My Perspective: Hard to be me
You have no fucking idea. Not a clue. In my head I am shrieking and gibbering in terror, reveling in introverted power, wailing in despair and exuding peace like a Zen master, frozen like a deer in the headlights in overwhelm and acting decisively like King Shit on a mission. Loving people and despising humanity. Loving who I am and hating me with every vibrating thought. All while clearly seeing past, present and future like some demented fucking oracle. I am the deepest despair and the highest exultation all at fucking once. I am INFP.
I know myself very well. I have had more conversations with my own mind than most people have had. Also understand the a personality type is actually a personality type preference. It represents the behavior’s and modes one is most likely to develop based on that personality profile. Behaviors and mannerisms are choices. And every person and endless vista of possibilities.
I am an introvert. But I can choose to operate in extroverted mode when and if the situation warrants. Am I comfortable there? No. It’s draining AF and I hate it. I love humanity. Just don’t like being around people that much. Oh individually folks are pretty great, but put them in a group and far too often they turn into a monster that cannot be satisfied.
Reveling in Introversion
I have spent most of my life alone. Whether or not I was with someone, or identified with a group of people, I was still alone. I noticed a common thread when I was with others. As a youth I was always the last one picked. Is it any wonder I hate team sports and would rather eat a turd than watch a football game? So is that a personality trait of introversion? Or a learned behavior of equating sports with hurt, rejection, feelings of inadequacy, betrayal, when it was someone thought of as a friend who was doing the picking. And we won’t even broach the topic of locker room bullies and a boy who found conflict traumatizing.
Circles of conversation almost always close into a circle that leaves me on the outside. Even in an environment that preached to me how accepted and loved I was, those circles still closed with me on the outside. At first I thought this was perceptual bias. So I started to be deliberate in the observation and sho’ ’nuff.
I used to be hurt. It used to help fuel my self-loathing. It drove me ever deeper into depression, despair and negative ruminations. Why am I so broken? What is wrong with me? Doesn’t God even love me? Why can’t I just be like everyone else?
Transformation: growing a pair
So yeah. I can tell you all about the self destructive nature of self hatred, of being dead inside, and drinking poison just to feel alive for a few minutes. All because of thought circles that weren’t true. Because of a mind self-stressed into operating in a foreign manner – Extroverted thinking (Te) versus the natural Introverted Feeling (Fi). When the INFP mind is sick it reverses it’s cognitive stack and tries to function as an ESTJ and it can’t. It doesn’t know how and can’t learn how. For the INFP, that rich and detailed inner world that carries it’s very own realities? Turns into an awful fucking hellscape. Whatever the mechanics of depression, the feeling of being left out. Of not belonging, plagued every dream and poisoned every waking thought. I had not had a tribe, people I could truly call my own since being part of a submarine crew.
Then I was reading a book written by Nikki Sixx, bassist of Motley Crue, and one sentence punched me in the face. “Grow some balls and change your life.” That meant choices had to be made. Changes had to be implemented, and negative people and situations abandoned. Well, I did kinda go scorched earth and not all the people I abandoned were negative or in anyway harmful to me. They were simply part of something that was.
All of life is about choices and preparing oneself to meet the demands of those choices. Not everyone can do this, but the more self-aware an individual is, the more they are able to consciously operate outside their preference. Understanding how the results of one of these tests apply to one’s self is, or can be, part of becoming aware while understanding these findings represent a probable tendency based on answers to a set of questions and are not the final arbiter of truth about an individual.
A Tale of three Tests Seven Years Apart
The links below show the details of my split-personality testing over seven years of time. we change, we evolve, and questions a prior self might answer one way get answered differently by the now-self. I accept this personality drift as normal for myself. Because I am an evolving creature. I never accept what I believe about the universe to be absolute. There is always room for error. Always room for growth. I pity the poor souls who are the same at 60 as they were at 30. Though I don’t think core personality ever changes, I think tests can have varying degrees of accuracy.
From the test in 2016 I tested out as an INFJ. Now, I leave it to you to indulge your curiosity and read the material yourself using the links I provided, and perhaps take the tests yourself. There is no fee and I’m not paid to send you there. They make money on detailed guides helping inform us what to do with our very own alphabet soup of personality letters. And yes, they are generally accurate.
More details and a different letter
Taking this test again did send me in a new direction with that one little letter. All the things that did not synch up with the INFJ descriptions suddenly did. I found it to be mostly accurate. and looking back, it would have been accurate at 15. I didn’t capture my percentage numbers the first time, but in the Judging/Perceiving index I vaguely remember being close to INFP anyhow. In the intervening years they have made a few changes to the index, as is to be expected, with the addition of a fifth index for Identity – Assertive/Turbulent. Besides, I always figured I was just too damn strange to accurately classify.
