The 16 Personality types consist of four letters. Each letter corresponds to a fundamental personality trait for that personality type, which is found by answering a set of tailored questions. Your answers to those questions determine your combination of four sets of opposing traits—introverted versus extroverted, sensing versus intuitive, thinking versus feeling, and perceiving versus judging.
INFPs make up just 4% of the general population and are the 9th most common personality type.
What is the meaning of INFP?
The 16 Personality types consist of four letters corresponding to a fundamental personality trait for the type. Tailored questions find your combination of four sets of opposing traits—introverted versus extroverted, sensing versus intuitive, thinking versus feeling, and perceiving versus judging. INFP means Introversion (I), Intuition (N), Feeling (F), and Perception (P) personality traits.
What are INFPs like?
INFPs (Mediators) are sensitive, idealistic, and imaginative. While they often seem reserved, Mediators hide a strong sense of morality behind their quiet demeanor. Rather than following the crowd, they strive to be authentic and make their own rules. There’s nothing quite as important to INFPs as staying loyal to their personal values and principles.
Since kindness is at the core of the INFP personality type, Mediators are not only attuned to their own feelings but also sensitive to those of others. More than any other personality type, they embrace uniqueness and encourage others to do the same. Their ability to empathize easily with others often drives them to fight for justice and side with the underdog.
Nonetheless, INFPs are reluctant to open up about their feelings until they fully trust someone. It’s not unusual for them to feel drawn to the arts, and many find it easier to express their emotions through writing, drawing, or another creative outlet.
INFPs are profoundly observant and sensitive to the world around them. They're often known to think about everything (and I mean literally everything), so it's no wonder so many of them are artists and writers. By creating a safe, creative space, INFPs can externalize most of the thoughts buzzing around their heads.
Don't be surprised if an INFP says something unusually observant or thoughtful, like a specific remark about an inconspicuous detail that most people wouldn't bat an eye at. INFPs also often get so preoccupied with their observations and thoughts about the world around them that they can often lose track of time. In a nutshell, expect an INFP to be the kind of person who loves to talk about everything for hours on end but then forgets to check the time of the last bus home as they're so caught up in the moment.
Empathetic and compassionate
NFPs are arguably the most empathetic and compassionate of all the personality types. INFPs subtly show they care. They might not be the kind of people who show up with flashy gifts at your doorstep, but for those who are lucky enough to have an INFP in their lives, their care and concern are evident. While most people do not immediately notice how considerate and caring INFPs are, INFPs feel other people's emotions as deeply as if they were their own.
It is in the nature of an INFP to have an innate desire to spread good intentions throughout the world. They are incredibly focused on what they can do to be good and honest individuals in our society. They highly value putting themselves in others’ shoes, considering the needs of others, and aiming to do what is fundamentally correct.
INFPs are incredibly self-reflective, naturally curious, and like to refine and improve their lives constantly. Being self-reflective is an act of self-awareness that involves thinking and analyzing your own thoughts, behaviors, and opinions. INFPs tend to replay their experiences and specific actions to help them understand more of who they are exactly and what they can offer others.
While Mediators are generally less contemplative than other personality types, they like to use their immense self-awareness to empathize with the emotions and opinions of other people, as mentioned earlier. They are greatly skilled at quickly recognizing the feelings and behaviors of people in various states of anxiety, sadness, or grief. To an INFP, understanding themselves allows them to find mutual understanding with all they encounter.
Creative and imaginative
INFPs are known to carry a strong creative streak. Their imaginative thinking allows them to devise possibilities in a situation, and this imagination fuels their creative pursuits. It's common for an INFP to gravitate towards multiple creative hobbies at once as they often find it challenging to stick to one consistently. While they may enjoy the variety in pursuits, they can lack consistency.
INFPs also have a reputation for imaginative and visionary thinking. They thrive in unconventional moments and situations, which allows them to share their quirky ideas and schemes that they've been daydreaming about. INFP's are eager to make their dreams a reality. However, this eagerness can sometimes get them in trouble when they risk an original but not fully formed idea rather than rely on a tried-and-true method.
