If you’re reading this post, there’s a high chance that you’re trying to work out if you’re an INFJ vs. INFP personality type. These two types are often confused because they share many of the same characteristics. Both types are idealistic, compassionate, and creative. They are also deep thinkers who value their personal relationships.
But there are also some core differences between how these types think and experience the world. In this post, we explore these core differences. If you’re unclear about your type, we hope this helps you.
So here are five differences between the INFJ and INFP personality types:
1. Empathizing with others.
Both INFPs and INFJs are deeply empathetic and feel other people’s emotions on a deep level. However, INFPs map other people’s emotions to their own, while INFJs absorb the feelings of those around them. As a result, INFPs are more able to “switch off” their empathy than INFJs.
Seeing as INFPs are acutely aware of their own emotions, they imagine how they would feel if they were in someone else’s shoes. When possible, INFPs consider how they felt in similar situations in the past in order to understand what someone is going through.
They essentially have a library of emotions from a range of experiences, and they can draw on them when they choose. However, they might not always be aware that they’re doing this because it comes so naturally to them.
On the other hand, INFJs innately absorb the emotions of others in real-time. This can happen with anyone or anything—it could be a close family member, someone they are sitting next to on the train, or an animal in a book.
How they empathize with others isn’t directly based on how they would feel, although this can be a conscious consideration. When they are around happy people, they naturally take on similar emotions, and the same goes for other scenarios, such as when those around them are sad.
2. Making decisions.
Both types are emotional, but INFPs are more in touch with their own emotions, while INFJs are more aware of the emotions of others. Even though INFPs and INFJs feel very deeply, they are extremely private.
While both types value emotions when making decisions, INFPs primarily consider if the potential course of action aligns with their values, while INFJs first consider how others will be impacted. This also means that INFPs tend to be more individualistic, while INFJs adjust their behavior depending on who they are with.
INFPs have a deep need to stay true to themselves, and they aren’t concerned about what others think of them. When making decisions, INFPs ask: “How do I feel about this?”
As an INFP myself, I actively rebelled against peer pressure as a teenager and made it very clear that I would only do what I felt was right.
INFPs are driven by a need to remain authentic, and they are rarely influenced by others when making decisions. Ultimately, they are always looking to create harmony within themselves.
INFJs primarily base their decisions on how they will affect others. They want to create win-win scenarios and avoid hurting anyone’s feelings. Of course, this isn’t always possible, and when they do have to take actions that involve hurting other people, it deeply affects them.
INFJs are often the peacemakers in their families or social groups. They will try to see both sides of every issue and find a resolution that works for everyone.
When making decisions, INFJs ask: “How does this impact the group?” Ultimately, they are always looking to create harmony with the outer world.
INFPs and INFJs have a similar approach to life in a lot of ways. After all, they share preferences for introversion, intuition, and feeling. However, the way they organize their day-to-day lives can look quite different.
INFPs prefer to keep their options open, while INFJs feel more comfortable when they have a clear plan.
INFPs often appear relaxed and adaptable. In fact, they are in a lot of ways. They don’t like to plan too far in advance and are open to new experiences.
This is because they love entertaining possibilities and can feel uncomfortable when they give up options. One of the reasons for this is that each decision made by an INFP must be in alignment with their values, so they can require time to work out what feels most “right”.
Despite being flexible in many regards, INFPs have very strong values, which can come as a surprise. They have clear judgments about what they feel is right or wrong.
But it’s unlikely that you’ll see this in an INFP straight away. It’s just when you dig deeper or broach a topic that they have firm opinions about that you’ll see how strongly they feel about certain things. INFPs have complex beliefs and very strong judgments.
INFJs are organized and feel most comfortable when they have a plan. They like to know what they’re doing and when they’re doing it. This is because they have a lot going on in their heads and feel more comfortable when they have some structure in their outer lives.
Being in an environment with an outer structure enables INFJs to think clearly and explore concepts internally. In contrast to INFPs, INFJs are often more adaptable in terms of their point of view. While both types have strong values, INFJs are less likely to see certain actions as black and white.
Even though INFJs feel most comfortable with some kind of routine, they like to allow periods of time to recharge in their introverted bubble and pursue their interests.
4. Understanding their emotions.
Even though both types are emotional, the way they process their feelings differs. This is a result of INFPs being more focused on their own emotions and INFJs being more in tune with those of other people.
