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PersonalityHacker.com_INFP_personality_type_adviceIn this episode Joel and Antonia dive deep into the needs and desires of the INFP personality type.

In this podcast on INFP Personality Type you’ll find:

  • Why are INFPs misunderstood?
  • The cognitive function is a mental process that helps you learn information or make decisions.
  • The 4 letter code tells you how your brain is wired. It’s like an entrance on how you learn processes.
  • Authenticity – Is a way that you (as an INFP) make your decisions which is more inclined what resonates with you the most as a person.
  • INFPs understand emotions on a whole different level.
  • Questions to ethics become very intriguing to INFPs. For example: “what determines an ethical or moral action?”
  • Authenticity is very in touch with the subjective human experience.
  • Authenticity is where we humans find conscience. Because that’s when we ask, “how do we honor people’s individuality?”
  • Oftentimes, INFPs become masters of human experience in general.
  • The ability to determine that something resonates is a maturity of the Authenticity process. As it matures, it understands that not everything they experience is the same as everyone.
  • Do INFPs truly want to be understood?
  • Nobody could be 100% understand them apart from themselves.
  • INFPs feel being marginalized and dismissed way more than being misunderstood.
  • INFPs seek validation.
  • We want to acknowledge that they have a specific type of pain based from their personality type.
  • Authenticity type should be balanced with Exploration. Exploration (the co-pilot function) is about advanced pattern recognition in the outside world – thinking behind the curtain.
  • If you want more description or definition, check out our episode “Introverted Intuition VS Extraverted Intuition”.
  • Your superpowers are developed when you learn to master your co-pilot.
  • Art is one of the places where INFPs thrive.
  • Art is a communication of feeling and INFPs simply flourish in this context. They create art that’s impactful.
  • For INFPs, they tend to recall how they felt/reacted in the past.
  • They have the ability to mirror emotions. They don’t need to mirror emotions in real time. For example, the can look at an art piece and mirror the emotion to themselves.
  • Authenticity people tend to recall how they feel/how they imagined they would feel and then instantly replicating the emotion inside them.
  • The emotional language can be transferred in long extensive periods of time.
  • In order to be authentic, you need to have a mature and vast understanding of how the world works.
  • Intent: The Darker aspect of Authenticity. INFPs tend to try to give a reason that’s combated with logic.
  • INFPs tend to defend their intent, because they see a wide array of positive and negative intent. They understand how people can easily go and slip into bad intent.
  • Healthy INFPs view everything has positive intent.
  • Being able to understand that darkness is universal and part of the human experience will help you accept yourself.
  • How to go about making a living as an INFP?
  • Getting something done can sometimes be very challenging for INFPs.
  • INFPs have the desire to make an impact and be an inspirational leader. Oftentimes, they will disregard the passion they have. Passion is extremely important.
  • Authenticity people can have the tendency to marginalize people. Make sure you do what you’re passionate with. Check in with yourself what you really want.

 

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Showing 159 comments
  • L
    Reply

    hi !
    First of all, i have to say the first podcast ive listen to was about the description of the INFP personnality and i found it really FANTASTIC really it openned my eyes on many things and it truly resonnated with me. However I’ve just felt the need, for the podcast, to interfere with something !
    This is not personal of course, but just didnt agree with something

    Antonia, when Joel talked about exploring many paths and have several passions.. and that you said maybe there was a problem of authenticity. Maybe there is, but really not necessarily !
    First, i think sometimes theres this external pressure of “finding THE passion”. What if we have several passions? what if we love a lot of things ? that doesnt mean we are not authentic! and that doesnt mean we have to cut of all of the things we love just for the sake of one.
    Besides, Ive just wanted to share i found out theres a specific kind of personnality type, called a “scanner” (barbara sheer) or a “multipotentialite” (emilie wapnick), that are the type of people that absolutely love to explore many many things, there are passionate about, and narrow their interests to study the one and only passion (those are called the “specialists) would be like A LACK of authenticity, like ripping out a part of who they are..

    I just wanted to share that, and feel free to share you thoughts on this too!

