INFP – The Authenticator

I have yet to do a good piece on INFPs. Mostly, I’ve just mocked them in some kind of Freudian display of self-loathing (in my ‘Types of INFPs’ article). In all seriousness, INFPs are great and get a pretty bad rap for various reasons, notwithstanding, the general perception that INFPs are tender, ineffectual crybabies who have little grasp on reality. This isn’t necessarily true, though and I’ll get into why it isn’t true later. First, let’s talk about how INFPs function. I want to do this in a unique way which draws attention to the unexpected features of one of MBTI’s most mysterious types. The truth may surprise you.

INFPs are the true ‘Judging’ Types

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More so than any other type, INFPs know how they feel, what they value, and what they find useful, absurd, joyful, joyless, moral, evil, destructive, constructive, beautiful, ugly, you name the adjective. INFPs are opinionated, especially initially, about virtually everything under the sun (like the religious fervor of the most famous INFP, Joan of Arc). The opinionated nature of the INFP is sufficient to give any INTJ a run for their money, though INFPs are opinionated for entirely different reasons than INTJs are.

Introverted Feeling (Fi) is the Dominant mainstay of the INFP psyche. It is never confused about how it feels. In fact, Fi, despite how strongly opinionated it is, gets taken for granted by the INFP who genuinely doesn’t know that there are other ways to be. INFPs immediately come to a Feeling based judgment or a conclusion about the value of something (or lack thereof) as naturally as breathing. You name it, INFPs have some kind of strong feeling about it. INFPs appear laid back, soft, insecure, confused, and passive on the outside but don’t let that fool you. There is ALWAYS an opinion there; he/she is just not expressing it to you.

In fact, INFPs are the true Judging type in their thinking process, which makes things very confusing when trying to type one. Fi in actuality, is a JUDGING function and since INFPs lead with a judging function, that makes the proverbial “children of the MBTI world”, in reality, some of the most decisive people and dedicated martyrs on the planet. While INFJs get credit for being Judging types, its really only because they’re likely to follow through on a plan while deciding how they feel is, in actuality, very open. INFPs, on the other hand, know immediately how they feel and only struggle to know what to do about it, resulting in being officially categorized by Isabella Meyer as a Perceiving type. Confused yet? I know I was.

Paradoxically, INFPs don’t believe in Judging

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Talk about Co-Pilot functions being a contradictory bitch, nothing takes the cake quite like a Fi/Ne (Extroverted Intuition) mix. While Fi infuses an INFP’s soul with immediate decision about how one feels, Ne demands that one must be open to multiple possibilities. After all, despite all the opining courtesy of Fi, INFPs are also paradoxically the second most self-conscious and insecure type, next to ISFPs.

Why? Because as a general rule, INFPs are fucking smart. They’re so smart, that they can easily go through an entire list of possibilities, both realistic and fantastical, in just a moment of rumination. Thanks to the magical power of Intuition, INFPs get to live through the incessant torture of being intuitively right..but always doubting and second guessing themselves. That alone makes the true Judging type a rather indecisive type who is not willing to express judgment, confront, lead, or make decisions. INFPs are the very epitome of having a razor sharp intuition, but rarely listening to it. After all, how can you when all the voices in your head are equally loud and saying different, often contradictory things? INFPs frequently struggle with the idiosyncrasies of both having a strong value system..and wanting to be understanding and respectful of the individual choices of others. After all, if an INFP thinks about it, almost anything is understandable on a personal experience level.

INFPs are virtually incorruptible

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Art credit goes to blacksignature from Deviantart

You’d be hard pressed to find an INFP whose values you can buy off with material goods, money, fame, glory, or even the most seductive of all, power. INFPs simply aren’t motivated by any of these things, making them the most virtuous type, even if by accident, and even if in a misguided way. Even INFJs, who have the highest moral standards in the land, cannot compare to the monk-like nature of an INFP, who quite naturally doesn’t need earthly ‘things’. INFPs are genuinely unimpressed and unsatisfied with the temptations of mere mortals. In fact, giving INFPs money, power, status, etc has quite the opposite effect that you would think it would have, making the INFP feel embarrassed or uncomfortable. I’ve heard the notion that famous INFPs are “embarrassed by success” and will often seek the comfort of solitude and modest living. This is perhaps the biggest reason why you can’t buy an INFP using standard means of bribery, extortion, quid pro quos, or promises of power. The second biggest reason being that every INFP seems to instinctively understand from birth that none of these things equals true happiness.

