INFP vs INFJ – The Difference between these Two Personality Types

At first glance, both INFPs and INFJs appear to be very similar. Both shy away from conflict, are caring and creative, and have firm beliefs about doing what is right. In addition, they have developed intuition, can hold their composure around people, and share several functions. But they aren’t always the same, and they have some important differences.

INFPs vs INFJs: Key Differences

The main differences between these two personality types are the following:

  • INFPs are guided by principles, whereas INFJs use logic. This difference in cognitive function is essential to recognize.
  • While INFPs are free-spirited and flighty, INFJs are self-disciplined and easily make decisions.
  • And finally, INFPs are open-minded, curious, and tolerant of different ideas. In contrast, INFJs don’t like surprises and prefer structure. 

INFJ vs. INFP Friendship

Both INFPs and INFJs are introverts and prefer having a small circle of friends rather than being highly social with a wide variety of people. This is one of the tell-tale personality traits of these two personality types. INFPs, however, sometimes feel awkward even around their closest friends, finding it difficult to reveal their inner selves. INFJs, on the other hand, will have intense friendships with a few people and relish the feeling that others have a deeper understanding of them.

Friendships for an INFP Personality Type

INFPs love their friends but often prefer doing things independently rather than spending much time seeking social interaction. Features of friendship to an INFP:

  • Usually, has a small circle of friends that they care deeply about.
  • It takes time for an INFP to let someone new get close to them.
  • Even among friends, they may feel like no one truly knows them.
  • They can be highly uncomfortable and self-conscious in social settings.

Friendships for an INFJ Personality Type

INFJs are naturally independent and private but care deeply about their trusted friends. Features of friendship to an INFJ:

  • It takes a while for them to trust, but once they do, they trust completely.
  • Their friendships are intense, and everything is shared.
  • They are experts at giving advice and counsel to others.
  • People are drawn to their kindness and empathetic character, even though they can be guarded around people they don’t know.

An INFP will likely seem lost in thought or preoccupied at a gathering with friends with idle chit-chat. However, if the conversation veers into something more serious, covering a topic that interests the INFP, they will open up and join in, becoming much more animated. If not, they will stay in their shell. This is a typical INFP behavioral pattern.

In the same situation, an INFJ will sit back and watch the conversation, taking in the whole scene. Although they won’t volunteer their thoughts often, what they say will likely be insightful and wise.

INFP vs. INFJ Happiness

INFPs and INFJs seek meaningful goals to be happy, but INFJs don’t need the recognition INFPs crave.

To be happy, INFPs must work for a cause they care about. This introverted feeling type also needs to have an outlet for their creativity. INFJs also seek meaningful goals and to be creative but don’t need the external validation often craved by INFPs. They also tend to have high levels of empathy, and this shows in the personal experiences they seek out. INFPs are a rarer 16 Myers-Briggs personality type because of their empathetic nature.

One important thing to mention is that while INFPs rely heavily on their introverted feeling function, developing their Introverted Sensing function can help this personality type find more stability and comfort. This is where having friends with extroverted sensing as one of their primary functions can support growth within their personality traits.

A Happy INFP

INFPs strive to create something with meaning, substance, and beauty that contributes to the greater good. If they could, they would solve all of the world’s problems, and everyone would live happily ever after. The goals that will lead to happiness for an INFP are:

  • To work towards an important cause (feeds their moral compass)
  • To create something beautiful and unique that is appreciated by others
  • To have enough downtime in isolation to regroup

A Happy INFJ

INFJs are on a quest to discover the greater meaning of the world through personal experience. They are content people, but they also want to understand what their part in it should be. The goals that will lead to happiness for an INFJ personality type are:

  • To discover purpose within the grander scheme of things
  • To impact the human condition in a meaningful way
  • To work in an environment with a structure that also allows for independence and self-reflection
  • To have some creative outlet

INFPs often take part in creative endeavors. This is a way to let out their intense feelings. Art with emotion is like air for an INFP. When producing a work, like a painting, an INFP will be happy to show it off and actively seek other people’s opinions.

An INFJ will be just as proud as an INFP but will not tend to seek out validation. Instead, they want people to have a deeper understanding of their work of art. They two combine art with emotion but not for likes. They do not need anyone to congratulate them for creating it. This is one of the core differences between the two similar personality types.

Decision-Making Process for an INFJ vs. an INFP

In the Jungian Personality Test, four components are involved in human nature regarding decision-making.

  1. Intuition – Understanding the big-picture consequences
  2. Sensing – Seeing the more detailed, smaller picture
  3. Feeling – Studying the emotional implications for everyone involved
  4. Thinking – Considering the pros and cons

INFPs are a Myers-Briggs personality type who dislike making decisions and tend to get bogged down with sensing and thinking. INFJs are much better decision-makers, using their strengths of intuition and feeling. This is a natural talent. The key difference here lies with cognitive function and that an INFJ will lead with Introverted Intuition (Ni), while an INFP leans into their Introverted Feeling (Fi).

INFP Decision-Making Process

INFPs are so concerned with what is right they tend to overthink even the most basic decisions, worrying that they haven’t fully considered everything involved. They can get lost in the minutia (sensing) and often cannot see the bigger picture (developed intuition). Choosing an INFP is not always deliberate, and judging functions aren’t present. Often, INFPs are forced into choices by default. You won’t see a lot of bursts of energy here. However, you will find thinking functions that sometimes work better when under pressure.

When making a decision, INFPs:

  • Resist making decisions until they have to
  • Try to make decisions that jibe with their internal values and identity
  • Have a more challenging time making choices due to a fear of making the “wrong” one
  • When given time, are good at coming up with unique solutions
  • Use their introverted intuition to make choices that feel right

INFJ Decision-Making Process

An INFJ likes as much information as possible before making decisions. They can usually see the big picture (intuition) and imagine many possible results. They are also very empathetic (feeling) and thus will consider situations from perspectives other than their own. Still, they undergo a very deliberate process when making a choice. They also use introverted intuition along with judging functions a lot.

When involved in a decision-making process, INFJs:

  • Think deeply about how the decision will affect others
  • Are usually decisive regarding everyday matters
  • Don’t often second guess their decisions
  • Feel uncomfortable if made to revisit a previous decision

If an INFP were tasked with deciding where to go on vacation with friends, they would instantly feel overwhelmed. They might get tripped up with small, insignificant details. A behavioral pattern of many INFPs is to ultimately be paralyzed by the fear of making a wrong choice. Personal feelings, including those of others, are immense for an INFP.

An INFJ would instead research all available vacation options. They would consider everything, including how each choice would affect their friends. Then, after spending a significant amount of time ruminating, they would make a solid decision and not look back.

INFP vs. INFJ Anger

INFPs and INFJs dislike conflict and frequently try to stifle their anger. However, they do not like to lose their composure around people either. Despite that, both can be provoked by injustice, bullying, and people who belittle their closely held internal values. INFPs rarely blow up in anger or a burst of energy, but an INFJ may defend someone else’s feelings.

INFP Anger

INFPs most certainly get angry but are often reluctant to show it. They avoid conflict whenever possible and retreat when troubled over a difficult situation. In rare circumstances, an INFP may lash out if responding to what they perceive as a gross injustice or violating their ethics. They value the human experience, and their values reflect this. A sarcastic or cutting remark in retaliation for such an offense is more likely than a large blow-up. They are especially angered by the following:

  • Injustice and unfairness
  • Bullying
  • Having their internal values belittled
  • Having their creativity stifled

INFJ Anger

INFJs don’t like to express anger, either. When wronged, they prefer to mull their feelings privately, ensuring they are correct. Often, when they have decided their anger is justified, the time for expressing themselves has passed. They also worry about how their anger will affect the people around them. The types of things that make them angry are:

  • Narrow-mindedness
  • Bullying
  • Chaos brought into their calm surroundings
  • Being condescended to or dismissed

If someone mocks a cause that an INFP is passionate about, an INFP may either walk away or simmer in anger. If pushed further on the issue, they may feel forced to say something sarcastic and leave it at that. Only in private will they express their genuine anger related to these personal experiences.

