I’ve always found it kind of amusing, reading some of the articles, listening to various people, and of course reading comments about the INFP. While some of it is rather accurate for the most part, I can’t help but feel like they’ve neglected to mention a few things. Of course there’s only so much you can say or speculate on if that isn’t your personality type, I however, think it would be fair if certain things came into the light. So without further ado, here are 10 things you may not know about the INFP.
1. We’re not always tuned into other peoples emotions or feelings.
Ok… this one’s a fun one, while it is vastly true that we’re idealists, and enjoy daydreaming. This does not mean we have this magical perception on a persons emotions and or feeling, just because my personality type happens to be an INFP, does not mean that I’m both empathetic, and/or sympathetic. To say and think otherwise, is a little unfair. Can we be extremely friendly and get along with anyone around us for the most part? Heck yes.
Often times we have our own emotions to try and sort through, than to bother with some one else’s emotions. We may be having a hard enough time trying to control and sort through our own darn it. This doesn’t mean we’re not willing to listen, but if we seem less than lively or interested in what you’re saying, it’s usually because we have so many other emotions and thoughts of our own, than to pay attention to yours. We’re not all masters of psychology after all.
2. We can be a walking contradiction.
Ah yes, nothing confuses a person more than being a complete enigma personality wise. We can either not be intelligent, or be very intelligent, and then at some random time, either say/do something really smart, or say/do something really stupid, often times at very strange moments. We can be both very deep thinkers, yet also blurt out something without thinking, and just when a persons idea of us starts to form, we suddenly do something completely unexpected. It doesn’t matter what it is you may think of us, at one moment, at some unforseen time, and without warning our nature, day to day, may change.
This is perhaps why so many people have a hard time trying to grasp us, there may be a core that they get, but then a multiple of other things they don’t. For us INFP’s sometimes it’s fun to be a wild card, other times extremely annoying, and extremely lonely. After all the only other person who may get us is another INFP, ENFP, INFJ, or an ENFJ. Cause surprise, we’re not a huge fan of being misunderstood, and yet we can’t exactly explain why we do or say what we do, we just… do.
3. We can be extremely aggressive.
As an INFP, I’ve often been accused of being a big teddy bear, a gentle giant, too nice, and so on. You know because when they say INFP’s want harmony, or want to be nice, for the most part that’s true. That is… until we’ve either been driven to the edge, or have had a core value be targeted. Then that boundary of us avoiding conflict is broken, and we… will… be… in… your… face. Either figuratively, or literally, circumstances depending of course.
4. We can be very negative.
For some strange, unfathomable reason, people always seem to think we’re always optimistic about everything. That every INFP is so cheerful that their farts send out rainbows, and their burps lovely little flowers of joy. Sure we love beauty, all things creative, and can generally say something good about anything. Just because we have this capacity, does not mean we always use it. It may surprise you that even though we can find good in everything, we can also find the bad as well. So depending on how an INFP has been brought up, can very easily depend on which side of the spectrum their emotions allow them to see things.
We’re guided by what we feel, and what we feel may not be sunshine and rainbows, but dark clouds and stormy skies instead. To think that we’re always one way, is a huge misconception that needs to be broken. It’s also not like we want to be negative either, we may simply be pessimistic by nature or then circumstances of life have forced us into such an emotional mind set.
5. It’s not easy to gain our trust, but it’s easy to break it.
In the event that you got an INFP to open up enough to begin to trust you, hurray, you’re one step closer to the INFP accepting you as a friend. Now here comes the tricky part, during this time we will put you under extreme scrutiny, you won’t notice it, but we will. Why? Well for the most part we want to know how far we can trust you, if being a friend is truly a possibility, and a multitude of other things we’re trying to figure out in regards to you. I’ll post a more detailed article on what not to do to break an INFPs trust later, for now I’ll briefly go over it.
During this time, that we think you’re a decent enough human being for us to consider accepting you as a friend. Is exactly the time when you don’t do anything stupid to break our trust. By stupid I mean attacking or making fun of the things we value, not listening to us when we say yes or no, or forcing us against our will to do something we don’t want to. The moment you decide to do something rash and or reckless, is the moment during this time, that we decide to put you at a distance again.
6. I don’t think you fully understand how big we are on loyalty.
Loyalty for us is like… huge, I mean super huge. If you’re our friend, family, or anything we care about. We will, once called, be there for you. As a friend it took us a long enough time to accept you, so you better believe we’ll be there when help is asked, if we can. If we can’t, there will be a legitimate, and completely valid reason why we can’t, which we’ll totally feel extremely guilty about. Not only will we be there for you, despite our differences, we will defend you, as you have now become part of what we value. We consider you almost like distant family, and while at times we may hurt your feelings, we’ll never actually abandon the friendship.
