And they both underestimated me. And they never thought I would leave, but I did. Don’t let anyone else’s expectations keep you from what you need to do.

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    • I read somewhere that your type can actually change, but at core you will still be and infp. Meaning your core type will not change and you shall forever be an infp even though you act like and infj as you have to become more organised during work or something, but after you leave work you can go back to being an infp. Does that make sense? Anyway that’s just what I read on some website.

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  6. I am INFP and I find it both enriching and trying at times; my emotions seem to have a life of their own. I enjoy my inner world. I feel lucky in my ability to just go inward and either create or reflect. I am rarely bored, unless I’m with someone very exacting and detail-oriented. That stresses me out.

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    • Oh, yes, me too Kim! Being around someone who is extremely detail-oriented is stressful. I think such people find it stressful being around me, too, because of my ‘go with the flow’ ways. 😉

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  7. I am an INFP too, and identify completely with your thoughts in this post, Michaela.

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    • Great to hear, James! It’s good to know that I’m not the only one who feels this way. 😉

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  8. I’ve taken the test multiple times because I constantly was told and felt that something was wrong with me. I wasn’t talking enough, I wasn’t doing enough, I etc… Now I know I’m an INFP, (toss-up between INFP and the narcissistic INFJ) I have such a rich inner life that everything else just passes by. It was always hard in school as I could easily figure most things out without learning it. So many frustrations could have been avoided by doing homework… Also, with us INFP’s we can be the eternal optimists and lie to ourselves about life in that everything is okay and that we can stay in our rose-colored worlds, but sooner or later we have to face reality. One thing never to lose is the dream of a better tomorrow. Thank you Michaela for your site!

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  9. No wonder I find my job draining, I’m a trainer! This site is fantastic, wish it existed when I was in my 20’s.

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    • Yes, training would be exhausting for most introverts! I’m happy to hear that you like my site, Matt!

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  10. I am an INFP and I completely agree with everything you said. I don’t know if this is just me or if other INFP’s feel this way too, but I am a paradox. I am critical and pessimistic about what I create yet I yearn for appreciation; when it is not appreciated… I swear to myself that I will not create again (but I always do!).

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  11. INFP-T…Empathic with Claircognizant and Clairsentience abilities….I’m alllllllllways FEELING, alllllllways KNOWING [for everyone OTHER than myself] How come I can have *clear feelings and clear knowledge* for annnnything and everything else “people” want to know… but when it comes to me I draw a blank..and when I don’t…then I have a helluva time putting things into actions =\

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    • yeah that thing about knowing about others but not being clear about oneself seems a contradiction. there must be a reason for it. idid read that infps are so aware they dont want to inadvertently hurt anyone else. and they dont know if theyu have made a good decision till after they have done it. then they know in their bodies they have. im not that fierce however. i tend to be a diplomat. and as the human condition is such a poignant one i cut people a lot of slack.

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    • i get that claircognizance. i have caught myself saying to people you will be fine when i did not know them or anything about them. and then i get a strange look. and clairsentience too feeling for others, picking up their essence somehow. its very tiring. worse in some situations than others. I find talking about things helps me see more clearly what to do if Im stuck which I do get when deciding on how to tackle some things.

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  12. I’m an Infp and have found this to be true. I’m fierce when a person may step on my value line. I totally value and hold dear a person who took the time to get to know me as much as I value getting to know them. Hopeless Romantic …. gah yes. I totally love Pride and passion the movie or book! Very focused and motivated with my projects but totally drag my heals over daily chores.. sigh. I feel lonely when misunderstood, which I find can be a lot, when so few take the time to get to know me.

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  13. I relate to everything you’ve written. I must add that as an INFP i’ve found myself fearing uncertainty. I have to find the answers, to solve the puzzle, so i can be in peace, even when i face something beyond my ability to understand. Sadly it is very exhausting and i’m usually getting worse, fighting this side of mine.

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  14. I’m an INFP personality type too and it feels comforting in knowing that you are too! I enjoy reading your blog and feel like you really understand some of the issues I have felt.

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    • Happy to hear that, Giselle. 🙂 xo

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  15. I highly relate to your description, Michaela. As well as the description the Myers-Briggs test gave me. I consider my personality type as both a liability and an asset. I love how creative and altruistic I am, but the lack of self-confidence joined with the extremely high standards I put up to myself is usually stressing me out.
    We are very rare yes. I’ve barely came across one or two introverted people, let alone INFPs. But when I feel understood and comfortable with someone, it just makes me so happy that I completely open myself to them. This is why I think INFPs are some kind of encoded open books.

