MBTI Series: What it Feels Like to be an INFP

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test is a common psychology test, yet, many people already refute its significance, mostly because it only contains 16 types and there’s no way such complicated humanity can be broken down into only 16 individual types.

I have to agree. MBTI test has to be taken by people who wish to know their type by answering questions about their own personality and preference. If analyzed using Johari Window Model, it means MBTI test only receive data from one source (you) who only contain two windows of information about your personality —Arena (known to you, known by others) and Facade (known to you, not known by others).


Still, I have a hobby to check out any personality test given out there because sometimes it leads me to new information about me. Some other times, it just because I can feel understood and related to some abstractions. For a while, I can convert my self-definitions of being ‘weird’ or ‘aloof’ to something more positive-sounding words: introvert.

When I took MBTI test, I finally get to know what are these –sadness, weirdness, distance, and persistence, that live in me called. All of these traits don’t come out as abnormal in the test, fortunately. Instead, it’s called INFP (Find your type here). I can’t believe when I read the descriptions from a lot of sources. Feels like they’re describing my life.

Now, I want to share some experiences I have as INFP and what it feels like to be one. If anyone who read this wants to understand an INFP or perhaps you are INFP who want to feel related to something… Hope this helps.

INFP often gets emotional for small reasons.


I cry not only when break up happens. Sometimes I cry looking at the gray cloud when people complain how it’s gonna be rain again, and I thought perhaps actually Mr. Cloud only wants to bestow his blessing to people on earth. And I secretly wish that rain is not his sad tears, cause I like it so much. Another example is that I often get upset hearing hatred speech, cause no one deserves to be hated, in my opinion. INFP heart is just full of dramas, and we can’t help but to feel.

On the contrary, INFP finds it hard to show emotion explicitly.


feeling the freest in expressing emotions when being alone

Looking up at my journal, I found out that loneliness is the most theme of my life. When I was younger I thought I didn’t have real friends despite many acquaintances I have. As I grow older, at some points in life, I finally realized that my loneliness was always my own state of mind. I did and I do have friends. And despite all that, it’s me who’s always been closing my heart and shutting down my own feeling, getting absorbed in loneliness, almost feel like enjoying it.

Knowing this doesn’t change the fact that I can’t show emotion easily to others. Even when I’m feeling emotional, my tears stop at the edge of my eyes when I hear footsteps other than mine. And I wouldn’t call myself someone with rich expressions, either. I think this is a kind of shyness that won’t let me leak my true feeling to others easily, especially through speeches or expressions.

INFP secretly romanticize misery.


kind of face INFP makes when they’re sad and angry.

Maybe not all INFP. But I believe some of us do. I do it secretly because I know it’s not a wise thing to say in given situation. There’s no good way to say that their tears are beautiful when they’re crying out of real sadness. In the other hand, I also hate that some people want to be perceived as sad because it’s romantic. See, it becomes like a love-hate thing for me.

I love tears when it’s a sign of a sadness relief and self-honesty. Thus, I see it as a step to be tougher and to be more genuine. And I hate tears when it becomes a manipulation. Every tear that poured down means nothing if it’s not sincere.

INFP is quietly resolute.


I respect your personal belief but when you try to convince me to agree with everything you say, I would be like…

It’s surprising for some of my friends that I can turn from an easy going person to a tense one. Basically, I like listening to various thoughts on the same matter because it becomes materials for my own self-reflection. However, when someone takes my easy going attitude too boldly and trying to convince me against my own values and principles, I would become vigilant right at the moment. I’m willing to listen to arguments and I’m forever thankful for people who’ve changed my mind, but I won’t give in to pushy speeches that try convince or order me around without giving me chances to give it a thought. As a result, no matter how many hours someone incessantly spend their time to convince or softly order me to do something, I would just say, “I’ll think about it,” or “No,” and ended up doing different things than they expected me to. I don’t bother falling into arguments unless it’s necessary and worth it.

INFP is mostly reserved, yes. We listen, yes. We do want to understand, yes. But we know what we want, and that’s not going to change by force. We will change if we want to change, or if it’s wise to change.

The Challenge is to Accept

One of the biggest challenges I have to live in this world as INFP, is to tone down my idealism. I dream of a utopia where humanity is kind and fulfilled. I know that’s probably impossible. The world itself is filled with paradoxes and contradictions. And at some point in my life, I realize that it’s unwise to force my idealism onto everyone because that means I would take away their chance to fulfill themselves by making their own decision. I guess the paradox lives in me as well.

Knowing this is one thing,  accepting it is another thing. It takes mental effort to let someone do their thing, even you know that it’s a big mistake, because they can only learn to clean up their mess after making the mistake. It takes mental effort to let someone live an unfulfilled life even you feel their difficulty, because it’s their choice to stand by serving someone else instead of themselves. It takes mental effort to be harsh to someone, because every kind reminder doesn’t work to wake them up. Every bad thing is a good thing. Every good thing is a bad thing.

Even though I know that it’s probably impossible, I couldn’t stop wanting it. It takes courage of INFP to pursue idealism while accepting that it might not happen at all.

“For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream”– Vincent Van Gogh


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