INFJ vs INFP - let's clear this up for good!

INFJ vs INFP - let's clear this up for good!

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This is a discussion on INFJ vs INFP - let's clear this up for good! within the Myers Briggs Forum forums, part of the Personality Type Forums category; Hi there I have for a long time found it difficult to grasp the difference between INFJs and INFPs. I ...

  1. #1
    Unknown Personality

    INFJ vs INFP - let's clear this up for good!

    Hi there
    I have for a long time found it difficult to grasp the difference between INFJs and INFPs. I am assured they are very different beasts, but I find that a lot of other people seem to be as confused as I am and a lot of people mistype as an INFJ but later realise they are an INFP.

    I know there's a lot of great threads out there about this but there's quite a few of us still getting confused. What I thought might help would be to look at specific examples and traits rather than the very interpretable abstract descriptions of cognitive functions that are usually given. Obviously we can go into cognitive functions here as well but I wanted to stay away from these in this particular post to see if we can create a kind of easy guide to distinguish the types by. Often, I feel like I can relate to all the cognitive functions, we all use them after all, but find it almost impossible to decide which ones I use the most. This is the purpose of trying to find particular characteristics that may be a useful way of identifying the types.

    "There's something rotten in Denmark"
    This was the phrase in a type description that convinced me I was an INFJ - "accurately suspicious of other people's motives". This was something that had characterised me and marked me out against others for years. I now know that a few types have this intuitive ability and it isn't as clear cut as I thought. I assumed that INFJs, like me, saw a con artist or unhealthy relationship coming a mile off and distanced themselves until it all blew over. I have now found out that many INFJs have that gut reaction but give them a chance anyway - something I only do with great discomfort and wariness, much preferring to just stay out of the way until their "dark side" comes out and they're rejected from the group.

    Questions: Is this trait useful for distinguishing between INFP and INFJ? I had assumed from my experience with people I have amateurishly typed as INFP that they were unable to judge character in the same way I do because they seem to trust people who seem obviously untrustworthy to me (though I often find others don't see what I see, even if I think it's blatant). But have I got this wrong? Do INFPs read motives? If so, do they ignore them? What is the difference between the INFJ and INFP when it comes to judging and reacting to character?

    Personal values vs social values
    This is the part of the cognitive function descriptions I can't get my head around. What would be really useful for me, and maybe others, would be if you could explain how you can tell whether your value system is personal or societal? Can your personal value system mimic societal values? Some parts of cognitive descriptions almost make it sound like the INFJ falls in line. The INFJs on this forum don't seem that way to me and I'm certainly not like that. The INFPs on the other hand sound individualistic and rebellious when you read about Fi, but is this necessarily true?

    My amateurs way of trying to understand this: (I've used the word inconvenience here to show that it is not a deeply emotional situation, in which the types may react differently).

    INFP values are more important than any inconvenience that may beset others
    Boss tells them off for not wearing the standard black shoes at work in a non-customer facing role. INFP is irritated by the stupidity of the rule and feels genuinely angered. May complain about this to friends or even rebel at work. Upset at being asked to fall in line, become robotic etc.

    INFJ values others' experiences above their own convenience
    In the same situation, this particular INFJ also thinks the rule is stupid. No customers are going to see you, it doesn't matter. But this boss is going to keep having a go and there's nothing I can do about it. Anyway, they're only shoes and rules are rules.

    Questions: Is this a correct reading of the types?

    Individualism
    Occasionally you hear that the INFJ may feel the INFP is selfish for putting their own values above others. You may also hear INFPs say that INFJs are oppressive in pushing society's values on others. But this is a confusing trait to see in yourself, I think. It may appear from the descriptions that INFPs are more likely to stand out in the crowd than INFJs, who want to "fit in", but it seems from this forum that this is simply untrue (and may in some cases be the other way round....)

