INFP Survey: 5 Things INFPs Wish They Had Known as Teens



This fall, Personality Hacker has taken on the ambitious goal of flooding our media channels with content on every one of the 16 Myers-Briggs Types. Each week we have been sending out surveys to everyone on our mailing list asking for feedback on their specific type.

This week is INFP week, and we have received the greatest response to our survey of any type so far. Over 230 INFPs took the survey and told us:

  • What the top 3 challenges of INFPs are;
  • What 3 things INFPs wish others knew about them;
  • What 3 books/movies/courses/events have impacted their lives the most;
  • What do they wish they had known as a 15 year old adolescent?

The responses were fascinating and we are grateful to our community for taking the time to share their deeply private observations.

In this article, I would like to focus on the last of the four survey questions – What do you wish you could have told your 15 year old self

Many of the answers shared some common denominators. So, I have broken them all down to 5 items INFPs wish they had known when they were 15 years old, in order of frequency. And since INFPs are the poets of the world, I have included some direct quotes.

#1 Believe in Yourself

In the survey, 19% of INFPs responded that they wished they could tell their adolescent self to be true to themselves and stop worrying about what other people think. This had the highest percentage of any other item. So, the best thing an INFP teen can be told is that they are okay just the way they are. Yes, they are different, and being different is not only okay – it is awesome!

Direct quotes:

  • “Don’t worry what anybody else thinks. You are you and that is all that matters.”
  • “Be true to yourself, always. Never be afraid of who you are.”
  • “Don’t try so hard to lose yourself and your pain in the service of others.”
  • “Stop worrying! Just be who you are supposed to be and not what others want or think   you should be.”  
  • “Be less self conscious. Appreciate the good qualities you are blessed with and don’t concentrate on your perceived inadequacies.”
  • “Don’t let other’s opinions make you hate yourself. Use the fire inside of you to warm the cold-hearted and use your understanding of human nature to bind up the broken-hearted.”

#2 Be Open to Endless Possibilities

INFPs path to growth and happiness is Extraverted Intuition. In the Genius System, we call it “Exploration.” 14% of respondents in the survey indicated they understood this important aspect of their personal growth. Many INFPs wish someone had told them to get out and explore the world while they still had their whole lives ahead of them.

Direct quotes:

  • “Do not aim for the norm. Don’t play it so safe. Don’t even try to be like someone else. Spend a lot of time learning new things. Allow yourself to be happy.”
  • “Experience is the greatest teacher.”
  • “Play hard, meet more people, and don’t decline opportunities just because you’re afraid of the spotlight. Don’t stop when things get difficult. It will all be worth it later.”
  • “Explore more in order to know more about yourself.”
  • “The moment is now. Pursue your dreams!”
  • “Aim higher than you think is possible.”

#3 Time Heals All Wounds

This next category surprised me in its intensity and frequency. 11% of INFPs wanted to tell their 15 year old selves that “things always get better.” As I read through the survey, I got a distinct feeling that there was a great deal of adolescent wounding in the INFP community. The overall message from adult INFPs to their younger selves was: “Things are never as bad as they seem.”

Direct Quotes:

  • “Life is bigger than any problems you think you have. Choose to love life and you can be happy – you’ll find a way to be happy!”
  • “Dig deeper to find what you love. Everything unpleasant will wash away in the river of time. Without direction…purpose…You will wander through life never knowing what it is you truly love(d) about it.”
  • “Don’t worry, adulthood will be a better fit for you than adolescence or childhood was. ;)”
  • “It will turn out okay in the end, regardless of whether you stress out or not. Hate is like a liquid which only destroys the vessel in which it is in, and doesn’t affect the person you hate. People are only human in the end, and events are only chapters in life’s book. Don’t set big expectations. Believe in yourself.”
  • “Hard times lie ahead. Even when all hope seems lost, stay true to yourself, persevere, and you’ll find your way.”

#4 Love Yourself

This next category may sound like the first, but it had some important distinctions. 10% of INFPs wished they could tell their 15 year old selves that they had value and mattered. Most important of all, they wanted to make sure their adolescent self started early the never ending project of loving oneself.  

Direct Quotes:

  • “You’re not perfect. No one else is either. People aren’t judging you like you think they are. You need to accept who you are – the good, bad and ugly – and know that we are all in the same boat. Learn to love yourself and value what you feel and think as important.”
  • “There is NOTHING wrong with you. Being smart and sensitive are two of your superpowers. You are wired differently from most people– stop trying to change and start learning to understand.”
  • “Have confidence, mate, and people will admire you for it.”
  • “Confidence will pull your life together.”
  • “You don’t have to hide who you are.”
  • “It’s okay to hurt inside. It never goes away it just takes you longer to understand why you feel that way. Stop cutting. Go for walks in the rain by yourself, listen to music, learn how to do something you love (and give yourself credit for being good at it). Do something for yourself that makes you feel special. One day, you will realize that you are a beautiful person. Learn to love yourself. And don’t give up on someone loving you.”

