INFPs are walking enigmas. They love the idea of having a lot of friends, but find the reality too tiring to manage. They’re warm and have a lot of insight into other people, but are often blind when it comes to themselves. And this sense of mystery and even duality only increases once people get to know them better. If you have trouble understanding this most complex of personality types, this article can help with that.
INFPs are a rare personality type that frequently feel misunderstood and out of the place in the noisy, chaotic world. Idealists who seek perfection in everything they do, including friendships, they can be fiercely loyal friends who find the most joy through meaningful interactions. INFPs prefer a small group of friends with whom they can share deep conversations, but it takes time and work before the INFP is willing to let others into their lives and hearts to that level.
INFPs are driven by their dominant function introverted feeling, which makes decisions based on the individual’s opinions and principles. This is obviously a highly subjective function, so INFPs will often think and act in ways that others can’t understand or explain. This tendency makes it hard for other types, who are driven by logic or other forces, to understand and get close to them.
But once an INFP does decide to let someone into their world, they’ll be a warm and empathetic friend. Their insight into the hearts and minds of others means that they give great advice and they often seem to have boundless compassion for the problems and pains of others. But it’s a mistake to think that their tolerance for pain is endless. The INFP may not show it, but the pain of others hurts them deeply, and too much can cause them to withdraw completely to try to protect themselves. When this happens, it will take a lot to bring the INFP out again and restore their optimistic view on people and the world.
INFP friendships with NTs
A friendship between an INFP and a NT will be challenging for both parties. There is enough of a similarity between these types to make them compatible, and enough differences to make it interesting. NTs, with their rational minds, will both be attracted to and frustrated by the INFPs emotion based, idealistic way of seeing the world and both types will grow and learn from this relationship. Because NTs and INFPs are both intuitive types, they’ll be able to have deep and meandering conversations, but will see issues from completely different places, which will challenge both of them. One potential issue with these relationships is the lack of emotional insight that some NTs demonstrate. Because INFPs are so reliant on emotion, they might see some NTs as cold and even cruel and dismiss the idea of a relationship before they can see past that surface reserve. But if they do, the INFP will usually find an intriguing and challenging companion.
INFP friendships with NFs
INFPs find friendships with NFs to be the most satisfying and straightforward. The shared intuitive and feeling designations makes interactions between INFPs and NFs easy and almost instinctive, and they’ll usually find the deep connection and deep conversations they need here. Becoming friends with extroverted NFs in particular will be beneficial and exciting for the INFP, as this combination will help them engage emotionally with the world in a more extroverted and connected way.
INFP friendships with SJs
Friendships between people who use an intuitive function, such as introverted feeling, and people who use sensing functions are always a little difficult. This difference, S or N in the second position, says a lot more about a person than how they learn. It contains a wealth of information about how they see the world, and what they need to talk about. Intuitive types want and need deep conversation, where the topics meander from one abstract idea to the next, making connections and exploring possibilities. This type of conversation is like mental food to intuitive types.
Unfortunately, sensing types often can’t meet this conversational need. This isn’t to say that sensors can’t have this type of conversation of course, but they’re unlikely to want to talk in this way for hours on a regular basis. They just don’t have the same need for or interest in this type of speculation. This can create an imbalance in any relationship between an intuitive and a sensor, a place they can’t connect or really understand each other. This doesn’t mean that people who use intuitive functions can’t be friend with sensors, but it does hold a potential for problems with the connection.
On a more specific note, a friendship between an INFP and SJs will probably be hard to create and maintain. INFPs are deeply intuitive people who are driven by emotion and principle. In contrast, SJs are almost their polar opposites. They’re strongly connected to traditional values, to the practical value they can offer the world today. INFPs, with their strong connection to the future and forecasting, often find this type too rigid and unimaginative to allow a strong connection.
INFP friendships with SPs
Any friendship between an SP and an INFP will be complicated by the lack of intuitive connection. SPs are firmly rooted in the present and in the concrete, which can frustrate the imaginative, speculative INFP. But this doesn’t mean that INFPs can’t have deep, intense relationships with this type. The shared Perceiving designation (P) 1, means that SPs and INFPs share an openness to experience and spontaneity that can make a relationship between these types extremely exciting and filled with challenged boundaries and growth. And this should be a part of every good relationship.
INFPs make warm, sometimes confusing friends who are in it for the long term and offer a deep and intense connection that few other types can match. But as good as that sounds, the process for getting to that stage takes time, time that some people aren’t willing to spare. This can result in periods of isolation and loneliness for this fairly social introvert, which causes them serious pain and sets off some intensive soul searching. However, this may not be a bad thing. This period of thought can give the INFP room for personal growth and a deeper understanding of what they need from relationships and how to get it.
- Dr Drenth A. J. “Introverted Feeling (Fi) vs. Ti, Ni & Fe“. (Retrieved Jan 2018).
- Witt Joel Mark. “The INFP “Healer” Personality Type“. October 13, 2015. (Retrieved Jan 2018).
- “INFP – The Idealist“.