10 Things I Wish Others Understood About INFPs

Sometimes we actually don’t like being misunderstood.

1. Hypersensitivity

Yes, INFPs can be very emotional. The saying that sadness is actually happy for deep people is definitely true. We INFPs like to indulge ourselves in emotion and can almost detect all of it around us like the hyper-aware INFJs. Just because we feel more deeply and more often doesn’t mean we’re emotional “crybabies” with mood-swings that cause us to break after the slightest insult to our personalities or lives. We just understand feelings more than most. Often times, during extreme moments of stress or sadness, or if someone is complaining about their day, we may even just turn off our emotions. We do feel deeply, yes, but we have a much greater control over our emotions than most. If we’re crying or experience overwhelming emotions, it’s often because we’re letting ourselves do so.

2. Caution

While I myself haven’t had many people note this about me, I’m sure others have to other INFPs. I’ve noticed that I’m often the most cautious one in my family or group of friends. Just because I’m cautious doesn’t mean I’m not a fun guy or want to have fun. INFPs possess Extraverted Intuition, which means we can perceive any number of possibilities that could spawn from a single moment we are currently in. It also means that we can easily understand how we might feel if certain events take place or how others may feel. If my friends want to go off and do something fun that is less than admirable, or perhaps it’d be best to tell others what we’re doing, I’m usually the “party pooper” and the cautious guy that warns against doing such things. It’s not that I don’t want to have fun, it’s just that I understand how easily things can turn for the worst. In other cases, I don’t want others to be disappointed or to worry about me as well. This is why I hate watching people prank others in the most extreme manner to get an emotional reaction. I feel for the “victims” of pranks. I know how scary or how worried a person can be. Other people understand others will feel emotional angst but are too shallow to actually be able to understand what that angst feels like for that person. I worry for other people. Sure, I want to have fun, but I try to avoid as much pain and emotional angst as possible. If it takes that much work to have fun, then it won’t be fun for me or for other people.

3. Humor 

More on feeling for others. I think most INFPs have a great sense of humor. “Ne” lends towards INFPs being both masters of emotion and masters at wit.

However, if everyone is having fun, parrying with words and making jokes, except for me, that could mean at most two things.

(1) I’m just not in the mood. (More on that later)

(2) You’re making fun of other people. Like with being cautious, I try to avoid causing emotional harm to me or other people as much as possible. If you’re making fun of other people, and even if others are taking it lightly, laughing at themselves, I’ll have trouble finding the humor in it. I know how the “victims” might feel. INFPs can pick up on that sort of thing very easily.

This is why I hate watching things like “cringe-worthy” videos in which someone posts a video of someone, say, playing a song on the trumpet very poorly. I feel terrible for the person, and I can’t find the humor or pleasure in watching something like that.

It’s not because I don’t have a sense of humor if you’re making fun of someone, it’s because I’m probably the only one in the room that cares deeply for that person.

4. Mood

More on mood. Again, INFPs are masters at emotion, but some days we end stuck in a weird mood and we don’t know why. Sometimes we won’t find something funny or won’t feel like talking about something because we’re in the wrong mood at the moment. Emotions matter a lot to us, and they affect us easily, causing us to change our behavior after the slightest change in emotion or mood.

If we’re acting weird, it’s merely because we’re trying to figure out why we’re in a different mood at the moment. We won’t stay like this for long, so don’t worry.

5. Stress

While INFPs are masters at emotion, sometimes we can’t control our feelings. Most of the time, we can’t control feelings of stress or anxiety.

Usually, if the stressful thing is merely a month or a week away, we INFPs won’t worry about it until the day of. Depending on how “extreme” the event is, our worry or stress level may be from a minimal level to, well, feeling so worried that we’re sick all day.

It’s not that we’re the only people who ever worry. We worry a lot, however, and often over the silliest and mundane events like worrying about whether or not there will be good seats left at the movie theater or having to triple check a suitcase in case we forgot something.

While this doesn’t happen often, and while perhaps it is my fault I have never said this to anyone, I wish others would take into understanding the chances of me stressing out about something before planning on doing something. Like I said, this hasn’t happened often, but sometimes friends will think something will be fun for me to do, but I’ll end up worrying about the event so much the fun or pleasure is gone.

6. Center of Attention

I hate being the center of attention, and a bit on the note of the last point, be aware of my emotional state if you’re going to make me the center of attention of anything. I easily stress out if I’m forced to be the person to tell a funny story to a large group or if friends invite a bunch of people over to celebrate my birthday. While I don’t despise birthdays (usually they mean the chance to be given books as gifts), I don’t always enjoy them because of having to be the center of attention. It’s uncomfortable really, and I feel vulnerable in that position. I’d rather stay in the background or behind the scenes than be the main actor or leader of the group.