An INFJ in that same situation would probably not react at all. They would be angry inside, but unless the affront affected the emotional well-being of those around them, an INFJ would not typically say anything. This difference in reaction highlights the key personality traits of the INFJ and the INFP.

INFJ vs. INFP Appearance

INFPs don’t typically care how they appear, whereas INFJs will sometimes care and sometimes not.

For both INFPs and INFJs, their appearance is not typically a top priority, but there are a few significant differences:

INFPs are more interested in working toward the common good through current experiences than worrying about how they appear. INFJs are different in that they can go either way. Sometimes, they will be concerned with their appearance, but at other times, they are preoccupied and pay themselves very little attention.

INFP Appearance

Because of their primary functions, INFP spends more time in their head than looking in the mirror. They meet appropriate cultural grooming standards but won’t go much beyond that. There will be no facials or trips to the manicurist. The occasional quick haircut combined with a comfortable old outfit from the back of their closet works perfectly for them. Regarding their appearance, INFPs:

  • Tend not to think about physical appearance very much
  • Please don’t care about the latest fashion or details of their style
  • They want to express their style and be comfortable in their skin
  • Don’t usually judge other people based on their appearance

INFJ Appearance

INFJs are a Myers-Briggs personality type that either worries about their appearance or doesn’t. They can go either way, depending on how they feel. Regarding their appearance, INFJs:

  • Can be obsessive or not care, depending on the situation
  • Don’t put in effort if they’re not feeling well
  • Appearance can be tied to how they think of themselves at that moment
  • Are attuned to the nuances of other people’s impressions, yet are not judgmental

For a job interview, an INFP might not have anything appropriate in their closet because most of their clothes will be comfortable and casual. A trip to the hair stylist would probably also be in order, as they may have been putting off that needed haircut for quite some time.

An INFJ is much more likely to already have something appropriate on hand to wear as they tend to plan for most eventualities. For the interview, they will make sure that every aspect of their appearance is attended to — the right hair, nails, etc. — it will all be entirely appropriate for the specific needs and expectations of that interview.

INFP vs. INFJ Examples

Some famous examples of INFPs are Princess Diana, Helen Keller, George Orwell, and Fred Rogers.

Famous examples of INFJs include Jimmy Carter, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Taylor Swift, and J.K. Rowling.

INFP vs. INFJ: Summary of Similarities and Differences

INFPs are deeply concerned with their role in improving the world. They tend to be guided by principles more than logic, are endlessly optimistic, and look for the good rather than the bad in people. They are open-minded, curious to learn new things, and are usually tolerant of other people’s ideas. Still, they are rarely swayed from their worldview. INFPs do very well in creative professions and social sciences and are particularly successful in areas involving activism or fundraising. They are content people when they are allowed to be authentic.

INFJs, like INFPs, are gentle souls who care deeply about people. They are very protective and nurturing, often taking up the role of problem solver and counselor to those around them. They are also profoundly moral. Unlike INFPs, who can be flighty, INFJs are self-disciplined and can make decisions with little difficulty. They don’t generally like surprises and do their best in well-structured environments. Professionally, INFJs are ideal for any therapy setting, as their ability to empathize is next to none.

Ultimately, those who have taken the Jungian Personality Test and are an INFP or an INFJ are lucky. Both personality types have so much to offer a world that can always use more creativity and warm, conscientious people willing to give of themselves. The key is understanding your strengths and weaknesses and using that information to mindfully approach your life to be the best person you can be.