INFP in Relationships
Watch the INFP Relationships video above and tell us what you think in the video comments.
What is an INFP?
INFP stands for:
INFPs are creative and idealistic, with strong values and a heavy focus on emotions. They are genuinely kind-hearted and enjoy listening to people and helping them. Often lost in their fantasy world of what could be, INFPs are especially sensitive to criticism or judgement, becoming deeply upset when people try to burst their bubble. They’re interested in discovering who they are, their purpose, and becoming their best selves, as well as helping the world become a better place.
As introverts, they enjoy time alone and prefer a smaller circle of friends. Their intuitive trait means they focus on gut feelings and patterns. They are feelers who value and understand emotions, and perceivers who are flexible and interested in learning new things.
INFP Common Traits
- Very creative (love the arts)
- Avoid conflict and aim for win-win outcomes
- Deep inner worlds and emotions, but can seem shy or aloof on the outside
- Devoted to friends, family and partners
- Very sensitive and emotional
- Great communication skills, particularly in writing
Along with their four-letter description, each MBTI type has a ‘function stack’, which goes into more detail of how their personality specifically works. The INFP function stack includes Fi-Ne-Si-Te.
Introverted Feeling (Fi), the INFP’s dominant function, is why the INFP has such a deep inner world of imagination and emotion. It’s also where their strong values are formed – they take how they would like to be treated, and how they think the world should be, and express that in the way they interact with people and things around them. The outside world, to an INFP, is merely a lens to better see themselves; not in a vain way, but from a place of striving to understand. They are authentic and empathetic, loyal and passionate, and romantic. Often called ‘idealists’, the INFP’s Introverted Feeling Dominant Function is why they are so dreamy; they long for the best in others and the world, and live in a world of their own and others’ emotions, easily influenced by the way others feel. They care very deeply and want to see the world become a better place, standing up for their values and encouraging creativity, uniqueness, acceptance and tolerance, and authentic expression. Because they have such kind souls, they see the best in others, expecting everyone to have their same dream-like, idealized view of the world.
Extroverted Intuition (Ne), the INFP’s auxiliary function, is the source of the INFP’s optimism and creativity. Ne is inspired and prepared to put great ideas into action. Its pitfalls however, are having too many ideas and not following any, time wasting, fantasizing and escapism, and ideation causing dissatisfaction with reality. They look outside themselves to follow their gut intuition, considering all possible scenarios and looking at the big picture to see how things might take shape along the journey and into the future. Since their dominant function is to feel introvertedly, this secondary function of Extroverted intuition is how an INFP engages with the outside world. It balances their internal world of emotions by looking outward, but when they’re looking out into fantasies more than reality too often, they can become ungrounded.
Introverted Sensing (Si), the INFP’s tertiary function, creates the INFP’s attachment to the past. They are sentimental and have strong memories, which are often vivid when recollected. Si respects tradition (although INFPs aren’t particularly traditional) and likes to apply past experiences to the present. Tradition and experiences are like a compass to the values an INFP’s Fi creates.
Extroverted Thinking (Te), the INFP’s inferior function, is detail-oriented and organized. Being the INFP’s weakest function, it typically operates subconsciously and doesn’t show as often as the other three functions, but particularly when under pressure, the INFP has a hidden talent of practicality. Strengthening this function can help to ground an INFP.
So, now you know what an INFP is, how does this relate to their relationships?
INFP Relationships: Communication Style
Genuinely kindhearted, empathetic, and driven by social harmony, the INFP is an effective communicator: great at listening, understanding others’ emotions and motivations, and wanting to nurture and help them. They connect with people easily and are well-liked, even if they can come across aloof or cold at first due to their preference to keep their emotions to themselves. They’re difficult to get to know, but are extremely loyal to their close circle. Despite their calm exterior, the INFP is always feeling everything very intensely.
The flip side of these qualities is that the INFP is a huge conflict avoider, and doesn’t like to show their own emotions. When there is a conflict they’ll aim for compromise, but they’re more likely to self-sacrifice in some way to avoid the conflict first. Even if it’s just a small piece of constructive criticism for someone. This can cause the INFP to become bitter, passive aggressive, and potentially have an outburst of their bottled emotions.
They communicate in an emotional way, often preferring the written word to express themselves better. Driven by feelings, they may find it difficult to have strong conversations with more logical and realistic types who prefer to avoid the abstract. In an argument, for example, they’ll focus more on how they feel than the actual problem at hand.
Their deep emotional quality is what makes them such great listeners – they are attuned to the slightest change in tone or body language, knowing how the people they’re conversing with feel. Though this can also affect the INFP, because being around someone they perceive as feeling negative can put the INFP on edge. Either they’ll try to fix the problem, or become afraid they’ve done something wrong.
Known as mediators, they are great at helping people understand how they feel and what to do with those emotions, promoting peace in their circles. So although they can struggle with conflicts of their own, they’re a great person to turn to for advice and venting. They’re also great at inspiring others, with their ability to see people’s motivations, and help the people they love become better, developing their talents and encouraging them towards their goals. People often come to INFPs for advice and counsel in a range of topics, whether it’s personal, a work-related issue, creative, etc.
