The INFP is likely the most idealistic of all the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types, perhaps only rivaled by their extroverted counterparts, the ENFPs. Optimistic and warm-hearted, people of the INFP personality are always looking to uncover the good in even the worst of people and situations — earning them the nickname “the mediator personality.” The INFP tends to be diplomatic, gentle, and articulate. Possessing an inner flame that burns brightly, INFPs fight passionately for causes they truly believe in, making the world a better place for us all.
Because INFPs make up only 4-5 percent of the U.S. population, they often feel misunderstood. Private by nature, they tend to hold back a lot, even from those closest to them. Many INFPs turn to art or writing to express their private thoughts and vivid inner world. It’s no surprise that famous INFPs include writers and entertainers like William Shakespeare, Aubrey Hepburn, Lisa Kudrow, and J.R.R. Tolkien, among many others.
Do you possess the INFP personality type? If you relate to most of these signs, you might be an INFP.
Signs You’re an INFP
1. Still waters run deep
Sensitive and caring, you feel things deeply. In fact, your emotional side feels like the truest you — and you’ve gained your deepest insights from reflecting on it. However, being an introvert, you don’t usually show just how deep your emotions run. Quiet and calm, you tend to keep them to yourself, sometimes hiding them from even those closest to you. Sometimes this leads you to feel isolated and lonely.
2. You have a rich inner world
You often find yourself drifting away into deep thought, as you imagine hypothetical situations or ponder philosophical questions. You’re drawn to daydreaming, and you can be quite imaginative. Sometimes you get so lost in your inner world that you go into “hermit mode,” and your loved ones have to come looking for you.
3. You put your principles first
When making a decision, you let your principles lead. Forget the pros and cons chart; you’re more likely to ask yourself, “What feels right for me?” Sometimes this means you ignore more practical considerations, like time, money, or resources. For example, you may decide to take the scenic route to get to an appointment — relishing the natural beauty — only to end up arriving late. INFPs can grow by striking a balance between their principles and the practical.
4. You have the gift of language
The INFP personality excels at self-expression. Many INFPs are drawn to writing, poetry, the arts, and music — really, anything that lets them tap their creative side.
5. Art is your truest expression
For INFPs, their art isn’t just about putting beautiful words on paper or creating a heart-stirring melody. Their art is their purest, most authentic way of expressing themselves and their ideas about the world. Without a creative outlet of some kind, the INFP personality will feel unhappy and unfulfilled.
6. You’re definitely an introvert
You enjoy meeting new people and discussing meaningful ideas. Sometimes you’re even mistaken for an extrovert because you can become very loquacious and animated when you hit on a topic that you’re passionate about. However, you’re truly an introvert who needs plenty of time alone. It’s in your alone time that you recharge your energy, reflect on your experiences, and rediscover your most authentic self.
7. Your mind is rarely idle
Even when you’re home alone “doing nothing,” you’re usually engaging your brain. People who share the INFP personality devour books, movies, and music — especially those that explore the human condition.
8. You seek meaning in everything you do
All your life, you’ve sought meaning and inspiration. Money, status, and power have never been big motivators for you. For this reason, you’ve always felt a little out of place. While others exhaust themselves trying to get ahead in life, you’re quietly trying to understand your place in the world and what it all means.
Sure, just like anyone else, you’d like to have a full bank account and be rewarded for your accomplishments, but you know that there’s so much more to life than that. For an INFP, meaning comes first. You live by your principles and seek to make the world a little more beautiful, fair, and accepting place to be.
9. The simple life is the good life
Because meaning is your first priority, you may live a minimalist or even Bohemian lifestyle. You couldn’t care less about owning the latest gadget, buying designer clothes just to elevate your status, or amassing more material goods.
10. You’re an optimist…
Some say you’re too trusting or even naive. But your optimism is a gift. You approach the world with a child-like curiosity, and you always manage to see the good in people. Your optimism makes you resilient in the face of hardship, and the people in your life are refreshed by your positivity.
11. …Who’s prone to melancholy moods
You know the world isn’t perfect. Things often fall short of your ideals, and meaning and inspiration can be hard to find. Similarly, you crave deep, authentic connections with others, but these are usually few and far between. Although adept at looking on the bright side, paradoxically, you may at times struggle with sad or depressed thoughts.
