"One sees well only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye."
INFPs as They Typically Are
INFPs are highly individualistic and easy-going souls. They like to explore and experience different ways of living and learning about different people’s journeys through life. They often have a fun and free-spirited nature where they joke and dream and are generally up for adventure.
INFPs often come across as somewhat distant or quiet to those who don’t know them, but on the inside they are warm and caring individuals who contain an inner excitement that can shine through when they feel they are in good company or when they are talking about the things they are passionate about. They make very good active listeners and are generally non-judgmental in nature. They don’t seek to pressure others beyond the point they are comfortable with, or try to find out everything there is to be known about them. But they will often make space for them in conversations in such a way as to be interested and attentive on the one hand, but also mindful of their boundaries on the other.
Despite their willingness to engage with others, INFPs tend to be very private people. They have deeply-held beliefs that they can be slow to open up about but will do so if they feel the other person is capable of following them and will be appreciative or understanding about it. INFPs usually have causes that they care especially deeply about (for example, they tend to be highly compassionate about issues involving the plight of the elements of society who are usually ignored or oppressed). They tend to be highly attuned to the individual needs of others, but this attention tends to center around emotional needs rather than the physical – things like what a person is struggling with, their mood, and their inner psychological state.
Younger INFPs tend to be somewhat academically inclined and may at first glance come across as somewhat distant. They often dislike being the center of attention and tend be observers rather than participants. They usually enjoy learning and often enjoy exploring and talking about the things that impact us as people. They see self-expression as a vital purpose in life, where individuals exist in webs of communication and relationships rather than in hierarchies. In this manner they can be drawn to holistic modes of thought that tend to embody the interconnectedness of things.
INFPs often struggle with structure and discipline. It can sometimes feel to them as if society is made by and for people of a more rigorous and judgmental temperament than their own. This struggle will often become more salient when they reach adulthood, where it will be expected that people make decisions that all build upon each other and cumulate into a specific direction for their lives. By such standards, INFPs can appear as drifters at times, usually taking a while to really find their path or find out what they truly want to do with their lives.
Since their plan isn’t always set in stone, others can sometimes perceive them as a bit naïve or childlike at times, especially in young adulthood. In truth, however, they are more often childlike than childish. Many INFPs are inclined towards idealistic daydreaming, sometimes as a means of escape, but sometimes also as a way to be creative and playful; a way of inspiring others or bringing their own passions to their fullest heights. They rarely have strong internalized plans for how things should be but, as a rule, tend to be much more playful and explorative. In the same way, INFPs are seldom inclined to tell others what to do or how they should live. They prefer to let life unfold for everyone, with a sense of compassion and wonder.
INFPs can struggle with confrontation and they hate letting others down. They dislike having people be too reliant on them or feeling that they have to conform to the lifestyle expectations of others. As a result, they tend to be conflict avoidant and would rather live their lives in the way they see fit, along with letting others live their lives in the way they see fit. They dislike regimens where everyone has to conform to a certain way of living or a certain way of existing; they also dislike being too tied down or feeling trapped in one place, be it through expectations, possessions, careers, or other such things.
Despite their free-roaming nature, INFPs tend to be very loyal people. They often have few, but very strong, friendships. When they get close to a friend, they tend to expect the friendship to last in spite of difficult circumstances or problems of time and distance. INFPs are very accepting, but when they decide to move on from a friendship or relationship, they tend not to look back. When truly hurt, they will often not shirk in telling someone off and asserting that they are no longer welcome.
INFPs can have a hard time connecting with others in spite of their easy-going nature. Due to their highly individualistic temperament, they can feel isolated and alienated at times, especially when they feel there is a mismatch between them and the culture or people that surround them. They tend to yearn for deep connections, and dislike people whom they feel are inauthentic or seem to lack substance. In this way, they tend to avoid any flashy or ostentatious displays meant to signal wealth or status to other people, or to suggest that they are of a higher social class. In truth, INFPs view the individual – and not the group – as the basis of society.