Figuring it out: Am I INFP or INTP

If you are new to the Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator world, it is easy for you to be overwhelmed with all the information that you receive on a topic you may or may not be able to fully comprehend. If you are confused about whether you’re INFP or INTP, you’ve come to the right place. Here, I am going to try and simplify for you, an answer to, “How do you know if you’re INFP or INTP?”

So let us begin with why you might have had the confusion in the first place. It is because of the abbreviations, isn’t it? INTP versus INFP sound like the same thing, more or less. How about we first take a look at the similarities between the two with subtle, easy-to-overlook differences, and then proceed on to address the elephants in the room, namely “thinking” and “feeling”. 

The Similarities

Introversion. 

Both INFP and INTP types are introverts. They are both known as the quiet types, who enjoy spending time on their own, doing their own thing. They have an endless world on the inside that most people know nothing about, and they’d rather focus on that than engage with the external world, like introverts usually do. 

You wouldn’t find an INFP with a large circle of friends, and INTPs are the same. They both take their sweet time before letting other people in. 

That being said, INTPs are analytical in choosing which people to get close to. They base their decisions on previous experiences, collect data and allow people to get close to them only once they’re sure they’re making a sound decision. They usually get close to people with whom they can share their interests, have intellectual and logical conversations with, even if there is a difference of opinion. Because INTPs enjoy having their intellect, their knowledge tested and challenged. It’s no surprise that INTPs value intellect over emotion. That being said, they are absolutely loyal to the people they hold close to their hearts. They show affection to loved ones, but they have their own unique ways of doing that.  

On the other hand, INFPs base their decision to get close to people on the vibes they give off. INFPs don’t let people in easily, and it takes time for them to develop trust. But they are known as the Mediators, because despite being introverts, they are all about people. They love to get to learn more about people, their experiences, they get into the depths of the personalities of the people they interact with. Their main goal is to help people become their best selves and live their best lives. The INFPs are empaths, and their compassion draws them to people. Although, they still prefer one-on-one conversations over sitting with a large group of people. 

Intuition. 

Both INTP and INFP types are intuitive in nature. They both share the auxiliary cognitive function of Extraverted Intuition or Ne, which means they’re both out of the box thinkers and they rely heavily on their creativity to provide them with answers. Using ‘what if’ scenarios comes naturally to both types. They both engage with the external world and deal with problems using their intuition. This helps them try our all the possible outcomes of a situation before settling on a final decision, which simply means that they have a broader view of looking at problems and seeing patterns that may not be apparent for other people. 

Creative freedom is something both INFPs and INTPs value most. Being limited to use only a select number of options spooks them. While extraverted intuition is a big help for both types to keep their creative juices flowing, it can also mean they take longer to actually come up with a final decision. It is easy for them to lose their original thought in a sea of unlimited possibilities. With time, they have to learn to limit themselves and know when you stop imagining. But there is no denying that the creativity that flows in the veins of both INFP and INTP types helps the people around them as well as the world as a whole. 

Perception. 

The fourth letter in the abbreviation for different types in the MBTI is always either a J or a P. J refers to Judging types, while P is used to indicate the Perceiving types. Whichever of the two it may be, the fourth part of the Myers-Briggs personality types is based on how any individual plans and makes decisions based on the options present for them to choose from. The two types, judging versus perceiving, reveal whether a person likes to plan things down to a T to avoid surprises or if they’re more of a going-with-the-flow type of individual.

Both INTP and INFP types are perceiving in nature. This means that unlike judging types, they are not overly concerned with having clarity or closure, or even sticking with a plan. They have a more ‘making up things as they happen’ type of people. They react to their environment instead to trying to control each and every single thing. Judging types are people who have a Plan B, then a Plan C to back up their Plan B, and then another contingency plan, in case all the ones before it fail. Perceiving or prospecting personalities play with the cards they’re dealt. 

In the case of INFPs and INTPs, this trait is cushioned by their extraverted intuition (Ne), which allows them to come up with ideas and see the bigger picture that other people may be too pre-occupied with panicking to see. 

Aside from being creative, Perceiving individuals are often seen as being curious, carefree, adaptable and flexible.

Sensation.

While Sensing may not be a major contributor to either of the two types, both INFP and INTP have the tertiary functioning of Introverted Sensing (Si). However, they both have their own unique ways of doing that. 

For INTPs, it means that they tend to efficiently organize all the experiences they have had and the facts that they have sensed and collected, and are very detailed oriented. The newly collected information is compared with the previous knowledge available in their minds, and their eventual aim is to turn all of the information they’ve collected into known knowledge, that they make predictions about the future using.

