First things first, is it even possible for an INFP to be a Thinker?
When I say INFPs can become Thinkers, it’s not a glittery Sailor Moon transformation where we twirl and become INTJs in suits.
Instead, it’s about these Dreamers making decisions based on evidence and strategies more frequently than following the whims of their heart.
Indeed, many of these Dreamers are heavy Feelers due to their introverted Feeling (Fi) dominant function.
But with consistent exposure to activities that improve their Extraverted Thinking (Te), it wouldn’t be surprising if an INFP starts to prefer fact-based decisions, thus becoming a Thinker.
So, what made me shift from being a Feeler to a Thinker?
Here’s the odd tale of how I became a Thinker and how I lost my ability to empathize.
Ready for some drama? Brace yourself.
Believe me, I didn’t expect I’d drop my stereotyped INFP traits and become a feelingless void – I mean a Thinker. But hear me out.
I worked as a freelance writer. My job surrounds reading article after article, comprehending studies, tuning into interviews, and absorbing info as real-life experiences—all to craft informative write-ups.
Does reading alone make you a Thinker? Not exactly. Perhaps not yet.
However, with my job, information overload was real.
One day, I’d be immersing myself in studies about dogs, and the next, I’d be knee-deep about glamping.
Given my nature, half-hearted write-ups prick my heart. Thus, I needed to understand every aspect of the topic before I could write about them.
This process took me double the hours a regular writer would need to complete a task.
Mentally taxing (but enjoyable) as it was, this approach made me susceptible to burnout.
Well, well, my burnout can’t pay the bills, can it?
I figured that I must do something about my frequent feelings of overwhelm.
That said, for years, I’ve developed a strict protocol for myself so I can thrive as a writer.
What I did: Obviously, I have to be selective of ideas I consume.
I’ve become a human filter, sorting which thoughts get a ticket into my mind, and which ones doesn’t.
Cat videos? *sobs* Not today.
I refrained from giving attention to anything whenever I got a project. No talking. No TV or phone.
I can’t even afford a laugh. It takes up a megabyte in my brain!
It may sound ridiculous, but if there’s anyone who knows my mental capacity, it’s me. And I tell you, my ideas easily fall off after very little interaction with people.
For years, this is how I’ve “managed my thoughts.”
Did this make me a Thinker? Not yet. But it contributed a lot.
What I didn’t foresee is that this manipulation I do with my thoughts is the lifeline that would save me from my worst obstacle yet.
In 2021, my previous partner passed away due to heart and liver complications. My rock was gone, just like that.
It was a tough, I-never-expected-this-would-happen-to-me year.
I was shattered. My socials were deactivated. Instead, the me, who rarely wanted to socialize, went yearning for the company of my family and friends – the real people who stood by my side. We shared buckets of tears as we faced the grief together.
Despite my pain, the sad truth is that the world continued spinning. It didn’t stop for me, yet it feels so different as if I’ve woken up to another realm, only emptier.
However, at the same time, I deeply understand moving on was the best route to take, so I promised myself that this event wouldn’t break me.
My faith and hope kept me hanging in there. He’s in a happier place, and that gave me assurance.
Instead of drowning in grief, this heartbreak pushed me to be better.
To this day, I believe he had no regrets.
He helped people beyond his means, never broke his promises, and fought against his miseries while still being an effective leader, teacher, and assistant not only to kids, his friends, and family but also to me.
His presence is gone, but the will? It was so strong, it gave me a direction.
I have to move forward. I simply know he would do the same.
Little did I know, such eagerness to overcome the exhausting cries at night would lead me to practice the same technique I’ve long cultivated in my job.
That’s right. I filtered my own memories.
Bad memories, out.
The trickiest part? The beautiful memories held the most pain, and so I also left them out, too.
It’s not that I forgot, but I wasn’t trying to remember either.
Whenever a fleeting thought crossed my mind, I’d shake my head and say, “Not today.”
No more “what-ifs” or “could-have-beens.”
To my surprise, with that, I rarely shed a tear, even If I’m alone.
Sad emotions hardly came by because I was an INFP with no sad memories to bear.
People thought I was still bawling my eyes out at night. But no, I did move on because I detached from my emotions willfully. Forcefully.
This is how I survived after the heart-wrenching event in my life.
This is how I lost my empathy and leaned on the Thinking spectrum.
I felt… fine. Or so I thought.
How It Felt To Be a Thinker
Man, my tears kept falling as I wrote the story. Well, again, it’s not that I’ve forgotten everything. I just chose not to actively remember.
