Podcast – Episode 0055 – INFP Personality Type Advice
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In 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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I am INFP. Overall, even though a lot of this is going way over my head for where I am at in my personal journey, I definitely identified with everything you both are describing at some level or another. Thank you for this episode, I’m learning a lot 🙂
I just paused to leave this comment on ‘the visceral feeling of how dark the heart can go’ because you specially asked for feedback … yes, that is painfully accurate. As someone that is just learning about all of this later in life, this resonated with me a lot for some reason. I get anxious just thinking about trying to explain it, and thats probably all of the feedback you need 🙂
Back to the podcast now .. ❤️
Also, the going to a restaurant analogy … bang on! 🙂
As an INFP i completely resonated with this podcast. So, i’m at the age of 32 and never heard of the myers-briggs theory or any of this stuff till this year and yet i’m glad i have because when i look back on my life, i can see everything you talked about played out word for word. I learnt at a very young age that i had a very intricate array of emotions that people didn’t understand and i blamed myself for that because in my mind it was my fault that i didn’t have the language to explain it to them…it was around that time i was diagnosed with depression at the age of 12. I thought at that time i wanted nothing more then to be understood…by my parents, my friends, my peers..by the people i considered close to me, who i cared for. When i didn’t get that it did feel lonely and isolating…but even worse i felt unloved and unwanted as well, and my life could have easily gone down a really dark path but luckily it hasn’t.
But you guys are right, years later in my late teens i realised that it wasn’t that i wanted to be fully understood, i just wanted people to take me seriously…for people to say that i am valid in the way that i think and feel as i do for them. I wanted this the most from my parents but never got it and to this day, i haven’t seen or spoken to them in 7 years. It’s definately not what i wanted and i remember my sister saying to me at the time to just be quiet and do what they say/want because making mum and dad happy is more important. And because i wanted my family in my life soo badly i tried doing just that…and yet kept failing all the time. I wasn’t living my life true to my authentic self and whether i meant to or not, i’d start reverting back to doing or saying what was true to my authentic self. Thats when the fighting would begin and the comments such as, “your a bad daughter,” “you’re such a disappointment,” “why can’t you be more like your sister” etc etc. Theres only soo many comments like that you can take before you finally just pack your bags and go. It took a lot of therapy to get rid of the self doubt and negative self-talk that was running through my brain at a young age. My head is a lot more peaceful nowadays i must say! Even though a part of me wonders if i had learnt about my personality type and the myers-briggs theory earlier on in life would have been a good thing? Maybe…maybe i’d still have my family in my life, maybe it would of saved me a lot of days i clocked suffering…but in a way i’m glad it worked out this way…i may have learnt the long and hard way but i was immensely emotionally mature from a young age because of it…i worked out what techniques to use to help me through more challenging times in my life and how they can impact me emotionally all on my own. I’m in a good place now. Thank you for the podcast i absolutely loved listening to it!
Well done if you look on personality of human from perspective of “cubism” or “mechanism” or, even ” militarism”….all this “cubic” theory of our race only reminds me on already seen tries in history. Reminds me on horoscope, astrology, sort of occultism etc. Why? The truth is that all and each of so called “types” are actually in all and each of us! On daily basis. Don’t be mistaken, humans are much more unpredictable and illogical. But, I’m sorry, this might sound conspirative, but personality theory will be explicitly be used in social engineering. In a very future. In falsely predicting “future” criminals or anybody that might be suspicious for sake of government or any other system, like educational, health, police…. once “the science” takes over God.
First time *listener* – INFP, (🤷🏻♀️ what can I say – it’s hard to listen).
I am eternally grateful for this podcast! Helped me realize soo much about myself. You successfully made me feel understood, AND validated, and gave me a safe space to do it in. You hit the trifecta gold mine!
You can tell that you’re living your passions with what you’re doing. 💜
Can’t wait to explore some more!
***FEEDBACK*****THIS POD CAST HAS CONNECTED SO MANY “DOTS” FOR ME. THANK YOU
Never, ever has there been a moment, aside from the time that i became a born again Christian, when I have felt such a soul shaking, earthquake explosion of revelation inside of me!!!!!!! The all soul and mind encompasing EEEEXXXXHAALLLE. exhale. Fireworks, light bulbs. you. name it. thank you. i wish i could explain the relief or gladness that i feel ..It’s Like an eternal itch I could not scratch, all my life, which is that yearning, desire to understand why I (now i know as an INFP) FEEL so different. Why do I FEEL everything..Why am I so emotional? Why can’t i turn off my feelings??? THis pod cast has helped me to connect the dots in my mind that I daily struggle with. My internal realm, where I experience every flavor of the ying and the yang throughout life . Good and bad allike because good and bad i feel are just a few degrees away from eachother on the scale.. one has to exist for the other to exist. I dont condone evil darkness malice or meaness not at all. please dont misinterpret but like you mentioned, i have an keen awareness of hte dark corners of the soul also. my favorite poem is The raven by Edgar Allen Poe. I digress, back to the dark side… NOt because i feel like I am evil, sometimes I worry why can I understand such deep dark concepts? I read the bible alot and I often write scripture and memorize it on the chambers of my heart so that I am remindedthat inately I am good. I have dreams where I fight with evil things and i have always overcome through the power of Jesus Christ. Although I have an understanding of my dark nature. I am a person who used to cut her arms, not severely, kind of on the surface but enough to get me to “feel” the cutting instead of feeling the actual intensity of whatever emotion i was going through. Now Please know that I have also experienced so much joy, had such a phenominal sense of elation, love and just overall happiness in my life. As a single mother of two beautiful intelligent, bright indendepat young adults, my kids and my family have given me so much joy. I can look at a pecan on the ground and it can bring me joy as i metaphorically compare it to my life or discern it to be some sort of message from above to help me work out whatever emotional dissonance i have. in my heart. I like to describe myself to others that i feel comfortable with when they struggle to define me. I want to be open and available to them but i know I’m just a big weirdo. When I love, I love to the ends of the earth and i mean that in every sense of the word. Sometimes i cannot pass up a homeless person on the street withoutt my jaw starting to chatter because i start to think back to when they were kids, they had a momma . how did they get here? As a christian, though i let that spark me into the spirit of service and i’ll bring them a warm meal later on that day or some clothes i may have or blankets, fruit water, a word.. anything. i dont say that to glorify myself in any way, God know s im no mother theresa! But, I’ve found that my spirituality as an INFJ and through jesus christ is a place where i can postively discern and sort through my feelings and not have to feel guilty or like i am not “tethered” to anything bigger than me. It can get so very lonely . Even with several people in my home. I often tune down my emotions,if they feel dark. , But I dont always tune down the cheesy loving ones becuase i know they can be over bearing on my family. but sometimes i say what the hell, I dont give a s#8t! I want to hug you all NOW just because !! and that joy from trusting myself to commmit to those moments and the love i feel my children share and receive is truly the elixir of life for someone like me. We hurt alot, a whole lot. but these little moments make all the inner drama worth while. BLess you bless you for navigating these waters and bringing such a breath of understanding, the big AHA. Thank you so much i cannot thank you enough. Gracias!! Your work and this podcast are truly. transformational. THank you for helping me understand me.
Thank you both!! My name is Elizabeth. I loved this podcast & appreciate your efforts . Listening I felt more understood than any thing I’ve listened to before this. At 68 years I’ve been learning Enneagram & Myer Briggs since I was 40 years of age. It took 3 months to know I’m a four on enneagram though could not fully recognise I’m INFP & not ENFP until this year! The things you asked for feedback on are spot on especially the part about invalidation or marginalising me versus misunderstanding me. One can still love someone without understanding them. The difference is accepting the differences without other types of people questioning and criticising my essence. Yes validation would prevent a feeling of alienation! Being authentic I love 💗 ~ it’s genuine & sincere & profound ! The dark side which rarely rears up &
brings about a shame. It was helpful to suggest I allow the feeling & then let it go & accept it as human rather than entertain the feeling or squelch it ( bringing on a possible loop) The safest aspect for me is that we are not valued or appreciated enough as it is beautiful to be Ennegram type four once embraced. Vocational wise at school I didn’t do well my family of 7 I was born into had me at the lowest in pecking order. Now they jealous & resentful I’ve turned out doing 16 vocation s of every interest & passion that became a job. When lost in segregation ( esp re covid changes) I don’t apply myself in disciplines for order & keeping on track. Enneagram study to go against the grain as the gram indicates really helps in practical steps to balance & apply how to ideas. Perhaps somehow you could incorporate that into Myer -Briggs to show possibilities how one can go beyond a “type.” I love the way you described what to say to others about how I can’t make you fully understand me as I m not able to articulate it but please validate I’m bringing best sincere intentions. Brilliant work you two . Much appreciated! Kindest regards, Elizabeth
Thank you for this beautiful podcast and striving to pin things down. I’ll write things down as I listen or it’ll be a mess XD
On “misunderstood” versus “marginalised” and “dismissed”.
I can really confirm that the problem of the form of decision making being dismissed really describes it well. At the same time, there is a very practical and literal form of misunderstanding going on, too. Due to us making a lot of destinations. So what happens is this ever repeating process of me trying very hard to carefully pick out words that describe the situation at hand. And what happens then, is that the other person, who clusters all these nuances into “one thing” does exactly that. And they have one interpretation. And they then show a strong reaction eventually. So I ask them again what they understood me say. Turns out they applied something entirely different onto a word I did not use. Words are frequently turned around in my mouth. I am striving to make distinctions to NOT be misunderstood as talking about e.g. unconditional love and NOT unhealthy obsession and co-dependency. But people tend to reflect to me sth. not just simple but also “the most negative possible take”.
It results in me very easily landing in an excluded corner. Since on top of literally misunderstanding me due to misconceptions and oversimplification, people then also shut the door and are often not ready to discuss things and readjust their first impression of that was said. Since that means they’d already have to admit they were misunderstanding me. And I understand that, so if I have a choice, I will leave them be. Since I can feel precisely when the hurdle is likely too high (and that’s subjective to change over time, ofcourse. With maturity). But that pattern painfully cuts away on our social contacts and for young INFPs it can cut away on their courage to attempt taking that very high hurdle. There’s a distinct feeling that expressing anything to the outside being a massive hurdles to take with really bad stakes (unless they show a lot of signs to be very open, very attentive and willing to go through the work to get us connected). And our low social battery basically forces us to choose our battles very very very wisely.
In short: All three words apply, frequently :/
All of that salted with me being painfully aware bow much both of us lost upon failing to clear up the misunderstanding, failed to make the communication work.
While they are often rather blissfully unaware (a part of me is honestly happy for them) while chances are high they’ll end up cutting even more ways for me, because they’re likely to spread that I’m that terrible person who has some absolutely terrible stance on a controversial, while the truth could be more opposite (-.-‘). It’s for crying out loud….. well…crying quietly, in private. X’D
But as you say, no better way to learn about the human conditions and coming up with strategies how to support individuals in living through and with these struggles and pains.
XD I literally learnt some Aikido and hell, it definitely was a big step in me understanding myself and having a way of dealing with verbal attacks or difficult incoming emotions. I love the term “emotional alchemist”.
Under- and overestimation
Could write a book about it. I recently said to another INFP, that we are what the world wants and idealisesand strives for the most, but is the most unwillig to accept when it comes down to the co sequences!
Example: Once someone notices I likely have a ton of strategies to sharewith them on how to uplift them, they can be all ears. Once they hear what the process entails and that I cannot do it for them for only they can empower themselves while I can occasionally lend a hand, there will be a lot of “you’re not being helpful/useful at all”.
Meanwhile when it works, you’ll be giving very little, very individually finely tuned input and ppl will not just be better. They will have learn HOW to make themselves be alright! As an introvert needing tons of hours to myself to create these shortcuts for myself and many types of individuals, I cannot afford to work as a long-term crook. I’ll be taking empowerment and help very seriously. I am fully aware of requiring the other person’s work, or I’ll have to let it go even if it brrams my heart.