#5 You Are Not Alone

Teenagers are notorious for picking the wrong friends or trying to fit in with people who aren’t worthy of the effort. INFPs are no different. The only difference being the profound wounding that comes when rejection ensues – given and received.

8% of INFPs would tell their younger selves to spend time with people who actually matter. People who didn’t make the INFP feel like they, and their feelings, weren’t important. And 3% of that 8% wishes they had been more aware of the people who did matter and hadn’t taken so many relationships for granted. This is a melancholy statistic.

Direct Quotes:

  • “Don’t ever worry about or be ashamed of not fitting in – just find your people instead of trying to be someone you’re not.”
  • “You will find your people.”
  • “Don’t close yourself off from people. You will find friends that care for you. You are truly and most sincerely not alone. You don’t love who you are now, but I do. You will learn to speak up and not feel embarrassed about it. And, you will come to find a love that you’ve never known before. Embrace it. There are bigger and greater things in life than constantly feeling sorry for yourself. Go take a chance.”
  • “It’s perfectly okay to be “weird”. Some people find your quirkiness and mysteriousness intriguing. Those who are interested are the people who are worth your time.”
  • “Don’t take relationships for granted, including “trivial” acquaintances. In adult life, out of school, and without roommates, making friends takes concerted effort, as you won’t be immersed in a social pool of people your age anymore. A completely introverted lifestyle isn’t that rose-colored.”
  • “The best friends to have are not part of a clique.”
  • “”Take the lead on finding friends and don’t wait for them to find you. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the wittiest person in the room, just be nice, caring, and positive, and that matters a lot more. It’s okay to be different — in fact, it’s interesting. Mean people never disappear, but they do become irrelevant.”

Do What You Love

Some of the less common suggestions offered by INFPs were:

  • Don’t be afraid (7%)
  • Trust yourself (7%)
  • Do what you love (6%)
  • Don’t give up! (4%)
  • Don’t let anyone say you’re too sensitive (3%)
  • Nobody else is obsessing as much as you are, so get over it. (2%)

INFPs comprise just 4% of the population. They are the poets and artists of the world. They are the ones who keep us honest and guard us from losing our humanity in this age of technical gadgets and gizmos. They are our societal conscience. I shudder to think where we would all be without their humanity, art and insistence on authentic expression.

We have explored the things INFPs wish they had known as maturing adolescents. Yet, I think their observations can benefit all of us – across the board. Do you know an INFP – adolescent or adult? When was the last time you gave them the time they needed to make a decision most in step with their inner alignment? Or do you become impatient when their choices lag? Have you ever told an INFP to “Stop being so sensitive?” Do you know an INFP who is immobilized with indecision because of a lack of personal confidence?

Our purpose here at Personality Hacker is to help the world realize that each of us has our own unique gifts. Gifts that are so valuable to the world in general, that life as we know it would cease without everyone’s contribution. The first step is recognizing how we are all wired so differently. Then we must give one another space to be who we are – good and bad. Once each of us realizes we are in a safe place for authentic expression, we will be better able to bring our gifts to the external world.

Imagine a world where INFPs were supported in their visions of creative self-expression. What a beautiful world it would be!

Love to hear in the comments below what advice you would give to yourself as an INFP teenager.


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Showing 66 comments
  • Unknown

    Hello, Family this my first time to say this or to write this like to be open at this level I am encouraged that I can say what I have been passing through when I was liltle I hope you will understand me, I am 21 years old now when I was 8 there was a guy in my family who started to seduce me till I turn 12 years that time its when i decided to stop cz I was going to start high school the guy was 10 years older than me he did not rape me I mean he did not force me to sleep with him but the things he did affected me for all those years I lived my whole life in depression I never trusted anyone or allow anyone to come into my life cz I have been blaming myself its like I hve someone in me telling I am evil I am not perfect I am not a good person still now I can hear these voices, the big regret I have in my life is that during all these 4 years I stared to seduce some other girls too I was an evil I was not normal even my siblings I was an evilllll, I am an evil sometimes I even think that I can try to kill my self I understand if you guys you call me an evil or even some other bad words Cz I think that what I deserve, I wish I can be able to escape this pain I never told my parents about this bcz they cant understand me I am really sorry to write this horrible and discouraging story but at least I need a help too

    • Sr

      Do you have any Discord or something?

