This fall, Personality Hacker has taken on the ambitious goal of flooding our media channels with content on every one of the 16 Myers-Briggs Types. Each week we have been sending out surveys to everyone on our mailing list asking for feedback on their specific type.

This week is INFP week, and we have received the greatest response to our survey of any type so far. Over 230 INFPs took the survey and told us:

  • What the top 3 challenges of INFPs are;
  • What 3 things INFPs wish others knew about them;
  • What 3 books/movies/courses/events have impacted their lives the most;
  • What do they wish they had known as a 15 year old adolescent?

The responses were fascinating and we are grateful to our community for taking the time to share their deeply private observations.

In this article, I would like to focus on the last of the four survey questions – What do you wish you could have told your 15 year old self

Many of the answers shared some common denominators. So, I have broken them all down to 5 items INFPs wish they had known when they were 15 years old, in order of frequency. And since INFPs are the poets of the world, I have included some direct quotes.

#1 Believe in Yourself

In the survey, 19% of INFPs responded that they wished they could tell their adolescent self to be true to themselves and stop worrying about what other people think. This had the highest percentage of any other item. So, the best thing an INFP teen can be told is that they are okay just the way they are. Yes, they are different, and being different is not only okay – it is awesome!

Direct quotes:

  • “Don’t worry what anybody else thinks. You are you and that is all that matters.”
  • “Be true to yourself, always. Never be afraid of who you are.”
  • “Don’t try so hard to lose yourself and your pain in the service of others.”
  • “Stop worrying! Just be who you are supposed to be and not what others want or think you should be.”
  • “Be less self conscious. Appreciate the good qualities you are blessed with and don’t concentrate on your perceived inadequacies.”
  • “Don’t let other’s opinions make you hate yourself. Use the fire inside of you to warm the cold-hearted and use your understanding of human nature to bind up the broken-hearted.”

#2 Be Open to Endless Possibilities

INFPs path to growth and happiness is Extraverted Intuition. In the Genius System, we call it “Exploration.” 14% of respondents in the survey indicated they understood this important aspect of their personal growth. Many INFPs wish someone had told them to get out and explore the world while they still had their whole lives ahead of them.

Direct quotes:

  • “Do not aim for the norm. Don’t play it so safe. Don’t even try to be like someone else. Spend a lot of time learning new things. Allow yourself to be happy.”
  • “Experience is the greatest teacher.”
  • “Play hard, meet more people, and don’t decline opportunities just because you’re afraid of the spotlight. Don’t stop when things get difficult. It will all be worth it later.”
  • “Explore more in order to know more about yourself.”
  • “The moment is now. Pursue your dreams!”
  • “Aim higher than you think is possible.”

#3 Time Heals All Wounds

This next category surprised me in its intensity and frequency. 11% of INFPs wanted to tell their 15 year old selves that “things always get better.” As I read through the survey, I got a distinct feeling that there was a great deal of adolescent wounding in the INFP community. The overall message from adult INFPs to their younger selves was: “Things are never as bad as they seem.”

Direct Quotes:

  • “Life is bigger than any problems you think you have. Choose to love life and you can be happy – you’ll find a way to be happy!”
  • “Dig deeper to find what you love. Everything unpleasant will wash away in the river of time. Without direction…purpose…You will wander through life never knowing what it is you truly love(d) about it.”
  • “Don’t worry, adulthood will be a better fit for you than adolescence or childhood was. ;)”
  • “It will turn out okay in the end, regardless of whether you stress out or not. Hate is like a liquid which only destroys the vessel in which it is in, and doesn’t affect the person you hate. People are only human in the end, and events are only chapters in life’s book. Don’t set big expectations. Believe in yourself.”
  • “Hard times lie ahead. Even when all hope seems lost, stay true to yourself, persevere, and you’ll find your way.”

#4 Love Yourself

This next category may sound like the first, but it had some important distinctions. 10% of INFPs wished they could tell their 15 year old selves that they had value and mattered. Most important of all, they wanted to make sure their adolescent self started early the never ending project of loving oneself.

Direct Quotes:

  • “You’re not perfect. No one else is either. People aren’t judging you like you think they are. You need to accept who you are – the good, bad and ugly – and know that we are all in the same boat. Learn to love yourself and value what you feel and think as important.”
  • “There is NOTHING wrong with you. Being smart and sensitive are two of your superpowers. You are wired differently from most people– stop trying to change and start learning to understand.”
  • “Have confidence, mate, and people will admire you for it.”
  • “Confidence will pull your life together.”
  • “You don’t have to hide who you are.”
  • “It’s okay to hurt inside. It never goes away it just takes you longer to understand why you feel that way. Stop cutting. Go for walks in the rain by yourself, listen to music, learn how to do something you love (and give yourself credit for being good at it). Do something for yourself that makes you feel special. One day, you will realize that you are a beautiful person. Learn to love yourself. And don’t give up on someone loving you.”

