Am I an INFJ...or an INFP?

Monday, January 11, 2016 6 Comments A+ a-




Greetings from the Cafe! Hope you brought your scarves and mittens...it's freezing here. A cold snap came through yesterday and put us in the single digits. Today's a little better; we're at a warm and toasty 25 degrees, haha. My coffee mug is definitely putting in overtime.

So, are you curious about the post title? I've been wanting to write about this for some time now. There are a lot of personality tests available online these days, and I take them once in a while for fun. Nine times out of ten, I test as an INFJ. But on occasion I'll come out as an INFP.

Weird, right?

At first, I thought it must be differences between tests. Subtle nuances in the programming behind the questions, perhaps. Then I started taking the same tests repeatedly. The results were surprising. I'm a strong INFJ...until I'm not.

After that, I knew the issue was with me and not the tests. If I'm taking the same test with the same questions and getting a different result, then the alternate outcome lies with my answers. So I started wondering how much alike the INFJ and INFP really are. Could we be so close that a few changed answers would categorize me differently?

I decided to find out.

I started by visiting the Personality Page website and checking out their descriptions. Reading through Portrait of an INFJ and Portrait of an INFP revealed that the two types are, in fact, very similar. Both are focused internally as their dominant function and externally as their secondary function. They're also intuitive, creative, have a tendency to be perfectionists, and are more comfortable putting their words in writing than speaking.

There are a few significant differences, though. INFJs see the world through their intuition and deal with it based on how they feel. INFPs see the world through how they feel and deal with it based on their intuition. We're opposites in that respect. And INFJs are judging types, so we like things planned, structured, and driven toward closure; the INFP is a perceiving type and more spontaneous, leaving things open for interpretation.

If you're a Harry Potter fan, think of the INFJ as Professor Lupin and the INFP as Luna Lovegood. They're both idealistic, insightful characters who are very interested in helping others. They just go about it differently. The professor is logical and decisive, whereas Luna is flexible and open to possibilities.


  

It's easy to see how similar these two types are. But a personality test should be able to tease out the specific differences. It has to, or it wouldn't be able to accurately type. So for me, the major question was still unanswered: why do I sometimes test as an INFP? 

Fortunately, after some research, I found this awesome information on CAPT (Center for Applications of Psychological Type):


Scores in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® instrument can be changed depending on how you answer the questions. Score changes can result in a report of a different type. Jung seemed to believe that each person has a true type that he or she may not yet have discovered. The true type does not change, although it may seem to as one focuses on developing different mental processes at different stages of one's life. Behaviors can change, of course, but their roots remain the same. 
However, there are many reasons you might take the MBTI instrument two different times and come out different types. You might still be discovering your preferences and trying them on for size. Or you might be working especially hard to develop one of the mental processes, so that you report it on the MBTI instrument with stronger than usual emphasis. Or, you might take the MBTI instrument one time as your "job self," responding as you see yourself acting on the job, and you might take it another time as your "home self," responding as you see yourself in your home environment. If your type differs in two reports, this fact may lead to interesting information about yourself. As you cast your thoughts back to your frame of mind when you were answering the questions, consider how it may have affected your reporting of yourself and whether it reflects your true type. --www.capt.org

This makes perfect sense! My true type doesn't change, but if I take a personality test on a day when I'm feeling a little more open-minded or spontaneous than usual, my answers might be swayed enough to categorize me as an INFP.




Of course, there could be some instances where the fault lies with the online personality tests. I don't know how they're put together or how accurate they all are. So if you're wondering about the authenticity of the tests, you can always purchase the "INFJ-INFP Type Clarifier" offered by Personality Junkie. It's an assessment designed specifically to help differentiate between INFJs and INFPs. Oddly, I just found out about it in an e-mail that came while I was typing up this blog post (I'm chalking that one up to Carl Jung's synchronicity concept, lol).

What do you guys think? Do you ever test as an INFP? Or as another type? If you have insights into different reasons why this could happen, please feel free to share!

Take care :)

M.