    I myself have things that are important to me that I can't stand down on. One of these is the idea of taking care of my image. I am frequently told that I should make an effort on how I look for the benefit of others. However, I find it difficult to understand why anyone gets upset about another person's image (I'm talking cosmetic only, I'm very hygienic!). If you're going out with someone and you don't like how they look - go out with someone else. If something was bothering me, I wouldn't expect the other person to try harder, that's not fair on them and they may grow to resent it, I'd just leave. I suppose you could say that my (personal?) value system is "do what you like so long as no one else gets hurt or offended". So there you go. Personal or societal value system? Could be either, it seems. Perhaps I just don't understand why other people are offended by someone not taking care of their appearance - in which case, this would be Fi right?

    This is my most individualist trait and has caused me to wonder about being an INFP, but it seems to be this may be a misinterpretation of the two types.

    Can anyone describe, preferably with examples, what is meant by individualism when talking about an INFP vs INFJ? Am I on the right track by thinking down these lines?

    Organised/disorganised
    I'm considering this a myth. INFJs are not necessarily tidy and INFPs are not necessarily messy. However, would I be right in saying that INFJs are likely to have a five year plan and INFPs not? INFJs will feel anxious if they wake up on their day off and they don't know how they're going to use it. INFPs would feel good if they woke up on their day off and didn't have plans - now they can go wherever the wind takes them. True or False?

    These are all the ones I can think of right now. So someone let me know if I'm thinking along the right lines and I know the cognitive functions are helpful for some people so add some info here if you like. Add other examples of behavioural differences with specific circumstances if you can to help us pin this down.

    Thank you!



  2. #2
    INTP - The Thinkers

    I think you are correct, and for your last question: Simply being spontaneous gives me a great lot of energy!

    About the shoe-case, I would totally react the INFP way you specified.
    Alpha64 and TheBlueFeline thanked this post.

  3. #3
    INFP - The Idealists

    I have to think about this more throroughly, and may come back at a later time, but here is what I think right now. The first part of what you wrote, about J's being better at judging people's intentions: I don't think this one is correct at all. I think, in this specific case, you're confusing what J and P actually mean. J doesn't refer to actually judging, it refers to a preference to have things scheduled, decisions made ... stability. And that has nothing to do with being able to judge people's intentions.

    The second part, about the shoes: the P description seems more or less apt to me. I don't know about the J, because I'm not one. Same thing with the disorganized part; I don't know, because I'm not a J, but as a P I'm very much disorganized/messy.

    Now, there is what I'm going to say about personal/societal values. I don't necessarily think that there is one way to describe the value system of Ps or Js as whole groups. I think that Ps are more comfortable with ambiguity, therefore, and would be less likely to have a set of personal values that align with societal values, but I also think that many J's, especially since we're talking about INFs here, would also be likely to disagree with some societal values on a personal level.

    So where is the difference? Well, I think it comes back to that word, ambiguity. I don't think there's any rule anywhere that says what a J's values have to resemble, but I think that once J's have those values, they hold to them pretty tightly. On the other hand, I think Ps are always reevaluating their values based on something else.

    I'm having some trouble thinking of a concrete example here. But let's say you have an INFP and an INFJ who currently hold the same belief about something. Let's say, both believe that cheating on your partner is absolutely wrong. Now, both people have a partner who cheats on them. The partner comes clean about it, and apologizes, and says that he/she wants the relationship to continue and that it won't ever happen again. Obviously, what they did was wrong, so now the INFJ and INFP have a decision to make: do they stay with this person, or end the relationship?

    Now, keep in mind that both are INF. Let's say, for argument's sake, that both couples have been together for approximately the same amount of time, that both of the cheaters are the same personality type, and that neither couple has has any major disagreements up until this point. Also, for the sake of argument, let's say that both the INFP and INFJ still love this person, whether or not he/she cheated. Lastly, we'll say that, after discussing it with the partner, both the INFJ and INFP truly feel they just know that the other person really is sorry for what happened and will be faithful in the future.

    Intellectually, I think that the INFJ would be more likely to end the relationship anyway, because he/she has this idea -- cheating is unforgivable -- and can't change that opinion. On the other hand, I think an INFP would be more likely to stay in the relationship. Although the INFP held the same belief, he/she is more likely to reconsider that belief, or to bend it to his/her own circumstances.

