Profile of the INFP

(Healer / Idealist)

The analyses here combine work done by Carl Jung, Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, and David Keirsey. Myers & Briggs built their work on Jung’s, and Keirsey expanded and revised some of their work. Sometimes, the outcomes conflict in small ways, and they are noted. However, all their works are presented to embrace whichever appeals to you.

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Profile of the INFP

(Healer / Idealist)

The analyses here combine work done by Carl Jung, Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, and David Keirsey. Myers & Briggs built their work on Jung’s, and Keirsey expanded and revised some of their work. Sometimes, the outcomes conflict in small ways, and they are noted. However, all their works are presented to embrace whichever appeals to you.

The biggest mistake seen with the presentation of personality assessment results is that they are spoken of in absolute terms when they should be discussed as majority tendencies. You got a percentage score with each of your Jung-type preferences (letter), which indicates how strong you have those tendencies. For example, a 75% score on Thinking means you rely on Thinking about 75% of the time to make decisions rather than Feelings. But it also means you use or value Feelings 25% of the time, rather than being a Thinking decision-maker all of the time. When interpreting this content, remember these percentages, as they may apply to you or someone else.

Portrait I – The Healer

In the Keirsey Temperament version of the Jung personality type system, the INFP profile is known as the Healer, though that is not necessarily a career suggestion. Here is Keirsey’s description.

Healers present a calm and serene face to the world and can seem shy, even distant, around others. But inside, they’re anything but serene, having a capacity for personal caring rarely found in the other types. Healers care deeply about the inner life of a few special persons or a favourite cause in the world. And their great passion is to heal the conflicts that trouble individuals or that divide groups and thus to bring wholeness or health to themselves, their loved ones, and their community.

Healers have a profound sense of idealism that comes from a strong personal sense of right and wrong. They conceive of the world as an ethical, honourable place full of wondrous possibilities & potential goods. To understand Healers, we must understand that their deep commitment to the positive and the good is almost boundless and selfless, inspiring them to make extraordinary sacrifices for someone or something they believe in. Set off from the rest of humanity by their privacy and scarcity, Healers can feel even more isolated in the purity of their idealism.

Also, Healers might feel a sense of separation because of their often misunderstood childhood. Healers live a fantasy-filled childhood where they are the prince or princess of fairy tales, an attitude which is sadly frowned upon or even punished by many parents. With parents who want them to get their head out of the clouds, Healers begin to believe they are bad to be so fanciful and so dreamy, and can come to see themselves as ugly ducklings. But, in truth, they are quite OK just as they are, only different from most other swans reared in a family of ducks.

At work, Healers are adaptable, welcome new ideas and new information, and are patient with complicated situations but impatient with routine details. Healers are keenly aware of people & their feelings and relate well with most others. Yet, because of their deep-seated reserve, they can work quite happily alone. When making decisions, Healers follow their heart, not their head, which means they can make errors of fact, but seldom of feeling.

They have a natural interest in scholarly activities and demonstrate, like the other Idealists, a remarkable facility with language. They have a gift for interpreting and creating stories, and thus often write in a lyric, poetic fashion. They often hear a call to go forth into the world and help others, a call they seem ready to answer, even if they must sacrifice their comfort.

Portrait II – The Idealist

The INFP profile is also often called the Idealist, though it should not be confused with the Keirsey Temperament, also called the Idealist, which groups all NF types. That’s why I prefer the Flower Child profile, though it is not used here.

As an INFP, your primary mode of living is focused internally, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them or how they fit into your personal value system.
Your secondary mode is external, where you take things in primarily via your iNtuition.

INFPs, more than other iNtuitive Feeling types, are focused on making the world a better place for people. Their primary goal is to find out their meaning in life. What is their purpose? How can they best serve humanity in their lives? They are idealists and perfectionists who drive themselves hard in their quest to achieve the goals they have identified for themselves

INFPs are highly iNtuitive about people. They rely heavily on their iNtuitions to guide them, and use their discoveries to search for value in life constantly. They are continuously trying to find the truth and meaning underlying things. Every encounter and every piece of knowledge gained gets sifted through the INFPs value system and is evaluated to see if it can help the INFP define or refine their own path in life. The goal at the end of the path is always the same – the INFP is driven to help people and make the world a better place.

Generally thoughtful and considerate, INFPs are good listeners and put people at ease. Although they may be reserved in expressing emotion, they have a bottomless well of caring & are genuinely interested in understanding people. This sincerity is sensed by others, making the INFP a valued friend and confidante. An INFP can be quite warm with people they know well.

