INFP personality type is not mutually exclusive with other personality inventories. Just as we can use our four-letter type as a method of narrowing down our personalities and understanding more about ourselves, we can also combine that knowledge with other personality inventories in order to
understand differences that exist within specific types.
One personality inventory that combines particularly nicely with the INFP personality is known as the Enneagram of Personality. This inventory presents nine different types (Labeled types One through Nine) and each number represents a collection of basic fears and motivations that drive that particular type (Riso & Hudson, 1997).
While most Myers-Briggs personality types display a strong preference for one or two Enneagram types, INFPs tend to test across a wide range of types. In a 2016 I conducted a poll that collected correlates between Myers-Briggs personality types and Enneagram personality types. The breakdown of Enneagram type for INFP respondents was as follows:
As you can see, the most prominent Enneagram type for INFPs is type 4. The
second most common type is 9, followed by types 6, 2 and 5. In this chapter we will explore how the INFP personality corresponds to its five most common Enneagram types as a way of further exploring the differences that exist between INFPs.
Type 4 INFPs: The Individualists
The identity of the type 4 INFP is defined by the ways in which they differ from those around them—be it creatively, intellectually, emotionally or otherwise. The core fear of the type 4 INFP is that they lack personal significance and will not have a unique impact on the world around them. They are driven by the desire to create an identity for themselves that renders them significant and worthwhile.
The type 4 INFP is particularly focused on authenticity—personally, professionally and otherwise. They feel as though every decision they make is a direct reflection of their identity and they weigh even small-scale decisions heavily. This type of INFP is thriving when they are exploring the rich inner world of their introverted feeling and they may use extroverted intuition as somewhat of a muse—using it to pull in new experiences to analyze and dissect.
This type of INFP embodies the trope of the tortured artist in many ways. They can be quite serious in nature and they long for profound connections with deep, intellectual personalities. They are particularly attracted to other artistic individuals—musicians, poets, painters, writers and other creative types, whom they often feel are the only people capable of truly understanding them. Type 4 INFPs relish in creative expression and have little interest in conforming to societal norms—conversely, they enjoy shocking others with their counterculture thoughts and expressions.
At their best, type 4 INFPs are highly complex, creative, intelligent and in touch with their deepest thoughts and emotions.
At their worst, they are spiteful, jealous, insecure and emotionally masochistic.
The type 4 INFP’s deepest fear is being average or insignificant. They wish to give back to others through the gift of their rich creativity and they bring
their unique worldview to light through their art form of choice. This type accounts for many of the famous authors, poets and artists throughout history.
In an unhealthy state, Type 4 INFPs fall victim to the ‘Special Snowflake Syndrome.’ They feel the need to prove that they are deeper and more unique than those around them and they may subtly put down others for exhibiting commonplace or average behavior. They are constantly searching for validation that they are more interesting, complex and deep than those around them.
The Type 4 INFP’s route to personal growth is through their extroverted functions. As this type becomes steadily more in touch with their auxiliary extroverted intuition, they are able to better relate to the experiences of others and understand that their differences are not the only interesting thing about them. As they get more in touch with their extroverted thinking, they become less critical of themselves and therefore less competitive with those around them.
The more this type learns to practice self-acceptance and welcome genuine connection with others, the more they are able to soothe their own core fear of insignificance and move toward feelings of acceptance and love.
The Type 4 INFP with a 3 wing:
The type 4 INFP with a 3 wing seeks to express their individuality through a series of achievements that legitimize—and forces their community to recognize—their creativity. They may seek to establish themselves as scholars, professors, or any other form of professional in a creative field. This type believes that their authenticity is valid and legitimate so long as those in their community recognize it as such. They are likely to come across as more extroverted than their 4w5 INFP counterparts, as they are forced to call upon their auxiliary extroverted intuition and inferior extroverted thinking to help move them into positions of authority.
The Type 4 INFP with a 5 wing:
The type 4 INFP with a 5 wing seeks to confirm their individuality by studying and understanding their areas of creative interest as thoroughly as possible. They wish to delve as deeply as they possibly can into the topics that interest them, believing their personal depth to be valid only insofar as it is supported
by an extensive knowledge base. This type is particularly conscious of coming across as intelligent and knowledgeable to others—they feel as though their individuality will be called into question if they cannot support their passion with evidence. They are likely to come across as more introverted than their 4w3 INFP counterparts, as they split their time between learning and researching and creating.
