Eight Common Traits Of The INFP Personality Type

Medically reviewed by Julie Dodson, MA
Updated April 29, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Also known as the “mediator,” the INFP type is one of the Myers-Briggs personality types, with the letters standing for introversion, intuition, feeling, and perceiving. Co-created by Isabel Briggs Myers, the Myers Briggs Type Indicator is one of the most common personality type assessments. According to the test, people with this personality type tend to have the ability to create harmony out of conflict, although they may avoid conflict themselves. Some other INFP strengths include that they often work hard to ensure that everyone feels heard and validated, and they may be idealistic, caring, and compassionate. Their own feelings and personal values often guide their actions, making them deeply committed to their principles. They tend to have a lot of creativity and unconventional perspectives, and very often strive to live a purpose-filled life.

The INFP type is typically open-minded in their beliefs and often wants to make the world a better place. As introverts, they enjoy a significant amount of alone time to reflect and recharge, and they may be close with the handful of people they care most about. For INFPs, understanding their own emotions and maintaining a better sense of self is crucial in their interactions with the outside world. If you are interested in the Myers-Briggs personality test and have the INFP result, you may benefit from learning about the common traits associated with this type.

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Eight traits associated with the INFP personality type 

Exploring INFP traits may give you a deeper understanding of what makes INFP personality types unique from other personality types. Whether you’re an INFP or know one, a few associations often made with this personality are listed below.

They may value "the simple things"

INFPS are said to feel most comfortable in natural surroundings where they can connect to nature and reflect on the meaning of life and how they can make the world a better place. Their inclination towards a simpler life aligns with their dominant function of introverted feeling, which prioritizes internal harmony and personal feelings. They may prefer natural settings to fancy, maximalist, or expensive ones with many possessions. 

They often value what makes them feel optimistic over what others think is best.

An INFP may have a functional, uncluttered home that feels peaceful where they can spend time in creative pursuits and contemplation. This environment allows them to focus on their own thoughts and ideas, free from external distractions. If the house itself doesn’t appear quirky on the outside, the possessions inside might be. However, they may not have a ton of belongings.

They may be present for those they love 

The profoundly caring INFP often attracts people who want to vent or unload their problems. The INFP is often naturally adept at listening patiently and sympathetically to the worries of others, and they may offer a shoulder to cry on. This trait stems from their cognitive function of extraverted intuition, which enables them to see the big picture and understand others’ perspectives. While this skill can be admirable, it can also drain the energy of INFP types, resulting in them forgetting to care for themselves.

INFPs may need to set boundaries in relationships so that their empathy for others isn’t at a high cost to their own emotional well-being. As INFP parents, they strive to impart their strong values to their children, teaching them about empathy and understanding. This personality type is said to be inclined to feel guilty if they don’t respond to another person's needs, even if that person hasn’t shown any particular care or affection for them in return. They may also benefit from learning to give themselves permission to care for themselves and say “no” to those who overstep their boundaries (especially friends, family, and other loved ones).

INFPs are often artists

INFPs may express themselves best through music, art, or writing; they’re often considered naturally creative people, and INFP careers are often found in the arts. They have been known to engage in creative activities like writing or painting, which are typical for those with strong abstract thinking skills like the INFPs. Many famous authors, musicians, and artists are INFPs. Based on known personality traits like insight, and a tendency to be imaginative and introspective, experts hypothesize that people like William Shakespeare, JRR Tolkien, and Fred Rogers were INFPs. Famous INFP people often exhibit a mix of deep introspection and creativity, making them unique in their artistic expressions. Some fictional characters who could be classified as INFP include Peter Parker, Will Byers, and Frodo Baggins.

Getty/Luis Alvarez

The INFP's rich imagination and freethinking quirkiness often manifest in emotionally powerful writing and beautiful works of art. Their ability to connect their own values and emotions to their creative work often results in profound and meaningful art. However, INFPs are often perfectionists who can sometimes prevent themselves from completing their book, musical composition, or sculpture. Their search for the perfect word, musical note, or brush stroke to represent their feelings and ideas can inhibit self-expression and result in the INFP abandoning their creative project if they deem it “not good enough.”

They might shy away from confrontation

The INFP personality type is not considered naturally assertive, and INFPs may spend a significant amount of time conversing with themselves in their mind about what they “should have” said in a moment of conflict.

This tendency may be influenced by their cognitive function of introverted sensing, which focuses on internal data and personal experiences, leading them to reflect deeply on past interactions. Their dislike of conflict and their need for harmony can result in the INFP walking away from confrontation and grappling with internal thoughts about what might have been. While it can be difficult for sensitive INFPs to recognize when they should be more assertive and engage in conflict, it’s a skill they can learn to help them in their personal growth and emotional well-being.