INFPs are exceptionally aware of their feelings in a very intricate way. They are constantly processing their emotions, and, as a result, they can sometimes seem like they’re in their own world.
INFPs are arguably the personality type most in touch with their emotions. Despite this, they can appear aloof and unemotional.
While others usually view them as calm, they feel intensely passionate on the inside. Even when an INFP is incredibly excited about something, it can be hard to tell that’s the case. INFPs are easily moved and tend to cry more often than a lot of other personality types. They don’t like to cry in front of other people, though, and will wait until they’re alone if possible.
INFJs can find it difficult to understand their emotions. In certain situations, they can feel like they understand other people’s feelings better than their own. Seeing as their focus on feelings is directed outwards, they can struggle to process their own emotions and sometimes try to rationalize them.
Plus, if an INFJ is around someone who is experiencing strong emotions, they may be overwhelmed by this person’s feelings. This can make it difficult to separate out their own.
For example, if a family member is devastated, an INFJ will feel their pain and can struggle to know what aspects of their sadness are their own.
5. Exploring possibilities.
INFPs and INFJs are both drawn to looking for underlying meanings, and they naturally read between the lines. Plus, their brains are always connecting things. However, INFPs think more broadly, while INFJs tend to go deeper on fewer topics.
INFPs are drawn to imagining many different possibilities. They are always thinking about ideas and have the ability to connect the dots between seemingly unrelated topics.
Some people might describe INFPs as scatterbrained. It’s common for INFPs to jump from one idea to another in quick succession. As a result, they can find it hard to finish projects.
When another shiny new idea takes their fancy, they become excited about this instead. In a recent poll we conducted at So Syncd, INFPs were the type most likely to say they are easily distracted.
INFJs naturally delve deep into topics. They are constantly thinking about different scenarios, whether or not they want to. In fact, INFJs can often foresee how events will play out with great accuracy.
The thought process they go through (often unconsciously and at lightning speed) is: if X happens, then Y happens, then Z happens, and so forth. Similarly to INFPs, INFJs also make connections, but they tend to have a narrower focus.
INFJ vs. INFP frequently asked questions
So now we have explained the key differences between the INFJ vs. INFP personality types. Even for those who have explored personality types in depth, it can still be hard to tell the difference between these two types.
Let’s now look at some frequently asked questions about each personality to help make it clearer for you.
Are INFJs vs. INFPs more empathetic?
Both types are highly attuned to other people and are two of the most empathetic personality types out there. Plus, they are highly sensitive and easily pick up on nonverbal cues. This combination of skills makes them very good at reading people and anticipating their needs.
Ultimately, both types are empathetic in different ways, as discussed above. Neither type is innately more empathetic.
Are INFJs people-pleasers and INFPs selfish?
There is a common misconception that INFJs are people-pleasers and INFPs are selfish. Of course, as with any type, there are people out there of these types who display those characteristics. But healthy INFJs have strong boundaries and healthy INFPs care about other people’s needs.
Healthy INFPs are not innately selfish. Yes, they have strong opinions and values, but they are also incredibly compassionate and empathetic. They care deeply about making sure everyone is happy, and they put others first when they feel that it’s the right thing to do. In fact, ensuring their loved ones are content is often a core value for INFPs.
Healthy INFJs are able to find a balance between making sure people around them are happy and looking after their own needs. It’s true that they’re naturally more aware of other people. But they’re able to access different aspects of their personality to work out when it’s time to shift the focus to themselves.
Are INFJs vs. INFPs more imaginative?
When it comes to imagination, both INFJs and INFPs tend to excel. These two personality types are often creative and daydreamy, coming up with original ideas and seeing the world in their own unique way.
However, there are some key differences between the two types. INFJs are more likely to use their imagination in a logical way, often applying it to problem-solving or planning for the future.
In contrast, INFPs are more likely to use their imagination for fun and self-expression. They may be drawn to creative pursuits such as writing, painting, or music. As a result, they may seem more fanciful and whimsical than INFJs. Ultimately, both types can be highly imaginative, but they use their imaginations differently.
Final thoughts on INFJ vs. INFP differences
If you haven’t already, check out our individual INFP and INFJ posts that delve deeper into each personality type. Last but not least, you might also like our posts about INFJ vs. INTJ and INTJ vs. INTP.