Type 9 INFPs: The Peacemakers
The identity of the type 9 INFP is defined by their need for deep personal and spiritual connections. They are motivated by an inherent fear of losing touch with both themselves and those around them—striving endlessly to remain authentically in tune to the people and things that they love. These INFPs tend to be spiritual in nature and often report feeling connected to a higher power— which could be anything from a traditional religious entity to an earthly flow of energy that connects people to one another or to nature.
The type 9 INFP feels an intense personal connection to the people, belief systems and environments that they involve themselves in. They see these things as an extension of their very selves and harbor a deep-seated fear of the ways in which their sense of self may fragment and dissolve if they were to lose touch with any of them.
This type of INFP pours a particular amount of care and investment into their relationships with others as well as their relationship with themselves. They may be more likely than other INFPs to forgo their own desires in favor of the needs of the group and will likely have questioned at some point or another whether they use extroverted feeling, rather than introverted feeling. Because they see their relationships with others as an extension of themselves, the type 9 INFPs often perceives their own needs and desires as almost inseparable from those of the people and groups they feel closest to. They are happy so long as they are in tune with the people and systems around them, so they may come across as less individualistic than other INFP types.
The type 9 INFP often has a calm, harmonious presence to them. This type is diligent about keeping themselves in balance and in close touch with their innermost selves. Unlike their type 4 counterparts—who seek out emotional extremes—this type strives to feel balanced and at peace within their bodies
and minds. They may turn to spiritual or religious practices as a means of better understanding themselves, others and their connection to the world around them.
At their best, type 9 INFPs are stable, serene and deeply in touch with themselves, others and the world that surrounds them.
At their worst, they are avoidant, neglectful of their own needs and desperate to feel any sort of connection with others—even if that connection is painful or unhealthy.
The type 9 INFP’s deepest fear is of loss and separation. They need to feel as though they are a part of something bigger than themselves and they will strive to make themselves indispensible to any group they are a part of. The 9 type accounts for many of the most generous and giving characters throughout history.
In an unhealthy state, Type 9 INFPs retreat into themselves and fall into a pattern of obsessive thoughts and fantasies. They may place an overemphasis on the relationships they do have and build them up in their minds to be seem much more significant and encompassing than they truly are. This type shies away from confronting negative emotions of any kind—fearing they will disrupt their inner peace—and they will often attempt to emotionally transcend their problems, rather than actively confronting them.
The Type 9 INFP’s route to personal growth is through their perceptive functions—extroverted intuition and introverted sensing. The Type 9 INFP is prone to getting caught up in his or her emotional experience of the world, sometimes to a problematic extent. But the more this type engages in new opportunities—using extroverted intuition—the more they will come to understand that their chances to connect with the world around them are boundless and plentiful. The development of introverted sensing will also help this type to trust that when they must move through negative or painful emotions, they will eventually come out the other side—as their introverted sensing can call upon past instances of them having done exactly that.
The Type 9 INFP with an 8 wing:
The type 9 INFP with an 8 wing seeks to protect their sense of peace by exercising control over their relationships and environments. They take on an active and deliberate role in maintaining the connections they foster and are
likely to be strong (but kind) leaders within their community or social circle. This type remains agreeable so long as the needs of the group are being met through that agreeableness but can rile up unexpectedly to defend and advocate for their relationships should they feel as though they’re being threatened in absolutely any way.
The Type 9 INFP with a 1 wing:
The type 9 INFP with a 1 wing is deeply invested in the wellbeing and preservation of their community. They are highly idealistic about bettering their communities and tend to seek out positions that allow them to positively contribute to the welfare of the people around them—be it through their career or through volunteer or mission work. This type finds peace and harmony in knowing that they are contributing to something greater than themselves. Their investment in the improvement of society makes them feel as though their existence is necessary and worthwhile.
Type 6 INFPs: The Loyalists
The identity of the Type 6 INFP is defined by their need to achieve security and support through their relationships with others and community investment. This type uses their introverted feeling as a means of forming deep, meaningful connections with others, which they rely on to help them navigate their external environment. At their core, this type fears that they are unable to provide fully for themselves and therefore must rely on others to help them get by.
The Type 6 INFP often presents as cheerful and agreeable in social situations, and may come across as significantly less individualistic than their type 4 counterparts. Though the Type 6 INFP also lives in a world of intense emotions and deep thoughts, they are highly conscientious about being accepted by others—therefore they are likely to keep their appearance and surface interactions more conventional than other INFP types.