They are lifelong learners

The INFP is often considered curious about the world and may love new experiences, whether from a new culture, location, or hobby. This trait aligns with their cognitive function of extraverted thinking, which encourages them to explore new ideas and gain a better understanding of the world around them. Though introverted, they are often quite adventurous—particularly for more assertive INFPs with a strong sense of identity. 
INFPs tend to engage in activities that align with their personal values and interests, often leading them to unconventional career paths compared to opposite personality types. At any age, INFPs may return to school to learn new skills, join clubs that offer different insights, and attend lectures on interesting topics. INFPs may not learn new skills just for the sake of learning but to search for truth, or to make the world a better place. Their pursuit of knowledge is often driven by a desire to align their actions with their own values and beliefs. The INFP's personal growth often depends on experiencing new things; every experience may be a stepping stone to helping others.

They have a rich inner world

As a child, schoolteachers may have told the INFP that they should focus more and daydream less. This instruction can be challenging for the INFP to follow, as they are dreamers, and they may dream big. Their inner world is often populated with rich and complex thoughts and feelings, reflecting their dominant function of introverted intuitive feeling. While other students may focus on the words on the chalkboard, the INFP may think about their meaning, as well as the ideas and possibilities to be found in the universe. INFPs may dream about world peace and a healthy planet. However, INFP types might not only dream about significant issues but also often think about how to solve them, and their creative approach to solutions may be considered innovative and unconventional.

Getty/MoMo Productions
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They may struggle with criticism

As INFPs are often considered non-judgmental and empathetic, they may expect the same in return. Their sensitivity can sometimes make them overly sensitive to criticism, especially when it conflicts with their own feelings or challenges their values. For this reason, they might struggle with criticism from others. This struggle can be intensified when they receive feedback that contradicts their own thoughts and perspectives, making it hard for them to process and accept constructive feedback. They might also believe that it’s up to them to provide harmony and make everybody around them happy, and it can be a painful experience when they think that someone is unhappy with them. INFPs sometimes see criticism where none exists; they may be inclined to think that someone with an opinion different from theirs is critical of them. People with this personality type may also have difficulty distinguishing between well-intentioned criticisms meant to help and negative criticisms meant to be hurtful.

They may experience deep melancholy

With their introverted nature, INFPs may experience periods of deep melancholy. This can be particularly challenging when they feel disconnected from their own values or when the outside world seems at odds with their inner emotional landscape. These bouts of melancholy might be caused by negative criticism, the feeling that they’ve done something wrong, the failure of a project, or for no reason. However, no matter the cause, the INFP individual may be prone to feel low or hopeless about the future. Their introverted intuitive feeling function can lead them to deeply internalize their emotions, often resulting in intense periods of reflection and introspection. Although they can be optimistic, they are often quite aware of and sensitive to the world’s ailments and those they love.

Counseling for INFPs 

If you are an INFP and would like support in understanding yourself or navigating the more complex personality traits of this type, such as setting boundaries with others or handling criticism, you may consider connecting with a therapist.

For INFPs, therapy can provide a safe space to explore their own feelings and values, helping them to develop a stronger sense of self. For introverted personality types who prefer quiet time alone over socializing with others, utilizing online therapy through a platform like BetterHelp can be beneficial. Internet-based therapy eliminates some social interactions and can be done from the comfort of your home. Through an online therapy platform, you may not have to devote time to commuting to your appointment or worry about encountering other people during the process if you’re feeling socially drained. In addition, you can choose to partake in video, phone, or messaging sessions with your therapist, depending on your needs.

Online therapy can also help INFPs who are dealing with specific issues related to their personality type, such as difficulties with criticism or maintaining healthy boundaries in personal relationships.

Online therapy has been proven as effective as face-to-face therapy for various mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression. For INFPs, particularly those who may be struggling with issues like low self-esteem or sensitivity to criticism, therapy can be a crucial tool in managing their mental health. There may be a link between introversion and depression, so if you believe that you may be experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition or any other concern, a therapist can be a valuable resource.


As idealistic, creative, and caring individuals, INFPs are often on a quest to find meaning in their lives and to make the world a better place. An INFP may be passionate in their desire to help people, and while they may avoid confrontation themselves, they can often be effective mediators. Their strong values and deep commitment to their ideals often drive their actions and decisions, shaping their interactions with the world. Sometimes these positive traits may be the very reason that an INFP can feel overwhelmed and need some help managing their emotions. Connecting with a therapist who understands the unique traits of the INFP personality type can provide invaluable support in helping them navigate their complex inner world. If you are an INFP and would like support in understanding and navigating your personality, you may consider connecting with a therapist for further guidance into your personality type.

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