INFPs are mainly concerned with relationships. It is indeed one of them who formalized the concept of type as we know it today: Isabel Briggs-Myers. She went on a quest to find out how people could understand each other better and harness their unique talents for the greater good. This is why David Keirsey calls this type Healers: they make it their mission to heal people’s relationships and to end individuals’ inner conflicts.
Healers are often blessed with a very vivid imagination. This may have gotten them into trouble as children if their parents didn’t understand how this was essential to them. However, this makes them very good story tellers. It also gives them the ability to see solutions missed by other types with less imagination.
Under their quiet exterior, INFPs have the strength of their convictions and very high standards for themselves. It can be surprising to see these quiet, self-effacing people suddenly stand-up for something they believe in with fierce determination. They are difficult to get to know but once you are lucky enough to be able to call them your friends, they will be extremely loyal.
The relationship healers
Being caring, compassionate and selfless are three traits often shared by Healers. In their own quest for inner and outer harmony, they usually become very good at listening to people and making them feel understood. This is probably why they are gifted at dealing with conflict within groups or within a person. We should be thankful to those people who have the ability and the willingness to put us back on our path with a few kind words when we get lost.
The flip side of the coin
Our strengths and weaknesses are two sides of the same coin and very much depend on circumstances. What is a strength in a certain situation becomes a weakness in another one. Healers need to be aware that some of their strong points can sometimes disserve them:
- Being too rigid on their ideals can make it difficult for Healers to compromise when a situation calls for it.
- Having very high standards (read too high) makes it almost impossible to meet them. Healers should “give themselves a brake” once in awhile.
- With their mind so focussed on relationships, Healers tend to take everything personally, especially criticism.
- Being very quiet, Healers can sometimes see their contributions overlooked by others. Learning to be a bit more assertive in certain situations could be a good investment
Type psychologists have always tried to predict which personality would get on better with which one. I would however be very cautious here, especially for romantic relationships. When it comes to such personal matters, you should be careful about who you entrust your heart to.
David Keirsey says for example that INFP Healers would be “most compatible” with ENTJ Fieldmarshals. The idea is that the Healer provides calm and respite to the Fieldmarshal whilst in return the Fieldmarshal provides direction to the Healer’s passion and imagination.
But again, remember that type only cannot be used to determine if a relationship will be successful.
Studies and career
For young people interested in choosing a career or working adults interested in changing theirs, I strongly recommend that you acquire a great book by Paul Tieger and Barbara Baron:
Do What You Are
. This book explores, for each of the 16 types, the kind of profession that should allow you to make the best use of your strengths and suit your personality better. Here is for example a very short list of professions that the authors advise for INFPs:
- Artist / Musician
- Desktop publisher
- Translator / interpreter
- Public Health Educator
- Religious educator
- Physical therapist
- Outplacement specialist
A word of caution: there is no guarantee that a particular career path will suit you even if it is recommended for your type. Indeed, your type is not enough to predict your success. You also need to take into account your own abilities, personal interests, dedication to your goal, professional environment, state of the economy... So no guarantee but a good place to start looking!
Liking who you are is of prime importance, and yes, knowing your type can even help with this! Here is another great book that people should get:
Portraits of Self Esteem
by Bonnie J. Golden. She explains that self esteem is a combination of self-worth and competence in the life areas of intelligence, relationships, physical self, emotional self and work. In a nutshell, the more competent you are in all these areas, the more likely you are to feel good about yourself even if something bad happens in one of them. About INFPs, she mentions the fact that they feel particularly good about themselves when:
- They know that their family loves them and care about their achievements
- They are encouraged by their boss, parents or teachers
- They do a good deed
- They make a decision to be more assertive/less passive in certain situations of their life and hold to it
- They help friends
Return from INFP to Type Desciption
Return from INFP to Type Central