  • JP

    Wow! I am so glad to learn that I am not as weird as I thought, or should I say that I have a whole family of peeps out there that are just like me? I am so grateful for this post!! I hated school as well, and NEVER wanted to be in the spotlight. Whenever my dad got promoted in his job, we’d have to move and I’d start a new school. Being so quiet, it was hard for me to make friends especially the ones that I could trust. Then we’d move and I’d have to start all over again. I feel I was taken advantage of a lot, by the wrong type of “friends,” because I was always trying so hard to fit in and I still struggle with being a people pleaser. Ironically, though I hated school, I loved Massage school. Now I know why. We had to take a psychology class as part of our Massage training. We were told to dress up as a person we had always wanted to be. I didn’t dress up and came as myself. When asked why I didn’t dress up, I told the instructor that I have always wanted to just be myself. As you can imagine, my answer was met with some rolling eyes. People didn’t understand that and thought I just chose not to participate. Even today, I am in my 50s, and I still have people telling me how I should dress, how I should wear my hair, and how I should wear my make up. Some friends say I should wear my hair up, some hate it up and say I should keep it down. It doesn’t stop, and it’s exhausting to try, and to assume, we can be someone that everyone likes. It’s impossible. So I shared all of that to say that I would tell my 15-year-old self to JUST BE YOURSELF!! You are unique, not weird! God created you just the way you are for a special purpose. If we were all the same it’d be a boring world! God blessed the world with our kind because we are the compassionate ones who can feel what others feel, we love to listen and we can give compassion and understanding that some can’t. We love to help others and we are gifted at writing and music, and many other things. Yes, it is sometimes a scary world out there, but we need to get out more and experience it, and others, so that others can also experience and learn from us. We all play an important part. And I say all of this after planning to stay in today! Lol! ;D I’m still working on being me, but I will not give up!! Thank you all for sharing!! I’m really encouraged!

    • sila

      Well the idea of putting my what on my mind in a paper is such a struggle. My mind always one step ahead of I try to write and after writing a story I missed so many words and phrases. I thought I put them down put didn’t even now when I type this I have to reread to make sure I dont missed anything. At 15 my favorite thing to write in class was a dear diary or fiction story. The problem was my grammar was never perfect 🤦‍♀️ so my writing never had good grades but teacher always comments on the side what a great imagination. I hate it as everyone else is celebrating their full mark story but when I read it I don’t know why they thought that was good. But they have perfect grammar and right spelling of words. So I started to look down at myself and never try to perfect my grammar so I just gave up on writing even how satisfied I felt when I put what in my head on a paper as I feel like the English is not a language it a measure of intelligence according to everyone else. But now whenever I am tired, angry or burnout I write until I feel better than burn the paper with fear if someone read it will be laughing at my spelling. I am 24 years old now and I still fear that. Wow I just realize I got to wrap this up as I talk for way too long now.

  • samera kachacupt

    as a 15 yr old INFP i would tell myself “please dont freek out when your brain doesnt rememember crap or that you mind races with things so you sorta BOUNCE from subject to subject….you will grow up and be an awsome poet and do beautiful flower arrangements that most will never beable to even Figure out how to do and be respected cause you can…and the people that have said that you cant do sht…will learn that they are the ones who are Limited and not you….so be proud because you are smarter than you Think you are…..i am 66 and i am just learning this and at 55 i started going to far off places i would of been terirfied to go..even those most are just 2000 miles away from where i started…and do it without even knowing a soul where i was going…yes…you will surprise everybody…even yourself

  • Kelly B

    As a 17 year old, I have been betrayed a lot that I have ended up closing myself up from the world with very low self esteem, wondering about if I’m actually worth it or not. I hate the fact that I’m such a boring person or the fact that I would prefer to stay at home than to rather go out. I wonder if I’ll ever find friends in college…

    • N

      Hi Kelly, I’m sorry you were betrayed. I too HATED high school but blossomed and fell in love with life in college. Find the college that fits you and let’s you be whoever you want to be. The real world is nothing like high school- I am sure you will find your niche.

    • Daniel

      Kelly B, I hate signing up to things just to be able to send a message but I felt I needed to after reading your comment. You have missed the point o this entire article. YOU ARE WORTH IT! The language you are using is wrong and hurtful on my levels than you realize. Negative self talk is so harmful to a person, it shapes our inner world and as INFPs our inner world is more real to us than the outer, which means it BECOMES our reality. Do not say that it is a fact that you are boring, that is just not true. If what you do is interesting to you it will be interesting to others, you just need to find those people. EVERY INFP would rather stay at home lol that doesn’t make you weird, the way you get your energy is just the opposite of most people because you are unique. We are 4% of the population which means we are different than the majority but at the same to it means we can do things that the majority can not. Do you know what that means? We are special. THAT is a fact. So now that’s been answered, go find your tribe. Start with the interests you are naturally drawn to when you are at home and then you can have companions that will join you in your natural state. I hope this helps. Daniel.