As an employee, this means you’re dependable, you’re early, you do your work as best as you can, and you try to get along with co-workers. Does it mean you’ll never leave? Well no, but while you’re there, you remain loyal to them, and when you decide it’s finally time to leave to newer pastures, there’s always a piece of you that is torn when you do. While some people may be able to quit on the spot without hesitation, it may take us several months to come to terms with it, before we actually do.
What to take away from this? If it’s something we care about, and if you’re someone we care about. We’ll be there for the long haul, and it won’t be us who leaves first, it will always be the other person. After all we hate both betrayal, disloyalty, and abandonment, it doesn’t matter what kind. There are some cases we can come to grips with it, other cases where we can’t.
7. It is very easy for us to feel guilty.
Growing up, I’ve always been easy to guilt trip. Since feeling guilty is an emotional response, that relates to what you’re feeling, and since INFPs are rather closely tied to their own feelings. It can be very, very, easy to make us feel guilty. We don’t even have to be in the wrong, to feel guilty, and this, once noticed by others, can be, and in some cases, is sadly used and abused by the other person, to get us to do or not do, what they want.
8. We don’t like focusing on solely one thing.
A lot of kids and teenagers growing up, usually only have one thing in mind that they want to be, and one thing only. If they don’t have one thing in mind, they’re usually very unsure about what they want to be. INFPs are very different, in the sense that, mostly thanks to their idealistic nature, they’ll likely have multiple things in which they’d like to be. This is also why we don’t tend to follow the, “Name one thing you want to be when you grow up.” Only one? Why one, when I have so many? Or then when, quite often asked by an adult of any sort what they want to be, the adults tend to be quite taken back when all of a sudden the person is giving them a list of 10 things they’d like to be, and how it’s completely and utterly possible for them to be all 10.
We just find so many things fascinating, that it would be boring to learn, or do one thing for the rest of your life. Sadly most people don’t seem to understand this, as society tells them to only focus on one thing, and one thing alone. I remember while I was studying culinary in College, the teacher asked “What are your goals?” Not surprisingly in a culinary school, most of the responses varied from, “I want to own my own restaurant/bakery.” To “I wish to become a chef on tv,” to “I want to become renown in the culinary industry.” All very single minded goals.
When it came to myself, my response was completely different from everyone else’s. My response was, “I have many goals and dreams, one of which is to become a writer.”
The follow up was. “Oh you mean like writing cook books?”
I replied. “No I mean writing fiction such as sci fi, adventure, action and the like.”
To which one very annoyed student said. “Then why are you taking this course if you don’t want to be a chef?”
I simply answered. “I never said I didn’t want to be a chef, becoming a chef, and taking this course I believe will help me to achieve my dreams.” Naturally they all didn’t get it, my point is we don’t like sticking to one thing for the rest of our life.
9. We can be very dedicated.
Going back to the story I just posted. Out of that group, I was one of three who passed with honors, which must of annoyed the students who knew I wasn’t there to be solely a chef. While INFPs can be seen as procrastinators, when we’re actually working towards a goal, we can be very focused and dedicated towards it. We may seem lackadaisical to those around us, yet in private we may be tearing our hair out, and crying, all while trying to do our best. Just because you don’t see us publically seem very dedicated and passionate towards something, doesn’t mean we’re the same when in private.
10. Finally, we can be very effeminate.
Can we all admit that some stereotypes in society can be very annoying? Can we also admit that we are our own person and don’t need to conform to the way society says we should be? Yes? Good. The problem I have with this current issue is the fact that as a guy, I know I’m more effeminate than well… other guys. Yet society and media, and all those wonderful people claim that I must be a homosexual. Which begs the question… why? Why must I be a homosexual? Why can’t I like women? Is it because I like shopping? Or can find beauty in anything regardless of gender? I’ve never really understood this one, I mean just because I happen to be more artistically minded, and act a little girly towards certain things, does not mean I’m gay, if anything it means I’m a little more open to who I am as a person.
To anyone who is being told what to be, or how you really should be, or any of those things that society and the media likes to throw at you because you’re not the norm, and they think it’s due to your sexual orientation, or what ever. I will give you a quote that might help, and it might not help, it of course all depends.
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss