Are you an INFP or INFJ? With one letter difference, people find it difficult to tell these two apart. And even sifting through their traits one by one may leave many of us confused.
Both empathetic? Idealist? Writers? Misunderstood? I’m all that, and so are you. So, which one?
Certainly, INFJ and INFP are like two peas in a pod. Not to mention, both are socially compatible and do vibe with each other naturally.
Often, people compare INFPs and INFJ based on productivity. According to them, if productive, then you’re an INFJ. But if it’s otherwise, then you’re an INFP.
But come on. There are INFPs who work hard, too, you know. *sobs*
I mean, really, I know INFPs and INFJs who tread across productivity and procrastination all the time. No wonder I, an INFP, and my INFJ friends get along.
So, how to tell the difference between INFP and INFJ? To have more definitive distinctions, let’s go about each one’s cognitive functions.
INFJ and INFP Cognitive Functions
INFJ means Introverted-iNtuitive-Feeling-Judging. Their cognitive function ego stack is identified as Ni-Fe-Ti-Se.
- Dominant: introverted iNtuition (Ni)
- Auxilliary: extraverted Feeling (Fe)
- Tertiary: introverted Thinking (Ti)
- Inferior: extraverted Sensing (Se)
As you can see, INFJ’s default thought process is Ni. They use this dominant function to collect varying concepts and form one conclusive idea. Ni is their immediate thinking and it aids INFJs in predicting and envisioning future events.
On the other hand, INFP stands for Introverted-iNtuitive-Feeling-Prospecting and has Fi-Ne-Si-Te as their cognitive functions.
- Dominant: introverted Feeling (Fi)
- Auxilliary: extraverted iNtuition (Ne)
- Tertiary: introverted Sensing (Si)
- Inferior: extraverted Thinking (Te)
INFP’s dominant function is Fi which means they have strong attachments with their values. Their decisions must be in line with what they truly feel. Before they act, they decide firsthand whether it’s good or bad for them.
INFJ and INFP Similarities
Seeing INFP and INFJ’s ego stacks, the distinction is conspicuous. But why are people mistaking themselves and still unsure whether they’re INFP or INFJ? Because the similarities are close and the traits have vague descriptions.
How are INFP and INFJ similar? These resemblances may have possibly confused them:
1. INFJ and INFP are both idealists.
INFJs and INFPs both use intuitions to come up with solutions, conclusions, or identify the predictability of a situation. Are they clairvoyant? I’d say close. They envision a possible future from what they currently observe in the tangible world. Fortunately, their intuition is often right.
They also have wide imaginations, can live inside their heads, and can make excellent authors and writers.
Moreover, INFJs and INFPs are very people-oriented. Meaning, they are highly conscious of human behavior, curious about the ways of thinking, and have an interest in philosophical and abstract concepts.
2. They promote moral standards and are the heart of mankind.
Without NFs, the world would probably be apathetic or a wee bit unvirtuous. With INFJ and INFP’s empathetic nature, they listen to people’s emotions and can prompt moral values.
They pursue fairness, peace, and harmony and condemn bullying and abuse. With their visions and heartwarming desire to make people better, they may also advocate change for a more compassionate and understanding society.
3. Both feel they’re misunderstood.
Another INFJ-INFP similarity is that both are misunderstood personality types. Often, they have rich idealism which they can’t immediately translate into words. There are things that “they just know.”
But even they themselves don’t know how they came up with such ideas. So how in the world can people understand them? I’m giving myself a headache. Indeed, it’s hard to express an INFx’s thoughts.
Due to their intuition, they have instincts that predict what could happen, what a person is like, and who likes who. They can read human subjectivity, and tend to be overthinkers, too.
A lot of mental processes going on, yet on the outside, they appear to be soft, strange, and private individuals.
INFP VS. INFJ Differences: Which one are you?
Now, let’s forge ahead to thorough differences between an INFJ and INFP.
1. INFJs come up with one definitive path (Ni), while INFPs branch out to further possibilities (Ne).
Picture this. If you’re an INFJ, your collected knowledge undergoes a deductive process which later concludes to one strong, profound insight. INFJ’s Ni is like a funnel. Information may circle round and round, but in the end, it leads INFJs to one deep and insightful direction.
Because they emerged with a compelling path, they become resolute to accomplish that idea. This is why INFJs can overcome tremendous difficulties. They are willful and can brush off the pressure until that goal is actualized.
In contrast, INFPs are curious beings who seek knowledge after knowledge until they discover a web of possibilities. To them, one idea branches out to more concepts which makes their understanding wider rather than deeper.
This explains why INFPs have multiple interests and jump from one field to another. As they learn about a process, more possibilities appear. Eventually, they plunge in to test the waters. Although INFPs seem unfocused, their extraverted iNtuition can prosper not only to help themselves but also to guide other people to seeing opportunities and realizing their potentials.
2. INFJ needs structure, while INFP needs flexibility.
INFJs always plan ahead of time, maybe with written organizers but often with their minds. They may have a list of what they should accomplish today, tomorrow, or even next month. They are displeased when someone breaks their schedules, so never cause them to miss their deadlines.
INFJs need structure and orderliness. They work best with planning ahead of time so they can organize their thoughts. Moreover, they prefer knowing what to expect. It’s also the time they can prepare prerequisites associated with their goal.
Meanwhile, INFPs do plan, too. However, new knowledge can change the course of their plans in a matter of split seconds. For example, an INFP may be motivated to write a chapter today. But a minute later, they find themselves reading about how to make DIY t-shirt designs.