The introvert (I) personality aspect of INFPs can make them relatively quiet and reserved. Even when they get comfortable around certain people, INFPs are rarely able to escape their self-awareness. It's common for them to feel awkward, especially around people they aren't as comfortable with, and in a first-meeting situation.
It's easy to spot a mediator when making small talk with others. Around people they don't know well, INFPs can be identified by obvious visual cues like fidgeting, shifting around, struggling to make eye contact, and not knowing where to put their hands. While many personality types share this trait, awkwardness is a common observation when combined with other INFP qualities.
However, in situations they feel safe and comfortable in, INFPs can thrive. This includes performing on stage in front of a large audience, job interviews, and school presentations. Once they get into a groove and step outside of their heads for a bit, INFPs can be just as cool, calm, and collected as the other personality types. In conversations with others, INFPs thrive when talking about things they're naturally passionate and interested in and are knowledgeable in, or when they take a backseat and listen to others talk.
While not all INFPs are self-critical and struggle with self-doubt, many do. Mediators dislike working in a rigid, highly structured, systematic way, instead preferring to see the big picture and explore ideas from every angle. Many INFPs find it hard to fit into society's "ideal" of logic, structure, and deadlines. This can result in the INFP feeling shameful around the way they process information and complete tasks. Due to this, INFPs can be left feeling unsure of themselves and that no matter what they do, they're just not good enough.
It's common for an INFP to constantly ask themselves if what they're doing fits into their system of values and who they are. When it comes to the things and interests they care deeply about, they tend to hold themselves to impossible standards, and as highly creative types, INFPs can believe that their work is never good enough.
Wanting a lot of alone time is not a bad thing, but INFPs can sometimes love their own company so much, they'll forget to prioritize time with others. INFPs crave connection on an intense level, but shallow interactions, like texting or social media exchanges, can be tiring. Many INFPs have been touted as aloof, closed-off, and even unfriendly when they first meet someone; however, they often open up after the initial meeting.
However, no matter how connected and close INFPs are to someone, they always have to come back to their mind, company, and the surrounding natural world. It's common for mediators to spend a lot of time alone in nature, as they find it incredibly healing and re-energizing. If you have an INFP in your life, understand that they crave a balance of solitude and meaningful human connection. Their constant need to understand themselves and the world around them allows them to treasure their solitude and privacy.
Have difficulty voicing their feelings and opinions
As mentioned earlier, INFPs generally dislike conflict and often do everything in their power to avoid fights and confrontations. They prefer to "keep the peace," even if it means sacrificing their wants and desires to keep everyone happy. Because of this, they may develop a firm reliance on others and their validations and approval for their self-worth. This can be highly detrimental for their relationships as, over time, the INFP feels like they are not their true and most authentic self, which can lead to resentment.
While INFPs are notoriously good at expressing their innermost thoughts through their creative pursuits, they can struggle with effectively communicating their needs to people around them. For an INFP to feel entirely safe expressing what they desire, they need to feel understood and appreciated. They don't do well with criticism or harsh words, so it pays to be tactful when approaching an emotionally charged or vulnerable conversation with an INFP.
What are the hobbies and interests of INFPs?
While everyone is unique and has their preferences, you'll often see INFPs enjoying similar hobbies. Mediators generally gravitate towards hobbies and interests that allow them to focus their creativity and express themselves. Many INFPs also enjoy a "hands-on" approach, preferring to get stuck into the experience rather than observing in a theoretical sense.
- Poetry and creative writing
- Drawing and painting
- Drama and theatre
- Arts and crafts
- Interior design
- Cooking and baking
- Yoga and meditation
Interacting with INFPs
Mediators have a profound and intense capacity for love, which is not found as frequently in the other personality types. While INFPs tend to be reserved about expressing their innermost feelings to strangers, they dedicate their deepest care to a few loved ones.
