INFP: Most Judgmental Type?

Vicky Jo works in the field of Jungian typology.  She is an INFJ, and she often writes about the distinction between INFJ and INFP.  She mentions that John Beebe has experienced in his own practice that INFPs are the most judgmental types he has as clients.  Let me explain why this might be from the perspective of my being an INFP.

First off, Vicky Jo also says that Beebe considers Fi the least understood function-attitude.  So, there may be good reason that INFPs are or appear judgmental.  John Giannini claims our whole society is oriented towards ESTJ and he claims that Jung thought this societal tendency started back in second century Christianity.  We INFPs have been oppressed for a long time.  Yes, we INFPs are prone to being judmental… especially we male INFPs as ESTJ is the ultimate ideal of masculinity.

INFPs can judge quickly because we are so capable of accessing people quickly.  An INFP looks past the superficial and looks straight into the souls of other people… or that is how it can feel like to the INFP.  If an INFP feels they can’t sense the true self of the other, they won’t trust that person and probably will suspect the person is hiding something.  INFPs are very aware of facades and social personas which are seen as meaningless at best and deceptive at worst.

INFPs are sensitive, territorial, personal, self-aware,  and perceptive… and so defensive of what we know at a deep level.  INFPs are so “self” aware that we often feel we’re more aware of others than others are of themselves.  INFPs have a strong sense of the individual, be it the INFP’s sense of their own individuality or the individuality of others.  And INFPs are very aware of relationships between individuals, hyper-aware even… all the while being super sensitive about group dynamics which often are responded to negatively if they feel intrusive.  An extreme INFP can be neurotically aware of everything around them… every little nuance in the environment will be felt… or else the INFP will become shut down completely and focus entirely inward which will probably just make them all the more sensitive to every tiny perceived intrusion.

The INFP thinks of self in terms of self-honoring, self-loving, self-honoring and self-respect, but a different type may perceive an INFPs self-focus as selfish (as INFPs aren’t always known for being outwardly responsible types).  INFPs hold authenticity above almost all else, and any perceived inauthenticity is utterly unforgivable.

INFPs know their values strongly and are very clear in their feelings.  They’re judgmental of others in the same way that they’re also judgmental of themselves.  An INFP’s moral code, their deepest value is felt as an absolute truth.  They would sacrifice everything including their life if challenged at this most fundamental level.  If this deepest level of their self is transgressed, their only choice is to fight back or else feel broken.  Considering how difficult it is for an INFP to fight back and win in an ESTJ world, many INFPs feel broken.

INFPs are the idealists, the artists, and the lovers of the world.  INFPs hate conflict (although may feel invigorated by a righteous cause).  Black and white thinking is a particular issue with INFPs, and as Te is their inferior/aspirational it’s easy for an INFP when stressed to fall into black and white thinking themselves.  For an INFP, there is an absolute right and wrong and INFPs are very talented at discerning subtle moral complexities… but this ability gets undermined when they get pulled into their inferior, when they are ‘in the grip’.  There is a contradition within INFPs.  They can be the most empathetic, most understanding, most compassionate type you will ever meet… but get on the wrong side of them or catch them in the wrong mood, and you will see the face of absolute judgment or even righteous vengeance.  I had a discussion with some INFPs about how our type would make the best terrorist.  An INFP would gladly die for a cause that they felt worthy… heck we INFPs could even romanticize the whole concept of dying for a cause… because we INFPs want a cause that is worth dying for or else what is the point of living at all.

The odd thing about INFPs is that normally we appear as extremely laid back (when not stressed).  When feeling safe and in our own comfort zone, we are the prototype of laid back.  INFPs don’t want to cause waves unnecessarily.  We save our energy for the important things which are rare.  Most things just don’t matter.  We care about the deep issues and not the everyday superficial conflicts (although these everyday events certainly can demoralize the INFP).  Because INFPs want to go with the flow, we tend hide our deepest values until someone encroaches on them… and, when that happens, they will know in the clearest of terms (or maybe not).  INFPs can hold a grudge and you may not even know why (even if you realize such a grudge exists).  An INFP might not even consider you worthy of an explanation or they just assume you should know as they know… and if you don’t know, then that is your problem.  An INFPs isn’t necessarily trying to play mind-games and INFPs do value honesty, but their strong sense of privacy can create an aloofness (or at least what appears as aloofness to other types).

INFPs are so hidden and we can express ourselves so subtly that it’s easy for other types to be completely confused.  INFPs can seem solid or still in how unexpressive we are, but realize there is often deep ocean currents within… the stillness of the surface is a mirage.  INFPs are so capable of looking past the facades of others for the very reason that INFPs are so capable of putting up their own facades.  INFPs, in self-defense, often don’t want others to be able to read them.  You have to earn an INFP’s trust for them to let you enter their world and their world is vast.  And once you earn their trust, beware anyone who betrays it.

At Vicky Jo’s website, she describes Beebe’s view of Fi (“Beebe On Fi” in the drop down box):

Dr. Beebe says that Fi spends a lot of time brooding over incomparable human values for the future.

Fi concerns itself with integrity

It is about “honor” versus “policy.”

Fi is a “worrying” function.

The metaphor he uses for Fi is a variation on the seven blind men and the elephant — do you know that one? Well, John says that instead of seven blind men, it’s more like seven introverted Feeling tentacles feeling the elephant to try to figure out the form of the value.

Introverted Feeling’s intention and deepest goal is “understanding.” It wants to know where value went wrong and where it might be reinstated.

Fi concerns itself with integrity, and John says symptoms of integrity issues include depression and anxiety. He wonders if “anxiety” altogether might be a form of Fi?

He states that “Honor” is a key term for introverted Feeling. What they want more than anything is a sense of “respect.” If introverted Feeling does not feel respected, you will be estranged from them, and no longer occupy a place in their life.

At the following link, there is a video of Vicky Jo (an INFJ) talking with an INFP.  Notice how the INFP slumps a bit, leans away, hides his hands, and expresses a slight reticient nervousness.  Also, notice the loose fitting clothing he wears and notice how his appearance in general is more plain (no bright colors or striking patterns).

At this next link, there is another interview with an INFP.  This guy is more self-confident, but even so there is still a strongly reserved quality.  Also, notice the similarities to the other INFP: slumping, loose clothing, plain appearance, etc.

Some think that Ghandi was an INFP, and here are quotes that Vicky Jo picked as being representative of an INFP.

I noticed some examples on Vicky Jo’s website.  INFPs want to integrate or become the dragon rather than slay it.  INFPs simply want to experience and to help others to experience deep feelings rather than make those feelings go away as if they were a problem to be solved (go to the website and sellect “Perfect Example of Fi” in the drop down window).

Here are some other pages about INFPs on Vicky Jo’s website:

For something slightly different, I always enjoy perusing the Green Light Wiki on Lenore Thomson (in particular, check out the page on Fi). Also, you might enjoy the INFP profile by Dr. A.J. Drenth on the Personality Junkie website.