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PersonalityHacker.com_INFP_personality_type_adviceIn this episode Joel and Antonia dive deep into the needs and desires of the INFP personality type.

In this podcast on INFP Personality Type you’ll find:

  • Why are INFPs misunderstood?
  • The cognitive function is a mental process that helps you learn information or make decisions.
  • The 4 letter code tells you how your brain is wired. It’s like an entrance on how you learn processes.
  • Authenticity – Is a way that you (as an INFP) make your decisions which is more inclined what resonates with you the most as a person.
  • INFPs understand emotions on a whole different level.
  • Questions to ethics become very intriguing to INFPs. For example: “what determines an ethical or moral action?”
  • Authenticity is very in touch with the subjective human experience.
  • Authenticity is where we humans find conscience. Because that’s when we ask, “how do we honor people’s individuality?”
  • Oftentimes, INFPs become masters of human experience in general.
  • The ability to determine that something resonates is a maturity of the Authenticity process. As it matures, it understands that not everything they experience is the same as everyone.
  • Do INFPs truly want to be understood?
  • Nobody could be 100% understand them apart from themselves.
  • INFPs feel being marginalized and dismissed way more than being misunderstood.
  • INFPs seek validation.
  • We want to acknowledge that they have a specific type of pain based from their personality type.
  • Authenticity type should be balanced with Exploration. Exploration (the co-pilot function) is about advanced pattern recognition in the outside world – thinking behind the curtain.
  • If you want more description or definition, check out our episode “Introverted Intuition VS Extraverted Intuition”.
  • Your superpowers are developed when you learn to master your co-pilot.
  • Art is one of the places where INFPs thrive.
  • Art is a communication of feeling and INFPs simply flourish in this context. They create art that’s impactful.
  • For INFPs, they tend to recall how they felt/reacted in the past.
  • They have the ability to mirror emotions. They don’t need to mirror emotions in real time. For example, the can look at an art piece and mirror the emotion to themselves.
  • Authenticity people tend to recall how they feel/how they imagined they would feel and then instantly replicating the emotion inside them.
  • The emotional language can be transferred in long extensive periods of time.
  • In order to be authentic, you need to have a mature and vast understanding of how the world works.
  • Intent: The Darker aspect of Authenticity. INFPs tend to try to give a reason that’s combated with logic.
  • INFPs tend to defend their intent, because they see a wide array of positive and negative intent. They understand how people can easily go and slip into bad intent.
  • Healthy INFPs view everything has positive intent.
  • Being able to understand that darkness is universal and part of the human experience will help you accept yourself.
  • How to go about making a living as an INFP?
  • Getting something done can sometimes be very challenging for INFPs.
  • INFPs have the desire to make an impact and be an inspirational leader. Oftentimes, they will disregard the passion they have. Passion is extremely important.
  • Authenticity people can have the tendency to marginalize people. Make sure you do what you’re passionate with. Check in with yourself what you really want.

 

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Showing 125 comments
  • dana
    Reply

    omg. listening to this and, antonia, the comment you made about not knowing until afterward if it was the right decision gave me chills. i am still trying to determine if i am infp or infj. so, when you discuss this near the end of the podcast it immediately brought to mind one of my favorite quotes:
    “Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which, once you have it, you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known.” Garrison Keillor
    i am not sure if this is exactly what you are describing but it certainly resonated with me.
    when i am finished listening to this podcast I am going to listen to the infj talk. thank you!

    • Joel Mark Witt
      Reply

      Thanks Dana for the comments and feedback. We LOVE hearing from you about how this stuff is resonating.

      I’m eager to hear your take on the INFJ podcast…

      • dana
        Reply

        reading Micah Brown’s comment and your response, Joel, that is something people close to me have been telling me all my life (I am 53) – follow your heart OR follow your gut. I don’t do that enough. And then again with the final comment on the INFP podcast about following your passion. I totally agree that if I were to do that, everything else would fall into place.

        I have always known that as a parent I am INFP and often feel like a “bad” parent because of my seeming inability to provide rules and boundaries.

        Regarding the INFJ podcast, I realized that (at least acc to the 2 podcasts, INFP and INFJ, i am NOT an INFJ but you described one of my best friends SO WELL. And i now get that difference! The INFJ reminds me of a very sad character in the book, The Secret Life Of Bees: May who is oversensitive to pain, and when she gets upset she must write down the sorrowful thing on a paper and stick it in a crack at her “wailing wall,” a wall of stones on the farm.

    • INFP GIRL
      Reply

      A few comments from my own experience as an INFP:

      1. We don’t feel misunderstood, we feel as though people can’t SEE THROUGH US at all. I’ll explain why I think this happens. In every personality type, there is always a gap between how a person is perceived and how a person experiences himself. This is true for ALL people. However, I believe that in the INFP that GAP between the outer persona – gentle, nervous, mellow, “weak”, quiet etc. – and the inner experience – intense, idealistic, deep, powerful, brave, wacky etc. – is the BIGGEST. People’s first imperssion of me is the former – sweet, delicate, shy girl. People who know me well (very few), would describe me much more as the former – idealistic, strong minded, gutsy etc. The theme of “reluctant hero” definitely plays in my life.
      By the way, the main place where that inner part of me peaks out into the world in the cause that I am currently very devotedly and super passionately involved in.

      A good way to “prove” this point can be the enneagram. INFP’s are typically highest on 4 and 9.
      9 is the goody-two-shoes – sweet, delicate, mellow, people-pleaser etc. This is the “mediator”, “healer” INFP archetypes come from, and this is what people see – the outer persona.
      However, most INFP’s who rank high on the 9, also rank high on the 4: the most intense enneagram. Passion, depth, inner flame, burning inside, exploring the darkness, asking the scariest questions, transcendence, agony, ecstasy, from the highest of highs to lowest in lows in two minutes flat and back.
      This is the idealistic, cause-driven, fix the world, starving artist, revolutionary, Joan of arc archetypes come from. And this is usually the internal world of the INFP.
      People see the 9 and we experience the 4. The thing is, the paradoxical 9 and 4 are in this case the same person.

      2. The pain. Here too, is a human experience that is shared by ALL people, but I believe is experienced by INFP’s in its strongest form. This human experience is what I would call “soul-sickness” – that yearning of the soul to transcend the boundaries of this world and reunite with its source where all is perfect. INFP experience a dissatisfaction that is almost chronic, although we do everything we can to make it stop. INFP’s are prone to depression and anxiety because both of these are the result of the GAP between the real and the ideal. And we experience that gap with unsettling intensity and find it the hardest to accept and therefore cope with. We often experience a nagging “soul-sickness” for a higher purpose and we are therefore also the “masters” of emotional pain.

      • Jennifer M.
        Reply

        This is an INTJ/INFJ (Type 1w2) Woman responding to INFP Girl.

        Re: Pain: Human pain and suffering are universal. INFPs do not feel it any more deeply than other types rather, I’d say, they think (or perhaps) ‘feel’ they ‘feel’ more deeply than others. This is part of the romanticism that is INFP (especially INFP Type 4), but primary connected to the function of Fi. In its unhealthy manifestation, it can cause a INFP to act in quite a self absorbed manner as I have witnessed. As an INTJ, I understand the difficulty in reconciling idealism and realism. But I wouldn’t say that the GAP between my idealism and realism is the primary cause of depression and anxiety. Rather, these conditions can often be the result of not being fully present to one’s feelings in a way that respects the integrity of others in the context of a relationship. I realize that INFPs feel deeply, but I feel (based upon personal experience with an unhealthy INFP) if they choose not openly communicate or process these feelings with others, if they feel they cannot trust others, that no one can possibly understand them and instead choose to bottle up their feelings, then it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy in my mind. There is a difference between being in touch with one’s feelings and owning one’s feelings. Owning one’s feelings requires acting like an adult and taking responsibility for one’s actions or lack of actions.

        I am no way trying to disparage INFPs. I think they can be wonderful people. But I also believe that being a mature and healthy adult involves taking responsibility for communicating feelings in a honest and straightforward manner. This can be a major INFP blind spot! When I first was listening to the podcast and heard about how INFPs had written in to say they are more understood than INFJs, INTJs, I couldn’t help but think, “give me a break!” INFPs could learn a few lessons from INTJs about the benefits of direct and honest communication. If you want to be understood, “mean what you say, say what you mean”. If you are attracted to someone, for example, don’t send out mixed messages and be clear about your intentions. (I’m going to stop here before I go into a rant and some INFP will inevitably misinterpret my INTJ words or intentions). I’d only suggest to any INFP here that seriously wants to understand why they feel so misunderstood, I highly recommend you check out the INTJ Personality Forum or other INTJ internet forums. There is often lively debate about INFPs and the mutual attraction/frustration that INFPs/INTJs often feel for each other.

        • Jennifer M.
          Reply

          Just wanted to add, in response to the comment, “we feel as though people can’t SEE THROUGH US at all”, contrary to your belief – many INTJs and INFJs can read an INFP quite well. We’re psychic, you know… Lol. INFPs can sometimes find it quite disconcerting. I will reiterate my earlier point: I think many INFPs like the idea of not being understood, being unique, being mysterious and unfathomable (at least the Type 4s do). But that kind of stance will inevitably cause difficulty with intimacy. Being intimate with another requires being seen (being vulnerable) and also the capacity to see the other in an authentic light. If you believe that people can’t see through you at all, then I think you are operating with a limited belief system. It offers a convenient barrier to intimacy.

          • INFP GIRL

            So we have a dissagreement. I stand behind the notion that INFP’s tend to suffer more. Obviously – not objectively. They can have more wonderful lives than most people. If I take a needle and stick it in the rough part of your lower foot and then take that same that same needle and stick it with the same exact pressure in a delicate area in your body you would feel more pain the second time despite the fact that it was the same needle and pressure. This is what HSP is, and most INFP’s are HSP. We takes things harder. A truama in my extended family happened a few years ago. EVERYONE took it hard. I actually was certain I was handing it well, I wasn’t acting broken and tried to be strong and collected. And then I crashed. When I went to a phycoloigist (for the first time in my life) she brought this to my notice. She asked “why did you take it as hard as you did?” I replied “everyone took it hard”, and her answer was “you are the only one who needed to be here.”

            Human experience in general is universal, BUT different people experience life differently. INFP’s are at core idealists. This makes it notoriouslly difficult to get rid of the emotion of dissatisfaction with life. There is a reason INFP’s are the most suicidal, the most prone to mental illnesses, the most unemployed, unmarried etc. Not everyone is equally idealistic or sensitive, just like not everyone is equally efficient, realistic, needs security, needs honor, needs to be successful etc. Everyone has different core needs and these develop different human experiences. Of course everyone needs and experiences everything, but human experience is also infinitely nuanced for different people.

            And btw even if this pain is self inflicted, it still doesn’t change the fact that it is experienced more. There is an inborn tendecy in INFP’s to self-torment, but it is a something inborn that we strugle with (because of the functions etc.), not something we just do because we enjoy it (contrary to what some nonsense enneagram websites say).

            I am thank God, a relatively healthy INFP. I am currently spending most of my time fighting for a cause I believe is worthy, I have learned to be assertive, confident, public speak, articulate my thoughts, speak about my emotions, socialize etc. But it took a lot of work, and I still struggle with the above.

          • INFP GIRL

            Again, you may be good at reading ppl. That’s fine. I am telling you that in my life experience, no matter how much I have opened up basically revealed everything about my deeper self very articulately word by word (because certain ppl I WANT to see me), there is a still an inability from the other side to really get me.

            Secondly (and more importantly), many people don’t have to work as hard for other people to “see through them”. The very fact that I have to really put effort into letting other people see me I think makes the point clear. We are not NATURALLY seen as who we are. Ever since I was a little girl, I have always experienced how people viewed me in ways that were so different than how I experienced myself. Not because I try to come across as mysterious or the like, but because the way my personality is built (or brain functions) creates a natural dissonance between my outer persona and my inner world experience that tends to be greater gap-wise than many other personality types. (I don’t know why you have the need to insist that all personality types are equally the same when they are clearly not.)

            Bottom line, you might want to consider opening up to at least the POSSIBILITY that people on this planet actually experience the same reality you experience, though entirely different filters and consequently in completely different ways.

        • Joe
          Reply

          This reads more like INFP Girl scratched something within you. Yes, we get it, you’re smarter and more misunderstood than everybody else, and certainly more rational. It’s not terribly surprising that you’d come on an INFP podcast to analyze and put INFPs in their place, rather than offer them support and empathy. It’s hard to validate someone else’s experience, however, when you believe you’re smarter and more insightful than everyone else.

      • Levi
        Reply

        I feel you and resonate with all you said. Thank you for sharing.

    • Naomi Wolfchild
      Reply

      This video hit the nail on the head for me. You were completely right when you said INFPs feel marginalized and like no one takes them seriously. It is so frustrating and disheartening! Glad to know there are some people out there that understand this point 🙂

  • Micah Brown
    Reply

    You guys nailed it on this one. You helped me tangibly understand a lot of the things I feel and experience as an INFP. If there is anything mentioned in the podcast that you are unsure about, know that this INFP resonated with all the points made.
    The validation piece was very helpful because I now know, in words, why some people turn me off and some don’t regardless of personality. There are sensors in my life who recognize that I have a deep, profound aspect of myself that they cannot understand, but they respect it. As a male INFP, it is normal for me to feel alone or different (I sort of like it), but when someone can simply say “you seem to see things differently” or “you’re really good at reading people” it feels good because they acknowledge who I am.
    I also like the discussion about Fi/Authenticity as a decision making process. It’s hard for me to do something unless I feel fully “right” about it. As a 21 year old college student, there is a lot of ambivalence going on in my life right now especially involving career and relationships. For example, I have very rarely felt sure about pursuing a romantic relationship with a girl and I often feel stuck in that area. Anyway, I just want you guys to know that you successfully explained in one of the hardest types to articulate.

    • Joel Mark Witt
      Reply

      Micah,

      Thanks for sharing your experience of listening to the podcast. It is good to hear this resonated with you.

      I am reminded of my first relationship… my “Authenticity” was SCREAMING that it didn’t feel right and I ignored it. Obviously, my heart knew better than my head (…or other body parts) and the relationship didn’t end well.

      It was all because I was out of alignment with the authentic part of me.

      I’ve done a complete 180 in recent years and am following my heart more now than ever.

      I’m an ENFP (“Exploration/Authenticity” in the Genius system) and this is my path of growth.

      As an INFP – I’m guessing you have a lot of skill in listening to your heart. So keep doing that.

      When you meet the girl you are supposed to be with, all the inner parts of your heart should sing. You’ll know at the gut level when a relationship is truly valuable and worth pursuing.

      So happy to have you a part of the Personality Hacker community.