Was that off topic? :’3
Thank you for the insider input on it. It’s difficult to come to that conclusion as German INFP and….. you know… have the audacity to build a loose opinion on the matter. I have American friends who left America talking about these issues exactly. And ofcourse every country and culture will have their most prominent set of skills and difficulties 😀
Yes! Authenticity gathers a lot of information on countless levels and then translates it into pattern, metaphors, scenes, stories!
There’s too much layering to “quickly” and shortly translate it. The closes you may get is by creating an Immersive experience and then discussing what different ppl took from it in order to learn about the many shards that experience tends to be made off.
We are mirrors, completing our own shards to present others with as much clear reflection space as possible. Hence, we’ll have a problem the higher the degree of the others person of unwillingness to look at themselves and the world behind them that we reflect. Our protection may end up showing in a dull mirror that shows you nothing to avoid the fist that would break the mirror or an unwanted reflection.
(I continue the podcast, next word I hear is “mirroring”! :’D)
OMG…… You just gave me a nice logical way of how to verbalise why neither distance nor time not the existence or “non-existence” matter to me! Or why full dimentional lucid dreaming with all bodily sensations is embedded in my nature. I need to experience e.g. the sensation of several types of hands and types of grasps on my skin and just by looking at a person filmed years ago, I’ll be able to reproduce what it’d most likely feel like if they grabbed my hand now and not that of their interview partner. More often than not, possible real-life fact checks (e.g. meeting the girlfriend a friend send me a video off, for introduction) will end up very accurate. Post real-life confirmation ppl live in my inner world if they hold specific places. Which feeds into not needing to meet ppl often. They’re never away. We meet after months and even if things change, they rarely feel different. Their cores stay more or less the same, even if paths and forms of expression change.
And YES I can definitely choose to feel the emotion hitting me like a solid wall but look completely unfazed by it, because I feel I’ll cease to pay attention to the other person or lose focus on them. On the other hand I’ve often been judged as “pretender” when verbalising my physical pain. Because by the time you see me wince in pain, it’s probably “stab to the gut” level. I had to actively learn to let expression of it seep through in time and let go of my need to not burden others with my conditions, in favour of giving people a chance to actually read me without having an INFP/HSP degree of tiny signs perception. (x_X) My “obvious” usual “out of the blue” in every aspect of life. (;~;) I’m trying, OK??
It’s so difficult. Because it takes a lot of experience to get to a mastery level where you perceive, form an open opinion, confirm with the other person, eventually get a different answer and THEN manage to confirm if that aligns, without sending yourself into the throes of doubting your perception. Because when you are a master of catching tiny signs, you get a serious problem due to you catching signs of things happening in people they do not yet see. So you need to confirm with them to know where their self-perception is, you need to have enough data on them to know if they are likely to provide you with a full feedback. And then you need to evaluate if your inner perception is stable or reappearing at least.
From there you need to be able to let several layers of perception of that person live inside yourself. You pick a middle way in handling them while staying ready to catch them if they indeed trip over what you felt MIGHT be early signs of an issue they’re LIKELY to trip over.
Yeah, I know. Let’s go have a rest in seclusion instead X’D
Also me: that time I predicted the disbanding of a band a year ahead of the official statement with my friends going “you’re seeing ghosts, girl! They JUST wnf major the other day!” . (I can think of countless examples. I regularly scare myself with it)
I walk deep into all corners to be able to have as many shards of the human condition as possible. I bring us all positive and negative aspects and I do run simulations in my inner words of how “evil” comes into being so that I could make a conscious decision to stop and turn around or paint that picture for another person before it’s “too late” (to turn around without having to bring up effort that no longer stands in any relation to the pace of result you’ll ne able to get). These things are no concept. I can visually see how simply that switch can flip to then undermine everything that empowers people to flip it back.
Intent is like major plot point. It’s the whole context that carries or obliterates the words and actions people show. They can say bad words and be of good intent and I’ll be most caring and patient. They can be sure they come from good intent and I will run or bite, because they’re not and their politeness will not entitle them to my acceptance of their (not so) “good intent”.
And yes part of the mastery is to know how incredibly much damage we can do with our perception and “emotional Alchemy” (oh I love that word!)
Also: Me, too. I as well see the greater picture of “all is ultimately good” while acknowledging just as much that to the subjective human part of us it is not at all. And that pain is real. Even if you remove a tooth so that the rest would have more space, you’ll still have days of pain and working around not being able to chew X’D PLUS what is like a blessing to one can easily be a curse to another, so intent is the bridge that’ll still allow us connection accross these things.
When you’ve got a passion, you’re most likely going to be amazing regardless of if anyone will see ut or not.
When you have no passion as INFP, let’s be honest, we’re quite screwed! X’D At that point it’s OK to know that we’re still in process of meeting that point of alignment. And everything on the way IS part of learning so we’re ready when with a whole set of knowledge and and skills from completing “random” fields we’ve gone through before.
I’m one who has no aims other than to be there, because – believe it or not – it makes a difference. No matter what I tap into, my surroundings change due to my perspectives entering the frame. I’m effective everywhere even if it can mean to see that ppl are “armed” as I come in at the crumbling point of a “workplace”.
When you’re not assigned to “the one thing” and you keep wandering, then please consider that that may exactly be THE THING! You’ll bring input accross industries and you’ll manage to empower a person here or there so THEY would then be able to stand up to their calling and eventually change the world. It’s an honorable and rewarding life, even if it’s true that it tends to be almost punished socially and monetarily. And yet, aren’t we the most equipped to barely rely on either of these for happiness and comfort?!
I am currently not working due to kindly having help with a roof over my head and I’ve heard people speak of envy and courage to me the same way you’ll hear people talk of billionaires. It’s baffling, but some people thankfully understand values outside the tight frame of the monetary system. We always did. Religious institutions were built on these X’D, social institutions are!
The world is vast. The ways to live life are manifold!
Thanks a lot for giving so much input! It’s really helpful and it’s a part of collecting shards!
P.S.: I profusely apologise for a thousand typos cause as always I’m way way too busy with the content to check for the foem, too XD
I test as INFJ with the personality hacker test, but with the tests from other sites, I come up INFP. After listening to this, I feel that INFP is probably correct for me, although I can definitely relate to descriptions of both types.
One thing that struck me when Antonia was discussing how sometimes an INFP will suddenly make a strong stand on a seemingly unimportant issue such as which restaurant to go to, but not be able to explain or justify to the rest of the group why they want to do so. The examples that she gave as to reasons, were all very practical, such as they had changed their diet , etc. However, I think that in a situation like this, the true reason would probably be emotionally based. If it were just about the food, that would be an easy explanation to put forward. I am guessing that there were probably indications to the INFP that one or more people in the group were experiencing feelings that would be aggravated or relieved by certain environments. When someone gets really skilled at reading emotions and group dynamics, at times they can anticipate how things may play out. Often this really is of little importance, overall. But if an INFP (or INFJ I would think) recognizes that either themself, or another member of the group may be feeling vulnerable, and just doesn’t want to deal with any drama right now, they may be pushed to stand up and make demands. However, it probably wouldn’t go over very well to try to explain that: Joe is grumpy and tired, the restaurant they are suggesting has many televisions which will be showing the sports game which will feature Joe’s favourite team playing Bill’s favourite team. Bill seems really exuberant and is obviously in a very competitive mood since he is already teasing Nancy about how his new car is so much superior to her new car. Joe is not going to respond well if Bill starts teasing him about his team. Plus, Sally looks a bit down. This particular restaurant is quite dim and noisy and will probably not elevate her mood. But if she gets quiet, Bill may tease her, and then grumpy Joe will be even more annoyed with Bill, and Joe might think that Sally may be mad at him for some reason, since he really likes her and is hypersensitive to her opinion. Personally, the INFP has had a rough week, just wants to have a fun, relaxed time, and does not want to spend the rest of the weekend fielding texts and phone calls from all the individual members of this group who are trying to figure out if so-and-so is mad at them, or if they like them, or if they said too much or not enough to someone, etc. So the INFP is simply trying to steer the group to a place that they are pretty certain will keep the individuals most likely to have the strongest emotional reactions happy, so that the INFP can relax and enjoy the evening/weekend as well. And yes, INFPs really do go through all that information in just a few seconds, even imagining how each of these people do and could feel, so they are already feeling slightly overwhelmed before they even get to any restaurant! To top it all off, Joe, Bill and Sally may not even be fully aware of their emotions, depending on their own personality types and self-awareness, and may become very defensive or even feel personally attacked if the INFP mentions it. This is one of many reasons why INFPs have trouble articulating the reasons behind their decisions at times. Delicacy is required when talking about peoples emotions, and if the sole reason behind a decision is based on someone else’s feelings, it may not feel right to bring it up. It could be an invasion of that person’s privacy. Just because the INFP/J is picking up on these feelings, does not mean that that individual wants them to be made public.
The above could be the thought process behind a mature, self-aware INFP demanding to change plans, or sticking fast to a decision that seems odd to the others. An immature, or not so self-aware INFP would probably just think “Oh, please God, no, not there!!!” without having a clear understanding of why they feel so strongly. They just feel that it is very important that things go a particular way.
Emotions can be a very delicate topic to discuss at the best of times. INFPs know this very well. So, often, even when an INFP does know exactly why they have come to a particular conclusion, they may struggle to find a way to explain that will be accepted, but not offensive to any personality types who do not want to deal with the topic of feelings. Trying to discuss emotions without mentioning feelings…No wonder FPs struggle to explain things coherently.
I might also mention, that if the INFP does give in and go to the restaurant that the others want, and things progress as the were afraid they would, it is likely that the INFP will have to put up internal barricades to separate them from the surge of feelings that build in the others around them. They will probably end up seeming quiet and withdrawn, as they attempt to shield themselves from emotions that they do not feel equipped to experience that evening. This can easily be interpreted by the others as the INFP sulking over not getting their way. This can be very painful to the INFP who was only trying to protect themself and their friends from unnecessary stress and drama.
As INFPs get older and get more experience in how other personality types, especially those in their circle of friends and family, expect to receive information in a way that will actually persuade them, we can use these methods to aid us in our arguments. Unfortunately, it can feel very inauthentic to do so, since the ‘data points’ that need to be used to explain, are not truly what we are basing on our decisions on. Individual INFPs would have differing views on how comfortable they would be using these techniques. Does the end justify the mean?
I want to thank Antonia and Joel for this great pod cast. It really helped me to understand the INFP personality. I really thought that I was an INFJ since I am always feeling buffeted about by peoples’ emotions, even when I don’t know them. But through this podcast I truly came to see that I am simply experiencing the emotions that I know that I would feel, if I were in their place. Or, reading their clues, and guessing what they are feeling, and then experiencing that feeling. I really need to work on reminding myself, that not all people feel the same thing about the same event, and teach myself not to necessarily react so deeply to what I suspect others are feeling.
Stumbled onto this site over the weekend and am glad I did. This really captured the sense of being an INFP. I generally test as INFP and did so here as well. However, I tended to find the type descriptions from a lot of sites and books less than helpful. If you read the type, the INFP is supposed to be this totally idealistic crusader who is also a gentle reflective soul who takes times between noble causes to drift through the woods writing poetry while dressed like an extra from Lord of the Rings. Um…not quite me here. In fact, have so not connected to that image that I found the ENFP more akin to my world of being hyperactive and involved in lots of things. Part of it is the E vs I…some folks talk about it being energized among people or not while others say it is about an internal mental process about reflecting before doing. The description here of I being that the inner world is the main world makes so much sense. A lot simpler. In fact, I suspect one reason why the descriptions seem a bit off is because they are often not written by INFPs.
The sense of the type being governed by hard to define emotion is right on. I married into a family of strong E’s where folks know exactly how they stand in .0006 seconds. By the time I can even start to define sorta how I feel about something, they have moved on to 3 other topics. That may be why we are talked about as processing before acting…it takes us a while even to know how we feel about something let alone know how to respond. The intensity of emotion is right on as well. I will be placid and easy going until I become Mt. Vesuvius and erupt in an overblown way that is embarrassing…leading to more shame for letting it happen. The last thing that may tie into this is not exactly idealism but identity as the main motivation. It is about finding who we are and how we see ourselves. That can be an ideal but it might also be a sense of connection to a “tribe” of some sort. Full circle to introvert/extravert: I find myself loving joining groups for a sense of identity…esp if they come with symbols and bling to express it…but then get anxiety when folks me to attend meetings. Um no thank you. Can I just pay the dues and keep the lapel pin?
