20 Habits of INFPs

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  1. Taking different routes to places because they feel more “unique” and “exciting”, like following fairy trails or something like that.
  2. Always trying very hard to focus on the other person and their face when speaking to them, in case we look like we are bored and are daydreaming, as we often are.
  3. Unable to resist the urge to try and befriend cats, and always getting disappointed when they turn out to be wild, feline creatures who do not warm up to us as much as they should.
  4. Falling in love with someone from afar. That’s it. There’s no plot twist, no ending: the only thing that happens in this love story is that the young woman or man pines beneath the balcony forever, while everyone else happily goes on with their lives, including the object of their affection.
  5. Wanting to be a writer but unable to realise this dream completely because of one’s scatterbrained nature or the reality of earning an income in this world.
  6. Scrolling through career options late into the night for the same careers or jobs—childcare worker, nurse, and other “caring” careers—just to reassure yourself that you do have some utility in this world despite your daydreamy nature.
  7. Feeling an urge to drop everything and escape to a farm somewhere and never letting this urge become a reality. Because INFPs, in case you haven’t noticed, are not good with reality.
  8. Wanting to escape into fictional worlds and lives for all eternity so the realities of life, such as earning a living in this world, never have to be faced.
  9. Feeling so lost in life in terms of career options you could scream, because it seems you were born for nothing more than sitting around in meadows, picking flowers and philosophising on the meaning of life. Unfortunately for us, no-one in their right mind would pay someone to do that.
  10. Making a decision to eat only organic and healthy food because that way one is more “in balance” with nature, but then giving it up because junk food is too tempting and you get too depressed not to rely on it sometimes.
  11. Contemplating, after realising how limited one’s career options are and how most of the ones INFPs seem suited for pay not very much at all, how bad would homelessness be, really, I mean, as long as you’re not starving it can’t be too bad, right?
  12. Wishing you were born into a different family, one that was able to nurture your sensitive, creative nature instead of trampling all over it, or worse, ignoring your “special needs” as an INFP offspring.
  13. Being unable to find things. Period. I don’t know about you, but there seriously must be an invisible wormhole following me around for much of my days, because that’s the only plausible reason I can give for losing everything I own.
  14. Gazing wistfully at other people and their lives and wondering how they manage to have it all together so well, so perfectly- poised and comfortable and happy. I can’t remember the last time I was utterly comfortable and happy in this world.
  15. Watching episodes of your favourite TV show instead of doing more important things, like chores. Actually, scratch that—reading books instead of doing chores, because reading is a much more pleasurable activity than pretty much anything else.
  16. Completing chores improperly. What do you mean, the dishes are still a little greasy? And that spot on the floor, I missed it? Well, I must have been thinking of something else.
  17. Getting lost when you go to new places and panicking to no end because when you get lost, you feel like you’ve fallen off the edge of the Earth and will never find your way home again.
  18. Rescuing tiny creatures, like slugs or ants, saving them from being flushed down the drain or drowning in a puddle of water. Because you care.
  19. Always being the friend who supports/admires/helps/compliments the other louder and more rambunctious friend, while silently daydreaming and writing on the side whenever you think the other friend isn’t looking.
  20. Having a long list of coping mechanisms for dealing with the realities of life—such as writing lists like these, eating junk food, and watching various movies—that do nothing whatsoever to help you to deal with the realities of life.

Ways the World Could Be A Better Place For INFPs

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INFPs should have their own island. There, I said it, but it’s true: I sincerely believe that placing all INFPs on a particular island somewhere, preferably a place abundant in fresh springs and fruits, would be a good idea. So much of the world is industrialised these days, cities filled with bustling and busy people, that the entire planet has almost become a place difficult for INFPs to live on. A quiet island somewhere, a quiet retreat, dotted with clusters of libraries and crawling with cats, would be the perfect place for INFPs to live and flourish, for endless golden days.

Basic universal income should be introduced, whereby everyone is given just enough to live on—the barest minimum—so that way, artistic and creative people, as INFPs often are, can chase their dreams of becoming artists and writers without getting worried they’ll end up on the streets. Introducing a basic universal income will take the stress of money out of life for INFPs, who want very little in terms of material goods, and give us the time and opportunity to flourish in our own quiet and simple ways, without the threat of homelessness or unemployment hanging over us everyday simply because of the way we are—introverted daydreamers aren’t very hot on the job market—or our career aspirations.