INFPs do not like conflict and go to great lengths to avoid it. If they must face it, they will always approach it from the perspective of their feelings. In conflict situations, INFPs place little importance on who is right and who is wrong. They focus on how the conflict makes them feel and don’t care whether or not they’re right. They don’t want to feel bad. This trait sometimes makes them appear irrational and illogical in conflict situations. On the other hand, INFPs make very good mediators, and are typically good at solving other people’s conflicts, because they iNtuitively understand people’s perspectives and feelings,
and genuinely want to help them.

INFPs are flexible and laid-back until one of their values is violated. When their value system is threatened, INFPs can become aggressive defenders, fighting passionately for their cause. When an INFP has adopted a project or job they’re interested in, it usually becomes a “cause” for them. Although they are not detail-oriented individuals, they will cover every possible detail with determination and vigour when working for their “cause”.

When it comes to the mundane details of life maintenance, INFPs are typically completely unaware of such things. They might go for long periods without noticing a stain on the carpet but carefully and meticulously brush a speck of dust off their project booklet.

INFPs do not like to deal with hard facts and logic. Their focus on their feelings and the Human Condition makes it difficult for them to deal with impersonal judgment. They don’t understand or believe in the validity of impersonal judgment, making them naturally ineffective at using it. Most INFPs will avoid impersonal analysis, although some have developed this ability & can be quite logical. Under stress, it’s not uncommon for INFPs to misuse hard logic in the heat of anger, throwing out fact after (often inaccurate) fact in an emotional outburst.

INFPs have very high standards and are perfectionists. Consequently, they are usually hard on themselves and don’t give themselves enough credit. INFPs may have problems working on
a project in a group because their standards are likely to be higher than other members of the group. In group situations, they may have a “control” problem. The INFP needs to work on balancing their high ideals with the requirements of everyday living. Without resolving this conflict, they will never be happy with themselves, and they may become confused & paralysed about what to do with their lives.

INFPs are usually talented writers. They may be awkward and uncomfortable expressing themselves verbally, but have a wonderful ability to define and express their feelings on paper. INFPs also appear frequently in social service professions, such as counseling or teaching. They are at their best in situations where they’re working towards the public good and don’t need to use hard logic.

INFPs who function in their well-developed sides can accomplish great and wonderful things, which they will rarely give themselves credit for. Some of the great humanistic catalysts in the world have been INFPs.

Jungian Preference Ordering


INFP Traits, Strengths and Weaknesses

Whether you’re a young adult trying to find your place in the world, or a not-so-young adult trying to find out if you’re moving along the right path, it’s important to understand yourself and the personality traits which will impact your likeliness to succeed or fail at various careers. It’s equally important to understand what is really important to you. When armed with an understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, and an awareness of what you truly value, you are in an excellent position to pick a career which you will find rewarding.

INFPs generally have the following traits:

  • Strong value systems
  • Warmly interested in people
  • Service-oriented, usually putting the needs of others above their own
  • Loyal and devoted to people and causes
  • Future-oriented
  • Growth-oriented; always want to be growing in a positive direction
  • Creative and inspirational
  • Flexible and laid-back, unless a ruling principle is violated
  • Sensitive and complex
  • Dislike dealing with details and routine work
  • Original and individualistic - “out of the mainstream.”
  • Excellent written communication skills
  • Prefer to work alone and may have problems working on teams
  • Value deep and authentic relationships
  • Want to be seen and appreciated for who they are

The INFP is a special, sensitive individual who needs a career which is more than a job. The INFP needs to feel that everything they do in their lives is in accordance with their strongly-felt value systems and is moving them and/or others in a positive, growth-oriented direction.

They are driven to do something meaningful and purposeful with their lives. The INFP will be happiest in careers that allow them to live their daily lives according to their values and work towards the greater good of humanity. It’s worth mentioning that nearly all of the truly great writers in the world have been INFPs.

Career Suggestions for the ENFP

Research has shown that many of the different Personality Types tend to have distinct preferences in their choice of careers. We have incorporated observations of each type’s character traits which affect career choice, along with some suggestions for possible directions. We have also included lists of actual careers which the various types have chosen in their lives.