Fuck. Some asshole did in fact classify me, dropped me in a taxonomy neat as you please. And the taxonomy was labeled INFP. Not “Weirdo who is probably an alien.”
And, I was already close to an INFP, my closest friend and confidant, with whom I felt an instant connection 8 or so years ago when we met, We will call her A. I love A as dearly and deeply as I do M, just on a different plane. One of the effed up things about western culture is the need to sexualize every relationship between a male and a female. Boys and Girls actually can just be great friends, and do friend things, including getting hammered together exclusive of “benefits”. Without any “tension” whatsoever. The ancient Greeks had six different words for love. The fact we only have one gets contextually confusing sometimes.
After taking the test again and getting the INFP result, It was like a bolt from the blue where A was concerned. A and I had been close friends for years already. But now I understood that her inner world, way of thinking and behavioral responses are very very much like my own. And I loved her just a little bit more. Because I now actually understood the internal war that she fights each and every day. Just like me. Another trait of INFP’s is that we hide that war from you. It is ours, and you have no business there. And we know, that if we let you, even those yous who are closest, see that war, you will misunderstand and misjudge us. An understanding that we, as INFP, find almost impossible to convey in a way you will understand, so we war on in silence, often behind a cheerful and kind demeanor. Knowing that A, also an INFP-9, faces that same war inside, every day, has the same longing for peace that never quite gets satisfied, yet still has kindness and a smile to offer most people and every critter (also like me) amplified the affection I have for A through the roof. Again, in no romantic sense. I am ever grateful for M’s trust and acceptance of my friendship with A. Many women would not be nearly so tolerant. The concept of platonic soulmates is one that still needs a little work in the public sphere. Two people who connect, and enhance each other’s lives by simple virtue of that connection in such a way as to appear that the connection itself was fated. Or maybe it’s also a matter of trust and trustworthiness on the part of those in committed monogamous relationships. I’m going to pass on sharing my thoughts on polyamory. Those might show up in a philosophical musings section someday. Oddly enough xNFP’s are the types most likely to be accepting of it.
INFP’s are rare, 4% of the US population roughly, twice as many female INFP’s as male, and finding a friend like A, for me, is beyond the measure of value. As is finding the love and companionship of M, an ENFP, who is my joy, balance, blessing and adventure, who takes me outside of my head to show me wonders, who is far beyond the value of anything to me. These two beautiful women, and a couple of Navy buddies, because the bond of submariners runs as deep as our boats, and a few others, make my very small innermost circle. Typically INFP.
I have, since the days of youth gravitated to girls and women as friends. I don’t really understand dick energy, small or otherwise. Or maybe I do, and that’s why my closest friends have always been female. Or, maybe it’s the fact that three generations of strong women were almost my sole influence the first 5 years of my life. Or maybe its’ because shop talk goes over my head, sports talk bores me to contemplating the many benefits of alcoholism, and general American dude gearhead stuff just holds no interest to me at all. I never wanted to be a fireman or cop, I dislike authority intensely and I have no use for pushy, arrogant, ambitious people. This is probably because the INFP type, especially 9’s have an almost impossible time setting boundaries. So a significant part of my time on earth has been uselessly burned trying to please, and being walked on and over, by pushy arrogant people. But I learned the lesson. That one day came. At the age of 52, I stood up from deep within myself, clenched my fists in defiance and held both of them up to the world, middle fingers stretched out proudly. Now is that an INFP-9 thing? Or just a dude fed up with himself, the world he lives in and many of the people in it thing?
This note is for my trans and gender-fluid readers, please understand that the binary examples shown above are an expression of my own life experiences. Life hasn’t given me opportunity to develop close friendships outside of traditional gender definitions. And as mentioned over and over I am an introvert. I avoid group social situations, so it’s a catch-22. Am I open to those relationships? Sure I am. People are interesting once you get past small talk, and for an INFP? That is hard because small talk doesn’t really work for us.. Besides, supporting and championing the cause of society’s outcasts and underdogs is both an INFP thing, and a John thing. My LBG friends all know me as an Ally.
Why does a person end up who they are? INFP? Are those letter genetically implanted, or put there by life, or both?
INFJ: the Advocate
In 2016 I took the test. It told me I was an INFJ, the rarest of all personality types. Some of the things the INFJ book said synched up. But a lot of things… did not. So I took it as the test and index itself being of limited accuracy and usefulness and moved right along with my roll of continual improvement and self-mastery. I’m not going to expound on what could be googled. As awesome as the INFJ type is (Gahndi was an INFJ) It just did not really seem to be me. And I wasn’t about to try and shove myself in that mode. Besides. I figured I was too fucking weird to be so easily classified. I learned later that INFPs will often test as INFJ on online tests. Okay. Not an INFJ. Bummer. INFJ are often world changers. INFP-9? often the #lifefails poster kids. Hey I was 52 before my shit started to fall into one sock.