The world would be a better place for INFPs if INFPs actually had their own “group” and “leader”, the way some political parties have their own leaders. Working together as  a team, we could advocate  for things for INFPs, such as the construction of quieter libraries, or a lack of discrimination towards introverted daydreamers when it comes to jobs. It would be almost like having your own family, except the famiy would be made up of thousands of other people who are INFPs but strangers, a kind of support network that I imagine would surely be very useful and comforting for many INFPs living in the world today.

Another good idea, as an alternative to the island, is to set up lots of INFP centres around the place, in every country on the globe. These would be safe havens for INFPS, filled with books, cats and other INFPs, for INFPs to go to when their home or work life in the modern world is getting unbearable (as it often does). Entry would require the applicant to fill in a Myers-Brigg test and have it turn out to be INFP, as well as the gauging of the prospective applicant’s personality  by various members of the faculty, and free food and water would be provided, just enough for a person to live on, and here INFPs, in the company of other dreamers, and plenty of books, movies and animals, pillows and dreamcatchers and comfort, would be able to rewind and recover. Everyone needs a refuge, and I can imagine little more perfect than official refuges for INFPs all over the world.

What This INFP Has Been Up To

 

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So it’s been a while since I’ve posted or written anything on this blog, but there has been good reason for it. For the last half year or so, I descended into a period I like to call “productive depression”. I was most definitely depressed, because I had all the symptoms—low mood, lethargy, complete lack of interest in activities, etc.—but at the same time, I was still able to write snippets here and there of my own fiction, so the entire period of time I was away wasn’t entirely wasted.

Finally, after a hospital stay for suicidal thoughts, I am completely free of my depression and have returned to the blogosphere, to continue writing my thoughts and sharing with the internet my own, little life. So what, exactly, have I been up to, apart from moping about and trying not to kill myself? Well, I completed an 8,000 word children’s book, which I have already sent in to a publisher, but I don’t even have my fingers crossed for it because I have very little hope my horrible little book will be published. It just won’t happen, I can feel it, but at the very least I did something during my depressive episode, at least I did practice my writing a little bit.

Because of anxiety and depression, I had to leave school early, which means that I have needed to quickly find some way of gaining education that would lead to employment, because, suffice to say, this particular INFP has realized that her dream of becoming a writer, at least for now, will certainly not put food on the table; so in July this year, I will be enrolling in an Aged Care course that will allow me to take care of elderly people in a residential setting, helping them with tasks such as showering, eating, toileting and the like. It is not the most glamorous of jobs, but it will put food on the table, and even INFPs need to be realistic sooner or later when it comes to earning money; and after a while, if I want, I can transition into nursing by doing a Diploma of Nursing and then going on to do a Bachelor of Nursing, and becoming a Division 1 Nurse, So, basically, I will work in the aged care industry or go on to become a nurse, and do my writing on the side, as a sort of hobby, because the publishing industry is a very hard nut to crack, and I just don’t think my writing ability or the quality of my work is good enough to get published yet.

It’s not the most ideal path—I mean, I’m not too sure if INFPs are completely cut out for working with elderly people, I am a very caring person and I certainly would like taking care of and conversing with old people, but there is the small matter of dealing with difficult elderly people, who might have dementia or behavioural issues, that I am rather concerned about, simply because, like a typical INFP, I am terrible at dealing with aggression of any kind. However one needs to put food on the table, and this is the best educational option suited to my temperament that I have at the moment, especially since it will be a long time, if ever, before my writing pays for necessities like food and rent, so I’m sticking with it for now.

Anything else? Oh, yes. I cut my hair. Yes, that’s right: during my depressive episode, I cut all my hair off, until I practically looked like a man. Well, no, I still look like a woman, but it does, in my opinion, look very ugly; I feel exactly like a shorn sheep, bedraggled and naked. All my long, silky, beautiful black hair I cut off, because I was so depressed and felt like doing something earth-shattering and immense to snap myself out of my depressive state at the time, and now it will take forever to grow back. It’s a small and insignificant thing, perhaps, to the people around me, but to me, it’s enormous and horrible, and I feel almost as though I will never be beautiful again. It’ll take two years, at the very least, for it to grow back to shoulder-length, because my hair is very thick and grows very slowly, and in the meantime, I am miserable and morose whenever I look into a mirror.

