Four success qualities of INFPs
Success is the achievement of a desired outcome. Whether it’s to become a bestselling author or getting the world to leave you alone, success requires actions to achieve those goals. So why do some INFPs get better outcomes then others?
All MBTI types have strengths and weaknesses. The strengths move us two steps forward. The weaknesses bring us one step back. Successful INFPs nurture strengths and mitigate weaknesses. Nurturing strengths means improving those qualities that give us the outcomes we want. Mitigating weaknesses means finding ways to compensate for those qualities that move us from our goals.
Whatever it is we want to achieve, INFPs have four qualities that bring us closer to our goals. It’s these qualities if nurtured, bring us better outcomes.
1. INFPs are self-aware.
INFPs know when something we’re doing feels wrong. I may not know if I’m doing it right, but I definitely know if I’m doing it wrong.
Our primary cognitive function Introverted Feeling (Fi) and our secondary Extroverted Intuition (Ne) give INFPs an edge to self-awareness. Introverted Feeling makes constant decisions about our internal. Extroverted Intuition helps with those internal world decisions by helping us see patterns from external stimuli.
For example, when I was learning a new martial art, I’d observe the black belts. This is the Ne function gathering information and seeking a pattern in it. Something about they way black belts stood, moved and looked gave me a sense of what doing the technique correctly would feel like. When I did the technique, I’d compare how I felt with how I thought it should feel. If I felt off, I’d ask the instructors if I was doing something wrong. Almost always, I was. The wrongness I felt was something basic like my center of gravity being too high or my weight shifted wrong.
Other INFPs have commented that they always know when something is off in their life, even if they don’t know why. Our Ne function is observing our life and seeing when something is off which is why I think INFPs learn quickly. We often know right away when we’re doing it wrong so we can correct mistakes.
Successful INFPs nurture the Introverted Feeling function to trust what their Ne function is telling them in order to make changes. When INFPs take action with our Extroverted Thinking (Te), both our perceiving functions – Extroverted Intuition and Introverted Sensing (Si) let us know immediately if our gut instinct was right. Knowing if we were right or wrong about our instincts improves our chances of being right the next time.
One caveat: The Fi function is great for decisions about our internal world like deciding the kind of person we want to be. However, it can be suspect at decisions about our external world. Our Ne function tends to project ideal qualities and outcomes onto people we like, careers we want and dreams we pursue. Those projections feel right to our Fi values but then we get disappointed when reality proves those feelings to be untrue.
However, when our Fi driven gut instinct is wrong, Success Quality 2 bails us out.
2. INFPs are knowledgeable or excel in at least one thing.
INFPs come off as dilettantes because our Ne function always coaxing us to try new things. However, every INFP I know is good in at least one skill. That skill ranges from writing to photography to programming.
We base our self-worth on that one thing. I think it’s our inferior Extroverted Thinking (Te) balancing out our dominant Introverted Feeling (Fi). Our Fi mental function holds tightly to an Ideal Self that our Ne function has created. That ideal embodies our deepest values but those deeply held values can’t get external validation without some type of external expression.
Everybody needs a sense of connection and belonging. For INFPs, a part of the connection comes from another person validating our values. Getting good at a skill is that external expression of our values. It’s our Te mental functions way of proving our Fi values aren’t all in our heads.
That skill becomes our anchor in the rough seas of self-confidence. INFP self-confidence exists on shaky ground. Bad results from day-to-day living knock us around. However when bad things happen, it’s harder to knock INFPs completely off when we can fall back to our anchor skill.
We can say, okay my life sucks, but at least I can still take a good photo. So my boyfriend/girlfriend dumped me but I’m going to write the best short story from it. That one thing we’re good at gives us an anchor to hold on to until the storm passes. That anchor keeps INFPs from being knocked off course when bad things happen.
I don’t know any INFPs that go on drinking benders, or sell everything and move to Tibet, or trash our belongings with baseball bats when things don’t work out. INFPs withdraw. INFPs do our one thing until we get our balance back. When the storm passes, we realize we aren’t as far of course as we thought. We pull up anchor and start moving again towards our goals.
Strangely enough, the best way to nurture that one good thing is to be good at another thing. Anything that constantly bails us out suffers strain. If writing is your constant that keeps you going during bad times, eventually that pressure to write to ease stress will leave you with a blank page. If you’re good at more than one thing, you can divide your stress, your self-worth and your need for safe harbor between multiple things.
Sometimes, we make bad decisions happen and we can’t keep running away from the outcomes of those decisions. So what keeps INFPs from repeating the same bad decisions? Success Quality 3.
3. INFPs are adaptable without losing sight of our ideals.
All personality types get outcomes they don’t want. Successful personalities adapt quickly.
INFPs get hurt all the time. The reason why INFPs don’t stay hurt forever is because being bored is worse than being hurt. Our Ne function that loves seeing new possibilities can only mope for so long. Getting back up and risking a new hurt is more interesting than staying the in same place. Ne gets bored easily.
The caveat is the addiction to getting knocked down in order to feel a new hurt. This leads to INFP repeating failed cycles. Unsuccessful INFPs take the same familiar risks and get the same failures. Successful INFPs take better risks to get a better chance of success.
We nurture our adaptability by focusing on our original goals despite failure. Our Ne functions comes up with different actions we could take to produce better outcomes. We stop adapting when we give up and go after different Rewards because we failed at getting what we wanted.
There’s nothing wrong with going from brand new goal to brand new goal, but isn’t it better to be a successful dilettante? Unsuccessful dilettantes try for new Rewards because they couldn’t get the last one. Successful dilettantes try for new rewards after they achieved their last one and realized it wasn’t really what they wanted.
Thankfully, Fi value orientation keeps us from wandering aimlessly from goal to goal. Our Fi function resists becoming someone we’re not.
Keeping the same goals doesn’t mean we’re not trying new things which is Success Quality 4.
4. INFPs are open to the new.
Life is going from one set of problems to a better set of problems. When we first move out, one of the big problems many people encounter is deciding between mac and cheese and Ramen noodles. I don’t think anyone wants to have that problem when they’re forty. You move from mac and cheese to figuring out long-term career goals to deciding how you want to grow older.
Better problems require two steps, solving the old problem and embracing new problems. Both of which require Success Quality 4. We can’t do the same thing and expect a different result, but we end up doing the same things because we don’t know better. In order to know better, we need new information and new skills. Our Ne function is what keeps INFP exploring the new and unfamiliar.
I don’t know a single INFP that isn’t well-read. INFPs read cross-genre. They may have a favorite, but sci-fi geek INFPs read philosophy and artistic INFPs read non-fiction. Our Ne function needs to take in new ideas. It wants new experiences whether it’s Ethiopian food or learning ballroom dancing. It’s the new that allows our Ne function to see new patterns and perspectives to help us figure out better ways to solve old problems.
Even after we’ve solved the old problem, we don’t move forward until we embrace new problems. It’s comforting being able to solve the same problem over and over, but our Ne function gets bored. The same problem keeps us in the same place.
When I was a teenager, living with parents was trying but safe. Dealing with how they wanted me to live my future versus how I wanted my life to be, created huge problems. I decided I would live my way and make my own mistakes so I chose different career goals and different activities.
I needed to make a new choice. I could I continue living with my parents, rehashing and resolving old problems about doing things their way or I could embrace new problems like moving out and figuring out if I preferred mac and cheese over Ramen noodles. So at 19, I decided the mac and cheese problem was a much better problem.
Embracing the new is scary, but we nurture our openness to the new by doing something new. Every week, I start a conversation with someone I don’t know. It’s daunting for me, but you know what’s great about the new. It’s not boring.
Revised: June 13, 2018
Reasoning: I wanted to tie certain behavior to specific INFP mental functions. For example, instead of saying INFPs get bored easily, I revised it to say the Ne mental function gets bored easily.
