Detailed profile for the INFP
‘Be guided by your heart’
The INFP has two contrary characteristics, curiosity and shyness. They love to know what's going on, feel excluded if not kept informed but do not like to be the centre of attention. The INFP always wants to be invited to the party - even though the chances are she won't show up!
There is a sensitive, caring side to the INFP which means they will be see the interconnections between people and pick up on the verbal and non-verbal cues. The INFP does not want to be constrained by rules, regulations and obligations, and dislike the routine. Others will see the INFP as totally flexible, gentle and difficult to understand. The INFP likes to do things in their own way and just get on with it, uninhibited and not micromanaged.
The INFP would not appreciate criticism or a hard task-master. Yet there is a crusading side to the INFP which would surprise even those who knew the person well. When a personal value, or belief is trodden on, then the INFP can become outspoken and turn on the transgressor. Their values are usually so well hidden that the other person may not realise, but the INFP becomes like a champion of the cause and will be expressive, animated and at times go for the jugular.
The INFP values most those who take the time, trouble and effort to really get to know them. Only those who are allowed through the INFP 'assault course' will get genuinely close. To others the INFP will seem like a gentle enigma. The INFP will often display their reactions to their feelings, rather than their feelings, and may bottle things up which then leak out at strange moments thus adding to the 'difficult to understand' image.
An INFP does not like to be categorised. They value their autonomy, and feel 'different,' and any system, (including this one), which tries to 'define' or 'explain' them would be denigrated. The INFP would say, 'You can't put me in a box, I'm different,' indeed they would all see this.
In a team situation, the INFP will bring a sense of conviction and what is 'the right thing to do.' Although quiet, the INFP can glue the team together and ensure that all members' views are considered and given equal weight and the INFP will actually become vocal in their support of new ideas and contributions.
To the INFP life is a long and convoluted quest for meaning and a sense of inner peace and harmony. They are driven by their dominant Feeling function and their personal values are so important to them. This means that it is essential to the INFP that their beliefs and their actions are totally congruent at all times. An INFP is unlikely to take any action which they don’t believe in their heart is right.
Sensitive, caring and empathetic INFPs are excellent in supporting roles where people have to be looked after - especially if those people are close to the INFP. Because it can take so long (if ever) to get to know the INFP others paradoxically may see them as slightly cool or aloof, as they engage best when they have allowed someone into their inner sanctum.
Objectivity is difficult for the INFP as their least well developed (inferior) trait is the logical Thinking function, (‘T’). INFPs feel things, really FEEL them and so to step back and give an objective appraisal of a situation or a person is hard because the INFP will consider these in relation to their own values and these are very difficult to understand as they are so personal.
The dominant Feeling function also means that they will take things to heart and any criticism will be taken very personally and seriously, seen as a personal affront and so wound very deeply. Rather than take issue with the person, the INFP will invariably store their feelings up and they will fester. So serious can this be that the INFP may, rather than bring the issue up later, simply drop the offending person from their life-space. The INFP has a tendency to idealise relationships and so are frequently disappointed when others don’t measure up.
The INFP inhabits the internal world of imagination and creativity and are not bound by traditions or the usual conventions. They won’t deliberately go and buck the system they will simply withdraw and do things their own way. They can live and let live except when that lifestyle impinges upon their own values and then the INFP can become rigid and unforgiving.
The ideal world of the INFP is one where they can immerse themselves totally in some interesting and personally meaningful tasks and reflective activities. The INFP will however be devoted to things they personally see as valuable and so can make excellent supporters of organisations and causes. They are not naturally practical and indeed may have to force themselves to do the mundane. However if the INFP can see some clear MEANING in task, that it is part of a wider cause and the contribution can make a really difference, then they will work long and hard on all aspects because then it makes sense to them.
An INFP will always look at the wider ramifications and any activity, task or project must have some bigger meaning or be part of something to which they feel they can expend their emotional energies and, if this is the case, the INFP can be so productive and even sweep up the detail - provided there is a clear causal link to the bigger picture. In some organisations it is the fact that an INFP is committed to the cause that makes things tick although they prefer to remain independent of spirit and of control they can, paradoxically, be excellent company-people. The INFP has an interesting, unique take on the world, will be generally seen as reserved but their passions know no bounds if they are committed to the task/project/people/organisation.
INFPs have a sense of wonder which they rarely lose, seeing the world through their own very subjective rose-coloured glasses. INFP children often exhibit this character, switching readily from reality to fantasy and back again. With few exceptions, it is the NF child who readily develops imaginary playmates (as with Anne of Green Gables' ‘bookcase girlfriend,’ - her own reflection).
INFPs have the ability to see good in almost anyone or anything. Even for the most unlovable the INFP can have (often misplaced) pity. Their extreme depth of feeling is often hidden, even from themselves, until circumstances evoke a seemingly uncharacteristic impassioned response. Of course, not all of life is rosy, and INFPs are not exempt from the same disappointments and frustrations as the rest of humanity, but their duty is to the greater good - the cause
INFPs live primarily in a rich inner world of introverted Feeling. Being inward-turning, the natural attraction is away from world and toward essence and ideal - usually high ideals as they are intrinsically idealistic and gentle in nature.
Doing a good deed, for example, may provide intrinsic satisfaction but which is only secondary to the greater good of striking a blow for the much loftier aspiration of man's inhumanity to mankind. Such aspirations however are rarely expressed.
Sensing is introverted and often invisible giving INFPs a natural inclination toward absent-mindedness and other-worldliness. However, the strong people awareness of Feeling provides a balancing effect. INFPs can even adopt the role of crusading ESTJ to get things done, (surprising others who’ve seen only the gentle, quiet being), but only for a short period and not without expending considerable amounts of energy.