Sometimes, these melancholy moods have more pragmatic roots. The downside of not pursuing traditional achievements is that it’s easy to feel like you’re losing out. If you’re getting underpaid or underappreciated, it’s especially easy to fall into cynicism. The INFPs who grow out of this are often the ones who chose to do at least a little planning around their earnings and career — because they start to feel less taken for granted. The external success is not important on its own, but it helps protect their inner happiness.
12. Mundane tasks are your worst nightmare
Because you’re an intuitive who’s inspired by new ideas and meaningful interactions, you find yourself easily bored by mundane, repetitive tasks. For example, you may neglect your email inbox or have a hard time mustering the energy to clean your room. It doesn’t bother you if things are a bit disorganized or haphazard — although for your roommate or spouse, it may be a different story!
13. People see you as flexible and easy-going
As an INFP personality, you feel comfortable with spontaneity. You like having a loose plan for things, but you’ve never been one to let that plan box you in. If a better opportunity presents itself — or if you’re just not feeling it — you have no problem canceling or changing plans last-minute.
14. Your mind is always buzzing with something new
It could be a lifestyle you’re trying out, a creative project you’re embarking on, or a philosophy you’re exploring. For you, the fun is in the discovery, and you by no means feel compelled to rush toward an end. For this reason, you may start many projects but rarely finish them. Although this means you always have something interesting going on, it may also mean you struggle to check things off your to-do list.
15. Healthy INFP relationships
Passionate lovers and hopeless romantics, INFPs are dreaming of the perfect relationship — a role that may be difficult for anyone to fill. The INFP personality may even put their partner on a pedestal, idealizing them so much that they miss glaring red flags. This personality type can grow by understanding that strong relationships don’t just fall magically into place; they take effort, compromise, and hard work.
INFPs also tend to be experimental and accepting in relationships, and are one of the types most likely to try nontraditional arrangements such as polyamory, “open” marriages, or lifelong cohabitation without marriage.
16. Criticism is a dagger to your heart
What people don’t see is that below your calm exterior, you’re a sensitive person who really takes things to heart. Harsh words or negative feedback, especially from those closest to you, can leave you stewing.
17. You avoid conflict
Similarly, you may be conflict-avoidant, because tension and fighting in your relationships really hurt. Sometimes you avoid speaking up for something you want or need because you don’t want to cause a problem or hurt someone’s feelings. And sometimes, it’s just easier to withdraw. The problem is, these responses work against creating the intimacy you crave. And eventually, you’ll find that everyone else is getting what they want — except you.
18. The ideal INFP careers
Perhaps no other personality type struggles as much to find a satisfying career as the INFP. Although intelligent and creative, INFPs will be loathe to “sell their soul” for just a paycheck. Similarly, they may hate the rigid schedules, inflexible expectations, repetitiveness, and workplace politics that accompany the typical 9-to-5 job. For this reason, many INFPs drift from career to career, eventually succumbing to social and financial pressures and ending up in a job that wasn’t right for them in the first place.
However, the INFP personality can bring a lot to the table — and there are many satisfying INFP careers. INFPs often find rewarding work as a professor, author, designer, freelancer, independent business owner, social worker, counselor, psychologist, artist, veterinarian, or physical therapist. Really, any career can have meaning for INFPs if it allows them to creatively solve problems, help others, and have a degree of independence.
19. People love hanging out with you
You have no desire to control others or have power over them. In a group, you take a democratic approach; you make sure everyone feels heard and is on board with whatever decision is being made. Because you’re so independent, you hate being smothered or held back in any way — so you make an effort not to do that to others.
They won’t always say it, but people love this about you. People of all kinds tend to feel comfortable and accepted around you, in a way that they just don’t receive from most others. This, along with your creativity and your passion for your ideals, is the gift you give to the world.
Are You an INFP?
Some of these signs are things a lot of people will identify with, and every INFP is going to be a little different. If you can relate to most of them, however, chances are good that you’re an INFP personality. Want to be one hundred percent sure? There’s an easy way to find out: Take this free personality assessment from Personality Hacker and see your personality type in minutes.
More INFP Resources
- 12 Secrets of the INFP Personality Type
- 7 Difficult Things About Being an INFP
- 12 Things INFPs Absolutely Need to Be Happy
- The Morning Routine of an INFP
- INFJ or INFP? 5 Big Ways These Types Are Different
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