They are generally slow to trust others and cautious at the beginning of a relationship. However, an INFP will be incredibly loyal once they are committed. They value depth and authenticity in their relationships, and for those who understand and accept their perspectives, they hold in exceptionally high regard.
In a relationship
In a relationship, an INFP will feel tremendous loyalty and commitment to their partner. In fact, many INFPs feel a deep need to be in a committed, loving relationship, and if they are not involved in one, they will be actively searching for their "other half."
An INFP tends to be idealistic and romantically driven, which may cause them to fantasize frequently about a "more perfect" relationship or situation. They also commonly romanticize their partners into having qualities that they do not possess. Most INFPs have a problem viewing the reality of their own lives, instead preferring to get lost in their fantasies. Because of this, many INFPs constantly feel unsettled with themselves and their romantic relationships. However, the INFP's sincere love for their partners and intense dislike of conflict will keep the INFP loyal.
For someone that needs a lot of space, INFP is an ideal partner. Generally, INFPs are very aware of the space of others. They value their personal space and get great pleasure from having the freedom to do their own thing. INFPs appreciate partners who respect their style and unique perspectives. INFPs are not likely to be overly jealous or possessive, and they like to respect their mate's privacy and independence. In general, INFPs are warm and loving partners who make their relationships central in their lives.
Living with an INFP
In their home life, INFPs are not naturally interested in chores and admin work like taxes, laundry, and cleaning, but they can be very good at performing these tasks when the occasion calls for it. When they certainly enjoy the finer things in life, they can be really good at managing their finances when they apply themselves.
In a sexual situation, INFPs are likely to take things slow. The INFP often views sexual intimacy as an opportunity for expressing their deep-seated love and affection once trust has been earned. They will enjoy giving and receiving affection, and with their tendency to enjoy serving others, they may value their partner's satisfaction above their own.
INFPs have an intensive dislike of conflict and criticism. They are quick to take critical comments personally, even if it wasn't intended. Any sort of criticism will be taken as a personal attack, and they will often become emotional and irrational when this occurs.
For INFPs involved with partners with Thinking (T) and Judging (J) preferences, their objective and decisive attitude may be threatening to the INFP. They will tend to respond emotionally to the negativity and blame themselves, even if it wasn't their partner's intention. INFPs who struggle to gather good data for their decision-making processes may dislike conflict and criticism. This can be detrimental to intimate relationships. When a dispute arises, INFPs will react with emotional distress and often cannot rationalize that what their partner is trying to communicate is not a personal attack.
When this occurs, it's common for an INFP to do whatever they can to get rid of the conflict. They may lash out at others or use manipulation to get the positive support that they crave. INFPs who recognize this trait in themselves should work on being able to take criticism objectively. They should also try to remember that all conflict isn't their fault and is a common occurrence in life. It's important for INFPs to face and address their problems immediately to avoid having to deal with them in the future after it has become a much larger issue.
Although two emotionally healthy individuals of any personality type can enjoy a fulfilling relationship, some are more complimentary to the mediator than others. INFPs are naturally empathetic and sensitive souls, so they do well with many personality types, especially those who value and prioritize emotions. Personality Types such as ENFJ and ENTJ tend to compliment them nicely.
As a parent
INFPs are "natural" parents, meaning they accept and enjoy the parental role and see it as the natural extension of their value systems. As parents, they're continually developing and defining their values further and consider it their task to pass their morals and values onto their children. The INFP parent is warm, flexible, takes their role seriously, and has lots of love to give, making them generally gentle, hardworking, patient, and easy-going.
When conflicts arise in the family, INFPs like to promote a positive and conflict-free home environment and keep themselves flexible and diverse. The INFP is likely to adapt their partner's disciplinary routine or rely on them to discipline children as they are not naturally prone to dole out punishment or discipline. Single-parent INFPs will need to make a conscious effort in creating a structure for their children to live within.
While INFPs dislike punishing others, they hold strong values and will not tolerate the violation of a belief. If they feel that their child has done wrong, the INFP parent will not hesitate to confront the child directly. The INFP parent is likely to see their children as individuals, and they like to give them room for growth and change. It's common for INFP parents to let their children have their own voice and place in the family.