To communicate better with an INFP, encourage them and give them space to share their true feelings and thoughts. Allow them to share their inner world with you, without judgement. Acknowledge their efforts and skills, and always give criticism in the kindest way possible. INFPs can improve their communication in relationships by sharing their feelings and thoughts more, remembering to stay realistic, not shying away from conflict when it’s needed, and setting boundaries/making their needs known.
INFP Dating and Compatibility
INFPs are extremely devoted, hopeless romantics, and their idealistic view of romantic relationships can actually cause them to struggle to find a partner, since most people won’t live up to the movie-like ‘soulmate’ or ‘true love’ romances they fantasize about. But when they do find a partner, they are loyal and loving partners. They’re nurturing and caring, and have seemingly endless love to offer.
Unfortunately, due to the INFP’s idealization of romance, they can easily become blinded by love. They’ll let a partner take advantage of them, and ignore their flaws, instead choosing to believe their true-love fantasy. Even if a partner is not intentionally trying to take advantage, the INFP may be self-sacrificing and letting the partner cross their boundaries unawares, since they are so afraid of conflict and bringing up criticism. Therefore the INFP needs a partner who can show them that love is a balance and can still be genuine and full of caring even if it isn’t a fantasy.
INFPs dislike games and falseness, and only choose to let in people they see a future with. Their partner also needs to be a good match values-wise, as the INFP’s values are so important to them. Someone with opposing beliefs won’t have a chance, and if they do, the relationship will struggle without significant work or compromise.
INFPs will be happiest in a relationship that is harmonious and with the least amount of conflict possible. This means their partner has matching values, isn’t overly critical, respects their emotions, gives them quality time while allowing alone time, and is willing to wait for the INFP to fully let them in.
INFP Top Romantic Matches
All Myers-Briggs types can establish a good romantic relationship with maturity and good communication, but some types are more likely to be drawn to each other based on compatible traits.
INFPs are least compatible with types that are underemotional and more sociable. They need someone they can share a deep connection with, who both wants to spend quality time with them and respects alone time, and won’t be upset when the INFP’s introverted side takes precedence over social events. Because of this, types like ESTP and XXXX will be the most difficult to form a harmonious relationship with. They can also struggle with other introverted types, as they may both be too shy to initiate the relationship or share their true feelings.
The best match for an INFP is known to be the ENFJ. Both are looking for a strong relationship and value authenticity. They are good with emotions and can have good conversations. They also have a dominant function of Extroverted Feeling (Fe). The type with the opposite dominant function is typically said to be a good match as they have the same values but opposed, meaning they are similar but balance each other. ENFJ’s Fe makes them empathetic and straightforward, which the INFP loves.
Some other good matches:
- INFJ – has similarities with INFP, valuing emotions, loyalty, and enjoying deep conversation
- ENTJ – their extraversion balances the INFP’s introversion, allowing both to grow
- ISFP – both are introverted and creative
INFP Relationships: Parents & Children
The INFP parent tends to be very caring and empathetic, supporting their children and helping them grow into unique individuals. They want their child to have a lot of child-like wonder, enjoying the arts and expressing their emotions and authentic selves. INFP parents are open-minded and give their children a good balance of support and freedom. They want their child to know they’re loved, and they are extremely devoted and protective.
INFP parents can struggle with sharing their own emotions with their children. While aiming to let the children grow into their own individuals rather than pushing their own goals and agendas onto them, they might not communicate fully with the child. INFP parents should remember that although putting their child first is a good thing, their feelings and needs are also important.
With their tendency to avoid conflict and not share criticism, the INFP parent can also risk being too lenient with their children. They dislike punishment and won’t punish the child unless they see it as completely necessary. But it is important to ensure their children have structure and can learn right from wrong. INFP parents are more likely to have discussions with their children about their bad behavior than give punishments. Despite their dislike of punishment, however, INFP parents are good at establishing boundaries and creating flexible structures for their children to thrive in, meaning punishment is rarely necessary.
If their child crosses one of their strongly-held values, the INFP may become quite upset, seeing it as a personal failure that they haven’t taught their child the right morals. Again, this self-blame means they might not give the child consequences, instead focused on what they did wrong. INFP parents must remember that their caring natures allow them room to give consequences while remaining harmonious. The child will still know they are loved even if there are punishments. Instead of seeing wrongdoings as a reason for self-blame or a segue into punishment, INFP parents should see them as an opportunity to teach the child a lesson about right and wrong.
INFP children, on the other hand, are seen as sensitive dreamers, who enjoy fantasy and see the world through rose-colored glasses. They’re very imaginative and creative. Often INFP children can be belittled by others, who aim to dash their idealistic tendencies. This can depress the INFP child, who is especially sensitive already and can be hurt deeply by even small comments. They can feel different to others and it’s important to be gentle with INFP children and encourage their creativity and emotional intelligence.
See our list of books for the INFP Personality Type that can help you with relationships and other life aspects.
Are you an INFP?
If you’re not sure, click here to find a test.
If you are an INFP, subscribe and join your special mailing list below for more videos and information about the INFP personality type.