      ~ Joel

  • Candy Bugeye
    Reply

    Only @ 25 mins, but I have a few comments (agreements) as an INFP (a 25 yr old, so ‘mature,’I believe)

    – when younger, YES, I didn’t realize my subjective experience differed from others, and so I would never openly talk about my thoughts/feelings, assuming others understood me but were just being deliberately mean. Obviously, this led to many misunderstandings.
    – no, I don’t think people can ever FULLY understand one another, but that’s not important. What’s important is allowing others to be as they are, and respecting them for it. (cough cough, authenticity)
    – yes, I often felt invalidated, e.g., although I always considered myself to be intelligent I never cared about proving it in school when young, and so people never saw me as intelligent and treated me as if I was just some silly, impulsive, person. I didn’t get over feeling inferior about my intelligence until half-way through university, when I decided to take it seriously, and prove to my family/ friends that I was capable of getting A’s and scholarships etc. (Come from a family of STJs, who I love, but you know… different.)
    – because so few people do see me clearly (not perfectly, but very closely), when I do meet people who have a very similar view of the world (e.g., ENFPs), I DO FIND IT DISCONCERTING. I’ve noticed in an ENFP friend that she feels the same way. Indeed this is because we WANT to be unique; misunderstood, and it’s so rare that someone sees us easily that it makes me feel vulnerable. Also, I tend to be a bit of a social chameleon (less now than when younger, because I have a firmer sense of identity) and other Fi’s can see it, which makes me feel inauthentic.

  • Misha
    Reply

    Try replacing the word “self punishment” with “atonement” in regards to INFP responses….? Impressive work, once again. Keep it up!

  • Martin Newman
    Reply

    Thanks for helping me understand why I have been half-assed in ALL my jobs to date. That really resonated with me. Need to find that passion.

  • Josh Hancock
    Reply

    I apologize if this long post reads like a journal entry…I think I’m just hoping for some validation of how I’m feeling:)

    I recently posted a status on facebook that read, “Any other INFP’s out there who could talk with me about finding contentment in your profession?” A good friend of mine posted this podcast in the comments. I gave it a listen and it was very helpful. I think that finding happiness in my profession has been a torturous journey. My introversion seems to be at war with my desire to make a difference in the world. I would love to follow my passion and pursue my dream of being a self-employed artist, but I am a married 35 year old with three children, so figuring out how to do this requires a bit more nuance than it may for a 20 something without kids.

    I am in my second career now–both of which required various secondary and graduate degrees (the first was clergy…and now the second is art education). In reality, the only places I have found myself in the flow of my passion has been when I have been making art, building/experiencing intensely deep friendships, and digging deep into a creative project of some kind.

    At this point I see three potential visions for contentment in my life:

    1. One would be to continue making art and pursuing this dream while continuing to “pay the bills” with my very draining teaching gig. My problem with this is that even though I have the voice saying that every part of my inner soul is not aligned in this job (i.e. it isn’t my passion), I find it very difficult to just treat it like a normal job (because of my “make a difference” bent) and I continually get down on myself for not being the “best teacher I can be” even though I come home at night with very little emotional energy left for my wife and kids.

    2. I could get a job that isn’t meaningful at all so that I would not be tempted to believe that it was and I could focus on those hobbies that are connected with my passion…ugh another job change.

    3. I could set a goal of doing what I love for a living and know that it might take time and a number of years still teaching… or sacrifices for my family, but just be single minded in my pursuit of this vision.

    I think it is harder for INFP’s to find readily available careers that fit their passions than other personality types. We don’t all make it as film-makers and writers. Any response or advice would be helpful for this silly tortured soul:)

    • Amartya
      Reply

      I really resonate with what you are saying as an artist and INFP.

      Check out the book The Artist’s Way. Commit and start with that. Give yourself the gift of the 12 week “course”. It should bring clarity to what direction to take or open the door for unexpected opportunities.

    • Charlotte Stone
      Reply

      Hi Josh,
      I just posted my response to this podcast,then scrolled up and read your post. It struck me that we have some similar experiences around work and I wanted to respond to you. Have a look at my post if you can (which should also serve to make you feel better about the length and ‘journal style’ of your post!)I don’t have a ‘how to’ answer, but can really relate to what you’ve written, and know that is crucial to do what resonates with you. You need to ‘shine your light’, even just a bit, I’m convinced it will engender a response from others that will show you the path you need to take. There’s nothing worse than us INFP’s when we’re miserable, so while you’re thinking of the impact on your family, maybe you could bare that in mind! we’re too old to be moping around like emos…I too have a family and kids to support through college. I’ve chosen a less stable path but somehow we get through. I agree that there aren’t readily available jobs for us, but through experience, have been amazed at the scope there is to carve your own way, once you get some momentum going. I wish you the very best of luck
      Charlotte

  • Charlotte Stone
    Reply

    Wow! Thank you for this! As an INFP in my late thirties,I have only recently discovered my ‘personality type’ and it explains a lot! I love your take on it, and the depth of your analysis. I totally agree that it’s not about feeling misunderstand. I’m not sure I want to be understood. You’re right in saying that would mean that my ‘inner world’ would feel infiltrated and that would be a very uncomfortable thing for me.I also agree that validation is more important. Because western society is masculine, logic, extrovert biased (to put it crudely) being a female with authenticity in the driving seat is not seen as advantageous, or particularly valid, I think, and I’m guessing that’s what we (both male and female) feel so acutely, and that’s where the need for validation comes from.
    Very interested also in what you have to say about actually getting things done in the real world! What has manifested as procrastination, I think is rooted in a lack of resonance with the task in hand. This,however, as you say,leads to our Achilles heel point of working to put systems and processes in place, etc. and my insight and inner world won’t pay the bills on it’s own will it! However, I have also experienced that when pursuing what does resonate, as you say, the magnetism thing comes into play, and it’s almost as though,if you do show your passion and are unfaltering as you stick to what resonates with you, then the world around you will conspire with you to make things work. Sounds ‘away with the fairies’ I know, but is based on my experience. Early in my career, I remember leaving a job in education, that was logically my best bet, because I couldn’t reconcile my own values with what I saw as the restrictions it placed on me as a worker, and therefore those I was working with. I wrote words to that effect in my resignation letter. I was surprised at the reaction of my manager at the time, who didn’t seem to understand my reasoning! As you describe in your podcast, I had assumed that my subjective experience was the same as everyone else s, It’s just that none of us expressed it often! Anyway, this transpired not to be the case and I moved on to less secure work that felt more aligned with my values. This lead to a string of opportunities and experiences that eventually put me in a ‘driving seat’ position in a workplace where i could create a project that resonated with my values and what I perceive to be the needs of those we work with. It works. And whilst similar organisations have changed and compromised what they do in order to stay financially stable. I won’t compromise the value base and integrity of what we do. We’re known for it, and people contact us to ask us how we do it. I do, however, understand what you say about ‘dying on the treadmill’, I think it might happen to me!
    Other points you make that resonate with me are about valuing other workers,checking in with them etc. My default position is to avoid ‘unnecessary’ interactions with others. This is not helpful! So i need to keep a check on this, and am thankfully supported by my ENFP colleague who can always find a way to relate to me and remind me that this is important! I have also found this to be true in other relationships in my life, where, as you describe, I have been accused of being ‘cold’ or ‘heartless’ at times. I can see how I come across this way, it’s interesting that there seems to be (for me) a direct correlation between how much I actually care and how detached or ‘cold’ I can come across to others! By this I mean that the more emotionally affected I am by a situation or another person, the more detached I can appear to them. I’m working on this, and have found that if i can convey a succinct summary of what I’m feeling, this usually helps the other person feel connected with me and like they’ve been understood/heard rather than inexplicably cut off or invalidated.
    Finally, I’m really glad that you also talk about the ‘dark side’ of our personality type. It grates on me to be perceived as some kind of laid back, peace loving hippy type, with not a dark thought ever crossing my mind…it’s just not true, and I guess it grates because I feel that within that is an assumption of weakness, lack of identity or gumption to speak out(there’s the feelings or marginalization to talk about!). No, it’s just that this does not seem necessary a lot of the time. When something hits the nerve of my core value system however, it’s a different story! This is why, I guess, when I first took the personality test I wasn’t happy with the result. I re-took several times, trying to get a ‘better’ result because the strength of my convictions and ‘power’ of what I felt was in me didn’t sit comfortably with this picture of a skipping hippy, or description of this almost martyr like personality i saw in front of me! I’m not sure ‘dreamer’ quite hits the nail on the head. I can see where this comes from, but personally find your descriptions much more useful.
    So, thank you again for your insight, and (more)’food for thought’, I found it really helpful.

  • sarah
    Reply

    thank you so much for making this podcast!

    i think it’s so true that we as INFPs need to feel validated… i had such a miserable time in college because my ‘friends’ would constantly call me ‘weird’ and ‘crazy’ even when i told them how much it hurt me. my fantasy is being fully accepted… that i can do/say any strange thing and will be loved and accepted the same amount.

    like you guys said, i do think that the ‘misunderstood’ feelings come from others misunderstanding our true intentions because we’re so inward + don’t always show exactly how we are on the outside.

  • Alanna
    Reply

    Thank you, thank you for making an INFP podcast! 🙂

    Being an INFP myself, most of the points you made certainly resonated with me. The part where you explained being “misunderstood” versus the desire for “validation” was new to me and actually makes a lot of sense. There was also a point made in the discussion about careers near the end that is something I have been struggling with for nearly two years now. It was something along the lines of not being able to be fully emotionally invested in my work because my perspective towards what I’m doing (which does include lots of data entry, at least in the wintertime) is not aligned with what I feel or perceive to be “right”. Clearly, I am experiencing this right at this moment too because I am responding to your podcast instead of doing my data entry!! Oh, and the part about not feeling aligned with my decision until after making it. Nailed it. I have definitely experienced this. In fact some of the greatest decisions I have made I only realized how good they felt after the whole process had gone through. Even though I have experienced this phenomena, I still find it difficult to reconcile diving into similar decisions without feeling aligned beforehand (take the fact that I still don’t feel comfortable in my place at my current job and dream of diving into a new one, only I don’t feel like the systems are in place for me to make that next step).

    I could, and may write more later, but I should probably get back to my data entry during work hours…

  • mark
    Reply

    This podcast was very very accurate for myself, i have recently (within the last year) realised my personality type and verified that my head wasn’t a complete mess! So i’m happy to hear this and see other INFPs agreeing with what they feel. Very accurate podcast and i appreciate the effort you guys put in to truly try and decipher the personality type.

    In regards to careers not feeling meaningful or 100% resonating with me is currently my biggest problem in life, causing me many problems but at the same time i do feel like many doors can be opened through the process of addressing the feeling.

    I was the typical emo kid in highschool too, so you nailed that part (cringe). Also i have had 1 major relationship when i was 21 (now 24) and she was very emotionally abusive to me which really set me on the wrong track for a few years (thus postponing my realisation of what type of person i REALLY am), next problem is to be willing and sure enough about the right person, sooo hard to do this. So once again just wanted to say thanks for trying to understand the way of thinking and feeling.

    Also cannot agree more about not having hard proof of why a decision is bad but we feel we just know it. I work in a pretty intense environment and i have looked like a fool so many times it makes me winch/rage when i think about it. As you were saying the western world are all about hard evidence and “get sh*t done” kind of work styles, this rots me to my core, i feel i do not belong anywhere.

    Any questions about INFPs just mail me, I do not have a lot of spare time tonight.

  • Jane
    Reply

    You all hit the nail on the head. Being able to articulate your derivations as an INFP is extremely frustrating. I have spent my life around a significant number of xNTPs, who always seem to demand clarification and justification of my thoughts. I believe it has trained me to organize my thoughts more appropriately.

    My family are all “thinkers”. For that reason, I value cold, hard logic because I have been conditioned to do so. However, this is not my personal nature. I feel torn between two worlds sometimes, because I have to present my feelings as logic when they aren’t truly logical. That forced process mixes up the message and makes me appear to lack credibility. That’s my personal take on being “misunderstood”.

  • sarah
    Reply

    shared this particular podcast on reddit 🙂

    so i was also wondering about INFPs and partnerships, romantic and otherwise. at the end of the podcast i think antonia mentioned that INFP visionary types often have an ISTJ and ISFJ helping them out with the details; can you elaborate on this? what kind of partnership trends have you noticed, romantic and otherwise?

  • Danielle
    Reply

    I think you two really touched on a LOT of important aspects of our personalities. I do want to ask some questions, though. With the talk about finding the right career and when that happens, having an unquestionable outpouring of love and commitment- this is not quite right for me. I’ll tell you why because it’s not quite wrong either. I grew up in love with acting- in love with it. It pretty much saved me from the stressful environment of my family and gave me a constant source of inspiration. I loved that there was so much exploration of the psyche and emotions, I loved the variety, I loved the storytelling. I moved to Los Angeles when I was 18. Nothing could have prepared me for the shock of growing up- and I saw some dark stuff at home. I realized slowly that I never felt at home at the theater school I went to, I was often depressed and fatigued…I also slowly realized that I had a very unhealthy relationship with my mother ( I am 31 now and it took me that long to really trust the voice in me that had been warning-then doubting-then warning me that my mom is manipulative and narcissistic)….It took me a while to admit to myself that I just didn’t have the energy to pursue such a life and I moved back home after a friend’s death and went to college. I chose a degree (Sociology) that interested me but didn’t end up being my passion. I also chose studio art classes as my minor. I still love art, it is my greatest escape. I can lose myself to the process and even when I feel as if I am not talented (and I feel inadequate in most areas of my life) I don’t really care because I love it HOWEVER, I don’t know which one is for me. I tried almost every kind of studio art under the sun and enjoyed some of them more than others but nothing SHOUTED to me. I also ADORED my linguistics class….but was it just because I was good at it….in the mean time I have worked a plethora of jobs that leave me bored out of my mind (or unfulfilled), but tired when I get home. I know that other people see me as someone who cannot commit to anything- and in my heart of hearts I don’t think this is true, but I do feel like a jack of many trades and you know the rest… I am afraid to try more because I do want to be a dabbler forever…I want to acknowledge this passion you speak of that I have apparently never quite had the drive to sustain…..does this make me a maladjusted/immature INFP….or does it mean I’m another type who thinks I’m an INFP?? (Yes on the surface many people have no idea what an emotional woman I am…I present initially as calm and maybe quirky, and I can read people well but pay too close attention to the nuances of behavior and it can drive me nuts)

    • Antonia Dodge
      Reply

      Hey, Danielle – I think you’re merely describing the process a most people (especially Authenticity users) go through when looking for their life’s passion. For an INFP it’s about finding something that makes every part of them sing – you know it’s right down to the marrow of your bones. If you haven’t experienced that yet then it really is a matter of continuing to try different things on for size.

      I know we all check in with the people around us to help gauge where we’re at in life. But if the dabbling at different arts doesn’t bother you, if it’s simply that you don’t want to be seen that say – I’d say fuck it and keep dabbling. There’s little that is more fulfilling in life than doing what you love. Being socially acceptable doesn’t hold a candle to it.

      Have you read Julia Cameron’s book “The Artist’s Way” yet? I HIGHLY recommend it for any NFP looking for their passion.