Humility also plays a big factor into why you can’t corrupt an INFP. For reasons not quite known (at least not by me), INFPs have an internal ego-checker, which serves to cap the ego-meter at a low maximum level, preventing the INFP from ever getting too confident or too big for her britches. That’s not to say that INFPs don’t ever get cocky..but it is rare and when it does happen, the INFP, horrified with him/herself, will find him/herself backpedaling, self depreciating, apologizing awkwardly, and reminding him/herself to be more humble in the future. INFPs don’t want to be caught dead claiming to be something they are not or seeming too egotistical/full of oneself. All of this culminates into what I consider the INFP’s greatest superpower, which is a natural impervious defense against corruption.

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Not even the same species as Kanye

 

INFPs aren’t just the best writers, they’re also natural risk takers

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Unlike the careful deliberation of INFJs, INFPs tend to live (like ENFPs) quite by accident. In their younger years, this can be a really bad thing, leading the INFP into bad decisions and consequently to the dark precipices of depression and anxiety. Later on in life, if accepted and channeled in a healthy way, INFPs are much healthier leading a life of relative risk and adventure as opposed to stability and predictability. INFPs more or less insist on living on the edge. Whether that means traveling the globe without a plan for months or years on end, delving into a competitive ‘starving artist’ type of career, fighting to get published, running a business, dedicating oneself to overseas humanitarian works, is really dependent on the INFP but all of these pursuits are multiple sides of the same…hexagonal coin.

I had a conversation while shopping with a visiting INFJ friend and we were talking about different forms of birth control. She uses an IUD, which is an interesting choice. I said “but that means an accident will never happen” and she said “exactly” which perplexed me, considering my friend is married and stable there’s no immediately recognizable need to prevent babies from happening. Personally, I never chose the IUD or really any form of birth control for that matter because family planning for me meant no planning at all..a hallmark move for the risk taking nature of the INFP. I didn’t want to think about it because thinking about it would only muddle the issue and force me into a decision. Better to risk it. Better to run a business rather than have a ‘stable’ job. Better to not know precisely what’s going to happen in the future. The INFP’s cross to bear is that he/she will never know what the right choice to make is before he/she has made it. Indecision can paralyze an INFP and a paralyzed INFP is a depressed INFP. This is why it paramount for INFPs to take a leap of faith into their heart’s desires. It is the only way for the Authenticator to truly be authentic to oneself. 🙂

 

 

 

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66 Comments

  1. That is me! with the T’s crossed the I’s dotted. Nobody in my family or circle of friends understands why I am not obsessed with money since I run a business. I run a business because I can do what I like, when I like, how I like and for as long as I like. Non-expressed strongly held opinions because a lot of times people do not want to hear about what I deeply believe.

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  2. I appreciate this article immensely, it leaves me feeling as if I’ve accidentally found an identity among the definitions.

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  3. Holy mackerel. You nailed me. Interestingly, my wife brought this article to me, as it perfectly helped her understand much of what’s in my head that I simply cannot express directly, or feel I have failed in trying to express. I wondered to her a few days ago if she actually believed that my wild idea for a small business, (aside from my struggling woodworking business) was do-able, or if she was only humoring me to keep the peace. Now I have to see if you’ve written about her – ISTJ.

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  4. Bravo! How do we even get by in this world? I mean really, the core of who we are is a real gift and growing up all I felt was strange, different and misunderstood. I get it now and sleep soundly each night with very little guilt or regret. I suppose a clear conscious in such a corrupt world is good enough for me.

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    1. I am so like this. I do drive myself crazy with indecision, and have all these ideas running through my mind. I have always labeled myself as ‘the different drummer.’ I feel a weight lifted off me after reading this article. I am okay with me being me. Now, if I could get my family to understand me. 😉

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  5. Do the believe that INFP’s are of any correlation to what Edgar Cayce has called “The Children of The One”? There seems to be similarities.