Feb 25, 2010
I am an INFP named David. I recently graduated from college from San Francisco State. During my time at State, I worked as an office intern with the public utility company. Reflecting back on that paid internship, I realized that sitting alone in a office analyzing and researching data is not a great fit for me. So I packed up and moved to Hawaii. What a great adventure! I traveled island to island and encountered strange new situations and people. Anyway, your article really resonated with me. Especially when you wrote about moving out when you were 19 and choosing to face a “better problem”.I have been living at home for the past 4 months and my parents goals and ideas of “success” are quite different from my values. I am at a similar crossroad in my own life and found much inspiration in your article that I can apply to my own life. Thank you.
March 27th, 2010 at 11:07 pm
I’m also an INFP who works with a public utility company as a Data Analyst. Although everyone I work with (and I have to admit myself) say I’m a brilliant Data Analyst (top 3% easily in the company), I don’t feel it’s a great fit at all. And the funny thing is that I’ve been doing it for 10 years and the pay and perks are good, but really can’t stand the office environment and the office politics/bitchiness. My friend packed up and went to Hawai’i and I visited her for a holiday. I totally agree with you in the lifestyle and adventure. I pined to be somewhere so scenically beautiful and so .. raw (for a lack of a better word). I have decided on many new ‘problems’ but just haven’t got the guts to do it. I really hate reality sometimes…
March 28th, 2010 at 1:20 am
I temped for five years when I was younger. It was one of the most enlightening experiences of my life working for a different company every other week for five years. I learned there is no place where the grass is greener. Office politics and all the other bad things is unavoidable when you work for another person.
The only real solution is to work for yourself, but then that presents a whole different set of problems to be solved.
March 28th, 2010 at 1:39 am
I thought about working for myself – but being the analyst that I am I know I’d sit and read every book, make many lists of pros and cons, and then .. eventually .. talk myself out of it! But you’re right though. I’ve thought of going back to school and going into the health sector where I can help people one-on-one. Wanted to be a psychologist for so many years (even toyed with being a lawyer) but I have a habit of mulling over the day and trying to help people even when I’m home; I’d surely drive myself insane .. Give me a life of luxury anyday! 🙂
November 23rd, 2012 at 4:12 am
I worked in corporate world for almost 6 years and quit aft I could take it no longer. I am not in employment for the last 3 and half years. I freelanced for sometime in the middle. I still dont want to go back to my corporate job
Mar 4, 2010
Thank you for this article; it’s well-written and rings so true. I recently made a major job transition and it’s gone smoothly only because I’ve remained self-aware and adaptable through the process — something it took me until age 40 to pull off 🙂
It’s also helpful to hear you describe other INFPs you know. I only know one other INFP, and she lives 500 miles away so connections are often missed. Meanwhile my hubby can’t understand why even though work is going well, I write all the time while the laundry piles up.
The One Thing I am really good at happens to be cardiology. I have a very cool job that lets me work independently and interact with one patient at a time, for about 45 minutes at a time, and it [lets] you meet some of the most *interesting* people that way! But I am a duck in a sea of flamboyant SP swans and it’s taking me some time to figure out the politics. They already respect my credentials, but darn it I want them to LIKE me!
Although there are some professions that are especially suited to INFPs, we can and do succeed in all kinds of business and technical fields. This is a good reference that I will share. Thanks again!
March 5th, 2010 at 1:45 am
My wife is an INTJ and we both love to write. Since she’s a J, she finished her 40,000 word novella in 6 months while running a part time business. As an INFP, I’ve been thinking about my obligatory first novel for 20 years now. Laundry gets done by whoever gets to it first.
I’ve met INFPs in all types of professions. It helps that I can usually determine type after I meet someone a few times. Then I ask if they’ve taken the Myers-Briggs. Most INFPs know their INFPs. I think we all get drawn to personality tests. You’re the first cardiologist I’ve met.
I definitely understand about wanting people to like you. For me, I’ve been a social INFP for about 15 years (very quiet until 24) so people liking me has always been that balance between quantity vs. quality. Do I want a lot of people to like me on a superficial level or do I want a small group to like me even though I’m kind of a pain in the ass.
August 27th, 2010 at 12:38 am
social INFP. i think that’s one of my biggest goals and one of the things that causes the biggest frustrations. as an introvert, how does one transition from an INFP to a social INFP. does this mean that you will shift more to extrovertedness? and if so, how do you do it? i have been trying all my life to be extroverted not just in the web but the real world itself and i have been disappointed all the time. whenever i try to open up…i hesitate…and when i finally do it…it backfires (socially awkward)…leaving me with a traumatic pain which could last for days…after that, i would just leave things as they are…never really growing izzit…i guess i’m driven by fear and pain in risking myself to initiate and mingle with strangers and make new friends…with this said, i still have the least idea in effectively overcoming this and coming out of my shell smoothly…sometimes i wish i were an ENFP/ENTP/ENFJ/ENTJ for that matter..or probably extroverted…i sometimes undermine the strength that introversion gives…
August 27th, 2010 at 10:28 am
In my early 20’s I was an extreme introvert. It took about 2 years for me to learn social skills. First off, children learn to play next to other children before they learn to play with other children. For me, I found that I discovered that I loved dancing. So I went dancing alot, by myself. I didn’t go to meet people. I was there to do what I loved. Eventually, I became a familiar face and people came up and said hi. I was still shy but eventually if you do it enough, you get better and eventually you do enjoy doing it.
Also, I rarely talk about me unless they ask and then I’ll answer whatever they want. Mostly, I’m interested in other people. People don’t become my friend because I tell them about my life, my views or my thoughts. They become my friends because they tell me about their life. INFPs are good listeners. It’s one of our strengths.
June 5th, 2012 at 1:50 am
Seek the guidance from a healthy (not unhealthy) ENFJ. And just go out at night…or during the day…places where there are lots of people and lots of encounters. If you experience social retardedness, seek again the guidance from a healthy ENFJ on what to do about it…and don’t close yourself off socially to people when this happens (social retardedness)… Hope this works. Good luck!
Mar 5, 2010
Hmm, the “Reply” link doesn’t work on my browser …
Anyway just to clarify I’m not actually a cardiologist, I’m an RN and registered sonographer in a large specialist group. My attention span is not sufficient for the long haul that is med school! But 2-3 years of school at a time I can handle … becoming a “jill of all trades” around the office keeps things varied and prevents boredom.
Working in a hospital is also a rich source of writing material. Too bad I’m not organized enough to have anything more than a vast collection of vaguely related chapters. Six months to a novella – impressive!
Apr 6, 2010
Very interesting. I just found out I’m an INFP today and so much of the stuff in this entry and the rest of your site rings true for me. I almost want to forward some of this to the guy I’m dating to help him to get me LOL. Thanks for an inciteful read.
May 11th, 2014 at 2:42 pm
They never get it on their own. I dated an ESTJ and he said to me,”I just want to know what DRIVES you! I will figure it out. I WILL!” I laughed and laughed. He was so serious.
Dec 11, 2010
I am glad I read this. I’ve been beating myself up on my boredom and jack of all trades tendencies. I went to massage therapy school when I was nineteen, sure that was the answer for me despite theater scholarships. A few years later I’m back in college trying to decide between a major in music or communications..The idealizing definitely gets me into trouble with career pursuit(s)..
Jan 26, 2011
I’m a 13-years-old INFP, who found out about MBTI out of curiosity.
I want to laugh at how true Quality #2 is! My friends depend on me when it comes to random facts. I’m an extreme bookworm, to the point of not being able to sleep if I didn’t get a chance to read something I enjoy. My friends dub me as the “know-it-all” because they can come to me asking about root word of Illustrate, stages of pregnancy, and (or) UFO and I have answers for them.
That point causes indecisiveness, though. Most people tell me that I have years before I face the scary thing that is called choosing Major in College, but I’m brooding over it now.
