INFPs focus deeply on their values, and they devote their lives to pursuing the ideal. They often draw people together around a common purpose and work to find a place for each person within the group. They are creative, and they seek new ideas and possibilities. They quietly push for what is important to them, and they rarely give up. While they have a gentleness about them and a delightful sense of humor, they may be somewhat difficult to get to know and may be overlooked by others. They are at their best making their world more in line with their internal vision of perfection.
INFP children often create their own fantasy world and live very much within it. They may daydream about what is important to them, and sometimes others wonder if they are in touch with reality. They often get lost in their thoughts and books, and may develop a special ability in communicating, such as writing. They are somewhat reserved, especially in new situations.
INFPs decide early on what is important for them, what is of value. They tend to rely on themselves for direction and are reticent to ask others for help. They would rather do things themselves, to make sure they are done properly. INFPs have found this to be both a strength and a curse. Depending only on themselves and being careful not to show mistakes to others is important. As teens, INFPs may have a bit of a rebellious streak. They may argue with those who hold different values than they do. They are also likely to have a small, close set of friends with whom they share good times. In the comfort of those close relationships, they can relax and are often quite entertaining, since they see the world in a different and special way. Their sense of humour is readily apparent. However, unless an INFP finds an appreciation for his or her uniqueness and personal values, he or she may feel like an odd person out.
When they set their minds on things, INFPs are not likely to give up easily, yet because of their outward gentleness, they do not show their determination. They may not take a direct path, but somehow they reach their dreams.
As young adults, INFPs may have some difficulty finding the ideal career and the ideal mate, in part because of that very word 'ideal'. They have a vision in mind of what they want, yet reality may not follow suit. They may make several starts and stops in their career until they find a comfortable place for themselves.
INFPs have a need for perfection in connection with their personal values. They become frustrated with those who dwell on trivialities.
INFPs need a purpose beyond the paycheck. They become burned out easily if their job does not fit their value system; they may not feel good enough about what they have achieved and, as a result, may undervalue themselves and their contributions.
In retirement, INFPs need to look back and feel that they have led a worthwhile life that has made a difference. They want time for a variety of activities, including travel. They may also be very attached to their family and enjoy special visits with them.
INFPs learn best in flexible situations where they know the teacher takes a personal interest in them. They like to be able to interact with their peers, but not too much so. They want to feel free to dig into subjects that are of interest to them. Having both flexibility and creativity rewarded is encouraging to them. While they may not enjoy deadlines, if they value the assignment, they will meet those deadlines. Deadlines may force INFPs to decide that their work is 'good enough' to turn in.
Subjects that hold a great deal of interest for them are learned readily. They will often do extra work in their attempt to learn as much as possible about something of interest. And they often read assignments carefully and them work their creativity into the given framework of the assignment. Thus it may appear that they did not pay careful attention to the details of the assignment in their reinterpretation. It is best if they have teachers who appreciate their unique approach and who do not hold them to the letter of the law.
At work, INFPs contribute their creativity, their value system, and their ability to work with others. They are able to see the larger picture and how specific programs fit in. They do not dwell on the trivialities or the details. Their job must be fun, although not racous, and it must be meaningful to them. They need a strong purpose in their work. They want to be recognized and valued, without undue attention given to them. They may become embarrassed when make the center of attention. As a result, they may undersell their strengths in order to avoid being singled out and made to feel conspicuous. They would rather have their worth be noticed gradually over time.
INFPs like to work with cooperative people committed to the same values that they are. They can become bothered when they see others working at cross purposes, especially when conflict is overt. They do not like competition or bureaucracy. They need privacy. Calm and quiet appeal to them, as does time and space for reflection. People usually like working with INFPs even though they may not know them well.
INFPs are quite disorganized. But when tasks at hand are important and best done in an organized way, INFPs strive to do so. Practicality is not a driving force for INFPs. Things that traditionally belong together may not be placed together because the INFP does not see it as necessary. They have trouble finishing what they start because of their perfectionistic nature. When they do finish a project, they may not consider it done 'for good.' Projects can always be improved upon, revised, and reworked, and therefore INFPs find it hard to bring tasks to closure. Because they are able to visualize the finished product long before it is done, the actual completion is of less importance.
INFPs prefer occupations in which they can be involved in making the world better. Having their heart in their work is important to them. These occupations also allow for an element of creativity and flexibility. INFPs are particularly interested to be counselor, editor, education consultant, English teacher, fine arts teacher, journalist, psychologist, religious educator, social scientist, social worker, teacher, writer, and other occupations that engage their values.
The INFP leadership style is subtle, gentle, indirect, and inclusive of others. INFPs do not confront people head-on, but rather work with them and through them to get the job done. Their style is not an aggressive one but is highly persistent; only reluctantly do INFPs assume leadership roles.
They lead with their values in mind, and these guide them. They prefer not to take a hands-on approach with others but to allow them to achieve in independent ways. They are facilitative rather than directive. They encourage others by appreciation and praise. Critiquing others does not come easily to them.