      Cheers!

      -Antonia

    • Su
      Reply

      I discovered I am an INFP in my early 20s and still struggling to grow as one. I gotta say I resonate with you, Danielle. Because I am 31 and that’s how my life is. Let’s not give up and venture into new experience I guess.

      As for the podcast, I totally agree with the ‘being misunderstood’ part. I’m not misunderstood but just not understood? When I explain things or try to get my point across, I observe that most people have a blank look on their face, so I’ve decided to keep quiet instead. That happens a lot in group setting. It’s not like they judge me or anything, there is just no response. I prefer to have some form of validation but I just don’t ask for it.

      A lot of the points mentioned are spot-on.

      1) About emotional Aikido – I love that term! That’s almost like an ego boost to INFPs :p

      2) The difference between Fi and Fe users – I have an INFJ friend and I think now we understand how it works. I can appear heartless in some emotional situation. I am able to withhold my response at the moment.

      3) In decision making, sometimes I need to enter into it to be fully convinced it’s not the right decision. Strange. I still do a lot of that in my career and seen as someone who quits too fast. But I don’t feel that’s the case. I hate it when people ask me what I want to do with my life, because I don’t know.

      Somehow, for personal growth, developing Te is what I’m accustomed to do. However, that’s really sloppy and maybe I should brush up my Ne.

      Thank you Personality Hacker for a lot of great tips.

      • Nigel
        Reply

        You sound like the male version of myself in my 20s. I’m 38 now 🙂

        I wonder if they’ll do a section on Te. Although the articles on this site are extraordinary, they never really addressed the Te trait.

        Once you get past the Fi, and the Ne, you’re left with Te, and this is something a lot of infps don’t talk about, as it is a very difficult phase to enter into, and requires throwing out a lot of past beliefs or faulty thinking.

  • Missy
    Reply

    Haven’t finished this yet… but I got to 18:50… and I just had to say YES… I knew the word that was coming before it came out. As an INFP I have never expected to be understood, but I just want to be accepted and VALIDATED for who I am. I hate being judged by others who think I should be like them… and who want reasons why I have made such and such decision… and I can’t reason the other person into understanding why it is so… but I also can’t make any other decision… and they can’t reason me into feeling differently about it either.

    I have felt very very judged for this and it made me feel like my decision make process is wrong, while also being impossible to change, which quickly turns into I AM wrong, and impossible to change. Slightly depressing.

    I appreciate your analysis of the situation very very much. If I want other people to learn to take my decision making process seriously, I guess I had better be the first one!

    • Joel Mark Witt
      Reply

      Thanks Missy for coming on here and sharing. It can be very powerful to feel validated… especially for an INFP.

      And I think you are onto something…

      “If I want other people to learn to take my decision making process seriously, I guess I had better be the first one!”

      Well said.

      ~Joel

  • Katherine Duran
    Reply

    Wow thank you for doing this. I am an ENFP/INFP. Thank you!

  • Kristina
    Reply

    I’m 26, pretty sure I am an INFP (I’ve been typed as INFP and INFJ in the past but the article on INFP vs INFJ made the difference clear to me). Forgive my rambling thoughts – I have so many of them and want to get them all out there.

    From a young age I was taught things that go against what I’ve felt and known in my core and I’ve spent so much time and energy trying to overwrite my brain to fit into the mold I “should be” fitting into. So much of this podcast really resonated with my core.

    Intent and validation are SO very important in an argument to me. I need to know that the person I’m communicating with knows that I don’t have ill intent, but more passionately if I’m listening to somebody grieve about, say, “the salesperson didn’t give me what I wanted, they screwed me over” I NEED for that person to know “the salesperson was not out to get you, they were following procedure and were just doing their job!” As well, Joel’s delving into the restaurant scenario was so spot on. Trying to give a logical reason because that’s what’s expected, but that reason being combated through logic to show it’s illogicality (I think that’s the word :P), and that reason being disproved and invalidated, “so what’s your real reason? come on” and just being so deflated. I seriously thought something was wrong with me for not being able to come up with a reason outside “it’s just what my gut is telling me”, and it’s something I’ve experienced countless times in my life. What a relief to know that I’m not alone in this.

    I briefly learned about Aikido a couple of years ago. Emotional Aikido is fascinating to me, it’s something I think I may have used in the past without really realizing what I was doing. I’m not sure if this is a super-power for me – maybe in my attempts to reprogram myself I haven’t put in the hours needed for mastery of this? While I definitely know that emotions are so gradient and nuanced, and I know I mirror / recreate the emotions of those around me, I’m not sure if I can bend the energy of others. I’ve definitely thought “If I was in this situation I would be feeling this way” and that be very inaccurate, so maybe my Fi is not mature in some ways.

    The self-doubt and self-punishment (not physical, but emotional) for me is spot on. Something I’ve been taught by various people and environments that if there’s no logical reason for an intense negative emotion then you shouldn’t be feeling it, so I’ll try to squash it or hide it or, most often, chastise myself for feeling it because I shouldn’t be feeling it. I can’t even begin to guess the number of hours I’ve put into that cycle, it’s something I feel on a daily basis. I discovered Mindfulness a while ago and it’s been a big help with me. Giving myself the space and permission to feel the intense negative feelings is something I still struggle with, I feel like I’m more often in a loop than not.

    Getting goals accomplished being a thorn in my side – Oh, how true is that for me!!! The “making a living” thing is actually what led me to the personality testing and this podcast, so I’m really glad you included this part in the podcast. If only I could figure out how to follow my passion (which passion? I feel like there are many! I feel like I’m half-assing a Shadow Profession right now). Making decisions based on alignment is very true for me. I’m actually ok with the logistics part (something when I tried to be INTJ), and I don’t really see myself as a leader. I hope you decide to do a more career-centric INFP podcast in the future. I’ll likely be ordering “The Artist’s Way” from Amazon very soon.

    Other miscellaneous thoughts – from an elementary school I knew that I was never going to be completely understood (an 8 year old girl who liked video games and classical music?) so I’m quite content with the thought of never being totally understood, it is definitely validation that is key with me. And being able to understand how people are usually feeling, while sometimes turning off that ability and thus appearing cold and uncaring – very spot on.

    Thank you so much for this podcast!

    • Joel Mark Witt
      Reply

      Hey Kristina. Thank you for the comment. I appreciate your thoughts above.

      I’m excited you are getting The Artist’s Way. Let me know how it works for you.

      See you around the Personality Hacker community.

      ~Joel

    • Carli
      Reply

      Hey Kristina
      Your post could have been mine 🙂
      Regarding the emotional aikido, I was completely fascinated by the idea when they spoke about it mostly because it is something I have been completely unaware of. The only reason it resonated with me was because someone, once, actually tried to explain to me the effect I was having on them. The person was going through some tough and valid emotions. I just remember being very calm and trying to understand the situation with her. Afterward, she looked at me weirdly and told me I was weirdly good at making her feel better and then trying to explain what Antonia so aptly described as emotional aikido. I have also been told that I have a “calming effect”, though I used to interpret that as “serious and boring” 🙂 We might even not be fully aware of our calming effect because we are always in that state (don’t know any different). The people might be different with us than they are otherwise and we would not know because we are always present with them in our presence. Just a thought.

      The reason I am sharing this is just because I don’t think this aikido is something we do intentionally. It is not an intentional manipulation of a person’s emotions, just an understanding of emotions that makes it possible for us to unconsciously guide the person towards a different emotion. The more mature your Fi is, the more natural this process becomes.

      For some reason, my gut feeling is that actually becoming too aware of this aikido might ruin it for us. It’s validating and nice to know, but mostly I want to leave it alone so that it does not become a “thing”, you know?

      Anyway, we’re about the same age with the same experience, so it was interesting to read your comment. I feel you with the salesperson example! I used to be completely confused when people would say I am illogical/irrational in a discussion/debate (usually with SJ’s). It all made perfect logical sense to me! You just have to try to understand how the person must be feeling – oh.

    • Beth
      Reply

      Hey Kristina,

      Your post has a real feel of needing to fix a flaw in your psyche – I am sooo acquainted with that it’s untrue! And the talk about the intent behind statements, that’s so me too. I don’t find that to be the case with some other INFP’s – I think there must be subtypes of INFP because I definitely feel more attuned in a creepy way with some than others. I’m not so eager to share my internal feeling because in all truth I’m ashamed of a lot of them and don’t feel I have the right to openly show them? Odd.

      Anyways, do you know your enneagram type? I’ll admit there’s some self interest going on here in that I think we probably have the same type based on the short paragraphs you’ve written, and I haven’t settled on one yet so you knowing yours would help me a lot haha!

      Cheers,

      Beth

  • Sarah
    Reply

    I’m feeling stupid. How do I download this into iTunes? right clicking isn’t working.

  • Laura
    Reply

    It’s past 12AM and I’m here writing this thing, with an exam due tomorrow (screw you effectiveness, thiiisss is worth it) because you need to know that you had me on tears, smiling and nodding to the point my sister just looked at me weird (ok, she didn’t see me cry, only being all smiley, but it was worth it because I was able to explain her a few things about me).

    Guys, I think I’ve never felt more “understood” until I listened to you talking. I was able to put a label, so to speak, to things I knew about me but haven’t been able to explain or put into words. I really love the way how you call the Fi function Authenticity, it really illustrates how we work and how important our values or “feelings” are for us, and I’m really glad that people out there know how valuable the Fi function is; to be honest I never took the time to think about a world without Fi, how Antonia said, but man, it’s true.

    I’ve come to terms with the fact that no one will ever understand me as well as no one can truly understand another person, so yeah, I’m not expecting for everyone to do it, just to validate me as you said (and oh please, I hope no one would ever will). It’s good to know that in some level I have matured with my Authenticity and on my way with the Ne/Exploration (though so far from the Te, oh well). You know, I wasn’t even aware of the “emotional Aikido”, but I’ve done it before on an unconscious level, which really just shows how Fi is our primary function.

    Joel, I can’t even recall all the things you said you wanted a feedback of, but let me tell you that all were on the right path. I was weeping with the last part about the “darkness” in our hearts, I can vividly remember situations in my life I felt that darkness creeping out and how I compared myself to another person who wasn’t able to see her “bad things” and how affected I was because of that. I’ve come far from those times, fortunately. And yes, people have called me (or thought about me, and I knew because it was all over their faces) cold, indifferent, apathetic… and so many other things, when actually it’s the opposite.

    Just to finish this, at first I was like, mirrored empathy, really?? I used to feel that I was just good at “feeling” other people’s feelings or read them, just know it or sense their energy (sometimes I call it aura :P), but I do now realize that all this time I’ve been comparing their feelings to mine. I’ve mapped my heart, known my feelings so well, but actually it’s a map with no labels and feelings with no names, but I just know them.

    And thanks, you’ve helped me to decide about this one thing about my career choice and what I want to do. Get things done has always been my Achilles heel and I’m not persistent or persevering all the time, but I’ll try. And I’ll keep in mind the advice about keeping people, especially ‘STJs to help me.

    • Joel Mark Witt
      Reply

      Laura!

      So awesome to hear from you. Thanks for the comments above. It can be a powerful experience to have someone explain how your heart works.

      Hang in there. The darkness you “see” in your heart is a tool for you to help others work through their darkness too. We all have it. Some of us are just really in touch with it.

      As far as getting things done – I’m eagerly seeking resources and helps for us INFPs and ENFPs that can help us make things happen in the outer world.

      One thing I think INFPs can be really good at is embodying a vision for something and feeling it so strongly that it oozes out to others. They catch the vision and can make it happen.

      Hope to keep seeing you around the Personality Hacker community and very happy the world has someone like you in it.

      ~ Joel

  • Anika
    Reply

    As an aspiring artist and a self-harming, immature INFP I have to say my thank you. I feel validated, ahah. There has been many sentences that hit me hard (making-me-cry hard) and made me think about myself in an more objective way.
    I am not sure if I’ll actually be able to use any of this knowledge to make myself a better and more mature INFP, but it still gave me a lot. So thank you! You are both amazing. I wish I could tell what types are people around me to listen to your podcasts on them and understand them better, but it seems impossible with my feeble knowledge about the 15 other types.

  • James
    Reply

    Hey, just wanted to say thanks for this podcast and all the other work you’ve done.
    As a recently self identified infp, I just wanted to share my agreement with a lot of your assessments here. Specifically your breakdown of the infp ability to go to dark places in a very “visceral” way. I’ve had multiple occasions of friends or acquaintances bringing up darker subject matter in a joking way and I find myself having flashes of almost being in those situations, which caused me to shut off emotionally as a kid, or learn to awkwardly laugh it off as an adult. I actually tend to refer to the experience as feeling “gutted”. Some more perceptive people pick up on this tendency and have inquired about it, but I’m always too ashamed to elaborate on what I’ve felt and have always just internalized the experience to try and process it myself.

  • Mike
    Reply

    Hi,

    As an infp i found this podcast a very interesting view on infps, it certainly gave me some extra insight about my self. I’m sharing the below to help other infp find their way in life and give guidance as this is hard to find, i think especially for our type.

    The most remarkable moment listening to the podcast for me was the authenticity aikido move. I do that, apparently I have a superpower and never gave myself permission to use it. though I did use it, but I limited it to be used quite inefficiently. I tend to quickly grasp what a person wants/needs from me and I like to give it to them and often I forget about considering my self in that situation, so often I agree to things that are not beneficial to me. often with work related pressures I tend to get really overloaded, overcommitted and in the end losing touch with my self and having to let down quality as a consequence. Then with my exploration as co pilot I tend to nuance a story in such a way that it doesn’t come out as all that bad, just to not freak them out too much. Im quite stuck as I feel overloaded and the fact that others around me are not busy at all and I’m literally flying around almost every week, yet I am so poorly in making my case in proving im too busy, it just keeps stacking up. Its a mystery to me that others don’t pick up or care on how stressed out I am. The fact that im stressed out I can deal with, my fuses will never blow, but I resent having to let down others, especially close ones.

    This podcast told me that my challenge is to give myself permission flip my authenticity around and start using it to work for me and appeal and influence my way to giving myself more space so I can help others from a better position.

    Antonia and Joel! I want to ask that if you ever sequal this podcast to talk about how in mbti there is a thing I’d call cognitive hijack (couldn’t find the term) where the 3 year old is taking over as a judging function and just doesn’t seem to let go, for decades. I think it’s to answer to the demand of giving concrete logical answers to the outside world, and it creeps up when you’re too young to balance it with the driver function. I’ve certainly had that in my teens and twenties and i’m slowly growing out of it in my thirties. Because of the hijack I used to think I was intp or infp, and figured that maybe i was inxp, but once I understood the cognitive functions I realised that this was nonsense. Then only much later i found the culprit.