It’s hard to choose when you know some things from everything! I have to choose between Literature, Quantum Physics, Astronomy, Philosophy and Psychology.
Well, it still have many good points, since because of that, I can answer questions on tests that other students doesn’t know.
Quality 3 is pretty much true. It’s just like me to accidentally miss school, bang my head a few times, cry a little, then fell asleep (I planned to not miss school whenever possible). I woke up still feeling guilty, but got distracted. I brood over problems under great stress, but that’s where multi-tasking (and multiple mini goals) comes to play.
Quality 4 got me into learning that while we can learn new things, curiosity can kill the cat. I’ve read some things that leaves me scarred, but being well-read means we’re not stupid (smart + idealistic doesn’t sound half bad) and know where to leave things.
All in all, I’m content being an INFP. Come on, being creative, curious, and smart, who wouldn’t want that? Not to mention being the quiet type makes people think you’re smart. Oh teenagers and their simple way of thinking.
January 26th, 2011 at 11:10 am
Being creative, curious and smart is potential. It’s a state of being. But I feel that INFPs have a hard time translating this state of being into a state of doing. Being something is potential energy. Doing something is translating that potential into real world terms.
September 7th, 2013 at 2:39 am
I very much agree with your statement here. It is true.. I do find myself, needing to kick my butt into gear sometimes when I’ve become too idealistic and less realistic when working with a timeframe. There is a need for INFP types (or at least for me in my life’s current stage) to eventually move their thinking into an actual state of doing. Otherwise, I often find myself in a perpetual state of dreaming, researching, and generating ideas, but not actually living it out into a reality.
July 24th, 2013 at 9:32 am
As for 13 years old you are very smart. 🙂 Hell, you’re even for 23. I bet colleagues judge you that way not only because of said quietness.
And I so much agree with Corin. In 24 years of my life I just get to realise that it’s better to do something “imperfectly” than not do it at all, cause the “perfect” time you’re waiting for might never come. And you’ll never be perfect anyway.
Jan 27, 2011
Corin what hit me the most here was your input on boredom.
When I attended interviews in London a few years back and asked what I think my major weakness is (i.e. major flaw), I replied without hesitation ‘being bored’ (underlined 5 times). Zero tolerance for boredom – I prefer to be seriously taken advantage of (and I mean it) that stick with a job where I do nothing and stare at the walls…
February 23rd, 2011 at 6:13 pm
Rania – Bet you didn’t get the jobs 🙂 Managers get all offended when they realise that you don’t have the same interest in a 10-year tenure in the R & D at the Acme Paperclip company as they do.
Its good to gear good things about INFPs outside of caring individuals. We are good at things we just don’t always know what they are or want to know what they are. I really liked what you wrote about drinking binges, etc. I admit to having done all those things mentioned but not trashing the room. I don’t know about other INFPs but for me I may be angry, upset etc but I can never take it out on someone else or their property. If I have had a bad day at work I don’t come home and kick the dog, or if I go on a drinking binge I have no desire to fight someone else, or scratch their car. If my girlfriend breaks up with me, I don’t release my frustration on the world. I’m guessing most INFPs have never had any run-ins with the Police except maybe minor offences. Am I right?
February 24th, 2011 at 2:22 am
Actually some managers do appreciate honesty! And they do like someone who prefers to be busy and happy than stare at walls… While on the subject, I did go to an interview here in Greece (I came back from a 10 year old stay in London 18 months ago), and the manager, being sure that no matter what an employee will waste 3 hours a day doing nothing, he forced an 11 hour long working day… Go figure.
Also, I once went to a job interview on behalf of an agency and the company was MBTI aware and funnily enough asked If i had taken the test as they were looking for the exact opposite of me (don’t remember the MBTI type now, but someone who follows orders, doesnt’t have a mind of their own etc… It was really, really funny when I went to read the type and found out what they were looking for! 🙂
Mar 6, 2011
I am so grateful to find this site. YES on the boredom thing. I am perpetually looking for change because I grow through change. Change stimulates me.
I am good at one thing. I am a librarian. Very broad profession. I fit into any subject and learn every single day. I just love it. Also libraries are peaceful places by and large and that pleases the INFP that I am.
Talk about self-aware. I never realized what to call it. But at 54 believe me I am very self-aware.
March 9th, 2011 at 9:25 am
I’m so happy that you’ve found a profession you love. I’ve been in several that I like but nothing I’ve loved so I’ve never recommended specific professions for INFPs. However, having that key part is nice because it gives you this steady base to grow from.
Mar 10, 2011
Yes. I have tried several different professions through my career life. I would change jobs every 3 years for stimulation. But Library work has always been my first love. Reading and learning is my first love.
Thanks so much for this site Corin. It means a lot to me.
Us INFP’s have to stick together and with the magic of the internet, now we can! How fantastic is that!?
Mar 26, 2011
I really love the first posting about INFPs. It’s so well written and very true, at least for me. I’m an artist and I have tried many careers. Being an artist is my main thing, then my second main thing is being a teacher. I wish I could be better at this thing called LOVE. How do INFPs know if they are with the right person? I’ve never felt 100% except in the 1st 2 weeks or so, then the excitement wears off and my heart wants to wander. I wonder if I’m simply seeking excitement of the “new” or if I am repeating the same mistake over and over…
October 16th, 2013 at 10:05 am
My grandparents had the best romance/love affair I have ever witnessed. They were together until he died at 99 (he wanted to make 100), she was 20 yrs younger. But they were the best team. The advice they gave me, is find someone you can’t live without. Because if it is just someone you can live with, they aren’t your equal. And it makes sense that if you can’t live without them in your life you will make the commitment and investment that will conquer all life throws your way.
Sep 6, 2011
Does quality 2 ring true to others? I do believe that I am knowledgeable with various things. I have been thinking a lot if theres something where I excell, sometimes I think I dont excell in something and it makes me sad.
September 6th, 2011 at 4:01 am
I recently heard that it’s great if one could be a master of all trades and a jack of none…
Oct 20, 2011
hi I am an INFP and proud to be one! Felt nice to read all the comments….just going through a depressed state, hence won’t be able to write much and ruin ur happy lives! Haha just wish u all a good luck in watevr..and u guys do! Love2 all 🙂
Nov 7, 2011
I enjoyed the original article and all the comments, too. My first novel is called Temping (Black heron press, 2006) and I realized in reading about the others who have temped it made sense to be an INFP and to temp. My novel is set in Seattle. I went from place to place for a decade, then got a Ph.D. and moved to Finland. My novel is autobiographical. I guess the idea of it all is very INFP. That was fun to discover that! I could really relate to all these posts and comments.
June 10th, 2012 at 12:53 am
Hi Kirby, I too got a PhD and went to Finland to temp although did not stay as long as I’d wished. Think I will look up your book, sounds interesting. BTW are you still in Finland?
Feb 13, 2012
Hey, I’ve just read some of your articles:) I found a lot of myself there (well, I’m an INFP too, of course). I especially agree about that we are always aware if something doesn’t fit to us. I’m still looking for my vocation (either psychologist or writer, maybe both), I just don’t want to work whatever, just to earn money, once I tried to make up my mind for that but I knew it isn’t me. I used to be a bookworm as a child 🙂 Now I’m more into music. I think every INFP has a deep inner need for some kind of art, no matter if creating or just consumating but generally we do need art in our live. 🙂 Cheers to all INFP buddies around!
March 14th, 2012 at 6:30 am
Hi One, a wonderful comment. Did the career path become clear and how? In a world dominated by extroverts I am learning a lot off websites that cater for the INs!
May 24, 2012
Hi, I’ve been reading few of your posts, and I could relate with each of them, but this post is the best. I could not stop laughing when I read this line: “The reason why INFPs don’t stay hurt forever is because being bored is worse than being hurt.”