  • Diana
    Reply

    I just listen to this and I have to say that was a pretty good job!! I found it very interesting that you said that from a business point of view an xSTJ would be the most helpful ..interesting enough I am dating one. I agree that their focus and their ideas are great ..but what I find is that they find it difficult to relate to us… and from a relationship point of view I am unsure that I am getting what I should be getting … Any advice on opening a stronger connection between an INFP and an ISTJ?

  • Sel
    Reply

    Hi Joel and Antonia, I just wanted to say thank you so much for this podcast! This is the most in-depth analysis of INFP’s Fi I’ve seen. Most discussion forums and websites talks of Fi, on an extremely diluted and superficial level of just being “emotions” or “reacting to emotions” or “emo”. Thank you for articulating just the depth of Fi and how mature Fi leads to values/ethics/morals and the basis of conscience. (and this helped me solidify my type as INFP)

    I was wondering if you guys have experienced an INFP using System Thinking on their Fi.

    I think Fi believes that all emotions and experiences are subjective and true, and therefore it leads to unable to articulate or fight for our own voice when being challenged, because we will need to invalidate someone else’s subjective experience in order to win. (this leads to unhealthy level of feeling invalidated when we are constantly trying to validate others by not disagreeing with them and neglecting our own experiences; invalidating ourselves)

    I feel like System Thinking would help with INFP dealing with their own emotional validation, and also hold validation of another person’s experience. I think it looks like Emotional Aikido from the outside.

  • J.D.
    Reply

    Reaction to a part of your podcast. My native language is not English, so I can’t be as precise and subtle as I want to be.
    In my experience punishment is not because of comparison with others. Judging, punishing what you see when you see parts of your dark side (and k n o w i n g this is only the top of the iceberg) is obvious. Feels obvious. How can I not judge and punish myself. There are dragons standing before me, I have to fight.
    This was in the past. I could not call them dragons because dragons are too beautiful. I certainly could not call myself a dragonfighter, that’s far too heroic and vain.
    In hindsight I allow metaphors like dragons and dragonfighters. To occassionally explain myself to someone else.
    Instead of punishment I now give myself the credit that I didn’t flee.
    Nowadays I don’t encounter dragons like in the past, maybe I’m getting more blind to them, more likely I’m beyond fighting. That is accepting.
    I did three different tests recently, they all conclude I’m an INFP.
    Thanks for the podcast 🙂

  • Michael
    Reply

    To give feedback about feeling misunderstood I don’t think it’s a problem of being marginalized or dismissed. Although I’ve felt the pain that comes from having my feelings marginalized or dismissed it’s not the same feeling as that of misunderstanding. I think you do hit it right on the head though. You discuss how INFPs understand that no one could possibly understand them because no one could possibly have the same feeling an INFP as an individual has. However from this arises an understanding that no one ever in the world can understand anyone else completely because feelings rise from experiences and perspectives and while the human experience is universal, paradoxically, everyone is unique because the way they have experienced the world is unique. So the feeling of misunderstanding, for myself at least, does not stem from me believing I feel deeper than others or that I lack the language to do so, rather I feel misunderstood because I have come to an understanding of the world where complete understanding is impossible. It’s not that I feel misunderstood, but that to be completely understood is impossible. And ironically when I feel the most misunderstood is when someone believes they understand my feelings completely and they are confidently incorrect about how I feel or what’s going on in my head. To understand someone (including yourself) to any degree takes time, patience, and an understanding of how incredibly deep the human soul or being or heart or mind is. Of course I can’t speak for all people of my type, but I hope that this gives language to that feeling of misunderstanding we express, because I don’t think it’s the same feeling of misunderstanding experienced by INJs. It’s a different feeling for which we lack a word, it’s certainly not the rejection of dismissal or powerlessness of being marginalized. There is an aspect of frustration to it which is why I think we say we are misunderstood.

  • Kenna
    Reply

    The description of the pattern recognition and mirroring is spot on, and was a very “a-ha” moment for me. I never would have described it that way, but once I heard it, I knew it was very, very accurate. Thanks for taking the time to put language to my very hard-to-describe experience.

