The Imaginative INFp
If the INFp had a theme song, it would go thusly:
“Vado, ma dove? Oh dei!
Se de’ tormenti suoi, se de’ sospiri miei
Non sente il ciel pietа.
Tu che mi parli al core
Guida I miei passi, amore;
Tu quel ritegno or togli
Che dubitar mi fа.”
“I go – but where, o gods
since for his torment and my pleas
Heaven offers no pity?
You who speak to my heart,
Guide my steps, dear love;
Ease that uncertainty,
That urges me to doubt.”
- LORENZO DA PONTE (1749-1838)
The INFp is perpetually caught within that “pondering repose of If” that Herman Melville wrote of in Moby-Dick. He is forever in doubt. He never truly feels at ease with the ways of this world, its people and its circumstances. It is not that he does not understand things – but that he doubts his own understanding. In fact, he is capable of an understanding on a far more visceral level than his peers are. He “feels” that he has understood something rather than “knows” that this is the case. True understanding for an INFp is forever linked with the word “revelation.” He will never claim to have deduced an understanding, but will instead say that the truth was “revealed” to him.
INFps are distinguished by their sense of humor. Their humor is spontaneous, cutely ironic, and oftentimes rather random. They may put on a faзade of being under the influence of any number of substances, and as a result may appear childish, out-of-touch, and spacey. This is actually a defense mechanism to distance themselves from a contrived existence. When acting like this, they are most likely thinking: “You people take yourselves way too seriously.” They may seem estranged from reality, but they in fact dwell on a far more significant plane in their own minds. Internally they understand full well the gritty undertones of life, but see the world within the context of an overarching, transcendent framework that liberates him from the trappings of the workaday world. They have their eyes on “bigger issues” at hand.
At their core, INFps cannot bear being disliked – they would rather die beloved than live despised. In social situations, they tend to take on the role of a pacifist – averting conflict, to the point of putting themselves in the middle of an argument. They rarely like taking sides unless they truly believe they are acting nobly. They want to be thought of as wise beyond their years (and they often are), sometimes taking on the role of a learned sage come down from the mountaintop after having spent fifty years observing the ways of his fellow men. They can become great at debate if the topic is one they care about, but will often turn to impressive and pensive rhetoric as opposed to solid factual evidence when making their case.
Sometimes, they fall prey to annotating their own life in their heads. In their own minds, they are the stars of an eternal epic. When they aren’t acting stoned, they want to appear elegant and important. Their entire demeanor will reflect this. Their speech and movement will often be impressive and exciting. Because of this somewhat dramatic notion, they can be quite sensitive. Offending an INFp is equivalent to offending no less than a prophet of God! (Not really, but you get the idea.) A spurned INFp will not usually concentrate on ways to hurt the offender. They are fundamentally gentle souls. However, they may brood for quite some time on how they themselves have been hurt. These people truly make an art of wallowing in their own misery. In fact, it can lead them to beautifully creative measures: INFps will often write poetry or create music and art when in these moods.
The INFp cannot abide formality when it estranges people from their own human nature. When confronted with such an environment, they revert to the old adage: “No one’s shit smells better than anyone else’s.” Pomposity annoys them for the same reason people who “take themselves way too seriously” do. INFps can take to rebelling against the contrived establishment, but their rebellion will usually manifest itself in less traditional ways. Instead of picketing and protesting, the INFp will write scathing poetry and prose, or turn to the truth and transcending power of music and art.
The habitations of INFps are, more often than not, visibly disorganized – messy even. However, they can be quite good at cleaning up when expecting company. They will not only clean up, but place impressive objects (oftentimes, their own artwork) “on display.” This is an extension of the elegance they wish to convey.
In appearance, they may become preoccupied with the emotional situation, and can often neglect the physical situation. As a result, inactive INFps can look “underdeveloped.” However, INFps generally do not dislike maintaining well-built bodies – they can take on a fondness for physical activity, especially when it promises a more attractive figure. (This applies to both male and female INFps.) It must be noted, though, that they will not focus on their physical health. Physical well being is merely a small facet of life – it will never become a focal point for an INFp. Despite this, they will often pay special attention to the way they dress. They don’t “dress to impress” exactly. They dress in order to convey – they are fond of wearing solid colors but will settle for anything that can be described as “striking” – in an understated way, of course! Their own insecurity forbids them from making an ostentatious show of dress. They are often attracted to countercultures, but will tend to create their own aesthetic interpretation of the fashion. “Hippie chic” and “ghetto fabulous” need no better model then an INFp.
