Introverted (I), Intuitive (N), Feeling (F) and Perceiving (P)
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The INFP personality type is nicknamed the “Dreamer” and belongs to the NF Visionary temperament.
INFPs are idealistic and deeply sensitive.
They are characterized by their loyal and
gentle nature. Beneath their easygoing
disposition runs a fixed passion for the causes
they believe in and the people they
INFPs direct their energy inward. They are energized by spending time alone. They are private and internally aware. INFPs are independent and keep to themselves most of the time. INFPs are Intuitive . They are imaginative, idealistic and creative people. They generate endless possibilities and ideas. Their thought process is profound and abstract. Dreamers live in the future. Dreamers are Feelers that make decisions with their heart. They are driven by emotion. Dreamers dislike conflict and are easily hurt. INFPs are random and spontaneous. They like to keep their options open and dislike feeling confined by rules and schedules.
INFPs are loyal, caring and warm with the people they allow into their inner circle. On one hand they are playful, fun and posses a unique sense of humor. On the other hand they are intense and serious. INFPs are generous with praise and encouragement. They look for affirmation, affection and integrity. They are good at identifying inconsistencies in themselves and others. Dreamers are romantics.
can accomplish much.
As the sun makes ice
melt, kindness causes
mistrust, and hostility
to evaporate.” — Albert Schweitzer
INFPs love to excel and learn. They grow restless in rigid and impersonal environments. When engaged, they can learn well on their own. Although they might pursue an educational avenue to please others, they are happiest when they are true to their own identity and sensitive nature. They have a need to create and express themselves.
Describing an INFP
INFPs can often be described with these words. They commonly posess the following strengths and weaknesses.
Characteristic of an INFP
- Internally aware
- Loyal and devoted
- Deep capacity to care and love
- Warm and playful
- Excellent at reading feelings and motives of others
- Desires to meet the needs of others
- Tends to react emotionally
- Extreme dislike of criticism
- Tendency to blame themselves
- Has trouble in conflict situations
- INFPs make up 2% of all 16
personality types. INFPs are one of the most rare
personality types. Introversion, iNtuition, Feeling and Perceiving are all less common than
their opposite preferences.
- 1 in every 66 males is an INFP (1.5%
of all males). 1 in every 40 females is an INFP (2.5%
of all females). Male INFPs are one of the least
common type-gender combinations.
- There are more female INFPs than male. Just over one third of INFPs are male. One reason there are more female INFPs
is that females tend to be Feelers (F)
while males are more often Thinkers (T).
The INFP’s Preferences are Introversion, Intuition, Feeling and Perceiving. These determine the INFP’s Personality Type .
Introversion is characterized by a preference to focus on the inside world. As introverts, INFPs are energized by spending time alone or with a small, familiar group. They find large group gatherings draining because they seek depth instead of breadth of relationships.
Like other introverts, INFPs process information internally.
They are often great listeners.
As Feeling people, INFPs are subjective.
They make decisions based on their principles and values.
They are ruled by their heart instead of their head.
INFPs judge situations and others based on their feelings and extenuating circumstances.
They seek to please others and want to be appreciated.
They value harmony and empathy.
People with Intuition live in the future.
They are immersed in the world of possibilities.
They process information through patterns and impressions.
As Intuitives, INFPs value inspiration and imagination.
They gather knowledge by reading between the lines.
Their abstract nature attracts them toward deep ideas, concepts and metaphors.
They can see the “big picture”.
Perceiving refers to a person’s adaptability and flexibility.
Dreamers are random thinkers who prefer to keep their options open.
They thrive with the unexpected and are open to change.
They are spontaneous and often juggle several projects at once.
They enjoy starting a task better than finishing it.
Dreamers play as they work.
INFP Cognitive Functions
Every person engages the world through four Cognitive Functions .
The INFP’s primary function is Introverted Feeling and secondary is Extraverted Intuition.
Introverted Feeling (Primary)
INFPs use this function most often. When Feeling (F), Dreamers make decisions based on feelings, so the Introverted Feeling function allows them to know what they value.
It is the ability to see through others and know what they are really like as if the INFP had internal radar.
When they identify a person with similar values, there is a desire to connect.
Extraverted Intuition (Secondary)
INFPs use of this function is somewhat high. With Intuition (N), INFPs process new information through impressions, possibilities and meanings. Extraverted Intuition allows them to see different paths or ways.
