The anomalous characteristics of the enigmatic INFP

Bill McAneny's picture
Published on Thu, 09/12/2013 - 16:49 by Bill McAneny

DreamOne of the reasons the INFP is so difficult to fully understand is the anomalous nature of their personalities. They combine an intense curiosity and need to be in the loop with a quiet shyness. They are driven by meaning and deep personal values, but they tend not to share these or even at times be able to articulate them. This means the INFP can often be misunderstood, as they so want to be invited to the party, but the chances are they won’t show up.

Meaning is all to the INFP but it is a private, subjective meaning, often impenetrable to the rest of us, and so we may often inadvertently transgress an important value, causing much angst and pain, but without realising we had; indeed often without realising that the value existed in the first place. The INFP may find it difficult to articulate or share their feelings but will often exhibit their reactions to those feelings which again makes it hard to understand them as the raw feeling is internalised but the reaction to that feeling is what the rest of us experience and have to make sense of.

Their desire for harmony pervades in that they dislike conflict, indeed they are often super at diffusing tensions, and this also means they prefer symmetry and harmony in all things, their environment, their clothes, their lives. Such matters the INFP just ‘gets’ but if we ask how they know these things again they find it difficult to articulate because, well, they just know. Indeed asking an INFP for definitions or evidence will be transgressing a value and they will tend to clam up and withdraw. They truly feel things and sometimes it is best just to wonder at them, rather than try to define or objectify their talents. “I just know” they will say, and asking ‘how’ or ‘why’ just will not help as the INFP will back off and we will just be left trying to quantify the unfathomable.

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