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    1. deep breathing is good for queasy stomach … it’s the oxygen … because of internal combustion engines we have burned 25% of the oxygen in the air, so our supply is already depleted… the reason we have gut feelings is because our brain is hard wired to our stomach … oxygen is a euphoric and helps us calm down

      DEEP BREATH INTO YOUR TOES… i promise this works… this is probably why meditation works too, where you focus on your breathing… increase oxygen uptake

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  6. MBTI is so scary. It looks deep into your soul and just…explains everything? I’m fascinated by great articles about the types and as an INFP myself, I gotta say this one was incredibly on point. Great job!

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  7. Wow. This article had me laughing and saying “Yes, yes, yes!” over and over. Thank you for clearly explaining my constantly conflicted state. A problem I’ve noticed lately connected with indecision and self-doubt is that I feel like I have to verify every belief and decision with a “reliable” source, since I doubt my own ability to make objective judgments. Maybe this is why some INFPs are characterized as timid approval-seekers who melt at rejection.

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  8. Oh I love this! It’s so true of me. I’ve known I was an INFP since my teenage years as my Mum studied Psychology at Uni and I did the test as part of her course. I relate so much to what you’ve written, it’s a great and very accurate description of us. I agree with Jennifer that the core of us is a real gift, and it’s only now in my early 40’s that I’m beginning to appreciate that, and living out of my strengths by trusting and relying on my intuition. It’s made a huge difference in my life, and I find I’m now attracting similar types whom I really connect with and forming deep friendships with them, and also following my heart in my career with my own business, and risk taking. Thank you for your excellent insight!!

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      1. Yes please, most ISFPs I’ve met/heard of (including an immediate family member) don’t really seem to fit the stereotypes at all.

  9. I’ve been fascinated by personality testing since my teenage years and particularly MBTI. As an INFP, I have always wondered if the “P” was correct! I have an opinion on most topics, and intuitively know the “P” is correct but often review the “J” traits to confirm. Voila! This explains what I’ve been struggling with for years. Thanks!

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  10. This is poignant, accurate and very helpful. I spent 15 years writing a book on how to map out the contours and pathways to a beautiful life. I half knew that I was describing the journey of an INFP, being one myself, but I was secretly hoping that it could help others too. Thanks for this article, I liked how you traced the path from a younger to an older INFP. There is hope for us.

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  11. Interesting; but I’m risk averse…I wouldn’t say I’m good at knowing or expressing my emotions although I am self-aware.

    I have a pretty equal balance of thinking feeling and some reasonable degree of sensing.

    I do know there are other ways to be…I don’t understand, or in that sense know, how.

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  12. Holy balls… this article actually couldn’t have been written any better! This describes me as an INFP to a tee (I could even drop a beat right now). The whole living life on the edge, and not “being bought”. I have two kids, and my dream is to be a travel writer and travel the globe. I honestly wouldn’t hesitate to take my family with me… I don’t abide by our culture’s standards 🙂

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  13. OMG-ness. I just read this again, this morning, from last night right before bed. All I can say is, YES, yEs, YeS, yes. Thank you for finally (not referring to you for finally doing something, but finally), writing an article about us, that doesn’t paint us as fantastical, indecisive, “unicorns”, only being passionate about trying to fix the world at every turn and being unrealistic as to the true nature of things, because we’re so lost in our heads, needing to “be rescued” as it were by more logical types who can bring us “back to earth” when “needed”. I too struggled with understanding whether I am a “J” or a “P”. After doing more research, I solidly realized am a “P” all the way, but was still flummoxed by what seemed to be contradictory information about my decision-making process, not to mention being constantly irritated, or at least wincing, when I read such ridiculous descriptions of our type (so OBVIOUSLY written, by non-INFPs), which seemed to put more emphasis on our creative carefree nature, without delving into the serious, of strong conviction side, we also posses. Thank you once again. I’m sending this article to the people, who matter, to help them understand me better, when they are so often flummoxed by the decisions I make, and to whom I am tired of explaining myself. But then again, most of them won’t get it (wink).

