Understanding an INFP 

It is not surprising that you are here to try and understand what INFPs are all about. They are a strange force, shrouded in mystery, and, dare I say, the most complex out of all the sixteen types of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. 

INFPs are often perceived as mysterious, because at first glance, they don’t seem like much. Honestly, most people wouldn’t even think to look their way more than once, because they seem to be quiet, not very aware of their surroundings, and may often come off as boring upon interaction. 

However, what most people get to witness, is barely even the surface of what an INFP is and can be. These introverts are the perfect embodiment of the image of an iceberg, that seems to be it above the surface of the water, and the real depth of it is heavily veiled and concealed from those with a view from a boat. It is only when the boat sinks and the people find themselves being submerged, that they realize just how much of the iceberg’s existence they were actually unaware of, and missing out on. 

And mind you, not a lot of people get to drown in order to be flooded by the reality of the true depth of an INFP. Whether you think this drowning is a good thing or bad depends on your own perception, though. Because, the truth is, getting to know the real INFP can be exceptionally intense, and something that some individuals might even want to opt out of. But that, to the right people, is just the perfect thing that they needed out of life.

In order to truly understand, or at least try to understand, an INFP, let us first take an in-depth look at the abbreviation that is used for their type. 

Disclaimer: There is going to be a lot of talk about depth, a whole lot of deep diving into the very essence of what an INFP is, so buckle up. 

The “I”. 

Starting with the most obvious one, INFPs are introverts. And as introverts, they like to mostly be on their own, and spend time doing activities that they enjoy. They have a very small circle of friends that they share their lives with and trust. INFPs are often perceived as shy, but they’re simply just not comfortable in social settings that involve a lot of people they either don’t know at all, or are well-acquainted with, but aren’t close to. 

Being socially active exhausts them mentally, takes it a while for an INFP to recover from. Their introversion makes them seem boring, not lively enough, and sometimes even prompts questions like, “are you dead inside?” They’re not. They just don’t want to share their life with you, Sandra. 

Let’s talk about the iNtuition. 

So, yeah, the “N” in INFP stands for iNtuition. And it is best to not allow yourself to get confused by the letter N, because using “I” for intuition would have caused things to get complicated, what with it having to be constantly explained if the “I” being discussed stands for Introverted or Intuition. Get it?

Anyway, this letter of the abbreviation is related to how an individual perceive or take in information; is it intuitively, or concretely? The opposite of an “N” is an “S”, which stands for “Sensing”. If a person is intuitive, as INFPs are, it means that they perceive and process their information using their gut and hunches. Intuitive people tend to provide an insight into the prospect and likelihood of things happening. They use their inner voices to navigate the world around them. 

If you know someone who has an “N” in their type, it may not come as a surprise to you that their concepts are more abstract and future oriented, and that they heavily rely on what their gut tells them. They are also more likely to have a very active imagination. And if it’s an INFP you’re trying to understand, this is something you really need to know. INFPs have a hard time focusing on the information that is presented in front of them, because if their intuition tells them otherwise, there’s no way they’re ignoring it (I have seen what happens when an intuitive person ignores their inner voice, and it ain’t pretty).

If we are talking about their characteristics along with what the letters in their abbreviation stand for and the meaning behind them, it is only fair to also include cognitive functions related to those characteristics. 

The function relevant and important to mention here is a secondary one, and it is “extraverted intuition”. This facilitates INFPs to have their vivid, endless worlds of imagination that only add to their depth. They can entertain countless ‘what if’ scenarios, which can help them analyse each and every aspect of a situation before they can settle on a course of action. 

It is because of this function that INFPs are likely to lose themselves in their imaginary world. Their inner world is way more exciting and richer than their outside lives, and they do often have a hard time remaining present in the real world, especially in public gatherings.

“F” is for feeling. 

The third letter in MBTI results indicates whether an individual values their emotionality more or their rationality. In situations when a decision needs to be make, “T” types or “thinking” ones focus more on objective information. They are more concerned with logic and reason, and base their decisions on the more objective and realistic option.

Feelers, or the feeling type are the complete opposite of that. These people, and especially types where the F is preceded by an N or iNtuition, tend to follow their emotions and base their decisions on what feels right in their heart. They often don’t even realize it, and it may become apparent in different ways and to different degrees, but they usually give off a vibe of utter warmth. 

Feeling types are extremely compassionate. INFPs are empaths, who can sense when someone needs help and support. Their care comes from a place of warmth, and they tend to be highly protective of the small group of people they consider their people. 

To further extend on this, INFPs have the dominant cognitive function of Introverted Feeling, which essentially means that even though they experience feelings of a great depth, they process these emotions on the inside. They are highly empathetic and care for people in general. However, they don’t always find it easy to express these emotions outwardly. They often appear to be closed off and uninterested due to this very reason. And funnily enough, their “mysterious” vibe is a result of this function too. So, now you know, they’re not trying to be cool, these people just tend to feel everything on the inside.

Another important thing to know about INFPs is that they are extremely creative, and often find solace in the arms of art of different forms. So, if you wish to gain a deeper understanding into who an INFP is as a person, you may want to pay closer attention to the art they create. Be it through painting, dancing, writing, or creating music, INFPs reveal a part of their soul through their creations. 

Perceiving or prospecting. 

Lastly, perceiving or prospecting type of people are compared against “J” or judging type of people. Judging type people are very about their goals. They plan things down to the very last detail, and have a fit when anything doesn’t go according to said plan. 

Perceiving people are more go-with-the-flow, make-things-up-as-we-move-forward kind of people. They’re easy-going, and actually prefer not to plan things down to a T. 

INFPs dislike structure in their lives. Overly organized and structured plans and lots of deadlines spook them.

They struggle with extraverted thinking, as they have this function as an inferior in their personality. Extraverted thinking includes being objective and logical, and understanding the world in an organized way. 

So, while INFPs are ruled by their emotions as well as intuition, objective thinking doesn’t come naturally to them. This causes INFPs to often become unproductive and causes inefficiency and procrastination in them. 

INFPs may be introverted and more than happy being left on their own, but they are all about other people. They have their set of values that they live by, and they do everything in their power to make other people’s lives easier, because of their compassion. They hold themselves accountable, and are quick to criticize their own actions. 

If an INFP opens up to you, it means that they trust you, and if they trust you, it is a big deal, because they struggle with outwardly expressing their emotions to just anybody. 

If you wish to get a deeper understanding into what INFPs are all about, it would be ideal for you to try and get close to an actual INFP and experience things first-hand. 

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