my perspective on the INFP psychological type

December 6, 2008 at 5:31 pm (MBTI) (, , , )

Hi all,

INFP. Introverted (vs Extroverted), iNtuitive (vs Sensing), Feeling (vs Thinking) and Perceiving (vs Judging).

So what does it mean?

Introverted means that my mind is most of the time full of thoughts. I can be (very) sociable, in certain circumstances, but only for short amounts of time.  Generally I need a lot of time to “be with my thoughts” or “be where my thoughts are”.

Intuitive means that I am mostly interested in the “future”, in the “possible”. This means that if I am not in a state of flow (as Mihály Csíkszentmihályi defines it) my mind will probably not be in the “here and now”. Believe me, this can be a problem. For example, at my last job I had a conflict with a colleague. Instead of focusing on solving the problem, my mind kept coming with ideas of how I should build my work relationships in the future. I was not interested in the actual situation as it was already imperfect. I don’t consider this a very usefull behaviour but it is a characteristic one for a stressed INFP (and conflict is a big stress for the INFP).

I’ll get back to Feeling in a second.

Perceiving vs Judging, as I see it, refers mostly to adherence to standars and rules (imposed by others or self-imposed). The perceiving person usually “goes with the flow” and is less organized.

As a summary of what I have written so far I could say that people who are Introverted, iNtuitive and Perceiving are people who have “their heads in the clouds”.

Now, this heads in the clouds people can be either the Thiking type or the Feeling type.

One famous example of the Thinking “head in the clouds” (INTP) is Albert Einstein.

The Thinking “head in the clouds” is interested in abstract ideas and is less people oriented. In my opinion the INTP can adapt better than the INFP to our western culture especialy with all the technology existing today. I consider INTP great for all kinds of technology related jobs.

Back to INFP. The Feeling factor means we INFPs are people oriented. We see all that is wrong within our society and it hurts us. Also we are very sensitive and we strive for appreciation and harmonious relationships among people.

No matter the job of an INFP, if the working climate is not good, if there are people fighting, the INFP will be drained by thoughts of “why people are like this” or “how could a company create a better climate”. Most of the time this thoughts have nothing to do with the INFPs job so they are useless. Also, being an introverted the INFP can be shy. And he will definetely be reserved in a situation where expressing his ideas will not bring him appreciation. (As most people do not feel that there is something extremely wrong with fighting the INFP can presume that his ideas of “a peaceful climate” will not be greately appreciated). In the end the ones that are fighting can go home and relax, but the INFP will remain drained as he did not manage to invest the needed energy in his work (his thaughts were invested in dreaming of a work place free of conflict), he did not manage to change the situation and he also realised that “things are not how they should be”.

This is maybe a good moment to say that John Lennon was INFP. Just think of the lyrics for “Imagine”.

A big problem for the INFP can be that after more interactions of this kind with the world he might try to get away from it all. He might only find his peace of mind when alone and not involved in the world.

It’s kind of difficult to see that this world is so imperfect and yet most people don’t seem to mind it.

Finally I would like to post here the lyrics of another song wrote by John Lennon after he left the Beatles. I must confess that I found this lyrics on an INFP forum. Before that I had no idea that this song existed.

“People say Im crazy doing what Im doing
Well they give me all kinds of warnings to save me from ruin
When I say that Im o.k. well they look at me kind of strange
Surely youre not happy now you no longer play the game

People say Im lazy dreaming my life away
Well they give me all kinds of advice designed to enlighten me
When I tell them that Im doing fine watching shadows on the wall
Dont you miss the big time boy youre no longer on the ball

Im just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go

Ah, people asking questions lost in confusion
Well I tell them theres no problem, only solutions
Well they shake their heads and they look at me as if Ive lost my mind
I tell them theres no hurry
Im just sitting here doing time

Im just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go
I just had to let it go
I just had to let it go”

You see… he is fine 🙂

In his daydreams the INFP has peace of mind… the “so much needed” peace of mind.

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4 Comments

  1. N. M. said,

    What a brilliant description of an INFP in the workplace. This is exactly what I am like. 🙂

  2. Zoe Campbell said,

    That was delightful. I’m an INFP and a big John Lennon fan. Watching the Wheels is one of my favourites songs and you know I could have guessed Lennon was an INFP too 😀 I always feel like I understand him and now I know why 😀

  3. Natasha said,

    Good Job with the INFP profile. You couldn’t have been more accurate!

  4. messytruth said,

    Wow! What a great description of the main challenge of an INFP…I get so exhausted researching and coming up with ways to lessen conflict and meanwhile others sleep well at night after what feels so intense to me…Hmmmm…seems I just have to let it go!

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