"You can achieve nothing if you forsake yourself."
INFPs are idealistic and free-spirited dreamers who exude an easy-going tolerance, which tends to make others feel at ease and let their guard down. In everyday interactions, INFPs may often be said to have a “light touch,” where they seek to adapt to unfortunate circumstances, or move on from them, without giving rise to argument or conflict. This adaptive attitude may sometimes cause others to mistake the INFP for being a bit ephemeral or anemic at times, but to those who truly know the INFP it is evident that this view is untrue.
In fact, INFPs tend to have a series of deeply held convictions and passions that they feel with a stronger intensity than others. To put it succinctly, their problem is not that they care too little, but that they care too much. On the other hand, however, the passions and beliefs of the INFP are primarily felt on the inside, where their experience of these values is deepened until it has reached a degree of profundity that is not immediately accessible to others. Hence, while almost all INFPs have the intensity of their inner passions in common, there is nevertheless considerable variety in how each individual resolves to deal with their inner convictions. Some, as already mentioned, tend to avoid engaging with others save for a trusted few (thus causing others to mistake them for flat, prosaic figures); some become artists and poets, giving rise to their personal values in a private, parallel world of their own making; some find the courage to speak up and out, becoming passionate idealists and activists for a cause that they believe in; still others resort to a combination of these strategies.
In general, INFPs are more interested in being agents of change, and facilitating the in-depth exploration of what each individual teammate has to offer, than in organizing or commanding a social movement or chasing after the traditional trappings of “social status.” Indeed, as one INFP once said: “I want to change all of the corrupt structures concerning power and money. I know that it’s wrong. But what to replace it with, I haven’t the faintest idea.”
Now, of course some INFPs do have ideas about what they would like to put in place of the structures they oppose. But in general – if they are honest with themselves – many do not. Simply speaking, many INFPs are simply too individualistic to occupy themselves with the checks and balances of the problem of collective action, where one must pawn one’s idealism and assume that (at least) some people are so corrupt that one must supposed each of them to be “a knave [with] no other end … than private interest,” as David Hume had said. In general, INFPs tend to be much more personal in their approach, and – like George Orwell, who declared himself a “tory anarchist” – may end up supporting an idiosyncratic bric-a-brac of ideas, each of which has value to them personally without necessarily existing in a logical chain where one follows from the other. Again, like Orwell, INFPs tend to be motivated by the human factor before the systemic; being more acutely affected by individual problems and values (whether those of others or their own). As a rule, the political outlook of INFPs takes shape by moving from the individual to the societal.
In the personal realm, INFPs are often very accepting people and tend to be good listeners as well. They will carefully listen to people's concerns and often make an effort to truly get to know them as individuals. While they can often be shy and demure with people whom they do not know too well (and can sometimes even be mistaken for INTPs because of this tendency), most INFPs tend to have quite a bubbly, charming, and innocently teasing side as well, which they reveal in social settings that allow them to feel at ease. While they may sometimes take on the trappings of corporate culture in evaluative environments, appearing serious and perfectionistic in the name of blending in, their preferred state tends to be one of greater spontaneity and adventurousness. Seekers more than assessors, INFPs tend to appreciate spontaneity in their social environment, and those unexpected twists and turns that might lead to new adventure. In many ways, they can even appear to possess a childlike innocence, where they marvel at the things that interest them with an appreciative sense of wonder – a wonder that others may have had at some point in their lives, too, but which had died inside them somewhere in adulthood. However childlike they may seem, though, INFPs are rarely gullible about the intentions of others, or taken in by affected attempts to impress them. Though they may not let on about it, they are, as a rule, reflective individuals with a good sense of others. What they lack is most often the tools to call out exactly how something wronged them or to justify why something had failed to enthuse them. They tend to be people with a rich inner world, where they will often retreat rather than attempt to impress their say on something in the outer world that is not that important to them anyway. In failing to do right by an INFP, one more often risks their non-engagement than being on the receiving end of an outright criticism.