Well, seriously, at this moment I feel I’m at rock bottom of my boredom. I’ve just moved (a year ago) to a new place and too scared to mingle with the locals, I don’t feel I have any true friend, lots of acquaintances yes, but no true-friendship.
At first I chose to move because I was oh-so bored with my previous life, in this new life (almost a year since I’ve moved) I have no real activity yet.
And I feel I am an old, weak, full of whining-streaks pathetic loser.
I know I have to do something, anything. But I always procrastinate. Ah well, this post really opens up my eyes and gives me a new boost to stop doing nothing.
Thank you for sharing. Seriously 😀
June 5th, 2012 at 2:22 am
Awesome. Sounds like you are keeping your chin up. This is key. For the times when you feel like whining, do it on paper. Write it out. This may help. As far as meeting people beyond acquaintances, this could be due to your own mindset, not theirs. Write out your thoughts on paper. Then crumble up the negative writings, and throw them out. Just keep your chin up. Whatever comes and goes. Oh, and, get out there and dance. Even if you go out by yourself. Who cares, really?! (Just make sure you arrive and leave safely). Eventually you will meet some cool people who share a similar wavelength as your own. Those people will then introduce you to others. Good luck! 😀
Jun 5, 2012
Hey guys! I am an INFP at the point in my life where I feel I may have gotten the social experiences (to a degree, at least) that I needed. I want to now conquer some level of social change. I hear that “some of the greatest human catalysts in the world have been INFP’s…(from a few online pages at least…). I have a Bachelor’s in Healthcare Management…beyond that…I have alot of creative ideas that never seem to come to frutition, such as writing songs. I’m not sure if this info is important to say or not. I just want to be part of something bigger, if that makes sense. Thoughts?
Jun 5, 2012
…By the way…I think all of you ROCK for being brave enough and helpful enough to post your thoughts on here. You are inspiring to me. I love reading your wonderful posts. Sincerely. Where would we all be if we didn’t support one another? Sharing is caring. (Hug).
Jun 5, 2012
I read this article and I realized I already knew this info. I never read about the success of INFP’s but I was and currenty am in a state where I evaluating myself and the process of my decision making. This is a great article. I follow everything stated here 100%.
Oh and I agree- An interesting life is way better than a boring one.
Aug 23, 2012
Very well written, and for me, right on the money. I find myself trying to explain that although I try new things all the time, this is not aimless wandering; it is always in-line with my core values. I just seem to enjoy the process of things much more than the outcome…maybe it’s why I don’t really set goals?
I’m interested to hear more from you. Thanks very much!
Aug 27, 2012
Great to see this article is still getting comments. I too am an INFP.
Is honesty a gift of being an INFP.
For me it was one of those aspects of my life I wasn’t prepared to compromise……..I remember being in my early 20’s before I heard of myers briggs, feeling / knowing that if I was honest in life I couldn’t help but succeed. I remember it being that strong, although I may have been stoned at the time 🙂
Is that a strange thought for an INFP?
That was 40 years ago, and it worked. I think the only reason I was successful is that people trusted me, whereas everyone else they maybe weren’t so sure about. My values, my search for meaning in life, I kept pretty quiet about one I realised non INFP’s weren’t interested, but fellow INFP’s and INFJ’s made excellent friends to explore with……….
Along the way I of course learned that honesty without gentleness and kindness didn’t really work too well! So I would offer gentle and kind honesty as a natural energy of the INFP……….and in my experience it works for you!
August 27th, 2012 at 10:32 am
Honesty is a value-related and not personality-related. I strong believe in the adage: how you do anything is how you do everything. The people who are most honest with themselves, about their weaknesses and faults as well as their strengths and abilities are the ones who are most honest with others. I think this self-honesty leads a person to live a more authentic life where they’re more accepting of their foibles and therefore more forgiving of others.
Dec 18, 2012
So glad to see all the posting and suggestions. I’m from China and learning accounting and finance now in Japan! and I’m 21. I’ve just found out that I’m an INFP. What brought me to the MBTI test is that I have no plan for my future. 8 months ago I made my decision to go abroad for eye-opening and new knowledge. But now I found my major boring and so difficult after 4 month. It’s just this strong intuition constantly told me: accounting doesn’t suit me, yet I feel like I shouldn’t give up, it seems to me that I should be responsible for what I started.
Throug this passage, I’ve finally found the explaination of why I love to go to musuems, concert, art exhibitions,etc. I feel like lucky being an INFPer because we always have the heart to see the beauty in everyday life? I guess^^. Learning and mastering new art-related thing can always promote my confidence. Every qualities posted here is scary true.
Thanks from the bossom of my heart and best wishes
Jan 9, 2013
Unfortunately I go on drinking benders and randomly take off to Tibet…but sometimes it’s helped! Honestly I feel as an INFP that avoiding doing those things makes me even more stuck and depressed.
January 10th, 2013 at 10:24 am
I think everyone, not just INFPs need to have a release valve that they can count on. For me, it’s playing way too much Diablo3.
Jan 10, 2013
This is a great blog! I have been doing some soul searching lately to figure out where to go next…I feel I’m not that odd actually…It’s also great to know that all is not lost and I still can be successful! At 34 and with only a long list of odd jobs to show for, I was starting to give up. I relate to a lot here…it makes sense…im an INFP with party tricks that make me look like an extrovert. I dance, sing, beatbox, blah blah, love laughing…but I definitely am an introvert.I journal, blog, write..would love to finish one novel! Started 3 in my time. None finished. Anyway…enough about me. 😛
Jan 16, 2013
Reading this has proved to be helpful. I am an INFP, and I’ve constantly wondered whether or not this was a curse or a blessing. When it’s a curse, I’m depressed, and when not, I’m happy. Simple, eh? Now that I have a better grasp of WHY I behave the way I do, it makes me look forward to becoming my ideal self… Thanks for this post 🙂
Jul 22, 2013
Whenever I get a little depressed I Google topics such as infp,career and strengths. I usually end up on topics like these. I find it hard to deal with the expectations of work, and recharging at the end of my day. Im just way too sensitive and feel its inappropriate to vent that off at work, I also loathe conflict so I wont settle the matter up front either. Do you have any advise on that? How do I mitigatie this weakness with one of our INFP strengths?
July 23rd, 2013 at 10:56 am
Making your job better depends on 4 things:
1. Whether you like the work you do
2. Whether you like your current job
3. What you consider your purpose for working
4. What kind of life do you want to build.
You may like the work, but you can hate your job if it’s high stress, bad boss, terrible co-workers, poor working environment. You can like your job (great place to be), but hate the work (mindless and repetitive).
Here are the qualities:
1. INFPs are self-aware.
2. INFPs are knowledgeable or excel in at least one thing.
3. INFPs are adaptable without losing sight of our ideals.
4. INFPs are open to the new.
So use Quality 1 to answer Questions 3 and 4. Be honest with yourself. For me, the only reason why I work (q3) is to fund Q4. If someone gave me $10M, which would be enough to fund the life I want to build, I’d stop working. And it’s okay that I don’t find meaning or fulfillment in working, but I work because of what it gets me. I’d rather be on a beach.
So I use Quality 2 to figure out the career I want to be in and how to not make it suck. If we’re knowledgeable in one thing, we can be knowledgeable in more than one thing. I’m knowledgeable in what kind of work environment makes me happy, in the signs of whether the company I work for has the potential to sustain such an environment. I’m knowledgeable in how to negotiate conflict (because it’s just a learned skill, you read books and put it into practice until you get good — like chess or cooking). If you like the work (Question 1), but hate the work (Question 1), then you negotiate with your boss for more interesting work.
If the Question 1 and 2 just suck, the use Quality 3 and 4 to transition to a new job. Basically, don’t quit until you find a new one.