    In other words, an INFJ is more likely to "feel" or to "intuit" things based upon his or her values. "This is how I feel because this is what I believe" or "this must be true because this is what I believe." The INFP is more likely to feel something or intuit something and change his or her beliefs/values because of this. "I thought this was true, but if so, then why do I feel this way?" or "I just know this will work out, even though I thought differently up until now."

    As I said, I'm very far from being a J, so I can only predict intellectually a general behavioral pattern for a J. I'd be interested to hear if people agree/disagree with what I've said. Keep in mind that I was assuming 100% P vs/ 100% J when I wrote this, and hardly anyone is at that much of extreme, and also keep in mind there are outliers. That being said, I'd like to hear it from both perspectives: both the personal opinion of a J versus a P and also what people think of my overall argument based on the intellectual descriptions of J and P.
    unico, vanillaicecream, mirrorghost and 1 others thanked this post.

  4. #4
    INFP - The Idealists

    I would agree with that, but about INFP's not having a 5 year plan isn't true for everyone. I constantly seek to become better everyday and planning is essential :) Same with INFJ. Personally, I would take the day cool (if I didnt have a plan) but I'll be annoyed the whole day cause I know that I could've used the time to something productive. I haven't read as much information about other types and Im learning about them as well. anyway. I find this insight helpful B)

  5. #5
    INFP - The Idealists


    The shoe case - I would have disagree. I would be like: meh, small detail, who gives a shit. I would just comply because it didn't mean anything to me and it's not worth causing a fuss over something so minor. I think that that relates to P-ness -- that you're willing to go with the flow/are laid back about a lot of things.

    If, however, my boss made me take an intolerant stand point, made me betray my values, the gloves would come off. I wouldn't stand for that shit.
    susurration, Anarchy, Alpha64 and 2 others thanked this post.

  6. #6
    INFP - The Idealists

    youre wronged by mbti describing 2 version of the same thing.
    INFJ = FiNeSiTe/Fi subtype and INFP = FiNeSiTe/Ne subtype. Actually a REAL INFJ dont seem to exist into MBTI system. It can be somewhat compared with INFP profile, but not always cuz INFP profile is too much axed on value.
    Many of you essentially mistake Ni for JiNe : mistake their Ne running inside their head cuz blocage of Fi as Ni.
    In addition, with the fucked up description of Fe for INFJ (think about general value, have value oriented point of view), mystiping as INFJ when you are INFP isnt an option when you enter the mbti.


    I think ill never repeat this enough.

  7. #7
    INFP - The Idealists

    I would agree with that, but about INFP's not having a 5 year plan isn't true for everyone. I constantly seek to become better everyday and planning is essential :) Same with INFJ. Personally, I would take the day cool (if I didnt have a plan) but I'll be annoyed the whole day cause I know that I could've used the time to something productive. I haven't read as much information about other types and Im learning about them as well. anyway. I find this insight helpful B)
    Many INFP think about their future and want to be somewhat good at planning, due to Te aspirationnal.
    Actually I think INFP are more J than real INFJ, who are more P with Se aspirational and Ni way to see the world. its now 1 month my point of view have totally changed , and I think mb/keirsey are simply wrong on IxxJ/IxxP, and INFP profile is heavily romanticized.

    INFP more axed on Ne type INFP, or sometime ENFP
    INFP Fi or Ne subtype depressive/melancolic type INFP
    INFP harmonizing subtype (Si or Ni) type INFP
    INFP Fi subtype stressed type INFJ or ISFJ (they need really to turn bad for this, and seing nothing without the Fi glasses)
    anhedonic INFP type INTP, INTJ or INFJ

    its pattern I always see.
    demonfart and Inure Penumbra thanked this post.

  8. #8
    INFJ - The Protectors

    Quote Originally Posted by ukinfj View Post
    Hi there
    I have now found out that many INFJs have that gut reaction but give them a chance anyway


    INFJ values others' experiences above their own convenience
    In the same situation, this particular INFJ also thinks the rule is stupid. No customers are going to see you, it doesn't matter. But this boss is going to keep having a go and there's nothing I can do about it. Anyway, they're only shoes and rules are rules.

    [

    Individualism
    Occasionally you hear that the INFJ may feel the INFP is selfish for putting their own values above others.