#5 You Are Not Alone

Teenagers are notorious for picking the wrong friends or trying to fit in with people who aren’t worthy of the effort. INFPs are no different. The only difference being the profound wounding that comes when rejection ensues – given and received.

8% of INFPs would tell their younger selves to spend time with people who actually matter. People who didn’t make the INFP feel like they, and their feelings, weren’t important. And 3% of that 8% wishes they had been more aware of the people who did matter and hadn’t taken so many relationships for granted. This is a melancholy statistic.

Direct Quotes:

  • “Don’t ever worry about or be ashamed of not fitting in – just find your people instead of trying to be someone you’re not.”
  • “You will find your people.”
  • “Don’t close yourself off from people. You will find friends that care for you. You are truly and most sincerely not alone. You don’t love who you are now, but I do. You will learn to speak up and not feel embarrassed about it. And, you will come to find a love that you’ve never known before. Embrace it. There are bigger and greater things in life than constantly feeling sorry for yourself. Go take a chance.”
  • “It’s perfectly okay to be “weird”. Some people find your quirkiness and mysteriousness intriguing. Those who are interested are the people who are worth your time.”
  • “Don’t take relationships for granted, including “trivial” acquaintances. In adult life, out of school, and without roommates, making friends takes concerted effort, as you won’t be immersed in a social pool of people your age anymore. A completely introverted lifestyle isn’t that rose-colored.”
  • “The best friends to have are not part of a clique.”
  • “”Take the lead on finding friends and don’t wait for them to find you. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the wittiest person in the room, just be nice, caring, and positive, and that matters a lot more. It’s okay to be different — in fact, it’s interesting. Mean people never disappear, but they do become irrelevant.”

Do What You Love

Some of the less common suggestions offered by INFPs were:

  • Don’t be afraid (7%)
  • Trust yourself (7%)
  • Do what you love (6%)
  • Don’t give up! (4%)
  • Don’t let anyone say you’re too sensitive (3%)
  • Nobody else is obsessing as much as you are, so get over it. (2%)

INFPs comprise just 4% of the population. They are the poets and artists of the world. They are the ones who keep us honest and guard us from losing our humanity in this age of technical gadgets and gizmos. They are our societal conscience. I shudder to think where we would all be without their humanity, art and insistence on authentic expression.

We have explored the things INFPs wish they had known as maturing adolescents. Yet, I think their observations can benefit all of us – across the board. Do you know an INFP – adolescent or adult? When was the last time you gave them the time they needed to make a decision most in step with their inner alignment? Or do you become impatient when their choices lag? Have you ever told an INFP to “Stop being so sensitive?” Do you know an INFP who is immobilized with indecision because of a lack of personal confidence?

Our purpose here at Personality Hacker is to help the world realize that each of us has our own unique gifts. Gifts that are so valuable to the world in general, that life as we know it would cease without everyone’s contribution. The first step is recognizing how we are all wired so differently. Then we must give one another space to be who we are – good and bad. Once each of us realizes we are in a safe place for authentic expression, we will be better able to bring our gifts to the external world.

Imagine a world where INFPs were supported in their visions of creative self-expression. What a beautiful world it would be!

Love to hear in the comments below what advice you would give to yourself as an INFP teenager.

Want to learn more?

Discover Your Personal Genius



  • Kelly B
    • Kelly B
    • March 21, 2019 at 8:39 pm

    As a 17 year old, I have been betrayed a lot that I have ended up closing myself up from the world with very low self esteem, wondering about if I’m actually worth it or not. I hate the fact that I’m such a boring person or the fact that I would prefer to stay at home than to rather go out. I wonder if I’ll ever find friends in college…

  • IdeaWoman
    • IdeaWoman
    • March 3, 2019 at 12:46 am

    Blantant cliche? Its nothing.Well I can tell you I think all people are made to endure pain and like everybody else we all have to love ourselves. No matter how empathy we are in everything we have to find BALANCE. Theres no sense in being all EMPATH and no self love I learnt that the hard way. Thats how I had my mental disorder. Did you know your experience and your emotional challenges in life have made you a super woman. I mean its amazing how your still alive after all that you’ve been through you must think. I THINK SO. GURLLLLLL YOU ARE SUPER MON!!! You were definitely made ??SPECIAL. Keep up and you’ll see how many peeps you could encourage with all experience you have. Hey u know what
    I tell myself ?bad stuff happens to make the story spicy and the story is evidence that you made it out alive your strong you can endure to the end. So in the end everything adds up. God bless your heart. All that stuff you wish you’d tell yourself you basically did if you take off all the I WISHES? even with the I wishes…you just don’t believe them YET. I ONCE had a mental disorder. AND SOON THAT’LL BE YOU…you’ll be like ONCE UPON A TIME…???

