How does an INFP react to stress?

Stress is one thing that no matter the type, we all experience on a more or less regular basis. Especially at this point in the twenty first century, all human beings are surrounded by stress more often than we’d like to be. INFPs are no exception to this. 

Let us find out just how does an INFP react to stress? But before we dive into that, let’s talk about some situations that may cause INFPs stress in the first place. 

What stresses out an INFP?

Rigid deadlines. 

This is absolutely true. INFPs are very laid back when it comes to their work. They are often referred as natural procrastinators, which isn’t surprising to the people who know and understand INFPs. See, these people are a creative bunch. And when it comes to creativity, all the artists out there can understand that inspiration doesn’t strike when it is being stared down at by a deadline. It happens when it happens. Things like a writer’s block are a real thing, you know? 

So, when an INFP isn’t feeling particularly inspired, they tend to procrastinate. And the threat of a fast approaching deadline, in such times, becomes excessively stressful for them.

Overly structured projects.

Another truth about creativity is that it involves a lot of out of the box thinking. When they’re given projects that have each and every detail pre-planned, and there’s no room for them to breathe or make changes to the work, INFPs end up feeling caged. And INFPs hate feeling entrapped. Their creativity suffers, and they find themselves uninspired as well as uninterested in finishing the tasks. 

This causes them stress, because they’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. The former being the project and there being a need to finish it according to the client/boss’s needs, and the latter being their inability to work in such a tightly knit web, with no wiggle room whatsoever. 

Individuality being obstructed. 

INFPs are very adamant about maintaining their individuality. They have a unique style of doing things, and prefer to be involved in projects that allow them to do manage things in their own way. They are often afraid of losing their identity, and having their inner light squashed by the system. 

Whether in school, or at work, INFPs do not like to give in to the society’s standard ways of doing things. They like to pave their own way, unleash their creativity, and prefer to perform tasks where they’re given their innovative freedom. 

However, life doesn’t work that way, and more often than they’d like to, INFPs find themselves being caged in my the standard system set by society where everyone is expected to follow a clear, rigid set of rules, and produce the same type of material. And this becomes a cause for stress for the INFP fellows. 

Values being violated, challenged, or undermined. 

For the people who are close to an INFP, this makes perfect sense. INFPs base all of their actions and beliefs on a core set of values, and they do not like to stray from them. When an INFP sees their values being violated or challenged, they feel like they’re losing control. Their values are what an INFP’s personality is based on. And having their principles undermined stresses out these introverts, because it feels like their identity is being stripped away from them.


An INFP would avoid any and all forms of conflict for as long as they can. They forgive people very easily, simply because it means they can avoid conflict. And so, when an INFP is thrown into a pool of conflict that they cannot do anything to avoid, it causes them major stress. INFPs cannot handle confrontation, even if their life depends on it.

Inflexible routine. 

As free spirits, INFPs despise getting stuck in a rut. They especially become agitated and mentally fatigued if they’re forced into a routine with no room for them to breathe or relax. INFPs who are new parents often find themselves becoming overly stressed because not only do they have to take care of a human infant on minimum sleep and manage to keep it alive at any cost, they also find themselves becoming part of a routine that they cannot figure a way out of.

Violation of privacy.

INFPs are also very private people. Not a lot of people get to hear what lies inside the heart of an INFP. And even the people who manage to get close to an INFP without spooking them, are often held at arm’s length, because these introverts feel inwardly. They deal with the world around them by navigating things on the inside, and rarely share what’s going through their mind. They are adamant about requiring their personal space; and when this space is violated and barged into, be it by a partner, a family member, or a friend, an INFP becomes really stressed, really quickly. 

How do INFPs react to things that stress them out?

Come up with creative solutions. 

It is true that INFPs work best under pressure, after they’ve procrastinated their way through an entire day, and so they pull an overnighter to finish up on a task they’d been avoiding getting done with. They come up with their most creative work when stressed. But it isn’t healthy for them to always put themselves in such situations. 

Isolate themselves. 

This is when an INFP turns to their shadow self and instead of using Ne (extraverted intuition), which is the auxiliary function that comes to them naturally, turn towards Ni (introverted intuition). And since they’re not well equipped with it, they use it in a very unhealthy way. They begin to rely heavily on hunches, without having any truth to back it up with, and instead of creating useful patterns for themselves to navigate different ideas with, they begin to base their decisions on feelings and ideas that are not natural for them. 

This causes them to distrust other people, and they often become paranoid that they’re being lied to and manipulated, which is as far from reality as it can get. Doubts take place of the trust they usually rely on, and creates feelings of mistrust, and causes an INFP to alienate and distance themselves from the people who are only trying to look out for them.

It can also cause them to be suspicious of others, having these ideas about them which come from them being in their shadow state, and causes the INFP to not truly see the truth in this individual. They might doubt people and see them incorrectly, which can create a mistrust and cause the INFP to alienate themselves from others.

Concentrate only on things they see as important. 

Stress causes INFPs to often fail to see the objective side of things while decision making. It’s as if they fail to see the practical implications of their decisions and actions. This happens because their natural Si (Introverted Sensing) loses its voice, and they find themselves listening to Se (Extraverted Sensing) instead. Instead to sitting down and recalling memories of events to analyse different experiences, they begin paying attention to the physical details. 

The Se rears its head inside a stressed INFP in the most chaotic of ways, because not being used to this function causes INFPs to be sloppy and they fail to notice things with precision, and overlook minor details that matter. This causes them to make reckless decisions without really processing the future implications at all. 

Become highly critical – of self and others. 

A stressed INFP is a mean INFP. They become highly critical of themselves as well as of others. Every little action, every task is monitored heavily, and is more often than not declared incorrect and containing multiple errors.  

Become bossy and unapologetically rude.

The extensive criticism, with itself, brings the rudeness. INFPs rely the least on their inferior Te (Extraverted Thinking) function. However, when stressed, they abandon this function altogether, and opt for the Ti (Introverted Thinking) function. This causes them to become oblivious to how their words and actions may impact other people around them. They become calculated and appear to not care about anybody else. They switch their focus to hard facts, and they become rather harsh about it, because it doesn’t come naturally to them. 

They boss people around in the worst of ways, and people, obviously not expecting such behaviour from the normally caring and considerate INFP, end up getting really offended.

Being excessive.

A stressed INFP becomes excessive in everything they do. They may overwork themselves, and may also turn to overeating. Most INFPs stress eat, and then hate themselves for having done it. However, a lot of them also turn to working out too much, or drinking until they pass out, etc. All in all, excess of everything is harmful. 

Become pedantic. 

It is as it sounds. INFPs, when stressed, react in a way that they often fail to see what is important and become fixated on minor things that can be overlooked. They find themselves obsessing over minor, unimportant details that keep them up at night, and turn them into unbearable perfectionists who aren’t satisfied until those details are fixed.

Become too reliant on the opinions of others.

We all know that INFPs have a core set of values that they base their decisions on. They have these thanks to their dominant Fi (Introverted Feeling) function, which allows them to work things out internally, and have strong morals that they live by. However, when excessively stressed, an INFP can lose this function, and it can be replaced by its shadow version Fe (Extraverted Feeling). 

Fe, however, in an INFP, manifests in a very negative way, because it causes them to lose their sense of self. They begin to base their beliefs on the opinions of other people, and make decisions based on what they are told by authority or a group that they become increasingly dependent on. They become inconsistent and are no longer able to stand firmly for their own values, because they can no longer differentiate what is engraved into their soul naturally, from what has been brainwashed into their minds by an external party.