INFPs seldom confront situations directly, in part because they do not like conflict. Whenever possible, they would rather wait for a situation to work itself out, since they trust that people will work things through. They do not like following all the rules and regulations, but they are not overtly rebellious. They seek to get things done in their own style.
Leisure activities are very important to INFPs, but at times it is difficult for them to separate work from play. When a new leisure pursuit is found, INFPs typically do a great deal of research. They may read many books and make several phone calls to dig for information.
Many of the INFPs' leisure activities are done alone --- reading, listening to music, and gardening are some activities likely to appeal to them. Reflection time and the opportunity to make sure things are right are important. INFPs often enjoy leisure pursuits with loved ones as well. When they want to be sociable, they can be exceedingly charming and outgoing. Their flexibility, gentleness, and sense of humour can make them quite popular in social situations.
For the INFP, love is a very deep commitment, and one that is not easily attained. They have ideals, and therefore reality may be carefully scrutinized.
With their ideal firmly envisioned, the first date with that special person is carefully planned and prepared for, and often every aesthetic thing is taken care of. The flowers are in place, the right wine is ordered, and the proper meal is prepared.
INFPs may have difficulty sharing their feelings about others. They keep so many of those feelings inside that they may forget to tell their partner how much they love and appreciate them. They also need reminders of their partner's love.
When things go wrong in a relationship, the INFP takes it to heart but does not readily discuss it with others. They may not be willing to communicate to let others know how they are feeling. When scorned, they are very hurt and may overreact in an almost maudlin way.
INFPs present a calm, pleasant face to the world. They appear to be tranquil and peaceful to others, with simple desires. In fact, the INFP internally feels his or her life intensely. In the relationship arena, this causes them to have a very deep capacity for love and caring which is not frequently found with such intensity in the other types. The INFP does not devote their intense feelings towards just anyone, and are relatively reserved about expressing their inner-most feelings. They reserve their deepest love and caring for a select few who are closest to them. INFPs are generally laid-back, supportive and nurturing in their close relationships. With Introverted Feeling dominating their personality, they're very sensitive and in-tune with people's feelings, and feel genuine concern and caring for others. Slow to trust others and cautious in the beginning of a relationship, an INFP will be fiercely loyal once they are committed. With their strong inner core of values, they are intense individuals who value depth and authenticity in their relationships, and hold those who understand and accept the INFP's perspectives in especially high regard. INFPs are usually adaptable and congenial, unless one of their ruling principles has been violated, in which case they stop adapting and become staunch defenders of their values. They will be uncharacteristically harsh and rigid in such a situation.
• Most INFPs will exhibit the following strengths with regards to relationship issues:
• Warmly concerned and caring towards others
• Sensitive and perceptive about what others are feeling
• Loyal and committed - they want lifelong relationships
• Deep capacity for love and caring
• Driven to meet other's needs
• Strive for "win-win" situations
• Nurturing, supportive and encouraging
• Likely to recognize and appreciate other's need for space
• Able to express themselves well
• Flexible and diverse
INFP Weaknesses (everything about my weaknesses seems to apply, argh!!!)
• Most INFPs will exhibit the following weaknesses with regards to relationship issues:
• May tend to be shy and reserved
• Don't like to have their "space" invaded
• Extreme dislike of conflict
• Extreme dislike of criticism
• Strong need to receive praise and positive affirmation
• May react very emotionally to stressful situations
• Have difficulty leaving a bad relationship
• Have difficulty scolding or punishing others
• Tend to be reserved about expressing their feelings
• Perfectionist tendencies may cause them to not give themselves enough credit
• Tendency to blame themselves for problems, and hold everything on their own shoulders
INFPs as Lovers
INFPs feel tremendous loyalty and commitment to their relationships. With the Feeling preference dominating their personality, harmony and warm feelings are central to the INFP's being. They feel a need to be in a committed, loving relationship. If they are not involved in such a relationship, the INFP will be either actively searching for one, or creating one in their own minds.
INFPs tendency to be idealistic and romantically-minded may cause them to fantasize frequently about a "more perfect" relationship or situation. They may also romanticize their mates into having qualities which they do not actually possess. Most INFPs have a problem with reconciling their highly idealistic and romantic views of life with the reality of their own lives, and so they are constantly somewhat unsettled with themselves and with their close personal relationships. However, the INFP's deeply-felt, sincere love for their mates and their intense dislike of conflict keeps the INFP loyal to their relationships, in spite of their troubles achieving peace of mind.
Unlike other types who tend to hold their mates up on a pedestal, the INFP's tendency to do so does not really turn into a negative thing in the relationship. INFPs hold tightly to their ideals, and work hard at constantly seeing their mates up on that pedestal. The frequent INFP result is a strongly affirming, proud and affectionate attitude towards their mates which stands the test of time.