As for my writing—well, this INFP is having very mixed feelings at the moment about her writing. Almost every INFP I know likes writing, and I am no different, but to make a career out of it, especially in fiction writing (in particular, fantasy, the genre I like to write in) is something very difficult to do indeed. My problem at the moment is that while I might have brilliant flashes of inspiration, I find it very difficult to flesh them out into proper books, with proper characters and things that happen; more often than not, whenever I try to write fiction, I just start off with a great idea that peters out into nothing, because I don’t have the ability or the writing skills to truly turn a seed of an idea into a flourishing beanstalk of a book. It’s very aggravating, and something that makes me feel as though I will never become a writer, never be published, because ideas without execution are nothing, little less than leaves on the wind. So this particular INFP is getting a bit more realistic about her airy-fairy dreams, and going into aged care instead—sometimes, the real world will break your heart, because unfortunately, banks are stronger and more powerful than castles in the air.

And money is something I cannot live without at the moment. I am turning 20 this year, and have very little money to my name, and still live with my single mother, who works as a cleaner and doesn’t earn very much at all. What’s more, what I’ve discovered with writing is that I can’t pursue it full-time, because whenever I write for too long, I get stuck, and the characters and the descriptions of the world start to go nowhere. Basically, my optimum level of writing, I’ve found, is a page of words a day, if I want to keep myself from getting bored with my own writing, and at that pace, I end up turning out short, mediocre childrens’ fantasy books. Not a good omen for a future in the publishing industry, I can tell you that. So in order to earn money I’ve had to be more realistic; even dreamers, after all, need to eat. I’ll be writing more posts soon—I’ve returned for good this time—especially about romance, and my own loneliness as a young INFP who has never so much as dabbled in the world of love—so keep tuned. I hope everyone is well, and has been doing much better than I have been.

The Traumatic Life Of Idealists

 

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Being an idealist in this world is a bit like being able to see unicorns popping out of rubbish bins and from behind walls which no-one else seems to notice. A lot of the time, even when you’re down in the dumps, you go around with a big smile on your heart because unicorns are appearing and grinning at you from everywhere, but because only you can see them people either think you’re crazy or refer to you as a “dreamer”–and in condescending rather than complimentary tones.

And it’s actually very traumatic. Honestly, it is. Because there’s so much beauty in the world around you, and you really wish others could see it, even just a glimpse of it, but even when you point it out to them they don’t, or they sort of go “Mhm, yes, very pretty,” then secretly think to themselves that you are a very strange person for gushing over clouds and flowers or caterpillars. And it’s not traumatic to be an idealist only because you tend to find beauty where others do not—it’s also traumatic because since everything exists in such a beautiful bubble in your imagination, when anything in reality fails to live up to your extremely high expectations (we’re talking up-to-the-moon high here) the disappointment often feels as crushing as a million tons of bricks falling in a huge cascade onto your chest. And because nothing can completely live up to our imaginations, not even ourselves, we live in a state of perpetual disappointment, glancing back and forth unhappily from the picture in the magazine of the perfect life to the ruinous, haphazard heap of our actual life.

Can you imagine what it would be like to never be happy, to have your heartbroken almost every second by the realities which face you? That is what it is to be an idealist. The only way we cope is by escaping into fiction, into stories in books and inside our own heads, layering over reality a much more aesthetically pleasing picture so our hearts don’t wither and die. I mean, everything is disappointing, in so many ways. Take people, for instance. People are immensely disappointing. They tend to be professional disappointers. It doesn’t matter where you live or who you are—sooner or later, somewhere down the line, a person is going to disappoint you, and make you want to slam your face into a brick wall and groan. But for idealists, people are especially disappointing. From afar, they always seem so lovely and wondrous, especially when we haven’t seen them for a while and are secretly in love with them (or, at least, in love with who we think they are). But the moment we get up close and actually get a good, proper look at the person, untainted by any of airy-fairy daydreams, we just sort of frown quietly inside our hearts and think to ourselves, “Hm. I thought you’d be more pleasant. And interesting. Instead, I kind of actually don’t really even like you. In fact, I think I kind of loathe you.” And then we usually exit from their lives, without them ever realizing what it was they had done wrong to make us shy away from them like that. And the thing is, they didn’t do anything wrong. Not in the least. They were just unlucky enough to be the object of our affection, and transmuted by our imaginations into a dazzling creature no person alive, and perhaps even dead, could possibly live up to.