Hey! I like The Cure. One of my favorite bands. I’m going into my room, lock the door, turn off the lights, and listen to Disintegration! 😿😼😼😼
I think I’ve been using my inferior functions a lot as a way to translate a “simplified” version of what I mapped out with my Fi. I know that nobody can understand the inner workings of how I came to a conclusion, and I don’t need them to…but if I can present it in a way that another person would be able to relate to (i.e. on their terms), it’s so fulfilling. I think this is part of the “emotional aikido”. I have been doing a lot of mediating and helping out with communication issues between family members, as well as friends at work. I can see where each individual is coming from and why the other/s do not understand them. And I almost wonder if this mediation work is me using all my functions as a working unit, with Fi-Ne goal of wanting my loved ones to feel validated but at the same time using Si-Te to be able to pull out concrete examples and situations to get my point across and come up with practical, actionable advice.
Holy whoa, I 20 minutes in and this feels so right for my experience. Misunderstood always felt just a tiny bit off the me, and I couldn’t parse why. I’m actually quite good at articulating my feelings to other people–when I’m with my friends especially. I feel like they get me. They’re not emotionally stupid, ya know? They DO understand. And even Thinker and Judger types I’ve met at least get how and why I might feel a certain way if I explain it in more logical terms.
HOWEVER, there’s a part of me that thinks, “no matter how much i reveal about myself, I still want to remain mysterious.” Maybe I’m worried that if someone knew me entirely, I’d have nothing left to offer them. No new insights, no musings, no creative advice. I’d be dull. Predictable. Normal. And that scares me more than anything. This podcast helped me realize just now: I don’t want to be understood. Not really. But I do want to be TRUSTED. I know someone else will never fully be able to comprehend what a certain feeling or experience means to ME (at least, I hope not, in a weird way) but I wish people would be content to take my word for it and trust the wisdom I have instead of challenging it at every turn and demanding that I empiracally prove what I think is valid.
As an INFP, outstanding job! Sincerely, Thank You.
I recently took the Myers Briggs test and my result was an INFP-T. The maturity aspect to the authenticity “superpower” resonated with me. About 10 years ago, I was challenged by an in-law who said, “Just because YOU feel that way about it, doesn’t mean everyone does.” That stuck with me and was really a gift because I began exploring the different reactions to things in life between myself and others. I will continue to hone that.
It was also helpful to hear about the mirroring emotions. I find that as I get older, that aspect can become overwhelming to the point that I can’t watch certain videos or movies. If the subject matter is an intenser trigger for my emotions than others, I won’t watch or see it. Or I have to really build myself up mentally to handle it. Part of this must stem from the mirroring of emotions.
That being said, I don’t personally recognize the “emotional aikido” as a superpower of mine. Maybe maturity or more confidence will help that?
Thank you for this podcast! I am off to see if you have one for my husband’s personality now. 🙂
Is it possible for an INFJ or ENFJ to change into an INFP by observing one, and imitating them, and copying the things they are interested in? Really hoping for a response on this one 🙂
At the risk of sounding “woo,” yet coming from Effectiveness [INTJ here], perhaps the best method to access the deepest truths of an INFP would be to use the muscle-testing questioning method… “Does this feel good or bad?” “Is this the best way to go?” Yes or No response conventions.
It is not possible to change your type, you can only develop your other cognitive functions and look like an inferior version of another type. However, it will not be your natural state. Besides, I recommend embracing your unique strengths instead of trying to change yourself.
This is absolutely amazing!! As an INFP, I have to admit that I am shocked by the accuracy of this. I was engaged from the moment I clicked play till the very end!! So much insight for me.Thank you guys!! Looking forward to checking out more of your content 🙏🏽🙏🏽
Brilliant guys you got this so right.
I feel dumb. I think before when I’ve listened to this podcast, I didn’t fully embrace that I was an INFP. Today things are reasonating with me. Mostly around following passion, possibly because I have gone to long not doing that that I feel like I now have no passions. The thing that really hit me today listening to this for the… 5th or 6th time, was what Antonia mentions about the “Shadow Artist” in Julie Cameron’s “The Artist Way”. When I was a kid, I really loved video games ( I still do, but I cut myself off from them because I thought I needed to always be “productive” ) and I wanted to be a play tester. I think I probably really wanted to make games but didn’t think I was smart enough. Teachers also told me I couldn’t make a living playing video games ( oh how wrong she was ). Anyway, I then started to say I wanted to be a programmer and I distanced myself from the video game aspect. Now I’m a Software Engineer an I hate it. It’s funny to me now that in college a professor told me I needed to find my passion, or I wouldn’t amount to anything. I thought he was just being an ass, but on some level he was right and I wish he would have articulated himself better so I could have understood then!
Thanks for this podcast! All you are saying makes so much sense to me. I am getting 40 this year and looking back, the understanding of myself has been a major struggle all my life. I also grew up in an environment where my individuality was rather a burden than a gift. So i tried and tried and tried to fit in…unsuccesfully…with big consequences for my own mental health, relationships, work choices, life choices,… But I always kept on searching ‘what was wrong with me’. Last year I changed the question to ‘perhaps I am not so wrong, but I am just me. What does it mean to just be me?’ And it turned out to be a very good change of direction for my search :-). Finally I feel some ground under my feet, some direction, some ‘guidelines’ to navigate myself through this life without this constant inner feeling of not being good enough, always making wrong decisions, not fitting in, seeing myself as some kind of an alien,… I listened twice to the podcast in two days and it gives such a relieve! Thanks so much for your work. It is mindblowing for me to see what you guys are achieving. Such insight and what a fantastic way of putting your knowledge in words. You are truly gifted. Lots of love, Ellen (Belgium)
I feel like Joel and Antonia need a standing ovation! I come from a developing country where talking about self-actualisation and personality types in everyday talk is a thing of the future when all everyone talk about is politics, the economy, the weather, donor aid etc..etc. This is such a breath of fresh air for me as an INFP. I first took the myer-briggs personality test when I was a senior in high school (some 14 years ago), just so our guidance counsellors could direct us in the right path regarding the best career to choose (not helpful at all!). Anyway fast forward14 years, two mbti tests later (which turned out to be INFP, talk about authentic, lol), i stumbled across your youtube channel quite recently like 3 weeks ago. Now in my early 30s i again took your personality hack online test and lo and behold, came out as an INFP….lol. To be honest no one has really broken down the INFP as you both have and believe me i’ve read blogs and watched youtube channels (some by INFPs themselves) but you both have now explained that what i feel and how i see the world is not crazy at all! I’m just being my authetic self! I absolutely agree with what i think Joel, stated that we feel marginalised and dismissed more than being misunderstood. The Emotional Akido that Antonia observed about us is so true! I never give it much thought when i do this! I have a temperamental mother who i’ve used emotional akido on so many times to switch her from a heated mood to calm…i do believe its a super-power! Thanks Antonia for putting a term to this. I now accept and appreciate that no one can fully understand me because deep down i actually don’t want to be fully understood, because it scares me that the most important/secret part of me will be exposed/unearthed and i will lose my individiality. Thank you Joel and Antonia for allowing me to embark on this journey with your community. I look forward to more content on INFPs and other personality types. 🙂 🙂
I felt that Antonia and Joel are right that INFPs lack validation more than they need understanding. I felt their way of expressing it in this particular podcast was a big long and less clear than it could be, but I agreed with what they put forward.
And yes, when you have a skillset that others do not, others can’t understand it, for sure. It’s as simple as my ability as an artist. Other people who are not artists might say, “That illustration you did on the cover of that board game looks really great.” And I might say, “Thanks, what do you like about it?” And then they’ll proceed to talk about the most obvious and mundane elements of the artwork. They won’t notice the finer details. Yet another artist of similar skill levels will look at my artwork keenly and notice those finer details.
In this way, perhaps each Myers-Briggs type can only be fully understood by another person of the same type. I’m not sure, since some types (like mine – INFJ) really feel into other people deeply, and other types don’t. But as we all mature in our own full skillsets, we all have ways to at least get some form of understanding of other people, whether it is intellectual or empathic.
~ Raederle, INFJ
The Consciousness Alchemist
Oops. This was supposed to be a reply to C.S.Taylor’s comment.
I’m an INFJ married to an INFP. Listening to your podcast, I was struck by how apt “conscience” lands for me when thinking about my husband’s decision-making process (introverted feeling). We also resonate with the struggle of an INFP being comfortable with just saying, “I feel that we should do this differently,” or something like that. I will say, “Why?” And he will immediately become defensive, because he has learned through experience that culture does not validate his feeling-based decision making process (Fi). (And I’ve often fallen prey to endlessly questioning him.)
I think it is important to note that INFJs and INFPs are both almost exclusively HSPs – Highly Sensitive People. If you aren’t familiar with the concept, I highly recommend reading the book, The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D., or visiting their website (hsperson). The site actually has some articles about Myers-Briggs types and being a HSP.
Being a HSP is genetic, so if you’re a HSP, there are certain Myers-Briggs types you will most likely turn out to be. Elaine says, “My research, including interpreting Myers Brigs results with scores of HSPs, has shown the majority of HSPs are of the “NF” temperament, specifically: INFP, followed by INFJ, then ENFP, ENFJ. Then comes ISFJ, and less frequently, ESFJ. There are many HSPs who are “Ts” and can be found within the “NT” temperament, such as INTP and INTJ. Fewer HSPs are ISTJ, ISTP. I have met only two HSPs who identified as ESTJ.”
Highly Sensitive People have lower serotonin production. This is why the Myers-Briggs types that HSPs generally are usually mention, “This type can fall into long depressions.” However, the low serotonin production of an HSP also impacts positive emotions, causing feelings and gratitude and joy to be even more intense than they are for people who don’t have the genetic trait.
I learned a lot more about this subject and how it interacts with childhood traumas by reading Childhood Interrupted. For me, my upbringing caused me to idealize the ENTJ type (sometimes known as “The Commander”). But my actual brain wiring is for an INFJ; introverted intuition (Ni) is clearly my dominant function.
I have a really detailed article about my own type as an INFJ as well as some things about my INFP husband on my website. The title is something like “Oracle / INFJ / HSP” if you’re interested in looking it up.
About fifty minutes into the podcast you guys are talking about an INFP’s relationship with darkness. My (INFP) husband points out that it isn’t simply that an INFP wants to profess themselves as having good intent, because if they are doing that, they’re actually being manipulative in a way. The INFP can tell that there are both positive and negative feelings and intentions behind all actions; there are light and dark motives in all decisions. Granted, the dark motives are often only 1% to 5% of a given desire or decision. But of course, this fine detail of feeling is important to an INFP.
So the INFP is in a precarious situation, because if the INFP says, “Sure, I have an ulterior motive, but it’s no big deal, it’s no worse than your ulterior motive,” then the other person will be offended because they’re not conscious of their own ulterior motives and will deny having any. So it puts the INFP in a bind; they can feel there is something not quite right about something, but without taking a lot of time to feel into it, they can’t express it in a way that others will readily understand. If they attempt a clumsy explanation, they may offend others.
Worse, an INFP doesn’t want to lose the trust and faith of their friends or partner(s). It’s crucial that others trust the INFP’s process (introverted feeling) and validate that process, and so INFPs can be protective of fostering that trust. Furthermore, INFPs must maintain trust in themselves, even when they see darkness in themselves, so it is critical that they only reveal the darkness they see in themselves to a trusted person who will accept them and validate them despite the darker inclinations. If the self-trust is not maintained, there is a risk of self-hatred, which (as far as I can tell) is true for anyone.
As a side note, you guys repeated yourself a lot in the early part of the podcast. My husband and I felt there wasn’t a lot of content in the first twenty-five minutes. You might consider (considering how popular this post is), editing that first twenty-five minutes to be less repetitive. Also, you could potentially incorporate anything new you guys have learned from the comments or life experience or whatever since the podcast was originally recorded.