When an INFP receives information, they are able to see that there is more than one way to look at things.
Introverted Sensing (Tertiary)
INFPs use this function but to a lesser degree. Through Sensing (S), INFPs process data with their five senses.
The Introverted Sensing function allows them to remember data in detail and to compare it with current information.
It is the ability to link present experiences to past experiences in search for a connection.
Extraverted Thinking (Least)
INFPs use this function least of the four. While Thinking (T), INFPs make decisions based on logic.
The Extraverted Thinking function enables them to organize and categorize items such as thoughts and arguments.
It is the ability to see the logical consequences of actions.
It follows sequence and organization.
INFPs and Work
INTPs work well in solitude. However, their agreeable and kind disposition allows them to work well with others. They set high standards for themselves and strive for perfection, integrity and honesty. Their job must be fulfilling and meaningful. Otherwise, they lose interest and become discouraged. They are creative and enjoy generating and working with ideas. Their life’s work must fulfill their idealism.
INFP Career Matches
People with the INFP personality type may find satisfaction with the following careers which tend to match well with their Dreamer personality.
- Church Worker
- Educational Consultant
- Social Worker
- Physical Therapist
- Fashion Designer
- Graphic Designer
- Social Scientist
- Web Designer
- Human Resources
- Video Editor
- Holistic Health Practitioner
- Speech Pathologist
- Employee Development Specialist
Here is a sampling of Famous People and Fictional Characters that are likely to share the INFP personality type.
- Albert SchweitzerTheologian, Doctor, Pianist
- Princess DianaPrincess of Wales
- William ShakespearePoet, Playwright
- Henry W. LongfellowPoet
- A. A. MilneAuthor (Winnie the Pooh)
- Laura Ingalls WilderAuthor (Little House on…)
- Helen KellerAuthor, Activist, Lecturer
- Fred RogersMister Rogers
- Dick ClarkTelevision Personality
- John F. Kennedy, Jr.Lawyer, Publisher
- Neil DiamondSinger, Musician
- Tom BrokawTelevision Journalist
- VirgilAncient Roman Poet
- JohnDisciple of Jesus
- James TaylorSinger-songwriter, Guitarist
- Audrey HepburnActress
- Scott BakulaActor (Start Trek Enterprise)
- Lisa KudrowActress ("Phoebe", Friends)
- Aldous HuxleyAuthor
- J. R. R. TolkienAuthor (Lord of the Rings)
- Peter JacksonFilmmaker (Lord of the Rings)
- CalvinCalvin and Hobbes
- AnneAnne of Green Gables
- Doctor Julian BashirStar Trek: Deep Space 9
- Bastian Balthazar BuxThe Neverending Story
- E.T.E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
- Doug FunnieDoug cartoon
- Tommy PicklesRugrats
- RockoRockos Modern Life
- Fox MulderX-Files
- Deanna TroiStar Trek: The Next Generation
- Wesley CrusherStar Trek: The Next Generation
INFPs are highly idealistic. They defend their values and do not like to have them challenged. They are catalysts for harmony and healing. Their greatest contribution is their ability to be present with another person at a deep level.
Take the Free Personality Test to get 20 pages of results, return to the Personality Types section or jump to another personality type below.
- Protectors (SJ)
- ESTJ – Overseer
- ESFJ – Supporter
- ISTJ – Examiner
- ISFJ – Defender
- Creators (SP)
- ESTP – Persuader
- ESFP – Entertainer
- ISTP – Craftsman
- ISFP – Artist
- Intellectuals (NT)
- ENTJ – Chief
- ENTP – Originator
- INTJ – Strategist
- INTP – Engineer
- Visionaries (NF)
- ENFJ – Mentor
- ENFP – Advocate
- INFJ – Confidant
- INFP – Dreamer
Is It Possible to Change Your Personality Type?
4 years ago
Every personality type has its strengths and weaknesses – there is no ideal type just like there are no ideal humans walking on this planet. That being said, it is almost inevitable that at some point in life you will say “I wish I had a different personality”. You may want to become more outgoing, more in tune with your senses, more organized, more resistant to criticism etc. Not surprisingly, one of the most frequent questions people interested in personal development ask is “Can I change my personality type?”