Aug 19, 2013
A fellow INFP friend just shared your blog, and this post in particular, with me today. I am so thankful that he did!! I’ve known that I’m an INFP for 10 years now, since I was 22. I desperately needed some reassurance about my identity at that point in my life, and discovering my INFP personality type was extremely helpful in maintaining my sanity and sense of purpose then. 🙂 Reading INFP specific information today continues to encourage and inspire me when I’m feeling like I’m flailing, overwhelmed, down, or just misunderstood. Thank you for writing this blog. 🙂
Aug 19, 2013
“So my boyfriend/girlfriend dumped me but I’m going to write the best short story from it.”
literally just happened. well, except that it’s part of a novel, not a short story.
🙂 or :(, depending on how you look at it
Sep 7, 2013
Your INFP blog is awesome! 🙂 I really appreciate all the detailed posts and comments from people… it helps me understand my self when I feel like I’m going slightly crazy and feel like no one else seems to be quite like me! haha
Here’s me on Quality #1:
I’ve finally come to the closing realization that I truly am an INFP vs. an ENFP. I had thought I was perhaps some ambivert cus I’d love being social at times (love get togethers to do fun stuff like boardgames, group games, videogames, etc.) and would have my times of really needing/wanting “people around” me, even if it was just for their presence.
But the more I’ve read up on different personality blogs and analyzed myself, the more I realized: I really do value my downtime. Almost all my closest friendships have been developed through mostly 1-on-1 time or small groups. I am usually the listener in conversations. I live for and love deep conversations. I really enjoy learning, reading, and writing. Talking for a long period of time can literally wear me out both physically & mentally! But I can “talk” for hours messaging someone online…haha!
Qualities #2 – 4:
are the stories of my college career lol. I’ve dabbled in graphic design, sculpture, animation/illustration, dance, photography, creative writing, etc. None of my friends, nor I ever knew what was truly my intended major, haha! But in honest retrospect, almost every semester I was indecisively and painfully changing my mind, trying to find my “true self”. I constantly outweighed what truly aligned with my heart’s passions, values, my skills, time, the possible lifestyles, and careers, etc. I was spinning around in circles, but I also knew, I truly loved exploring them all! But I feel there comes a time in the INFP’s life where she must make a realistic commitment and finish an intended goal.. otherwise, I’d never graduate!
Sep 7, 2013
and after more exploration of your other written posts…my “ambivert” sensing self, all makes sense of me being a Social INFP! whoot! I love clarification.
I also had one last note to add…though I’m sure you (in another post) and many other INFPers have already figured/or realized the necessity of this already. We can be very great deep thinkers. Total over analyzers, meticulously thinking, sorting, and figuring our new selves constantly, as well as how we will next function in relation to another. But that can really limit us from sometimes seeing big simple truths that don’t need to always be overly-intellectualized. So sometimes I think the best remedy for INFPers is to simply stop. breathe. and let go of all the things that weren’t meant to be over-analyzed to pieces about.
For me personally, I have found that having faith in God has helped release much of my stress, anxieties, and “what-am-i-doing-with-my-life?/what-is-meant-for-me-to-be-done-with-my-life?”. I truly believe God has the answer, and we’re there to explore life to figure that out. It’s not to say though that I naively never think, do, or take initiative to explore/figure things out for myself. But I do truly believe God has specifically designed each of us with certain desires, passions, and purposes that to our unique personalities and values. Our calls could be to jump through a series of multiple paths within our lifetime.
September 7th, 2013 at 4:48 am
or it could be within one or a few things..but either way, I have faith that it’ll be a grand adventure with God.
Sep 10, 2013
Wow! No article was so like me! Seems like you have put a whole lot of effort in this writing! Don’t really want to say much since I am not able to express how thankful I am for helping me realize things I was missing!
And yea, I learned something new today! 😉
With your permission, I want to put this up on my blog. I will give all the credits in the first line itself.
Nov 11, 2013
I loved your blog. Thank you Never thought of myself as INFP because I was a bit social, danced on tables, blabbed easily. However, to recharge, I have to be in a good book, alone in the woods with my horses or with a very quiet 2nd horseman, in the mountains or at the ocean-which signifies introversion. I was restless, moved frequently-did the Hawaii thing, but realized eventually that when I went somewhere else I still had to take me with me. I’ve been soul-searching lately. I work ICU nursing which is very stressful. I love the constant change and learning involved, and when I’m able to minister one on one with my patients. The conflict and politics are hard, and now with open visitation and perhaps 10 people in the room with me at times, asking questions while I’m trying to focus I am looking for another path. I love what I do, but its been draining lately. Yes, I wonder am I where I’m supposed to be if its so difficult? Its soothing to see others similar to me. Thanks, again.
Jan 30, 2014
This is so great! So glad I discovered this blog as I also just ‘discovered’ my personality type. A detail at the end of the article caught my eye and makes me want to ask – are INFPs especially prone to leaving home on the young side? I did myself, and I’m curious if this is a common trait among INFPs.
January 30th, 2014 at 11:33 am
No I think it’s a generation / freedom as highest value thing. The ones that leave home early are the ones where the ideal of freedom is much more important then their value for safety or comfort.
Jul 2, 2014
This blog has been very enlightening and affirming. Thank you. Here’s my story…
Despite being the best high school clarinet player in my county (Quality #2) without one private lesson and a hobby of mock conducting classical music works, I enrolled in engineering school. Duh…. surprisingly though, I actually graduated with good grades. However, once I got into the real world, I sat in a cubicle and I was lost. I was bored, had no idea what was expected of me, and was even picked on by some of my colleagues. I also married young, to an ISFP, and that relationship failed.
Fortunately I was self-aware enough (Quality #1) and was drawn to start exploring books on self-awareness and success. One book by Stephen Covey (an ESTP), The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, is an idealistic book that resonated with me then and still does today. His book encouraged me to drop my BORING job and enroll in school again, this time for music education.
I am now a music teacher and a very successful one. I teach 6th grade and after seven years now, I am starting to become a little bored. I have my sights on a high school job that will open up hopefully in the next couple of years. In the meantime I started an honors band to spice things up a little.
I also sought out a mentorship with an experienced teacher who conducts a community wind band. He has taken me under his wing and wants to see me follow in his footsteps as his assistant conductor. The only problem is… he’s an ISTJ. He is a good man, extremely intelligent, dedicated to a fault, but his persona scares me to death! We couldn’t possibly be more different. I have a bit of an anxiety disorder as it, and I can’t seem to enjoy working with this man because frankly I’m intimidated.
However, he is teaching me things like proper planning. He has shown me that in order to run with a one of my revolutionary creative ideas, that it is best to think it through with things like cost estimates and timelines. I had to adapt (Quality #3), and the constructive criticism was a bitter pill to swallow. Long story short, we are putting together an unprecedented youth group next year that is my vision. And, because it is being overseen by a “TJ”, and a diverse board, rather than just me, an “FP”, it is going to get done and it is going to get done the right way. I foresee this as being a wonderful experience for high school kids next year and for many years to come.
I’ve learned something about success. Success comes when you work together with other competent people who have strengths that you don’t possess. However, it was my intuition and natural ability to be open to the new (Quality #4) that got this all started. I’m really proud that I could use my strengths and then borrow the strengths of others to make something special happen and actually bring it from just a great idea to actual reality.
February 15th, 2015 at 10:58 pm
This is a wonderful story, absolutely inspiring – thanks for sharing!!
Aug 12, 2014
That was one of the BEST articles about INFP’s I’ve read so far on the Internet.
I’m 21 years old, from Barcelona. I’ve just graduated from BBA at ESADE… one of the top schools in the world of Business..
However, while at my Exchange program in San Diego, my life did a 360º change.
I started yoga, I became 100% vegan and changed my mindset. I no longer wanted to work for a “large corporation” any more. It did not make any sense. I started a blog instead, because reading and writing is my real “freedom pill”, or my daily energy boost… and I had to take action and fight for what I really want to be.