On the other hand, using their vivid imagination and their ability to remember events while paying attention to small details, INFPs store the memories of any given occasion or event. This helps them take a breather and calm themselves down before they replay and carefully analyse all of their experiences. Their Introverted Feeling (Fi) function helps them remember emotions and their intensity that they felt as part of any experience, and this aids them into bringing the stored memories to life. Their decisions are value based instead of being driven by detached logic. 

The difference between the two types – and this will help you really determine which type do you belong to – lies in Introverted Feeling (Fi) versus Introverted Thinking (Ti).

Introverted Feeling. 

INFPs experience a wide range of intense emotions which they navigate internally. They make sense of the world around them using a value based system. They are compassionate and empathetic towards the world and it shows in their thought processes. Their frame of work to deal with life and the world is a deeply personal one. They take in information that they’re provided with, which is followed by an emotional reaction, and based on the way they’re feeling, they view things from several different angles and perspectives and decide things on the basis of what touches their heart and inspires them.

Introverted feelings often lack structure, because feelings cannot be contained and analysed quantitatively. Feelings are complex and fluid in nature, and that reflects in the art that INFPs create. Due to the sheer complexities of how they feel, this type gravitates towards creativity and the arts, because art can be open to interpretation. 

The INFP type is more consumed with creating a vibe for the onlookers and make sense of things in their own unique ways. Even though INFPs have difficulty in talking or opening up about their feelings, they do feel things with a depth and intensity that, at times, fails to make sense to other people. 

Introverted Thinking. 

Known as The Thinkers, INTPs have Ti as their dominant function, which tells us how people with this trait absorb information about the world that surrounds us. INTPs feel at home by taking complex ideas and breaking them down into individual parts in order to gain an understanding into how each part functions with one another.

They prefer to think things through, make sense of concepts on their own before sharing it with other people. The do this by detaching themselves and being as precise and clear as they can possibly be. Their work is often logical and dispassionate, because they feel at ease taking the emotion out of things, so they don’t taint the results. 

Reasoning and having a rational thought process are their biggest strengths. Their work is often linear and leads to logical conclusions. 

Another significant difference between the two types is their inferior functions of Extraverted Feeling (Fe) and Extraverted Thinking (Te). Let’s dive in.

Inferior Functioning: Fe vs. Te. 

INTPs struggle with the inferior function of Extraverted Feeling, which means that they struggle with understanding other people’s point of views and feelings. They are often not comfortable dealing with and understanding their own feelings. They are often known to shut down and not let out any type of feeling what-so-ever, which makes it difficult for them to connect with other human beings, or sometimes even appear to be a normal human. INTPs resent having to develop a social side, and this is troublesome for people around them.

INFPs, on the contrary, have a hard time with Extraverted Thinking. INFPs are emotionally sensitive and appear to be compassionate people. Te involves, to some extent, conforming to external metrics. Systematic way of doing things, standardization and order spooks them, as it goes completely against their own world view. If there is one thing INFPs despise more than anything, is a system that takes away people’s individual identities. They are afraid of having their spark, their uniqueness squashed. 

They believe that the world is a better place when people are given the room to be themselves and express their truth in their own way. They see things like getting the highest grades as being put at the top in a carefully manufactured box. While they are widely known to be used to bursting out of said box and creating their own rules. But this also puts INFP type people at risk of becoming so detached with reality, that they isolate themselves from the rest of the world. INFPs can develop logical thinking patterns by surrounding themselves with people who have their Te function down, so that it can help them give structure to life when needed. 

Based on the information provided above, I hope you can now easily decide whether you are INFP or INTP. Just remember to acknowledge your own weaknesses so that they can be worked on and improved. Good luck!

Bibliography. 

Cherry, K., 2021. INFP Personality Profile and Characteristics. [Online] Verywell Mind. Available at: <https://www.verywellmind.com/infp-a-profile-of-the-idealist-personality-type-2795987> [Accessed 7 November 2021].

Storm, S., 2020. 24 Signs that you’re an INTP, the “Prodigy” Personality Type. [Online] Psychology Junkie. Available at: <https://www.psychologyjunkie.com/2020/08/07/24-intp-personality-type-signs/> [Accessed 7 November 2021].

Stafford, S., 2019. INTP Intuition: Understanding the INTPs Sense of Intuition – Personality Growth. [Online] Personality Growth. Available at: <https://personalitygrowth.com/intp-intuition-understanding-the-intps-sense-of-intuition/> [Accessed 7 November 2021].

Stafford, S., 2019. INTP Intuition: Understanding the INTPs Sense of Intuition – Personality Growth. [Online] Personality Growth. Available at: <https://personalitygrowth.com/intp-intuition-understanding-the-intps-sense-of-intuition/> [Accessed 7 November 2021].

Cherry, K., 2021. Are You an INTP? Find out more about the Personality Type. [Online] Verywell Mind. Available at: <https://www.verywellmind.com/intp-introverted-intuitive-thinking-perceiving-2795989> [Accessed 7 November 2021].

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