The Consciousness Alchemist
I know I’m late to this conversation but I got here as fast as I could. Thanks for your great production and the obvious hard work you put into it.
One thing I don’t believe you discussed is what I refer to as the multi-faceted nature of INFP’s. I assume it applies to the general population of INFP personality type like it applies to me. One difficulty people seem to have in connecting with me is that I have many emotional templates under which I operate and when I’m using one, it’s sometimes difficult to access the others.
It’s hard to say from day-to-day (sometimes hour-by-hour) whether I will feel vulnerable, driven, indifferent, silly, angry, etc. All of those facets of my personality are tempered, somewhat, by my underlying INFP nature. However, if you show up and try to appeal to my vulnerable side when I’m feeling driven you will have a hard time connecting with me. In fact, sometimes my current self doesn’t connect well with my historical self and I just have to wait until I phase back into that facet of my myself.
I suppose you could think of it like a disco ball, and you will see reflections based on which part of the surface is currently under the light. All the little mirrors are unique. I think this explains part of my tendency for procrastination with periodic bouts of high productivity. It depends on which part of the ball is getting reflected.
I have been described as a “highly functioning” INFP. Most people are surprised to learn I type as INFP, but I’ve never typed as anything else. I’m a successful, self-employed professional with a very demanding profession that requires me to schedule every minute of my work day. That can obviously be a soul-sucking situation. I survive by letting my imagination loose and I turn my mundane jobs into adventures and conquests in my mind. I ALWAYS use checklists and procedures to keep me from missing things. I use every little life-hack I can to eliminate boring, repetitive aspects of my work and I embrace technology because it helps me survive in this INFP-unfriendly world of commerce. I have the structure in place to allow me to distract my mind all the time. I have more specialties than most of my peers, but it allows for diversity in my work, which is absolutely essential. I leave my toughest work for times when I’m in a facet that can focus and handle it with ease. Procrastination usually works to my advantage because of this.
It is somewhat difficult for people in my life to reconcile the intimidating, capable version of myself with the version that watches silly cartoons and cries. It’s difficult for me to deal with their confusion and it’s a challenge for me to keep from withdrawing from the world because of the turning of the “disco ball”.
I’m not sure people who are not INFP can comprehend the magnitude of the vulnerability required for an INFP to be genuine with them in all or most facets of themselves.
I applaud you for highlighting the intensity of the emotions of INFP’s and touching on the depth of their imaginations in processing those emotions. I too thought I was a terrible person for processing thoughts like I did and was led by my perception of society to believe I was just broken in some way.
One word I don’t recall you using is “restrained”. I don’t know if I am unique in this but I feel restrained, almost constantly, by my environment and social interactions. When I reveal myself to others, the thoughts I have in processing my emotions and my dreams of what I would like to accomplish or experience, just a small amount of sharing very quickly leads to a large amount of surprise, disbelief or people simply marveling at me. I love to pioneer, experiment, change things, imagine things differently and ask why things need to be like they are. I have found that there doesn’t seem to be a large audience for this line of thinking. That discourages me from pursuing what I really want.
Thank you for sharing Sumiko. I feel my INFP husband could learn a lot from embracing a lot of your techniques. He needs a lot of variety and imaginative interactions to feel alive and invigorated and he has terrible anxiety about ever being pinned into doing repetitive work. I sometimes worry that he will never find satisfying work (that pays).
The picking up emotions, and the ability to change those emotions as well as being able to feel what the other person is going through is an empath. It can be utterly exhausting, so if they take the time to change how you’re feeling, know it’s because they care THAT much.
Far as the whole being misunderstood, it’s not so much that. It’s more the fact that people just don’t get it. And when asked by what is meant, the reply, or response is just that: They just don’t get it.
I know this is an old post but I’ve recently started listening to PH so I’ve been exploring old content. I am an INFP and I’ve been reflecting on what you said in this podcast about intent, and about INFPs being concerned about having their intent questioned. I agree with this but I want to add another element which links back to what you say about emotional akido. I believe that the reason we are so good at emotional akido is because we are very attuned to the reasons behind why people are feeling the way they are. I can sense not only what someone is feeling but can almost always pinpoint the reason. There is always a reason behind an emotion and majority of times people aren’t really very aware of these themselves. I believe that even though it’s not fully within my conscious awareness, when I reflect on it I can see that I inherently know why someone is feeling the way they do and it’s the reason that I target when I perform emotional akido on someone. If I can give them a reason to feel slightly differently about something then their emotional response follows through. Majority of times I do it to make people feel more positive because that will help them to move forward when they are stuck in a negative space.
The word “intent” jars with me slightly and I struggled to identify with what you were saying about our preoccupation with intent being because we see all of the good and bad intent in everything. The word intent implies a level of awareness and control in the process and I believe that our emotions are so much more subtle than this and less under our own volition in most circumstances. However, when I changed the word from “intent” to “reason” I could see exactly how this works for me. I guess when it comes to having to justify ourselves to others for me this is simply because each emotional response has a reason behind it and if the reason is a good or “pure” one then I feel less guilty for pushing my agenda on someone else. Feeling guilty can also make me very defensive! Most of the time forcing my agenda on others completely goes against my general philosophy in life.
I haven’t read through all of the other comments so apologies if someone else has already clarified this distinction. I just had a light bulb moment on this and felt I had to share it. Many thanks for all of your work and insight into personality typology, it’s been life changing.
Misunderstood is the right word. You just are not understanding the context in which it comes up. It is not about my personality and what it feels like to be me. It is the experience of going to a meeting and after everyone is done. They look to me. I say something deep and insightful and they all give me the deer in the headlights stare. I get frustrated and the more I try to explain, the more confused everyone gets until I clam up. Then I email the person who ran the meeting and say the exact same thing and they always ask, “well why didn’t you bring that up in the meeting?” I just want to punch them. I did bring it up in the meeting. They were all just perfecting their dopey impressions while I was doing it. That is what I mean when I say that people don’t understand INFPs and don’t even seem willing and able to try to understand. I think you were also making stereotypes worse by what you said in this video. Just because I think in analogy and metaphor, doesn’t make my thought process any less logical. Analogies are a third of the logic portion of the LSAT!
Hello! I am INTJ and my 14 year old son is INFP. Your podcasts are very helpful in unpacking the processes by which we relate to and interact with the world. I have always been blown away by my child’s ability to sense the emotional states of others (including myself) and offer deeply empathetic, sophisticated advice when it comes to the realm of feeling – from a very young age. I also see how this incredible ability (incredible to me as an INTJ especially!) Is devalued or dismissed by others on a very regular basis – particularly adults. So thank you for your astute analyses and insights – I will have him listen to this podcast with me and hopefully together he and I can develop strategies to help him articulate these gifts in a way that will serve him as he establishes a presence in the world. 💜
As a newly “diagnosed” INFP, thank you for bringing me new insights.
Regarding being misunderstood: I’ve never felt misunderstood, but I have felt really, really frustrated by being unable to put into words why my point of view should be considered by a group, and I think it is overlooked because I’m coming from a different perspective and I really can’t explain it very well. Authenticity as my driver helps explain this. So, not a solution, but at least a start to understanding.
I feel like I have always understood that we all have very different interpretations of our experiences, and that no one can truly understand another person. At the same time I have noticed that my reactions to situations and events are different to many other people, and have felt very apart from even my most intimate friends. I have a relative who is INFJ and she tells me she understands me, sends me nuts because I’m sure she really doesn’t! Having started to hear and read a bit about this, maybe she means she picks up my emotions? Which is very different to understanding.
I’m a pretty together sort of person, managed to start and run a successful business for years, although I couldn’t have done it without my business partner who kept me focussed and accountable. But now the business is sold I am overwhelmed by choice and searching for something that feels right for me. So many things I could probably do well, but which one is right?
The biggest challenges for me are developing some sort of routine, limiting my response to distractions, completing something (just anything will do!), and finding a job that I believe in. Although this sounds like a ridiculous list when put down in black and white, I know life slides into place from time to time. I trust my heart; with my head to help I’ll be fine.
Thinking about the part about self-punishment: I recognise this in me, but didn’t realise it was a more generalised trait. I apply my inner framework, keeping my dark heart intentions in check. I used to do a fundraising ride in a beautiful part of my country. Eventually I decided that it was a wonderful holiday justified by the fundraising I did, and I stopped doing it. I still fundraise, it’s just not that much fun anymore.
By the way, I don’t think dark heart is an emotion, to me it has to do with motivation and intention. I agree that emotions need to be experienced, and can’t be good or bad, although what you do with them can be. But the dark heart – rings so true to me – is about what you intend. Is it only INFP who experience this feeling of the ability to corrupt, or perhaps more correctly, to be corrupted from within? I had always put this down to my religious upbringing.
Anyway, I’ve got some thinking to do, thank you for starting another part of my journey.
As an INFJ, I highly relate to your “dark heart” statements. All emotions are right emotions, so they can’t be bad or evil emotions. But there can definitely be dark intentions, if you define them by having the intention to corrupt or hurt someone (even oneself). I was not raised religiously, although my INFP husband was. I very much experience a pull toward corruption when exposed to a lot of violent material in movies and books. It’s like it gets inside me and takes on a life of its own, and I have to put effort into releasing the emotions that come up (through exercise, sex, writing, music, etc), without actually letting the dark intentions cloud my authentic alignment of values.
I think certain kinds of developmental trauma lend themselves to being susceptible to these dark vortexs that are a pain-in-the-arse to climb out of. Even being humiliated regularly with statements like, “your grades aren’t good enough,” by parents has been scientifically shown to damage brain development and brain response for life. This trend can be reversed through practices shown to repair the brain damage (such as deep-breathing yoga or qi gong), but most people never do heal fully, of course. I’ve got an ACE score of 5 (which is high, and bad, and indicates I suffered significant trauma as a child), but despite that, I’ve done enough self-healing work to function like a normal person. Nevertheless, I think where my mind has been influences this trend toward dark-heart paths.
Also, because my auxiliary function (co-pilot) as an INFJ is extroverted feeling (harmony), I readily pick up on feelings from others. I notice the underlying resentment, spitefulness, anger, etc. I often don’t know what it is about, but the more internal work I do on myself, and the more I explore my own inner workings, the more I can read in other people’s faces.
I wonder how practices like hypnosis affect each type, because it seems like hypnosis allows me to get much closer to my own emotions, in a more direct way that is similar to how my INFP husband seems to feel his emotions.
Anyway, I thought these thoughts might bring you some comfort in knowing you’re not alone.
~ Raederle, INFJ
Hello! I absolutely love all of these podcasts and have listened to mine and my family and friends. I was listening to the INFP podcast because I gave my 10 year old son the quiz. I definitely see so many of the qualities you guys explain in him! I have always gotten ENFP no matter what test I take and the podcast about ENFP felt very correct, but when I listened to this about INFP, it also resonated with me. My question is, is it possible for a person’s type to change as they get older? Because I feel that the INFP was more me when I was younger and the ENFP is more how I am now. What could I be missing? Thanks!
As an INFP, it is completely true what you said about not WANTING to be understood 100%. That would mean I am predictable, and with my head feeling so full and non-stop all the time, it WOULD be disconcerting if someone with a clear head understood what I fight all day to understand! I also see VALUE in my crazy, passionate head in its difference to the rest of the world. My head provides a different facet of our beautiful diamond as a mirror or mediator to bring balance to the world. What value do I have if a non-INFP understands me 100% already?
But you guys are the first ones to talk about how important it is to INFPs for people to “get” them. I love being called “weird” or “oddball” or “different”! I always say thanks when I get those comments. But my closest friends see the VALUE in it. They don’t think like I do, nor do they care to, but they value a different perspective and KNOW I am always trying to do the right thing and put my best foot forward.
I’ve lost co-workers, close friends, and almost my wife over my knowing what to do next with such certainty, even when the direction goes against common wisdom and I have nothing but my gut as proof. I had a very close friend that I felt “got” me — and during a rough patch I was told “And don’t give me that ‘I’m putting my best foot forward’ bullshit!” I don’t think an INFP could be hurt more than by a statement like that from someone close to you. To not understand AND not “get” me…after knowing me for years…rips a hole in you. Two years later and we’ve never recovered. I’d go so far as to say it COULDN’T recover. If after years of knowing me well you think I am malicious, then you will never see me as I am. What I am saying is that validation for an INFP is extremely important. I don’t care if you don’t understand me, or think like I do, but I will love you forever if you let me be me and “get” what I’m about. I would rather have ONE close friend like that, than 100 that stick with me but shake their heads or wonder what I’m up to.