I discovered I am an INFP 6 months ago. At University we were assigned to take the test.
I was reluctant about it… I thought it may be kind of an “horoscope”… but there are too much things that are true… that I can relate to… and not to mention that I took different tests until the first one, and the answer has always been the same: INFP. Whether I took it in Spanish, English or German: INFP. Incredible.
Thanks Corin, for this great post.
Oct 18, 2014
I am caught between infp and an intp I relate to them both but i think i am INFP with high/ developed T. As a child I could see someone in the store or somewhere I have never met and feel their emotional pain and know they had been traumatized somehow. I have a very difficult time verbalizing my thoughts and emotions although I am prone to writing poetry. If I have an idea I am passionate about I have a practice conversation with myself at least 3 times and weeks before I actually talk to someone about it. Im the friend who tells you she got up early and slept in all in the same morning. I am full of contradictions but they are all true and I think I confuse people sometimes. For all my life I felt like I never fit in, ever. I score 100% on introversion but I have made a great effort to change my social skills and unite the small community I live in by hosting parties and commuity events. Reason being I felt so incredibly ostracized and an outsider when I moved here and I don’t want others to feel like I did. Still, if I hear a knock on the door an unexpected visitor I will probably run and hide. Unexpected company makes me cringe. I have to be emotionally prepared you know. I can be a totally space cadet but, when I say something spacey I realize it minutes later and internally beat myself up over my mistake.
February 18th, 2015 at 12:07 pm
hey charity.. i really like what you’ve written here.. i’ve been reading pages of wonderfully like-minded comments on corin’s blog and your description is eerily similar to some of the things that seem to make me me. thanks 😉
Feb 2, 2015
Dear Corin and fellow INFP’ers,
It’s been great reading the articles as well as the comments you all leave behind. It’s comforting to read that I’m not alone in this continuous struggle with myself. I still think it’s both a curse and a blessing.
I’ve always been very self-aware and analysing, which is why I chose to study psychology. During my studies I never took the test very seriously, I didn’t spend much time on applying the theory on myself. now in retrospect I can see I was studying for the sake of it. Besides psychology I also graduated in Health Policy and Management. I completed two BScs and one MSc in 4 years time. Studying for me provided security, as it seems I had already predicted my future. Which I am facing now, I’ve been in and out of a variety of jobs for a good 4 years now. I’ve come to know two sort of modes;
A. the job I don’t like, and I know I don’t like it rightaway, but I take it on as to fit in the world and come around
B. the job I like initially but where I get bored after some time (6 months usually is enough)
In the end of 2011 I fell in love with an INTJ. Ever since my life and world have been upside down. I now find myself declining a very attractive job offer (good pay, work I’ve done before and I’m good at) in London, in order to live with him in a forgotten place in Turkey (he’s here for his work). I don’t have any work (have tried but didn’t work out), no friends and because of the language barriere it is difficult to connect with locals.
So I’m thinking, this is my shot on making it work, starting my blog, creating stuff, letting the inner me be free and come out and play. Share it with the world online. I’ve recently started my website, but I find myself zero productive. I have so many ideas, but when I start I start thinking it’s useless. I become disappointed with myself for not using the time and space I have now in a way that I have always dreamed about. I don’t have to worry about money, so what is stopping me? I think this pitfall of ours is the worst, the inability to realise our ideas. Corin said very nicely in a comment, about how all of our potential only counts if we are able to DO something with it. I have so much inspiration, energy and excitement in my head, but it doesn’t take shape in reality. Which is frustrating at times, I wonder how long it’ll take me to grow out of it and start doing something.
Thank you all for sharing!
February 2nd, 2015 at 11:54 am
I empathize. I’ve been through the job hopping and self doubt. I still do. But I’m here to tell you you are in a DREAM position. You can do what you want without the need to make it profitable yet. We INFPs can be very good at getting harsh on ourselves so my advice is don’t feel guilty. Open up to the positives in your life (List 5 things you like about your life for a month or something).Reflect on what passion you’d like to explore next. Don’t rush it. Really reconnect with what you love. Then make it a topic on your blog! What do you say?
That’s what I do.
February 3rd, 2015 at 10:52 am
Thansk Rudiano, appreciate the support. Sometimes I feel like I’m very close to getting there and then find myself miles away again. These fluctuations in my character are getting the best of me. I hope and know that someday I will be able to cope with myself.
February 3rd, 2015 at 12:11 pm
I see… I’m really sorry you haven’t got the support you need in your significant other… It must be hard. My heart goes out to you. But don’t dwell on it. I have faith in you. We have faith in you. Your past victories prove you are a ressourceful woman. You’re just in a momentary funk. It feels foggy, you are a bit disconnected to who you really are. Do you do personal development? May help to reconnect with that powerful side of you?
I don’t want to overwhelm you with unsollicited advice though.
If there was anything I or anybody reading this could do to help you, what would it be?
(Then the support would be sollicited!
Feb 2, 2015
I can definitely relate to ‘world have been upside down’ because of love. I’ve gone to a different country twice for the sake of love despite of the shock and surprise of many of why I did what I did. It was quite illogical but I was so in love. Unfortunately, it did not work out because I cannot live in his country for more than 1 month unless we get married or I get a job there.
You seem like a well-accomplished person and seem like you got it all together except for that one dilemma which I think is common for most INFPs. I, too, have that kind of dilemma and it can be very frustrating. Maybe your INTJ partner can help you with that? I think they’re quite motivated to do things they want to accomplish and he may be able to encourage, push, and support you with your endeavors. 🙂
February 3rd, 2015 at 10:48 am
Thanks for your support. Actually this is my second time I’ve moved for him as well. And yes, no one really understands what the hell I’m doing with my life. I can stay, and I want too. But unfortunately my INTJ is extremely complicated himself. I can’t ask him for support as we already find it very difficult understanding each other. We’re going through rough waters now and so the doubt about myself is becoming unbearable. Sometimes I think I should leave, but I’ve never been in love like this in my life and I do see myself grow old with this man. It’s just that we are worlds apart sometimes, we speak such different languages. He isn’t interested in this kind of stuff at all, so he doesn’t even know anything about my INFP traits and just thinks I’m a loonatic (although he admits he isn’t normal either).
February 10th, 2015 at 12:08 pm
No problem. After reading your response, I feel like your story sounded familiar. Although it’s already the past now, I can relate about how you and your hubby are worlds apart (mine was an ISTP!) and yet I still want to go back with him because the feeling is just too strong (that feeling that I still want to grow old with him despite the odds). And I couldn’t share with him my INFP passion and stuff because I feel like he would never understand those things in such a way that I want him to understand. With regards to support, if it can’t be found in your hubby, how about your friends and family that you can communicate online if they’re not physically near? When I was in his country, I would keep in touch with friends and family via facebook.
Don’t give up on it just yet, Mahsafari (sorry for the unsolicited advice) but a love like that I think is worth fighting for especially if you’ve had thoughts of growing old with him. Give it time and see what happens 🙂 I would have if it weren’t for his choice not to be with me anymore among other things.
Feb 9, 2015
Thank you everyone, seriously, YOU ROCK.
It’s so inspiring reading your paths, your struggles and… what could be the story of my life once.
And thanks to the author of this article for this both optimistic and realistic overview. I wonder if I’m not going to print it and hang it up on my desk, I mean, seriously.
I’m a french girl from Paris (so please excuse the little mistakes here and there…).
I’m 21 and I feel completely lost at a crossroads, unable to make up my mind to choose between art, psychology, philosophy or literature.
I graduated two years in philosophy/literature, I loved it and was pretty good at it, but as I couldn’t see where it would lead me, and as I was discovering those funny feature of us that are existential doubt and boredom, I stopped and decided to take some time to think about stuff like “Gosh who am I ? What do I really love doing, what sort of person am I going to become ? etc.”