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    1. I love this article too Stephanie! Just read the sentence about the fantastical unicorn to my husband 🙂 I feel like we should all print this out and give it to people upon introduction. You are either with me or without me! Oh the time and heartache it might save…

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  14. Wow, this is pretty apt. I have often felt self conscious and guilty about my instant judgement function, you really described that perfectly. I know how I feel about people or things almost immediately, and then have a liitle battle within about it. I also am not motivated by money or success, which needless to say can be problematic if you don’t find a way to make that work for you!

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  15. I would like to take a moment to “cry” about you calling us crybabies. lol
    Thanks for doing this article. I love reading about my personality type!

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  16. Thank you!! Excellent description. INFP’s aren’t “airy-fairy” at all. I have done very decisive and shocking (to those who think they know me) in support of a cause which I believe in. I don’t have to prove myself to others but I have to remain true to what I believe in.

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  17. This entire post is spot on, but I particularly like the judging explanation. I’ve often questions the P vs. J classification of my INFP, but this makes it clear what is happening. I spend a lot of my time sitting quietly at dinner tables thinking, “You fucking asshole” or “You callous little twat,” which, of course, I’m far too polite and caring of others’ feelings to ever utter out loud, which often makes me feel like I am the silent adult of the room. This all adds to my martyr complex, as in, “I have judged you and I find your morals lacking, but I have no desire or need to win an argument, and I’d never be able to sleep at night if I hurt anyone’s feelings, so I will choke this judgment down with wine and continue to feel I have no one on earth who understands me or could possibly handle what’s going on in my brain.”

    “Hey, Amy, what are you thinking?”

    “Nothing.”

    Later, as I lie alone in the dark: “I’m so lonely.”

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    1. Oh god yeah. Been there. It almost feels like a superiority complex. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat there and listened to a bully and digested every bit of what they were saying to me without once offering a rebuttal or an insult in return. It’s almost like a smug thing, like I don’t even feel the need to because this person is obviously insane/evil/wrong whatever I had judged them to be and the rebuttal in images in my head as well as feelings are quite enough to feel internally victorious.

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  18. “Why? Because as a general rule, INFPs are fucking smart. They’re so smart, that they can easily go through an entire list of possibilities, both realistic and fantastical, in just a moment of rumination.”
    Uff.. made me so tear up. Thank you

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  19. This is me. Ive also ‘travelled the globe’ alone without giving a care in the world recently….and I was just 23 lol….Money and materialistic bs doesnt phase me either. If it did, then I wouldnt be getting myself deep in debt for grad school (a self investment I guess).

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  20. I feel like you literally just wrote a dissertation on my soul. Except for the fact that I’m a dude so it was a bit awkward when you said “she.” No biggie though.

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  21. I’m so grateful for this post. This is the best explanation of an INFP I’ve ever read. It helps me to calm down a bit because I suddenly don’t feel like a stranger to myself any longer, that I don’t have to fix myself to feel like I belong in the world. Yes! Thank you.
    Do you have any books you might recommend for further reading?

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  22. Oh my freaking gods. I could NOT understand why I kept coming out as an INFP. Simply didn’t feel like one. Now I get it. Not that it matters, but it irked that I didn’t get it. Thanks heaps -I almost belong!

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  23. The MOST accurate description of me ever. I have always felt like I was my own weird person. Im sharing with my poor husband who, no matter how hard he tries, is perpetually perplexed at why I do the things I do!

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  24. This article is on point and fabulous! I appear to be a crybaby BECAUSE I live in reality! I see the corruption…I see people selling their souls…What also came to mind was the quote: ” You’re an enigma, wrapped in a riddle, surrounded by mystery.” By the way, do you know where I can get the poster with the butterflies? It says Melissa Chan at the bottom. Googled it but said page not found. FREEDOM has been my word for decades! Days before my divorce was final and my 40th birthday, I decided to buy myself the ring I truly wanted and “marry” myself. My salesperson’s name was FREEDOM. Seriously. 🙂

    Reply

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