An Overview of the Behavioral Traits of an INFP Personality

An Overview of INFP Personality Traits
People with INFP personality traits are inventive idealists, who are always in search of making things better and guided by their own values. Although they may come across as shy or reserved, they have an inner passion that helps them to shine in life.
PsycholoGenie Staff
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
Statistically Speaking
INFP personalities are very rare and amount to only 4 - 5% of the total population. Among them, 5% include women and 4% include men.
INFP is one of the 16 personality types mentioned in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment. MBTI is a theory that assesses a person's psychological preferences based on perception and judgment. It was developed by Isabel Briggs Myers and Katharine Briggs, a mother-daughter duo. They derived this theory from the typological theories proposed by Carl Gustav Jung, a notable psychiatrist.

In this article, we give you an understanding of the characteristics of an INFP personality.
A Quick Look
Introversion refers to preferring thinking first and acting later. INFP personality types are introverts, who reflect on ideas, pictures, memories, and reactions that are within their inner self. They carefully think over them and formulate them in their head. They then take an action. They derive energy by thinking, reflecting, analyzing, and contemplating. They expend energy in acting. They prefer solitude.
This is not to be misunderstood for shyness. They like activities in which they are by themselves. They prefer being with a few people whom they know well and are comfortable with. However, they are not afraid of social encounters like shy people do.
Intuition refers to the processing information received from the outer world to find the meaning and underlying patterns. INFPs analyze the information they receive and synthesize it by drawing inferences from it. They tend to find newer possibilities, but overlook how they can be realized practically. Thus, they think more about the future rather than the past. Symbols and abstract theories intrigue them.
They are interested in experiences that are new and different from what they have had earlier. They are searching to complete the jigsaw puzzle of life by putting together pieces of information, i.e., they want to realize a greater reality, the underlying truth.
Feelings about others is what their next trait is. Once they have collected the necessary information, how does an INFP personality act on it? How do they take decisions? It is based on feelings. Based on the information gathered, the basis for taking decisions for an INFP person is feeling rather than an objective, logical outcome. They consider what impact their decision will have on people concerning the situation, and strive to attain a greater harmony.
They have a personal value system that cares for everyone, and want to do their best, which will make everyone happy.
The Perceiving function relates to a person's interaction with the outside world. It refers to a person's preference to collect new information. INFPs adapt themselves to new circumstances, molding themselves to fit in the situation rather than changing it. If the circumstances change, they like to change with it. Hence, they avoid making a choice and pass a judgment. They rather have their alternatives ready and use them in response to what the situation demands.
Some Personality Traits
  • They are idealists or dreamers: They want to realize a higher purpose in life and follow a path that leads to it. They want to understand how they fit into the grand scheme of things.
  • They tend to find a silver lining in the darkest of clouds: They find something good in every person or situation. Hence, they are described as seeing the world with rose-tinted lenses.
  • They have high values and ethics: They want to establish peace and harmony and avoid conflicts. They are selfless, loving, and loyal.
  • They are very creative and profound in their communication: Owing to the above personality traits, INFPs convey their ideas, thoughts, and feelings figuratively through metaphors and allegories. They have a vivid imagination. Many poets, writers, and actors fall into this category. They have a flair for languages. Besides having a command over their mother tongue, they can learn a second or a third language with ease and also express themselves very well in them.
  • They might lose touch with reality if not supervised: Because of their dreamy nature and high ideals, they might not be in the here and now. They can be found lost deep in thought and philosophizing over abstract things. Their friends and family then have to awaken them to the current circumstances.
Strengths
  • Keen Learners:They are interested in exploring new avenues and excelling in them. They are perfectionists. When something appeals to them and befits their values and vision, they channelize all their energy towards it.
  • Display strength of character in adverse situations: These personalities have a strong faith. They are spiritual and believe that everything happens for the good. Hence, they face adversities with courage and conviction.
  • Very Helpful:They find satisfaction in helping people come out of difficulties. If someone comes to them with a problem, they will hear them out. They are sensitive to any kind of injustice happening in society. They want to foster harmony. They are empathetic towards the lower strata of the society (people who are less endowed) and want to help them to have a better life.
Weaknesses
  • Because they are idealistic, they might not have a pragmatic view of things. They might get disappointed again and again with the evil and wrongdoings that are prevalent in the society. They might express their anger with great intensity.
  • As they are helpful, they might push themselves beyond their limits and go out of the way to help others. This can lead towards neglecting their personal life, which may include even not having a meal at proper timings.
  • They might not be able to take criticism in their stride, in an objective way. Sometimes, they might consider a remark as criticism even if it was not intended that way. If their opinions and views are disapproved, they might be stressed.
  • They may not pay attention to their outward appearance.
  • In social encounters, they might come across as eccentric to others without themselves being aware of it. People might get uncomfortable with them.
  • They safeguard their views and opinions and don't acknowledge someone else's point of view.
  • They have high expectations from other people. If someone has not been good to them, they will form a strong opinion against them, and it will be difficult to uproot it.
Their Relationships
As Lovers
Loyalty and commitment characterize an INFP relationship. They want their relationships to be warm, loving, and caring. They want a relationship that lasts for a lifetime. If they are not in such a relationship, they fantasize being in one. They want to idolize their partner. They want their partner to have the best of qualities that they can look up to. If their partner does not have these qualities, they fantasize those qualities in them. But as they want to avoid conflicts, they remain loyal to their partners. They are romantic and like exchanging sweet, sentimental words. They take their own time in opening up in establishing a physical intimacy. But once they do, satisfying their mate is more important to them than satisfying themselves.
As Parents
An INFP enjoys his/her parenthood proving to be a responsible, loving, caring, and a supportive parent. They implicitly want themselves to be an example for their child to follow. They want their children to have high morals, ideals, and ethics like them. They will not abide if their children fail to do so. They will create an environment that's conducive to growth around their children. They will give their children enough space to grow and bloom as individuals. If their children want to devote their life to a particular field or cause, they will support them instead of opposing and persuading their children to follow a more conventional route.
As Friends
INFP personalities are friendly and amicable to others. They are profound and mature and thus understand why other people feel and act in a certain way. So, from their side, they don't have a problem with others. Although they have an insight into the behavior of all other people, they do not provide the same insight into their own thoughts and feelings to everyone. INFPs keep a few and well-chosen friends. They open up to these selected people because they are comfortable with them. They usually choose people with whom they have common values. Once a friendship is formed, it stays on for long and is close. However, INFPs want their solitude, and their friends have to understand that.
Career Choices
INFPs look for a career rather than just a job. Their chosen field of endeavor should culminate into something bigger, developing themselves and others in the process. These personalities want to do something worthwhile that contributes for the betterment of the society. They don't like doing a commonplace, mundane, rote routine. They sometimes might have difficulty working in teams.

Following are some careers that these personalities usually have chosen or can choose. However, this list is only for initial reference as there can be more meaningful pursuits for these personalities.
  • Writer
  • Social Worker
  • Teacher/Professor
  • Environmental scientist
  • Psychiatrist
  • Psychologist
  • Musician
  • Philosopher or Theologian
  • Clergy/Religious worker

To name a few, some famous INFP personalities include Princess Diana, John Lennon, Lisa Kudrow, William Shakespeare, Johnny Depp, and Julia Roberts.