INFP: the Mediator
The last nine years have been pivotal for me on my life journey. They have seen a lot of personal growth and positive changes for me. The self hatred is gone. The anxiety over being around people is mostly gone. The ruminations about what others think… gone. I no longer feel like an unimportant child in a world full of important adults who know what they are about. I understand that I am an adult in a world run by insane greedy children who don’t have the foggiest fucking clue. With important things to say. And I choose the anachronism of writing to say those things in this world of instant video, sound bites for distracted minds and junk food for the soul. This, is also the trait of an INFP.
My nature as an INFP Enneagram 9 is “Peace at All Costs” I have since done more detailed testing through 16personalities.com premium offering and the Enneagrammatic personality test at Enneagram Universe. The two tests are complementary in nature. The 16 Personalities test is based on the MBTI dichotomy test.
So, that was my experience as an INFP-9. Weird AF. Here is the straight up from the world of psychological science. Which I still pretty much think of as witchcraft prancing about in a lab coat,
Insights into the INFP Personality
The INFP personality type is a unique and distinct character from the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) typology. INFPs, also known as Mediators, are introverted, intuitive, feeling, and prospecting individuals. They are unique gems, representing about 4% of the population, who are driven by strong principles, seeking harmony and understanding in the world. Yeah, are you folks getting this. Me Me Me. LOL
And the letters mean...
INFPs are introverted by nature, cherishing solitude, and preferring a small, close-knit circle of friends. They are self-reflective, often contemplating life’s big questions, and spending time in their rich inner world.
INFPs use their intuition to process information, focusing on impressions and meanings. They are imaginative, open-minded, and curious, often thinking more about future possibilities than immediate realities.
People with this personality type are feeling individuals. They value emotions and subjective viewpoints, emphasizing harmony and empathy. They prioritize humanistic concerns and moral outcomes over cold logic.
INFPs are prospecting individuals. They are adaptable, flexible, and prefer keeping their options open. They appreciate spontaneity, and often like to explore the path less traveled.
Core Strengths and Weaknesses
- Empathetic and compassionate: INFPs are extremely caring and compassionate, with a unique ability to understand others’ emotions and experiences.
- Creative and imaginative: With their rich inner world, INFPs are deeply creative, often expressing themselves through art, writing, or other forms of creative expression.
- Idealistic: INFPs are idealists to the core. They are driven by their values and seek meaning and purpose in everything they do.
- Tendency towards perfectionism: INFPs can sometimes be overly idealistic and hold themselves, and others sometimes. to unrealistic standards, leading to feelings of inadequacy for self and disappointment in others.
- Can be overly emotional: Due to their feeling nature, they can sometimes be swayed too much by their emotions, causing them to make impractical and sometimes downright stupid decisions.
- Avoidant of conflict: INFPs value harmony above all else and may avoid necessary conflicts, leading to unresolved issues. And sometimes will sacrifice a relationship to silence when well communicated conflict resolution could strengthen that relationship.
Notable Historical INFPs
- Joan of Arc: The INFP archetype. An INFP is someone who won’t break a rule in class, but will start a revolution. Yay Joan.
- William Shakespeare: The renowned playwright, known for his rich characters and deep understanding of human emotions, is often identified as an INFP. His prolific body of work showcases a profound understanding of human nature, which aligns well with INFP characteristics.
- George Orwell: The author of ‘1984’ and ‘Animal Farm,’ Orwell was a passionate advocate for his beliefs, demonstrating the INFP’s strong adherence to personal values.
- Vincent van Gogh: This iconic painter’s intense emotional style and personal, introspective themes reflect the creative, passionate nature of many INFPs.
And Add the 9
The Enneagram Type 9 personality type, also known as The Peacemaker, significantly overlaps with the INFP personality traits. INFPs generally roll as a 9, or a 4. $’s are more assertive – an INFP-A rather than INFP-T would be more likely to be a 4. 4’s are also a bit more full of themselves. Comes with that assertive confidence I guess. A closer look at this intersection of INFP|E9 unveils an individual who is deeply empathetic, avoids conflict, and seeks internal and external peace.
Core Traits of Enneagram Type 9
Desire for Peace
Peacemakers, true to their name, crave internal and external harmony. They tend to see all viewpoints and are often skilled mediators. This aligns with the INFP’s inclination for harmony and their avoidance of conflict.