  • 💚🌹IdeaWoman💥💫

    Hiiii everybody🙋‍♀️☄!!! I’m a 18 yr old child 😁 and I just want to share with you guys a few things I learnt from circumstances by my InFp self.I KNOW THE STRUGGLES 😒. I had a 🌧🌨mental ❄🌫disorder⛈🌩 two years go. But before I
    start I must say a few things. Ok☝️ so honestly I hate it here on earth it’s a terrible place to be and I wish I was never born. And just not long before today (basically yesterday and some days b4 that) I was thinking I feel too much, I see too much and hear too much😭😭😭😭😭😭. Heart ♥️🏊‍♀️ swimming in apathy ISH!!! I care too much, I feel other people’s emotions too much, I feel physical pain too much, I feel and sense their thoughts too much, I see their demons too much!!! People who wish me a good future, people who call me good, people who wish me a good life I watch suffer in ways they don’t see themselves suffering and theres nothing I can do abt it. And the thing about people like that who I meet is that they say they will never change, nothing’s wrong with them and yet some of them don’t want me to be like them. I HATED THAT I LOVE PEOPLE SO EASILY I mean even strangers well what I should hate is that I trust too easily and CARE TOO MUCH. So right thats wut I hate that and that am #easilycarriedaway. People my InFp family I want to share with you🙂❣. I want you all to be happy, find the good things in life like peace and joy. Give help to those who asked for help. Save yourselves for only you can save yourself and as for people only they can save themselves. FIRST LOVE YOURSELVES🙏🙏🙏 the way you give sincere, strong, passionate and devoted love to others. You’re sensitivity is a gift dont let consume you people are born to teach good not necessarily as a job and stuff but like in life overall indirectly and directly. Let go of the things you can’t control. You can make it just like up against such a huge number of sperms YOU MADE IT💥💫🏆 to the womb. You are strong people with great and powerful minds💫🧠. You can’t change people from their stupid beliefs people see things, hear or feel things and they decide to change. We live in a world of choice and WE CAN’T CONTROL WHAT CHOICES PEOPLE MAKE. Don’t blame yourself for things you know you’re not guilty of. RELAX. OH and as for me I just don’t handle the heat🔥 of the ♥️ heart nor the heart♥️ of the 🔥heat of life so well. But I can do all things through CHRIST who strengthens me😁. Love you all❣, you guys are awesome people👍, have a good life, good be to your to your future. You’re great you mean a lot. Go guys and GROW and BE your BEST SELVES.💫🙋‍♀️😁🙏 I’m learning to be my best self GOD is mah ANSWER. PLUS I HAVE SUPER DUPER💫💫💚 AWESOME CHURCH BROTHERS AND SISTERS. My online big bro takes SUPER GOOD🙏♥️💫 CARE OF ME and reminds me of scriptures to comfort my heart. Im gonna GROW☘ AND GROW☘ AND WERE ALL GONNA GROW☘… 😄 SO…here CHEERS to the INFP CREW🍋🥂…👈 AH LEMONADE IN THOSE GLASSES GUYS I DON’T DRINK🤣🤣. Love ya guys🙏♥️🙋‍♀️… TAH😅

  • Reply

    I wish I could tell myself that I am worth knowing, and that when you really get to know me, (it takes time for me to trust due to childhood sexual abuse and maternal abandonment) but when I am your friend I am a friend for life (and am blessed with a handful of the most amazing, loyal and supportive who others critise and demean out of jealousy). I wish that I could tell myself that the only thing I will ever regret in my life is not finishing my nurses training, and leaving my amazing brain idle for so many years. I wish I could tell myself that the only person who you can really rely on in life is yourself and that if you don’t realise that early enough you will endure many years of emotional instability, and in my case mental health problems, and physical illness, that I believe are the result of many unresolved issues. I wish that I could tell myself that it’s not me it’s them, and that people are terrified of the truth. I wish that I could tell myself to hang on dearly to all the diaries I wrote in my teens and early 20s, and actually have realised that during my time as a prolific poet, I should have believed the people who told me I was gifted, and my poems needed to be published so that my voice could be shared and heard. I wish that I had had the insight to understand that the depth and way I and fellow INFP’s experience emotion is a rare gift, rather than a flaw.
    And finally (it’s been a very emotionally challenging day) I wish that I had known that there would be a time when I understood myself fully, and no longer viewed myself as weak, fickle or a misfit, and I would experience a time of spiritual awakening when I realise that the things that I have struggled with internally for so many years are the biggest gifts and assets that I possess and that I have been blessed with them for a very important reason.
    Might I ask other INFP’s how spiritually attuned they believe themselves to be, and whether they share my view that as challenging and emotionally destabilising it inevitably is, we are destined to endure pain, misfortune and instability because we are natural empaths who have inhabited this earth in many incarnations so that we can heal and help make the world a better place. Sorry about the blatant cliche!

