Wednesday, April 17, 2013

INFJ vs INFP

I have come to the realization that I may have been mis-typed. I have often taken personality tests and generally come up with the result that I am INFP. I recently took a test that said I was INFJ actually, and the more I have been researching, the more that actually sounds like me.

What it really comes down to is the external/internal focus of the different functions (a topic that I'm still trying to wrap my head around, so I apologize if I don't explain it right). The I--J tends to actually function more as a "Perceiver" than a "Judger", contrary to what you might think (and vice versa for the I--P), which is a common reason these two types are mistaken for each other. How it actually plays out though is quite distinctive, which is why once I started reading more about INFJ's, I realized how much more like me it sounded. Basically, there are...
"...two broad and fundamental options for approaching life and information: Judging and Perceiving. Perceiving involves a more passive and receptive approach to life. The first tendency of types with a dominant Perceiving function is not to control, but to allow. Judging, in contrast, involves a desire to control, order, and predict." (source here)

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Basically an INFJ has these basic functions:
Internal Intuition (Ni)
External Feeling (Fe)
Internal Thinking (Ti)
External Sensing (Se)

An INFP, on the other hand, has these functions:
Internal Feeling (Fi)
External Intuition (Ne)
Internal Sensing (Si)
External Thinking (Te)

And yes, the order of these functions is important (functions higher up on the list are more dominantly seen in a person's personality). More explanation of these stacking orders can be found here. To sum up this article, an Introvert's dominant (or top of the stack) function is always internally focused (whereas an Extrovert's dominant function is externally focused). Next, the types who last letter is "J" tend to extrovert their "Judging" function, which is actually the T/F part of the equation (confusing, no?). So in the case of an INFJ, my "Feeling" function is extroverted. For an ISTJ, for example, their "Thinking" function is extroverted.

For "P"s, they tend to extrovert their "Perceiving" function, which is the N/S part of the equation. So an INFP would extrovert their "iNtuition" function, and an ISFP, for example, would extrovert their "Sensing" function.

I haven't entirely figured out what goes into determining the order of these functions, but apparently the last function on the list is your least developed function and the functional opposite of your dominant function.

It's funny but a lot of the typical explanations for the INFP personality still sound a lot like me, but considering it from the point of view of whether my functions are external or internal makes it more clear that I am actually INFJ. Extroverted Intuition (Ne) for example (which is a trait of INFP) tends to cause someone to ramble aloud when they're processing something until they come to their conclusion. They may be seen as scatterbrained as they circle around clarifying in their mind what they're trying to say. An Introverted Intuition (Ni - a trait of the INFJ) tends to absorb the possibilities and then build on one singular idea inside their head before saying it out loud. They can often seem mystical or like a prophet when they say something because they can "jump" to a conclusion before other types, since they have done all their processing internally before speaking.

Internal Feeling (Fi - a trait of the INFP) tends to mean that a person's internal feelings are unswayed by external factors. So like, they may feel deeply about a certain topic or situation, but the fact that their feeling isn't shared by the others in the room is irrelevant. How they feel about a topic is deeply held and isn't likely to sway by external opinions and situations. For the trait of External Feeling (Fe - a trait of the INFJ), we tend to be like cold-blooded animals, in the sense that we absorb &/or mimic the feeling of a room. If I walk into a room of people that are angry, for example, I will instantly feel angry. If I walk into a room of people that are very excited, I'll tend to feel that way as well. It also works to where if I'm talking to someone, I can very easily put myself in their shoes and feel what they're feeling. I also tend to change my emotions based on what I see will help others in the room - I will exude calmness if someone needs calming down, for example, or exude anger if everyone around me seems overly lackadaisical about something that needs to be responded to more emotionally (this is largely an unconscious trait, not something I do purposefully). An Internal Feeler, on the other hand, is less concerned with cultivating the feeling in the room, but more concerned with helping people individually. They tend to be rescuers and also have a highly developed sense of their own worldview. They tend to take up causes that personally move them.

