INFP Personality Type Traits and Characteristics: The Idealist

The INFP personality type is often described as an “idealist” personality. People with this kind of personality are mediators. They tend to be introverted, open-minded, creative, and driven by strong values.

INFP (introversion, intuition, feeling, perception) is a four-letter abbreviation for one of the 16 personality types identified by the Jung Personality Test

INFP Characteristics

The test works by indicating your personality preferences and tendencies in the following areas: 1) Extraversion vs Introversion, 2) Sensing vs Intuition, 3) Thinking vs Feeling and 4) Judging vs Perceiving. As you might have already guessed, the four-letter code for this personality type stands for Introversion, iNtuition, Feeling and Perceiving.

  • Introversion (I): How do you relate to the world and focus your energy?
  • Intuition (N): How do you perceive information?
  • Feeling (F): How do you make decisions?
  • Perceiving (P): How do you orient yourself to the outside world?

Some of the main characteristics of the INFP personality include:

  • Loyal and devoted
  • Sensitive to feelings
  • Warm, caring, and interested in other people

Other INFP traits:

  • Strong written communication skills
  • Prefers to work alone
  • Values close relationships
  • Focuses on the “big picture” rather than the details

INFPs tend to be introverted, quiet, and reserved. Social situations tend to drain their energy, and they prefer interacting with a select group of close friends. While they like to be alone, this should not necessarily be confused with shyness. Instead, it simply means that INFPs gain energy from spending time alone. On the other hand, they have to expend energy in social situations. This is why INFPS are considered one of the sensitive types.

INFPS typically rely on intuition and are more focused on the big picture rather than the nitty-gritty details. They can be quite meticulous about things they really care about or projects they are working on but tend to ignore mundane or boring details.

INFPs emphasize personal feelings and their decisions are more influenced by these concerns rather than by objective information. They also dislike conflict and try to avoid it, especially with their partners. When conflicts or arguments do arise, they usually focus more on how the conflict makes them feel rather than the actual details of the argument. During arguments, they might seem overly emotional or even irrational. However, they can also be good mediators by helping the people involved in a conflict identify and express their feelings.

When it comes to making decisions, INFPs like to keep their options open. They often delay making important decisions just in case something about the situation changes. When decisions are made, they are usually based on personal values rather than logic.

Because they are so reserved and private, it can be difficult for other people to get to know INFPs. They tend to be quite devoted to their circle of close friends and family and place a high importance on the feelings and emotions of their loved ones. Much of their energy is focused inward and characterized by intense feelings and strong values. They tend to be very loyal to the people they love and to beliefs and causes that are important to them.

INFPs tend to be very creative, artistic, and spiritual. They are often skilled with language but may prefer to express their thoughts and feelings through writing. Because they have strong ethics and values, they also become passionate about advocating or defending their beliefs. While they feel strongly about their own values, INFPs are also interested in learning more about others and are willing to listen and consider many sides of an issue. They love meaningful connections and usually, nature.

INFPs also have strong interests in making the world a better place. In addition to wanting to gain a greater understanding of themselves and how they fit into the world, they are also interested in how they can best help others. People with this personality type spend a lot of time exploring their own purpose in life and thinking about how they can use their skills and talents to best serve humanity. They have a natural inclination toward helping professions.

INFP Functions

The four primary functions of an INFP are Introverted Feeling, Extroverted Intuition, Introverted Sensing, and Extroverted Thinking. This functional stack determines all of the typically visible traits of INFPs. Knowing them can be a great benefit to INFPs as well as those around them.

Their dominant function, Introverted Feeling, determines the most notable characteristic of INFPs: that they experience things mainly within themselves. The auxiliary function, Extroverted Intuition, makes them look to the external world to form their sense of self. These two are responsible for the most prominent traits of INFP.

Less dominant is the INFP’s auxiliary function, Introverted Sensing, which gives INFPs their sentimental flavor and feeling for the past. Finally, the inferior function is Extroverted Thinking, which, though not operating at all on a conscious level, can cause INFPs to prefer objective analysis in some situations. This can cause them to end up unexpectedly in scientific or mathematical careers.

INFP Compatibility

INFPs generally do well with personality types that share their emotional understanding of the world. The best match for an INFP is an ENFJ because they share many values, while an ENFJ has complementary traits capable of reaching out to an INFP and overcoming their reluctance toward connection. Although the ENFJ is the perfect partner for the INFP, other compatible types include the INFJ and the ESFJ. The joint feeling function pairs these sensitive types and allows these matches to have meaningful connections.

The worst pairing for an INFP is with an ESTP. Despite some apparent similarities, they are not likely to get along in a long-term relationship. ESTPs focus too much on action and sociability for an INFP’s taste.

INFPs’ tendency toward idealization is particularly relevant in relationships. It can have both positive and negative results. It sometimes causes INFPs to work very hard to make a relationship fit their standards, but it may also make them view their situation as ideal in a way that forces them to deny reality.

INFP Women

In women with the INFP personality type, the characteristic INFP traits of empathy and compassion are accentuated. INFP women are also principled and creative.

These women do well in careers that allow them to exercise their compassion and pursue their vision for the world in a minimally stressful environment. They thrive as artists, teachers, and stay-at-home mothers.

While they have strong values, their empathy allows them to understand other people’s perspectives, making talking with an INFP woman seem natural and freeing.

Famous People with INFP Personalities

Based on their lives, behaviors, and works, Keirsey has suggested that the following famous people fit the characteristics of an INFP:

  • Aldous Huxley, author
  • Audrey Hepburn, actress
  • Helen Keller, activist and author
  • J. R. R. Tolkien, author

Other famous INFPs:

  • Laura Ingalls Wilder, author
  • Princess Diana, Princess of Wales
  • Peter Jackson, filmmaker
  • William Shakespeare, playwright

Some famous fictional characters with INFP personalities include:

  • Calvin, Calvin and Hobbes
  • Anne, Anne of Green Gables
  • Fox Mulder, The X-Files
  • Wesley Crusher, Star Trek: The Next Generation

Best Career Choices for INFPs

Famous INFPs and regular people alike typically do well in careers where they can express INFP traits like creativity and vision. They have a natural inclination toward artsy things, so the humanities is usually a great field. While they work well with others, they generally prefer to work alone. Some possible career path options that might be a good match for an INFP include:

  • Artist
  • Counselor
  • Graphic Designer
  • Photographer
  • Librarian
  • Psychologist
  • Physical Therapist
  • Social Worker

INFPs also do well in a career path that deals with communication, such as interpreting, copywriting, or UX designing.


INFP vs INFJ: How these Two Personality Types Differ


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