    Its been a long journey but my Effectiveness got me through university as an engineer and into a technical consulting job where I am outclassed by effectiveness and precision users. luckily im slowly finding my way to requirements specification and UAT testing where I can use my skills on customers to help them with change management in the form of getting them comfortable and come to terms with using new systems that completely change the way they work. It can be really frightning for our customers as they have to sign off on the product at some point and take ownership of a very complex system and they are unsure if we will support or extort them. I compare it to being strapped to a rocket. Im known to be the guy you send when you want to send a friendly face, clean up the mess, ease the nerves, de-escalate and repair trust.

    I am working on my exit strategy, and am looking for feedback using my authenticity as I move in the corporate world. I need to learn this before my next step.

    In the future I plan to have my own small company that will help improve my own condition and with what I learn, the human condition. I plan to work with other companies to make sure the services offered will continue while I scale up and use my authenticity to find new areas to improve my own condition and that of others in turn.

    Good luck infps and for other types: thanks for not tldr,

    Mike.

    • Nic
      Reply

      Hi Mike,

      “I tend to quickly grasp what a person wants/needs from me and I like to give it to them and often I forget about considering my self in that situation, so often I agree to things that are not beneficial to me. ”
      -> now I am confused again! I thought this is FE Harmony in an INFJ???
      -> can someone else can jump in here, too? I can relate to both descriptions in the podcast regarding the “feeling others” in terms of a) taking on energy via FE as well as in terms of b) subjective Fi projection.
      I either mistake my NI (INFJ) for FI (INFP) or the other way around. And yes, I am aware of the cognitive functions. I just cant figure it out. I have read so many Fe & FI descriptions but still have no clarity which one I am using. Maybe it would be easier if I would personally know some folks who either are INFJ or INFP in real live to better relate to one of them.

      Thank you for sharing your insights….
      Nic

  • HeatPackinHippie
    Reply

    I’m an INFP, and my husband of 5 years in an INFJ. We have listened to both of the longer INFP & INFJ podcasts together and WOW! We kept pausing the podcast every 20 seconds or so to talk and reflect. So about the INFP podcast, here are some random thoughts:

    Thank you so much, Joel and Antonia, for putting into words something I cannot! I use authenticity to make decisions, and my decisions are every bit as valid as the other 7 types, but trying to verbalize the steps I use when I make these decisions is almost impossible. This knowledge of “how” I do this will help me so much going forward, because even though I rarely doubt my decisions after I have taken them and know that I made the right one, the people around me often CONTINUE to doubt them and when I try to explain myself, social disaster strikes!! But thanks to this podcast, I will have the ability to let criticism like this roll off my shoulders. I will not let those around me invalidate my decisions now, just because I don’t have “data points” haha! And Joel, the comment you made about this, “When it matters, it REALLY matters!” totally resonated with me. Thanks again for explaining authenticity!! Although they love me and support me, my ESTJ and ISTJ parents just don’t get me, and now I know why!

    I had NO IDEA that I “practice” emotional aikido/emotional alchemy in a positive way, although I knew that I could use that kind of power “for evil”. My husband confirmed that I do use it for good though, noting that I can turn his frustration into something to laugh about, or turn his anger into understanding. So I realized that the only aikido that I had been conscious of was of the negative type (this was something I just called “being super passive aggressive”). For example, my mom is an ESTJ, I am pretty darn sure of it. This made everything 10 times more difficult and annoying between us when I was growing up (I’ll be 28 this summer). And when I made decisions (feeling/authenticity) and had no way to explain how or why, it would lead to the inevitable invalidation of my intent and feelings. So, as retribution, I could turn her happy, “productive” ESTJ day into a total nightmare, fairly easily. It was the only way I knew to “get back” at her for invalidating me! It’s terrible but that’s what I did. So in listening to your podcast with someone who knows me very well, it was good to know that I can actually use that power for good as well! (I just thought of it as “cheering up” somebody). And it’s something that I am going to focus on honing even more this summer and I’m actually pretty freaking excited about it.

    I really appreciated the advice about following passion and turning it into a living, although I am still so unsure of how to implement this advice!! I am still navigating through my many hobbies and passions, trying to arrive at THE passion of all my passions, but I’m not there yet. I have spent a decade getting to where I am now, so it may take more time. Sometimes, though, it just seems too hopeless and too good to be true that I could have a job that I actually like and enjoy. Right now, I’m stuck in that half-assing-it phase you guys mentioned in the podcast. It’s so yucky down here!!! The procrastination has got to stop!

    I would’ve liked to have learned more about the 10 year old and 3 year old parts of the INFP car model. You guys may have covered it elsewhere but I’ve never learned anything about them.

    Thanks so much!!!!!!

  • Lance
    Reply

    Just a few thoughts. I’m an INFP my wife is and INFJ.

    Your dead on with the emotional Aikido. It’s always been an unconscious thing I did when I wanted to. If that makes sense. If I cared about the person or wanted to help them I would just go into that mode. I didn’t realize it was unique to my type. I just thought that’s what you’re supposed to do when someone is upset. I do this to my wife all the time. A 5 min conversation and boom everything is fine.

    Your also spot on with INFJ’s absorbing emotions. If my wife is upset I do my Aikido thing, but if I’m upset she also becomes upset and by the end of it I’m the one helping her to feel better. Weird.

    I’ve also noticed it seems I’m better at explaining why I think things that she is. She’s is most often the one to say “I just know, but can’t explain it.”

    I definitely see how I kind of collect experiences and emotions, map them out, and then reference them when I choose. It’s really strange and disturbing sometimes. For example, I can read the news and then I can really experience how the situation felt. Like I can put myself in the room and feel the tension and how the people felt. I can also imagine things like what it would be like to live in an ancient city so vividly it’s almost like actual memories. I don’t do it often, sometimes it’s fun. Sometimes I’ll read about a murder and make myself sick.

    I really struggle with making decisions. With any decision. I feel like there are so many factors and each one would need to be explored to determine the best decision. And, I can’t live with anything except the best decision. I can narrow decisions down to just a few options, but I need someone else to push through to just one. I always want things to be win win. If it’s not then we just have to be more creative.

    Another difference between INFP and INFJ. When discussion someone who’s done something wrong. I will usually say “Yes, they did something wrong, but I can see why they did it.” Depending on the situation I would probably say I didn’t really expect them to do much better. Then I would probably try and figure out the underlying reason why. My INFJ with would be much stricter. “The fact is they did something wrong.” Why they did it doesn’t play as big of a factor for her. To her they made a choice. To me they made a choice but were weaken by impulse or addiction or some kind of influence.

    Just a few thoughts. Thanks for the podcast and taking the time to indulge us.

    • Lance
      Reply

      Another thing I thought was interesting.

      I have a need to keep my external world organized and simple. I feel like when things are a mess it’s harder to do anything or focus. I know that seems obvious, but I work with a lot of other creative people, different types, who are not like this at all. I’m guessing it’s because my inner world is so messy and being flooded with feelings that if my outer world was the same I wouldn’t be able to function. I don’t know.

      • Carli
        Reply

        YES! I am not a naturally organised or neat person and I don’t think anyone would label me as such. However, my things are in their place and I feel overwhelmed when things are too messy (or vice versa: things are messy and I get overwhelmed).

        I have a friend who studies counselling and she mentioned that they advise their depressed clients to go clean up any drawers or spaces in their homes that are untidy. It has something to do with “unfinished business”. So it makes sense that neat and minimalist spaces keep the emotionally overwhelmed sane.

        Awesome comments! Thanks for sharing your INFP vs. INFJ observations.

  • Allyse
    Reply

    I really need Personality Hacker to please please do a podcast on ENFJs. Talk about misunderstood. Can’t wait to here that and ENFJ cast is coming up. Thanks in advance.

  • Emily
    Reply

    Thank you for this episode! I am an INFP and I especially appreciated the part about the “darkness”. I find myself constantly emphasizing to people that I have good intentions, but I am not sure why I even do it. As soon as I am comfortable with someone I don’t feel this need anymore. This made a lot of sense to me.

  • Anthony
    Reply

    Regarding Joel’s thoughts on an INFP feeling marginalized or dismissed being more significant than feeling misunderstood, I can give an emphatic yes. And with me, it’s not even being marginalized so much as being dismissed that triggers frustration. Being marginalized usually means the other person has actually taken some time to consider your position in some way. But when I’m dismissed outright, it upsets me not only because I was ignored, but because I then imagine how many other, TRULY valid viewpoints that person is probably ignoring.

  • Blake
    Reply

    I have trouble recognizing why dom-Fi is so important in the world, honestly. It’s not like INFJs are incapable of personal insight impacting Fe, and secondary Fi emphasizes individual morals quite well. It just seems like dom-Fi in particular is kind of useless and causes more personal suffering than it actually gives back. It’s not like dom-Fi users are inherently the best artists, either. I just have trouble recognizing it’s significance… if it didn’t exist in the world, there might be a bit more conformity but I don’t think it would be all-out chaos in the way it would be if there were only Fi.

    Also, the emotional aikido thing: how is this any different than being around a person who’s feeling strong emotions at a given moment? This doesn’t seem like a specific personality power, just the effect of being in the presence of emotions.

    • Antonia Dodge
      Reply

      Oh, totally. For that matter, why do we have Te-doms? It’s not like other people can’t run businesses and organize stuff. They seem so overbearing and always need things their way.

      Oh, and Ti-doms. What dicks. It’s like they have to win every argument. Ti-secondaries are really good at being scientists and calling out truth, right? Let’s just get rid of those guys, too.

      There. Now everything is awesome. 😉

      -A-

      p.s. I’m assuming you’re kidding, since the idea of removing two entire personality types from the social ecosystem would be a disaster, no matter how you feel about those types. Fi primaries aren’t redundant little Lokis running around. I’m not sure if you’ve run into a slew of undeveloped Fi primaries, or if you’re in the middle of your developmental journey and have trouble perspectiving into the mindset of others at this time. Either way, even if we don’t personally like or ‘get’ another type that doesn’t mean they’re some sort of evolutionary mistake. While other types can and are exceptional artists, there are no other two types consumed with the need to create art. If there were no Fi primaries in the world we’d see a substantial amount of art disappear. Yes, other types can be and are socially aware. But if there were no Fi primaries in the world we’d have more complacency about our causes. We wouldn’t have the fire that lights us up in the social consciousness, something we all benefit from when Fi primaries are represented.

      Don’t think of us as silos. We’re all part of a social matrix. You pull the plug on any one or two types and the entire collective unconscious shifts. And not for the better. ISTJ men aren’t usually huge fans of me – they basically see me as the antithesis to everything they stand for. And, despite that, I’m so very, very glad they exist. Even if we’re not going to be BFFs and braid bracelets for each other.

  • Nicola
    Reply

    Thank you so much for doing this podcast Really really resonates. I’m a INFP on the test and every part of what you said made sense to me. I think just hearing your words has given me some further clarity on how INFP’s experience their reality and yes rather then understanding I think it is more about the justification and recognition of a person who is INFP, as I agree in many parts of the Western world in particular those personality types are not given full credence or credibility or even acceptance. So sometimes you can really question your own process.So thanks. I perked up when you said that Richard Branson is a INFP as that someone I respect and who has definately had an impact on the world. Also concidentally I watched Boyhood the other day and really enjoyed it, and could see how the director was also likely to be this type. Focussing on Exploration is now key for me and was the way I was leaning, you guys have given me another marker in the right direction. So thanks for what you are doing. This podcast has really shone a light on things. I’m as interested to learn about the other types because in a world where we can relate to each other even if not coming from the same place or space all sounds good to me!

    • Charis Branson
      Reply

      Thanks for your feedback, Nicola! I’m so excited you have found a focus for your growth, and you are interested in exploring how others learn and grow. The world would definitely be a better place if we could learn empathy and compassion for others. Keep up the good work!

  • Andrea
    Reply

    Just want to say I *love* your podcasts and info, it has been so helpful! I have recently been revisiting INFP for myself and this podcast really touched every point so well! What you said about validation vs understanding–rang so true so deeply within myself. Sounds dramatic, but it’s true! The idea of using Exploration to grow really caught my attention and made me excited. I love the prospect of getting out there and exploring. My counselor has greatly encouraged me to take up writing poetry again, something I haven’t done in the years since getting married, having a child, and having to do “real” mundane life stuff (I commented on the depression podcast too). Writing poetry has really opened me up again, and I’m learning how essential it is to have a creative outlet, especially as an INFP. I sing for my church which has also helped me get out there and express and create in a spiritual way.
    I have done some study of the enneagram and have been playing around with doing some training to teach or be a guide in the enneagram. I’ve always fantasized with having my own business, and your ideas on how an INFP can go after their passion really spoke to me. Honestly, I have never found one true passion to focus on–I love music, personal growth, reading and learning (I currently work in a children’s library and love it for the most part). I love animals, nature. I pretty much love anything because I like to learn new things and I’m curious. But, I would love to learn the enneagram more officially and help others discover themselves in that system. I’d love to have like an online service, kind of like what you do here, just with enneagram. I’m not sure how to do that, but I’ve started researching. Anyway, this recording and the INFP course is probably something I’ll be coming back to a lot. Thanks!

    • Charis Branson
      Reply

      Thanks for the feedback Andrea! I’m happy the podcast resonated with you so strongly. It sounds like you are on the right path to exploration and growth.

  • Josette
    Reply

    Regarding the part in the beginning when you mentioned that people will misinterpret an INFP’s process and say, oh you ‘feel’ it’s not right – get over it. I think that is being misunderstood. The person does not understand that my decisions are cemented in something that is highly accurate for me. Perhaps INFPs are not the ‘most’ misunderstood. I cannot say, as the INFP experience is the only one I have. I’m personally not comfortable labeling anything the most x or the best x, because I don’t think MBTI is an all inclusive model to understanding each other. What about thinker females or feeler males? I bet their experience is different than the opposite sex of their same MBTI type. Perhaps they are more misunderstood than their counterpart.

    Regarding absorbing versus mirroring emotion, if the end result is the same -that the INFP/J know feels this emotion- does the process of how it got there matter? For me, an INFP, it doesn’t because all I know is I’m sensitive and need boundaries. Yet perhaps there is a mirroring or reverse-mirror exercise I don’t know about that could help out in these extra sensitive times. As far as asking myself how do I mirror someone, it is never a conscious process for me. It just happens. Most times unwillingly. I always feel emotions, yet I may choose to not express them.

    I also don’t really believe in healthy and unhealthy people (INFPs) in the way you remarked but healthy and unhealthy ‘behaviors’. Or mature/immature, experienced/inexperienced. To me the distinction is important because labeling a person unhealthy emotionally is like saying every aspect is unhealthy and this is probably not the case.

    I also found the part about experiencing an emotion fully for 8 minutes will relieve it versus stifling the emotion. I agree that repression or suppression is unhealthy and that perhaps there is a relatively short amount of time that the deepest intensity is experienced but I think depending on the event the intense emotion can come back in waves. Perhaps smaller waves. An example that comes to mind is that of grieving over a deceased family member/friend. It takes more than 8 minutes to fully grieve. But I’m not sure that is what you were saying. I also believe when fully expressing these emotions that there are healthy and unhealthy ways to do so.

