INFP vs. INFJ: 6 Differences Between These Personality Types

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INFP and INFJs are rare personality types, and these individuals may seem strikingly different from others. Although they have a lot in common, their personalities are expressed very differently, leading to significant differences in how they interact with the world. So, let’s take a deeper look at INFP vs. INFJ personalities.

What Is the INFP Personality Type?

The INFP is known as the Mediator, powerfully motivated to help others. Their key characteristics are:

Introverted

The first preference indicates where people direct and receive their energy. Introverts prefer to channel their energy inward toward ideas, information, and beliefs. Introverts prefer doing things alone or with just one or two people they know and trust.

Introverts usually think and plan before they act or speak and sometimes like the idea of something better than the thing itself.

INtuiting

The second psychological preference indicates the way a person prefers to receive information. An intuiting person pays more attention to information patterns, impressions, and underlying meaning.

They learn by thinking things through and exploring the implications of new information. They mentally explore symbols, theories, and abstractions and remember ideas and concepts better than factual details.

Feeling

The third preference indicates the way a person prefers to make decisions. A feeling person makes decisions by considering the perspectives and opinions of everyone involved and trying to create a harmonious outcome.

They want to deeply understand the feelings of the people around them and reach a peaceful resolution. They know that no two different situations will have the same solution because other people and different feelings will be involved.

Perceiving

The final preference indicator refers to how a person deals with the outside world. A perceiving person prefers to remain flexible and spontaneous, allowing events to unfold around them.

They want to understand, adapt, and interact with the world rather than structure and control it. Therefore, they are casual about their activities, keep planning to a minimum, and keep their options open.

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INFP's are comfortable with changed plans, spontaneous, and easily adapt to new goals and new situations.

This combination of preferences makes The Mediator deeply interested in making the world a better place. They want to understand themselves and others and find a sense of meaning and purpose in using their abilities to serve humanity and work for the welfare of others. They are quiet and reserved and think deeply about feelings and concepts.

They tend to ignore petty details and often delay making important decisions in case something new comes along. But on the other hand, they are sensitive, imaginative, open-minded, and filled with a sense of purpose.

What Is the INFJ Personality Type?

The INFJ personality type is the Advocate, a personality type full of contradictions. Their key characteristics are:

Introverted

The first preference indicates where people tend to direct and receive their energy. Introverts prefer to channel their energy inward toward ideas, information, and beliefs.

Introverts prefer doing things alone or with just one or two people they know and trust. Introverts usually think and plan before they act or speak and sometimes like the idea of something better than the thing itself.

Intuiting

The second psychological preference indicates the way a person prefers to receive information. An intuiting person pays more attention to information patterns, impressions, and underlying meaning.

They learn by thinking things through and exploring the implications of new information. They mentally explore symbols, theories, and abstractions and remember ideas and concepts better than factual details.

Feeling

The third preference indicates the way a person prefers to make decisions. A feeling person makes decisions by considering the perspectives and opinions of everyone involved and trying to create a harmonious outcome.

They want to deeply understand the feelings of the people around them and reach a peaceful resolution. They know that no two different situations will have the same solution because other people and different feelings will be involved.

Judging

The final preference indicator refers to how a person deals with the outside world. For example, a person with a judging personality prefers a structured life, concrete plans, and firm decisions. They make step-by-step plans, keep to-do lists and schedules, and exercise control over their life and time.

The Advocate is thoughtful, imaginative, and has high principles in life. They tend to be guided by an inner vision that makes them independent of others and willing to go their own way to pursue their values.

Although their sense of values and purpose is exceptionally high and uncompromising, they are often relaxed and easygoing with others. They balance creativity with analysis, logic with emotion, and quiet sensitivity with extremely high standards.

What Do INFP and INFJ Personalities Have in Common?

As you can already tell, INFP and INFJ personalities have much in common. Their primary shared characteristics are:

1. Seeking Deeper Purpose and Meaning

Both personality types are powerfully drawn to the idea that life has a deeper purpose and meaning.

These thoughtful personalities want to understand the world, compare it to a better world they imagine, and then work to bring about positive changes. They are personalities full of values and principles.

2. Insightful and Perceptive

While neither INFP nor INFJ personalities are very social or extroverted, they observe people and the world closely and are sensitive to the feelings and experiences of others. In addition, they are compassionate and empathetic, making them great listeners.

3. Quiet and Reserved

Both INFP and INFJ personalities are challenging to get to know. However, their introverted personalities and preference for thought and abstraction rather than experience and action make them extremely quiet and reserved.

