What's It Like To Be an "INFP"

A Self-Portrait Personality Type Description for INFPs**

By Linda V. Berens Ph.D. and Dario Nardi Ph.D.

Personality Type:    INFP - Harmonizer Clarifier
Temperament:   Catalyst (NF)
Interaction Style*:    Behind-the-Scenes
Likely Social Style: Amiable

How to read these Self Portrait Personality Type Descriptions

I have a very internal focus. I think I look at myself through other people’s eyes, but sometimes I can lose touch with how things work for me. Then I can get introspective, going very deep and staying there, not coming out too quickly or easily. Somehow I find it very difficult to put into words and communicate the things that really matter to me. Most people don’t have the foggiest notion about what goes on with me.

I like harmony and seek consensus and do well with the deep issues. My values and the things that are important to me often feel outside the mainstream in the sense that I feel impinged upon and uncomfortable with so much of what goes on. I’m too private to push my values on to other people, but I am convinced that one ought to be congruent in their own life if they are going to expect congruence from others. In a sense I hold other people to that standard, and I worry about my own incongruities, inconsistencies, and contradictions. Groups can be hard. I can put myself in the group process so rapidly and so completely, and it’s important not to get sucked in. I need to be predictable about what I believe.

Personality Type Descriptions
by Linda V. Berens, Ph.D.
and Dario Nardi, Ph.D.**


I am a global thinker and I like to learn interactively. My thoughts need to be connected with some person or value. On reflection, don’t all thoughts have to be connected to something? I feed new information into other things I’ve read and my thoughts, and I can have a marvelous time just sitting with ideas. And I like to discuss or write things because I seem to have a lot in my head and I’ve got to get it out. I love bringing together different eclectic ideas and seeing what’s similar. I like to have my own ideas, hear others ideas, and have ideas challenged, bantering back and forth. Chitchat has no interest for me. I tend to do a lot of mental rehearsal and play in problem solving, and the fun part is figuring out how to do something. Motivation comes when something has real meaning or value for me, and while I enjoy ideas I don’t like having my values challenged.

For me, asking questions is just a different form of being quiet, a way to explore an inner thought stream or check out of reality and back into my thoughts. Sometimes I chuckle at myself that there is really no sequential way that I work though tasks.

I have always trusted my intuition, even before I was aware of it. I enjoy talking to people. It’s interesting to learn about them, where they’re coming from and how they invent their reality. And I have an innate talent for reading between the lines—to hear what hasn’t been said—and a sense of what needs to be said and done. I tend to form impressions right away about people, and most of the time I feel pretty good about my impressions but sometimes I am way off. At least if the people have good intentions, I can relax.

I enjoy seeing people enjoy who they are, and I get a lot of joy helping others discover that they have value. Being able to help someone in their darkest hour, to communicate across differences and find common ways of working together, that is very satisfying because then there is a real sense of closeness and acceptance and a genuine pursuit of helping people heal and achieve their goals. I hold on to relationships even though we may go long periods without seeing each other, and I cherish those long associations.

I’m concerned about how others feel when they are around me. Lack of honesty or ethics or integrity in interactions—when someone is saying one thing but doing another—really puts me off. So does when someone doesn’t honor, or accept as valid, my communication or feeling as I try to talk to them about something that matters to me. And I don’t need to talk about myself. I don’t enjoy it. Sometimes I’m frustrated trying to communicate, and sometimes a metaphor or a joke or a story is a way to effectively express myself so what I’m saying can be heard by someone who hears or experiences things differently.

I don’t know what I am going to do next, but I trust in myself that something will come in as a new idea, with challenge and inner meaning. Whatever it is, it will be right. Although I would never actually say it, it feels as though I am grounded in the very being of who I am when I talk like this.

This concludes "What's it like to be an INFP,"
A Self Portrait Personality Type Description.

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**The Personality Type Description shown above is wholly owned and copyrighted by the authors Linda V. Berens Ph.D. and Dario Nardi Ph.D. and is used herein with their permission.

For a complete set of Personality Type Descriptions by Linda V. Berens and Dario Nardi please see: "The 16 Sixteen Personality Types - Descriptions for Self-Discovery"

*Interaction Styles as developed by Linda Berens, is a powerful lens with which to better understand people. For a complete understanding of Interaction Styles see:
"Understanding Yourself and Others, An Introduction to Interaction Styles"

Practitioners, Organizational Development Consultants, HR Managers, Leadership and Teamwork Trainers,
click here for professional level training by Linda Berens in:
Interaction Styles, Temperament, and Personality Type