I traveled a little, I worked a little, I took time for art… and obviously, to think. To think too much, probably.
Now it’s been two years I’m wandering, and I’m getting quite stressed about my future, I’m getting ready to get back into the action, because I need reality back, I need a “path” to follow, would I suddenly jump out one day to follow a butterfly in the undergrowth…
I’m young, I have a lot to look forward to but… It begins with choice. I have to make a choice. The problem is that I cannot help but deciding in “black or white” : I seem not to be able to settle down in a happy medium between “Mmm… let’s try this, it looks tasty, and I can change anyway…” and “Now THERE is my path, and I’m committed to it from now on and up to the grave.”
I can’t imagine a job that wouldn’t be “The” job, I feel like I can’t dedicate myself to anything is this has no significant value for “the World”, you know, hum. This is an issue I’m currently “working on”…
These years, among other things, I was trying to figure out whether it’s a good idea or not to turn a passion into a job.
I first thought that, since I have interesting skills in drawing, and a huge need to express myself with art, it could be worth considering doing it for a living.
But as I’m young and naive, I also discovered how difficult it is, in general I suppose, but especially with a type as changeful as INFP, to commit to a goal even if it is originally your passion, and I’d better say… especially if it is your passion. For me, passion means = some activity where letting free rein to my mystical side is allowed without getting hurt.
And as long as I still feel quite “fragile” and as I’ve just started working at patiently taming my volcanic emotions, I have an intuition that making art for a living, constantly facing the fear of tomorrow would probably let me drained and would finally curb my inspiration.
From older and experienced INFPs, is that a sort of cowardice I don’t want to admit ? An issue I really should better start working on as early as I can in my life if I want to reach any goal ?
I’m strongly interested in psychology too, I actually can’t imagine my life without working one day in a profession that implies psychic care or any sort of “inner care”. I suppose it’s part of the “INFP package” : I feel that I can be very good at reading between the lines of someone’s behavior, at having insights of what’s going on inside, and to knit it into words and symbols. I’ve often been the one you come to when your mind is in a muddle ; when I am well in my life I can be pretty good at making things clear for others, and more than anything, it usually fills me with a warm sense of fulfillment and of “being where I belong”.
It could sound like a vocation, and I notice this could be quietly turning into some sort, actually but… however, when I consider taking that road from now on, I cannot help but think that I may be too young for that, that it feels too much like a quantum soup inside for the moment (and for how long ?) to consider the responsibility of being “here” for people everyday without an “emergency exit” just in case… I may try by myself and figure out, yes, anyway that’s probably what’s going to happen.
I’d like to believe that one day I will be able to turn that overflowing sensitivity into a force, to canalize it and use it as a resource. I hope so. I kind of “know” so, but am I fancying ?
So this is becoming long and kind of annoying, but I have allowed myself to develop a bit because I suppose this can be a common topic of struggle for INFP :
I know that I can’t reach a goal without being committed to it for a certain amount of time ; but at the same time I “know” intimately that I’m going to change. All the time. I can’t help but base my choices on my deep feelings, but feelings are quite a complex matter to decode for the noob I am, and sometimes it’s hard to differentiate which signals come from the surface of the feelings and should better be put into perspective, and which signals come from the core.
Anyway, maybe as INFPs the “advantage” of having such a hard time figuring out what “to choose” really means, is that the very process of choice become so interesting in itself, and the very issue of your life, that at the end of the day, when you hopefully happen to reach some sort of “wisdom”, whatever the goal have been, the interesting thing would have been to have finally reached some, and the goal in itself finally matters less than the way to reach it, or at least derives its value only from the way, etc.
This is a classic lesson of wisdom, but it probably fits particularly to the journey of the INFP throughout life.
Hard to remember this when you’re dead in the middle of the mud.
Maybe us INFP could actually fit in any path, as long as we learn to trust ourselves and to make the journey itself be the stake ; or fail in any path whatever it would be, because we lack trust in our own core and struggle to reach in the future an ideal self at an ideal place that we are still too scared to recognize as an actual part of what we are now, which would mean… oh gosh ! what exactly do you mean by “action” ?
Feb 10, 2015
Salut Lise! You remind me of myself a few years back (no I wasn’t a girl but bear with me haha). I was very intuitive. I wanted to become a psychologist at one point. I also crave self expression. I drew comics, composed and sang my own songs (still do to this day). But I accepted conventional wisdom and never considered turning my passions into business im my earlier days. I’m now 37. And I wish I had kept my passions alive because by now i’d be at a higher level. Competition wouldn’t bother me.
Now I’m rekindling my passions. Because no matter what else you do for work (and yes, I’ve done many jobs) your passions stay with you, help you through dark days.
People nowadays actually make a living doing what they live. Times have changed. The internet has opened many possibilities.
In the generation before us, we needed good grades to get a good job, work there for decades then retire. Nowadays it’s different. There is no guarantee. So why not try to do something we love?
Je pourrais m’étendre plus sur le sujet mais c’est déjà trop long!
My advice: Keep your passions on the side at least. Hone your skills. Get a traditional job if you must. It won’t be your job for life anyway.
Feb 10, 2015
Thank you so much for sharing your story. 21 is such a good age to find out such a significant part of the information about who you are. It’s very confusing being an INPP when you don’t know it! From the moment I knew that, 32 onwards, my life started to make much more sense. I’m 68 now, married 40 years, with two children and four grandchildren. That’s just to put me in perspective!
When I was 21 I realised the most important thing to be in life was honest. It was a strange discovery, but I remember thinking at the time I can do anything if I’m honest.
Because you will have many such insights as an INFP, you will see how things can be, and it is important that you express these. However, it is also important that you express them kindly, gently, and with the said honesty.
Your gift is seeing what might be, seeing the potential, and in my case I was able to do that with new products, which was simply a door into other aspects of company life.
Because you can feel what others are feeling, you can help then bring themselves out of themselves. This empathy can turn you into a very good manager if you use it honestly and openly. You can help technical people express themselves, you can help almost anyone become more of who they are. And that is a great gift that others appreciate.
On this journey through my life, I have come to see that what is missing in the world is love. And by love I mean unconditional love, the kind that offers itself without expectation of anything coming back. Like a mothers love…..It is who we are in our soul, and when you are unconditionally loved by another, you feel free to be yourself, to express yourself and to do the best you can. A wonderful feeling! So if you can give this energy to others, then this is what they will experience, and you’ll become a very good manager, or whatever you choose to be!
For an INFP unconditional love can seem very natural, if you haven’t already got too beaten up by the world! And even if you have, choose this love again.
As far as my passions are concerned, Music has been a big one, with lots of songwriting, playing in bands, and I’ve also taken to doing volunteer counselling as well. Both, as you can imagine, are a joy!
Life is definitely only a journey. There is never an end point which has any meaning. So enjoy the journey, allow lots of change into your life, know that you can always find the best in people and help them bring it out. Love everyone, and they will love you too.
Bon chance with the rest of your wonderful life!
Mar 10, 2015
I am so glad to have found this site. I’m in my mid twenties and have always considered myself to be “on the outside looking in”. I can relate to many of the challenges of typical INFPs. I am an introvert with extreme anxiety. I have social anxiety and find it to be the most difficult part of day to day life. My work life is especially affected by shyness. I can be spacey, and I am always moving onto some other interest. I have felt very isolated for most of my life, as my family felt they didn’t really “know me” well.
I developed some pretty bad habits and came to some terrible conclusions about my self worth in my teens and am now realizing just how destructive they were.
Now I am interested in meditation, Buddhism and living a happy life. I am gearing to go back to school for counselling and look forward to making positive changes.
May 13, 2015
i am INFP. It is tough to get soulmate who understand you. I also struggling finding something that i like.