Unfortunately, the answer is not that simple. According to most personality type theories, the individual’s type is inborn and does not change. However, individuals can develop traits and habits that differ or even directly contradict the description of their type. How does that happen?
Let’s use an example. Imagine that lights in your flat suddenly go off and you are in complete darkness. You may be able to navigate your way to the door, but what senses are you going to use? Touch? Hearing? Smell? It would be anything but vision, your preferred sense. However, as soon as the lights come back on, you will switch back to using vision again as it makes it much easier to navigate around the flat.
The way your personality works is very similar. The environment you are in shapes your personality in a certain way, forcing you to develop traits and habits that might be foreign to your type. For instance, if you are naturally casual and spontaneous (Prospecting), but your work schedule is very structured and your manager is obsessive about schedules, your preferences are likely to change. However, you will probably switch back to being a Prospecting individual as soon as you leave that job. The same rule applies to other traits as well.
We should probably mention one more thing. Sociability is often confused with Extraversion, just like shyness is confused with Introversion – this is one of the most common mistakes when it comes to discussing personality types. While Extraverted individuals naturally find it easier to talk to other people (they gain energy when they do this), there are many shy or solitary people among them. Conversely, Introverted types lose energy when they communicate with others, but you would be able to find many eloquent individuals in that group.
In fact, certain Introverted types (e.g. Advocate or Mediator ) are often more sociable than most Extraverted types. In Western societies, Extraverted individuals outnumber Introverted ones by a large margin and consequently most people believe that everyone should strive to be outgoing, confident, have a large circle of friends etc. This is a misguided belief as every personality type is unique and has different strengths – yet this is often the reason behind the “Can I change my personality type?” question.
To conclude, your basic personality type cannot change – however, you can (and should!) change the aspects of your personality that you are unhappy with. By doing this you will strengthen your shadow traits and become a more well-rounded individual, even though your dominant traits will still remain the same. Such a change could be triggered by either the environment you are in or your own will – to each his own.
4 months ago
7 months ago
10 months ago
I guess that explains why my personality summary had quite a few contradictions about me. To be honest, I just thought I was a "divergent" mediator or something.
11 months ago
2 years ago
My freshman year I went to a bigger school. The people were so much different, the classes were so much different, it was just an overwhelming change. That combined with family issues going on at the time turned me into an entirely different person. I started hanging out with a bunch of introverted analysts to avoid the complicated emotions that came with trying to be who I usually was, and eventually, I became INTP. Even now that I am comfortable there, I have not gone back to my ENFP self.
Wondering if this is a permanent change, or if maybe thats who I always was and never realized it because of my Ideal, unchanging environment. Either way, I think I like myself more as an INTP. I get more things done and think more rationally when not hindered by emotions.
However, it tooks time passing for me to accept that I was born as INFP (and maybe include the percentage composition). Now Im glad with my personality.
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Romeo Vitelli Ph.D.
Can You Change Your Personality?
Research suggests that personality may not be as fixed as you think.
Posted Sep 07, 2015
Personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures. F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Personality defines us and how we interact with the world. Though there are different theories about what personality really is and how our basic personality traits are first formed, the general consensus is that personality is shaped by early life experiences and tend to stay stable over time. According to the most widely accepted model of personality, there are five basic personality dimensions that can define us as individuals. Each of the”Big Five” traits, openness, conscientiousness , extraversion , agreeableness , and neuroticism , have a cluster of related traits that shape our emotions and behaviours in a wide variety of situations.
The personality traits we have as adults tend to grow out of the kind of temperament we had as infants and toddlers . Much like the Big Five adult personality factors, there are also different kinds of temperament that seem to arise out of the interaction between our genetics and the upbringing we receive as children. Also, differences in temperament can also influence how children are treated by caregivers and children their own age. This can result in children having life experiences that can reinforce early differences in temperament and lay down the kind of personality they have as adults. It can also lead to their developing dysfunctional personality patterns that can develop into full-blown personality disorders later in life.
That said, personality changes can still occur depending on new life experiences. People who have experienced severe emotional trauma or life-changing events can experience significant personality changes as well. Even the kind of social roles we take on can change personality. First-time parents or people heavily invested in new jobs can find themselves becoming more conscientious as their new responsibilities force them to change how they think, feel, and behave in general. People in new romantic relationships can find themselves becoming more conscientious about their partners’ well-being as their perspective on the world changes. As our lives change, so do our personalities.
