If you’ve ever taken a personality test, you’ve probably heard of the Myers-Briggs test. This widely used test divides people into 16 different personality types. Proponents of the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) system claim that familiarity with your personality type can help you build self-awareness and communicate better with others.
One of these 16 types is the INFP type. You’re likely introverted, creative, and idealistic if you’re an INFP. You may have a strong sense of right and wrong and dream of creating a better world for yourself and others.
Here’s more about the INFP personality type and important information you need to know if you are an INFP.
What is the personality of an INFP?
INFP stands for “introverted, intuitive, feeling, perceptive” in the Myers-Briggs system. INFPs are also called idealists, mediators, healers, or dreamers – which may give you an idea of the INFP personality.
INFPs are generally creative and introspective. They are motivated by how to serve – whether it be their loved ones or humanity. They are focused on how to make the world a better place. They have a strong sense of values or morals, and it’s of utmost importance to live true to them. Others may think of the INFP’s values as idealistic, but these ideals are what INFPs live for.
Because of the “I” in INFP – which indicates introversion – INFPs tend to be more reserved and enjoy spending time alone or with a small group of loved ones.
INFPs are also intuitive (indicated by the “N”) and perceiving (indicated by the “P). This means that, unlike other personality types (such as ISTJ), they make decisions based on intuition, feelings, or values rather than logical rationale. They follow their heart and focus on the big picture rather than the nitty gritty.
INFPs prefer flexibility over rigidity. They interact with the world by taking in information and figuring out how they feel about it rather than making rigid plans and decisions. They are spontaneous and adaptable and are open to new experiences.
Some famous people suspected to be INFPs include Princess Diana, William Shakespeare, and Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers).
Strengths of INFP
Although no one personality type is superior to the others, each type has its own strengths. Some of the main strengths of the INFP personality type include:
- Sensitive and empathetic
- Attuned to their emotions
- Strong morals lead them to do good in the world
- Spontaneous and adaptable
- Loyal and committed
- Values close relationships
- High level of integrity – INFPs strive to live a life that is completely aligned with their truest values
- Dedication to causes they believe in
- Are flexible, independent thinkers and able to see multiple perspectives
- Can come up with innovative ideas
- Generous and giving
- Open-minded and accepting of differences
- Passionate about what they believe in
Every personality type comes with weaknesses as well. Some weaknesses that have been recognized in INFPs include:
- May be too idealistic at times and lacking in realism
- May become less understanding when an important value is threatened
- May suffer from existential angst or melancholy
- Can be too sensitive at times
- May neglect their own needs in the pursuit of serving others
- Sometimes struggle with productivity, especially with “boring” or unmeaningful tasks
- Lack of attention to detail
- Can have unrealistic expectations of themselves and others
INFP in relationships
INFPs are introverted, meaning they may appear quiet and reserved. However, this doesn’t mean that INFPs don’t have friends or romantic relationships – to the contrary, they are very loyal and dedicated to people who make it into their inner circle.
Because of their inherent idealism, many INFPs are hopeless romantics. They aren’t necessarily looking for a logical or level-headed relationship – they’re searching for their soulmate. They may have spent their entire lives daydreaming about the perfect relationship. This often means they can bring great passion to romantic relationships they get involved in.
In a group of friends, INFPs tend to fill the role of the peacemaker. They’re able to see situations from multiple perspectives and can have empathy for each person. This can make them a wonderful friend to have around. However, INFPs can have trouble with assertiveness, so they may also tend to cater to the others around them.
INFPs are driven by their values and want to improve the world. This may drive some INFPs to try to make a difference in the lives of the people they love. This could be a positive or a negative aspect of INFPs in relationships, depending on who is on the receiving end.
Overall, INFPs are loyal, committed, and optimistic in relationships. They value authenticity and depth and tend to make very strong connections with a small group of people over being the “life of the party.”
What are INFPs like at work?
Originally the MBTI was created to help people find a job that is most suited to their personality types, and this (the workplace) continues to be where the instrument is used most frequently.
INFPs do well in jobs that allow them to achieve their highest ideals. They are attracted to careers in which they can make a true difference in the world and can use their skill of empathy. You can often find INFPs in teaching or human services-related roles.
INFPs are highly creative and spontaneous, so it makes sense they thrive in jobs that allow them to be flexible and creative. It is challenging for INFPs to be in jobs that require them to do boring, repetitive, or seemingly meaningless tasks. Because of these traits, INFPs also do well when they are allowed to work as inspiration hits.
Creativity also means that INFPs do well in creative jobs, whether in the arts or bringing an idea to life. They do better in positions that require them to see the big picture rather than focus on the details. They need to understand how their daily tasks connect to the organization’s larger purpose and values.
INFPs rarely seek out leadership roles. They prefer to stay at the frontlines, where they can directly contribute to the people they’re working with.
Some careers that could be a good fit for the INFP personality type include:
- Social worker
- Physician or nurse
- Mental health professional
- College professor
- Film editor
- Legal mediator
- Massage therapist
- Yoga Instructor
Is the MBTI credible?
The Myers-Briggs test is one of the most popular personality tests today. It was created during the Second World War by a mother-daughter team, Katherine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers. It’s allegedly based upon Carl Jung’s theories of personality, but some experts say the test is pseudoscience.
Critique of the Myers-Briggs test includes the fact that Isabel and Katherine had no psychological training. Scientific studies conducted on Myers-Briggs have concluded that there is no scientific basis for the test and that retest accuracy rates are only around 50%. Much of the research that seems to support the scientific validity of the MBTI has been conducted by the Myers-Briggs Foundation itself.
Nonetheless, Myers-Briggs continues to be widely used in personal and professional settings.
Proponents of the Myers-Briggs test remind us that although Isabel Myers did not receive any advanced education, she was trained in test construction, scoring, and validation by Edward N. Hay and conducted research at prestigious academic institutions while creating the MBTI. In addition, proponents mention that it was incredibly rare for a woman to receive formal higher education in the 1940s when Myers created the test.
Regardless of what you conclude about the scientific basis – or lack thereof – of the Myers-Briggs test, it’s one of the most recognizable and widely used personality tests today.
As long as you don’t allow your MBTI results to interfere with your mental health treatment, taking the test is harmless. And, at best, it could help you to increase self-awareness and learn how to communicate with others effectively.
At The Center • A Place of HOPE, we provide holistic mental health treatment for people of every personality type.
We use a Whole Person Care approach, which considers every part of your personality and experience you feel has impacted your mental health. If your Myers-Briggs personality type is important for you, we want to consider that in your treatment plan.
You can contact us easily for more information by scheduling a callback – we’ll get in touch with you at a time that’s convenient for you.
Myers, I. B. (1998). Introduction to Type: A Guide to Understanding Your Results on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Mountain View, CA: CPP, Inc.