This material is provided for your reference and is intended to be an informational guide. It does not comprise a complete analysis of ideal careers for individuals & does not guarantee success or failure at any occupation. As we know, individuals vary greatly. However, we highly encourage personal self-knowledge & research in your quest to live up to your fullest, and for this reason, we provide you with this information. You should speak with a career guidance counsellor for a complete & personal evaluation of career possibilities.

ENFP Personal Growth

What does Success Mean to You?

INFPs are creative, sensitive souls who take their lives very seriously. They seek harmony and authenticity in their relationships with others. They value creativity, spirituality, and honouring the individual self above all else. They are very tuned into inequity and unfairness against people and get great satisfaction from conquering such injustices.

An INFP is a perfectionist who rarely allows themselves to feel successful, although they will be keenly aware of failures. INFPs also get satisfaction from being in touch with their creativity. For the INFP, personal success depends upon the condition of their closest relationships, the development of their creative abilities, and the continual support of humanity by serving people in need, fighting against injustice, or in some other way, working to make the world a better place to be.

Allowing Your Strengths to Flourish

As an INFP, you have gifts that are specific to your personality type that aren’t natural strengths for other types. By recognising your special gifts and encouraging their growth and development, you will more readily see your place in the world and how you can better use your talents to achieve your dreams.

Nearly all INFPs will recognise the following characteristics in themselves. Therefore, they should embrace and nourish these strengths:

  • Highly creative, artistic and spiritual, they can produce beautiful works of art, music and INFPs are natural artists. They will find great satisfaction if they encourage and develop their artistic abilities. That doesn’t mean that an INFP must be a famous writer or painter to be content. Simply the act of “creating” will be a fulfilling source of renewal and refreshment to the INFP. An INFP should allow themselves some artistic outlet because it will add enrichment and positive energy to their life.
  • They’re more spiritually aware than most people and are more in touch with their soul than Most INFPs have strong faith. Those that don’t may feel as if they’re missing something important. An INFP should nourish their faith.
  • INFPs are very aware of social injustice and empathise with the Their empathy for the underdog & hyper-awareness of social injustice makes them highly compassionate and nurturing towards disadvantaged members of our society. INFPs will feel most useful & fulfilled when they are fighting to help people who have been misfortunate in our society. They may be teachers, ministers, writers, counselors or psychologists, but they will spend extra time trying to help people with special problems. An INFP can find tremendous satisfaction by enacting social change to help the underdog.
  • They’re usually good listeners who genuinely want to hear about someone’s problems and genuinely want to help This makes them outstanding counselors, and good friends. An INFP may find great satisfaction from volunteering as a counselor.
  • They accept and value people as individuals and are strongly egalitarian. They believe an individual has the right to be themselves without having their attitudes and perspectives scrutinised. Accordingly, they have a great deal of tolerance & acceptance in dealing with people who might encounter negative judgment from society. They can see something positive in everyone. They believe in individuals. If they give themselves the opportunity, an INFP can become a much-needed source of self-esteem and confidence for people who cannot find it on their own. In this way, they can nurture a “sick soul” back to health.
  • They are usually deep and intelligent and can grasp difficult concepts with relative ease. They usually do quite well academically and find that educating their minds nourishes their need to think deeply.

INFPs who have developed their Extraverted iNtuition to the extent that they can perceive the world about them objectively and quickly will find that they enjoy these very special gifts:

  • They will have a great deal of insight into people’s. They will quickly & thoroughly understand where a person is coming from by assessing their motives and feelings. These well-developed INFP individuals make outstanding psychologists (such as Isabel Briggs Myers herself) and counselors. They might also be great fiction writers because they can develop very complex, real characters.
  • They will quickly understand different situations and quickly grasp new information. They will find that they can do anything they put their mind to, although they may not find it personally satisfying. Things may seem to come easily to these INFPs. Although they can conquer many different kinds of tasks and situations, these INFPs will be happiest doing something that seems truly important to them. Although they may find that they can achieve the “mainstream” type of success with relative ease, they are not likely to find happiness along that path, unless they live authentically and deeply.
  • The INFP who augments their strong, internal value system (Introverted Feeling) with a well-developed iNtuitive way of perceiving the world (Extraverted iNtuition) can be a powerful force for social Their intense values and strong empathy for the underprivileged, combined with a reliable and deeply insightful understanding of the world that we live in, creates an individual with the power to make a difference (such as Mother Teresa – an INFP).

Potential Problem Areas

With any gift of strength, there is an associated weakness. Without “bad”, there would be no “good”. Without “difficult”, there would be no “easy”. We value our strengths, but we often curse and ignore our weaknesses. To grow as a person and get what we want out of life, we must not only capitalise upon our strengths but also face our weaknesses and deal with them. That means taking a hard look at our personality type’s potential problem areas.