Image Credit: Snow Coffee, Harry Potter MBTI, INFP/INFJ Girls

6 comments

Write comments
Debbie
AUTHOR
January 12, 2016 at 10:27 AM delete

I have scored differently at times and have wondered why as well. For the most part, INFJ, and I was evaluated as INFJ by an MBTI proctor as well, so that lead me to feel more certain in that determination. I have scored online as an INTJ most commonly when not INFJ, and I have a couple times been an INFP. I even had one ISFJ. So, all of this prompted me to research and understand how and why there are differing scores. And like you mentioned, I did discover so much had to do with my mood and the place I was in at the time I took the test. There are times I want so desperately to be more go with the flow, to not feel intensely, and be more in the moment, so I work hard to live from that viewpoint, and I believe I can answer questions the way I want to view life rather than the way I do. I am without a doubt a "J" which is obvious with my payment charts and lists etc. I also at times really dislike feeling so intensely, I can get down, I don't like seeing people or animals hurting or just the simple act of feeling so deeply all the time. I love and care deeply, and at times I want to not, so I try to use logic and reasoning to avoid that intensity. I also envy the ability to be in the moment, to get something done and not always thinking about the meaning of life, so to speak. There is the teaching of living in the moment and I do feel that is important, I have spent way too many years not and I feel the desire to do such, so I speak that way with the hopes that I will learn to do it as well. We lost a daughter to stillbirth, and after the day of her birth I regretted the times of not being in the moment during my pregnancy. Not sure why I even feel compelled to keep taking the tests, curious I suppose, but I do feel that explains how there are differing results. Peace!!

Reply
avatar
Stephanie
AUTHOR
January 12, 2016 at 10:52 AM delete

I have never wondered if I am a P or a J. I'm definitely an INFJ, but where my wondering comes from is how MUCH of a J I am. My mother and I are both Js, but she beats me in the percentage. She is very rigid in her need for structure, routine, predictability, etc. and has ZERO flexibility. Compared to her I am about as flexible as they come. Yet I am most definitely a J. I don't think I could ever shake my need for order or closure. So for me, it's more of a scale issue, how far onto the J I am compared to others.

Reply
avatar
jonathanrenck
AUTHOR
January 13, 2016 at 7:23 PM delete

I float over this line a lot, same way with the F/T (if not as pronounced with thinking/feeling). I definitely need a structure to my life. I prefer to have my work schedule remain mostly the same week in and out, but I can adapt readily for short-term changes when someone takes off. I also like to have the work I'm doing have a regular pattern to it. I need a framework underlying my life (a far more J thing), but within the framework I can be extremely flexible, particularly at home. In a more abstract way, I need to have an answer for a question. But I will happily consider it in a more openly than my mother who is a very definite J type. I've scored INFJ, INFP, and INTJ, and I consider all three readily applicable to me. It all depends when you catch me, but I would say my "resting" personality is INFJ

Reply
avatar
Teresa
AUTHOR
May 25, 2016 at 6:54 PM delete

I am the opposite of you. I am almost always INFP and agree that I definitely fall into this type, but a couple of times when I have taken the test I've come out as INFJ and when I read that description I also see myself. I remember reading somewhere once that the two types are easily confused and it is easy for someone to think they are one when they are actually the other. Just what and INFP needs, to feel even more confused. I even took a test to settle between the two and it came out as INFJ, but the variation on the numbers was not significant enough for me to be convinced. So I did a little research and more reading about the two types and am fairly confident that I am a true INFP, but on occasion can identify as INFJ. I think there may be certain situations in life that require me to make a decision more decisively like the J, so while I can be J, my natural preference is more P. I love to think about things and figure them out, but even more I love to just dream about how life could be. I am always imagining my future self. So for today at least I identify with the INFP. Years ago when I didn't really grasp the difference between extrovert and introvert I actually came out as an E, but I definitely know that is not me as I avoid group activities whenever I can get away with it. Just give me a quiet evening by myself or maybe a few good friends and I am good to go. And, I definitely need some down time almost daily in order to recharge. I found your insights helpful and informative. Glad I ran across your blog while I was doing my research.

Reply
avatar
July 29, 2016 at 1:15 PM delete

Isn't it funny how many infj feel mistyped or question their type?
I 95 percent of the time type as infj but I have types as infp on occasion and actually feel like an infp. Oddly enough i have never typed as an intj but reading descriptions i feel like I can relate to intj to my core....but this could possibly be me trying to work on becoming more analytical. I feel like I am very forthright now and business like but I never was before. I have really worked on toning down my intensity but I think it's making me come off cold and abrupt. ....me thinking out loud.

Reply
avatar
Meridian
AUTHOR
July 30, 2016 at 10:41 AM delete

It does seem funny that we often question our type. I think there are a couple of reasons we do this. One is that we're natural chameleons...we tend to slip into whatever functions are necessary to adapt to the situation at hand. We can be outgoing with extraverts, quiet with introverts, logical with thinkers, dreamy with daydreamers, etc. The other reason is that we're constantly seeking to improve ourselves, and in doing so, we sometimes strengthen the functions outside our stack. I can INFP and INTJ easily because of the ways I've developed my Fi and Te.

Yeah, struggling to balance our intensity (what I call my 'Phoenix') can lead to perceived cold or abrupt behavior. We're so all-or-nothing people that it's hard to find the middle ground. Don't give up, though...you can do it, and in the process, you'll learn so much about yourself and your purpose. It's one of your superpowers. :)

Reply
avatar