5 Things to Know About Being Friends With an INFP

IntrovertDear.com INFP friendship

INFPs are quiet, imaginative idealists who want to make the world a better place. Although INFPs are interested in helping people, they are also extremely reserved and maintain a small circle of friends. Many of them live by Shakespeare’s words: “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” Below are five more things to know about being friends with an INFP personality type.

(What’s your personality type? We recommend this free personality test.)

1. We may disappear into our own world for a while.

Although we value our friendships and care deeply about the people we love, sometimes we need time to ourselves for days or even months to sort out our feelings and thoughts. When this happens, we are re-evaluating meaning in our lives. There have been many occasions when I was going through some sort of existential crisis and felt the need to disappear in order to rediscover my purpose. This might entail traveling for a bit, or finding myself engrossed in my thoughts (and books) for days. After such experiences, I feel like a different person; I’m more enlightened and I have a fresh outlook on life. Often, my friends don’t know about these experiences because I keep them private. But they might notice my rekindled energy and spirit.

An example of a time when I needed solitude came after I graduated from high school. I felt lost and I needed a change of scenery. So I decided to enroll in a university that was far away from home on the other side of the country. I then became preoccupied with my philosophy studies, which I stumbled across by chance. During this time, I was out of touch with my good friends because I was trying to figure out who I was.

2. We prefer a tiny moment of real connection to hours of polite conversation.

INFPs value meaning and depth, so we do not like to engage in shallow conversations, such as gossiping, talking about the mundane and day-to-day, and all of the times that you swiped left on Tinder (with the exception of exciting cases that fall outside the norm). Small talk doesn’t interest us because it lacks substance and feels superficial. However, that doesn’t mean we’re serious and need to have deep philosophical conversations constantly. We like to have fun and can be quite quirky and silly. What we really crave is the feeling that we’ve made a genuine connection with you on a personal level. We want to have a shared experience with you, whether it’s through something that we can both laugh or cry about.

We also value our space and don’t need to text our friends 24/7 to update them on every aspect of our lives. Maintaining this kind of relationship can wear us out in the long run. We prefer to have fewer but more meaningful interactions than plenty of lower quality ones. The funny thing about us is that although we like to be left alone, we don’t want to be alone—we long for intimacy and find it hard to come by.

3. We get hurt easily but we struggle to articulate it.

We care for others deeply and easily become absorbed in other people’s worlds. Unfortunately, the reverse isn’t always true and we may end up disappointed and hurt when we discover that a relationship is one-sided. We value friendships that are mutual and reciprocal; anything that is one-sided is seen as inauthentic—and we despise anything artificial. For many of us, learning to let go of certain toxic people can be difficult because we are extremely loyal. However, although we do get taken advantage of, this is not always the case. Sometimes we feel like we are ignored by our friends, when in reality, they may be very busy or need some space of their own. When our friends don’t respond to our messages, we can take it quite personally and feel alone and left out. So, it’s important that we communicate these feelings and establish an understanding in order to maintain healthy relationships.

4. Sometimes we need to be encouraged to open up.

INFPs live in our heads most of the time: we like to daydream and contemplate the meaning of life. When we’re deep in our thoughts for too long, we have trouble returning to reality. We also need to experience the outer world and open up to others in order to live authentically. But we may have a hard time doing this because we are shy and introverted, so we do appreciate it when others reach out to us or invite us places. We certainly are not party people and do not like noise and crowded spaces, but we do look forward to going out every so often.

5. We are your biggest supporters and you can trust us with your insecurities.

We enjoy listening to you and helping you sort through your feelings. We’re good at picking up on people’s emotions and energy and understanding how they feel. Because of this, we might be able to help you unravel the root of your troubles. Our idealism combined with our strong personal values enable us to see the best in you and your potential, even though you may not see it yourself. When you feel useless and unworthy, we can see your courage and strength, and we will try to help you realize this. We also understand that people make mistakes, so rarely will we judge you. However, please know that although it brings us great joy to help you heal, sometimes we forget to set our own boundaries and end up becoming drained ourselves by carrying too much emotional baggage. This is when we need time to ourselves.