    I think finding your passion can be tricky because an INFP then has to deal with logistical details as you mentioned. I like your advice of finding a secret weapon. I’m not sure that is something INFPs do well since we are introverts. So a good thing to know and consciously put to practice.

  • V
    Reply

    Thank you for conceptualizing and putting into words this thing of ‘mirroring feelings’ I’ve known but not been sure of how to describe.
    My prior attempt consisted of saying that I somehow knew of feelings that I’ve not fully experienced before. Including the word mirroring in the process makes more sense.

    Along with this, the point made about being able to ‘not feel certain things at will’ helped me to understand why I might come off as cold to someone else.

    I also agree with others who have left responses in that I would not want to be fully understood. However, I’ve had close friends (including my significant other) tell me that they don’t think/feel that they know me very well, and I’m not sure what to make of this. It leaves me more down in the dumps than I expect it to. On the other hand, I appreciate it when people refer to me as unpredictable in the sense of ‘it’s hard to know where you’re at/how you will react to something’. Sure, these are two different things but they are sort of related.

    The half-assed aspect applies to me as well, as much as I try to remain conscientious about my work. Interestingly, I actually try to justify my half-assed-ness to myself by saying that I value my sanity over whatever work I am supposed to accomplish. Though this is true, it’s not something other people seem to understand/value (and sometimes for good reason). For example, I know someone like my father would just call me ‘lazy’.

    One final aspect I would like to comment on is the bit about ‘not knowing what decisions to make until after we’ve already made it’. Though this has happened to me, I just wanted to add that an integral part of my decision process (in addition to considering pros and cons as mentioned) is feeling what things would be like if I were to choose one thing. It’s sort of like reflecting on how would my life change? what new things would I be doing? but it’s an overall feeling of the decision rather than a practical evaluation of it (I’m not sure that I explained this very well, so I apologize for that).

    • Charis Branson
      Reply

      Thanks for the comment, V! I found your personal insights into the INFP mind interesting and enlightening.

  • Someone
    Reply

    Hey, I’m an INFP and I’ve found the podcasts really helpful. I’ve solved a lot of INFP problems through my own intuition, even before becoming familiar with personality types. But psychology and these systems have been a major hack in my life.

    What I still have problems with is career. My parents are STJ engineers and they made me believe in hard sciences, but fortunately they also respected arts greatly. I’m a composer and a musician, but in such a niche that it’s really difficult to make a living without true passion. I value people and having relaxed time too much to commit to that fully. Though I’ve been called super talented by professionals etc. I’ve never worked enough for anything basically. School and engineering were kind of easy but so boring I had to quit studying the latter. So I’ve never really figured out how good I could become.

    I’ve been thinking about a new approach and I’m in a phase in which I have all the freedom in the world to change the course. Psychology, music and business are my interests currently and these podcasts have given a lot of information to chew on.

    Thanks for the good work! 🙂

    • Charis Branson
      Reply

      Thanks for the feedback! Finding gainful employment that is also fulfilling, ever-changing, and challenging seems to be difficult for a lot of Intuitives. For this reason, I have always believed that Intuitives will likely change careers numerous times in their search for new horizons. Pursue what sounds interesting and make sure you have the freedom to explore and stay excited. 🙂

  • Lisa Dahl
    Reply

    This is so so good!! Thank you:)

    This podcast hit it on the head… It’s not that I am missed understood as an INFP i– it is that I want what I am feeling to have validation and if I don’t have that then yeah I feel misunderstood. Thank you for bringing validation to my AUTHENTIC thinking and how I make and have made decision 100,000 + times… I always thought there was something wrong with because how I respond to things does not fit especially in American culture. The validation you both brought to an infp allows me to be me — in world where it is not easily accepted. I am not a logical thinker (that is who I am) and like how you both said (INFP) I a hard time with follow through and meeting goals. I am starting college up on Monday and I know this non logic — having a hard time getting things done type of lady lol — that is frustrating especially when your teacher teachings out of logic and expects the same results ugh… Ihough those are my weakness of mine but if I can ask the help or get with people and creat a structure of motivation to light that fire then nothing is impossible. I love that my co- pilot is exploration because I love learning that way — couple with authenticity — those two I am unstoppable.

    Ha ha I can keep going! Thanks again.. Blessings

    • Charis Branson
      Reply

      Thanks for your feedback, Lisa! Good luck on your college goals. I’m sure you will be fine! I think your idea of joining study groups is a good one for an INFP. I didn’t go to college until I was almost 40 and I loved it!

  • Tamagochi (INFJ)
    Reply

    It was an interesting cast to hear. Just for you to know, I like them so much, that had been listening to all of them in reverse order for a few weeks now. There are still at least 54 to go 😉

    Anyway the females of INFP type for some reason seem very attractive to me. Have had several love from the first sight experiences with them in the past and one is currently on the radar. However all of them ended vainly as if I have tripped some invisible wire along the road, that in turn triggered a negative internal decision and then everything went into the drain pretty quickly. It’s quite frustrating, even cruel, to run into this invisible wall of internally made decision of “I just don’t feel it that way”. No explanation given, no space for corrective actions, no sympathy. You can go and bang your head into the wall literally.

    I am beginning to doubt if this is a particularly healthy attraction for me as sometimes it feels like being on a wild goose chase. Reading replies from successful INFJ/INFP pairings here, give me some hope though.

    • Charis Branson
      Reply

      Thanks for the comment, Tamagochi! I was fascinated to hear your experiences with INFPs. I had a similar experience recently with a woman I would go for walks with. I’m an INFJ. She’s an INFP. I thought everything was going along swimmingly, when it all turned awkward and ended. I have no idea what happened, but I assume I said something that rubbed her the wrong way. I am currently working to rest into that knowledge without obsessing as to what I may have said. Glad I’m not the only one! 🙂

      • Tamagochi (INFJ)
        Reply

        Ditto! My wild guess would be that since INFJs can be so uncanny good at getting into other people heads, maybe we accidentally approach something that’s for private eyes only and then the alarms go off 🙂

        Overall I have shrugged those experiences as the other person acting immaturely.

      • Tamagochi (INFJ)
        Reply

        A more serious explanation would be that Fi dominants tend to accumulate hurt quietly inside until the point they explode. What’s more, underdeveloped Fe can be perceived as manipulative and therefore add to that hurt.

        Googling about INFPs cutting off people produces quite a lot of results. Maybe Antonia and Joel could comment more on this?

        • Charis Branson
          Reply

          Really? That’s interesting. I do know this woman was spending way too much time in her Si Tertiary. I kept trying to tell her she should get out and explore. Maybe she got tired of hearing it. Although I think it is just as likely that I used too much radical honesty (I’m way more comfortable with my Ti-tertiary than I should be, too).

          I will look into those Google results and see if I can narrow it down a little more. 😉

          • Jennifer M.

            There are lots and lots of posts about INFP and “doorslamming” (i.e. – just cutting people out of there lives with no explanation) in various Myers-Briggs INFP forums It can really be hurtful to an INTJ with a sensitive soul that in the words of Antonia and Joel (it’s a secret the INTJ doesn’t want you to know about). But the response by many INFPs, as I have read in attempt to understand their behavior, is that it’s a completely justifiable response because THEY were ‘hurt’ (not necessarily in abusive or emotionally manipulative, but rather sensitive to anything that hurt their feelings). I am a INTJ/INFJ who was doorslammed by an unhealthy INFP. I do think it was connected to the fact that I am direct and honest with my feelings. I expect the same kind of honesty from other people who I choose to have a close relationship with. I think it would be an interesting topic for Antonia and Joel to explore, as Tamagochi (INFJ) suggested, if they ever choose to explore relationship compatability and Type. I think it’s very connected to their desire to keep the peace and maintain no conflict within a relationship. Not a realistic expectation from an INTJ perspective. I understand the INFPs need for validation which is greater than most other types. And at the same time, there are limits to the amount of positive mirroring that others can provide. Sometimes relationships require truth telling for the purposes of maintaining an authentic relationship rather than the idea of an ‘ideal’ relationship where arguments never happen and couples always have loving feelings about one another.

            I agree with Tamagochi (INFJ) that because an INFJ or INTJ can be so good at “getting into other people’s heads” sometimes that can set off the alarm bells in the head of the INFP. It’s like: “Oh my God! I have been found out!” From an INFP perspective, maybe it feels intrusive – an invasion of their private sanctum. Whereas from my perspective, I sincerely want to understand my partner in depth. This is a means by which I feel connected and intimate. I too have decided that I need to be able to not take “doorslamming” personally. Ultimately, we all have our own lives to live and grow as we choose. Some people act immaturely, regardless of type. I’ve decided that life is too short to deal with people that can’t discuss things openly and honestly. It’s still not easy not to feel personally rejected and regret the loss of a relationship that could have been…

    • Carli
      Reply

      Oh my goodness, I recognised too much of myself in this…
      From my experience, don’t immediately take it personally when INFP’s drop off the radar. Check in with their other (scant) family and friends. They probably dropped off everyone’s radar for one of our legendary disappearance acts. We are very shy when we reappear and it takes a lot for us to return to people, and we might come off defensive or cold, because we know we hurt them. I’ve always been surprised when people welcome me back.
      I very recently (I’m 26) had to come to terms with the fact that my expectations of a partner in my relationships are too idealistic. In the bad way.
      Tamagochi, from an INFP who has badly hurt someone in the past because of this idealism, I am so sorry. I promise we learn, eventually.

  • Dana
    Reply

    I’ve listened to the podcast twice – it was long and I really felt I missed things the first time. I am fascinated by the fact that this podcast is an hour and twenty minutes – maybe the longest here. Also, it has 59 comments. INFPs may be have trouble being validated by other types, but we are very good at validating each other.
    I took your genius test and obviously got INFP. The first weakness listed is “project management”. I am a project manager, specifically right now an international summit organizer. Which seems weirdly wrong as I’m very introverted and should have poor planning skills. But here’s where understanding your passion comes in (which I thought was brilliant!)My passion is helping people. And my job (except the mountain of paperwork) is all just helping people. And even a lot of the paperwork is helping people. Just data entry is boring and repetitious – to me. I know I need challenge and stimulation – that I can control to a moderate degree. It took me a long time to learn that the validation I need isn’t from people who understand me or why I do the things I do – it’s when they thank me for being me. Because being weird and intuitive – you guys call it “authentic” – makes it really easy for me to understand what other people want or need and I have a job that makes it easy to do those things. I often get “farmed out” to other departments to help them with their “people pleasing” issues and honestly, it is the best validation I have ever received. Ever. Being a “proactive people pleaser” (which basically means I intuitively try to prevent problems before conflict does happen) allows me to use my strengths – even creativity. Like the podcast said, I don’t need people to crawl inside my mind but I am validated as an INFP every time someone recognizes that I just “know” how to get things done. A co-worker accused my of being “psychic” the other day. I just winked at her and walked away . . .

    Being a people pleaser and avoiding conflict to the nth degree does have a down side and I have wondered for a long time if there is evidence of INFP or INFJ types being involved in abusive relationships more than other types? I have found, personally, that I stay in relationships – both personal and work – for longer than is healthy because I do have the ability to understand why someone is behaving a certain way. Which, in the past, has led me to justify their behaviour. I’m not saying that this is true for all, I am curious if there is any data about it?

    • Charis Branson
      Reply

      Thanks for the comment Dana! I’m glad you enjoyed the podcast!

      I have often thought that Fe (“Harmony”) is the usual cause for women staying in relationships that aren’t healthy for them. To me, it seems Fi women would realize when a situation isn’t working for them and be more ready to move on. But, I’m not Fi.

      Maybe they stay for different reasons: Fe stay because they can’t stand the idea of hurting someone else; Fi stay because they see what the person’s potential is.

  • Eliot Graeme
    Reply

    omg!

    infp here, male, 36…

    after reading EVERYTHING i could find on infps months ago, i have somehow stumbled onto your website… how did i get here?!… and reading through your list, because i am constantly needing to understand myself – ha! – i read your description of infps mirroring emotions.. and my brain just snapped open at that!

    ive never heard it described that way before! i always felt like i was very YOUR PAIN MY HEART, but then something was… off… with that, and made me feel like i wasnt being… truthful? genuine?… by saying it that way.

    i cant even tell you for how long or how many times ive thought i was an alien, or a robot, or a sociopath because of that mirroring! im very emotional, but i always felt like it was FALSELY emotional for some reason. and reading the mirroring thing, i think it was that the /situations/ were not real(or not happening/real to ME), but my /emotional reaction/ to unreal (to me) situations, WERE real.

    kind of like.. im not crying because something is sad… im crying because if that something happened to me i WOULD be sad, this is how sad i would be, this is how my life would be devastated, this is how it would affect my family and friends, and this is the guilt id feel for putting them thru this, and this is how i would recover from it, this is how id look back years later and my growth from that situation… etc… the exploration of the feeling based on an unreal situation still leads to a real emotion.

    i feel like i can live thru very real emotions of things that are not happening to me, or have not happened to me.

    i can swell with pride after an amazing performance i havent performed(this just happened at the end of cirque du soleil as they all stood in a circle to bow. i could see the pride and accomplishment in their faces, especially the man who ALMOST fell from the high wire, his “i pulled it off… i did it… i caught myself, and everyone here understood that i needed to try again.. and it paid off…” conrorting facial features), i can cringe in horrid embarassment over a social misstep that i didnt take(when someone in a movie is about to be utterly embarassed, and you can see it coming.. i cant even watch, i have to look away and concentrate fully on the curtains, or the texture of the screen behind the scene, or SOMEthing, so im not living that embarassment FOR them), feel the devastation of regret for a decision not made, and i can cry until my body feels like its imploding and ill never be able to smile again, all in the same minute, and all within seconds of deciding to experience these feelings.

    all of these unreal situations are very real to me! it is the feeling that is important, not the actuality!

    its now making me wonder if this is part of how i seem so utterly content to people outside of me. im OFTEN told “the whoooole world could come crumbling down around you, and youd be just fine and not even notice it!” but im wondering if its just my ability to notice something i dont want to feel coming up, and just mirroring something else to change my emotional state to get thru something tough.

    during stressful work situations where everyones starting to sweat and panic.. im suddenly totally confident that we will accomplish our goal.. because in my head, we just did, and im already feeling it! in my head ive already had the boss glance at me as he thanked the team, knowing that he knows my contribution, and knowing i dont want to be called out for it. knowing it was my calm in the storm that helped us all get to this end point.

    does this make any sense?

    something else i either read here, or heard in the podcast… about infps knowing how things are going to cause others to feel, and wondering how everyone else doesnt GET that… i am frequently living that reality! many times a day i think “what the hell.. why would he/she do that?! doesnt he know how X Y Z are going to take that???” and then needing to guide them along to finish off a comment in a way to adjust how others will react to it. generally its my boss who is very concrete/factual and seems clueless as to how things might come across to others when he is blunt and harsh. lol.

    anyways
    now that i sound entirely like a sociopathic alien robot whos just stepped thru the looking glass…

    thanks for the twist of phrasing to help me better understand me.

    aaaaanyways
    im only 26 minutes into the podcast, but i was just feeling overwhelmed with sudden gratitude at new understanding that i wanted to get it all out before something drifted off in currents and eddies of my brain waves!

