This is the twelfth post in our 16 Months of Type series and we focus here on INFP. To remind you, we are using our material on managing life transitions with psychological type (formerly available through CPP as Introduction to Type® and Reintegration and soon to be available on CareerPlanner.com – stay tuned!) as the jumping off point for each piece and then connecting this material to the self-discovery process that frequently accompanies life-changing events (LCEs). Read on!
INFP, Introversion, Perceiving, Feeling and Perceiving
When facing an LCE, INFPs typically want an approach that is aimed at improving relationships and clarifying purpose. If your preferences are for INFP, you most likely require time to reflect on and explore your feelings before engaging in or adopting new behaviors. INFPs tend to seek strategies that are win-win and allow them to delve into the deeper meaning behind significant transitions. They prefer approaches that encourage creativity and empower them to do things in their own way as they work toward mutual goals. INFPs welcome information from a variety of sources and strive to find solutions that foster healing, hope, and harmony.
When INFP preferences are overdone, people who prefer INFP may fail to practice constructive self-interest, allowing the notions of others to override their own feelings. Their measured, diplomatic approach can mean that they fail to speak up immediately or forcefully about the problems that they see. INFPs also can fall into the trap of assuming that they are mistaken about their perceptions – and thus stay quiet – if others aren’t voicing similar concerns. This INFP tendency to underestimate their authority can mean that important issues go unaddressed. They may also assume that even more careful thought and introspection will uncover a better way, when in actuality, speaking up, or taking some small action now, no matter how imperfect, would be simpler and more effective.
INFPs typically need an empathetic companion to mentor, guide, and support them on their transition journey. Since those who prefer INFP don’t want to be pushed or given a one size fits all prescription for how they should react to life-changing events, they seek companions, who will honor their values and their careful, individual style. Utilizing a wise companion to explore philosophical viewpoints that promote resiliency, forgiveness and understanding of self and others helps INFPs put difficulties into perspective. Discussing how others came to grips with the emotional toll of transitions helps them move forward with confidence, arming them with the objective fact that that if others can make it through similar challenges, they can too. Further, with the supportive encouragement of a creative companion, INFPs can practice responding courageously and actively to tough situations, relying the inherent strength of their values – their best guide and motivator when times are uncertain.
When such a companion is not present in the life of people who prefer INFP, they may agonize about how people will be affected if no win-win solution is found and exhaust themselves in the search for an ideal solution where all are pleased. While it’s admirable that INFPs typically strive to make transitions as smooth and painless as possible, they may overdo it by saying yes to too many requests and rescuing those who do not need rescuing. Without a trusted companion to help them look at circumstances and relationships objectively, INFPs might sacrifice their own wellbeing or permit others to take advantage of them. Sound, caring advice helps INFPs recognize that emotional appeals do not always require a response and that others have the chance to grow when allowed to deal with problems on their own. With such empathetic, reasoned support, INFPs can see tough times and their role in them realistically, enabling them to move forward more swiftly and with greater self-assurance – reminding them that the best harmony to seek is harmony with their own INFP values.
Self-Discovery Tool Number 82
If you prefer INFP (or you have someone in your life with this four-letter type code), the following questions may help as you process a life-changing event.
- How can you find ways to enrich your experience by connecting with others and reaching out to share stories, time, and activities?
- How can your past experiences be a guide to what might help you manage things more successfully now?
- How can you take an objective inventory of which approaches to your new circumstances are working and which are not?
- How can you create plans, schedules, or routines to help you manage your new way of living more easily?
It is February and almost Valentine’s Day. At this time of year, traditional expressions of caring are popular. The media and the entertainment industry provide idealized images of lovers exchanging luxury items or dining in lavish restaurants. As appealing as these conventional approaches can be, what if we tried exchanging something very different yet equally beautiful to honor love?
This Valentine’s Day, why not give your thoughts and appreciation as gifts? How often do we take the time to tell significant others – whether lovers, family, or friends – how and why we value them? Do something unique and out of the ordinary by letting those you love know what specifically you find great about them. Here are few ideas to get you started:
- Make a list of things you admire in your loved one
- Share a cherished memory of time spent together
- Fill in the blank, “You are wonderful because_________.”
- Compose a poem featuring the positive attributes of your significant other
- Write a story that illustrates your esteem
- Play (or sing) a favorite song with lyrics that captures how you feel
- Have a conversation where the goal is expressing appreciation
- Say “Thank you” or “I love you” or “I care”
Try one of these simple but powerful suggestions. Most of us have not done this for those we care about in a long time and some of us have yet to try this. Be brave, as it may seem a little awkward to express your feelings, especially if it’s been awhile. Nevertheless, we think the benefits of goodwill will outweigh any initial discomfort you may feel and indeed may motivate you to reach out regularly to let important others know you care. After all, a holiday is not necessary to demonstrate caring.
Self-Discovery Tool #47
What difference could we make in our relationships if we simply told others what we admired about them? Instead of a grand gesture, or traditional or expensive gifts, what if we gave something infinitely sweeter and shared the truth in our hearts? Use this Valentine’s Day as a reason to tell your significant others why they are special – who knows, they may just do the same for you?!