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    • Hi Hind. Thanks for sharing that. Nice to hear from a fellow INFP. 🙂

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  16. Is being an infp bad?

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    • Of course not. I think it’s wonderful. 🙂

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  17. I took the Meyers-Briggs as a requirement during seminary training. The professor had us break out into our groups and talk about the results. He came over to our group to let us know he was also INFP, and pointed out that although we’re the smallest group percentage-wise, an unusually high percentage show up in seminaries. Proof of his point was, that in a class of under 25 students, there were 7 of us if you include the prof. Wasn’t much of a “discussion” in the group, tho, since whatever anyone said got immediate nods and a chorus of “yes I know.” It’s been an interesting ride in this profession, I’ve also read your piece on empaths, having years ago figured out I was one, and I see where it has been a strong part of what I do. The biggest challenge, of course, has always been, finding sufficient time to recharge.

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    • I took the official version in my extended CPE unit last year and was surprised at just how extremely I scored as INFP. I met one other person who identified as INFP in seminary. I am doing my CPE residency right now and I still feel very attracted to hospital chaplaincy, although it really pushes my social and emotional energy to its limits on a daily basis.

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  18. I’m an INFP for sure. I long for alone time, and I can get overwhelmed by the almost total lack of it, I can see everyone else’s point of view, even the kids who bullied by daughter, which she thought was just being disloyal – and I’m so not disloyal! I crush my wants and needs to avoid conflict. I am passionate and focussed and away with the fairies all at the same time – just depends what it’s about. I have no idea where I’m headed but I hope it’s pretty. And please god, let there be books.

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    • I am an INFP too and your description of yourself is just how I would describe myself. Good luck in your journey!

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  19. Hi, So great to read about fellow introverts! I keep testing as INFJ on the free online personality tests, but I’m wondering if I’m actually an INFP. I love people but need solitude to recharge and reflect. I’m passionate about causes that I care about, and uncharacteristically fierce in defending them. I’m a hopeless romantic! I hate small talk and falseness, and avoid conflict. I’m also super sensitive and intuitive. I know INFJ AND INFP are actually very different; can anyone explain how the functions work, so I can work out which type I am? Thanks 🙂

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  20. I only want to leave a ‘short’ excerpt of what I wrote a short time after I recognized I´m an INFP:

    “… So something was wrong with me, some type of illness. It did never come to my mind that pretending to be someone I’m not truly I’m was all the cause. By accident, as I surfed lazy and disinterested through the internet I crossed a site with a personality test. I never believe in astrology or other psychological matters, but I gave it a try. The result was that I could be an INFP …

    I never heard about, somehow curious I started reading. And at first I was frightened, how could someone know me so good, even better than I know me myself. Astonished and wondering I couldn’t stop reading, for days and weeks I read everything I could find.
    After years here was someone who tells me who am I, who knows what I feel, who knows what I have experienced, but who didn’t know me at all, she just told her own story – I was flashed – for the first time in my life I felt understood, I recognized I am not alone. That I am not weird and suffering under any illness, that I am just different and normal. That I have the right to be I want to be, to be myself again. …”

    Back to that very day, I started writing again, and now, weeks later I didn’t stop, neither I don’t want – and Michaela – you are 1 of 3 – I owe you much, thanks!
    want to stop .

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    • I am probably by far the youngest person I know who has discovered this accurate test, I also got my best friend to take it and she is an INTJ I feel like I understand her a lot better. Also you should check out this Myers Briggs website called 16 personalities where, after you take the test you can go to the members area and there are lots of threads where you can discuss stuff. I once found an infp club thread there so check that out.

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  21. I feel like I’m a weird infp I like to talk face to face but hate talking on the telephone I often talk way too much I should consider myself lucky to have so many friend’s but most of the time I ignore them because I don’t feel connected I need someone with a heart around me but I’m surrounded with people who think I’m weird ,selfish a “freak” meanwhile I am suffering I’m 22 right know and I still have to imagine what” hugs” are like I feel like I live among robots .

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  22. I’m an infp ive always felt weird living with a esfj mother who did not hug me once I felt like she was cold &disconnected I still feel like I’m waiting for someone anyone who is not Just another ropot like everyone else in my life still yearing for effection I don’t believe is easy to find

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    • Hi Ally,
      I’m guessing I’m a lot older than you at 52.. I likewise had an unaffectionate mother ..I fell in love with the first man who showed me affection at 20..luckily he’s a good guy..there have been times I’ve also felt starved of affection but have learned to ask for or offer hugs and to be loving to others..none of us are robots though I hear where you are coming from.Know that you are a good, loving person yourself and things will work out,
      Xo,
      Anna

      Reply

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