What does the P in INFP mean? (3 functions)

This blog post aims to answer the question, “What does the P in INFP mean?” and explore the various dimensions of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality type named INFP that will help understand the answer. 

What does the P in INFP mean?

The P in INFP means Perceiving. The following are 3 functions of perceiving manifested by INFPs – 

  • INFPs, as perceivers, like to be spontaneous and flexible rather than planned and structured.
  • INFPs, as perceivers, are flexible and versatile at work and in life. 
  • INFPs, as perceivers, are more concerned with possibilities than with reaching conclusions.

These 3 functions of perceiving manifested by INFPs will be discussed in further detail below after taking a deeper look at what INFP means. 

Who is an INFP?

The INFP personality type was developed by Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers, the authors of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI®). INFP stands for Introversion, iNtuition, Feeling, and Perceiving, which are four key personality qualities based on C.G. Jung’s work.

Each of the four letters of the INFP code represents a significant personality feature of the INFP personality type. 

INFPs are stimulated by alone time (Introverted), focus on ideas and concepts rather than facts and specifics (iNtuitive), base their decisions on feelings and values (Feeling), and like to be spontaneous and flexible rather than planned and structured (Perceiving).

Because of their empathetic idealism and gentle concern for others, the INFP personality type is often known as the “Healer.” The INFP is also known by the following nicknames:

  • The Thoughtful Idealist (MBTI)
  • The Mediator (16Personalities)

An INFP prefers an unstructured and free-spirited lifestyle. INFP is an introverted and ultra-creative Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality type. The INFP is sensitive, creative, and loyal to their values.

INFPs are creative idealists who are guided by their primary ideals and beliefs. A Healer who is preoccupied with possibilities; the actuality of the time is merely a fleeting concern. INFPs see the possibility of a brighter future and seek truth and purpose in their own unique way.

INFPs are sensitive, loving, and compassionate people who are highly concerned with their own and others’ personal progress. INFPs are individualistic and nonjudgmental, believing that each person must forge their own path. 

INFPs like spending time investigating their own ideas and ideals, and they gently encourage others to do the same. INFPs are creative and frequently artistic; they like discovering new ways to express themselves.   

INFP Personality Type Characteristics Are –

  • INFPs are introverts who are quiet and reserved. INFPs find that being in social situations depletes their energy, thus they prefer to connect with a small number of close pals. While they like being alone, this should not be mistaken for timidity. Rather, it simply implies that INFPs get energy from alone time. INFPs must, on the other hand, devote energy to social circumstances.
  • INFPs rely on intuition and are more concerned with the overall picture than the finer points of a situation. INFPs can be quite thorough about things that are important to them or tasks they are working on, yet they tend to overlook little or insignificant details.
  • INFPs value personal sentiments above everything else and their actions are affected more by these concerns than by objective data.
  • INFPs prefer to keep their choices open when it comes to making decisions. INFPs frequently put off making key judgments in case the circumstance changes. The majority of judgments are made based on personal ideals rather than reasoning.

What are these 3 functions of perceiving manifested by INFPs?

INFPs, as perceivers, like to be spontaneous and flexible rather than planned and structured.

The P in INFP stands for Perceiving which means that INFPs like to be spontaneous and flexible rather than planned and structured.

Perceivers demand flexibility in their life and in how they handle their time. They prefer to be open to new event chances and appreciate making decisions on the fly, and they might occasionally enjoy working on things at the last minute or on their own timetable.

Perceiving personalities approach life in a freewheeling, spontaneous manner, preferring to keep their choices open rather than making a firm plan of action. Structure is perceived as confining, and they desire flexibility in their life.

They like adjusting to new conditions and are dissatisfied with the everyday grind of routines. People who have this desire gain control by making decisions only when they are really essential.

They regard deadlines as pliable and frequently postpone making decisions until the last possible minute in order to spend as much time as possible researching fresh choices.

They would rather begin a new project than end an existing one since making a decision leads them to commit to something that may turn out to be the inferior option.

INFPs, as perceivers, are flexible and versatile at work and in life. 

They live for the now and work afterwards, and they are always searching the horizon for new possibilities and chances. They might appear untrustworthy and erratic, but it’s all driven by a desire to keep their choices open.