INFPs are rare, intelligent, creative beings with many special gifts. I would like for the INFP to remember some of the many positive things associated with being an INFP as they read some of this more negative material. Also, remember that the weaknesses associated with being an INFP are natural to your type. Although reading about your type’s weaknesses may be depressing, please remember that we offer this information to enact positive change. We want people to grow into their potential and live happy and successful lives.

Most of the weaker characteristics found in INFPs are due to their dominant Feeling function overshadowing the rest of their personality. When the dominant function of Introverted Feeling overshadows everything else, INFPs can’t use Extraverted iNtuition to absorb information in a truly objective fashion. In such cases, INFPs may show the following weaknesses in varying degrees:

  • May be extremely sensitive to any kind of criticism
  • May perceive criticism where none was intended
  • May have skewed or unrealistic ideas about reality
  • May be unable to acknowledge or hear anything that goes against their personal ideas and opinions
  • May blame their problems on other people, seeing themselves as victims who are treated unfairly
  • May have great anger, and show this anger with rash outpourings of bad temper
  • May be unaware of appropriate social behaviour
  • May be oblivious to their personal appearance or to appropriate dress
  • May come across as eccentric, or perhaps even generally strange to others, without being aware of it
  • May be unable to see or understand anyone else’s point of view
  • May value their own opinions and feelings far above others
  • May be unaware of how their behaviour affects others
  • May be oblivious to other people’s need
  • May feel overwhelmed with tension and stress when someone expresses disagreement with the INFP, or disapproval of the INFP
  • May develop strong judgments that are difficult to displace against people who they perceive have been oppressive or suppressive to them
  • Under great stress, may obsess about details that are unimportant to the big picture of things
  • Under stress, may obsessively brood over a problem repeatedly
  • May have unreasonable expectations of others
  • May have difficulty maintaining close relationships due to unreasonable expectations

Explanation of Problems

Nearly all of the problematic characteristics described above can be attributed in various degrees to the common INFP problem of only taking in data that justifies their personal opinions. INFPs are usually very intense and sensitive people and feel seriously threatened by criticism. They are likely to treat any point of view other than their own as criticism of their own perspective. If the INFP does not learn how to deal with this perceived criticism, the INFP will begin to shut out the incoming information that causes them pain. This is a natural survivalist technique for the INFP personality.

The main driver of the INFP personality is Introverted Feeling, whose purpose is to maintain and honour an intensely personal system of values and morals. If external influences threaten an INFPs personal value system, the INFP shuts out the threatening data in order to preserve and honour their value system. This is totally natural and works well to protect the individual psyche from getting hurt. However, the INFP who exercises this type of self-protection regularly will become more and more unaware of other people’s perspectives and thus more and more isolated from an accurate understanding of the world that they live in. They will always find justification for their own inappropriate behaviours and will always find fault with the external world for problems that they have in their lives. It will be difficult for them to maintain close personal relationships because they will have unreasonable expectations and be unable to accept blame.

INFPs tend to look to the external world primarily for information that will support their ideas & values. However, if this tendency is given free reign, the resulting INFP personality will be too self-centred to be happy or successful. Since the INFPs dominant function to their personality is Introverted Feeling, they must balance this with an auxiliary Extraverted iNtuitive function. The INFP takes in information via Extraverted iNtuition. This is also the INFPs primary way of dealing with the external world. If the INFP uses Extraverted iNtuition only to serve the purposes of Introverted Feeling, then the INFP is not using Extraversion effectively at all.

As a result, the INFP does not take in enough information about the external world to have a good sense of what’s going on. They see nothing but their own perspective, and deal with the world only so far as they need to in order to support their perspective. These individuals usually come across as selfish and unrealistic. Depending on the problem's seriousness, they may appear to be anything from “a bit eccentric” to “way out there”. Many times other people are unable to understand or relate to these people.


To grow as an individual, the INFP needs to focus on opening their perspective to include a more accurate picture of what is really going on in the world. To be in a position where the INFP can perceive and consider data foreign to their internal value system, the INFP needs to know that the new information does not threaten its value system. The INFP must consciously tell themselves that an opinion that does not concede with their own is not an indictment of their entire character.

The INFP who is concerned with personal growth will pay close attention to their motivation for taking in information. Do they take in information to better understand a situation or concept? Or do they take in information to support a personal idea/cause?