7. Being a Male INFP

As the title of this point implies, this one is more directed to being a male INFP. Of course, I have no experience being a female INFP, but the traits of the INFP are often more stereotypically tied to female personality traits.

While most of my friends are introverts and INFP (mostly because I choose to hang around people more or less like me), I do know many people who like to do “male things” like talk about cars or go fishing and could care less about “personality” or talking about books or just deep topics in general.

I don’t like being stereotyped or told I don’t act like a male or don’t like male things.

I don’t like playing paintball, for instance, because I feel that the pain of getting hit takes away from the fun of the game (for me at least) (if paintball is more of a male thing, it isn’t really).

I despise talking about cars or even going into a job dealing with cars because I could care less. I don’t know anything about “oh did you see concept pictures for the new 2018 Toyota Honda Ford hybrid Mustang they are rolling out next year?” and don’t want to. Sure, if that’s your passion, then that’s good. Everyone has a passion, but I don’t like it when people treat knowing about cars a “male” thing. Sure, maybe more males like to watch Nascar or like to fish, but doesn’t mean I’m less of a male because I don’t enjoy those things.

8. Enclosed Feelings

Every now and then, I’ve had moments were I have completely “broken down” and have spilled out all of my feelings and emotional troubles to family members and friends, often shocking them, they having had no idea I felt that way for so long about those things.

INFPs have a hard time being able to express their own feelings. For one, while they understand their emotions easily, they don’t have the words to express feelings. For another reason, we don’t want to be vulnerable, or we don’t want to express feelings about subjects that may shock or “harm” others or their feelings. So, we often hide our feelings. We don’t bury them or suppress them within us, but we hide them from others. Eventually, we can’t make it any longer and break down, spilling out everything.

If we say we’re fine, but it doesn’t look like we are, then it’s best to either listen to us tell you our current emotional status. Or, don’t try to provoke the feelings out, maybe we’re just not ready to tell them yet or we don’t have the words to do so.

9. Favors/Listening

INFPs are easily taken advantage of, in that it can be hard for us to say no to favors asked of us. We don’t want to hurt other’s feelings, or we don’t want to be in the position of causing other’s stress for having said no to helping them.

In other cases, we’re found to be great listeners and so anyone perceptive of this will often pour out their most mundane passions and thoughts from the day.

Concerning favors, do realize that it’s hard for us to say no.

Concerning pouring out your day to us, just because we’re listening doesn’t mean we care. Often times, we may retreat into a daydream or alternate thought and pretend we’re listening. However, if you’re a close friend and I’m spending time with you, I’m probably listening. Though, also realize that sometimes even if I care about you or what you have to say, I have found myself daydreaming during a conversation, and that doesn’t mean I don’t care.

10. Wanting to Be Liked

Finally, INFPs just want to be liked. I think we all have trouble with self-doubt, so it’s very helpful and relieving to us when people want to spend time with us or express how much they liked something we made and created.

Also, if I just met you and I seem a little cold, it’s because I’m trying to figure out how to act around you. Most likely, I’ll copy your personality a little, just because I have trouble opening up around new people. I’ll open up a lot more once I get to know you better, but right now it’s easier to act like you do. Hopefully you’ll like me because of that (even though it is a bit manipulating of me).


4 Comments Add yours

  1. MBTI MANIA says:

    Can 100% agree with this! Especially about being cautious. I have found that I also come off cold around new people when I am trying best to just act normal and chatty. 🙈

    Liked by 2 people

  2. xarolehta says:

    it’s fascinating how male & female INFPs both struggle with stereotypes about emotions: people expecting men to not show any emotions, and people expecting women to be over-emotional. i wonder what other struggles we share, from different perspectives, without even realizing it

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Gosh, I love your blog so much. It has been so helpful getting to read a different perspective on INFPs. The whole favor thing rings true to me as that happened two weeks ago. I also agree with everything in the being liked part and not wanting to be the center of attention. Humor thing is also pretty spot on. The emotion thing for me lately has been shutting down. Since I am so in touch with my emotions, at this point I know if I really thought about them I wouldn’t be able to handle it. I do have random emotional outbursts every once in a while but mostly alone because I don’t like showing people my true emotional range.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Laura says:

    Yep, exactly! Well, except for #7 (and being a woman and all I can’t relate to that one, lol) The indulgence of emotion thing is spot on! For some reason I just love to feel different things and imagine what it’s like to feel different things. Emotion is like water for me. I’d be lost without it. And on the rare occasions when I don’t feel much (since I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a situation where I felt nothing) I get weirded out because not feeling intense emotion is weird for me.

    Liked by 1 person

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