    • Truth Seeker

      I think I can relate to what you just said. During my teenage years I struggled a lot because I felt that no one understands me. At high school I almost fell out because I didn’t care. School became so suffocating and restrictive. What I wanted was freedom. So I started skipping classes and started going to cafes and beaches because there I was free. I used to write a lot during that time. Those inner thoughts seemed endless. Writing was a good way of expressing myself because I lacked a lot of social skills. On paper my thoughts seemed more clear. I also wrote some poems which are unfortunately faded into history, can not find them anymore.

      For years I have been idle as well. Mentally paralyzed. Tried to study psychology but could not finish it. As I look back I couldn’t analyze myself well enough as a teenager. Now I have realised that there is so much to discover about myself. I am attending a psychiatrist again and this time I want it to work. I need to fight. I just have to! There is no better time than now. Somehow I need to find measures to unlock myself to the world. I need to find a way to accept myself truly.

      About a year now I have been very restless. Nothing seems to interest me. It seems that I have been on autopilot for years. No enjoyment, just mundane tasks day in, day out. All of this because I have closed myself to emotions. I just can’t handle them. I don’t know what to do with them. Just let them flow through you and forget right? Such a hard task. Right now I am just a window-shopper when it comes to life. I am an observer rather than a doer. Time to turn it around.

      When I was 6 I remember one moment where I was eating an ice cream and I wanted to share it with all the world. Throughout the years I have attracted a lot of broken people, mostly on the streets. Many of them have asked for some money. But there have been moments when a complete stranger have started talking about their personal issues. And I enjoy listening to others. I have read a lot about psychology, healthy mindset, healthy eating etc. It was like a year ago when I started to read about spirituality and spiritual awakening. I felt that something in me could deeply relate to that. I need to figure out what lies deep within.

      Just a fraction of my world. Even now as I am writing I feel so numb and distanced from my thoughts and feelings. But at least I got something out.

      Take care

      • Michael

        Wow. And I relate pretty strong to what you wrote. About feeling numb, that nothing seems to interest me and I also lived too long on autopilot. How are you feeling right now?

  • Terdoo George

    I am tearing up right now… This hit me where I needed it to; I’m actually 15. This article is a rare gem to find.

    • IdeaWoman

      Blantant cliche??? Its nothing.Well I can tell you I think all people are made to endure pain and like everybody else we all have to love ourselves. No matter how empathy we are in everything we have to find BALANCE. Theres no sense in being all EMPATH and no self love I learnt that the hard way. Thats how I had my mental disorder. Did you know your experience and your emotional challenges in life have made you a super woman. I mean its amazing how your still alive after all that you’ve been through you must think. I THINK SO. GURLLLLLL YOU ARE SUPER MON!!! You were definitely made 💮🏵SPECIAL🏵💮. Keep up and you’ll see how many peeps you could encourage with all experience you have. Hey u know what
      I tell myself 👉bad stuff happens to make the story spicy and the story is evidence that you made it out alive your strong you can endure to the end. So in the end everything adds up. God bless your heart. All that stuff you wish you’d tell yourself you basically did if you take off all the I WISHES😄 even with the I wishes…you just don’t believe them YET. I ONCE had a mental disorder. AND SOON THAT’LL BE YOU…you’ll be like ONCE UPON A TIME…🤗🤗🤗

  • Xierlee

    Hi Charis! I’m 31 yo coming from Indonesia. Really appreciate your post.

    This year i dare myself to pursuit new career in my life. I’m little bit stumbled and feel like i’m losing myself.

    I have a big dream but lack of grit.
    Idealist but not brave enough to fave my challenges.
    Love to explore but sometimes overthink.
    After i read your articles and the comments, i feel like i am not alone.
    Thank you.

    If i could tell to younger me, I would like to say: You can do it!

    • Chris

      I would tell my 15 year old self: “You’re braver than you think and smarter than you know”…

  • Stan Waryck

    Thiscis amazing for the majority of my life I have felt like a chameleon blending in to wherever I was. I realize know that this is a defense mechanism I use to protect myself and that it doesn’t work very well if it blocks you from growing.

  • Meridith

    Thank you! I’m a bit of a late bloomer, but am so thankful I stumbled onto y’all…and at the perfect moment in my journey. I am an INFP raising a beautifully himself ENTP son and married to a true ISTJ. You can imagine the hot mess that our world is! But know I am starting to see a light! Thank you!

  • Lynx Lefay

    As someone who has tested both INFP and INTJ, I would also add the following tidbits…
    Don’t be afraid to be selfish sometimes. Try to be a bit of a bitch. Don’t give people the benefit of the doubt. If it’s not working, move on.

  • Matt

    I really loved this, so much resonates with what I wrote when filling in the survey myself. It’s eye-opening and slightly heart-worming to know that others have felt similar things, even if the personal details are so varied.

    Out of interest, have you thought about refreshing the results? It’s now 2018 and I wonder whether any other themes have also popped up?