  • ??IdeaWoman??
    • ??IdeaWoman??
    • March 3, 2019 at 12:12 am

    Hiiii everybody?‍♀️☄!!! I’m a 18 yr old child ? and I just want to share with you guys a few things I learnt from circumstances by my InFp self.I KNOW THE STRUGGLES ?. I had a mental ❄?disorder⛈? two years go. But before I
    start I must say a few things. Ok☝️ so honestly I hate it here on earth it’s a terrible place to be and I wish I was never born. And just not long before today (basically yesterday and some days b4 that) I was thinking I feel too much, I see too much and hear too much??. Heart ♥️?‍♀️ swimming in apathy ISH!!! I care too much, I feel other people’s emotions too much, I feel physical pain too much, I feel and sense their thoughts too much, I see their demons too much!!! People who wish me a good future, people who call me good, people who wish me a good life I watch suffer in ways they don’t see themselves suffering and theres nothing I can do abt it. And the thing about people like that who I meet is that they say they will never change, nothing’s wrong with them and yet some of them don’t want me to be like them. I HATED THAT I LOVE PEOPLE SO EASILY I mean even strangers well what I should hate is that I trust too easily and CARE TOO MUCH. So right thats wut I hate that and that am #easilycarriedaway. People my InFp family I want to share with you?❣. I want you all to be happy, find the good things in life like peace and joy. Give help to those who asked for help. Save yourselves for only you can save yourself and as for people only they can save themselves. FIRST LOVE YOURSELVES? the way you give sincere, strong, passionate and devoted love to others. You’re sensitivity is a gift dont let consume you people are born to teach good not necessarily as a job and stuff but like in life overall indirectly and directly. Let go of the things you can’t control. You can make it just like up against such a huge number of sperms YOU MADE IT? to the womb. You are strong people with great and powerful minds. You can’t change people from their stupid beliefs people see things, hear or feel things and they decide to change. We live in a world of choice and WE CAN’T CONTROL WHAT CHOICES PEOPLE MAKE. Don’t blame yourself for things you know you’re not guilty of. RELAX. OH and as for me I just don’t handle the heat? of the ♥️ heart nor the heart♥️ of the ?heat of life so well. But I can do all things through CHRIST who strengthens me?. Love you all❣, you guys are awesome people?, have a good life, good be to your to your future. You’re great you mean a lot. Go guys and GROW and BE your BEST SELVES.‍♀️ I’m learning to be my best self GOD is mah ANSWER. PLUS I HAVE SUPER DUPER? AWESOME CHURCH BROTHERS AND SISTERS. My online big bro takes SUPER GOOD?♥️? CARE OF ME and reminds me of scriptures to comfort my heart. Im gonna GROW☘ AND GROW☘ AND WERE ALL GONNA GROW☘… ? SO…here CHEERS to the INFP CREW…? AH LEMONADE IN THOSE GLASSES GUYS I DON’T DRINK??. Love ya guys?♥️?‍♀️… TAH?

  • Joanna Claire Perrett
    • Joanna Claire Perrett
    • February 28, 2019 at 9:15 pm

    I wish I could tell myself that I am worth knowing, and that when you really get to know me, (it takes time for me to trust due to childhood sexual abuse and maternal abandonment) but when I am your friend I am a friend for life (and am blessed with a handful of the most amazing, loyal and supportive who others critise and demean out of jealousy). I wish that I could tell myself that the only thing I will ever regret in my life is not finishing my nurses training, and leaving my amazing brain idle for so many years. I wish I could tell myself that the only person who you can really rely on in life is yourself and that if you don’t realise that early enough you will endure many years of emotional instability, and in my case mental health problems, and physical illness, that I believe are the result of many unresolved issues. I wish that I could tell myself that it’s not me it’s them, and that people are terrified of the truth. I wish that I could tell myself to hang on dearly to all the diaries I wrote in my teens and early 20s, and actually have realised that during my time as a prolific poet, I should have believed the people who told me I was gifted, and my poems needed to be published so that my voice could be shared and heard. I wish that I had had the insight to understand that the depth and way I and fellow INFP’s experience emotion is a rare gift, rather than a flaw.
    And finally (it’s been a very emotionally challenging day) I wish that I had known that there would be a time when I understood myself fully, and no longer viewed myself as weak, fickle or a misfit, and I would experience a time of spiritual awakening when I realise that the things that I have struggled with internally for so many years are the biggest gifts and assets that I possess and that I have been blessed with them for a very important reason.
    Might I ask other INFP’s how spiritually attuned they believe themselves to be, and whether they share my view that as challenging and emotionally destabilising it inevitably is, we are destined to endure pain, misfortune and instability because we are natural empaths who have inhabited this earth in many incarnations so that we can heal and help make the world a better place. Sorry about the blatant cliche!

  • Terdoo George
    • Terdoo George
    • February 12, 2019 at 9:04 am

    I am tearing up right now… This hit me where I needed it to; I’m actually 15. This article is a rare gem to find.

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