  • Stephan Brunker
    Reply

    I just want to add something I regularly observe from my INFP mother and her friends – and what is a more destructive part of their personality, the negative side of wanting to make others feel good: The more unhealthy friends of an INFP become addicted, and many of them very quickly. And the INFP then eats himself/herself up trying to help these people. I am more or less immune to that – I appreciate it, but I can live without it – but her closest friend at the moment needs to be called every day and spoken to for half an hour – something what didn’t started that way and is burdening the INFP now. So be aware of the corrosive loop this addiction can initiate.

  • Lyla
    Reply

    Oops, I think the part about the learning environment for INFPs was actually from an article I just read (not this podcast).

  • Lyla
    Reply

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
    All of this was spot on– from the not being allowed to take your emotions to a 10 wihthout being percieved as a “bad person” to why I didn’t pick up much when I was actually in school and was deemed as not as smart as everybody else.
    But the most important for me to hear is this ending, and I seem to need to hear it on repeat while I’m going at my goals because no one seems to understand that I can’t even work a societal job into my life and still accomplish what I want to or without being severely depressed. It seems 99% of the time I’m getting the advice of “Just get a part-time job.” “Just go back to school.” I tried those things for long enough to know that it’s a system that chews me up and spits me back out. INFP suitable day jobs are not easy to come by. My husband has always been super supportive and he’s been the only way I’ve been able to really go at this full-force (I’m writing poetry books), but oftentimes still get tripped up because the few times I decide to venture out into the external world, I receive a lot of scrutiny and “you’re abnormal” shade. It’s sometimes days of what feels like self-coddling before I feel alright with who I am again. This is probably why going on social outings is difficult for this personality? And I agree also with what someone else commented on far, far above– that it sucks to be perceived as incredibly shy, weak, unintelligent when we’re the opposite underneath but under a layer of distrust of being seen as what we actually are.
    I’m subscribing on itunes and the only other podcast I’ve loved enough to subscribe to so far is Under the Skin with Russell Brand (do check it out, I bet you INFPs would love the alternative-to-society views on politics and world issues) so a million times, thank you.

  • Ashley Cunningham
    Reply

    This was incredibly validating … thank you so much for this detailed review of our INFP experience.

  • Alice
    Reply

    Still not knowing if I am INFP or INFJ… I have a lot more in common with INFP but don’t have this emotional aikido they are talking about, and other thing that makes me think I am INFJ is the fact the help I generally give people is not inspirational is an insight like INFJ. Itrovetion ist he only letter I’m quite sure at, the others make me doubt myself. OK INF is close but the last letter seens like I have characteristics for both. Autenticity seens to drive my decisions but I’m not that good understanding of other people like I understand myself, I feel very different from other people.

    • Ara
      Reply

      Hi Alice!
      As a self-aware INFP, I’d like to help you understand a bit more about the type. It’s very complicated, and nothing’s black and white. Everything’s on a spectrum so it makes sense that you can see traits from both. (I see traits of ISFP in myself as well; there’s a few subtle differences.) As for the emotional aikido, does not have to apply to other people specifically. Sometimes it’s just a matter of imagining something that might influence your emotions. (Do you ever get lost in your thoughts and think of something funny and start to laugh and no one around you knows why?) Other times the INFP can make a conscious choice not to let the emotions of other people effect them. I would also like to point out that many INFPs can be insightful too. When the INFP has developed their Ne (what personalityhacker calls exploration) their ability to understand perspectives kicks in. The Ne leads them to ask people what they think, read about it, or do what ever else they feel the need to understand. The Fi (authenticity) helps the INFP understand. It makes an adjustment to their mindset and asks “How would I feel under these circumstances?” “What if they were different in this way?” “Where would this sit with me morally?” “How would my morals be different?” and other questions along those lines. (I see this all the time in a great mentor of mine who is also an INFP.) This combination of the use of the primary and auxiliary cognitive functions makes for an incredibly enlightened person. These INFPs (there’s sub-types to everything) tend to be more inspirational through their example than their words, or so one thinks. The true inspirational part of an INFP is most easily noticed when they are crossed in some way. This doesn’t mean mildly agitated. It means someone hit a nerve and cause an intense but just fury in the INFP. When this happens, they will likely be very stern and wild. People will see the fire burning in them as they seek to right what they perceive as wrong. In the past, when I felt that people were ignorantly offending a minority group, I stood in front of them and applied the best insights I could into how what they were saying might affect someone. In the end I swayed the majority of them because the manner and my passion with which I provided my insights was ultimately inspirational. It is important to remember that sometimes ‘helping people’ is not always what they might wish you to do, nor does it have to be conventional help. As for understanding people with an authenticity function. It takes a long time to truly master. That’s not a dis on you in any way if you happen to be INFP. I still struggle with understanding some people, especially when they’re quite different from myself. This is often the result of NF. NF types are idealist and will idealize people to such high expectations that what they do will surprise them. INFPs are among the worst offenders mainly because they lead with their Fi…. Just a thought.