Feeling marginalized is exactly right. As an INFP I want people to recognize and acknowledge my process of knowing what I know to be true is legitimate. I have learned that metaphor is the best way of expressing myself so other’s can understand. Poetry is my favorite way of expression.
Someone once told me they knew me and how and why I did something. My response was you know exactly what I want you to know. How dare you assume what I’m feeling!
As far as seeing positive and negative intent we know it because we have been there.
I have been told in the past I have a problem letting go of things. This is because I need to completely understand my emotions before I can come to terms with them.
So it appears that INFPs can really understand another person’s experience as long as they are in a psychologically healthy state (i.e., utilizing the copilot of Ne), and can take in plenty of outer world input about what’s going on for the other person so to potentially help them better express authentic emotions. If unhealthy, however, then they just feel deep personal misunderstanding because they can’t express themselves. Yet, for the INFJ, they understand others’ experiences so wel to begin with, just naturally. They can’t help but absorb what’s going on for others. However, when they are at an underdeveloped state psychologically they, too, cannot do much with that input besides feeling acute pain (e.g., deep psychic pain from feeing others emotions), and won’t be able to help someone heal. So recommendations for INFJs to grow boundaries through Fe makes sense, and so does for INFPs to grow experientially in the outside domain so they can expand their worldview.
This podcast resonated with me in so many ways. I’ve always felt misunderstood by society, and it makes sense that what I’m feeling in this is invalidation and that my intentions are misunderstood. It makes sense that truly we are unable to manifest our emotions and reasonings in the physical world, and so therefore it’s diifficult to articulate our motivations. It truly touched me at the end, talking about how we truly need to feel passion and purpose in our lives and choices. Lastly, when you speak of the darkness within an INFP and how we can map our darkness in a way that others may not be able to or are not willing to, it’s so indicative of my self depricated nature. Recently I’ve discovered a lot of artists I feel kinship to are in fact INFPs like me and it’s just such a revelation because these artists truly spell out the darkness I have always felt misunderstood or not accepted by society. So it’s truly helped me to try and change my self deprication into something more kind to myself. I’ve always felt, too, that INFPs can be much more harsh on themselves than others in ways that cannot be explained to others. The fact that we understand all the nuances in our hearts truly makes sense. I have come out of this with much more understanding of myself. Thank you.
I don’t feel misunderstood…I don’t feel understood period….lol
I’m pretty sure I’m an ISFP after learning about the cognitive functions, reflecting on my past decisions and identifying the types of choices I make as I make them. Despite this, usually when I take a personality test (including this one), I get the result of INFP.
I’m aware of the intuitive bias in a lot of tests, but sometimes I still have doubts that all the tests are wrong about me being INFP.
I recently read Gifts Differing by Isabel Briggs Myers and found that there were quite a few times that I related with the general descriptions of N types more than with the S type equivalent. That said, I relate much more with descriptions of Se and Ni than Ne and Si, so I wonder if it’s possible that I’ve developed my Ni beyond that of my Se? But that would typically indicate that one is an unhealthy ISFP, and I’m pretty sure I’m not in a Fi-Ni loop…
In one of your podcasts, you mentioned it’s easy to tell a healthy Authenticity user by how easily offended they are. I like to think (and my friends agree) that I am not offended easily, or at least that I am good at not showing it when I am.
Thank you so much for this podcast !
After 45 years I finally feel validated in all I have been going through, it’s an amazing feeling !
I absolutely agree with at least 90% of what you said. The rest I need to let marinate for a while. I am an INFP and there’s a lot to be said about our inner struggles with our dark sides. One of the many things I’ve discovered about myself is I am fantastic at justifying anything in the right context. This very often seems selfish to some people around me, and there are moments when it is, but I have become very acquainted with my dark side. If I am letting selfishness/darkness come into the drivers seat, I am very aware of it. There are times when I know the right choice but I choose the opposite because it’s easier, or more fun. But when I’m living self-disciplined I am unable to allow myself to go down a path which would compromise my good intent (even though sometimes my good intent is misinterpreted as contentiousness). But the biggest thing I’ve learned is that we INFPs are most susceptible to our dark side when we find ourselves in conflict while immersed in something we love or are passionate about. For example, it’s sometimes very difficult to stop an activity I really enjoy when something negative (that goes against my core values) crosses into my field of view and my mind can go off on a rabbit trail exploring that very negative thing instead, poisoning my state of mind. It’s important to be able to lose yourself in something positive as an INFP but I think it’s more important to remember what it is you want to be lost in and when something else side tracks you to reel yourself back in and remember what your intention was because we can so easily go from good intention to bad intention.
hello, I agree with almost everything in this article. But, not with all of it. For example, this kind of statement is clearly a subjective one: “Healthy INFPs view everything has positive intent”. First of all, not everything has a positive intent, and that is NOT necessarily a sign a «maturity nor development». No single individual can decide what’s mature or not for all of us, for evil IS NOT a relative concept. Evil (or the human shadow or whatever you want to call it) is not a matter of debate, because it always has a consistent negative consequence as a result of using it. It is no measure of maturity to be condescendent with darkness. Darkness should not be there in the soul. That fact that darkness exist does not mean it should be agreed with. And yes, I do want to be understood (not to be worship, but to feel less alone), but not told what to do or what to think. I have no need of that. My authenticity is tempered with my compassion and my empathy. And in regard to logic: rational minds are the most likely types to kill love, or noble values, or beautiful noble sentiments by rationalize them. Love nor compassion, nor empathy has the real capacity to rationalize evilness. Only logic and rational thinking have that capacity. Love is highly superior to logic. I can turn logic into pieces… I’m an artist and I can see the truth in everything, everywhere, all the time. Because I am literally made of that.
This podcast made me tear up through the entire stream, and maintained goosebumps. I wish I could just play this podcast for job interviewers after they ask “Tell me about yourself”, and then follow up with “Yeah sooo..that’s what I’m working with.”
Yes! That would be amazing to be able to do that!
Am an ENFP and on personality hacker, I tested as INFP
Oh my god, how do you guys know me like that? My little INFP heart feels so real right now, listening to your descriptions. Very very cool
Wow, it sucks being an INFP. I didn’t get anything positive from this podcast episode. Time to watch Netflix all weekend.
As an INFP i highly resonate with all you said, even if i had articulated in many points an other way, but thats maybe because i am an other INFP-individual than those you talked to 🙂
I want to thank you both so so much for all the work and effort you put in this and how highly professional you got in your art!
In other episodes I stumbled over the fact that often get the points you made through joels talking, like i can’t compute that good what i heared from antona…it’s very weird. i wonder if other infp experienced the same? i think so and guess it has something to do with a more feeler talking of joel than the thinker talking from antonia?
It’s common for NFs to resonate with Joel in the podcast and NTs to resonate with me. 🙂
Just listened to this podcast (first one I’ve picked up and found the dialogue between you really insightful.
Previously tested as intj, Some times intp. Never felt right. Been looking back and revisiting as we’re going to be looking at mbti types as a leadership group. Looking at cognitive functions and fi/ne feels right. Ha ha isn’t that the infp way. Listening to the podcast I understood Antonia intellectually but found Joel’s explanations made more sense, they resonated, made me feel comfortable with the concepts.
First of all, i have to say the first podcast ive listen to was about the description of the INFP personnality and i found it really FANTASTIC really it openned my eyes on many things and it truly resonnated with me. However I’ve just felt the need, for the podcast, to interfere with something !
This is not personal of course, but just didnt agree with something
Antonia, when Joel talked about exploring many paths and have several passions.. and that you said maybe there was a problem of authenticity. Maybe there is, but really not necessarily !
First, i think sometimes theres this external pressure of “finding THE passion”. What if we have several passions? what if we love a lot of things ? that doesnt mean we are not authentic! and that doesnt mean we have to cut of all of the things we love just for the sake of one.
Besides, Ive just wanted to share i found out theres a specific kind of personnality type, called a “scanner” (barbara sheer) or a “multipotentialite” (emilie wapnick), that are the type of people that absolutely love to explore many many things, there are passionate about, and narrow their interests to study the one and only passion (those are called the “specialists) would be like A LACK of authenticity, like ripping out a part of who they are..
I just wanted to share that, and feel free to share you thoughts on this too!
I’m not sure Antonia meant to say that an INFP who hadn’t found a singular thing to be passionate about indicated a lack of authenticity. Sometimes people say things like, “Oh, that person hasn’t found their passion yet,” in such a way that makes it sound as if their passion is singular, but in truth, few people have singular passions. In fact, very, very, very few people have singular passions, and I think individuals of this nature may actually be imbalanced.
For example, consider how many people are passionate about cooking, or about parenting or psychology in addition to their career. Lots of people are passionate about sex in addition to everything else they’re passionate about in their life.
I do think, though, based one everything I’ve learned about the INFP type (which my husband of ten years is), that INFPs may need more variety and more passions than other types in order to thrive. My husband needs regular changes of focus and activity or he quickly becomes drained.
I do recall Antonia talking about going for the exact thing that you’re most in alignment with at a given moment, and not going for something on the sidelines. My husband seemed to be struck by that, and so was I. So often we all make the mistake of settling for something less than our true dreams, and Antonia implied that INFPs really need to attend to their true dreams more than most. But those dreams don’t have to be singular to apply to what she’s saying. I just took it to mean to go for what you’re in alignment with *most* at this moment, and then when the passion shifts, shift with it.
~ Raederle, INFJ
I just listen to this and I have to say that was a pretty good job!! I found it very interesting that you said that from a business point of view an xSTJ would be the most helpful ..interesting enough I am dating one. I agree that their focus and their ideas are great ..but what I find is that they find it difficult to relate to us… and from a relationship point of view I am unsure that I am getting what I should be getting … Any advice on opening a stronger connection between an INFP and an ISTJ?
Hi Joel and Antonia, I just wanted to say thank you so much for this podcast! This is the most in-depth analysis of INFP’s Fi I’ve seen. Most discussion forums and websites talks of Fi, on an extremely diluted and superficial level of just being “emotions” or “reacting to emotions” or “emo”. Thank you for articulating just the depth of Fi and how mature Fi leads to values/ethics/morals and the basis of conscience. (and this helped me solidify my type as INFP)
I was wondering if you guys have experienced an INFP using System Thinking on their Fi.
I think Fi believes that all emotions and experiences are subjective and true, and therefore it leads to unable to articulate or fight for our own voice when being challenged, because we will need to invalidate someone else’s subjective experience in order to win. (this leads to unhealthy level of feeling invalidated when we are constantly trying to validate others by not disagreeing with them and neglecting our own experiences; invalidating ourselves)
I feel like System Thinking would help with INFP dealing with their own emotional validation, and also hold validation of another person’s experience. I think it looks like Emotional Aikido from the outside.
Reaction to a part of your podcast. My native language is not English, so I can’t be as precise and subtle as I want to be.
In my experience punishment is not because of comparison with others. Judging, punishing what you see when you see parts of your dark side (and k n o w i n g this is only the top of the iceberg) is obvious. Feels obvious. How can I not judge and punish myself. There are dragons standing before me, I have to fight.
This was in the past. I could not call them dragons because dragons are too beautiful. I certainly could not call myself a dragonfighter, that’s far too heroic and vain.
In hindsight I allow metaphors like dragons and dragonfighters. To occassionally explain myself to someone else.
Instead of punishment I now give myself the credit that I didn’t flee.
Nowadays I don’t encounter dragons like in the past, maybe I’m getting more blind to them, more likely I’m beyond fighting. That is accepting.
I did three different tests recently, they all conclude I’m an INFP.
