Best Traits In A Partner For INFPs

marriage

As dreamers who often have a habit of idealizing those we love and seeing the good in people, it is very easy for us to end up in relationships that are unhealthy, even abusive, especially if we struggle, as many INFPs do, with low self-esteem. This issue is often compounded if one grew up in an abusive home environment with an abusive opposite-sex parent, forming a blueprint in our minds for what to expect in a relationship. If the only man you ever loved treated you as a punching bag, or something to be discarded or neglected, then it is very easy to fall into the trap of believing that is what you deserve. In the past, I found myself attracted to someone who was cold and selfish; and the more badly he treated me, or the more he ignored me, the more I loved him, because he resembled my father. Not a healthy mindset, to say the least. Here, then, as some traits to keep in mind if you’re an INFP looking for a partner so you don’t settle for less than what you deserve.

  1. Kind.

We’re often soft, sensitive and shy creatures, whether male or female, which means that in a romantic relationship, our partners need to be kind people. In fact, for INFPs, the kinder the man or woman, the better. Considering our uncanny ability to see into and understand people, determining whether someone is kind or not should not prove a problem. Signs of kindness include treating the downtrodden nicely, going out of their way to help the disadvantaged, their general treatment of other human beings, and the degree of their love for children and animals (again, the higher, the better). For an INFP, to be in a relationship with an unkind person is suicide. It is the emotional equivalent of walking through a barren wasteland dotted with bones and swirling with vultures or falling asleep next to a monster each and every night. If he or she is a kind person, then he or she will treat you kindly, and a loving, kind environment is one an INFP will warm to like a flower towards the sun.

  1. Generous.

This is a pitfall many INFPs are liable to fall into, which is to put up with a little bit of selfishness in our partner. As we are generally very selfless people ourselves, we don’t require much in a relationship except love and affection. High-maintenance is certainly not a word I would describe us; we are very free-spirited. While this is all well and good, it means that we might end up with people who are miserly, cheap or tight-wads, without realising these are signs of selfishness and a lack of love for you and an overabundance of love for money or security. After all, if your partner doesn’t give you anything for your birthday, or for Christmas, or for your anniversary, or even flowers on Valentine’s Day, our minds are often good at rationalizing such incidents. Maybe he was busy. Well, I don’t really need anything at the moment. Besides, if I don’t get presents, then it means I’m not supporting capitalism. It’s the thought that counts, not the gift—or lack thereof.

This is a situation where our selflessness and creativity can work against us. Love can be expressed in many forms, and one of the ways to express love is through giving. Gifts don’t need to be wildly extravagant, or even expensive—a good book, for instance, is a present many INFPs would appreciate—but if there is a complete lack of gifts, a complete absence of generosity in any form, where you feel like you are not being taken care of or cherished, then such a partnership should be abandoned, immediately. And as much as we hate extravagance and capitalism, a thoughtful, little gift, like a necklace with a tiny silver charm dangling from it, can, when we wear it, make our heart glow for months.

  1. Physical affectionate.

No—I am not talking about sex, though I am sure for many couples that is a good way to show love. No, instead what I am referring to, when I speak of physical affection, is the stuff of romantic comedies: cuddles and kisses on the cheek, surprise hugs from the back. INFPs, by nature, are very loving and warm people (though sometimes this warmth is buried beneath layers of cynicism and hurt built up over the years that can only be chipped away by the right person). If the man or woman you are interested is not physically affectionate, and instead cold or distant, or adverse to kissing on the mouth or on the cheek, or generally someone who doesn’t even like hugs, my suggestion is to flee as fast as possible in the opposite direction, for that way lies only misery.