Type 6 INFPs often have a love-hate relationship with their introverted sensing function. They crave the security and stability that this function provides them with, but doubt their own ability to implement it. They may be prone to frequently second-guessing themselves, obsessing over past experiences in an attempt to determine whether or not they chose the correct
course of action and placing an over-reliance on the suggestions and opinions of others. Though this type knows at their core that they are complex and unique individuals, they lack the confidence in their own uniqueness that their type 4 counterparts possess.
On the flip side, the 6 Type is often excellent at forming quick relationships with others, both personally and professionally. They take direction well and tend to excel at almost any career they take on as they are able to submit to the company’s wishes while adding their own inventive or creative flair to any project. This type often takes on an active role inside of his or her community, where others are drawn to the Type 6 INFP for their deep, compassionate heart and clever, unconventional thoughts.
At their best, type 6 INFPs are stable, cooperative, trustworthy and rich in interpersonal relationships.
At their worst, they are anxious, codependent, self-defeating and preoccupied with feelings of inferiority.
The type 6 INFP’s deepest fear is that if they were left on their own, they would be unable to provide for themselves. To avoid this fear, they are constantly moving towards relationships—be they personal or professional in nature—that keep them feeling stable and secure.
In an unhealthy state, Type 6 INFPs become confused an indecisive—looking to others for guidance about what to do next. They may become trapped inside of anxious or obsessive thoughts and find external ‘scapegoats’ for their struggles—believing that if a particular problem would resolve itself, all of their issues would cease to exist. They may become self-defeating in their actions, secretly hoping that someone will notice their destructive behavior and come save them from themselves and their misery.
The Type 6 INFP’s route to personal growth is through their extroverted functions. This type may be particularly prone to falling into dominant-tertiary loops, as introverted sensing plays a strong role in this type’s lives. To combat and even this out, they must develop extroverted intuition and extroverted thinking in a healthy way. The more they begin to expand their awareness of the plethora of opportunities that exist in their external environment—and the more they enact concrete plans to go after them—the more confidence they will gain in their ability to achieve security.
The Type 6 INFP with a 5 wing:
The type 6 INFP with a 5 wing aims to achieve security by displaying to others that he or she is a competent and capable individual. This type of INFP is likely to seek out professional or intellectual mentors to learn from, whom they tend to become highly personally invested in. This INFP may come across as slightly more introverted than their 6w7 counterparts, as they come to understand the world around them through research, instruction and reflection.
The Type 6 INFP with a 7 wing:
The type 6 INFP with a 7 wing values security but craves adventure—making for a particularly interesting composition of traits. This type of INFP enjoys using their extroverted intuition to dream up new ventures they could take part in, but feels most comfortable when they are following the lead of an independent loved one or an authority figure. They may appear slightly more extroverted in nature than their 6w5 counterparts, as they very much enjoy exploring the world around them and the people that make it up—so long as their core needs are satisfied first.
Type 2 INFPs: The Helpers
Type 2 INFPs are deeply invested in their relationships with the people around them and their vision of a kinder, more compassionate world. This type uses their introverted feeling as a means of connecting with those around them and understanding the unique struggles and experiences of others. They are likely to be highly concerned with issues of social justice and often report feeling pain for underprivileged members of society as if it were their own.
The type 2 INFP is likely to come across as more social and outgoing than the other INFP types. They are the ultimate people-pleasers who will go out of their way to ensure that the people in their lives feel valued and supported by them. This type is particularly prone to over-extending themselves socially, as they have a hard time saying ‘no’ to social obligations of any sort.
At the core of the 2 type is the fear that they are only worthy of love insofar as they are of service to others. This type is constantly fostering relationships that they hope will be mutually validating, nurturing and supportive for both parties. They are constantly moving towards feelings of love, support and
acceptance from others, and away from feelings of worthlessness and uselessness.
The type 2 INFP uses their emotional awareness as a tool for connecting with others on an often alarmingly deep level. This type displays honesty and vulnerability in their interactions with loved ones, hoping to inspire others to open up and do the same. The type 2 INFP wants to support their loved ones in a genuine and meaningful fashion—they strive to help others realize their full potential and push them to become the absolute best versions of themselves.
At their best, type 2 INFPs are generous, selfless, compassionate and nurturing.
At their worst, they are blameful, self-pitying, hypocritical and prone to guilt tripping others.
More so than the other INFP types, Type 2s require a significant amount of validation they are good, worthwhile people who are deserving of love. This type may struggle in particular to apply extroverted thinking to their judgments because introverted feeling is set on achieving validation from others at all costs. More so than other INFP types, type 2s are likely to compromise their own desires in order to please others and receive positive validation.