Oct 13, 2015
As an INFP it is difficult understanding oneself, but it keeps things interesting. It took me a long time to figure myself out, but once I did it kind of took the fun out of it. At first, it was exciting to have all the answers, but then again there is no one to talk about it with because the explanations are pretty crazy. I understand why it was easier to understand others than myself and why I always seemed to contradict myself. We are either one extreme or the other extreme there really is no middle ground or that’s how I feel at least.
Well I should go back to what I was originally doing reading about INTJ’s got sidetracked somehow.
Feb 14, 2016
Thank you so much for this article. So true and helps shed light on recent struggles. I am a content marketing manager for a software start-up technology company. Some days I feel I’m slowly dying and come home in near tears from boredom and angst over office politics. I’m a good writer, but get annoyed when that is all people see in me and I have to write about the same products/value prop every single day. I also have little room for creativity in this role because of the super fast work pace – yet, I do prefer to be part of things moving quickly forward rather than stagnating.
To excel in this job, I’ve been training my brain to think and speak more quickly. I’m also trying to be more forceful in meetings and act like I care about small details when I really don’t. It’s a testament to the adaptability of INFPs, but the price is I’m absolutely exhausted by the end of the day because it is so unnatural. Sometimes I’m frustrated that I can’t be the hard-nosed corporate climber like the rest of my team. There are so many great opportunities in this industry and I see great things ahead for those who “fit” better than I do.
I genuinely like the people I work with and feel they like me. My performance review is coming up and I sense if I were to share how miserable I feel in this role, they would be shocked. But I have no constructive suggestions to make things better. I can’t really say, “Can we slow down so I can be more creative? And can you let me write all of my responses in meetings instead of having to talk? Oh and while we’re at it, could you pretend no one is playing nasty political games when I’m around and please don’t put me in the middle of any disagreements? That would be better, thank you.”
Before this job, I was a freelance writer/designer/marketing project manager/web designer. I loved being my own boss and working with different clients, companies and industries! I also developed really close bonds with my clients. But right now, financially I have to be the main breadwinner for a lifestyle we established before my husband lost his business. I’m doing this until my son graduates high school in two years so he doesn’t have to leave his friends (it would devastate him). After that we’re downsizing as quickly as possible and I’m going back to consulting! My nine-year-old daughter is an introverted free spirit like me. She will be fine with changing schools and experiencing something new when the time comes.
Your article helped me understand why this all seems so hard! Now that I know, I can stay strong and soldier on a little longer. A common characteristic of INFPs is we’ll do anything for a cause we believe in and that cause is my family.
Wow! I didn’t intend for this response to be so long! I’ve probably been holding all this in too much. Thanks again for the article and all of the comments everyone has shared! It’s nice to not feel so alone and to hear the beautiful stories of the other INFPs here. INFPs unite, individually, in our minds!
Dec 5, 2016
Hi guys im 16 year old INFP and I need help on how to deal with rejection from others. I tend to get very emotional (common trait for an INFP) whenever I get rejected from women. I also get emotional when I get criticized for being myself from toxic people. I know sensitivity can be a double edge sword but it just hurts so much I end up crying uncontrollably. After coming up with a quick solution of just never trying to love again I get depressed because I just want to live my life to that fullest and I feal like fear and my sensitivity is just holding me back. I know people just say to me don’t care about what other people think about you but it’s so hard I end up not caring what other people think about me but I still end up getting affected and I just cry uncontrollably because it hurts it feels like a knot in your stomach and the only way to make. the pain stop is to cry. Please I need help I tried asking my parents for help but they keep saying to stop being sensitive and that really annoys me. If that was the solution for all my problems I would probably be never texting my teenage to some strangers on the internet please help me.
December 5th, 2016 at 11:49 pm
Mar 16, 2017
First job as a teen was at a little cafe making soups and sandwiches. I needed the work but before that was taking a class in windsurfing. I was the only female windsurfer in the class. Being the quick learners that we INFPs are, I excelled at it and was asked to come back the following year to teach. I felt honored yet intimidated because we never really think we are as good as we really are, part of the self perfectionism of this personality type. So sandwhich and soup maker. Then on to verious jobs that I put 110% into, was noticed and asked if I wanted to move up. It always scared me and I always left for a new job when those situations happend. I eventually ended up working as a nursing assistant for temp agency where I was always going to new facilities. I thrived on the variety. I was then hired to into working in an ER and I loved it. I loved the variety of patients and the quick problem solving required. I decided to go to nursing school and excelled in my clinicals but did poorly on the tests which were multiple choice and required the BEST right answer, all the answers were basically correct. This was hell on earth for an INFP. So from there I went to a associates of science program for medical massage therapy and opened my own business. I hated the insurance billing portion and found that while I liked the one to one aspect, my clients were wanting to be friends and go out for coffee and I didn’t want my clients to be friends as well. Usually what ends up happening is they will cancel appointments last minute thinking that cancellation policies do not apply to friends, or they will ask you to work on their neck and shoulders for free, you know, just to work out a little knot. Or they stop giving a tip, they don’t like when you raise your rates and expect them to honor your rate increase…the list of why it’s not a good idea is a mile long. After a while I became board with massage therapy, insurance clients were becoming fewer because insurance companies pulled back on allowing massage therapy as a option on their plans, so now I am looking at other options for a career. My sister owns a spa and wanted to see if I would go into partnership with her on a second location in my town. She is great at the business aspect I’m better at the customer clientele aspect. But I feel that having a large spa would eventually burn me out when it comes to being tied down to a business location. I’d like to travel. I was a single mother for years and now I’m a married empty nester to an INFJ that I love, he’s the epitome of still waters run deep~solid foundation, stick with the plan no surprises and bores me to tears kind of man when it comes to his predicable routine, and I would love to explore other career options but he is a bit too use to a job and the life of self empowerment scares him. My life in self employment scares him. He like to know I will get paid X amount of dollars per hour for 40 hours a week. To me, unless it has incredible variety and opportunity to learn new things, a job like that would be horrible. I have many people I know whom have suggested I write. They enjoy my Facebook posts that inevitably become mini novels. My extrovert friends ask why I write such long Facebook posts, my introvert friends ask me to keep writing and to look into publishing! Just goes to show, watch out who you get input from regarding your future career ideas!
Nov 23, 2018
Hi INFPs! so great to hear so many career paths and life stories! I’m a 23 yr old med student graduating in 6 months (here in sweden there is no premed, so the program is 5-6yrs long) and then i’ll start my residency (or rather work as an under-doctor to put something on my CV to Apply for residency).
I grew up in France and decided after 6 months of med school in France to f*ck it and leave for sweden which is where my dad is from. Best decision in my life, though im still very dependent on my parents financially, ive learnt to take care of myself. I also love this country and medicine is super interesting to me. I just love how the body works, and how i can meet people and help them is v fulfilling!
However i have bad social anxiety and being both gay and asexual in a “foreign” country is an isolating experience. Most of my class are SJs (who love the service part of medicine) or SPs (who love the emergencies part). There are of course a few NTs (like radiology and research mostly) and
NFs (humanitarian work). Unfortunately i dislike a lot of the service/caring part of the job, it does not come naturally to me to be nurturing and practical like the nurses. I have the empathy and listening and care about my patients, just have a hard time acting on it. I have not found a cause to fight for humanitarian work, so i guess i’ll just go into general practice and see.
As doctor i do miss the creative aspect of life, and don’t really have a passion at the moment because of my mental illness i have a hard time trying new things. I wish i were good at one thing, but seem to not want to try anything so i do not like anything and im in a vicious circle. I do need to develop a tough skin for my profession, which i have in some aspects, but not in others (still am terrified of acute situations where i have to make quick decisions and manage people). I do hope i will be ok in my job. Some days im afraid i wont manage the long days and stress. As someone who has been in a bubble of med school for so long, im scared of what is out there, but i hope it brings more opportunities for exciting things!