Famous INFPs include Princess Diana, Keanu Reeves, and Kurt Cobain, people driven by a quiet determination to positively impact the world. INFJs like Barak Obama, Malala Yousafzai, and Emma Watson have also made incredible changes in the world around them.

6 Key Differences Between the INFP and INFJ Personality

INFP and INFJ personalities are highly similar, and because they are thoughtful, quiet, and reserved, a person would need to know them well to begin to spot how they are different.

However, these differences significantly affect how these personalities interact with the world. Here are the 6 key differences between INFP and INFJ personality types:

1. Personality Type Frequency

INFP: 4-5% overall. INFJ: 1-3% overall

The INFJ personality type is one of the rarest, with just 1-3% of the US population having this personality. It is slightly rarer among men, with only 1-2% of American men having the INFJ personality type.

2. Compromise vs. Perfection

Compromise: INFP. The INFP is focused on personal growth and is warm and generous with those they care about. This personality type is caring, accepting, and generous, making them less critical of themselves or others and eager to find harmony and compromise.

Perfection: INFJ. The INFJ personality tends toward perfectionism, holding themselves and others to extremely high standards of ethics, values, and behavior. However, because these personality types tend to also communicate in a direct, specific manner, they are often perceived as highly critical and judgmental.

3. Unreliable vs. Dependable

Unreliable: INFP. An INFP struggles with long-term planning and organization, preferring to keep things open and flexible. Unfortunately, this can mean they don’t follow through on commitments, forget or lose sight of responsibilities, and can be unfocused and unreliable.

Dependable: INFJ. The always-organized INFJ is highly reliable and can be relied upon to do what they say when they say it. They excel at making long-term plans, meeting goals, and creating structured systems.

4. Flexible vs. Stubborn

Flexible: INFP. An INFP is open to new experiences and keeps a flexible, accommodating attitude. They are comfortable with changed plans, spontaneous, and easily adapt to new goals and new situations.

Stubborn: INFJ. While the INFJ (like the INFP) is always open to new information and has a curious mind, they can be highly stubborn when they think they are right. They are not very spontaneous or flexible, and can be reluctant to change course unexpectedly.

5. Harmonious vs. Ambitious

Harmonious: INFP. INFPs value cooperation and harmony and try to create situations where everyone can get along happily. They are interested in creating better conditions for everyone, even when they have to take a back seat.

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INFJ personality tends toward perfectionism, holding themselves and others to extremely high standards of ethics, values, and behavior.

Ambitious: INFJ. An INFJ personality is more ambitious, although they are not usually motivated by wealth or external recognition. These personality types are more exacting, persistent, and driven, and often seek power to shape things the way they want them to be.

6. Loyalty vs. Individualism

Loyal: INFP. The INFP's peace-loving, harmonious, cooperative nature makes them loyal to friends and loved ones and unlikely to “rock the boat” unnecessarily.

While they will gladly fight tradition and convention when they feel that injustice is being done and aren’t afraid of challenges, they prefer to get along with everyone.

Individualistic: INFJ. The individualistic INFJ resists going along with loyalty and tradition for its own sake and will go their own way rather than compromise. Their individualism can make them highly creative and innovative, making it difficult for them to obey rules and fit into rigid systems.

The empathetic nature of the INFP, and their goal of improving the world through personal growth, makes them compassionate, agreeable, and peaceful. They can also be disorganized, flighty, and over-sensitive, but they build deep, loyal relationships around them.

On the other hand, the INFJ is a bit more stubborn perfectionist, making them more challenging to get along with, even when their insight and intelligence prove they are right.

Final Thoughts on INFP and INFJ Personalities

INFP and INFJ personalities use their considerable intelligence and insight to analyze and understand the world and then try to improve it.

These types can be challenging to know and understand, but they have a powerful impact on the lives of their friends and loved ones and show what it means to live a life with higher values and principles daily.

We live in a society where introverts are often misunderstood and misjudged, so it’s important to remember that the MBTI’s introversion preference is simply that: a preference.

Introverts can attend parties, have highly developed social skills, and speak in public, and being an introvert has a few advantages. Some introverts are more introverted than others, and some people’s preferences change over time.

People often think of a personality type as an astrological sign – an immutable list of characteristics with you for life. Instead, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator describes how a person prefers to function and behave in the world, with characteristics that are not fixed and immutable and capable of a wide range of expressions.

For more information about the MBTI and the 16 personalities, check out our beginner’s guide and better understand this powerful psychological tool.

Finally, if you want to identify YOUR personality type, then take one of these 11 personality tests to better understand what makes you tick.

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