Avoidance of Conflict
Type 9 individuals often avoid conflicts at all costs, potentially leading to issues being left unresolved. This mirrors the INFP’s struggle with conflict and their tendency to neglect their own needs in favor of keeping the peace.
Struggle with Inertia
Type 9 personalities can sometimes struggle with inertia or complacency. They can be resistant to change and may be slow to respond to tasks or demands. Similarly, INFPs may struggle with their motivation levels due to their perfectionist tendencies.
INFP as Enneagram Type 9: Strengths and Weaknesses
- Understanding and Accepting: As both INFPs and Type 9s tend to be open-minded and accepting individuals, this combination results in a personality that is particularly understanding and nonjudgmental.
- Ability to Mediate: Their shared preference for peace and understanding often makes these individuals skilled mediators, able to navigate and resolve conflicts by understanding multiple perspectives.
- Appreciation of the World Around Them: Both personality types appreciate the world’s beauty and richness, often finding joy in simple, everyday moments.
- Tendency to Ignore Their Own Needs: These individuals’ peace-seeking nature may lead them to neglect their own needs and feelings, which can cause issues in the long term.
- Difficulty Facing Unpleasant Realities: INFPs as Type 9s may struggle to confront unpleasant realities, preferring to stay in their comfortable world.
- Procrastination: Both types may struggle with procrastination, with the INFP’s perfectionism and the Type 9’s inertia combining to create potential difficulties with motivation.
Famous INFPs as Enneagram Type 9
And we're done
Remember, the combination of MBTI and Enneagram is a tool for self-understanding and development, not a definitive measure of a person’s capabilities or limits. Each person is unique and may not align perfectly with these classifications. However, understanding your possible personality types can provide insights that help you better understand yourself and others.
Understanding the above doesn’t mean you know me, or A, or any INFP-9 in your sphere. People are far to complex and far too many experiences play into someone’s identity personality and behaviors., of the which personality only plays a part, significant to be sure. But only a part. We are all cosmic individuals on s journey, though to some types it is more of a mission than a wild as trip through a learning experience.. But this long, OK, really long essay gives you a little insight and understanding should you ever be fortunate enough to develop a close relationship with an INFP. Should you be so lucky, remember to value that person and to always treat them in a manner that reflects that value. And that relationship? That could take seconds, or years, depending on how we feel about you and your interactions with us. Shallow, inauthentic, or manipulative people, people who bring drama or anxiety, people with hidden motives? We are VERY intuitive. Those folks are recognized get distance instead of conflict. This INFP-9 has learned to choose battles, and friends, very carefully.
My ultimate understanding as an INFP? Is that all of you are my tribe. Everyone. No-one left out or behind. I love you all.
Even you pushy, arrogant, ambitious folks. Though I’m going to love you from a distance, if you don’t mind, or even if you do. Please understand, when I see you? I see a small hungry thing. A tiny monster that WANTS. and a thing that will do whatever it takes to fill it’s empty hole with money, power and stuff. A monkey that want’s every banana in the jungle and doesn’t care in the slightest that the other monkeys need bananas too.
But that hole never fills up does it? It’s a lot like a dark abyss that can’t be filled though you spend every bit of life energy trying to fill it, that hole is so dark, you can’t even see if the level inside is rising or not.
A hole that is actually easy to fill with the things that go there. Love, compassion, kindness, empathy, goodness, gentleness, meekness, peace and faith. That stuff lights up the hole so you can see inside and pull out the snakes. What snakes? Well, I suppose those ones that keep eating up all that shit you keep throw down there to make sure you never get filled. I’m handing you the keys to the universe here and not asking for a thing in return. You might meditate on that awhile. I love you. But I despise the behaviors you employ to feed your need. And all of you and those methods you employ is why our world is a garbage truck fire rolling towards a cliff. My words against you aren’t motivated by hatred for you, my hope is that you change your motivations and become a person, so I speak out of love. For you, and for those you callously abuse, neglect and exploit for your ends.
Who are you? Well, if that next rung on your ladder means more to you than the person you are going to step on to get there? Shoe fits I guess. I will not be silent while you oppress others with your greed, backwards ideology and lust for power and control. I will be their champion, their voice until my last breath. What does any of that have to do with INFP? My friends… that IS voice of an INFP to the very core.
Would that there were more of us, enough that our cries for justice are so loud that it shakes the monster’s hold on our world loose.
But especially you who because you don’t fit, you are pushed to the fringe, where the lepers, the addicts, the mentally ill, the abused, neglected and rejected dwell. I See You. I Know You. I Love You Extra.
Love, Blessings and cheer to you all!