    TO THE PODCAST!
    TALLY HO!

    • Eliot Graeme
      Reply

      continuing to listen:

      at slightly before 33 mins, you mention being in a group and picking up on subtle changes in people. i often feel as tho id make a great advisor to someone in charge who has to make tough decisions. i dont want to make any decisions for a group, but i feel like i could help “leader” figure out what would be well received by others and to present them and guide the presentation of the decision along to make everyone comfortable with it and help foresee the issues that would arise from it.(this ties into ~1h8m, i want to help guide a group, without leading them! i want to be the shaman in the village, not the warlord!)

      aikido
      i am OFTEN on the road driving around with my road raging boss
      if someone cuts him off, it could be hours of frustration rollin round in his head and across his face like a storm cloud and ruining my life! so im often catching myself suddenly laughing and blurting out something like “oh man, those track days have paid off! i think id have been a bit more jarred by that sudden bumper in my face than you were!” and suddenly hes proud of his driving skill, not frustrated by someones narcissistic driving.
      i do feel as tho i am constantly subtley tweaking things around me when dealing with people in order to find some harmony so i dont have to deal with drama and be drained out even faster!

      america
      you mentioned the hard working and the loving of great artists
      the thing is.. we like the low level hard workers for their sacrifice and work ethic.
      and then hate the overly greedy and nonstop ambitions high level ceo’s at the expense of their underlings.
      then we hate the low level artists wasting their lives and slacking off and “mooching off society”, and love the “great” artists who are famous (who spent 40 years being those slackers mooching off society while developing)
      murica! *eyeroll*

      cold hearted:
      if its a negative feeling, i will often struggle to cut myself off and zone out from the emotion, so i dont have to experience it, knowing i will EXPERIENCE IT. and seeing how some of the others are vaguely experiencing it. ive also not been able to do this, and had people tell me to stop being dramatic because its not happening to me, its happening to someone else. but it IS happening to me, and this is HOW its happening to me. i cant help that the person who is concretely having something happen to them is feeling it less than i would be feeling it! so its easier to try and cut myself off from it until later when i can live it out.

      laid back:
      when i 1 out of 100 times want something specifically MY way, i either get people who are so used to getting their way that they try to sway me (good luck) to their option, or people who are like “OMG ELIOT MADE A DECISION?!?!?!” and dramatically act like theyre fainting, or they check me for a fever. 😉

      intent:
      when i DO decide something, i feel the need to make sure people know WHY and that im not being selfish, its just X Y Z. and yes, i can totally see the dark side of how someone MIGHT take things when i DO decide something. if i could express the amount of energy i spend every day making sure people cant take what im saying or doing in a bad way…

      i just had to stand up for small business owners from some bigot in a neighborhood facebook group today, and then was told that i was being offensive. IM being offensive? ME? *holds up mirror*

      i have literally spent ALL DAY wondering how i messed up and they could somehow take my phrasing to possibly be rude or offensive. like i have #INFPfail’d myself! somehow my small business owner defense got turned into an attack on a bigot.. ok i keep saying bigot, but i didnt in the actual post 😉 my aikido was weak! 😀

      permission to go to 10:
      totally get that! i nail bite, i guess thats as physically self punishing as i get. but i do berate myself over emotions all the time. i think being a guy in his mid 30s and very emotional is a big part of it. i was by far THEE emotional person in my family all my life.
      and i can totally feel the feels just sitting there under the surface waiting for me to let my guard down enuf to burst out.
      my best friend, now for half my life (YAY BFF!) and i met going to see DEEP IMPACT. we literally barely spoke in person as we were rushing to the movie. we had chatted online for a few months casually in a chat room. the movie ends. im sitting there with the feels desperately trying to not feel. and he says “so… whatd you think?”
      *infp… 11!!!!*
      i burst into sobs and collapse into him drooling the words “TEA LEONI DIDNT HAVE TO DIIIIIIIIIIIE!”
      and we’ve been best friends ever since! lol
      and we still say “TEA LEONI!” every time something super sad and unnecessary happens! and then “but the waters receded…” when things have calmed down (also from the movie)

      logistical efficiency:
      whyyyyyyyyy do we have to have the weakness that seems so MOST important to AMERICA, lol
      *collapses to knees and screams to the heavens – exhausted desperate breaths*
      there are actually now programs that help infp-like people to run a small business. helping you to make templates for emails to clients, setting up reminders to get stuff done.. kind of like siri on crazy steroids, eating gmo corn and soy, and frothing at the mouth.
      very handy!

      thanks for the great listen!

  • Rebeka
    Reply

    I’m a wee bit behind but I listened to this episode today and I found myself nodding along vigorously. Particularly to the “INFPs might feel misunderstand but it’s not really a problem for them.” Not sure if it’s an “INFP thing” or if I should thank my dad for repeatedly telling us “if someone calls you weird take it as a compliment!” But I enjoy being a little off. My INFJ Sister also enjoyed it when we talked about it, she commented that it’s obvious INFPs must enjoy classifying themselves that way if some many emailed you because they also wanted to be acknowledged as feeling misunderstood. I am loving this site/podcast so much! Although I am having a bit of an I/E identity crisis!

    • Charis Branson
      Reply

      Thanks for the feedback, Rebeka! This week is INFP week at Personality Hacker, so keep your eyes out for INFP info.

  • Heather Contreras
    Reply

    I’ve been on a journey of self discovery. This podcast makes me feel validated in a huge sense and really gets down to why I feel the way I feel and gives voice to how I feel when I can’t find the right words to do so. There have been many times I couldn’t explain myself. When I’m asked why I think that way, my answer is “because I do”. To me it’s common sense or the most realistic answer but it’s looked it with one eye brow raised….lol. I have always had trouble with talking about love b/c I know how I feel and I feel deeply but I just don’t know the right words to express exactly how I feel.

    I also wanted to say something about the not feeling validated part of the podcast. I don’t feel validated b/c my view of the world is being considered Naive. I’m not naive. far from it. i just choose to see things different and treat people nicely and have a good attitude about the world. It doesn’t make me naive but the majority of people view it that way. Which causes me to feel like i’m not being validated. Does that make sense?

    As for the job part of the pod cast…YES!!! When I was younger, still in school, my passion was photography. I was set to go to photo school and follow my passion but then got pregnant and couldn’t go. Since then I have held “good” “normal” jobs but I haven’t always felt like I was living someone else’s life b/c these are jobs that you are “supposed” to hold. I worked in HR and am now a phone norse. I married an ISTJ recently that has encouraged me to pick up photography again, which I HAVE!!! and now have my own photo business while still working as a nurse until my photos pick up. Because of my photos my boss gave me a raving recommendation at the spa next door, so now i’m training to be a permanent make-up artist too. Eventually I hope to just to the photos and tattooing.

    I started this self discovery journey trying to figure out why I can’t be happy. No matter what i tried to change I couldn’t feel fulfilled. Taking the test on Personality Hacker and reading about my results has really changed my world and I finally feel validated in the way I feel and why I feel this way. I feel like i’m finally able to take steps in the right direction to be happy again.

    • Charis Branson
      Reply

      Awesome Heather! This is the feedback we live for! Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Good luck on your new career choices. 🙂

  • Lynne
    Reply

    Hi Joel and Antonia,

    Thank you both soooooo much for this podcast. I have been testing on the fence between INFJ and INFP for the longest time, and listening to this episode revealed that I am an INFP. The part about needing to have alignment in our choices , and often only knowing what the right decision for us after the fact completely resonated with me. Now in typing post-hoc analysis, I feel like while ensuring everyone’s needs mets is ideal (Harmony), if I have a strong stance on an issue close to my heart, I’m less privy to offending someone. Also, in retrospect, the happiest times in my life have some element of travel, and it makes so much sense now why traveling gives me so much joy.

    Thank you both again for the wonderful work you’re doing with the podcasts and the website. Looking forward to future episodes and articles!

    • Charis Branson
      Reply

      Thanks Lynne! I’m glad we helped you find some clarity on your type. 🙂

  • Nora
    Reply

    Thanks. I agree that it’s hard for infps to explain to others why they want to do something and that’s a hard problem. Also, when you were talking about assuming knowing how other people feel that really resonated. Sometimes people get really mad when I tell them how they feel but mostly they don’t tell me how I’m wrong.

    • Charis Branson
      Reply

      Thanks for the comment, Nora!

  • Barbara
    Reply

    Sounds right on target to me. Especially the parts about validating our intent. Very interesting. I will listen to this again! And read all the comments when I get time. Thanks!

    • Charis Branson
      Reply

      Thanks for the feedback, Barbara! The comments alone should take you awhile to get through. 😉

  • Mon
    Reply

    Thanks Antonia and Joel. I cried a little during listening. It’s terrible. I sometimes feel like a namby-pamby little baby that gets upset so much. The feelings run around so deep. I try to balance all this craziness with my Ne, working on it. It’s so hard when you feel so hard.

    • Charis Branson
      Reply

      Thank you for sharing Mon! 🙂

  • Sarah
    Reply

    That was really on point. Well done! I think all INFPs feel misunderstood. I wanted to mention that I think the maturity of an INFP can be determined by their reaction to this feeling. I think young, immature, or unhealthy INFPs are more prone to outwardly accuse people for making them feel invalidated, whereas an older and/or more developed INFP is more likely to accept it. Not to say these INFPs are emotionally unaffected by external invalidation, just that they have come to terms with it. I’ve noticed that the older I get, the more I understand where other people are coming from. I don’t claim to be extremely mature or wise, but I get why people don’t understand me. And I’m okay with that. I think if you yourself feel validated in who you are; it doesn’t matter what other people think. (Unless you’re a serial killer.) It also helps to surround yourself with like-minded people. My cousin (ENTP), twin sister (ENFP), and her boyfriend (who we think is an INTP or an INFP) all use Ne. This makes it easy for us to communicate with each other and, on some levels, understand each other. We are all interested in typology and we all have a desire and drive to understand each other. Our conversations are always intellectually stimulating and fun. I know “surrounding yourself with like-minded people” might be easier said than done, but it’s worth the effort. On a completely different note, I really identified with the dialogue about intense emotion. I think emotion, especially negative emotion, is something society would rather leave unexpressed. This makes people bottle their emotions which can explode at unexpected times or trap people in undesirable places. It’s better to just deal with it, either by having a good cry, listening to music, playing music, talking to someone, anything. If you can find a way to fully express a negative emotion in a healthy way, you will get over it. Thanks for a great podcast! I found it relatable and educational.

  • Orva
    Reply

    Hi:) the whole podcast was done really well and explained accurately. It has been very interesting since discovering MBTI and ever since, I’ve joined several FB groups, forums to learn about the other types as well as my own.
    The part where you mentioned about making use of the Ne and understanding your subjective can be different from others resonated a lot with me as I have been talking to other INFPs in the FB groups.
    I had joined the group to mostly find out how varying our values are to us albeit our shared thought process.
    I had actually shared on that group about being seen or appreciated mostly for being cheerful or light-hearted but not being seen as serious much. I wondered if this had occurred to them or what do they think about this. Some of others were questioning why should we act happy when we’re not? It made me realise with the lack of Ne, some people didn’t realise I was talking about being both cheerful, optimistic yet serious and loving to have ‘deep’ discussions.
    Somebody asked,” what would life be like for you if you got rid of that ‘cheerful’ mask?”
    I answered,” I don’t know. It’ll be dreadful I guess. I need my optimism as well as my serious side.”
    Another person resonated with this saying is like having an inner child yet also having an inner philosopher and needing that passionate or optimistic outlook to life while being self-perspective and seeking depth. Throughtout the discussion, it seemed difficult to get through to them because they felt strongly about not being put in ‘boxes’ by other people or wearing a ‘mask’when my point is not that at all.
    Another lady made a really good point about people seeing you as the fun-loving friend so when you act differently or not something they are used to, they don’t know how to respond to it.

    As much as I appreciate my Fi, I can see how it can be very frustrating when someone who is unable or doesn’t want to see from a different perspective.

    Another point is about INFPs not wanting to people to understand them completely. It’s such an oxymoron because we want our feelings validated but yet being scared of that rejection so we usually are very private and try to keep a distance until we are 1000% sure we can trust someone with our feelings and thoughts. It’s not so much about being authentic or different but whether out feelings are valid and make sense.

    The self-doubt is very true. I think many of the times, society’s or other people’s views on certain things may be different from ours that we question whether we are actually that cynical or evil for thinking differently. It goes hand in hand with validation. I think that’s why many INFPs hold back on expressing on stating their opinion which could confirm their self-doubt and thus, affecting how they see themselves and the beliefs they have. You’re right about Ne being very important. It helps them see they can have their own views and others have their own. It doesn’t have to be a fight about whose values are more ‘right’ than the other and viewing it as a personal attack. It is knowing other people have gone through other experiences that we may never have or never will go through so we can only imagine being in their position and seeing how they have that kind of perspective.

    The other types podcast have been very interested too! The other MBTI tyoes have been posting your podcasts and having really good comments for how relatable they were. Keep up the good work:D

    • Lucy Lysenko
      Reply

      I can very well relate) with the inner child side ( that Ne runs wild and keeps me up at night, especially when I did not let it play during the day. Fi represesents the ancient inner Old Wiseman/ Noble Knight side. I also have an inner Adult – Efficiency barking and seeking it’s orders – that one frequently gets trumped by Ne. Wonder what inner Mother side would be? I guess I lack that one, sine I’m so bad at self care..

  • Shoshana
    Reply

    Wow!! I really enjoyed your podcast and it has taught me a lot. I’m a 23 year old girl INFP MBTI geek lol. I walk around trying to see the functions in people for it helps me understand people more and also myself more! I like to see myself as an overall pretty healthy INFP thank Gd. When i interact with people. People think I’m extraverted and very logical (ha)i believe when I speak with people, in the best way I can, I am able to assess their emotions and separate them from mine, which is something I wasn’t so good at when I was younger. I’m in Social Work Grad school now and I think the tools i am learning there also help with this.

    Something particular actually i thought of is when you spoke about how if an INFP is using immature Fi then they can get other peoples emotions wrong. I work in a school, and my supervisor pointed out to me that sometimes I tend to “feed emotions.” Which means a client can say something like… “My father yelled at me” and I could say “wow that must have made you upset” (because i’m thinking how it would make me feel). Instead, however, the child felt angry! My supervisor said instead to break it step by step and see where the client is “how was that for you?”