To learn more about being an INFP, check out my book.

The INFP Book

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  • Jules says:

    I love the article, as an INFP myself; however, I was disappointed to see a political ad come up while I was reading. This isn’t the type of website where I expected that to happen.

  • Catherine says:

    Hi Jules. Thanks for commenting and I’m glad you like the article. 🙂 Unfortunately, I have no control over what ad shows up. :/

  • Jenn Granneman says:

    Hi Jules, can you tell me where you saw the political ad and describe it in more detail? Political ads are blocked from this site so I’m surprised that you saw that.

  • Liz says:

    Thank you so much for this. This is absolutely everything that I am (except for the party person thing…I actually do enjoy going out in big crowds–as long as I’m not the center of attention!). It’s extremely helpful to know this about yourself and perhaps be able to articulate it to other people. It’s taken me 36 years to figure this stuff out about myself and love myself because of it.

  • Lerato Kgatle says:

    Super cool article thanks Catherine i feel like you’re the INFP messiah and you’re saving each and everyone of us one word at a time.

  • Catherine says:

    Thanks so much! I’m really happy to hear this. 😀

  • Lerato Kgatle says:

    Maybe you can help me with a question thats been on my mind is it possible to grow up favouring the extroverted side of the spectrum then later develop the introverted reserved demeanour? I don’t know it feels like i started off as an exuberant young fella then later adopted this demure reserved character.

  • Catherine says:

    Hi Lerato,

    That’s definitely common and I’ve also heard the reverse has taken place. Each type is an ambivert, in a sense, since we either have an extroverted function as our dominant/auxiliary. If you find yourself using an introverted function (such as Introverted Feeling) by default, then you’re likely an ISFP/INFP. If you use it as your second hand, then you might be an extroverted type such as an ENFP (who are considered the most introverted of the extroverts). To learn more about the Jungian cognitive processes that the MBTI is based on, you can visit this site here: http://www.cognitiveprocesses.com/16types/infp.cfm

    A possible explanation why you’re more reserved than you were is because either you have found your natural state (being an introvert), or you’re expanding the use of your auxiliary function (in which you’re really an “extrovert” who’s in touch with your introverted side). I hope this makes sense!

  • Lerato Kgatle says:

    I can certainly make heads & tails of it all and i also feel certain that i lead dominatly with Introverted feeling its just the reverse in behaviour that has somewhat puzzled me it would’ve been better if i’d been known for being a bit shy and reticent as a young one but my parents described me as a very talkative outgoing enjoyable child now it seems i’m the opposite of that. The curious thing to me is why did i not exhibit the signs of introversion from a young age if it was always my dominant function i’d never been told i was too quiet or that i needed to get out more in my childhood days those are the things i’d be more likely to hear now meeting other introverts you sometimes get the sense that they’ve been aware of it for so much longer that they’re almost like expert introverts whereas some of us only stumbled across it later in life and it always feels like we’re catching up on understanding exactly who we are because u realise from meeting other introverts that there are still more accomplishments to be made

  • Catherine says:

    I also recall being a more talkative and less quiet person when I was little. For me, it’s because as I grew older, I became more conscientious and self-conscious. Something like this comes with age as we become more complex and aware of other people. That’s my best explanation. Though truthfully, I’m not an expert in psychology and I’m sure there are more reasons that are complex.

  • Lerato Kgatle says:

    I can certainly resonate with that explanation and i can definitely attribute my growing of age as a blueprint to finding my most authentic i always say the psychology of man can never be fully quite captured there are always questions and mysteries that beg to indulge our curiosity thank you for your insight and entertaining my questions

  • Catherine says:

    Awesome! I’m glad that resonates with you. 🙂

  • Thanks for this article, Catherine! I have found #1 to be more and more important as I get older. I am taking this time through some solo trekking this fall.

  • Lizzo13 says:

    These are all 100% true of me. I wish Introvert, Dear had more articles about INFPs. It seems like most are about INFJs, so it’s always interesting to read ones I can relate to more.