  • Priyesh

    INFP here. Messiah’s handbook by Richard Bach will just blow your mind. He is one of my most favourite author, his words resonate deeply with my own experiences and thoughts, like he is me only. Also Conversations with God trilogy by Neale Donald Walsch is also highly recommended.

    • melissa taylor

      Thank you for recommending those books.
      I will be sure to check them out.
      Oh…and i had found when i was younger the book THE POWER OF NOW by Eckhart tolle very interesting.

  • Emlyn

    Being that I’m older-than-the-hills, I would take this advice where I’m standing right now at this stage in my life. It is all good to hear; especially, “Things aren’t as bad as they seem”. Back then as well as now I can work myself up into a anxiety riddled paranoid mess, and I could have easily turned into a shut-in if I felt I can’t cope with the outside world. Part of the avoidance tendencies I think stem from not believing in not only myself but that there was nothing to indicate whilst growing up to say that my feelings were valid. Feelings were meant to be quashed and ignored from what I learned in school and at home and even when I started dating. Feelings aren’t all about going through bi-polar extremes. It is about figuring out what they mean deep down and how to find the right balance inside yourself to therefore as a result bring balance to your environment and others around you too.

    You can be a healing jewel that people gravitates towards but you have to heal yourself first before you can shine.

    Some words from what I see in the article can be up for interpretation like “being too sensitive”. What most people mean by that is that you are either taking it so seriously that you are working yourself up into a froth or that people become frustrated that you appear to be inconsolable. I don’t think anyone said that of me because my emotions are my personal business normally and I don’t care to vent even with my closest friends. By the time I talk about my feelings, I’ve already worked through them for the most part and it is old news once I verbalize it. I don’t know if that is an Fi trait or not, but I’ve had the understanding that Fi wasn’t much into gushing or extroverting. I could be wrong… I don’t know. I do have a close friend I grew up with who is an ESFP and there were times (long ago when we were roommates) where she was going through a lot of stress and anything anyone said that she took the wrong way she would either cry or get mad and at the time I felt helpless to calm her down and it did cross my mind that she was “over sensitive” because she didn’t take the time to see it from the other person’s point of view and that people didn’t mean it in the way she was taking it. Things have turned around and we are still good friends to this day.

    Just pointing out that sometimes it isn’t your feelings that is the problem, it is the onesidedness, or overbearing emotions, or the possible neediness that can cause people to say those things because they don’t know how to fix your problem as they see it. Saying you are too sensitive doesn’t help certainly, only most people don’t know what else to say if nothing else has helped. So there comes a point where introspection needs to kick in and you need to take the time to help yourself because relying on others to fix you is just a crutch that never goes away until you learn what you need inside your heart for yourself and give yourself permission to find peace or you will continue to hear people tell you what you don’t want to hear.

  • Saba S.

    In my teenage years I was blessed to love music, it’s where I can express myself without feeling too exposed and feel understood even if not directly.

    There was this one sentence that Gerard Way (My chemical Romanc) said that struck me like a hammer of inspiration:

    “Be whoever you are extremely loud, and be completely fearless when you do it…”

    It was later that I realized I have perfectionistic tendencies, for that I quote Salvador Dali:

    “Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it”.

    Don’t fear aiming high, just know that you’ll always believe you can do better. That is true. Just do that with the NEXT project (and the next).

    Lastly, I realized this only this year (at 20).

    If you’re self-conscious, you are EXTREMELY LUCKY.

    Being aware of what goes on within you and around you, or at least trying to figure it out; this means you can deal with it.

    Thank you for reading.
    I wish you peace of mind and heart

  • Bryan

    I have never understood why I would find myself doing things just to be accepted, or why I would pursue friendships that were not good, or why I would go above and beyond in helping others even though it was exhausting mentally and never have reciprocation. I have always felt strange, having nothing in common with other males. I have not met anyone else that is like me and I have been thinking that there is something wrong with me my entire life. Last week I took an MBTI quiz a few times resulting in INFP. I have watched and read hundreds of artitles and videos on this since, and this article was the most moving and healing that I came accross. I have reread this article everyday since I found it because it has helped me re-center myself. I am going to embrace these INFP gifts instead of fighting them. Thank you for this article.

  • TaMonte

    I took the MBTI during undergrad in my Theories of Personality course and was classified as an ENTP. However, my E/I score was close to the middle along with my T/F score. We learned that over time most of those scores would veer towards the middle. So, i guess that makes sense looking at my classification now….lol

    On to my point… When I started my production company, Guilla Boyz Entertainment, LLC, I wanted it to have a deeper meaning. So, I came up with an acronym for Guilla, which is Gifted, Unique Individuals Livin’ Life Accomplishin’… This acronym just resonated with me for some reason, so I trademarked it and began marketing it… Now that I’ve been listening to the podcasts and reading these articles, it’s beginning to make A LOT of sense as to why that acronym as well as others that I’ve coined (E.M.P.OW.E.R “Every Moment Provides Opportunities for Wisdom, Encouragement and Respect’ and D.O.P.E. “Dreams, Opportunities, Purpose and Education”) seem to come easily and resonates deeply.