The INFp is subtle in movement and speech. They desire to get under your skin, as opposed to forcing themselves upon you. They use their eyes as a vehicle of expression. Their smile often betrays what they really feel – it is shy, slightly sly, but warm and significant. They may appear unsure of themselves, but have a very charming shyness about them. Though INFps are quite shy, they are not internally anti-social. Deep down, they want to be at the center of an interesting, exciting social circle of bohemians, artists, and like-minded people. Among introverts, they can become restless when others will not take the initiative. Among extroverts, they can feel overwhelmed and reclusive.
A key word for this type is “empathy.” INFp children will often be the ones to ask their parents why they did not give the homeless man his spare change, or why that woman is crying. They are quite nurturing as parents – often because they can so clearly remember their own parent’s insensitivity. They are remarkably affectionate, but will never smother their children. INFp parents tend to be the most open-minded and tolerant of parents. They are not the type of parent to set down hard and fast expectations of Ivy League colleges and high-paying clerical jobs. An INFp child is devastated if their parent expresses disappointment and many INFps have horror stories of their own unhappy upbringing. For this reason, they tend to identify with their children rather than with their own role as a parent. Their credo on this subject: “The greatest thing I can hope for as a parent is that my child is content with himself, and noble in character.” The fact is, the INFp parent hopes for their child what they hope for themselves, but never seem to achieve (though, doesn’t everyone?).
INFps are genuinely selfless in relationships – if they love you, they will never act on it unless they are sure you want them to love you. As a result, dating can present many stumbling blocks (especially for the males of this type). True hopeless romantics, they want a storybook love life. However, they can be incredibly insecure. As a result, most will never take the first initiative. (Or the second, or the third, or the… you get my drift.) The INFp desire to be romanced, to be taken into love gracefully, rather than wandering in tentatively like everyone else. They desire strong partners, who love them genuinely, who will practice tolerance, and will not be afraid to lead the way when they themselves are unsure. They enjoy their sexuality – but with a fragility unlike others in the “Dramatic” category. They secretly want to be dominated, but only if their partner genuinely desires to dominate.
INFp by Function
Ni: The first function of the INFp is Ni, by which the essence of ideas arrive and insights into their development arise. With this function, it is possible index from within ones self an active belief system developed and derived through time, experience, knowledge, and the patterns of ones own personal life as entered through what could be considered a living journal. Every day and every hour and every minute of a person’s life is catalogued within this journal for future considerations and also for review of past successes and mistakes in order to make stunning predictions into the development of various concepts. Being an introverted function, Ni has an active ability to self-sustain itself and moves actively between an abstract theoretical world located in the future and past in order to sustain itself as an active function.
Ne: The seventh function of the this type is Ne. Strong and lacking, it remains to the INFp something to be loathed. Though some use may come from this function in the tracking of events, patterns, and simple gauging of current potential, this function remains the vehicle by which tradition establishes itself and the foreign get thrown out. For the INFp, Ne truly represents all that inferiority is and the uselessness of false potential, and so long as old beliefs remain and there remains something to be cherished, traditional belief stands before the new! Disloyalty to a cherished, strong, and qualified belief system will never interest an INFp!
Fe: The second function of the INFp is Fe, by which subjective feeling substantiates itself through various ethical processes. With this function, it is possible to collect multiple feelings, modes and trends of emotion in order to register them into a structured and growing databank of strong, ethical knowledge. Fe also maintains an active neutral stance on the entire whole of its inputs, even if the whole of the input of one emotional process conflicts with any of the other core processes it remains non-biased and registers them all as equals. Probably the most powerful aspect of Fe is the ability to not only stay well informed of new feelings, trends, and the changing moods of others in ways that may be utterly critical to survival in cooperative atmospheres, but the ability to convince through ethical implementations subjectively designed to reorganize and even direct the emotions of others into certain modes of ethical reasoning. This often includes the ability to cheer up others who are down, instinctual knowledge of the degree of tactful politeness to display to strangers, and influencing others to be kind to each other. Being an extroverted function, Fe cannot derive data from within and must amass information from outside of itself and in the here and now to survive as a function or at all.
Fi: The eigth function of the this type is Fi. Strong and lacking, it remains to the INFp something to be loathed. Though some use may come from this function in the analysis of moods, feelings, and ethics, this function remains the vehicle by which the old becomes abandoned and the new comes about. For the INFp, Ti truly represents all that inferiority is and the uselessness of false potential, and so long as new ways of emoting emerge and there remains something to be considered, out with the old and in with the new! Loyalty to a strong qualified ethical value system will never interest an INFp!
Si: The third function of the INFp is Si, by which the essence of experiences arrive and insights into their development arise. Since the INFp type thrives in a world of abstract and non-concrete theoretical principles, it may be rendered difficult for this type to maintain from within an active index of all experiences developed and derived through time, and the patterns of ones own personal life as gauged through the senses. In result of this inability, expected behaviors should include losing track of ones own physical state and a deterioration of healthy physical practices, avoiding surrounding details or noticing too much detail and obsessing about it, suspicion or defensiveness about personal appearance, distant physical look in eyes and appearing to others as though unaware, walking or looking past people, objects, and things as though they were not there, static taste and inflexible habits, unsure of aesthetic understanding, or an obsession with cleanliness.