Thanks for the podcast 🙂
To give feedback about feeling misunderstood I don’t think it’s a problem of being marginalized or dismissed. Although I’ve felt the pain that comes from having my feelings marginalized or dismissed it’s not the same feeling as that of misunderstanding. I think you do hit it right on the head though. You discuss how INFPs understand that no one could possibly understand them because no one could possibly have the same feeling an INFP as an individual has. However from this arises an understanding that no one ever in the world can understand anyone else completely because feelings rise from experiences and perspectives and while the human experience is universal, paradoxically, everyone is unique because the way they have experienced the world is unique. So the feeling of misunderstanding, for myself at least, does not stem from me believing I feel deeper than others or that I lack the language to do so, rather I feel misunderstood because I have come to an understanding of the world where complete understanding is impossible. It’s not that I feel misunderstood, but that to be completely understood is impossible. And ironically when I feel the most misunderstood is when someone believes they understand my feelings completely and they are confidently incorrect about how I feel or what’s going on in my head. To understand someone (including yourself) to any degree takes time, patience, and an understanding of how incredibly deep the human soul or being or heart or mind is. Of course I can’t speak for all people of my type, but I hope that this gives language to that feeling of misunderstanding we express, because I don’t think it’s the same feeling of misunderstanding experienced by INJs. It’s a different feeling for which we lack a word, it’s certainly not the rejection of dismissal or powerlessness of being marginalized. There is an aspect of frustration to it which is why I think we say we are misunderstood.
The description of the pattern recognition and mirroring is spot on, and was a very “a-ha” moment for me. I never would have described it that way, but once I heard it, I knew it was very, very accurate. Thanks for taking the time to put language to my very hard-to-describe experience.
I just want to add something I regularly observe from my INFP mother and her friends – and what is a more destructive part of their personality, the negative side of wanting to make others feel good: The more unhealthy friends of an INFP become addicted, and many of them very quickly. And the INFP then eats himself/herself up trying to help these people. I am more or less immune to that – I appreciate it, but I can live without it – but her closest friend at the moment needs to be called every day and spoken to for half an hour – something what didn’t started that way and is burdening the INFP now. So be aware of the corrosive loop this addiction can initiate.
Oops, I think the part about the learning environment for INFPs was actually from an article I just read (not this podcast).
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
All of this was spot on– from the not being allowed to take your emotions to a 10 wihthout being percieved as a “bad person” to why I didn’t pick up much when I was actually in school and was deemed as not as smart as everybody else.
But the most important for me to hear is this ending, and I seem to need to hear it on repeat while I’m going at my goals because no one seems to understand that I can’t even work a societal job into my life and still accomplish what I want to or without being severely depressed. It seems 99% of the time I’m getting the advice of “Just get a part-time job.” “Just go back to school.” I tried those things for long enough to know that it’s a system that chews me up and spits me back out. INFP suitable day jobs are not easy to come by. My husband has always been super supportive and he’s been the only way I’ve been able to really go at this full-force (I’m writing poetry books), but oftentimes still get tripped up because the few times I decide to venture out into the external world, I receive a lot of scrutiny and “you’re abnormal” shade. It’s sometimes days of what feels like self-coddling before I feel alright with who I am again. This is probably why going on social outings is difficult for this personality? And I agree also with what someone else commented on far, far above– that it sucks to be perceived as incredibly shy, weak, unintelligent when we’re the opposite underneath but under a layer of distrust of being seen as what we actually are.
I’m subscribing on itunes and the only other podcast I’ve loved enough to subscribe to so far is Under the Skin with Russell Brand (do check it out, I bet you INFPs would love the alternative-to-society views on politics and world issues) so a million times, thank you.
This was incredibly validating … thank you so much for this detailed review of our INFP experience.
Still not knowing if I am INFP or INFJ… I have a lot more in common with INFP but don’t have this emotional aikido they are talking about, and other thing that makes me think I am INFJ is the fact the help I generally give people is not inspirational is an insight like INFJ. Itrovetion ist he only letter I’m quite sure at, the others make me doubt myself. OK INF is close but the last letter seens like I have characteristics for both. Autenticity seens to drive my decisions but I’m not that good understanding of other people like I understand myself, I feel very different from other people.
As a self-aware INFP, I’d like to help you understand a bit more about the type. It’s very complicated, and nothing’s black and white. Everything’s on a spectrum so it makes sense that you can see traits from both. (I see traits of ISFP in myself as well; there’s a few subtle differences.) As for the emotional aikido, does not have to apply to other people specifically. Sometimes it’s just a matter of imagining something that might influence your emotions. (Do you ever get lost in your thoughts and think of something funny and start to laugh and no one around you knows why?) Other times the INFP can make a conscious choice not to let the emotions of other people effect them. I would also like to point out that many INFPs can be insightful too. When the INFP has developed their Ne (what personalityhacker calls exploration) their ability to understand perspectives kicks in. The Ne leads them to ask people what they think, read about it, or do what ever else they feel the need to understand. The Fi (authenticity) helps the INFP understand. It makes an adjustment to their mindset and asks “How would I feel under these circumstances?” “What if they were different in this way?” “Where would this sit with me morally?” “How would my morals be different?” and other questions along those lines. (I see this all the time in a great mentor of mine who is also an INFP.) This combination of the use of the primary and auxiliary cognitive functions makes for an incredibly enlightened person. These INFPs (there’s sub-types to everything) tend to be more inspirational through their example than their words, or so one thinks. The true inspirational part of an INFP is most easily noticed when they are crossed in some way. This doesn’t mean mildly agitated. It means someone hit a nerve and cause an intense but just fury in the INFP. When this happens, they will likely be very stern and wild. People will see the fire burning in them as they seek to right what they perceive as wrong. In the past, when I felt that people were ignorantly offending a minority group, I stood in front of them and applied the best insights I could into how what they were saying might affect someone. In the end I swayed the majority of them because the manner and my passion with which I provided my insights was ultimately inspirational. It is important to remember that sometimes ‘helping people’ is not always what they might wish you to do, nor does it have to be conventional help. As for understanding people with an authenticity function. It takes a long time to truly master. That’s not a dis on you in any way if you happen to be INFP. I still struggle with understanding some people, especially when they’re quite different from myself. This is often the result of NF. NF types are idealist and will idealize people to such high expectations that what they do will surprise them. INFPs are among the worst offenders mainly because they lead with their Fi…. Just a thought.
Hope this helps. 🙂
It is important to note that INFJs and INFPs are both almost exclusively HSPs – Highly Sensitive People. If you aren’t familiar with the concept, I highly recommend reading the book, The Highly Sensitive Person, or visiting their website. They actually have some articles about Myers-Briggs types and being a HSP. The important thing to note is that being a HSP is genetic, so if you’re a HSP, there are certain Myers-Briggs types you will most likely turn out to be, and each of the types that an HSP can be all have certain things in common which relate to being a HSP such as lower serotonin production. This is why the Myers-Briggs types that HSPs generally are usually have somewhere in their description, “This type can fall into long depressions.” However, the low serotonin production of an HSP also impacts positive emotions, causing feelings and gratitude and joy to be even more intense than they are for people who don’t have the genetic trait.
You can learn a lot more about this subject and how it interacts with childhood traumas as well by reading Childhood Interrupted. Once you’ve read that, you may be able to figure out how your individual traumas have influenced you to behave in certain ways that are outside your type. For example, for me, my upbringing caused me to idealize the ENTJ type (sometimes known as “The Commander”). But my actual brain wiring is for an INFJ, which introverted intuition (Ni) clearly being my dominant function.
I have a really detailed article about my own type as an INFJ as well as some things about my INFP husband on my website. The title is something like Oracle / INFJ / HSP if you’re interested in looking it up.
Also, did you see the other response to your comment? Ara’s thoughts are quite enlightening and definitely accurately reflect my INFP husband.
~ Raederle, INFJ
Alignment makes a lot more sense to me than “feeling.”
I’m the only INFP in a family full of SJ’s. My mother is an ESTJ and so is my only sibling, my sister. As I’ve explored my personality and functions it’s like a curtain has been pulled back to reveal why I’ve always felt like such a failure and why things that “should” be simple have been so hard for me. I’ve always fought against what is actually my dominant function! To my family, feelings are pesky inconsequential things that should be moved past and put aside. They are inefficient and misleading and distract from getting things done. Trying to shift gears and accept that authenticity is a good thing has been affirming, freeing, and also painful. I’m not good at doing it consciously yet, but even accepting it has been a start.
Something I’ve become aware of is how often I’ve invalidated my own emotions with my mother’s logical voice in my head. I’m having to learn how to self-parent differently now, allowing my feelings not only to surface but to listen to them and observe them, embracing them as essential to my driver. In learning this I’ve also realized that I can negatively use my empathy and understanding of how other people work to invalidate my emotions. For example: I know that my mother can’t see where I’m coming from and what matters to me can’t matter to her, not as a character flaw or for lack of love, but simply because of how she functions. Because I know her intent and how she works, old habits might tempt me into invalidating my pain when she can’t connect with something that means a lot to me. I’m having to learn to allow myself to feel the pain of not connecting, even if it’s no one’s fault.
Around 18ish minutes in Joel was SPOT ON when describing the frustration of invalidation and dismissal. That’s exactly what I’ve felt and he put it into words. It’s hard for me to be around people who require logical reasoning in order for my input to matter…which of course makes me feel like I as a person don’t matter. Sometimes you just want to say, “Can’t you just give me the respect of taking my answer? Can’t you just trust me?” Because I’m not stupid or inept. Sometimes I do know the best answer or solution and I’m not someone who just makes up a bullshit answer. If I don’t know something I’ll say I don’t know it. So when I do know something just trust me. Have I steered you wrong in the past? No! It’s REALLY annoying and degrading sometimes.
Also want to touch on the subject of intent…when someone views me as having selfish motives and I don’t in that instance, it’s devastating because it means they don’t trust me and I’ve worked hard to earn their trust by being empathetic and a safe person for them. Someone trusting me is closely tied with seeing me for who I am and that I do have their best interest at heart. Motive does matter because when you start to realize that everyone thinks they are doing the right thing they become humans with feelings just like you. I posit that if the world was full of INFP’s there would be no war. Of course nothing would get done and we wouldn’t have anything that required math Hahaha.
Of course INFPs want their friends to understand their emotions and their choices in life, we do like to bond with other people. I find it extremely difficult to open up about emotions to other people, physically difficult and verbally difficult. I am lucky to have really empathic friends who sometimes push me to go beyond the boundaries of what I would comfortably share, and we are closer for it. But when I speak it is incoherent and it’s difficult to understand for people who express themselves in a different manner. I tend to spew out abstract terms for my emotions rather than down to earth terms, and that’s not always so relatable. Also I am highly aware of wether or not people actually listen with empathy or not; if they don’t I won’t open up of course; cause what’s the use? Then I would only do it to entertain or bore them, not to connect and grow from the experience together.
The self-awareness and fear of rejection is kind of high as a result of both the inherent introversion and the experiences of being misunderstood in the past. And by misunderstood I mean that people don’t understand and validate what I am saying to express something deeply personal and emotional – maybe laugh at it or joke about it or says something insensitive.
It is a great feeling to connect, it’s universal and infps share that need. Maybe that’s why many use art to express themselves so that their feelings are validated.
It’s astonishing to meet ENFPs, INFJs and connect with them. They inspire and fascinate me. Meeting more of them recently I enjoyed connecting with them, learning from them and in their unique ways they helped me to embrace myself more too.
Ok, thanks for sharing thoughts and life experiences in this podcast!
Hi from Germany,
About Lise’s comment above:
“Also I am highly aware of wether or not people actually listen with empathy or not; if they don’t I won’t open up of course; cause what’s the use? Then I would only do it to entertain or bore them, not to connect and grow from the experience together.” As an INFP, I couldn’t agree more. This is EXACTLY how I go when I am interacting with someone. In the case the person is not interested in listening to my story and under the condition that I am about to spend some time with the person anyway, I shift gears and go fishing for the person’s story – which I am most of the time interested about anyway. Though I keep a note in my mind “beware of one way relationships”. I am perfectly fine with genuinely listening to people for hours. I love hearing their story and them opening up to me, though I can’t be friends with someone if the pattern always remains this one-way dynamic.