    The insight is much appreciated!!!

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the comment, TaMonte! Great acronyms! You have a gift. 🙂

  • Barb

    Hi! I’m an almost 60 year old female that has been interested in personal growth my whole life. I remember being in grade school and having “deep” conversations with friends about the meaning of things. My biggest challenge was my relationship with my Dad who may also have been of similar temperament. I’m a very nice person until you cross one of my few moral codes. The voices raise and I go to my 10 year old self, the age that I was at the time! All those arguments were painful and had long lasting effect. Now, I have a great time with my Dad. I care give for both my parents and make sure all is well. I like being an INFP. I work with people with mental illness, some having experienced homelessness. I can identify with them and let them know I understand their feelings. It is very powerful and lovely to be able to connect with and provide real support for others. They trust me and my agency to help them. Building that trust matters. I am putting into practice my co-pilot Exploration. I know I’ve wasted a lot of time being depressed and secure in my memory spot. In reality, I love exploring and being a hostess to my friends in my little adventures. I am surprised that people find it so fun and me so risky. It’s great to be able to grow no matter how old we are.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the comment, Barb!

      • Krissie

        Thank you!

  • cindy

    Thank you very much…
    I found this just in time….

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for reading the article, Cindy! I’m glad you found it, too. Be kind to yourself. 🙂

  • Mike

    Dont avoid feeling deeply, its the lens thru which your intelligence makes sense of your experience. It wasent until much latter in life after feeling like Iv been living a half life because my reasoning and senses were used to hurt me or constantly invalidated I adopted a numb sort of reasoning logic to get thru adolescence. I denied my own hurt and wholeness at great expense without realizing what i was doing, I didnt fit in myself and blending into a world but feeling dead and confused just left me feeling even more isolated. Allowing myself to be free to fully feel whatever and everything brought every other part of myself back in line… Not following your nature is harmful to your health.

    • Charis Branson

      I totally agree, Mike! I spent a lot of time denying my nature in an effort to blend, too. That is never a good place to be. Thank you for reading the article and sharing your wisdom.

  • Nicole

    I’m an INFP, and I just turned 15 this month. I found this article amazing and helpful. Thank you

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the feedback, Nicole! I’m glad you found the article useful. 🙂

    • Melinda

      So cute 🙂 (I’m 45, INFP – but here’s the thing, INFPs don’t grow up either 😉

      • Jonathan

        This is true. I’m 35 and what characterizes my youth most is the clinging to various personas and systems of approaching the world, all while thinking each was “me.” Through all that exploration, my realization is: I am that which changes over time, and the fluidity IS the center I was looking for. This connects me to the first childhood days of being aware of having a self. For better or worse, having a vivid emotional memory keeps the past feeling like it was just yesterday, and I wish I would have approached experience while knowing this.

        Recommended reading: “Illusions” by Richard Bach. It’s truly a gift, and has curiously found it’s way to seeking souls I know as a chain gift or recommendation.

        All the best to you.

        • Charis Branson

          Hey Jonathan! Thanks for sharing your experience and for recommending the book. I will check it out!

        • Priyesh

          INFP here. Messiah’s handbook by Richard Bach will just blow your mind. He is one of my most favourite author, his words resonate deeply with my own experiences and thoughts, like he is me only. Also Conversations with God trilogy by Neale Donald Walsch is also highly recommended.

  • INFP Woman

    I am 18 and I really needed to read this. I mean a lot of people says this things to me often but it’s not the same when you know these are words written by INFP’s. And the thing that I already knew and would love to tell my much younger self is – dig deeper in case to get to know and understand yourself. Thank you. And sorry for my English.

    • Charis Branson

      Thank you for sharing! You make a really good point. When we hear good advice from people, we may have the tendency to believe they don’t understand us. But when that same advice comes from someone who has the same mental wiring we know they understand us – maybe even better than we understand ourselves. I appreciate the observation. 🙂

  • Gavin

    Hello I’m 15 and I’m an INFP. Reading this got me really emotional. I found out that I’m not the only one who didn’t really fit in. I had recently moved to a new school worried about what people would think about me. I tried to change myself in order to fit in and now I know that that’s not right. Thank you for writing this. It really changed my life for the better. Some people I tried to be friends with have just been treating me like trash and using me for pencils and I have been just going with it. Thinking very highly about what people thought about me I didn’t say anything or do anything and now I know what I should do. I should be myself and make better friends. Thank you so much!