INFPs are fiercely protective and support their children through thick and thin as they're incredibly loving and devoted parents. If there's ever an occasion where "taking sides" is required, you can bet the INFP will always remain loyal to their children.
As a friend
INFPs are highly warm and caring individuals who strongly value authenticity and depth in their friendships. They are often perceptive about other people's feelings and motives, so they're able to get along and make friends with different people from all walks of life. INFPs usually will keep their true selves reserved from others except for a select few that they will form intimate and long-lasting friendships with. They have high ideals so they are likely to be drawn to other Intuitive (N) and Feeler (F) types in their closer friendships.
Mediators have a strong need for harmony and a great dislike of conflict, so you will be hard-pressed to find INFPs with close friends that have strong Judging and Thinking preferences. While they can work well professionally with such individuals, they may have difficulty accepting or appreciating them on a personal level. Overall, INFPs are valued as genuine, deep, caring, and original friends.
INFP personality growth tips
To lead a happy and fulfilling life, INFPs should:
- Learn to accept criticism. Due to their sensitivity, INFPs are prone to taking things personally. However, learning to take criticism can help them overcome their weak points.
- Let go of negative thoughts. Since INFPs can be self-critical, they should make it a point to recognize, challenge, and release any thoughts that don’t serve them.
- Make use of to-do lists. As dreamers, Mediators often have a hard time keeping up with tasks and deadlines, so creating a to-do list can help them stay organized.
- Come out of their shells. Although being by themselves brings INFPs comfort, it can easily lead to self-isolation. As such, it can be beneficial to them to attend more social events, join clubs related to their interests, and so on.
For an INFP, finding a career path that they truly enjoy can be a challenging, life-long mission. The INFP does not want just any job or career as they want to do something they actually love and are passionate about. Personal fulfillment and working for the greater good are vital to them, and because most jobs don't consistently inspire them, INFPs can often feel dissatisfied.
INFPs' values are highly personal and individualistic. This can make it difficult for them to work in organizations whose values are different from their own. They can also grow impatient when performing the same job or studying the same subject extensively. Many like to utilize their creative skills and interests, and due to their self-sufficient nature, this may lead some INFPs to assume the roles of an artist, writer, poet, or entrepreneur. However, don't be surprised if an INFP jumps careers a few times during their life as they like to reinvent themselves and find new passions constantly.
Best INFP career matches
As creative and compassionate individuals, INFPs often make great:
- Art Directors
- Digital Marketing Specialists
- Fashion Designers
- Fundraising Managers
- Graphic Designers
- Interior Designers
- Mental Health Counselors
- Social Workers
- Substance Abuse Counselors
Worst INFP career matches
Due to their individualistic and introverted natures, INFPs rarely pursue careers as:
- Corporate Lawyers
- Financial Advisors
- Police Officers
- Sales Representatives
Celebrities with the INFP personality type
INFPs are highly in tune with their feelings and like to have an outlet to express their inner thoughts and desires. So, it makes sense that many famous artists, authors, musicians, and actors are INFPs.
- William Shakespeare
- George Orwell
- C.S. Lewis
- Hans Christian Andersen
- J. R. R. Tolkein
- Edgar Allen Poe
- Virginia Woolf
- Chris Martin
- Joni Mitchell
- John Mayer
- Bob Marley
- Lenny Kravitz
- Andy Warhol
- Vincent Van Gogh
Actors and entertainers
- Johnny Depp
- Tim Burton
- Tom Hiddleston
- Nicolas Cage
- Jude Law
- Emily Blunt
- Lisa Kudrow
The bottom line
INFPs or Mediators, as they're commonly known, are empathetic, nurturing, passionate, and imaginative individuals with a big heart for people and a desire to contribute to a greater cause.
While they can often be misunderstood, having an INFP in your life can be a blessing. Just don't be surprised if you become their creative inspiration for their next piece of work!