In the following years, this ultimate mindset shift as an INFP was a rollercoaster ride.
I’m not saying you should do the same thing I did to be a Thinker. There are healthier ways to do that.
But in this post, I’m simply telling you my life story, and how it felt to traverse in both Feeling and Thinking worlds (in my perspective, of course.)
There were evident positive effects, as well as negative impacts in my life.
These were my observations:
The Pros I’ve Noticed After I Became A Thinker
Looking back, emotions often clouded my thoughts.
Then one day, as I slowly shut down my emotions, it was as if someone handed me some corrective eyeglasses, and poof! Everything’s crystal clear.
My direction seemed to be served out-front. I became goal-driven.
Sure, there was an apparent detachment. But I have to be honest, it didn’t feel bad. Rather, there was a renewed motivation to just push through and claim whatever I wanted.
Nothing else mattered but the goals I set.
This blog was one of the results. It made me happy.
Firmer decisions (and less anxiety!)
My extreme self-consciousness dropped and I stopped overthinking everyone’s opinions.
But unfortunately, I also became outwardly calculative of others, especially when they’re not firm on their decisions.
I’ve become a yes or no type of person. No in-between.
Like, if you say yes to an agreement, you have to deliver. If you say no, then that’s perfectly fine, too.
However, don’t dare pull a promise on me if you can’t fulfill it. Bent promises made me extremely ragey.
Along with my new-found resolve, whimsical travel plans no longer remain a fantasy.
I make sure it will be done, even if I’m the sole organizer. So don’t joke around with me, my friends! I’m seriously taking note of your suggestions!
Moreover, I now loathe it when people cancel plans on me. Not very INFP-like, no?
Google and YouTube became my best friends.
In most problems, I opt to seek advice from research, testimonies, and forums first before consulting myself because of two reasons:
- One, people can give amazing straightforward suggestions.
- Two, it’s quicker and a time-saver rather than overthinking about it!
I’ve become confident in sharing my thoughts.
Just like most Te dominants, I now enjoy being vocal about my thoughts.
There’s no more shame in sharing my struggles. I would openly solicit advice if I think I’m missing something. Dang, it was freeing.
It’s the most geared-up era of my life. Most of my problems are solved quickly.
I love completing checklists now.
I even have lists for my schedule in the next 6 months. It’s not yet finalized, but it’s there.
The Cons I’ve Noticed After I Became A Thinker
Mainly, using my Te feels like I hacked life and am now going on easy mode. However, this mindset shift came with major repercussions I didn’t see coming.
Here are my worst experiences as an INFP who went overboard using Te:
I’m on a different wavelength from my friends.
Frustratingly, emotions became my kryptonite.
Numerous times, my friends shared their agony with me. I’m more than willing to lend a hand.
But while the 23-year-old me would’ve cried alongside them, the me now became unintentionally too judgy about their issues.
Imagine your friend shedding tears in front of you, yet you stare blankly, mind’s focused on dissecting their problems.
Rather than just lending an ear, you started suggesting solutions based on your experiences, statistics, and philosophy.
Ack. I couldn’t count the times I’ve thought, “I shouldn’t have said that,” after our conversations.
I was having a hard time meeting their emotional needs.
I’ve become a forgetful soul.
I mostly organize travel with friends. But compared to before, these getaways felt like a task more than a means to connect.
Our glamping in the mountains didn’t hit me with awe as much as I expected. The special moments for my family, friends, and partner on the beach, hotels, and overnight campings didn’t leave a lasting impression.
I became this forgetful soul, missing out on the real value of those precious moments.
I started seeing everything around me as a means to self-improve and check off the list, but I have forgotten to really soak in the joy of the present.
Beep boop beep, let that calculative persona work.
And when we’re trying to reminisce the events, I caught myself unaware of those memories. Probably because I’ve shut down my Si (memories), and my Se function took the reigns.
I didn’t like this part. I should be nostalgic, right? I’ve disliked what I’ve become.
I had frequent heated arguments with my current partner.
I’m in a relationship with an INFP man now. We had a really, really rough start.
Despite us being both INFPs, he was pretty emotional. And as mentioned, I was not.
For a year, we didn’t meet each other halfway. I’ve been dismissing his emotions more than I’d like to admit. It even reached a boiling point where I labeled him immature, letting my anger take the lead.
He was anxious. I was avoidant.
He would chase me whenever he felt I was drifting away. Yet I run away because I feel like he’s too much. We’re in this never-ending chase.
Worse, no one budges because deep down, we’re INFPs who are stubborn with our beliefs and values.