Once they come across something interesting, they take a peek into it. In that case, INFPs leave their options open.
INFPs need the flexibility to release creativity and to cater to their spontaneity. Caging them in a schedule and routine work demotivates an INFP. Worse, they just shut down.
3. INFJ seems like social butterflies, INFP seems extroverted only with close friends.
INFJs may be private individuals but people easily find comfort in their presence (Fe). My INFJ friends rarely take the spotlight but I can feel how their presence resonates in the room. They’re warm and people are drawn to their energy.
With strangers, INFJs can be intimidating at first sight. But sooner or later, people realize how light it is to talk to them.
Meanwhile, INFPs only drop their guards with their most trusted friends. INFPs become fun, warm, and supportive with their friends, loud even. But when with strangers, they hardly engage in conversations.
At first sight, INFPs appear quiet and aloof while keeping their politeness. Nonetheless, INFPs may unconsciously (sometimes consciously) put up walls against people they don’t vibe with (Fi).
4. INFJs acts more logically, INFPs are guided by their emotions.
INFJs and INFPs are both Feelers but are still motivated differently.
With INFJ’s introverted iNtuition (Ni), they visualize a logical path. This one path guides them to push forth no matter what. Although they feel uncomfortable in some ways, they still stick to the plan. They could be pressured or anxious but that doesn’t mean it can stop an INFJ.
On the downside, they may have unknowingly closed a few doors while pursuing a certain path. Also, they may believe some options are too improbable, thus, limiting their choices.
On the other hand, INFPs are guided by authenticity to their values. If a situation tampers their peace of mind or when they think a decision, a job, or a person leads them in a bad direction, they can easily turn away and look for other paths.
However, being guided with feelings may lead INFPs to give up even before their actions come to fruition.
5. INFJs are sophisticated, while INFPs have earthy vibe.
Putting a disclaimer here: this one may not fit everyone but it’s what I observe with INFPs and INFJs I know regarding their choice of clothes, items they own, and the vibe they give off.
INFJs see beauty in simple, yet refined and sophisticated form. Not all, but many INFJs appear stylish without following the trend. Simple and classy. They also opt to wear metallic accessories and adore quality clothes. However, they avoid flashy ones (with brands and all). They’re not fond off showing off.
They are minimalists who prefer a few quality and elegant items rather than loads of shoddy and low-down things on their shelves.
INFPs, on the other hand, see beauty in utter simplicity and exude with earthy aura. While they may have some fashionable phases like fairy-tale, or gothic attire during their younger years (I had the rocker and anime phase), their default preference is anything casual.
INFPs may wear simple black or white tees and jeans, or anything they can grab from the closet (Or is it just me?). You may see them wear wooden beads or hand-made, stringed (maybe reggae) accessories. Personally, as an INFP, I’m not conscious of my attire unless I’m required to dress up.
It’s amazing how INFJs and INFPs may both wear plain t-shirts but still send off different vibes. Don’t you think so?
6. INFJ seeks social harmony (Fe) vs. INFP seeks internal peace. (Fi)
Here’s another INFJ-INFP key difference – Fe VS. Fi.
INFJs value social harmony and can mirror the energy of the person they’re with. INFJs are “social chameleons” who can absorb emotions and adjust their energy to whom they’re talking to.
For example, if a person seems down, they replicate the energy and reach out to the person with better empathy. And if someone never runs out with energy, they looked like they can keep up, too, and boy, it’s amazing how they can do that.
Regardless, INFJs do get drained from social interactions, too, but rarely show it to people.
INFPs, on the other hand, are more in touch with themselves. They are very connected with their values and authenticity. Therefore, they may not easily conform to the energy of their surroundings, but cling to what they truly feel about the situation.
I couldn’t count the times my friends ask me if I was alright because I turned too quiet. It’s not like I’m sad or lonely, but dang, staying consistently energetic is too overpowering. My batteries wear out easily and it definitely shows.
7. Both are empathetic but INFJs feel emotions (Fe), while INFPs visualize people’s emotions (Ne).
When it comes to empathy, INFJs and INFPs immerse into empathetic emotions differently.
INFJs feel people’s emotions and absorb them (Fe). Many INFJs profess how they feel someone’s “aura”. It’s even frustrating for them how their mood changes depending on the emotions of who they are with. And since they can mirror emotions, INFJs effectively empathize and feel compelled to make people feel better.
On the other hand, INFPs visualize what a person may have gone through and imagine themselves in the same situation (Ne). Thus, they usually empathize through imagining what a person could’ve felt like. Living in other people’s shoes becomes a powerful tool in empathy for an INFP.
That said, when an INFP doesn’t understand the big picture, they can’t immerse themselves enough and may remain indifferent. It often happens when they’re on their dark side.
Indeed, INFJ and INFP share similar traits. However, internally, they stir differently, with different goals, drives, and motivations.
Way back, the immature me started to hate being an INFP and wished I could be an INFJ instead. I didn’t understand myself. Only to realize, I’m not alone because even INFJs struggle with themselves, too.
As we went through this post, we must understand that INFJs and INFPs both have their strengths and weaknesses. But it all boils down to embracing who you are and harnessing the natural talents given to us.
There’s a reason why idealists are fewer than sensing types. There’s also a reason why intuitives think in such a funneling or expanding way.
I have a strong belief that once we unlock how we can manage ourselves and find a purpose for our innate gifts, then we can find the power to lead people to a better and more compassionate future.
So, are you an INFJ or INFP? 🙂