      Hope this helps. 🙂

  • md
    Reply

    Alignment makes a lot more sense to me than “feeling.”

  • Audrey
    Reply

    I’m the only INFP in a family full of SJ’s. My mother is an ESTJ and so is my only sibling, my sister. As I’ve explored my personality and functions it’s like a curtain has been pulled back to reveal why I’ve always felt like such a failure and why things that “should” be simple have been so hard for me. I’ve always fought against what is actually my dominant function! To my family, feelings are pesky inconsequential things that should be moved past and put aside. They are inefficient and misleading and distract from getting things done. Trying to shift gears and accept that authenticity is a good thing has been affirming, freeing, and also painful. I’m not good at doing it consciously yet, but even accepting it has been a start.

    Something I’ve become aware of is how often I’ve invalidated my own emotions with my mother’s logical voice in my head. I’m having to learn how to self-parent differently now, allowing my feelings not only to surface but to listen to them and observe them, embracing them as essential to my driver. In learning this I’ve also realized that I can negatively use my empathy and understanding of how other people work to invalidate my emotions. For example: I know that my mother can’t see where I’m coming from and what matters to me can’t matter to her, not as a character flaw or for lack of love, but simply because of how she functions. Because I know her intent and how she works, old habits might tempt me into invalidating my pain when she can’t connect with something that means a lot to me. I’m having to learn to allow myself to feel the pain of not connecting, even if it’s no one’s fault.

    Around 18ish minutes in Joel was SPOT ON when describing the frustration of invalidation and dismissal. That’s exactly what I’ve felt and he put it into words. It’s hard for me to be around people who require logical reasoning in order for my input to matter…which of course makes me feel like I as a person don’t matter. Sometimes you just want to say, “Can’t you just give me the respect of taking my answer? Can’t you just trust me?” Because I’m not stupid or inept. Sometimes I do know the best answer or solution and I’m not someone who just makes up a bullshit answer. If I don’t know something I’ll say I don’t know it. So when I do know something just trust me. Have I steered you wrong in the past? No! It’s REALLY annoying and degrading sometimes.

    Also want to touch on the subject of intent…when someone views me as having selfish motives and I don’t in that instance, it’s devastating because it means they don’t trust me and I’ve worked hard to earn their trust by being empathetic and a safe person for them. Someone trusting me is closely tied with seeing me for who I am and that I do have their best interest at heart. Motive does matter because when you start to realize that everyone thinks they are doing the right thing they become humans with feelings just like you. I posit that if the world was full of INFP’s there would be no war. Of course nothing would get done and we wouldn’t have anything that required math Hahaha.

  • Lise
    Reply

    Of course INFPs want their friends to understand their emotions and their choices in life, we do like to bond with other people. I find it extremely difficult to open up about emotions to other people, physically difficult and verbally difficult. I am lucky to have really empathic friends who sometimes push me to go beyond the boundaries of what I would comfortably share, and we are closer for it. But when I speak it is incoherent and it’s difficult to understand for people who express themselves in a different manner. I tend to spew out abstract terms for my emotions rather than down to earth terms, and that’s not always so relatable. Also I am highly aware of wether or not people actually listen with empathy or not; if they don’t I won’t open up of course; cause what’s the use? Then I would only do it to entertain or bore them, not to connect and grow from the experience together.

    The self-awareness and fear of rejection is kind of high as a result of both the inherent introversion and the experiences of being misunderstood in the past. And by misunderstood I mean that people don’t understand and validate what I am saying to express something deeply personal and emotional – maybe laugh at it or joke about it or says something insensitive.

    It is a great feeling to connect, it’s universal and infps share that need. Maybe that’s why many use art to express themselves so that their feelings are validated.

    It’s astonishing to meet ENFPs, INFJs and connect with them. They inspire and fascinate me. Meeting more of them recently I enjoyed connecting with them, learning from them and in their unique ways they helped me to embrace myself more too.

    Ok, thanks for sharing thoughts and life experiences in this podcast!

    • Mélanie
      Reply

      Hi from Germany,

      About Lise’s comment above:

      “Also I am highly aware of wether or not people actually listen with empathy or not; if they don’t I won’t open up of course; cause what’s the use? Then I would only do it to entertain or bore them, not to connect and grow from the experience together.” As an INFP, I couldn’t agree more. This is EXACTLY how I go when I am interacting with someone. In the case the person is not interested in listening to my story and under the condition that I am about to spend some time with the person anyway, I shift gears and go fishing for the person’s story – which I am most of the time interested about anyway. Though I keep a note in my mind “beware of one way relationships”. I am perfectly fine with genuinely listening to people for hours. I love hearing their story and them opening up to me, though I can’t be friends with someone if the pattern always remains this one-way dynamic.

      About the podcast:

      I can related to INFPs wanting to be validated more than understood. People are so complex and have so little grasp over their own mind – for most of it lies in the subconscious anyway, staying out of reach – that I don’t think we can understand each other fully anyway. About validation: if I don’t feel validated by a person whose opinion or love matters to me, I have a hard time dealing with it. It can be so overwhelming that my mind might kind of get numb, making me lose access to any possible rational or logical thought – and sometimes to any thoughts at all. I hate this situation so much – and fortunately it doesn’t happen as often anymore – that I would elaborate strategies before hand to make sure the person validates me in some way.

      Joel said in the podcast something like INFPs can choose to mirror an emotion or not. He was referring for instance to people calling the XNFPs “cold-hearted” when they might expect them to show a specific emotion. YES!!! YES!!! YES!!! I can totally relate to this as well. My ESTP partner – yes, communication is a hell of a challenge at times but totally worth it – didn’t understand this part of me at first and thought I was really cold in situations were he would have expected me to be more demonstrative. I am so clear about my intentions in my mind that I sometimes don’t feel the need to physically express them for the outer world to see it.

      In the podcast, you also underpinned the way INFPs can see how bad people’s hearts can go. It is even draining my energy like crazy if I spend to much time with people spreading a negative energy. It’s enough to me if that person criticizes others all the time. According to that person, there is always someone doing something wrong and – oh my – that person is so stupid. I am putting so much efforts in trying to grasp other people’s intents and perspectives that it makes me sick to my stomach when people judge each other so negatively and without trying to see thing from a different angle. A 10 minutes discussion going this direction can be enough to drain a considerable amount of my energy.

      Thank you to Antonia and Joel for these insightful inputs on personalities and growth. I am a rather silent listener but I can tell you that am truly excited about your work and that reading a Personality Hacker article or reading a podcast on a bad day makes me feel better. So thank you for that too!

  • Mety
    Reply

    I am wondering how many INFP’S like me have been abused in childhood. I am of the understanding..that early sexual abuse can sort of rewire the brain. In my journey of trying to heal…(memories started making it through years and years later) I have encountered many people that are introverted and seem quite similar to me. I am curious to see if those dots have been connected.
    Also yes….since the squeaky wheels get the grease…being dismissed is a real issue for me.

  • Nick
    Reply

    Hi guys,
    First thank you for your work and time doing these podcasts.
    I found out I was an INFP last year and it made so much sense to me, as to why I am the way i am.
    Im 29 in two weeks, and have floated from career path to career path. I am currently studying Nutrition and Health Promotion and through that have learnt I have a disorder called pyrolle disorder, which causes anxiety and depression… so I am finally on the road to recovery, i believe through listening to mu intuition and not allowing western medicine prescribe me medication that has side effects.

    I absolutely reasonated with being an inspirational leader as I want to be help educate others about the link between the gut, the brain and mental illness ! and combat all this crazy pharmaceutical business going on ! Its definitely the Joan of Arc in me….. however in terms of passion,… i love art and I’ve become fascinated with drag and makeup….so who knows where ill be in a few years time, maybe a drag performer educating the world at the same time. Logistics is absolutely my downfall…

    Cheers Nick, Australia

  • Mary
    Reply

    I just came across your podcast and I found it fascinating. I’m so INFP it hurts. It was such a relief when I discovered my type and that the feeling of being “misunderstood” is just part and parcel of being wired this way.

    I do agree that “misunderstood” is the wrong word. For me it’s been more a feeling of chronically not fitting in. I can certainly seem like I fit, play the part, be who I’m expected to be. I think a great deal of this comes from having to be places where you can’t be authentic. School, work, family, friends who don’t understand. I’ve spent most of my life cultivating relationships with people that I can be authentic with, and much of that “misunderstood” feeling goes away when you are with people who you can be yourself with and while doing things that you truly, to the core, care about. So you are right, we do desperately need people who validate us. Who see that we’re wired a bit different and respect that. People that we can fearlessly be our authentic selves around.

    I think another commenter hit another point that I didn’t hear in the podcast, which is that who we appear to be is often very different from who we perceive ourselves to be. I was kind of shocked when I found out that others see me as quiet and shy. I don’t feel that I’m either. Inside my head I’m battling foes and slaying monsters, outside I’m sitting in a corner listening to others talk. Our internal life is so full and vibrant and there are precious few people that we can share that with. Or rather, we feel that there are few people who have any interest in our internal world. Writing, art and a strange sense of fashion help a lot.

    Though, finding someone who does understand is actually pretty magical. A couple years back I made friends with an INFJ, and it’s wonderful having someone who knows without me having to painstakingly try to explain. Not having to turn feelings into words. It’s also great, because both types are so sensitive and work so hard to take care of other people, it’s a relief for both of us to have someone who instinctively looks out for the other. (this isn’t to say that other types don’t do this, lots do, but it usually requires more overt communication)

    Anyhow, I’m sorry for the ramble. I’m excited to find a new resource. You guys do a great job!

    Thanks!

  • Lisa
    Reply

    INFP 🙂

    I thought the part about finding your secret weapon of the opposite type was really on point. My best friend is an ESTJ and we complement eachother so well in the world, even though we’re opposite types. I smooth things over for her socially sometimes/ make the vibe good no matter what’s happening and she sets up all the fun stuff we’re going to and gives me “what to pack lists” etc. My older sister is an ISTJ and in our youth we didn’t get along that well at all, but now I help her by listening to her life stresses and giving advice and she helps me with practical things like where to get my car fixed and which credit card has the best benefits. We love eachother lots and appreciate the other’s strengths.

    Loved the “logistics is just your cross to bear” message. Ya know, I’ve accepted it too, can make me feel very frustrated sometimes, but I know that everybody has their burdens. It was also useful to me to hear that the energy you spend doubting the meaning of your work saps what little is available for logistics/ organization/ efficiency purposes. It’s so easy to push your passion under the rug to try to achieve efficiency, but hearing that I can have both and in fact my efficiency is DEPENDENT on my passion was really useful.

    I also thought you handled the issue of self harm really compassionately.

    Nice work

  • J.
    Reply

    Thanks for trying but…I’m 6 and a half minutes in and you are still explaining what the technical definition of MBTI vs. your nicknames of the functions mean, which is making my mind hurt. Perhaps you should have an INFP explain us to us. We don’t want or need to hear all of these details to “get” the point. *yawn*

    • Antonia Dodge
      Reply

      Are you doing okay? For an INFP your comment is uncharacteristically impolite. If you’d listened to the podcast you would have understood that both your flow and your growth states work better when you’re considering feelings will be impacted by your words and behaviors, and coming at things with an open mind.

      Maybe you should push through that first six minutes. Or don’t. Either way life will be just fine. 🙂

      -A-

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