Internal Sensing (Si - a trait of the INFP) means that a person may fail to factor in external details as much. They tend to rely on past data to determine their current course of action, rather than taking into account current circumstances. They tend to avoid new sensations and experiences. An External Sensing person (Se - a trait of the INFJ) relishes new tastes, smells, etc, and are pretty in tuned to the world around them. They may notice a bird chirping outside the window before someone else might, for example. Their preferences for trends (in clothing, music, etc) also seem to be more dependent on what's trendy at the moment, whereas an Internal Sensor tends to stick with what's already tried and true (classic styles in clothing, for example).

External Thinking (Te - a trait of the INFP) tend to think out loud more than an Internal Thinking person. They may be more fact oriented, seeing things in black and white. They also tend to backtrack and try to clarify the question and underlying assumptions of something before actually trying to come up with an answer or solution. Someone with the Introverted Thinking function (Ti - a trait of the INFJ) tends to be pretty self-disciplined (able to resist eating an entire carton of ice cream in one sitting, for example) and tends to not express their opinions until they are a bit more fully formed. They are constantly pulling in new information to try to build up the theories in their minds on certain subjects. For example, I have running theories on personality types, birth order, learning styles, etc, and am constantly pulling in information to hone my viewpoint. An External Thinker would tend to already have a black and white idea of how something is, regardless of new information. While an External Thinker thinks more out loud, once they come to a conclusion, it tends to stay that way.

Anyway, sorry if this post is long (<-- an INFJ trait - I'm concerned about your feelings here, Lol). I guess it's an INFJ trait to want to teach people things (hence all my posts about blogging tips, small business tips, etc). Lol. I guess teaching you about personality traits is no different. I don't claim to be an expert here, but found all this research rather interesting and it's definitely changing how I'm viewing personality typing in general (<-- another INFJ trait - pulling in new information has morphed my opinions on something). Hopefully you've found this all rather interesting!

3 comments:

  1. Interesting post. I too have figured out (just in the past day or two) that I'm probably an INFJ instead of an INFP. Its strange, because when you look at their functions, they have NOTHING in common. But if you go just by Myers-Briggs, it looks like they are only one letter off. So I'm trying to un-brainwash myself from all the MBTI hogwash I've absorbed over the years and reconfigure my mind to this new concept...that it's all about your functions baby! HAHA Anyhoo...I liked your post. Ironically on my blog, maybe less than a week ago I was writing about how I thought I might be an ENFP, or an ISFP or an INFP....never did I even consider the INFJ until like you, I started looking at the differences between the extroverted quality of a function and the introverted quality of a function. So your post helps a little because like you...I have been told I am like a psychic sponge, picking up on the emotions and feelings of everyone around me.

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  2. I always fail those corporate 'personality' questionaires and I think I figured out the reason behind it today. I was looking for my passport, I haven't used it in years and I have moved a few times since I last saw it, in a box of semi-important paperwork when I came across the results of a Myers-Briggs I took about six years ago. I got a 50/50 split on the J/P function. So I am either INFP or INFJ or a strange mix of both. The problem for me is that the aboved mentioned questionaires deem me to be a liar or a thief, when I'm neither, if I answer all the questions honestly and if I lie on some questions, re-wording of an earlier question, I will usually get to the next stage of the hiring process. When/If I get an interview, I usually get hired..I just have issues getting past the automaton who designed the 'personality profile' questionaire.

    Do either of you, have or have had, this issue as well? If this keeps up I will be the crazy homeless person ranting about how "Their all out to get me...blah, blah". *shaking fist at 'them'* LOL

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  3. What happened to you is also happened to me. I used to think that I'm a INFP for almost 6 years. At first I identified myself as an INTJ, and then my emotion experience just bursting in my life after I hit puberty until I graduated from college. But right now, I'm sure that I was more like INFJ rather than INFP. HTe different of you and me, you realized this at 2013 but me at 2017 hehe. Keep inspiring with your inspiring post.

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