  1. Gives you priority in his or her life.

Again, this goes back to our selfless, giving and accommodating natures. While it is perfectly fine for your partner’s career to take a precedence—for many INFPs, our work, such as saving the world one animal or person at a time, is our biggest priority—if you begin to drop any further down the totem pole of his or her concerns then perhaps the relationship isn’t one you’re meant to be in. Determining whether you are a priority in someone’s life is harder than finding out whether they are kind or generous because it is an arena where excuses are easily made. He didn’t call, or text you, or reply to your texts? Perhaps he was busy. Or maybe, when he returns from work and goes straight to his room to play games on the computer or read without kissing or greeting you, he’s just recuperating from a hard work day. That money he spent on himself for the latest set of headphones when he forgot your birthday is just something he needs for work, a job-related, necessary purchase. His lack of compliments just shows how comfortable he is with you now that the two of you have moved in together. He doesn’t have the time to call you during his lunch break, not when he has to juggle such a hectic schedule.

No. Don’t make excuses for someone who doesn’t make you one of his or her top priorities when you deserve to be taken care of and looked after by the one you love. Imagine someone you dearly love—how would you treat them? Then compare that treatment with the treatment you are receiving from your beloved, and if the former is significantly nicer and more pleasant than the other—well, you know what to do.

  1. Respects you.

In life, or, more accurately, in this world, INFPs, unless they’re highly esteemed individuals in their field, often find it very hard, as sensitive, introverted and scatterbrained people, to gain people’s respect, or even their attention. Generally, we just hide in the shadows and corners, nose buried in books, thinking our silent and complex thoughts as the world bustles and rushes past us, loud and irritating. This, then, is why it is very important, especially for INFPs, to have partners who respect them, who don’t think they’re poetry is silly, or their quirky and meaningful insights pointless. Sylvia Plath’s partner, Ted, I think his name was, in her memoir, described poetry as “so much dust”–that, my friends, is not a way to gain an INFP’s favour. If you’re partner doesn’t respect your kindness, sensitivity, imagination, love for literature and quirky intelligence, or even outright scorns the things you love, you’re better off cuddling up to some books in a library.

  1. Is even-tempered.

Emotions like anger or hate corrode INFPs the way acid does iron. To put it plainly, we are not good with conflict or hostility; it is actually very frightening, painful and disturbing for to witness, let alone experiences ourselves or be on the receiving end of it. Bad tempers, like good wine, often do tend to mellow over time, but you should not base a relationship on hopes for improvement. It’s like living for fairies and wishes. Much as we like fairies and wishes, they will never exist except inside your head. So if your partner, or the person you’re interested in, is an angry, aggressive sort of person, even if they do have a heart of gold underneath their rough exterior, it’s best to stay away and find someone less emotionally volatile (after all, we tend to have more than enough emotions for two people).

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8 thoughts on “Best Traits In A Partner For INFPs

  1. These are all true. It’s shattering to fall in love with someone who won’t hold you when need them to, or who is so emotionally distant. Anger scares me – I can’t even be around coworkers who complain all the time. Shouting breaks me. It’s true that many INFPs fall prey to abusive relationships, because we see the best in people and often ignore red flags. Sadly, I’ve loved a few people who made me out to be the red flag. Now I don’t really care about love or bother much with it.

      • I don’t really like hanging out with people. It’s complicated. I think that love will find me one day, but right now I need a break from all the dating and games. :$
        Hope I wasn’t too much of a downer. I hope the very best for you. ❤

    • I am in perfect agreement, though many years ago I might railed and cried that love did exist, and was real and true. It’s not. At least, not for long. Often, the bonds between friends and siblings are much stronger than those existing between people in “romantic relationships”; and I do believe that, while husbands and children are all very nice and good, they are not necessary for happiness. If people like us–sensitive and too easily abused and exploited–want to end up in a relationship, I believe we better choose someone who has a heart of gold and is practically a walking saint if we want any peace and joy in our lives.

  2. I would like to recommend a book that I recently finished, one that has been incredibly helpful to me. It is by Lindsay C. Gibson PsyD and it is titled ‘Adult children of emotionally immature parents’.
    Here’s a quote that I think is fitting.

    “[Parents who are emotionally immature are] uncomfortable with their own emotional needs and therefore have no idea how to offer support at an emotional level. Such parents may even become nervous or angry if their children get upset, punishing them instead of comforting them. These reactions shut down children’s instinctive urge to reach out, closing the door to emotional contact.”