In my experience, it is better by far to keep things at arm’s length. That way, they stay pretty and pure. Why do you think so many idealists enjoy reading so much? Because fantasy, or fiction, is never up close and in your face the way reality or people can be. As it is imaginary, it will always exist at a remove from ourselves. And that is what idealists ultimately adore doing: viewing things from afar, and daydreaming about their wonderfulness, their beauty, without ever letting reality’s ugly fingers stain or mess it up. The heart of every idealist, if they have been living for a while on this planet, is very much broken, and cannot be put back together again. Instead, the more life shows us its ugly and imperfect side, its impersonal and dull side, the side without magic, without hope, without beauty, the more we retreat, like turtles, into our minds and our imaginations, where we can spin castles in the sky even as the house we are actually standing in comes crashing down around our ears.

A Dreamer’s Ideal Society

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I think our societies speckled all over the globe are not doing very well at the moment, and therefore, as a member of the human species, I would like to propose a few small changes. I have been working on these for quite some time, and I hope you will like them—and perhaps, if you find them especially agreeable, you would consider mailing this little piece of mine to whatever leader governs your society wherever you live, just on the off chance they might consider implementing some of my, um, little changes. Right-o, then. Let’s begin.

I think, in every city, every country, great, enormous libraries should be built every couple of streets down the block, filled with books, every book imaginable. And inside those libraries there should be bedrooms, with locks, where people can stay and read in private, and sleep, and other rooms where they can mingle and eat together, and read, spending the rest of the time, in the moments between when they’re reading, pursuing their interests, like writing or hopscotch, or singing.

Behind each of the libraries there should be large farms, the kind with paddocks and grass, and vegetable patches, where enough food is grown and produced to feed everyone who lives in the library. Everyone pitches in to help with the growing and gathering of food, and with tending to the farm animals, as well as preparing the meals. Water can be drawn from nearby wells, drilled deep into the ground, and collected in special tanks when it rains, and a lake or two nearby, filled with very pure and clean water (because all cars will have been banned, and people walk everywhere to go to places) can be used for washing one’s clothes and swimming and bathing. Cats are to be mandatory fixtures in such a library, padding in and out between the shelves and dozing on very large, red armchairs.

In such a society, one based around the library itself, a sort of literary nexus, there is no need for money, as everything, from duties to clothes to utilities, will be shared, and people spend their days reading, filling their little brains up with knowledge and fun, and engaged in activities such as writing more books, which will help the community, or cooking or cleaning, or inventing things to make life easier and more interesting. Solar panels adorn the roofs of the libraries, providing for all electricity and energy needs (yes, the people will use electric stoves, so no trees need be cut down). To communicate with people living in other library-communes, pigeons shall be used, because it is much more fun and interesting to get a message attached to a pigeon’s legs rather than receive it through the internet, or a postbox. Children will play, lambs will frolic across the grasses, butterflies will flit and flutter, and when the suns ets, everyone either tucks into bed, with books in their laps, or gathers around to toast marshmallows and sing songs under the sun, with their loved ones all around them, experiencing every moment of life with happiness and joy.

That is not to say people will spend their days in idleness—oh, no, certainly not. While each and every person is given plenty of recreational time, with which they are free to do as they please, provided their activities did not disturb or hurt other people or cause any harm or destruction, they are still obligated to work for the community by spending time exploiting their talents to the fullest, whether they lie in astronomy or finger puppetry. These libraries will, in essence, be bonanzas of creativity and imagination and thinking, where human potential, in its various forms, will be developed to their fullest against an idyllic, kitsch and pollution-free backdrop.

This might not seem altogether realistic enough to some of you, but I guarantee that, in many ways, it would be much better than the society we have today, where human potential is squandered by the hour as people are forced to work pointless jobs just to get some higher numbers in their bank account, and when the important people==the farmers, the plumbers, and so forth—get paid far less than the less important, and frankly unnecessary people, like CEOs of plastic toy companies and counsellors who charge you exorbitant hourly amounts just to hear you talk about yourself. In the meantime, I’ll keep this little model of mine tucked away in my heart, and one day, if society progresses enough, I will whip it out, for all to see and gaze upon, and everyone shall love and applaud my genius at coming up with such a scheme. Now, if you’ll excuse me—I have a couple more fantasies waiting for me to get back to them.

 

Hunger, Loneliness, Yearning

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I am the woman watching from the shadows of the doorway as the man she loves, has loved dearly for years, kisses another woman, and begins to lay her down on the bed, wrapped in his arms.

