7 Things You Should Stop Saying to an INFP

An INFP personality type talks with a friend

Please understand that just because we INFPs keep to ourselves doesn’t mean we’re not having a good time.

INFPs make up a small portion of the population (perhaps only 4-5 percent!). Although this makes us unique, it can also make us feel alone or misunderstood (like when others don’t share the same idealistic thoughts we have).

But there are many upsides of being an INFP, one of the introverted Myers-Briggs personality types — like the way we value harmony, empathy, and authenticity. Known as Mediators, we’re naturally optimistic, and driven to help and uplift others when they’re sad. 

One of the many beautiful things about INFPs is we’re also the sunshine that brings bloom in the darkest seasons (so to speak). We are often the person who offers kindness, inspiration, beauty, and compassion wherever we go. 

But we’re also pretty private people. INFPs will keep to themselves a lot and many turn to creative, solitary pursuits, like writing. (William Shakespeare, Aubrey Hepburn, and J.R.R. Tolkien are thought to be among some famous INFP writers and entertainers.)

Despite the INFP’s loving and caring attitude, however, I feel people often don’t understand me — some of the common questions I get are pretty frustrating. Personally, I wish people would stop saying these seven things to me. See if you agree.     

7 Things You Should Stop Saying to an INFP

1. “You’re so social — you can’t be an introvert!”

INFPs are said to be one of the most outgoing and friendly of the introverted Myers-Briggs personality types. 

As sociable introverts, we sometimes appear vibrant and lively when we’re with close friends or small groups of people. Because of this, we can be mistaken as extroverts. 

But, that being said, we may seem happy and outgoing in front of our close friends, yet we find it difficult and exhausting when it comes to interacting with people that are not within our inner circle. Introversion doesn’t mean that we don’t show our inhibited side, but it’s our need for alone time to recharge that makes us who we are.

2. “You should talk more.”

Just because we’re introverts doesn’t mean we hate talking to other people. However, it does mean that we have our own way of socializing, and this can be hard for others to understand.

When at a party, for example, we love to observe people, as well as entertain ourselves with thoughts like, “What are these people thinking?” or “Oh! See? She usually strokes her hair when she’s nervous.” (We could do this all night!)

The thing is, when you’re going to interrupt our observing and introduce us to someone, at least give us a heads-up! Tell us some context or something about the person you are going to introduce us to so we’re not thrown off. That way, we’ll be more at ease rather than stumble on our words while we think of something to say after “Hi.”

3. “Please introduce yourself.”   

As an introvert, I loved school — it’s a place where I learned new things and had fun with my close friends. 

The problem was, when it came to talking in front of a large group of people, I was often forced to say something, like when I had to introduce myself in front of everyone. My INFP self is not a fan of being in the spotlight, and I feel reluctant when it comes to sharing personal things with people I don’t know well. (It’s the most dreadful thing for an introvert like me.) 

I do much better when I’m with a select few people I know. In that circle, I feel free, comfortable, and more than willing to share what I’m thinking or how I’m feeling.

4. “It’s the weekend. Let’s go out and do something fun!”

After spending time with several people, we INFPs love to spend our free time, like weekends, doing things for ourselves. When we’re alone, we’re probably reading, writing in a journal, watching a movie, or doing some artsy craft. And we love our introvert sanctuaries for this very reason — a quiet, dimly lit room that gives us a cozy, relaxed feeling (vs. spending our free time socializing). 

However, this doesn’t mean that INFPs are unsociable. We live in a busy world that requires a lot of “people time,” so after school, work, or on weekends, we must get dedicated “me time” so we can properly recharge.

5. “What’s wrong? You’re so quiet.”

When I was on a field trip back in high school, we went to an amusement park and rode a Ferris wheel. A couple classmates asked: “Are you not happy?” and “Are you not enjoying the ride?” 

I think they asked this because I wasn’t talking, which doesn’t mean I wasn’t happy or not enjoying the ride. I was. But we INFPs love to appreciate certain moments in silence, and that’s all I was doing.

So, no, don’t assume we’re unhappy or depressed just because we introverts are taking in and appreciating the moment. That’s all we’re doing. (Really.) 

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6. “You should do this … You should do that …”

INFPs value creativity, spontaneity, and freedom when it comes to creating or doing something. Constant reprimands or restrictions may hinder our creativity, which makes us feel like we’re being caged … which then can lead to us losing interest in whatever we’re doing.

As an INFP, I find it liberating to work within the bounds of freedom rather than under strict rules. That is why, when doing something creative, like writing poems, INFPs like me typically let our words just flow out (without adhering to a specific word count, for instance).

7. “You are not good enough/smart enough/funny enough.”

INFPs are sensitive people, so when someone insults us or gives us “constructive” criticism, it can hurt … a lot. Negative, mean, and degrading comments may discourage us from pursuing or continuing what we’re doing — even if we were doing a good job beforehand. We’ll also take what they said personally and keep thinking (and overthinking) about it.

(Can’t turn off your overthinking mind? Here are some tips.)

Plus, due to INFPs’ overly critical attitudes, you may find us expecting too much from ourselves. So when we fall short, we may feel inadequate and resort to self-criticism.

And since INFPs are generally people-pleasers, we tend to avoid conflict. Because of this, you may find us not speaking up in fear of hurting someone else’s feelings (even when we should stand up for ourselves).

INFP, what do you wish people would stop saying to you? Let me know in the comments below.

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