Se: The fifth function of the INFp is Se, by which the essence of experiences arrive and insights into their development arise.Though be this a weak, unconscious, and influential function, it should find itself most active within the presence of one whose dominant function coincides, for it it seeks to be strong and may pretend to be such. At other times, an expression of this function may find itself in place of the weak and conscious Si function. Manifested bahaviours expected of this function should include demonstrating a tendency to exagerrate the effects of current experiences to seem better or worse than in reality, tending to accept the outcomes of negitive experiences or to tolerate bad reoccuring situations, ignorantly leaving good or bad experiences for bad or worse ones, tendency towards manipulating statistics into a favorable direction, and prone to biased onesidedness.
Te: The fourth function of the INFp is Te, by which objective logic substantiates itself through various thought processes. Since the INFp type thrives in a world of ethical and non-logical and subjective principles, it may be rendered difficult for this type to collect multiple thoughts, modes and trends of thinking in order to register them into a structured and growing databank of strong, factual knowledge. In result of this inability, expected behaviors should include inflexibility to changing life situations, extreme formality or informality, not keeping promises, unable to concern themselves with keeping track of math related life skills, such as bookkeeping, income and living expenses, falling into temptation without calculating the cost, and misunderstanding or unaware of new modes of thinking and ways of doing things.
Ti: The sixth function of the INFp is Ti, by which objective logic substantiates itself through various thought processes. Though be this a weak, unconscious, and influential function, it should find itself most active within the presence of one whose dominant function coincides, for it it seeks to be strong and may pretend to be such. At other times, an expression of this function may find itself in place of the weak and conscious Te function. Manifested bahaviours expected of this function should include a failure to research facts and giving off an aura of intellectualism, beginning with pure logic and ending in pure fantasy, misrepresenting knowledge to the point of embarassment, attempts at logical analysis produce childish results, exagerration of the truth to the point of storytelling, speaking in a factual tone with content that seems contradictory or out of context, continuous debate over subjects that are not worthy of debate, disappointment if not allowed to substantiate own logic.
Because of the structure of various function, it is not uncommon for a person to be confused or undecided between various types and even between the usage of various functions. The following is a functional description of various types that an actual INFp may become confused or undecided between.
ENTp - An INFp may find him or her self activelly undecided between the ENTp type and his or her native INFp type. Because the sixth function of the INFp is Ti, it is not uncommon for one to confuse the second creative function (Fe) for that function. When this occurs, an INFp may have problems deciding between those ethical and logical functions. In even more complex situations, an INFp may demonstrate what appears to be a false lack of Fi, which corresponds to the fourth weakest function of the ENTp. In this instances, the way to discern between these two types and to choose the correct one is to determine whether you activelly use Ni or Ne. If you use Ni more than you use Ne, you are an INFp. If you use Ne more than you use Ni, you could really be an ENTp.
INTj - An INFp may confuse him or her self for a INTj for the same reason that one would confuse his or her self for an ENTp. If you use Ni more than you use Ne, you are probably an INFp. If you use Ne more than you use Ni, you could really be an INTj.
INTp - An INFp usually becomes confused between this type and his or her native INFp when he or she has decided upon being an introvert, determined self as a perceiving type, and has been having some influence from the sixth function, while not really being sure if that function is introverted or extroverted. In this senerio, instead of a INFp confusing his or her self for an ENTp the extroverted or introverted type has been substituted. In this instance, the way to discern between these two types and to choose the correct one is to determine whether you activelly use more Ti or Te. If you use Ti more than you use Te, you are probably an INFp. If you use Te more than you use Ti, you could really be an INTp.
ENFp - Because of the influence of MBTI, some new to socionic's theory may ignorantly think that the correct way to switch between introverted and extroverted types is to simply switch an E to an I or an I to an E. This is not the correct way to switch back and forth between the two in socionics. If you are an ENFp in MBTI with an emphasis on expressing Ni and Fe, your actual socionics type is either an INFp if you choose to stay a perceiving type or ENFj if you find that you might want to consider being a socionic's judging type . On the otherhand, if the above INFp description does not relate to you and you functionally express Ne and Fi, ENFp is still an option, though be warned that socionics does not totally follow the same logic as MBTI does when determining J and P nor do the same stereotypical rules apply when attempting to determine introversion and extroversion. If you are familiar with MBTI, the possibility of having to type yourself totally diffrent than MBTI should be a definite expectation.