We show an amazing amount of compassion for others, despite being so different from the rest of the population. We’re deeply sensitive and caring, and the best part is that we usually don’t expect anything from anyone in return.
(What’s your personality type? Take a free personality assessment.)
Yet, I feel there are a few challenges to being an INFP. Here are seven of them. INFPs, can you relate?
Struggles of Being an INFP
1. Never really being able to finish anything you start
We live in a world of endless possibilities, and we INFPs always want to explore something new. We are often good at starting something, but we are rarely able to finish as we expected — or worse, never at all.
If I were to write a list of things that I had started but left incomplete, I wonder if even that list would be completed. I have enrolled in tons of online courses over the years but I haven’t completed a single one. I barely finish any book I buy, and I don’t think I’ve ever watched a full season of any TV series.
I know our souls don’t know a thing about deadlines, but unfortunately, our bosses and professors do.
I was quite excited when I started out writing this article, but I feel really lucky to have completed it.
2. Not being assertive enough
When we’re alone, we often find ourselves playing a conversation with our best friend in our head, but when he or she shows up, we go quiet.
We have a rich inner world where we often speculate about ideal possibilities. But sometimes it acts more like a cage and prevents the words within us from finding their way out.
We are not assertive enough when it really matters, even if we were really excited and motivated going into the situation.
For example, I find it impossible to study the day before an exam even when I have not yet studied anything. I had not even started my physics project till the day before the submission deadline, but even on that day, I barely did anything. I am not much different from my peers, except that they do study the day before the exam, and they do complete the project before the deadline.
We usually procrastinate till the end, but even at the final moment, we make most of our decisions by either thinking, “Just let it go” or “Let’s see what happens.”
3. Over-planning or no planning at all
There are times when we check out every single book on a subject from the library, bookmark every single article available on the web, and watch every single video on YouTube. But we end up being confused and simply can’t figure out how to start planning our next travel adventure or writing our novel. Then we finally realize that this over-research was simply a way of procrastinating.
And there are times when we simply go with our gut feeling, with little or no planning at all. We simply move forward without caring about the details (thanks to our focus on the big picture), only to realize that we should have done a bit of research beforehand.
I wish I could be in the middle of this spectrum, but unfortunately, I often end up being on either extreme.
4. Offering compassion to people who don’t care about you
I don’t understand why I worry about inconveniencing the store clerk when he simply refuses to hear me. I don’t understand why I feel sorry for the professor who is correcting my not-so-perfect assignment who never seemed to care about my education.
I never understand why I feel guilty when I do not buy something from a salesperson (just because he used a few cute words), even though I know that it’s his job, and he just cares about his own profit.
5. Spending your energy constantly validating yourself instead of focusing on your goals
I don’t know how many I times I just keep telling myself that what I’m doing is okay, and I should not bother if someone does not like my idea. We INFPs sometimes move through a cycle of constant self-approval instead of working our way toward our goals.
For example, I want to start my own location-independent business rather than go to college. I know that in order to do that, I’ll need to develop some skills. I had this thought about four months ago, and a month later, I enrolled in college.
I have not taken any steps to start my business because I spend my time reassuring myself that I’m on the right track and I should just focus on the present. Today, I am exactly where I started. Had I focused on developing the relevant skills, I wouldn’t be enrolling for the next semester.
6. Worrying about helping others when the one who you should be helping is yourself
Even when we have no idea how we’ll pay our rent, we feel sorry for not giving money to a homeless person our own way home from being fired from our job.
I simply wish I could just let go when I come across moments when I find someone asking for help. But my highly sensitive soul simply doesn’t allow me to do so.
7. Having high standards but a low self-esteem
We think that we should be a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, but we do not want to enroll in a writing course because we feel we do not deserve that sort of luxury.
We think we should be able to code the next Facebook, but we are afraid of even trying to learn to code, because we feel we are not worth it.
We realize we need many things to achieve that “something,” but we feel unworthy of anything.
And that’s the only reason we feel like we’ve never achieved anything. Our high standards often backfire and lead us nowhere.
Despite all of theses problems, I love being an INFP. I just often find myself laughing at myself and wondering what on earth I am.