In an unhealthy state, Type 2 INFPs project blame externally. They place fault on others for behaving immorally, being unappreciative of the INFP and lacking compassion for others. They may shame or condemn those around them for not being more involved in the community or world issues that the INFP personally advocates for. They may also behave passive-aggressively towards loved ones, believing that the help they have given them ought to have been reciprocated without them having had to voice it.
The Type 2 INFP’s route to personal growth lies in the development of their inferior extroverted thinking. The more confident the INFP becomes in their ability to set boundaries and tend to their own needs, the less reliant they become on others for care and validation. Ironically, this is the precise point at which the type 2 INFP becomes truly capable of loving with an honest and open heart.
The Type 2 INFP with a 1 wing:
The type 2 INFP with a 1 wing tends to be highly concerned with issues of social justice and equality. This type feels the pains of the masses on a deeply
personal level and seeks to play a role in minimizing that pain in any way they can. They may advocate fiercely for a charity or cause, or devote their lives to a profession that they believe will serve to better society. This type possesses a clear vision of a better world and they will happily devote their lives to pursuing it.
The Type 2 INFP with a 3 wing:
The type 2 INFP with a 3 wing readily takes on helping roles within their community, wanting to be seen as a leader and catalyst for change. They are likely to take on professional helping roles that are revered and respected by those around them. This type seeks to be recognized for the positive impact that they are making on their community or for their loved ones—they are direly afraid of letting their community down down or disappointing those who are important to them.
Type 5 INFPs: The Investigators
The identity of the type 5 INFP is defined by their sharp intellect and vast knowledge base. This type fears, at their core that they are unable to intuitively understand the world that surrounds them, so they must research and prepare for it as best as possible in order to prove their competence. They are driven by the desire to understand and make sense of the world around them as best as possible.
The type 5 INFP is likely to have a particular affinity for education—delving deeply into any topic that interests them and helps them to make sense of the world. They are particularly likely to enjoy studying philosophical or theoretical topics that help them to explore and make sense the great unknowns in life. INFPs are constantly pondering the bigger questions of life and they may feel as though, growing up, much of what they want to understand about the world was never explained to them in a satisfactory fashion.
The type 5 INFP is likely to be particularly in touch with their auxiliary extroverted intuition, which they use to help them examine topics from various different angles. They may also call on their introverted sensing more than the average INFP, as they use it to store facts and information that they have come across in their studies.
At their best, type 5 INFPs are sharp, curious, intellectual and highly knowledgeable in whichever field of study interests them.
At their worst, they are reclusive, anxious, cynical and overly skeptical of the world around them.
The type 5 INFP’s deepest fear is of being helpless and incompetent. They seek out knowledge and understanding as a means of combatting this basic fear. This type makes up many of the brilliant researchers, professors, philosophers and intellectuals of the world.
In an unhealthy state, Type 5 INFPs isolate themselves from others and become cynical to the point of bitterness about the world around them. They may scorn others for being ignorant and uneducated, as they see their way of understanding the world around them as superior to others’ understanding of it. They may become highly antisocial in nature and fail to seek out healthy interpersonal interaction for their introverted feeling to feed off of, which ultimately fuels their spiral of negativity and cynicism.
The Type 5 INFP’s route to personal growth lies in balancing their analytical nature with action and engagement with their external environment. This type must apply what they’ve learned in a healthy and engaging way in order to feel connected to others and fuel their extroverted intuition in a positive way.
The Type 5 INFP with a 4 wing:
The type 5 INFP with a 4 wing seeks to understand the world around them in a complex, outside-the-box fashion. They seek the answers to life’s ‘greater questions’ about what it means to be alive, and to live a life of value. This type of INFP also has a wildly creative side to them, which they call upon to help them express their understanding of the world through. They may be artists, writers, musicians or other types of creative individuals who seek to share their understanding of the world with those around them in a way that does justice to its complex and abstract nature.
The Type 5 INFP with a 6 wing:
The type 5 INFP with a 6 wing seeks understanding and personal security above all else. This type is likely to seek out mentors and authority figures that they feel deeply attached to and motivated by as a means of expanding their awareness and intellectual growth. They are particularly likely to excel in
traditional education systems, through which there are clear-cut goals and tiers for them to rise through. This type believes that the more they understand about the world around them, the more secure they will be living inside of it.