If you identify with the INFP personality type, I’m sure you’re aware of just how strange we can be. We’re described as highly individualistic, idealistic, empathetic, and reserved. With these traits come some experiences that invariably makes us feel like we are a different species altogether. Here are 10 experiences most INFPs will instantly relate to.
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1. Seeing fake people everywhere. Or at least that’s how it seems. Because Introverted Feeling is our dominant function, we value authenticity. This translates to us wanting people to be their true selves, even in public. So when people mask their true feelings or say or do things just to conform, we feel like hurling. We see through people’s fake happy smiles and we’re irritated by show-offs and superficiality. What’s even more annoying is that INFPs often become other people’s emotional dumping ground. We have high levels of empathy and can often quickly recognize how people are feeling, so people end up venting to us and relying on us for emotional support. The rest of the world is led to believe that they’re living the perfect life, but we’ve heard all their problems so we know the truth. Hence, we start seeing fake people everywhere.
2. Spending half our time daydreaming. INFPs live in two worlds: our imagination and the world of reality. Sometimes we feel like characters from a fantasy or sci-fi novel who can travel through portals into different realms. We often zone out, imagining ourselves living a different life and seeing how things could be in the future, and then returning to the real world which is blander in comparison. We often drift from one imaginative experience to another. For instance, when reading a book, we might find ourselves reading an entire page and then having to go back and read it again because we were too busy daydreaming to pay attention to the words.
3. Becoming obsessed with people or projects. When INFPs care about something, we care about it deeply, to the point that we’re afraid of appearing over-the-top hysterical about it to our friends and family. For example, we might become obsessed with someone else’s life and problems, giving quite a bit of thought to the things that would make them happy and being overly concerned with how they’re feeling throughout the day. And when it comes to an idea or a project that sparks our interest, we might become extremely devoted to it, allowing it to completely take over our thoughts.
4. Feeling anything but “normal.” INFPs give off the vibe that we’re perfectly normal people who live ordinary lives. But that’s only how we look outwardly. Inwardly, we live a life of adventure, imagination, and emotion. But most people don’t see this because as introverts, we’re typically private and reserved. We’re like a raging sea within a rain drop.
5. Hating to have to pay attention to everyday necessities. When it comes to day-to-day tasks such as doing chores, paying bills, and even combing our hair (hence I keep my hair short), we’d rather not have to deal with these things so we can instead have more time to focus on the big picture. Some days I wish there was a food pill so I didn’t have to worry about groceries or where to eat. It would be even nicer to have my own robot who could vacuum and do my accounting. Because we’re focused on the big picture, INFPs are often oblivious to the details of our surroundings, such as a stain on the carpet or if a tree near our lawn is missing (yes, this really did happen to me—a big tree was cut down by the city and I didn’t even notice).
6. Having strong moral values, even if we’re not religious. Many INFPs are religious, but others are not. Whatever our spiritual beliefs are, at times, we may feel like a walking bible. We can be judgmental of people if they break our moral codes about honesty and integrity. We also hold ourselves to a high standard, and when we violate our own code, we may obsess over our failure long after everyone else has forgotten it. For instance, I’ve mentally beaten myself up for hours after I said something that might have offended someone.
7. Communicating our thoughts and ideas well in writing, but struggling to articulate them verbally. Many INFPs are gifted in writing. We love playing with language and ideas and using our writing to explore the human condition. But even when we’re not working on our novel or composing a poem, we still prefer to write our thoughts rather than speak them. Meaning, we’ll likely send you a text or email instead of calling you on the phone. In fact, we often struggle to articulate our thoughts in the moment when talking with someone. This is because we need plenty of time to process information and reflect on how something resonates with our inner values. For instance, because I think so much and don’t know where to begin, I often feel as though I am speaking gibberish when talking to people; this only makes me more anxious, especially if they don’t have the patience to try to figure out what I mean.
8. Having too many ideas and interests, and aspiring to be many things. Thanks to our strong Extroverted Intuition, we never seem to run out of ideas, and we’re always discovering new interests. If I had to count all the business cards I’ve had, it would be at least ten; I’ve had so many varying career aspirations, from being a biomedical engineer to an interior designer to a lounge pianist! Currently, I work in marketing, and I am always the person proposing tons of content ideas—although my agency can only implement a few. In conversation, I find myself bouncing from one topic to the next as I discover something else that catches my attention. It used to frustrate me that I had such a “scattered” brain, but now I’ve come to appreciate that this is my way of exploring new ideas and learning new thing.
9. Not having figured out how to sync with time in the real world. INFPs are always either running late or arriving ridiculously early (in fear of being late). That’s because we’re very casual about time and determining how long it takes to get from point A to B stresses us out. In high school, I always found myself running through the halls to my next class as the William Tell Overture blared from the school speaker, warning students they were almost late.
10. Finding comfort living within our bubble and relating to the hobbit life. Hobbits—as in Frodo Baggins from The Lord of the Rings—and INFPs have a lot in common. We both like to live in the comfort of our homes, tending our gardens, relaxing in the green hills, drinking tea, and creating a shelter from the world. Also, just like hobbits, we like warmth and comfort—but also a little adventure every now and then so we have interesting stories to tell our friends.
To learn more about being an INFP, check out my book.
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