    • Boniface

      Gavin–being a male INFP is even harder–our culture doesn’t have a lot of visible masculine INFPs, or a lot of masculine images that resonate with INFPs. But we do exist, and it is worth the struggle to be yourself.
      Don’t give in and take on a lot of masks to be more liked, or you will never be sure they are liking you or liking your mask. Be yourself, and cherish the ones who love you for whom you are.

      • Charis Branson

        Great observations, Boniface! Thanks for sharing.

      • Daniel

        Keanu Reeves is a good example 🙂

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for sharing, Gavin. If you can learn at 15 to be yourself and choose your friends better, you will have figured out something it took the rest of us years to figure out. Keep these lessons close to your heart and your future will be bright. 🙂

      (Btw, Richard Branson is a very successful, male INFP. His bio Losing My Virginity is a great read!)

  • Dolchi

    This is phenominal …

    • Charis Branson

      I’m glad you liked it, Dochi!

  • Lynn

    This article resonated with me on a deep level (infps) are deep people. As a teenager I wish I would have spent my time being me and not always being “on” so that I could fit in. As a 61 year old I isolate, and when I am with people, I catch myself going back to my habit of being on. It has exhausted me, but I am so much more aware of who the real Lynn is and I am learning to love me. Thanks for your in-depth research and truly helpful information. I wish all INFP teenagers could discover your website and discover their wonderful, weird self.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the comment, Lynn. 🙂

  • Ella

    Thank you so much Caris, this whole post is really helpful. As a teen INFP myself, I found lots of the advice relevant, and definitely connected with it. Too often I find myself worrying about other people’s opinions, and I spent the past 3 years of my life trying to be someone I’m not. This lead to constant rejection and hurt, and I just couldn’t understand why no one liked me.
    It wasn’t until I moved schools and started anew when I realised I’d just been trying too hard to please the wrong people. Now with new friends who actually seem generally interested in me, I have found myself overall a lot happier and more confident. Hope it stays this way!
    I guess all the trouble I experienced fitting in at my old school helped me realise who my true friends were, and, like mentioned in your post, I learnt not to take relationships for granted. I even realised who my best friend was, an INFP too, who had always stuck with me through thick and thin. I’m shocked it took me so long to realise my best friend had really been with me the whole time, and I didn’t have to go searching for such a great friend.
    Thanks again for a wonderful post,

    • Charis Branson

      Thank you for the heartfelt comment, Ella! 🙂

  • em

    I agree with this wholeheartedly.
    Only just realised that I an an Infp & ageing is really suiting my personality. I tried to be someone that I wasn’t growing up & did feel like a misfit, so quite a lot of hurt & rejection In youth, once I did MBT it all fell into place, & proud to be Infp, xxx

    • Charis Branson

      Awesome Em! I’m glad you have finally found some peace. 🙂

  • mansi jain

    Being a teen and an infp i real would say we lack in confidence .we need constant motivation for self believe to achieve some thing . we need to believe ur self and have positiveness
    Its really needed for an infp to make an career

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the comment, Mansi Jain! Motivation is a struggle for INFPs. Keep exercising your copilot process of extraverted intuition and you will find motivation comes easier.

  • Tara

    Had to come back and re-read this a few times, so much good stuff here! So many articles just reproduce and reword the same content–surveying and reporting on the results is such a great way to discuss the nuances of personality types. I think it’s especially effective for gaining insight about INFPs. Thanks so much for putting this together. I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of the results!

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the feedback, Tara!

  • Anthony

    I love that so many individual responses were included in this article! Reading through them all, knowing that none of these were probably written thinking that anyone but the Personality Hacker staff would read them, it’s very powerful.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the feedback, Anthony! It means a lot. 🙂

  • Mon

    I love the lessons. I am an INFP too. I got emotional and was taking notes. So sad to be in a situation where you’re emotions are so acute and hardly anyone to understand that intensity.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the feedback, Mon. I’m glad the article resonated with you.

    • cindy

      yeah.. right… 🙁

  • Lias Malerba

    Charis, I find it amazing that our types are very close and that you are a massage therapist and Master Reiki Practitioner. We are both healers. I walked away from a high-paying corporate job because of the stress of my marriage to a person I thought I could “fix”, and because of the lack of confidence I had in my position at work. My indecisiveness has burdened me my entire life. I struggle with a rare disease that causes a constant runny nose and persistent cough, which doesn’t exactly boost the confidence. My agenda as an adolescent was to be liked and avoid conflict. I was the “neutral peoplepleaser”. I read somewhere that we are chameleon-like because we change to fit the situation. I despise the demands, the unreliability, the evil-enabling technology we use today. I enjoy people (like you) and information being at my fingertips but the rest of it, I can do without.
    I could go on and on…I appreciate your post. Be well my friend. Lisa

    • Charis Branson

      Thank you for the wonderful comment, Lisa! I hope you are finding more satisfaction as a healer. Be kind to yourself. 🙂

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