    Organised/disorganised
    I'm considering this a myth. INFJs are not necessarily tidy and INFPs are not necessarily messy. However, would I be right in saying that INFJs are likely to have a five year plan and INFPs not? INFJs will feel anxious if they wake up on their day off and they don't know how they're going to use it. INFPs would feel good if they woke up on their day off and didn't have plans - now they can go wherever the wind takes them. True or False?
    Hi there,

    My apologies - multiquoting is a bit much for me this morning, so I have just quoted the bits I can comment on in a block.

    1) I definitely have a gut reaction, but give people a chance anyway. This has happened particularly in relationships, where my gut has been at odds with my heart...meaning I haven't stepped away as I quickly as I ought.

    2) Your example of Fe is completely on the money. I'm not a conformist, BUT I don't particularly like getting "told off" or causing a stir/people to be unhappy. That doesn't mean I always conform; more than I non conform more quietly and less obtrusively. Of course, the shoe example is one where I'd likely let it go, but if I felt it was really important, I'd happily stand my ground...its just a question of conserving energy and picking your battles.

    2b) Yes - I do sometimes feel that INFPs/ENFPs/ENTJs can be self centred in placing their own values/needs above those of the group as a whole. Sometimes, though, I envy them that, and would like to learn to be more honest about my own values/needs when they are being thwarted.

    3) I don't agree with this example. Waking up and having no plan...a blank sheet to either do something with or just chill out is fine. Maybe this relates to the idea that INFJs are the most P of the Js as it were. And I'm not a neat freak; sometimes I'm organised, but my desk (esp at work) is usually a mess!
    Deibid and frustrations thanked this post.

  9. #9
    INFP - The Idealists

    What u dont understand is that Fi dom arent placing all faith to their value, they can consider their value a bit more dynamic and changing ! its a common mistake to think INFP are only self value centered never changing ashole.
    their desire for present instant is to embrace the "feeling of the instant", and they think that if all ppl are fair, contact fairly with tact and good attitude, the world will be better.

    When they are forced to always ignore their value and way to be and only try to adapt, cause they are aware that they cant transform ppl as they want, they feel often that they are not themself and become anhedonic/neurotic. Having Fi is as if you seems to always know when what you do on the real world deviate for the core of your personnality. Forcing on adapting too much yourself on the reality make you feel more and more borderline, empty and false.

    The world actually never stop forcing us to adapt and invent strange illness when you dont want ("neurotic", "social anxiety", "avpd", "innate shyness"). Unless trying to make discover your gift and understanding what you need, structure (family, school, work) are only here in order to push you into way you dont want and force you to lose the view of yourself.
    This lead, effectively, to passive aggressive behavior in some, anhedonia/disinterest in other (like me), ect...

    (I speak only for unhealthy Fi like me xD)
    Last edited by no_id; 06-24-2011 at 04:55 AM.

  10. #10
    Unknown Personality


    Quote Originally Posted by no_id View Post
    What u dont understand is that Fi dom arent placing all faith to their value, they can consider their value a bit more dynamic and changing ! its a common mistake to think INFP are only self value centered never changing ashole.
    their desire for present instant is to embrace the "feeling of the instant", and they think that if all ppl are fair, contact fairly with tact and good attitude, the world will be better.

    When they are forced to always ignore their value and way to be and only try to adapt, cause they are aware that they cant transform ppl as they want, they feel often that they are not themself and become anhedonic/neurotic. Having Fi is as if you seems to always know when what you do on the real world deviate for the core of your personnality. Forcing on adapting too much yourself on the reality make you feel more and more borderline, empty and false.

    The world actually never stop forcing us to adapt and invent strange illness when you dont want ("neurotic", "social anxiety", "avpd", "innate shyness"). Unless trying to make discover your gift and understanding what you need, structure (family, school, work) are only here in order to push you into way you dont want and force you to lose the view of yourself.
    This lead, effectively, to passive aggressive behavior in some, anhedonia/disinterest in other (like me), ect...

    (I speak only for unhealthy Fi like me xD)
    You don't sound unhealthy! it seems to me like you understand and have an ability to articulate fi-dom succinctly and very well. Awesome job.


 
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