The teenage years are anything but easy on the highly individualistic INFP type. In a world that values conformity and groupthink in adolescents, the INFP
seeks to form a unique identity for him or her self and stay true to his or her individual morals. These conflicting pressures often serve as a significant source of stress for the young INFP, who feels torn between what they want for themselves and what others seem to want for them.
In general, adolescence serves as a period of intense identity exploration and development for the INFP personality. Their extroverted intuition develops in leaps and bounds over these years, causing them to become aware of a seemingly endless slew of identity possibilities that they failed to perceive before. While the young INFP may have assumed that they were destined to become whomever their parents decided they would be, the adolescent INFP finds themselves suddenly aware that they are in charge of their own destiny— and for most INFPs, this realization is both empowering and mildly terrifying.
Throughout their teen years, the INFP begins formulating a strong set of personal morals. Their rapidly developing extroverted intuition helps them to align themselves with external causes and lifestyles that they identify with. They may quickly develop a keen humanitarian streak or become overnight advocates for a particular movement or cause. As the INFP grows into themselves, they begin to consider the impact they could have on the world around them, which can be a highly empowering experience.
The adolescent INFP may also use this stage of their life to hone in on creative endeavors that have always interested them. Many INFPs find themselves drawn toward music, the arts or other similar creative circles. They may enjoy the opportunity to explore various forms of self-expression in their teen years, should they be provided with a safe and encouraging environment in which they can do so.
Though their teen years offer many opportunities for identity exploration, they are also often a highly charged time period for young INFPs. The pressure to discover who they are but also fit in with their peer group poses a significant conflict of interest for this type. They may also struggle with the increased pressure to distance themselves from their family, whom they still feel deeply loyal toward. The INFP is likely to deal with all of these conflicting pressures by withdrawing from others, despite the fact that what they’re ultimately craving is connection and belonging.
Overall, the highs and lows of life as a teenager are exaggerated for the naturally intense INFP type. This type feels everything that happens to them in full force, which makes their adolescent years an exciting but tumultuous
period—as they grow slowly and painfully into the people they’re going to become.
Common Chal enges INFPs Face As Teenagers:
Experiencing intense emotional ups and downs that they feel largely unable to control.
Wanting to be accepted by peers but not wanting to compromise their core values or authenticity.
Feeling pressure to act more extroverted than what comes naturally to them, in order to keep up with academic, extracurricular and social demands of high school.
Feeling incredibly lonely or isolated if they lack intuitive friends or mentors.
Developing intense humanitarian or artistic passions that may not be supported or encouraged by their families.
Struggling to follow through on projects or goals that are objectively important for their future success, but that do not inspire them.
Being able to clearly formulate their big-picture ideals but feeling lost on how to begin tangibly moving toward them.
Possessing the ability to think deeply about complex issues, but disliking the rigid structure of the traditional education system.
Understanding which values they stand for in life, but not how to turn those values into a career or lifestyle moving forward.
The majority of issues that plague teenage INFPs are born from their innate understanding of who they are and what they stand for, but their failure to understand where they consequently belong in the world—if such a place even exists!
Throughout their teen years, it will likely be beneficial for INFPs to seek out an intuitive, feeling mentor who both understands the depth of their inner world and can give them some perspective as to how to translate that depth into concrete action. The INFP who fails to feel understood throughout adolescence is one who is likely to grow up with a chip on his or her shoulder—and the
best way to ensure this doesn’t happen is for them to find likeminded individuals to connect with.
The inner struggle and mantra of the INFP teenager can perhaps be entirely summed up in the following quote by Kelly Cutrone:
“I advise you to stop sharing your dreams with people who try to hold you back, even if they’re your parents. Because, if you’re the kind of person who senses there’s something out there for you beyond whatever it is you’re expected to do—if you want to be EXTRA-ordinary—you will not get there by hanging around a bunch of people who tell you you’re not extraordinary.
Instead, you will probably become as ordinary as they expect you to be.”
Though adolescence is often a time of great turmoil for the INFP, it is also a time of rampant self-discovery and excitement.
Common Joys INFPs Experience As Teenagers:
Finding the autonomy to explore their own interests and feeling as though they are growing into their unique personality at last.
Finding the resources to connect with others who share their passions and worldviews and realizing that they are not alone in their thinking.
Forming meaningful friendships or romantic relationships with others that have the potential to stand the test of time.
Having the means to develop artistic or creative passions in leaps and bounds.
The exciting, budding realization that there is a whole world out there for them to discover and explore!