At the moment when something is perceived, is the INFP concerned with twisting that perception to fit in with their personal values? Or are they concerned with absorbing the information objectively? To better understand the external world, the INFP should try to perceive information objectively before fitting it into their value system. They should consciously be aware of their tendency to discard anything that doesn’t agree with their values and work towards lessening this tendency.

They should try to see situations from other people’s perspectives without making personal judgments about the situations or the other people’s perspectives. In general, they should work on exercising their iNtuition in a truly Extraverted sense. In other words, they should use iNtuition to take in information about the world around them to understand the world, rather than take in information to support their own conclusions. The INFP who successfully perceives things objectively may be quite a powerful force for positive change.

Living Happily

Some INFPs have difficulty fitting into our society. Their problems are often a result of an unawareness of appropriate social behavior, an unawareness of how they come across to others, or unrealistic expectations of others. Any one of these three issues stems from using Extraverted iNtuition in a diminished manner.

An INFP who takes in information for the sake of understanding the world around them, rather than one who takes in information only to support their own ideas, will have a clearer, more objective understanding of how society values social behaviours and attitudes. They will also be more aware of how others perceive them and will have more realistic expectations for others’ behaviour within a relationship. Such well-adjusted INFPs will fit happily into our society.

Unless you really understand Psychological Type and the nuances of the various personality functions, it’s a difficult task to suddenly use iNtuition in an Extraverted direction. It’s difficult even to understand what that means, much less to incorporate that directive into your life, so give the specific suggestions below a try for some life improvements.

Specific suggestions:

  • Take care to notice what people look like in different social Look at their hair, their skin, their makeup (or lack thereof), their clothes, the condition of their clothes, their shoes, their facial expressions. Don’t compare others to your own appearance, or pass judgment on their appearance, simply take in the information.
  • Think of a situation in which you weren’t sure how to Now try to understand how one or two other people would see the situation. Don’t compare their behaviour to your own, i.e. “she would know better than me what to do”, or “why is it so easy for her, but so hard for me”. Instead, try to understand how they would see the situation. Would it be seen as a problem or as an opportunity? Would it be taken seriously or lightly? Try to determine their point of view without passing judgment or comparing it to your own.
  • When having a conversation with a friend or relative, dedicate at least half of your time to talking about the other. Concentrate on really understanding where that person is coming from with their concerns. Ask questions.
  • Think of the people who are closest to you. As you think of each person, tell yourself, “This person has their own life going on, and they are more concerned with their own life than they are with mine.” Remember that this doesn’t mean that they don’t care about you. It’s the natural order of things. Try to visualise what that person is doing right now. What things are they encountering, and what thoughts are they having? Don’t pass judgment or compare their situation to your own.
  • Try to identify the personality type of everyone that you come into contact with for any length of

Ten Rules to Live By to Achieve Success

Feed Your Strengths! Encourage your natural artistic abilities and creativity. Nourish your spirituality. Give yourself opportunities to help the needy or underprivileged.

Face Your Weaknesses! Realise and accept that some traits are strengths and some are weaknesses. Facing and dealing with your weaknesses doesn’t mean that you have to change who you are, it means that you want to be the best You possible. By facing your weaknesses, you honour your true self rather than attacking yourself.

Express Your Feelings. Don’t let unexpressed emotions build up inside of you. If you have strong feelings, sort them out and express them, Don’t let them build up inside you to the point where they become unmanageable!

Listen to Everything. Try not to dismiss anything immediately. Instead, let everything soak in for a while, then apply judgment.

Smile at Criticism. Remember that people will not always agree with you or understand you, even if they value you greatly. Try to see disagreement and criticism as an opportunity for growth. In fact, that is exactly what it is.

Be Aware of Others. Remember that there are 15 other personality types out there who see things differently than you see them. Try to identify other people’s types. Try to understand their perspectives.

Be Accountable for Yourself. Remember that YOU have more control over your life than any other person has.

Be Gentle in Your Expectations. You will always be disappointed with others if you expect too much of them. Being disappointed with another person is the best way to drive them away. Instead, treat others with the same gentleness that you would like to be treated with.

Assume the Best. Don’t distress yourself by assuming the worst. Remember that a positive attitude often creates positive situations.

When in Doubt, Ask Questions! Don’t assume that the lack of feedback is the same thing as negative feedback. If you need feedback and don’t have any, ask for it.

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