Externalized perceiving functions will make the P personality types appear more relaxed and adaptable.

Because their most prominent decision-making process (of thinking or emotion) is internalised, they will display the world primarily how they see things; and, while impacted by their internal judgement process, their decision-making process will be less evident.

As a result, perceivers frequently appear more open-minded and laid-back. They appear to be more spontaneous and adaptive. They will discuss what they notice rather than what they have determined.

INFPs, as perceivers, are more concerned with possibilities than with reaching conclusions.

They are more concerned with investigating chances and possibilities than with reaching conclusions. Deadlines, planning, and predictability tend to worry Perceivers rather than soothe them.

Perceivers can be highly planned or decisive because this preference just characterises what they display to the outside world. What appears to be a spur-of-the-moment choice might have been months in the making.

Conclusion – 

This blog post aimed to answer the question, “What does the P in INFP mean?” and reviewed the features and functions of the introverted and extremely inventive Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality type named INFP to help determine what the P in INFP means. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or comments you may have.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): What does the P in INFP mean?

What is judging vs perceiving?

People who favour Judging desire things to be tidy, ordered, and established. The Perceiving preference prefers flexibility and spontaneity. Judges like things to be resolved, but Perceivers prefer things to be left open-ended.

What does F mean in INFP?

The ‘F’ in INFP means ‘Feeling’. Intuitive (N) and Thinking (T) personality types, known for their rationality, impartiality, and intellectual excellence. Intuitive (N) and Feeling (F) personality types, known for their empathy, diplomatic skills, and passionate idealism.

What does the P in Myers-Briggs mean?

Perceiving – the letter P stands for Perceiving, and people with this preference are the ones who want flexibility in their lives and in how their time is managed.

What does the J mean in INFJ?

The J stands for Judging. It does not mean being judgmental. It means that an INFJ makes fairly quick decisions about people. They rely on their natural instincts in conjunction with their experiences to decide if they want to be near someone or disappear from their presence. It is actually a very practical personality trait.

What is a perceiving personality?

Ps, or perceiving personality types, feel at ease. They deal with difficulties by having an open schedule that allows them to work at their own speed and change assignments as needed. People with a perceiving preference are adaptive and nonjudgmental at work.

How do you know if you’re a judger or perceiver?

Judgers prefer to have everything determined for them, to have a strategy, and to have their surroundings neat. Perceivers want to keep their choices open, to be adaptive or spontaneous, and they are typically quite fine with a little clutter.

References –

INFP, The Healer. Truity. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.truity.com/personality-type/INFP#:~:text=INFP%20is%20one%20of%20the,work%20of%20psychologist%20C.G.%20Jung.

Cherry, K. INFP: The Mediator (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving). (2021,  July 23). Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/infp-a-profile-of-the-idealist-personality-type-2795987

Mediator Personality INFP-A / INFP-T (WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?). 16 Personalities. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.16personalities.com/infp-personality

Storm, S. Understanding What the J/P Preference REALLY Means. Psychology Junkie. (2015, September 13). Retrieved from https://www.psychologyjunkie.com/2015/09/13/myers-briggs-mistakes-understanding-what-the-jp-preference-really-means/

Judging or Perceiving. The Myers & Briggs Foundation. (n.d.).  Retrieved from https://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/judging-or-perceiving.htm

Granneman, J. 12 Secrets of the INFP Personality Type. Introvert, Dear. (2018, January 14). Retrieved from https://introvertdear.com/news/10-type-secrets-of-the-infp/

Roscoe. MBTI Personality Types J and P. (2019, November 14).  Retrieved from https://www.personalitypathways.com/personality-type/mbti-personality-types-j-and-p/

Melissa. What do the letters in the Myers-Briggs test stand for? (2017, July 11).  Retrieved from https://www.mbtionline.com/en-US/Articles/2017/July/What-do-the-letters-in-the-Myers-Briggs-test-stand-for

INFP, the thoughtful idealist. (n.d.).  Retrieved from https://www.mbtionline.com/en-US/MBTI-Types/INFP

INFP. Urban Dictionary. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=INFP