As with any personality system, certain stereotypes are bound to develop. This is particularly true for the complex yet guarded INFP—as their surface appearance often reveals only a small fraction of what they are experiencing internally. Here are a few common stereotypes associated with the INFP personality type and the realities that correspond to them.
Perception: INFPs are pushovers.
Reality: INFPs present a pleasant and agreeable demeanor on the surface but they are anything but pushovers at their core. This type is deliberate and pointed about what they want, when it comes to both big picture and small- scale decisions. They are rarely interested in sacrificing their desires for the desires of the group (unless they have a moral devotion to the group in some way), so if others have different wishes than they do, the INFP simply separates themselves from a group, pursues whatever it is they’d like to pursue, and then reconvenes with others afterward.
Perception: INFPs are irrational.
Reality: Though the INFP’s dominant function is a feeling one, Fi possess a complex form of rationality in and of itself. The INFP is able to easily understand the inherent egotistical biases and underlying motivations that all humans possess, across a wide range of scenarios. This ability gives them the unique insight as to why and how many important decisions in the world get made. In many ways, the INFP is able to see the world in a more comprehensive and realistic fashion than many of their thinking counterparts, as they see not just the logic involved in the big-picture issues but the realistic outcomes that are likely to arise, based on the illogical nature of human behavior.
Perception: INFPs lack the ability to get things done.
Reality: Though many young INFPs struggle to keep themselves motivated or in line with their long-term goals, the eventual development of introverted sensing and extroverted thinking form a powerful combination of functions that allows the INFP to excel at just about any project they put their minds to. Because introverted feeling and extroverted intuition fuels the INFP with an unmatchable level of passion, this type is often able to achieve feats that other types would balk at from the get-go. Impossible is not a word that INFPs care to entertain—and as a result, they are capable of accomplishing many seemingly impossible feats.
Perception: INFPs are innocent and naive.
Reality: INFPs are known for their tendency to believe the best in other people and then find themselves sourly disappointed with their reality. While this may be true in many cases, it is important to note that INFPs are not unaware of the negative characteristics of those around them. They simply prefer to focus on the potential in others, and give them the benefit from the doubt. Though this may occasionally lead to disappointment, it does not make the INFP blindly naive or helpless. It simply makes them optimistic and positive in areas where many other types are negative and cynical.
Perception: INFPs are always depressed.
Reality: INFPs feel everything on an incredibly deep level—and this applies just as fully to positive emotions as it does to negative ones. The INFP may not be as bubbly and outwardly expressive as their extroverted counterparts the ENFP, but that does not mean they feel any less cheerful or at peace with the world around them. The INFP is often significantly happier than they let on— they just prefer to process and experience that happiness internally, rather than rubbing it in other people’s faces.
Perception: INFPs are selfish.
Reality: INFPs understand the world by first understanding their place in it— and this means that in order to stay healthy, they have to spend a significant portion of their time alone, rooting through their own feelings and thoughts. But this does not mean that INFPs are not devoted to the people in their lives. Conversely, this type feels such an intense pull to support and care for the
people they love that they often struggle to maintain a wide circle of friends— because once they are committed to supporting you, they are committed in a way that is unmatchable by almost any other type. This type may not jump to help out with every small-scale problem you come across but rest assured, when it comes to the important issues in life, they will be there come hell or high water.