About the podcast:
I can related to INFPs wanting to be validated more than understood. People are so complex and have so little grasp over their own mind – for most of it lies in the subconscious anyway, staying out of reach – that I don’t think we can understand each other fully anyway. About validation: if I don’t feel validated by a person whose opinion or love matters to me, I have a hard time dealing with it. It can be so overwhelming that my mind might kind of get numb, making me lose access to any possible rational or logical thought – and sometimes to any thoughts at all. I hate this situation so much – and fortunately it doesn’t happen as often anymore – that I would elaborate strategies before hand to make sure the person validates me in some way.
Joel said in the podcast something like INFPs can choose to mirror an emotion or not. He was referring for instance to people calling the XNFPs “cold-hearted” when they might expect them to show a specific emotion. YES!!! YES!!! YES!!! I can totally relate to this as well. My ESTP partner – yes, communication is a hell of a challenge at times but totally worth it – didn’t understand this part of me at first and thought I was really cold in situations were he would have expected me to be more demonstrative. I am so clear about my intentions in my mind that I sometimes don’t feel the need to physically express them for the outer world to see it.
In the podcast, you also underpinned the way INFPs can see how bad people’s hearts can go. It is even draining my energy like crazy if I spend to much time with people spreading a negative energy. It’s enough to me if that person criticizes others all the time. According to that person, there is always someone doing something wrong and – oh my – that person is so stupid. I am putting so much efforts in trying to grasp other people’s intents and perspectives that it makes me sick to my stomach when people judge each other so negatively and without trying to see thing from a different angle. A 10 minutes discussion going this direction can be enough to drain a considerable amount of my energy.
Thank you to Antonia and Joel for these insightful inputs on personalities and growth. I am a rather silent listener but I can tell you that am truly excited about your work and that reading a Personality Hacker article or reading a podcast on a bad day makes me feel better. So thank you for that too!
I am wondering how many INFP’S like me have been abused in childhood. I am of the understanding..that early sexual abuse can sort of rewire the brain. In my journey of trying to heal…(memories started making it through years and years later) I have encountered many people that are introverted and seem quite similar to me. I am curious to see if those dots have been connected.
Also yes….since the squeaky wheels get the grease…being dismissed is a real issue for me.
First thank you for your work and time doing these podcasts.
I found out I was an INFP last year and it made so much sense to me, as to why I am the way i am.
Im 29 in two weeks, and have floated from career path to career path. I am currently studying Nutrition and Health Promotion and through that have learnt I have a disorder called pyrolle disorder, which causes anxiety and depression… so I am finally on the road to recovery, i believe through listening to mu intuition and not allowing western medicine prescribe me medication that has side effects.
I absolutely reasonated with being an inspirational leader as I want to be help educate others about the link between the gut, the brain and mental illness ! and combat all this crazy pharmaceutical business going on ! Its definitely the Joan of Arc in me….. however in terms of passion,… i love art and I’ve become fascinated with drag and makeup….so who knows where ill be in a few years time, maybe a drag performer educating the world at the same time. Logistics is absolutely my downfall…
Cheers Nick, Australia
I just came across your podcast and I found it fascinating. I’m so INFP it hurts. It was such a relief when I discovered my type and that the feeling of being “misunderstood” is just part and parcel of being wired this way.
I do agree that “misunderstood” is the wrong word. For me it’s been more a feeling of chronically not fitting in. I can certainly seem like I fit, play the part, be who I’m expected to be. I think a great deal of this comes from having to be places where you can’t be authentic. School, work, family, friends who don’t understand. I’ve spent most of my life cultivating relationships with people that I can be authentic with, and much of that “misunderstood” feeling goes away when you are with people who you can be yourself with and while doing things that you truly, to the core, care about. So you are right, we do desperately need people who validate us. Who see that we’re wired a bit different and respect that. People that we can fearlessly be our authentic selves around.
I think another commenter hit another point that I didn’t hear in the podcast, which is that who we appear to be is often very different from who we perceive ourselves to be. I was kind of shocked when I found out that others see me as quiet and shy. I don’t feel that I’m either. Inside my head I’m battling foes and slaying monsters, outside I’m sitting in a corner listening to others talk. Our internal life is so full and vibrant and there are precious few people that we can share that with. Or rather, we feel that there are few people who have any interest in our internal world. Writing, art and a strange sense of fashion help a lot.
Though, finding someone who does understand is actually pretty magical. A couple years back I made friends with an INFJ, and it’s wonderful having someone who knows without me having to painstakingly try to explain. Not having to turn feelings into words. It’s also great, because both types are so sensitive and work so hard to take care of other people, it’s a relief for both of us to have someone who instinctively looks out for the other. (this isn’t to say that other types don’t do this, lots do, but it usually requires more overt communication)
Anyhow, I’m sorry for the ramble. I’m excited to find a new resource. You guys do a great job!
I thought the part about finding your secret weapon of the opposite type was really on point. My best friend is an ESTJ and we complement eachother so well in the world, even though we’re opposite types. I smooth things over for her socially sometimes/ make the vibe good no matter what’s happening and she sets up all the fun stuff we’re going to and gives me “what to pack lists” etc. My older sister is an ISTJ and in our youth we didn’t get along that well at all, but now I help her by listening to her life stresses and giving advice and she helps me with practical things like where to get my car fixed and which credit card has the best benefits. We love eachother lots and appreciate the other’s strengths.
Loved the “logistics is just your cross to bear” message. Ya know, I’ve accepted it too, can make me feel very frustrated sometimes, but I know that everybody has their burdens. It was also useful to me to hear that the energy you spend doubting the meaning of your work saps what little is available for logistics/ organization/ efficiency purposes. It’s so easy to push your passion under the rug to try to achieve efficiency, but hearing that I can have both and in fact my efficiency is DEPENDENT on my passion was really useful.
I also thought you handled the issue of self harm really compassionately.
Thanks for trying but…I’m 6 and a half minutes in and you are still explaining what the technical definition of MBTI vs. your nicknames of the functions mean, which is making my mind hurt. Perhaps you should have an INFP explain us to us. We don’t want or need to hear all of these details to “get” the point. *yawn*
Are you doing okay? For an INFP your comment is uncharacteristically impolite. If you’d listened to the podcast you would have understood that both your flow and your growth states work better when you’re considering feelings will be impacted by your words and behaviors, and coming at things with an open mind.
Maybe you should push through that first six minutes. Or don’t. Either way life will be just fine. 🙂
Just watched this Podcast. Fascinating! Numerous valuable insights for me. I’m a recently retired (mid 50’s) HR professional who worked with the Myers-Briggs framework during my career and always deeply appreciated the contributions it delivered. But I did not reach this depth of understanding.
My life has been and continues to be graced, for which I feel deeply fortunate. Nonetheless, you’ve shed (validating!) light on key struggles I’ve faced (how would we grow without struggle?) and I thank you for that. The notion of validation vs understanding fully resonates completely with me. One of the most stressful periods of my career was during a time when I did not feel my boss valued the unique perspectives and contributions I had to offer. I found that so stressful, I changed jobs (within the same company) rather than persevere in working through it. Fortunately, for the balance of my 30 year career, I had great bosses. They were sometimes puzzled by my views, we sometimes disagreed and often discussed and debated, but I felt consideration and appreciation for my perspectives and inputs. That allowed me to flourish. I stumbled into working in talent management, identifying, developing and coaching future and current leaders in the organization and found my passion. Helping others discover their real career interests and professional strengths was hugely rewarding to me and played beautifully to my strengths. (By the way, I absolutely recognize the challenge at setting up systems to get things done, my forte having been coaching and advising). Despite my passion for the work, when I qualified for early retirement, I leapt at it. Now I could get back to spending full time on my own development and exploration, and hanging out with my beloved husband (an ESTP, he helps bring out the playful side of me and keeps me from taking myself too seriously)! No more press for efficiency and systems. Time to spend with family and friends. Heaven! I was taken aback by the number of colleagues who seemed truly puzzled by my decision to retire at a relatively young age. Seemed to me that everyone would love to do that. Guess I still have some maturing to do. I now get why that decision fit me but wouldn’t necessarily be desirable for all.
Thanks for the insights! Wishing all my fellow INFPs joyful inspiration and appreciation.
Just found this podcast! Wow what a great indepth discussion. I’ve known for quite awhile that I’m an INFP but have never really taken/had the time to really understand what that means until not. This podcast had me in tears at times (not to be dramatic) simply because I experienced a form of validation. My current struggle is career. From what I’ve read this isn’t out of character for an INFP. I was stuck, or felt stuck, in a job I hated for way to long. Long story short, the economy turned and I was let go. My struggle is with focusing on providing for my family and either being able to make it following my artistic passions or getting another job that just doesn’t align with who I am. In order to pursue my passion (which I’m still working through) I would need to turn all my focus on making that work..and that is a frightening thing to do.
Anyway, I really enjoyed this podcast! Thanks and keep up the good work!
Omg, just when the podcast finished i noticed that my life is f****ed.
As an INFP my passion is finding a partner who really understands me.
lol, is all i have left to say
INFPs dont want to be understood, we need to be understood. Its hard for us to articulate I think because we dont often think of ourselves thru then lens of Me and what I desire, or we know what we want or have thoughts we never share because saying them out loud they sound awful and can be misinterpreted, and we dont have the words because we dont think to say it and lack context. We yearn for those relationships that are marked by not what we say, but what we never need to say… All my relationships are plagued with a sense of isolation, I know I have a very nuanced understanding and perceptiveness, Im always supporting and manipulating and nudging peoples emotions its pathological and overt, for the most part even my close relations feel one sided in some hard to pin down way, my deep needs for comfort and understanding do not need words I need contact in a way I know I give other people constantly but feel abandoned in my needs from others. This only seems to filled by other INFPs and ENFPs when they sit still long enough to trust them. Communication becomes a flow of subtle expressions and nuances and meanings behind words and tones… entire conversations flow like giant inside jokes above the heads of everyone around us, we are in sync our information is not being thrown away its being used and we are being heard and understood, someone is listening to us the way we listen to you and this is not done with simple words, its tone and expression and a rich language and its with those rare people I feel a sense of peace and support and safety… a filled longing that is absent in most of my relationships so bad it hurts..
I have felt dismissed many times as a little illogical girl, although I am a grown 32 year old working woman, because in the heat of a discussion I cannot verbalized my conviction about something. I really apreciated this podcast because it made me understand this part of myself and that I just need to use different tools when talking to efficient people, like my father, and bosses. I have learned through my jobs that I have to use different techniques to communicate strategies to possible donors, and after this podcast I can see how it correlates in personal life.
Concerning the discussion about a sense of darkness in one’s self, I lately am feeling this burden to draw attention to it in Other’s because I doubt they acknowledge it, but this has made me realize that I possibly shouldn’t put that much weight to these ideas, as it may just be part of the human condition and that others would not value those types of discussions as like feelings and ethics are both obscure topics.
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.
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”
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!
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.
Greetings from Saudi Arabia
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!
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.
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?
Don’t know what Jennifer is talking about. I didn’t get judgemental from you at all. Thank you for taking the time to really consider INFP’s and the work you put into not just the podcast, but really delving into our type with compassion and the desire to really understand us. I like your voice 🙂
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!
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.”
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!!
INFP PROCRASTINATORS UNTIL WE’RE NOT
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.
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
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.
Yes, definitely as sn INFP I feel marginalized and dismissed more than misunderstood. Peculiar pain sounds familiar, too!
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.
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
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 🙂
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.
Wow, It actually brought tears to my eyes when you started talking about intent.
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.
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!
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?
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 🙂
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?
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).
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 🙂
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. 😉 ]
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.
Dear Antonia and Joel,
After the podcast I’m convinced I’m INFP.
I agree 100% with all the points here.
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!
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…
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.
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)
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
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..
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.
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.
Thank you for sharing Mon! 🙂
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!
Thanks for the feedback, Barbara! The comments alone should take you awhile to get through. 😉
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.
Thanks for the comment, Nora!
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!
Thanks Lynne! I’m glad we helped you find some clarity on your type. 🙂
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.
Awesome Heather! This is the feedback we live for! Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Good luck on your new career choices. 🙂
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!