    When you spoke about the self emotional harm, you gave me a lot of clarity i’ve been searching for a while. So thank you. I’m religious and I try to do things in the best way I can. When i notice bad things in myself though, like what you said I feel like no one is experiencing these things like I am, so I must be bad, and then it turns into a loop like “what’s the point in even trying.” Then i just get upset and down. You gave me clarity that because i’m just super hyper aware of these things that’s normal and other types just don’t recognize as much, but I need to validate it then move on and not let it define me. So thank you for that!!!!

    Also I resonate what you spoke about that it’s not that i feel misunderstood rather I need to feel validated…

    Also the main thing i struggle in my life is yup… like getting necessary things done! Laundry, errands, or even doing something I don’t want to do… I’m able to do these things though because of the pressure of keeping everything up and not being too overwhelmed in the long run. It’s interesting i know another INFP and she hands in all the assignments in late past the due date (sometimes the teachers care but most of the time not so much) and she can get away with it. I really try to avoid giving in assignments late because, frankly, I don’t want to be bothered with it anymore… so I want to get it done as fast as possible so I could do the things I want to do (well usually I do it last minute lol). So i think that’s interesting.

    Ah thanks for this. Can’t wait to listen to the INFJ podcast (kind of obsessed with them)

  • Evan Ishida
    Reply

    Dear Joel,

    It would be great if it was possible to download it.
    I don´t have a good bandwith here where I´m living at so I download almost everything outside.

    If you read this and figure out some way to do it, please, let me know.

    Regards from Brazil.

    Evan.

  • Lucy Lysenko
    Reply

    Dear Antonia and Joel,

    After the podcast I’m convinced I’m INFP.
    I agree 100% with all the points here.

    INTP:

    1. “Feels right” is hard to back up. Prefer intuition for decision making. I am MD. Intuitive based decision making works well for the patients, but gets hard to teach doctors in trainng who want “evidence based medicine” and do not understand the logics of choosing one treatment option over another.
    2. Need for validation – definitely so, especially in STJ medical society..
    3.Being marginalized – and marginalizing ( to avoid unnecessary interaction)
    4. Feeling inherently “bad” – can not stand criticism – than I feel 100% bad ( if: I was brutally reprimanded for being habitually late – I felt like the worst doctor ever, doubted my ability at every level and even considered quitting my job)
    5. Not allowing emotions to happen keeps them from going away
    6. Struggle with efficiency( luckily I have a secretary:)
    7. Boring to do self care and house care. I’m a procrastinator.
    7. Self punishment, and even self destructive behavior – goes along with boredome of self cared
    8. Need to tap into “passion mode” to be motivated ( then nothing can stop me)
    9. Knowing what I want is hard. I tend to substitute “what feels right” by “what I think should be right”. In mid thirties – still have very undefined goals. Even knowing what I want for dinner is a challenged My boyfriend has to ask me: “do you want sushi”? ” Do you want Chinese”? “Do you want aitalian?” With a pause Fter each sentence so I could tap not my feelings in regards to each option.
    10. I do have internal honor-style principles. For a long time 3 Mouchketers was my favorite book.
    11. Once I start, I can not stop. Get too much lost in mental process to go to bed or to do self care.
    I wonder if you have observed ADD/ADHD traits in many NFPs? Inattention to boring routine staff, lack of efficiency, Hyperfocus, seeing thing from different angles – all features are there!

    • Carli
      Reply

      I love that you are an INFP doctor. I think there are a few limiting beliefs about INFP’s out there that convinces us we should only focus on less methodical careers when it’s actually all about passion.

      I wanted to reply to your ADHD comment. I am a teacher/tutor to some kids diagnosed with ADHD and have felt a kinship towards them.

      I think the features you mentioned are as a result of, amongst other things, our P-function. Someone explained it to me this way: the J-funcition is linear, meaning that they approach things step by step. J’s have this amazing ability to “keep at it”, no matter how long it takes, until the job is done (the ones I know, anyway). The P-function is more like a web. One thought springs into five others which in turn each have ten of their own. We have the ability to be linear, but why would we when we are being reminded of fifty other things we could be thinking of? This in conjunction with all those feelings…

  • Luke
    Reply

    Omg what you say about emotional Akido was so funny. I’ve related to that my entire life! Even as a young child, I could manipulate emotions in another person into something more positive, like love. As a male INFP growing up I could easily do this with my sister when I wanted to bring a different outcome in a situation. Present day, I now experience this in helping people emote what they themselves feel. I love getting that out of people because it’s encouraging to me when I’m emoting. I believe INFPs can be great counsellors naturally. I really resonated to the topic on validation. As I’ve matured, I’ve learned to validate myself. That’s huge! Thanks so much for this podcast! The car model has helped me so much with my life! Getting into Exploration has been very exciting.

  • Josephine
    Reply

    Darn you, Personality Hacker. This is the second time you’ve made me cry in the last month! 🙂

    I am an ENFP, but I was listening to this podcast so that my INFP brother-in-law and I could do our own private podcast post-mortem discussion when we saw each other over the Xmas holiday.

    I was totally unprepared for how your discussion of Authenticity would affect me so profoundly. I was listening to it while driving and found myself having to pull over to the side of the road because I was worried that my sobbing would cause me to wreck my car.

    Joel did a far better job of articulating his feelings than I would have, when he said that he so “strongly resonated” with what Antonia said about how Authenticity users want those around them to validate the process by which they arrive at decisions. In fact I’m still struggling to put into words the intense reverb I felt while listening to this podcast; and it was at this point that I started to cry. Not because I was sad, I cried because my feelings were so intense and conflicting.

    The whole experience still feels ineffable to me. But I can say that I felt both relieved and grateful that I now had a vocabulary to explain my process and motivations to others.

    I also felt frustrated with myself because I realized that I, too, had drunk the “Effectiveness Kool-Aid.” Effectiveness is lauded so highly in American culture, that it has completely dominated . And since Authenticity is by many measures the antithesis of Effectiveness, it’s little wonder that Authenticity users often feel de-valued and dismissed.

    I grew up in a family with an ENTJ father, INTJ mother, and ISTJ sister. No one in my family honored or respected my unique gifts. In fact, throughout my life, those around me would sometimes censure me for being what they perceived as overly emotional or self-centered.

    Thinking about this makes my anger flare. I can accept that non-Authenticity users don’t understand my process. (Until I began embracing cognitive function theory, I didn’t understand theirs very well either.) But NFPs and SFPs face the additional challenge of standing tall and believing in the value of their Authenticity process while living in a culture that inundates all of us with the idea that we should value Effectiveness above all else.

    But I’m most angry with myself. I’ve been my own worst enemy in all of this. I internalized our culture’s “Effectiveness-Is-The-Best-Way-To-Make-Decisions” value system, which means I developed an picture in my head of how I should be that I will never be able to live up to. I can look back over my life and so clearly see now how my worst decisions almost always when I dismiss and de-value what my Authenticity function is telling me.

    All day long, I’ve been immersing myself in various fantasies about how I’ll respond the next time someone challenges me about how I arrived at a decision. At the end of each scenario the other person is exasperated because I’m unable to explain my decision-making process to their satisfaction. This results in them saying (with disdain in their voice), “Tell me again why exactly it is that you think that?” Just before I turn around and swagger off, I reply, “Because I just feel like it’s the right thing to do – and that should be good enough justification for the both of us.”

    Authenticity users unite!!!

    P.S. [I know my fantasy isn’t as cool as Antonia’s sniper revenge fantasy, nonetheless it gives me a wonderfully self-righteous sense of satisfaction. Now if I could only figure out how to work weapons and assasinations into it. 😉 ]

  • Veronica
    Reply

    First: I love Personality Hacker! You guys are doing such a great job! I find your style of communication to be both passionate and open-minded, yet in tune with reality. (As you can tell from my wording, I sometimes have a hard time with that. Yep, the reality thing.) You are endlessly inspiring. Thank you!

    I am an INFP myself and this podcast was spot on! I already feel the urge to write a thousand pages, but I’m not going to that. Instead I want to present an idea to you guys. At the moment I’m jumping from podcast to podcast (literally, from 55 to 42 to 72 to …) so I don’t know if you have mentioned this already, but I’m just going to throw it out there: What are your thoughts on Fi outbursts and Fi blending?

    ********

    ELABORATION:
    I am sure there are multiple blending styles among the different decision making processes, but as you mentioned during this podcast Authenticity really does have a hard time coming up with good explanations. When I look back at my childhood, I realize that the Fi (Authenticity) in me offered two extremes: 1) outbursts and 2) blending.

    1) Outbursts: While I was usually a laid-back girl with my head in the clouds, sometimes I would grab a sword and fight the fight. I must have been a paradox to my parents. I always wanted to manage everything by myself (getting dressed, eating food – you name it), yet I was extremely shy and anxious when meeting new people. At school I was withdrawn, yet at home I had no problems leading a group of friends. Luckily for me, my mother is an ISFP and I believe that she understood (at least until I got all Ne…).

    Not wanting to go to a restaurant without having a rational explanation is completely valid in my family. I feel so blessed to have grown up with mostly FPs, and think this has given me space to accept my Fi and develop it. When someone at home had an outburst we understood the intent, accepted the outcome of it and moved on with our lives. However, as I grew older I realized that the real world didn’t work like that.

    2) Blending: The older I got, the quicker I lost in debates. People started demanding rational explanations and I became more cautious of my preferences. In my teen years, I was ripped apart by FJs and TJs. Sometimes I would try to hide my Fi in order to be as rational as possible (read: to be perceived as intelligent). That made me rely heavily on my Si, making me anxious and no fun. Yes, I felt intelligent because I was great at pairing my Si with my Ne, but I didn’t feel at ease until I could release my Ne with its natural companion Fi. Luckily for me, this happened as soon as in high school because I was attending a music program. 🙂

    An example of Fi blending: I knew that I should play with my friends (logic), but I wanted to sit inside and write stories (gut feeling / happy place). My ESTJ friend didn’t understand my needs, and since I was in “the wrong” I often tended to her needs instead. She was a master at debating, and since I realized that my feelings were “wrong” in societal terms, I had no choice but to play with her. Make no mistake, she was a wonderful person, but I was being suffocated.

    ********

    Have you heard similar stories that can resonate with my idea of Fi outbursts and Fi blending? Perhaps from INFPs that have taken a wrong turn in their life because they have been out-argued, thus blended in with the culture of Effectiveness? Just as intuitive blending (love this concept, by the way!) resonates among N-types, perhaps Fi blending is just as real for FPs? My theory is that some INFPs mask themselves as ISTJs (due to double blending: Ne+Fi) in order to survive in the external world. What do you think about this concept?

    I would love to hear from you. Good luck with all your future work! I’m rooting for you guys 🙂

    • Veronica
      Reply

      Sorry, I said I wouldn’t write too much but I just had another idea I feel like sharing with you! Hope you don’t mind 🙂

      Recently I had to explain why my ENFP colleague at work was having an outburst to my two other colleagues, an ENTP and an INFJ. It still surprises me a little when people aren’t familiar with this phenomenon (read: temperamental outburst that seems irrational), because my family is so accepting of it. Although – this makes me feel a little arrogant, but – I’m 25 years old at the moment, and it feels as though I’ve developed my Fi more, perhaps because my Ne provides me with “emotional aikido”? (love this concept as well!) For whatever reason I seem to be very understanding around such outbursts (uniquely so), while other people have a tendency to run the other way.

      Therefore, if I could make a request, I would love to see an article about “Fi outburst” (or whatever the name). I believe that there are different kinds of outbursts, and that people could benefit from learning about them. At the top of my head I’m naming them offensive and defensive, and they’re hypothetical but feels pretty real to me. Perhaps Joel can resonate with this as an ENFP?

      OFFENSIVE:
      The offensive outbursts, I imagine, are caused by energy that needs an outlet (for whatever reason) and ends up being spent on attacking something or someone. This is an unhealthy version where the energy could have been spent on something else (art, learning, etc).

      DEFENSIVE:
      The defensive outbursts, on the other hand, is energy that is triggered because one gets defensive of a cause, a certain memory or topic, etc. This type of outburst can be productive because you dare to stand up for the things you believe in, but it can be unhealthy as well if you have decided that (for example) “all alcohol is bad” and your Ne is not taken into account.

      Have you experienced these tendencies yourself? Excited to share my ideas with you! And again: good luck with everything! I love your podcast 🙂

  • Mickayla
    Reply

    Visiting ENTP here. I have a question for any INFP’s who are willing to reply. I have a friend who tested for INFP multiple times and he said he related to alot of what the INFP profile said, but recently he has been saying he thinks he is an INTP. I have no problem with him being an INTP of course it’s just he only started thinking he was an INTP after we started talking about what our other two close friend’s personalities were. One of our friends is an INTP and the other is an ENTP. I was wondering if as an INFP it would be plausible for him to try to be an INTP so he would be more similar to us? I’m really not all that great at gauging emotions or emotional behavior. I have no idea whats wrong or if there is even anything wrong.
    Thanks alot
    -Mickayla-

    • Jemma
      Reply

      Hi Mickayla,
      Not sure if you’ll get this but thought I’d reply anyway. It’s possible that your friend really doesn’t trust who he is and feels as though his thought processes are wrong somehow. INFPs are highly adaptable, and being that we can put ourselves in other people’s shoes (thoughts and feelings-wise) we can feel what others are feeling, and completely understand others thought processes. Because of this ability to adapt so easily to allow for those around him maybe he’s allowed himself to get a bit lost in more dominating personality types. This is just a hypothesis, only your friend knows what’s going on inside his head, and if he really is an INFP then it’s likely a bottomless pit!

  • Bryan
    Reply

    Wow, It actually brought tears to my eyes when you started talking about intent.

    • Hal
      Reply

      yep

  • Pamela
    Reply

    This is so incredibly accurate! I just LOVE that someone has taken the time to attempt to understand how an INFP feels! I’m listening to this alone in my living room and yelling out “YES!!! That’s what I’ve been trying to say!!!”. I wish this was required listening for everyone that knows an INFP.

  • Carli
    Reply

    I have never heard this explanation before. Thank you so much for taking the time to try and explain INFP’s!

    I had such a hard time career-wise. I used to always want to make decisions based on what my gut-feeling screams is right. Only, when I try to explain my real life decisions, I would rarely have facts and logic to back it up. In the early stages of my life, it confused me when people countered my decisions with facts and logic and I started doubting myself and trying my best to “follow the path” despite a deep inner resistance and belief that I was right. This was me going to university just to get a degree (it’s what is expected), despite having absolutely no idea what I wanted to do. It was a safe and logical decision. I failed miserably at university (any other INFP’s who failed in the education system?)

    Later, having developed enough to know that my feelings are valid, I started experiencing frustration when my decision-making process was dismissed (mostly by my family). I would get angry and become an irrational INFP. One of the most freeing experiences has been discovering that my personality is valid and necessary and that I NEED to follow my passions.

    A turning moment in the podcast, for me, was while you were explaining the authenticity decision-making process. I had to pause the podcast and go, “What? Are you saying there is NOTHING WRONG WITH MY DECISION-MAKING PROCESS?”

    What an intense moment of healing. Thank you.