In all my life, this has been the ragiest version of me. I’m at my wit’s end. I’ve blamed him a lot, cursed a lot, and dismissed him a lot.
What a way to build a relationship.
I’ve called myself a cruel woman. My friends seconded that.
But regardless of all our arguments, deep down, he is a kind, soft-hearted man. He’s generous and helped me in my struggles.
What I found out
Despite all the arguments, my INFP partner was my key to finding out what was wrong with me.
Living with anger has exhausted me for so long. Desperation crept on me.
His emotions and cries steered me to question myself, too.
I wanted to make this tormenting cycle stop, but I didn’t want to break up. Neither did he.
So one day, I reached for my phone and searched for any material I could use to fix our relationship.
One query I googled: signs of a toxic partner. Unexpectedly, most of the signs described me.
Emotionally dismissive, verbally abusive, indifferent to your needs.
O-okay… That was… brutal. I bitterly denied it.
The article didn’t even know my situation, yet it’s judging me!
I know I meet the criteria, but I can’t agree how it’s my fault.
From my perspective, all those signs were a response to his actions. It’s not my intention to be that dismissive. I have boundaries he crosses, too, you know. So what am I to do?
It took me months to accept what I was dealing with.
Thankfully, with eager research, self-reflective quests, and a true desire to change, things slowly unpacked.
The answer I found out: I was suffering from a trauma. He was, too.
We’re just two hurt fellas who happened to collide at this exact time. Hurting. Healing…
All this time, my heart was actually closed. I did express love, but I hated the pain. Crying was not an option, thus anyone who push it down my throat would face my wrath.
As for him, he yearned for someone who can understand him, a shoulder to cry on, someone who wouldn’t mock what he offers because he was trying just as hard as everybody else.
He wanted to be seen.
As for me, it wasn’t easy to regain myself back. I felt alienated from the very thing that makes us human.
I was pounding this stupid heart, wanting to just grab it out.
Why can’t you feel anything anymore?!
I shed a tear, but it was out of annoyance, not empathy.
But by the time I figured out the distorted illusion of my “maturity and immaturity,” the next few months were spent correcting ourselves.
How thankful I was that my INFP partner didn’t leave me despite my cruel outrage. And that we were able to forgive.
Now, I know this whole thing was the result of trauma.
But I can’t deny that due to that, I had the chance to experience the perspective of a Thinker who’s having a hard time dealing with emotions.
I gained amazing insight.
In the past months, my partner and I continuously worked on our relationship, and here’s how it went:
What I Did to Regain My Empathy
- I started writing in my diary.
The fear of time slipping away and forgetting every happy detail pushed me to document it all. I became appreciative. Again.
- I’ve slowed down.
Before, I would skip movie clips and chapters, and go straight to the main point. Now, I’ll let it play inside my head, and just allow myself to soak in emotions. I gave romance stories a ticket to let me cry. And it worked.
The first time I got absorbed in a plot, I really felt warmth in my soul.
- Took a moment to really listen to my INFP partner’s emotions.
Slowly, I’ve embraced the fact that I’m allowed to be emotionally hurt. It’s weirdly refreshing. Very human.
I take a bit of jealousy here and there. Ask for his time and attention. Get upset when he doesn’t give an update.
Before, these factors didn’t matter to me and disguised them as maturity, which was wrong.
Now, I’ve re-learned how to feel.
As my cold heart warmed up, so did he become more secure.
Our anxious-avoidant cycle was broken, and I’m glad we found out the root cause before permanently scarring ourselves.
Corrections were made. I am thankful. 🙂
Those three years of transformation were A LOT. And here’s what I’m left with:
- While being a Thinker helps us rationalize and reach our goals, being a Feeler touches the heart. It makes us human.
- Trauma may be something you’re in without your notice.
- Cutting down memories for INFPs can actually extinguish our emotions. Dang.
- INFPs can be Thinkers, and I hope you can live it in a balance with your feelings.
- There’s beauty in being a Feeler and a Thinker. But it’s best when used both.
- A toxic INFP-INFP relationship can really destroy you. But the healthy ones are joyful and guaranteed to be amazing support system.
I dedicate this post to my INFP partner, Gabriel. Thank you for staying with me.
I know it was a hard start, but here’s to more dramas and adventures with you. 🙂
And to everyone who reached this point, thanks for reading!
Hi, I also wrote an e-book about INFP procrastination. Check it out here.:)
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- How Can INFPs Gain “Mastery” Despite The Distractions?
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- How Are INFPs Forgetful, But Also Remember Too Much?