For that matter, simply growing older can mean significant personality changes. As we become more mature, we (usually) become more agreeable, conscientious, and develop greater emotional stability. Growing more comfortable with our sense of self, our personality can change as well to match how we see ourselves. With this in mind, many different treatment methods aimed at dealing with personality disorders such as antisocial or histrionic personality disorder usually involves teaching patients how to alter destructive personality patterns. These personality patterns are often extremely difficult to change but it typically depends on how motivated people are to try.
But do most people really want to change their personalities? While we tend to admire people who are more extraverted or conscientious than we are, how many of us are really willing to put in the effort to make the kind of long-term changes that can alter personality traits? According to a recent research study by psychologists at the University of Illinois most people are dissatisfied with their own personality and wished to change in a more positive direction. For each of the Big Five personality factors, only thirteen percent reported being satisfied with themselves as they were.
As for whether people really can alter their personality traits, the evidence is a little more controversial. Though many people try to change their personalities, either through counseling or by developing their own self-improvement program, e.g., taking public speaking courses to become more social and outgoing, it’s still debatable how effective these approaches are in the long run. With this in mind, Nathan Hudson and R. Chris Fraley of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign conducted a study to see whether research subjects could change measurable aspects of their personality.
Their study, which was recently published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , involved two experiments using adults recruited from an introductory psychology class. In the first experiment, one hundred and thirty-five participants were told that they were part of a “personality study” that took six weeks to complete.
At the beginning of the study, each participant was told about the Big Five personality factors and rated themselves on each factor using an online rating form on the study website. They were then asked to decide how many personality traits they wanted to change over the course of the study. That included coming up with different ways of achieving this change and their progress was measured using weekly online sessions. Half of the half of the participants in the personality change group also took part in a “change plan” condition in which they were asked to complete a brief writing task asking “what it would look like if you attained your desired changes … The purpose of this step is to envision what specific changes you would like to make.” In weekly sessions, they were reminded of their goal and completed additional writing assignments to measure their progress. Half of the participants in the study were placed in the control condition and simply given feedback on their personality and completed assignments in what the results meant.
In the second experiment, with a similar,number of participants, Hudson and Roberts replicated their first experiment but focused on changes in daily behaviour that were linked to the personality traits that participants wanted to change. They also used more comprehensive personality rating measures to reinforce the personality change process.
What the researchers found was that participants were able to make significant personality changes over the course of both 16-week studies. For example, people who wanted to become more extraverted tested as being higher in extraversion by the end of the study period. Along with changes in how they responded to personality testing, they also reported significant changes in their daily behaviour which matched the personality changes they wanted to make. As one example, people who described themselves as being more extraverted by the end of the study also reported interacting more easily with other people and doing daily activities that matched their more extraverted nature .
Even using comprehensive change plans and weekly booster sessions, the actual amount of personality change that took place was modest at best however. Despite guidance from researchers, sixteen weeks was likely not long enough for comprehensive personality changes to occur. Still, as Hudson and Fraley point out, changing patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving can eventually lead to permanent changes in different personality traits. One possible reason for this kind of personality change is that people often change their very social identity as well, including how they see themselves. In other words, people who see themselves acting more extraverted may come to view themselves as being more extraverted as a result.
And what do these results suggest? Over the course of our lifetime, we often become more agreeable and conscientious due to greater emotional maturity. Is this just a natural part of aging or do our personalities change because we work to make ourselves more agreeable and conscientious? Recognizing that personality can be changed can lead to more effective treatment for people with personality problems as well as helping to overcome resistance to change. All too frequently, patients insist that they are incapable of change when actually they are either unwilling or afraid to try.
Despite their positive findings, Hudson and Roberts warn that their results are based on self-report and that the length of time involved was likely too brief to ensure permanent personality changes in many people. Still, people appear capable of altering personality traits if they are motivated to do so and take part in psychological interventions that can help with the change process.
So spare a thought for what you would like to change about your own personality. Saying “I can’t help myself” may not be a valid excuse after all.
About the Author
Romeo Vitelli, Ph.D. is a psychologist in private practice in Toronto, Canada.
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