As the lovable, mystical and romantic idealists of the personality types, the INFJ and INFP share many characteristics in common. They are both sensitive to the arts, empathetic, interested in the human condition, kind-hearted, warm, and extremely creative.
But how can we tell them apart? Or what if you’re still unsure sure if you are an INFJ or INFP? Let’s dive in and compare the INFJ vs. INFP personality types.
Before we jump in, you should know this post is part of a series dedicated to answering the question: Am I a judging or perceiving personality type? Check out this post for more.
Since they’re both relatively rare, they may feel like an “outsider” or “misunderstood” by their peers, family, and society as a whole. To differentiate the two, we have to look at their Jungian function stack (they share zero functions in common).
A High-Level View
You can find INFJs nose-deep in a book about spirituality, psychology, philosophy—anything where the greater human condition is involved. Their high levels of empathy allow them to “feel” what others are feeling, which can uplift or drain them, depending on the situation. INFJs often have a greater vision to improve the lives of society as a whole, for a more caring future.
INFPs find meaning in creating their own artwork. They want to express their individuality first and foremost—sometimes experimenting with different mediums and lifestyles. They feel emotions very deeply, and can sometimes appear nonchalant or “chill” on the surface—which can get them mistaken for a “Thinking” personality type. They tend to life a quiet, quaint lifestyle filled with comfort and love.
Functions Stack: INFJ vs. INFP
The functions stack is a model that arranges the different cognitive functions according to preference for each personality type.
- Introverted Intuition (Ni)
- Extraverted Feeling (Fe)
- Introverted Thinking (Ti)
- Extraverted Sensing (Se)
- Introverted Feeling (Fi)
- Extraverted Intuition (Ne)
- Introverted Sensing (Si)
- Extraverted Thinking (Te)
Giving vs. Expressing (Fe vs. Fi)
INFJs have an innate drive to give outwardly and help—through their thoughtful words, philanthropic actions, or desire to learn to be more open-minded. If they work in a career where this push to help is absent or missing, they can burn out quickly and feel “stuck” in what they should do next. INFJs have chameleon-like attributes that help them blend in and socialize well with different groups of people; to the point where they may “lose themselves” in a relationship, role, or ideology.
INFPs also enjoy helping their loved ones and volunteering, although their primary function, introverted feeling, propels them to create and make sense of their feelings. They have an extremely strong self identity, which may be expressed through their fashion style, haircut, taste in music, hobbies, friend group, or career path. INFPs take pride in being viewed as “different” or “unique,” and march to the beat of their own drum. Their feelings guide their decisions (“I listen to what my heart says”) and can change course in the blink of an eye.
Vision vs. Ideation (Ni vs. Ne)
Since INFJs lead with introverted intuition (Ni), they have a vision of how they’d want to positively contribute in the future. They enjoy curating 3, 5, even 10 year plans from scratch and fulfilling their large goals to better themselves and society. INFJs work tenaciously towards their missions and are willing to sacrifice their time and energy if it’s needed to propel a larger movement or organization forward to activate change.
INFPs, in contrast, thrive on new ideas. They enjoy experimenting with new art forms and unrelated concepts to form a more comprehensive picture of their deep feelings. INFPs may write a poem to their beloved and turn it into a ballad the next month, then a design for their small boutique. They’re constantly forming new connections between their experiences and emotions, which can transform into groundbreaking pieces of art.
Sensations vs. Memories (Se vs. Si)
Under stress, INFJs can turn to reckless bouts of partying, risky driving, and substance abuse. They have a “wild side” that may be hidden until a life-changing event happens. This is because extraverted sensing (Se) is in their inferior function position. INFJs typically live in the future with their plans and ideals. However, their Se can allow them to be hypervigilant of their surroundings and unlock new talents in more risky activities, such as extreme sports.
INFPs enjoy collecting memories and may actively update a scrapbook or journal to do so. They love reliving a moment in all of its bittersweet nostalgia. Through experiences, INFPs can find connections between the past and the present, and use that knowledge to guide them through their decisions. This can lead to unhealthy relationship patterns, as INFPs who grew up with unhealthy parenting styles may develop traumatic attachment styles and unconsciously search for partners that reiterate their past. Luckily, they can also recognize the damaging aspects of previous mindsets and “break free” from them, which creates a new identity.
Systems vs. Productivity (Ti vs. Te)
INFJs, even as Feelers, are extremely logical people who consider and evaluate their internal frameworks with care. They may appear more like a “Thinker” at first glance. INFJs think deeply and may appear semi-scattered to others. Their desk might be perfectly tidy and spiffy, but their bed might be unmade. Their sense of fashion may be clean and crisp, yet their hair may look unkempt by accident if they forget to brush it.
INFPs have an appreciation for productivity and may work on reading self-help books, watching podcasts, and discussing with mentors to help them form better time-management habits. They can find immense comfort in simple routines for waking up and winding down. INFPs appreciate the simple things in life, as proud, relaxed “Type B” personalities: looking out a window during the sunrise, watering their plants, or spending quality time with their pets.
Career Differences: INFJ vs. INFP
INFJs want a career that helps others and allows them to give back to their community. They excel in the fields of counseling, writing, therapy, speech pathology, and in child psychology. (check out the best jobs for INFJs)
INFPs, in contrast, feel most comfortable expressing themselves creatively without a structured approach. They can put their natural talents to work magic in digital art, graphic design, video editing, veterinary sciences, photography, and filmmaking. (check out the best jobs for INFPs)