Well, it doesn’t surprise me—after all, he/she does have an addictive personality! How many times have we heard someone make a similar comment when discussing a friend or loved one’s most recent behavior?
It doesn’t have to be an addictive personality trait. Substitute the word aggressive, risky, people-pleasing, or shy, and we’re locked and loaded, ready to blame behavior on personality.
Of course, personality traits aren’t all negative. Personalities include an array of positive characteristics, such as self-confident, creative, passionate, and determined, to name a few.
There are reasons why it makes sense to blame personality because our personality traits drive behavioral choices. Those choices impact both physical and mental health.
As part of diagnosing mental health conditions, practitioners often offer clients a panel of tests to assess personality. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a standard assessment. Here is an overview of one personality type found on the MBTI—INFP.
Why Use Personality Tests?
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), personality assessments offer several benefits to practitioners and their clients in the clinical setting. A mental healthcare team can use these tests to diagnose, structure interventions, and predict behaviors.
Most people enjoy taking personality tests. When was the last time you clicked on a test that popped up in your social media feed?
While most of those are designed for fun (or for marketing purposes), a legitimate personality test can offer a window into a person’s worldview and how they interact with the world.
Tests like the MBTI can offer insight into why people do what they do. In the field of education, personality tests can help a person choose their career path. In business, corporations use assessments to help discover the strengths and weaknesses of their employees.
Not Just Another Acronym
Sometimes it feels like we’ve built our world on acronyms. They do serve a purpose, and in this case, using them to categorize personality types makes things much more manageable.
Let’s do a quick dive into what each letter of the INFP personality type stands for:
INFP is a personality type. Each letter of the acronym represents a fundamental personality trait of this type.
It certainly explains using yet another acronym. No one walks around announcing they’re introverted, intuitive, feeling, and perceptive.
By the way, personality traits aren’t something Myers and Briggs dreamt up on a whim. The four traits that are the backbone of the INFP type come from C.G. Jung, one of Freud’s contemporaries. Jung was one of the pioneers of psychoanalysis and modern depth psychology.
So far, we’ve only gone ankle-deep. In the next section, we’ll go a little deeper and look into each personality trait.
I Is for Introversion
We often interact with a shy, quiet person and automatically label them as an introvert. While it’s true that introversion, as a personality trait, means an individual is more reserved and thoughtful, that doesn’t mean they’re shy. It also doesn’t mean they have social anxiety.
INFPs focus more on the internal. Internal feelings rather than external stimulation are critical to the way an INFP functions in the world.
Unlike extroverts, introverts have little need for special attention. They’re not usually comfortable at social engagements, especially those where they’re expected to be the life of the party.
Introverts don’t thrive on external busyness! Instead, they draw energy from time spent alone.
That said, regardless of which personality assessment you prefer using, there is no all or nothing when it comes to personality traits.
Some introverts enjoy theater (as in playing a role on stage), and sometimes extroverts need a little alone time.
Living as an iNtuitive
INFPs are creative. It makes sense because intuitive people place a high value on inspiration and imagination.
An intuitive person processes information through impressions and patterns. The world is full of possibilities, and they immerse themselves completely. That could explain why many INFPs zone out—they’re daydreamers (but not in a negative way).
Intuitives spend time doing what others assume is daydreaming, but they’re not wasting time cooking up grand projects they’ll never complete. Instead, an intuitive person spends time gathering knowledge, which they eventually utilize to bring reality to their big picture view of the world.
F Is All About the Feels
Instead of ruling with their heads, INFPs let their hearts take over, and it can get them in trouble. When judging a situation where they need to decide, a feeling person tends to base their judgments on their feelings.
When they apply judgment, primarily where other people are concerned, INFPs base their thinking on extenuating circumstances.
INFPs are classic people pleasers. They want to be appreciated, but even more, they desire harmony in their world. An INFP finds it easy to empathize with others because they do genuinely care about people.
The P in INFP
Perception, the final piece of the INFP acronym, refers to our attitude towards our external world. Perceivers like flexibility and spontaneity.
This preference means INFPs would rather keep things open-ended. They don’t seem to need life to be neat and orderly. Life doesn’t need to have everything settled, as there should be room for change.
A person strong in this preference doesn’t love to-do lists. Why would they? Lists take away from being spontaneous.
Living or working with an INFP can irritate those who prefer planning ahead of time and making decisions quickly rather than waiting for what might come up as a better option.
How the World Views INFPs
At first glance, INFPs may appear aloof. That’s because they prefer a close inner circle. They strive for authenticity and reserve expressing their feelings until they get to know someone well enough that they’re comfortable being themselves.
Their initial coolness blossoms into opportunities for deep, meaningful conversations once they develop a trusting relationship. INFPs love to talk about values and ethics—they’re passionate people and don’t mind standing up for what they believe in firmly.
They care about people and personal growth, which leads to a continual journey of a deeper understanding of themselves and others.
Despite their passions, they tend to be more private than other more gregarious personality types.
Seeking a friendship with an INFP result in making a true friend who is accepting without question. More often than not, people with this personality type have a particular interest in alternative lifestyles and what others typically consider as offbeat ways of looking at the world.
Every personality type displays a set of strengths. What is essential to keep in mind is that every person, regardless of the personality assessment results, is unique. All INFPs don’t possess every strength listed below, and that’s okay!
So here goes with a brief list of strengths most noted in INFP personalities:
Because of their belief that it’s on them to make a positive impact on the world and in the lives of others, they’re fiercely dedicated to the causes that can help them help others.
INFPs are known for their ability to self-sacrifice, and they do it humbly, likely without even realizing the sacrifices they do make. They believe in people and their potential, which means they’ll go to the end of the world to offer encouragement and support to others who are attempting to accomplish great things.
The Flip Side
We all have strengths, and on the flip side, we all have weaknesses. People who are INFPs have flaws that often make it challenging to live and work with them.
Because they’re spontaneous a.k.a., free spirits, they tend to live the big picture life. That often causes them to lose sight of the details. They can drive detail-minded people nuts.
INFPs don’t just lose sight of the details. They often have difficulty finishing projects that are highly detailed.
Relying too much on intuition causes INFPs to read into things. They often misinterpret the emotions of other people, which sets them up to be too sensitive.
On a mission to help others, they often neglect their own needs and aspirations.
A Few More Weaknesses
The people-pleasing aspect of this personality type drives an INFP to avoid conflict, sometimes at any cost. While they ask for the opinions of others, accepting criticism is a different story. They typically can’t receive it.
Finally, INFPs often carry their need to please to a new extreme, becoming reliant on other people’s approval. They look for their self-worth through what others say about them.
We hope this overview of the INFP personality traits brings a more profound understanding, especially to people who discover they’re an INFP. It’s also helpful for friends and loved ones to learn more about personality types to offer more intelligent support when relationships become difficult.
If you’re struggling with issues related to personality type, or any other mental issue, we can help. Contact us today, and let’s get started on your journey to wholeness.