Thanks for the feedback, Rebeka! This week is INFP week at Personality Hacker, so keep your eyes out for INFP info.
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.
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.
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!
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!)
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!
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)
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.
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. 😉
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?”
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)
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.
thanks for the great listen!
Lol, Eliot! Thanks for the very authentic comment. 😉 Did you know this is INFP week here at Personality Hacker? Keep an eye out for more in-depth INFP content.
If you want to join our iNtuitive community, check out our Facebook group Intuitive Awakening: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1066580883382024/1081110681929044/?notif_t=group_comment
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?
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.
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.
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! 🙂
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.
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?
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. 😉
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…
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.
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
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!
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! 🙂
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. 🙂
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).
Thanks for the comment, V! I found your personal insights into the INFP mind interesting and enlightening.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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. 😉
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.
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.
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.
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.
talk about J…I mean can’t wait to HEAR. 🙂
Thank for the comment Allyse. We are working on some ENFJ advice. Would you be willing to let us know your ENFJ challenges here:
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.
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.
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.
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!!!!!!
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,
“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….
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.
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.
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.
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.
I’m feeling stupid. How do I download this into iTunes? right clicking isn’t working.
If you click on the link below and then the button to open the show in iTunes – it will let you subscribe and also download individual episodes.
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!
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.
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.
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!
Wow thank you for doing this. I am an ENFP/INFP. Thank you!
Thanks Katherine. There is a good reason why you feel like you are on the fence between ENFP/INFP.
Check this out:
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!
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!”
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)
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.
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.
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.
“I do feel like a jack of many trades and you know the rest”
I understand how you can think like this of yourself. It is the notion of this “public image”… the idea of how people might see me, that makes me shudder. Because I know, I am not. We want to be validated in a positive way , not stamped with a negative label of something that society views as ‘bad’ (and there is the key, we too often perceive it as ‘bad’, because to view it as ‘bad’ is normal and widely accepted). For me it is like a fear of being categorized ( Someone in here mentioned: not wanting to be thought of as a “happy hippy” – which perfectly fits in with this thought pattern). It undervalues the opinion we have of ourselves. A negative label can effectively make my confidence crumble, cuz I dislike being labeled, especially when it is something people that associate with something negative. (Which leaves a lot of space for interpretation, as that depends on your social background, personal values and dislikes and so on).
But overcoming this dislike starts within you. Someone I recently met on a new job simply phrased this process of going through many jobs, etc. as “he’s studying life”. He too was struggling to find a “proper job” (as society calls jobs that bring in a fixed (good) monthly or annual income.). There are many people like us. So teh first step we too have to do is, look at them as society does, that is looking down at them. (You’re over thirty and still have no proper job or carreer? What are you wasting your life for?) I think finding something your passionate about (I too am working on it, but I have a notion where I might find it!) is definitely worth the time. After all you only live once. And while I struggle and take on random “low” jobs to financially survive, I know it is feeding that ambition to find satisfaction at work. It’s not easy for everyone to find that, and many resign from that hope, shrug their shoulders and accept living and working the same to them boring job, because – put in any excuses you like -. A popular one being ” I have a family and need to feed them”. It’s an absolutely valid (in society) excuse to use. Personally, I don’t have a family, but I know the way of thinking too. I use “I have work” as a valid excuse to procrastinate stuff I don’t want to do, or make big decisions.
The point is, you might not be able to quit right away, but you can start working on it – do online schooling or similar courses to gain knowledge in something of interest. Once you have finished it, you might be able to find a job in that field, or you might even stay where you are but get different projects, that are more creative and challenging to you. Unfortunately there are no fairies who give us a dress, glass slipers and a coach in this world, but it does not mean we can’t work slowly and deliberately towards it. But I’m getting off-topic. Normal for us, I guess? 🙂
Back to “studying life” – it is the way you view yourself and what you do, your attitude towards it, that makes a great difference. Stop labeling yourself as jack of all trades! You are, like everyone else, a student of life. And like at University, not everyone is studying the same material. Point. If someone calls you that, that might hurt, but see it the other way around. To them the idea of losing the stability (and maybe prestige) that comes from their job, would mean a great change and most people dislike changes or fear them. As for you, it might be a Problem, but you know(!) you can handle it. You can find work (anywhere), you you have proved that before. See it as a strength. At least I do, I took on this point of view, when I realized after traveling for many years, taking on whatever job, that all my friends and people from high school, were starting to get settled down – kids, married, stable jobs – great for them. But was my “experiencing life while traveling” worth less? I don’t think so. No matter how “low” in societies eyes my job might have been (fruitpicking, tree planting, cleaning hostels, dish washing), as long as it was honest and did not go against my values I can live with it. Indeed it gave me more appreciation for the hard workers of orchardist and farmers, gave me appreciation for the back breaking and sometimes quite disgusting work dishwashers have to do every day.
So, for any of you, who might be stuck with such a job for a while. It is, in a way, a good education. Try to see it in a positive light – whatever you might have learned from it, all these soft-skills like handling stressful situations, and be thankful to those who are still doing this work every day for you. And often, if you use your intuition, you can use knowledge obtained in one work place to improve another work place (if you are allowed to) or maybe one day, in your career you can you those skills as a foundation.
As for the idea that I have of what I’m passionate about. Travelling made the world grow into me – seeing and hiking through beautiful landscapes and learning about how people destroyed parts of it, how they were threatend and protected, how people try to rebuild what was destroyed and so on, it all showed me which path I want to take. It is towards conservation, “to help leave the world a better place than I found it”. I’ll use my creativity and “big picture thinking” to find solutions. My last employer’s business… I still think about how this and that “bit of information” might be useful for his business, how he could improve it, get better working conditions for workers, improve business standarts, etc. In my head I’m rewritting dreadful procedures into encouraging welcome notes and explaining rules rather than just deciding on them. I guess, being an “inspirational leader”, though I’m dreading the idea to openly lead, but if I can influence people towards a better direction (for themselves) than all the self-studying of types, psychology and so on, was not wasted, but stored to be used at a later point in my life.
So maybe this is the approach, for all INFPs who realize they are not passionate enough to write books – you your writing skills in a different way! – or create amazing art – use your creativity to design websites, flyers, picture books and so on, for something you care about. There are after all a million ways to be “creative” other than the standard Arts “act, write, paint, play instrument,..”
So, start by changing how you view things! Question labels we put on each other (that we hate so much anyways) and dare to swim against the stream for your authenticy!
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?
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”.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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:)
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.
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
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.
Try replacing the word “self punishment” with “atonement” in regards to INFP responses….? Impressive work, once again. Keep it up!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It may be to your suprise that I feel this way, but to some extent, I agree with you (and I’m an 18 yr old INFP, 4w5).
For a very long time i’ve felt misunderstood, and have found it difficult to open up to people. As a result, I’ve had very few friends, and even less amongst those few that I felt I could truly connect with. I for the most part chalked it up to my nature and my personality. I figured I was not palatable to most people.
And then I joined university. An entire year past, and at the end of it, I only had about one friend. For a long time I lamented that it was because I was, as I thought, misunderstood, and that the chief offender for these misunderstandings were the people I’d tried communicating with. They had failed to misunderstand me, I thought; I’d tried my best.
But had I really?
I thought about it for a while and realised that maybe I hadn’t tried my best. For so long I’d felt misunderstood, yes, but I’d never thought to try and ‘make myself more understandable’. I’d never thought to take chief responsiblity over the problem. After all, was it not affecting me most? Was I not the one suffering? INFP’s are infamous for being hard to get to know, for being, as you said, not very transparent. There was a stubborn part of me that thought that I shouldn’t have to change who I am to please or reach others: that they should like me as I am. But I realised that it was unrealistic, in part because my difficulty in being direct and transparent is not who I am in entirety (if anything, it is a hindrance to who I really am) but also because for the few people who would relate to and understand where I was coming from, it would be worth it. Yes maybe I would try and engage with ten or fifeteen who simply wouldn’t understand or care to (because it had happened in the past and would doubtless happen in the future), but what of the two who would? How would I meet them if I were locked up in my room, or avoiding any social interaction for fear of failure? If i wanted people to see me for who I was, I had to take the first step and show them, in my own way (since I will never be the bubbly vivacious extrovert), exactly who that was. I had to make myself more available, and approachable and less unfathomable (as I know I can appear). I do think believing that we are fundamentally misunderstood can be a self-fulfilling prophecy because if we believe it, why try? And if we believe it and do not try, why would someone who had perhaps thought about coming up to us do so if we looked so distant and aloof? INFP’s, especially young ones (like myself) find it difficult to try or do or act in general, especially in ways that will make them uncomfortable (inferior Te). So what better way to avoid acting/doing than to shoot myself in the foot by mentally denying anyone the chance to understand me? In doing so, I would placate the part of me that wanted to be vastly different from anyone else. I am quite different, there’s no denying that, whether or not I want to (though I don’t posit that that makes me better) but making my self so much more excessively unique in my head would make the rejection of my failed efforts less painful. It would then not be that I had failed: It would be that they couldn’t have done it to begin with.
That said, I do think that you were in some ways unfair in your assesements of INFP’s (or perhaps fair according to your experience. I don’t know). You seem to have had quite a bit of negatiev experience with an INFP, and have thus taken to projecting these observations over a large quantity of them. You seem to have in part made it appear almost as if INFP’s make no effort at all to try to reach people, to connect. Maybe very unhealthy ones do. But I doubt that many of us have not tried to reach out to people. Since INFP’s feelings are so internal and so personal, it can be difficult for them to explain where they are coming from to others, and it is by no means natural for them to be direct with their feelings. Of course moving away from what is easy and natural is part of growth in everyone, but all in all, you don’t seem to acknowledge that there is an effort and that., above all else, the effort is needed because it is-you guessed it-difficult. Yes, everyone has something that they struggle with-I don’t for a minute deny that, and I don’t even deny the fact that the immature INFP’s tendency to exaggerate or magnify their own pain is present (though, I do agree with INFP girl in saying that, while an INFP’s pain is by no means more, it is felt more, just because our first function is a feeling function and it is what we process information through first- that does not make our life harder of course, since all other types have weaknesses that encumber them where INFP’s are not weighed down). It is however the effort that counts-and while it might be very frustrating to you to see an INFP be indirect and inaccesible and almost self-indulgently so at times, you have to understand that what seems so inherently effortless and rational to you isn’t that way for us. I understand cognitively that being direct and not hiding my feelings is beneficial-of course I do!-and if I had it my way, I would immediately stop being indirect, and explain all my feelings perfectly and directly and mean in everyway what I say. But that’s not how growth works. It’s slow and painful and knowing what to do is about 20% of it. The 80% is applying that knowledge. Do INFP’s have a responsibility to try and solve their own problem of not being understood as much as it is within their power to do so? A thousand times yes. Is knowing that they have this responsilbility and knowing how to fix things (in part) solve the entire problem? Not at all. The problem becomes solved when the work is done-and the work takes time.
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.
I feel you and resonate with all you said. Thank you for sharing.
I didn’t really resonate with this podcast, but I completely resonate with everything you wrote here.
Loved everything you said. Spot on. Actually articulated in a way i couldnt have ever done so myself. However it only adds to my lament. As for the intj, i have nothing more to say without ruining my composure.
I completely agree.
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 🙂
From my own perspective as an INFP…I think “misunderstood is a very poor choice of words. While I think it sort of communicates the meaning to a degree, I feel it connotes something that isn’t fully developed, ostensibly, in all INFPs. The fact that, at least for me, there is an internal, emotional frame of reference we use to relate to different people. We become the mindset, emotions, or energy that complements and hopefully helps other people. In that sense, we will be inevitably misunderstood in a necessarily literal way. When you communicate with people in this way, you have a skill set that a lot of people do not have, and because of that, how can they really understand you? If you are lucky enough to be able to communicate this to someone to begin with. I had to take a detour into the world of computer programming for many years at the age of 19 that allowed me to develop other cognitive functions earlier in life for me to be more in touch with that. Though it is really more than that. But that’s part of my personal story. I don’t know if other INFPs can relate to the more general pattern in what I’ve had to say.