INFPs are not naturally interested in administrative matters such as bill-paying and house-cleaning, but they can be very good at performing these tasks when they must. They can be really good money managers when they apply themselves.
Sexually, the INFP is likely to be initially slow to open up to their mates. Once their trust has been earned, the INFP will view sexual intimacy as an opportunity for expressing their deep-seated love and affection. More than the actual sexual act, they will value giving and receiving love and sweet words. With their tendency to enjoy serving others, they may value their mate�s satisfaction above their own.
One real problem area for the INFP is their intensive dislike of conflict and criticism. The INFP is quick to find a personal angle in any critical comment, whether or not anything personal was intended. They will tend to take any sort of criticism as a personal attack on their character, and will usually become irrational and emotional in such situations. This can be a real problem for INFPs who are involved with persons who have Thinking and Judging preferences. TJs relate to others with an objective, decisive attitude that frequently shows an opinion on the topic of conversation. If the opinion is negative, the TJ's attitude may be threatening to the INFP, who will tend to respond emotionally to the negativity and be vaguely but emphatically convinced that the negativity is somehow the INFP's fault.
For INFPs with extremely dominant Feeling preferences who have not developed their Intuitive sides sufficiently to gather good data for their decision making processes, their dislike of conflict and criticism can foretell doom and gloom for intimate relationships. These INFPs will react with extreme emotional distress to conflict situations, and will not know what to do about it. Since they will have no basis for determining what action to take, they will do whatever they can to get rid of the conflict - which frequently means lashing out irrationally at others, or using guilt manipulation to get their mates to give them the positive support that they crave. This kind of behavior does not bode well for healthy, long-term relationships. Individuals who recognize this tendency in themselves should work on their ability to take criticism objectively rather than personally. They should also try to remember that conflict situations are not always their fault, and they're definitely not the end of the world. Conflict is a fact of life, and facing it and addressing it immediately avoids having to deal with it in the future, after it has become a much larger problem.
INFPs are very aware of their own space, and the space of others. They value their personal space, and the freedom to do their own thing. They will cherish the mate who sees the INFP for who they are, and respects their unique style and perspectives. The INFP is not likely to be overly jealous or possessive, and is likely to respect their mate's privacy and independence. In fact, the INFP is likely to not only respect their mate's perspectives and goals, but to support them with loyal firmness.
In general, INFPs are warmly affirming and loving partners who make the health of their relationships central in their lives. Although cautious in the beginning, they become firmly loyal to their committed relationships, which are likely to last a lifetime. They take their relationships very seriously, and will put forth a great deal of effort into making them work.
Although two well-developed individuals of any type can enjoy a healthy relationship, INFP's natural partner is the ENFJ, or the ESFJ. INFP's dominant function of Introverted Feeling is best matched with a partner whose dominant function is Extraverted Feeling. The INFP/ENFJ combination is ideal, because it shares the Sensing way of perceiving, but the INFP/ESFJ combination is also a good match.
INFPs as Parents
INFPs are "natural" parents. They accept and enjoy the parental role, seeing it as the natural extension of their value systems. They make use of the parental role for developing and defining their values further, and consider it their task to pass their values on to their children. They take their role quite seriously. Warm, affirming, and flexible, the INFP generally makes a gentle and easy-going parent in many respects.
INFPs do not like conflict situations, and will keep themselves flexible and diverse to promote a positive, conflict-free environment in their home. The INFP is not naturally prone to dole out punishment or discipline, and so is likely to adapt to their mate's disciplinary policy, or to rely on their mates to administer discipline with the children. In the absence of a mating parent, the INFP will need to make a conscious effort of creating a structure for their children to live within.
Although the INFP dislikes punishing others, they hold strong values and will not tolerate the violation of a strongly-held belief. If they feel that their child has truly committed a wrong, the INFP parent will not have a problem administering discipline. They will directly confront the child, stubbornly digging in their heels and demanding recourse.
The INFP parent is likely to value their children as individuals, and to give them room for growth. They will let the children have their own voice and place in the family.
Extremely loving and devoted parents, INFPs will fiercely protect and support their children. If there is an issue involving "taking sides", you can bet the INFP will always be loyal to their children.
INFPs are usually remembered by their children as loving, patient, devoted, and flexible parents.
INFPs as Friends
INFPs are warm and caring individuals who highly value authenticity and depth in their personal relationships. They are usually quite perceptive about other people's feelings and motives, and are consequently able to get along with all sorts of different people. However, the INFP will keep their true selves reserved from others except for a select few, with whom they will form close and lasting friendships. With their high ideals, they are likely to be drawn to other iNtuitive Feelers for their closer friendships.
With their strong need for harmony and dislike of conflict, INFPs may feel threatened by people with strong Judging and Thinking preferences. Although they're likely to be able to work well professionally with such individuals, they may have difficulty accepting or appreciating them on a personal level. They generally feel a kinship and affinity with other Feeling types.
INFPs will be valued by their confidantes as genuine, altruistic, deep, caring, original individuals.
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