    As a side note, I am now an INFP who has discovered a burning passion. I want to revolutionise the education system in my area to accommodate more of the outliers (kids with ADHD, autism, “delinquents”, etc). I am super keen to tackle my degree now!

    Thank you for believing in the INFP 🙂

  • Jennifer M.
    Reply

    These comments are made in reference to the later part of the video. Please note that they do not apply to all INFPs, but I think they apply to enough INFPs to make them applicable.

    Intense Feelings and the INFP: Antonia may be correct, to some degree, to suggest that INFPs have difficulty in staying present with intense emotions is a function of feeling it’s wrong. Intense emotions that are judged as “wrong” or “bad” may be disowned. Or it may seem as if there is not be a socially acceptable way to express these feelings. But I think it should be emphasized that some individuals who experience intense emotions are lack the CAPACITY to HOLD or TOLERATE these feelings through no fault of their own. Some people have simply never acquired the skills to deal with their feelings in a healthy or constructive way. For example, if you are an INFP and you grow up in an invalidating environment, and you are sensitive and you cry, you’re not going to get love, support, guidance and sympathy from a narcissist parent. I think this is why some INFPs may have a rougher time of it than other types. They felt misunderstood as children by their parents and this experience is later mirrored in adulthood.

    Self Harm and the INFP: Cutting is a way to release intolerable feelings such as the pain associated with the rejection or abandonment of an important person in their life (which often is reminiscent of this experience in childhood), for example. I have a theory that because of the inherent sensitive nature of the INFP, growing up in an invalidating, emotionally/verbally abusive, or violent home can make the intensity of trauma response greater than it might be for another type (for example a sibling that is non-INFP) I think other personality types might be more immune from the effects of emotional abuse. (btw: empirical research has suggested that being subjected to emotional abuse can be more harmful than physical abuse in childhood).

    The Universal Experience of Pain & Suffering: Buddhists understand this. And I also think INFPs understand this and can bring the gift of deep compassion and listening to the world, perhaps because they understand what pain and suffering is on a personal level better than most other people. I think Thich Nhat Hanh might be an INFP. Here’s a short interview with him about compassionate listening; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyUxYflkhzo Sounds like the INFP to me.

    Why Not Feel the Full Intensity of Feelings?: People with a childhood history of trauma, abuse and neglect cannot realistically “go to ten and feel the emotion” as Antonia suggested because they are not fully emotionally regulated individuals. This means that they cannot choose to ‘dial down’ once they become overly sensitized by the environment. They cannot be present to the full range of their feelings because they have not integrated their earlier painful childhood experiences. I’m not saying this is applicable to all INFPs, but it might apply to some that experience difficulties with staying present with intense feelings. It’s natural for people to want to escape intense feelings because it can feel scary to feel a loss of control. That’s often why people use drugs and alcohol or take benzos – to numb the pain associated with intense feelings.

    Invalidating Childhood Environments/Neuroscience: While many INFPS may not actually be trauma survivors, they may have felt invalidated as young children – they may not have felt seen, heard and understood – and that lack of validation and healthy attachment can cause in a person’s brain chemistry as neuroscience research demonstrates. Self punishment or self harm is indicative of a non-integrated state. It’s also can serve as a messenger that a childhood part of ourselves that is still dealing with unresolved pain.

    I hope anyone who reads this knows that I am not trying to pathologize INFPs. I think INFPs great depth of feelings, sensitivity, compassion and creativity is a great gift to the world. I love INFPs. Unfortunately, the world is not always kind to sensitive souls. Although I am not an INFP, I have my own trauma history as an INTJ/INFJ I feel I can resonate with the depth of pain that some INFPs feel. I wanted to reach out to other INFPs that might feel they need some additional help. If you are someone who is still struggling with issues from your childhood past, please know that there are professional trauma therapists that can help you. On a personal note: I have found Jungian shadow work and archetypal work with a transpersonal therapist very useful in integrating the darker aspects of myself. There is nothing wrong with the dark. Wrong only comes into play when we try to deny it, displace it, reject it, project it onto others. There cannot be light without dark as Carl Jung wisely teaches us

  • CJ
    Reply

    I have just recently discovered personalityhacker, so I am late to add my comments here. I thought I would share a couple of things as an older (mid-50’s) INFP. The first is about explaining my decisions to other people who don’t understand or value my decision-making process. Our feelings of authenticity come from the core values we have developed and spend our entire lives refining. INFP values can vary greatly from one person to another, which is why some of us don’t fit the stereotypes that people expect from our type. When I need to explain to someone else why I have made a decision, I usually get better results if I frame it in terms of making a choice that that aligns with one or more of my specific core values. The second thing is about actually making decisions and that pesky thing about not knowing for sure whether a decision is right until it is already made. When I have to make a difficult or major decision, I do my usual thing to make a preliminary decision. Then I put all of my vivid imagination to work at really living with the decision. In a day or so my gut will tell me if it is the right decision. It used to drive my ISTJ husband nuts, but over time he realized that because of our shared values we usually come to the same decision using our radically different processes.

  • Irene
    Reply

    Yes, definitely as sn INFP I feel marginalized and dismissed more than misunderstood. Peculiar pain sounds familiar, too!

  • Hh
    Reply

    Thank you so much for this. I think I will start to give myself permission to be how I am, how I want to be. Never felt so validated on my life. Got me crying all the way through.

  • lee
    Reply

    Thank you for this pod cast. I found it eye opening. I have known for a long time that I am an INFP. It wasn’t until finding your website that I began to understand and become interested in the cognitive functions that basically wire my brain and thus create the tendencies that make me an INFP. It’s incredible how it illuminates my soul, which is probably my life’s mission. With some thought, I believe that I have been a turbulent INFP that is in the “maturing stage”. One key indicator that I’m not a “mature INFP” is that I haven’t found my life’s work and I am often thinking what could I be doing that could truly be right for me. It didn’t help that I found out I had undiagnosed ADD as well, which would impact any type, but I can’t help but feel, especially my type. I have understood on so many levels that I have been marginalized in society for who I am and also for undiagnosed ADD tendencies. However, I am on my path towards truth and self-actualization. For a long time I didn’t want to be an INFP because it felt like I was marginalized so often in my life for it but I couldn’t deny it was true. Still, I acted like a chameleon in many situations because it was a skill I had due to my ability to mirror others emotions. It was my survival technique. I think that knowing your type and how to work with it is basically everyone’s path towards self-actualization as defined by Maslow. Some types can live their type without fully understanding how it works. I know as an INFP it would have been incredibly hard for me to be true to myself with out having understood my wiring and my type. Types who naturally fit with our culture will likely be able to “mature” more easily than types who are traumatized or marginalized for their truth. Some things you said that I think aren’t inherently true to INFP’s though are that we want to be understood for our process and our feeling maps that actually make a lot of sense. That doesn’t mean I need to be understood compIetely but I do think that I want more than validation that it works for me. I want validation that it works for any decision that needs to made based on values rather than logic. There are so many decisions like this that need to be made and I want others to see me as an expert in this. mature INFPs know deeply how this is such a stumbling block in our lives to have a process that no one will validate and/can’t validate. I would love for society to see the error in their ways because it is so painful to me and all INFPs

  • Lee
    Reply

    I’m curious what personality type would feel most marginalized? I tendencies, F decision making tendencies, and tendencies to be weak on accuracy and effectiveness makes me think INFP’s might be the most marginalized of them all. We are very counter-cultural. Which could lead to us having a hard time being healthy best versions of ourselves.

  • henry
    Reply

    INFP PROCRASTINATORS UNTIL WE’RE NOT

  • Camille Padilla
    Reply

    I cannot thank you enough for this podcast. I am almost in tears. I really needed this having had some issues and been upset about being INFP. And, the fact that you point out the INFJ and INFP differences helps a lot too. This is the first thing that has given me a little bit of being ok of owning this. This is huge, thank you guys so much!!

  • Tamera
    Reply

    I’m still unsure of my type, but I feel like I relate to this a lot… especially the part where Joel basically says (paraphrasing) that it’s not just that we can see where humans go dark, but we see it go there in ourselves. In my day to day life, this resonates because it’s so easy for awful immoral thoughts to pop up out of nowhere. And, when this happens, I end up loathing myself. But, at the same time, I am also compassionate towards myself, reminding my core that I am not the only one who struggles with this. I wonder if our brains conjure these dark thoughts and feelings as a means of testing our inner values. And in some way, this probably happens in every human. If you’ve ever heard of the tale “Two Wolves”, you’ll know that in this tale, the grandfather is telling his grandson there is a war going on inside us.

    A grandfather is talking with his grandson and he says there are two wolves inside of us which are always at war with each other.

    One of them is a good wolf which represents things like kindness, bravery, and love. The other is a bad wolf, which represents things like greed, hatred, and fear.

    The grandson stops and thinks about it for a second then he looks up at his grandfather and says, “Grandfather, which one wins?”

    The grandfather quietly replies, “The one you feed.”

  • StrangeLoop
    Reply

    http://www.theadvertiser.com/videos/news/2016/07/18/87264708/

    Discussion on the racial content aside (welcomed after I get my question answered tho ;-),

    What are your guesses as to this mans personality type? Given he seems so skilled at mapping his inner experience, emotions, etc I see hints of an INFP…yet if you’re that skilled at ur inner map- it’d likely be a map w/ no labels, emotions w/ no names, etc. and you’d also have a verbal communication deceit. In which type would these two qualities intersect? The skilled inner mapping AND skilled communication/eloquence/articulation verbally….much less publicly at this type of forum!

    I find the verbal communication deficit a huuuuge stumbling block in my life as an INFP, so this post & question is just my attempt to unpack it all a bit better. The inability to explain yourself accurately & adequately EVER, is not how to show in the world as your best self….in addition to the fact that its frustrating AF. Wanting to take a closer look at the types that have been able to accomplish both & see how they did it. Know more about the minutiae- which is why I’ve posted this very specific clip….I couldn’t just rely on asking the question in a specific enough way that I would find out the information I’m after…..so I had to find a PERFECT example of something I want to know more about & show it you first & ask about that.

    Thanks in advance y’all!

  • Jennifer
    Reply

    Argh…It’s need really hard for me to listen to this podcast. I noticed as I was typing this, my lip was still slightly curled from listening to Antonia describe, well, basically the whole thing. I perceived dislike/scorn/frustration and oddly enough, judgement. And maybe it’s just me, but I took an instant step back from her because of it. Tone and annunciation are big-time tools in my belt; I can decipher tones, cuts, clips, drawls, trills, etc etc and get a good idea of what is really being said. Sometimes it is what it is, other times there are undertones of things not being said.

    I personally prefer not to feel judged. It makes me angry. Trivialized. And I suppose I may feel a touch superior because I’ve gone through mental ww3 through ww-I-lost-count and have seen so many perspectives and considered so many ideas, that I’ve earned my stripes to have an opinion that isn’t dismissed before I’ve even finished my stammering. Heh. I just can’t get the message from my brain to my mouth in order to describe what i know. I end up getting treated like a child who gets a pat on the head. Or getting told to, “get over it already”, or my absolute favorite, “What’s wrong with you? Just pull yourself up by your….” blah blah, heard that one before.

    • Antonia Dodge
      Reply

      Wow. Well, it doesn’t sound like you took objection to anything I said. You just don’t really like my voice. Or, rather, my vocal intonation. Which is totally fine – not everyone’s gonna dig the pipes or how I talk, and it would be silly to assume they would.

      That said, I’m baffled how you picked up dislike/scorn/frustration/judgment from me, particularly about INFPs. My ex-husband who remains one of my closest friends is an INFP, as was as my late best friend, a person who I saw as both friend and mentor. I’ve always seemed to attract them through life and have an admitted bias toward the type. Is it possible you’re projecting onto me something that isn’t mine?

      -A-

  • Kellie
    Reply

    I just want to applaud what you guys do. I’ve waffled between INFP and INFJ forever (and actually just tested as INFJ on your site). After listening to both podcasts, I can say with confidence I’m an INFP. Listening to this felt like you guys knew me personally. I particularly liked how you explained the difference in how INFJs and INFPs read and experience others’ emotions. You explained exactly how I put myself in others shoes. For instance, I might compare a friend’s romantic troubles to some of my own in the past, to the point that I can vividly recall how I felt–I’m then able to empathize with and validate her experience while also reframing it so she can see the positive in the situation that I came to learn. You also perfectly captured the paradoxical feelings of uniqueness vs. connection to all of humanity, particularly through an artistic lens. Finally, you did a wonderful job of describing the dark side of INFPs. I think one reason we feel misunderstood is that many type descriptions paint us as these dreamy, optimistic fairies. I will definitely be listening to this podcast again to fully digest it!

  • Amos
    Reply

    I often feel lost and can’t understand life, and there are those short moments where I feel that I understand myself and feel calm, when I listen to you guys, those good moments extend, I feel like you opened my head and saw what’s in there, you really encouraged me to explore more, I really want to go out my comfort zone but I’m a little bit hesitated, there’s a lot to learn from you and I’m sure that will help with the hesitation.

    Note for Antonia: your words are very inspirational and motivate me, but please can you slowdown, I know you’re passionate and sincere when you talk, you mentioned a lot of great ideas and I need to take my time to validate them and connect them with other ideas.

    Thank you

    Greetings from Saudi Arabia

  • Jemma
    Reply

    Wow, numerous aspects of that podcast literally reduced me to tears because of the depth of understanding that’s been portrayed. Particularly in relation to being marginalised and dismissed – this is something I’ve felt my entire life, and you guys just summed it up perfectly. I only found out my type at the beginning of the year and it’s been a total game changer for me, and as a flow-on, to my family as we discovered that we have two INFPs and two INFJs in our immediate family. Reading and listening to the research that people like the two of you have done totally validates aspects of who we are and has made us feel like it’s actually ok to be the way we are. I’m now studying to be a counsellor which is all I’ve ever wanted.

    I also loved that you went over how to get things done and the types to surround yourself with. My future husband is an ISTJ which can be challenging at times as we’re soooo different, but he is everything that I need to get me mobile! I’m a Christian and feel that God put him in my life for a reason and for us to learn from each other, and when you mentioned that INFPs should surround themselves with ISTJs in particular it just affirmed so much for me.

    Antonia, your appreciation of our type was quite evident and I felt you really understood us, which is no mean feat considering we’re walking contradictions at times, and especially considering that it’s very different to your own type.

    Thank you to both of you for your incredible insight, keep up the good work!

    Jemma

  • Strings
    Reply

    I think I finally understand why it bothers me so much when people say, “I think a lot of people feel that way.” No! It’s my feeling. It’s not the same as everyone else’s. Maybe some people feel better that they aren’t alone in a feeling, but that phrase just makes me feel “misunderstood”

  • Val Flynn
    Reply

    As an INFP you guys are totally nailing it! My struggle is much more about being marginalized and dismissed than it is being misunderstood. my desire to be understood has way more to do with being validated as an intelligent, capable human being. I need this validation from others so that I can also give it to myself.

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