    There were many times in my childhood where I was scared or depressed but I suffered in silence. There was no one to comfort me. I had to comfort myself. Even now as an adult I don’t ask for help because I think it’s a burden to people, besides I’ve done it on my own this whole time.
    But It doesn’t have to be that way. Emotionally mature people ask for help and others are willing to help where they can. If our parents choose to live that way, then that’s on them. But you don’t have to. You can live a happy life with people who love you. You just need to do a little bit of emotional work.

    Sorry for the long post. Here is the link to the publishers page if anybody is interested.
    https://www.newharbinger.com/adult-children-emotionally-immature-parents

    • Thank you so much for sharing that. That information is spot on–I grew up with a physically, verbally and emotionally abusive father, with being a sensitive kid, too, and whenever I was sad, upset, or needed something, and asked him for help, he would tell me he wouldn’t help me just because he could, and sort of scoff and sneer and feel good about himself like some toddler. Honestly, just thinking about it makes me feel so hurt inside. I can relate to your experience. All my solace, during my childhood, came from books, not my parents. It was in the realm of literature and imagination where I felt I truly belonged. I think it’s good for INFPs to dream themselves to better places when the world around them is ugly. Take care.

  3. Dear Dreamerrambling!

    I found your blog two days ago and I love it! I’m an ISFJ, a HSP, I also have anxiety and probably Asperger’s also (self-diagnosed, but I tested positive on multiple tests). Even though I’m an ISFJ, it’s amazing how much I can relate to what you write.

    I’m very sensitive, often times idealize people, relationships, situations, like to escape from the harsh reality to the world of dreams. I need private “me time” to recharge my batteries. Being sensitive and shy makes it extremely difficult to live on this planet. People often take advantage of me 😦

    I’m very caring (probably care too much) and want to help, give, and support others. I hate conflict and confrontation personally, but I always fight for other people. I just want them to be happy. The problem is that in the meantime I often forget about my needs, my dreams, and my happiness.

    I easily get misunderstood because I’m often unable to either hide or articulate my feelings. I want to be with people and want to have friends but it’s so hard because I’m terrified of the possibility of being ridiculed, rejected or getting hurt. I often come across as being weird, quiet, cold, and unapproachable. I tend to hide my feelings and just stay quiet which make others to thing I don’t care; but inside I have so much emotions, feelings, and thoughts. I just built up these walls to avoid getting hurt. The big problem with this is that I also push those people away who would be nice and kind. 😦 It takes a long-long time before I open up and let people in, let them know my real self.

    The reason I’m writing to you is that I got to know an INFP a couple of months ago and she means so much to me. I think she’s a wonderful person. We are not friends or anything, and she’s much older than me but I would like to get a little closer to her somehow. Being around her makes me happy, calm, understood. I’m so impressed about her insight into other people. Without me saying pretty much anything about my thoughts, feelings, etc. she was somehow able to see my real self and describe who I am.

    She is a very special person and I feel that we met for a reason. I let her know that I really appreciated everything she did and that I like her. I made the first move, which was pretty huge from me considering how shy I am. The problem is that she does not show her emotions at all. I have no idea what she thinks. 😥 I guess this is the Fi.

    So I would really need and appreciate your advise and help on this, please! I was planning to visit her maybe once a month for a couple of minutes just to see her, talk with her, find out how she’s doing, etc. But I’m not sure if it’s appropriate. I mean, what if she does not like me or does not want to see me. She of course never said or did anything that would indicate this, but she never said the opposite either… I would really need more concrete information about her feelings/thoughts. I really don’t want anything else just to be able to spend some time together once in a while. That would mean so much to me. I would love to be able to do something kind for her, but for that, I would need to know a little bit more about her.

    I’m really sorry about this long post. But if you could possible give me some advise about this, that would be great! Maybe you understand this situation better since you’re also an INFP.

    Thank you so much for everything! ❤

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