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Friday, 27 July 2012

Reflections on a description of the INFP

Came across this description of the INFP not too long ago - on Wikipedia, of course - and found it interestingly familiar/accurate. (Before we go any further, if you're not familiar with the MBTI [Myers-Briggs Type Indicator], do yourself a favour and acquaint yourself. Here.) Thr full description is here: I thought I might comment on a few of the points that it makes, and how they relate - or don't - to me. I've gotten INFP on the MBTI for the past while now.
INFP (introversion, intuition, feeling, perception) is an abbreviation used in the publications of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) to refer to one of sixteen personality types. INFPs are one of the rarer types, accounting for about 4-5% of the population.
Just some background for you. Yay for being the minority! I think it's nearly the rarest.
I – Introversion preferred to extraversion: INFPs tend to be quiet and reserved. They generally prefer interacting with a few close friends rather than a wide circle of acquaintances, and they expend energy in social situations (whereas extraverts gain energy).
Quiet and reserved: check. (Though I can be pretty radical if I want to be. Queue link to me wearing a clown costume/lycra/gorilla suit.) Few close friends: check. (Though I do have a lot of people I call friends, but I prefer hanging out with a few rather than lots.) Expending energy in social situations: hasn't happened too often, but yes it has happened. I certainly don't gain energy.
N – Intuition preferred to sensing: INFPs tend to be more abstract than concrete. They focus their attention on the big picture rather than the details, and on future possibilities rather than immediate realities.
Abstract rather than concrete: hence why I like metaphors and stories a lot. Big picture rather than details: I often have problems with remembering the details, though I can sometimes be a perfectionist. Not too often. Future possibilities vs immediate realities: heck yes. I'll spend all my time daydreaming about some far-flung story in the future, and miss what's happening in front of my face. Not really meaning something specific there, just a general trend.
F – Feeling preferred to thinking: INFPs tend to value personal considerations above objective criteria. When making decisions, they often give more weight to social implications than to logic.
Personal considerations above objective criteria: aye. Though, as I've mentioned in other posts, I do have part of me that rather likes the objective/logic side of things, and will argue that until it is blue in the face. Social implications vs logic: similarly.
P – Perception preferred to judgment: INFPs tend to withhold judgment and delay important decisions, preferring to "keep their options open" should circumstances change.
Ha. Er, yes. Short answer there.
According to Myers-Briggs, INFPs focus much of their energy on an inner world dominated by intense feeling and deeply held ethics. They seek an external life that is in keeping with these values. Loyal to the people and causes important to them, INFPs can quickly spot opportunities to implement their ideals. They are curious to understand those around them, and so are accepting and flexible except when their values are threatened.
Intense feeling and deeply held ethics: yes. I might seem a bit apathetic/shrugging off/nonchalant at times - but trust me, I'm not. That's a face I present, to some extent. If I reacted how I would like to to everything - I would effectively be an instant quivering heap on the ground. But part of my brain doesn't let me respond like that, so I don't. There are times when I will, but I generally don't break down. Seeking an external life in keeping with these values: yes. Hence why I won't work at Maccas or similar, why I had an issue with monetising my Youtube, etc. Loyal: yes. But you have to get me first. Curious to understand others: heck yes. Curiosity is one of the bigger things I have. Accepting and flexible: more than most I know. Except when their values are threatened: and there's little many can do to really threaten them.
The polite, reserved exterior of INFPs can at first make them difficult to get to know. They enjoy conversation, however, taking particular delight in the unusual. When INFPs are in a sociable mood, their humor and charm shine through. Disposed to like people and to avoid conflict, INFPs tend to make pleasant company.
Polite, reserved exterior, therefore difficult to get to know: can certainly be the case. I don't generally just tell people things about myself, you have to ask. Sometimes quite specifically, which can be difficult when you don't know what to ask about. Enjoy conversation, esp. unusual: most certainly. I delight in an interesting conversation - not small talk. Humour and charm shine through: I would hope so, but I can't really comment on that. Disposed to like people and avoid conflict: definitely. I will call everyone a friend that I meet. A few I call acquaintances, but most I will call friends, even if we've just met. Pleasant company: again, I hope so.
Devoted to those in their inner circle, INFPs guard the emotional well-being of others, consoling those in distress. Guided by their desire for harmony, INFPs prefer to be flexible unless their ethics are violated. Then, they become passionate advocates for their beliefs. They are often able to sway the opinions of others through tact, diplomacy, and an ability to see varying sides of an issue.
Devoted to the inner circle: certainly. Good luck guessing who they are, however. Consoling: I try, at least. I don't get many opportunities to do so, but hopefully where I have, it's helped somewhat. Desire for harmony: always. Passionate advocates for beliefs: well, in my head. I tend to be fairly backward in coming forward in practicality. Able to sway opinions through various means: I would hope so; I think I can usually at least help people to see a point differently.
INFPs develop these insights through reflection, and they require substantial time alone to ponder and process new information. While they can be quite patient with complex material, they are generally bored by routine. Though not always organized, INFPs are meticulous about things they value. Perfectionists, they may have trouble completing a task because it cannot meet their high standards. They may even go back to a completed project after the deadline so they can improve it.
Developing insights through reflection: I sometimes remark to myself that my rear-view mirror is 20/20, while my windscreen is ridiculously fogged. Substantial time alone to ponder/process: not really something I do consciously that much. Generally I reach a conclusion pretty quickly. If not, I usually don't reach one through thinking it out consciously. Bored by routine, patient with complex material: ha. Bit of a problem here. My mind hates routine, but I can't function properly without it, and I can never get into it. :P Not organised: er, yeah. Meticulous about valued things: certainly. Perfectionists, trouble completing tasks: certainly in my writing, it's a difficulty I've had.
INFPs are creative types and often have a gift for language. As introverts, they may prefer to express themselves through writing. Their dominant Feeling drives their desire to communicate, while their auxiliary intuition supplies the imagination. Having a talent for symbolism, they enjoy metaphors and similes. They continually seek new ideas and adapt well to change. They prefer working in an environment that values these gifts and allows them to make a positive difference in the world, according to their personal beliefs.
Gift for language: haven't had much opportunity to find out, but I've seemed to do pretty well with what I have done. Prefer to express through writing: hmmm. Sort of. I want to talk to people, but I'm bad at it. So instead of being chatty in real life, I'm chatty on the page/web/etc. Desire to communicate: yep. So much. Supplied imagination: You have no idea. Talent for symbolism: oh yes. Semiotics is a particular interest of mine. Seek new ideas/adapt to change: on one level, yes; though I've often found I like sitting in the now a bit. Prefer working in an environment that works with this: heck yes. Hence why I'm picky :P

That's most of it. There's more in the original, but most of it is already here. Hope that's interesting/revealing/thought-provoking/etc. Might give people a bit of insight into me.

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