INFP Under stress

December 6, 2008 at 9:02 pm (INFP) ()

This is going to be useful if you are working with an INFP.

If you are an INFP…well, it might be useful to show this to your boss or the person that you have trouble with and hope that he/she will be reasonable enough to understand that “the one next to you is what you manage to get out of him/her”. I don’t know if I managed to express this idea goof enough in English. I’ll try again: THE WAY THAT PEOPLE BEHAVE IS DETERMINED BY THE INTERACTION BETWEEN “WHAT THEY ARE LIKE” AND THE SITUATION THAT THEY ARE IN.

What I wrote in the previous paragraph is an obvious truth that most of us tend to forget when interacting with people. Research has shown that us people, we tend to ignore the importance of circumstances when judging the behavior of other people.

By the way, I have a degree in psychology.

The psychologists who developed the TAIS (Test of Attentional and Interpersonal Style) – which deals with how people behave in pressure situations – sustain the idea that people tend to become fixed on certain “ways of being” when they are under stress. If you are “the way you are”, you will become “more like the way you are” when put under stress.

For the INFP this means that when put under stress their mind will start spinning. They will close in themselves and become fixed on their ideas. They will become very critical on themselves and on others.

INFPs are not well suited for coming out of stress situations because their mind won’t be in the “here and now”. INFPs tend to feel hopeless and helpless when under stress. They might even appear absent-minded. They start being even more late than usual or not showing up at all.

Or put in another way, they become more “I” – they tend to be less communicative, even distant -, more “N” – dreaming of future possibilities instead of dealing with the present -, more “F” – in need of appreciation and harmony, and more “P” – disorganized.

BUT, and here is the key, what is stressful for the INFP might not be stressful at all for other types, and vice-versa.

As you should know already, INFPs are idealists. They dream that people should behave in a certain, optimal way for the situation that they are in. As long as people that they work with behave in “the right” way, the INFPs will not consider any situation stressful, but just a reality that they have to deal with.

For example, in a sport competition, the INFP can manage to remain focused on the tasks that he/she has to do in order for the situation to improve as long as there is no unrest among his/her team. If they feel that the team is united, that they are appreciated and offered suport, the INFP can function great in any situation.

However, they might become very stressed when their team-mates initiate conflict with them, start criticizing and blaming them (for some even lack of support is enough to make them feel judged), or simply take another course of action than the “ideal” one.

But maybe most of the stress for the INFP has its origin in the feeling that their efforts have no “meaning”. When I feel that the company that I work with doesn’t move towards my ideals I will feel a lot of stress. I will feel that I do not belong there anymore.

Maybe I’ll manage to give a better explanation another time :).

My  point is that INFP is one of those types that can behave great or lousy in the same situation depending of how things and the INFP himself/herself are treated by the ones that they work with.

If you want to get the best of your INFP offer them special atention when things become stressful for them, listen to them in a non critical manner (might take an extra effort for some people), make them feel appreciated so that they will open to communication, try to explain to them how what you are doing is in agreement with their ideals in the long run.

As a final note, I believe that there are right jobs and wrong jobs for anyone. If your INFP is in the wrong job than maybe nothing you do will help.

However, this post can be important in many situations where the INFP is in the right job, where the INFP can be of great help but is not treated in the right way.

If you want, you can view your INFP as a tool that you have to learn to use effectively. Under the right circumstances the INFP can be the most dedicated person, the one that comes with the best ideas and offers support for other people, the one that keeps everyone motivated and focused on the right direction and on the “dream goal” of your organization.

Every person of any psychological type can be very usefull, you just need to find the right job for them and the right way of treating them. With INFP this might be a little harder but in my opinion it is certanly worthed.



  1. [INFP] As a male infp... said,

    […] […]

  2. Crasser than thou said,

    Brilliant article.

    • infpidealist said,

      Thank you!

  3. [INFP] Stress And Mental Health said,

    […] […]

  4. bex said,

    amazing article and really helped I’m moving to college this year and this was great thank you soo much

  5. shawaynne said,

    Reblogged this on This New Season of Faith and Trust in Yahweh and commented:
    if only that social science teacher of mine applies the knowledge that she has. She should read more about personalities with those “free time” she has marking loooonng homework and assignments that didn’t need to be done in the first place.I feel really stressed under her. Judging (more of Perceiving) by how things are going, I could actually fail this social science subject. I’ve never gotten such low marks before. She’s sarcastic. She’s ambiguous with her assignments. She likes to pile things up last minute for us with due dates just next to each other. And those assignments would be assessed and she would give really low marks. She enjoys penalizing us for absurd reasons. She is not understanding. She is not approach. Nothing is ever good enough and she literally enjoys penalizing people. I already have in mind what I would be writing for my assessment about her at the end of this semester…. which is 3 months away. I like all other teachers better. I has been a long while since I feel this way towards a teacher. Something needs to be changed.

  6. Sher Alice said,

    “They might even appear absent-minded. They start being even more late than usual or not showing up at all.”

    That’s so me… so, I am so under stressed.

    “Or put in another way, they become more “I” – they tend to be less communicative, even distant -, more “N” – dreaming of future possibilities instead of dealing with the present -, more “F” – in need of appreciation and harmony, and more “P” – disorganized”

    So this is the reason…

    But, how to make our self gets out from stressed?

  7. lydialau917 said,

    Thank you so much. I am an INFP, and am currently in university. Seriously, I thought I was going crazy, because as the academic term progressed, I have become more reserved and concentrating on “I”,compared to the carefree days of summer vacation. Before there was any emphasis on exams, I could be the most outgoing and friendly person ever, but I just dont see her anymore. Even though school is not TOO stressful, I can definitely feel a rise in my cortisol levels, it just feels different. I’m looking forward to more carefree days,where I can be a happier, more friendly, less self-centred. Stress literally kills me.

  8. Michael Ryan said,

    Can someone please advise me about the following. How would an INFP react after losing their spouse?

  9. Hyeyun Han said,

    Sadly nobody around me seems to know this

  10. Anon said,

    I’m literally crying right now. I’m in 3 AP classes and at first it was okay. But ever since my European homework crashed, I’ve been uneasy. I used to love my English class but, now I feel I’m not good enough. When called upon I used to effortlessly understand the situation. Now, I feel like my teacher is disappointed with my words…. I just, feel so horribly stressed. I’ve never felt this way before, so lonely, so sad. I don’t know what to do anymore…..

    • Another INFP out there said,

      I’m in an extremely similar situation. The only difference is I’m in 2 AP classes. I used to love English also but I feel so inadequate compared to everyone else and my teacher is extremely critical and comparing. I never realized how much stress can effect me as much as it does now. My whole moral has lowered and I’ve been extremely antisocial and sad. Please know that you’re not alone. Just know that school will be over eventually.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: