INFP vs. INFJ: What Are the Differences?
by Lisa Sparrow
The difference between INFP and INFJ personalities comes down to their driver. While both Mediators and Counselors are sensitive souls who are value-led, INFPs tend to daydream and lean towards more creative industries. INFJs on the other hand are practical people who work towards their values-led goals with tenacity and drive.
Key personality differences explained
INFP - The Mediator
An INFP personality type is someone who exhibits strong traits of introversion, intuitiveness, feeling, and prospecting. Quiet and unassuming at times, Mediators are the kind of friend you want when you need a shoulder to cry on. INFP types are incredibly empathetic and soulful people. But while they can connect with and be compassionate to others, Mediators do have a loner side to them and they often feel alone and adrift.
INFPs sensitivity also carries over in their appreciation of creative arts or nature. Music, art, or the outdoors can have a significant effect on INFPs and they can feel a real connection to such subjects.
INFJ - The Counselor
Counselors have a personality dominated by introversion, intuitiveness, feeling, and judgment. One of the rarest personality types around, Counselors bring a strong sense of idealism and passion to everything they do. While typically quite reserved and softly-spoken, INFJ types will speak up for things they believe in and can become particularly passionate about anything related to their convictions.
INFJs are compassionate people who always look to help others. Deep and sensitive , this personality type looks for meaningful connection with others.
Empathy is one of the greatest strengths that INFPs possess. Mediators are incredibly attuned to how others are feeling and are very open-minded people who hate the thought of hurting others. Creativity is another area where INFPs thrive. This personality gets great enjoyment from creative thinking, daydreaming and experiencing creative pursuits like music and art.
Mediators are also extremely passionate when it comes to areas that feed their imagination. When this happens, INFPs will put everything into a project or cause, breaking their introverted streak and becoming very outspoken.
INFJs strengths lie in their sense of compassion and are drawn to helping people that they care about. These personalities can find a lot of success in compassionate roles such as counseling or mentoring positions. Like INFPs, INFJs are also incredibly insightful and often find it easy to understand the emotions and needs of others.
INFJs might surprise you with their single-mindedness and drive. Counselors rarely settle for less than they believe they deserve or that they need to do, and can be compelling communicators when talking about their ideals.
One of the main weaknesses that INFPs face is unrealistic expectations. When we combine Mediators’ ability to dream big with their unfocused nature and self-criticism, we get an individual who is likely to fail and think harshly about that failure. These dreamers can often shoot too big, leaving them vulnerable to disappointment when reality comes calling.
People-pleasing is another area that INFPs tend to need to work on. Mediators hate being disliked and will often work hard to turn around someone’s idea of them. This can be a huge waste of energy and leave INFPs drained and emotionally vulnerable to negative opinions of themselves.
Because of their conviction in their beliefs, INFJs can take criticism of their principles or of their work around their principles particularly harshly. This is one of the rare times where Counselors may snap and become defensive. Perfectionism is another issue for this personality. With a strong drive to work towards their values, INFJs often think it’s necessary to overwork and achieve perfection. Obviously this is not always possible, and so burnout and disappointment can be a real issue for Counselors.
Counselors can also struggle with opening up. INFJs often don’t ask for help, even though they’re happy to help others. This handle it yourself attitude means that INFJs can push their emotions down and even push others away.
INFPs are likely to find themselves in either artistic or service-focused roles. This is because Mediators are driven largely by creativity and a need to help others when it comes to their career. Art, music, counseling, and healthcare are good fit career options for INFPs.
Freedom is also incredibly important to INFPs, as they love independent workplaces with some light structure to help keep them on track. High stress, rat-race style workplaces aren’t going to suit Mediators well.
Counselors are very similar to Mediators in their need to work in roles that align with their principles and personal values. For INFJs, finding a job where they feel like they’re making a difference and really connecting with others is key. This need to help others means that Counselors tend to gravitate towards careers in healthcare, social work, counselling and teaching.
But INFJs also have strong communication skills, especially when they’re passionate. Because of this, writing, film and art can be a good career fit for this personality.
INFPs dream big when it comes to love; this personality is a true romantic who wants to settle for nothing less than true love. This creative type can spend hours imagining their perfect partner, but when it comes to actually entering the dating pool, reality can be a bit of a shock.
But when they do find a good match, Mediators will be passionate, loyal and respectful partners. INFPs are very open-minded so money, appearance, or status isn’t an obstacle to finding their true love. Mediators can struggle with confrontation and tend to avoid conflict rather than addressing and fixing issues in a relationship.
Much like INFPs, INFJs do not struggle with understanding the emotions and feelings of others. Romance is important to INFJs; they’re after a perfect match and don’t want to settle for anything less. Once they become a bit more realistic and find a relationship, Counselors are caring and honest partners who know how to express their love.
While they are often caring individuals, an Counselors’ passion for their ideals can lead them to be a little more prickly when they come across someone whose principles differ from theirs.
The bottom line
Both sensitive, intuitive, and compassionate, it’s easy to confuse these two personalities on the surface level. But when we look at how INFPs and INFJs act, we can really see where they differ. INFPs are creative sensitive types, who feel deeply connected to music and are prone to daydreaming. INFJs, however, are driven and practical people who work towards their goals and always keep their principles at the core of everything they do.