"My heart is at once haughty and tender and my character effeminate, yet invincible."

INFPs at a Glance

  • Idealistic, mild-mannered, and curious.
  • Eccentric, free-spirited, and unconventional.
  • Imaginative dreamers, who pursue meaning and harmony on the basis of their own frames of reference.
  • Open-minded listeners who seek to understand others without judging them.
  • Are passionate about their own values and ideals, to the point of finding them impossible to reconcile with the world as it exists.

INFPs as They Typically Are

When reading type descriptions, remember that "type portraits" can never accurately describe all people of a given type. Descriptions and portraits like these can only describe the types as they typically are.

INFPs are idealistic and free-spirited individuals who stalwartly follow their own hearts in spite of what "society" expects of them. Soft-spoken, they tend to naturally orient themselves towards their own inner world of sensitivities and dearly-held beliefs. They often have a rich inner world of sympathies, feelings, poetic images, and values - perhaps the most evocative inner life of all the types.

INFPs tend to be interested in observing the world and its people; to notice what is unique about others and to place what they have observed in relation to their own value system. This disposition can in turn lead some INFPs to become political or social activists, where they faithfully attempt to apply their high-minded ideals to the world, becoming very interested in helping people and causes to overcome their problems and in seeking change for the better. Often their deeds and actions serve as an example or inspiration for others who might also harbor such ideals, but who had hitherto not dared to believe in them, or known how they could give a voice to them in life.

Whether they are activists or not, INFPs are often deeply touched by suffering, and many will gladly rush to the aid of the downtrodden. On the interpersonal level, INFPs are often unreservedly accepting and tolerant and they tend to be good listeners to boot. When they have decided to truly engage with someone, INFPs will often listen extremely carefully to people’s concerns and perspectives in order to really get to know them in all their individuality.

Like ESFJ types, INFPs tend to dislike seeing others trapped in social awkwardness. However, where the ESFJ is more likely to try and meet the awkwardness head-on, addressing the concerns of others directly and meeting them with warmth, INFPs are more inclined to defuse the situation by becoming bubbly and innocently teasing. They try to bring some life, emotion, and light-heartedness into the conversation, instead of believing that everyone can eventually be made to agree on everything.

Many INFPs revel in spontaneity and wonder and are naturally inclined to see the events of the world as an adventure (if at times a dark one at that). They can often appear to retain a childlike innocence where, even in adulthood, they look at the world with a vividness and sense of wonder that is usually lost to others as they grow up. But however childlike they may seem, INFPs should not be mistaken for simpletons or immature individuals: In truth, they're often deeply reflective and sensitive personalities, and many find themselves adopting this childlike and wonder-prone pose as a way to shield their inner sensitivity from the coarseness and evil of the outer world.

Despite their Feeling-oriented nature, expressing extreme emotion can often feel uncomfortable to INFPs. They tend to be very private people and may often feel a vivid distinction between their public and private lives. That is, INFPs are usually prone to distinguish sharply between friends and mere acquaintances, as if they have a deeper layer of their personality which is only hinted at with acquaintances and which only truly comes out to play when they are surrounded by their friends.

INFPs tend to be good conversationalists. Their chief quality in this respect is often their ability to really be present with others in a non-judgmental manner, where the INFP appears completely open to what the other party is trying to say. Not necessarily by adopting an analytical focus on what the other person is feeling or going through, but by noticing what is unique about the other person’s perspective and then augmenting and appreciating that. INFPs tend to be very good at appreciating how others relate to themselves and the world through stories and events, and for this reason, many INFPs may find themselves providing a form of low-key narrative therapy to their friends and loved ones without even meaning to. In this way, INFPs often end up conveying a crucial yet subtle sense of inspiration to those around them, where they are able to create a sense of purpose and bring a sense of individuality and expression to whatever they are involved with.

Famous INFPs - Our list of famous and illustrious INFPs