INTP vs. INFP: 6 Differences Between These Personality Types

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INTP and INFP personality types are uncommon in America, and both types are introverted and analytical. These characteristics can make them reserved, making it difficult to get to know them and more challenging for them to express themselves.

This means that there may be important INTP or INFP people in your life who you struggle to communicate with or understand. Knowing the differences between INTP and INFP personalities can help improve your relationship with these quieter types.

What Is the INTP Personality Type?

The INTP personality type is known as the Logician. 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.

Thinking

The third preference indicates the way a person prefers to make decisions. A thinking person makes decisions based on facts and data, striving for objectivity. They try to reach conclusions that are universally applicable and useful all the time in every similar situation.

They look for fundamental truths, underlying principles, and consistent practices without personal influence.

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.

Collectively, these characteristics make the Logician quiet, reserved, and analytical. The INTP is a great abstract thinker with a logical and objective mind. They think about the big picture rather than the little details.

They have open, flexible thinking, which often leads to highly creative problem-solving, and dislike excessive structure and planning. An INTP is quiet, reserved, and difficult to get to know. They are highly independent but loyal and affectionate with the few people who are close to them.

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 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 how a person prefers to receive information. An intuiting person pays more attention to information patterns, impressions, and underlying meaning.

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The INFP is deeply sensitive to the feelings of others and cares about how other people think and feel.

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.

This combination of preferences makes the Mediator deeply interested in making the world better. 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 Do INTP and INFP Personalities Have in Common?

INTP and INFP personalities have a lot in common and are likely to get along and become good friends when they connect. Here are some of the most significant characteristics shared by both of these types:

1. Original and Creative Thinkers

Both INTP and INFP personalities are thoughtful and analytical, deeply interested in abstract concepts and theories and how they might improve the world. This makes them highly creative people, full of innovative and original ideas.

2. Curious and Open-Minded

INTP and INFP personality types are both interested in knowing more and better understanding themselves and the world. This makes them highly curious, eager to seek answers and perspectives, and receptive to new information. In addition, their open-mindedness contributes to their creativity.

3. Socially Challenged

INTP and INFP personalities have some challenges regarding socializing and connecting with others. They usually dislike small talk, interacting in large groups, and struggling to express themselves.

It’s easy to see how these types are similar to each other and the characteristics they have in common when you consider famous INTP personalities like Bill Gates, Nikola Tesla, and Marie Curie and compare them to well-known INFP types like Princess Diana, Andy Warhol, and John Lennon.

6 Key Differences Between the INTP and INFP Personality

Despite all these similarities, there are several important differences between these two personality types. The key differences between INTP and INFP personalities are:

1. Personality Type Frequency

INTP: 3-5% overall. INFP: 4-5% overall

Both personality types are uncommon among Americans, but the INTP personality type is extremely rare among women. Just 1-3% of US women are INTP personalities.

2. Insensitive vs. Over-Sensitive

Insensitive: INTP. The INTP personality tends to have a blunt, direct communication style that can come across as rude. They may also feel that taking time and effort to phrase things gently is illogical and a waste of time.

Their lack of social skills also means they can miss out on subtext, undertones, or more subtle communication from others and be unaware of the feelings of those around them. While they don’t usually intend to hurt the feelings of others, their insensitivity means that they don’t try hard to avoid it either.

Over-sensitive: INFP. An INFP personality cares very much for the feelings of others and goes out of their way to be warm, caring, and generous. They are sensitive to subtext and emotional context but often struggle to express their emotions.

Their over-sensitivity means that they may be dishonest to avoid conflict or have their feelings hurt over minor interactions. This type is prone to over-thinking their interactions with others and being troubled over small things.

3. Critical vs. Self-Doubt

Critical: INTP. Both INTP and INFP types are idealists, focused on how the world could be better, and working toward this greater vision. In the INTP, this idealism often takes the form of perfectionism and hyper-criticality.

They can find flaws in almost anything and can be so critical of a plan or concept that they abandon it before it begins. Their critical nature, combined with their blunt communication style, can make them difficult partners and coworkers.

Self-Doubt: INFP. In the INFP, their idealism can often turn to self-doubt. The tendency to overthink, along with their insightful and agile minds, can make them easily see and magnify their flaws and undermine their confidence. This self-doubt can make it hard for them to express their ideas or trust themselves to achieve goals.

4. Independent vs. Harmonious

Independent: INTP. An INTP personality is highly independent and willing to pursue their goals and vision by themselves if necessary. However, they often struggle to follow the rules and abide by structures if they don’t see them contributing to their goal and frequently challenge prevailing beliefs and points of view.

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An INTP can get lost in thought and caught up in an idea which can contribute to their absent-mindedness and impair their ability to follow through.

Harmonious: INFP. The INFP personality cares deeply about harmony and cooperation and gets along well with others. While they will stand up for their values and principles, they also work hard to avoid conflict and create peace. This type often gives up minor points and small issues to promote harmony.

5. Objective vs. Empathetic

Objective: INTP. The INTP cares deeply about logic, reason, and fundamental truths and principles. They strive to view things objectively and intellectually without considering their own feelings or the feelings of others.

An INTP seeks objective, universal, timeless concepts and principles and tries to apply them to every situation.

Empathetic: INFP. The INFP is deeply sensitive to the feelings of others and cares about how other people think and feel. They consider the perspectives, needs, feelings, and opinions of others and try to create situations that are harmonious and promote the well-being of everyone involved.

Their natural empathy helps them understand others and work toward cooperation and harmony.

6. Absent-Minded vs. Dedicated

Absent-Minded: INTP. While the INTP can be highly focused on a goal or ideal, they tend to lose sight of details and forget inconvenient, practical considerations. In addition, they can get lost in thought and caught up in an idea which can contribute to their absent-mindedness and impair their ability to follow through.

Dedicated: INFP. While an INFP is not a meticulous planner, they are strongly motivated by their values. They care deeply about improving the lives of those around them and positively impacting the world, and they devote themselves to a cause.

This dedication and commitment make them more reliable than many perceiving personality types and often prone to acts of selflessness and sacrifice.

Final Thoughts on the INTP and INFP Personalities

INTP and INFP personality types may be small in number, but they have an outsized impact on society and history. These personalities have ideas that can change the world and the passion and devotion to make them a reality.

However, how they pursue their ideals is very different, and they can have very different effects on the people around them, so it can be easy to lose sight of their similarities.

If you don’t know your personality types or are just familiarizing yourself with the MBTI, check out our beginner’s guide to learn more about INTP, INFP, and the other fascinating personalities around you.

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