That is who I am, you see. The very essence of my being is encapsulated by that lonely, quiet woman, standing there unseen, unheard, and paralysed with anguish, with longing and yearning so unbearable and intense it is like the explosion of sun, the rebirth of a universe, the descent into a black hole, all rolled into one.

I watch hungrily from the outside as others laugh, and play, and kiss and love, and I wonder, wistfully, to myself, why it is I can never be a part of it. I don’t why—it’s just there exists a sense of apartness which prevents me from engaging in such activities, and even if I were to somehow end up on a date, or at a social event, I would still either feel alone and anxious, or find the experience, because it exists in reality and not in my head, lacking in some way.

I don’t even know how to explain it, exactly. One of the greatest mysteries to me is how in the world there can possibly be so many people on the planet, when relationships are so difficult and so often end badly. It doesn’t make any sense to me. I don’t understand how relationships work, or how people end up in them, or find someone compatible enough to—well, be intimate, and therefore make a baby. It is incomprehensible to me. As I didn’t grow up in a particularly happy family, every time I see a family, every time I read, on an author’s bibliography, that they are married, with a son, or daughter, or sometimes even two children, this tidal wave of longing rises up inside of me, tinged with the sour taste of envy. I feel so terribly alone, sometimes, so lost, and some part of me feels, or thinks, that if I can just create my own happy little family in this world, have someone to love me, and have my own children, who love me, then perhaps—just perhaps—I would find some measure of safety and security in so chaotic a world.

It has something to do, I think, with the terrible relationship I had with my father, who treated me with less than the respect I deserved, and did not love me. Thus, there exists a hunger inside of me for male love, a void—that is why I always feel, down to the roots of my soul, like that woman standing in the doorway, watching the man she loves love someone else. From the day I was born, I became yearning incarnate, stitched of dusty hopes and unfed longings.

The only solace in all the world for such hunger inside my heart is writing, or music, or singing, or any art form, really. Without creativity and without books, I would have perished long ago, just sort of drifted away, like a leaf on the wind. I live for my art. My art is my lover, my friend, my confidante, my family, my mother and father, all rolled into one. And it’s not as if there’s something particularly repulsive about me which repels all male creatures from my vicinity. No, it’s nothing like that. Instead, I just have a lot of mental issues that prevent socialising in the first place, and I’m also a little on the quiet, creative and shy side, which makes fitting in anywhere a difficult business. I like to think of myself as a kind, delicately beautiful white flower, in a tiny abandoned greenhouse, unfurling towards the sunlight and dappled green by the tinted panes, abandoned and alone, but terribly lovely in its own small way, all the same.

You see, that is what I love, I love the sad, the lonely, the abandoned; the sight of such things fills my heart with a desperate longing and aliveness. The truth, and this is something I usually would not like to admit, not even to myself, is that I quite like being in a constant state of yearning, and unfulfilled hopes and dreams. I love the bittersweet taste of it, on my tongue. It is a kind of delightful pain, if you will, and it makes me feel as though I am truly living; if given the choice, I would not have it any other way. Beauty, for me, lies in suffering, in the unfulfilled, in the hands that reach for the sun but never touch it: that is where it all is, all art, all true feeling, all that makes life rich. So I will stand in the shadows, my friend, and let the tears drip down my cheeks and my heart clench with longing, and smile a tiny and desperate smile of blinding joy, and call it home.

PS: I shall be resuming my daily posts–I recently started a Psychology course, through an online university, and was quite caught up with assignments and so forth for a while, and neglected this blog, for which I apologise. I know this is only a very small blog, but even if there was one person out there in the world who looked forward to reading my posts, then I feel very sorry for having disappointed you. The good news is, I am back, and I am here to stay.

Best Traits In A Partner For INFPs

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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).

INFPs Are Silly, Naive And Weak

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Or so many people seem to think upon meeting us or truly getting to know us. That we are these very soft, very fragile creatures, full of intense emotion, easily hurt, easily broken, self-hating and entirely disconnected from reality. And they’re right (though they’re certainly not right when they try to “fix” us). We can be a bit silly sometimes. We do find building up our self-esteem a very difficult task to do, one we must chip away at every minute of our lives. We can be naïve, and weak-willed. We are quite avoidant by nature, very bad at dealing with conflict and any sort of discomfort in general, and immensely good at escaping into fantasy when our current reality is no longer to our liking. But since when did these traits become bad qualities?

I can tell you this, with great certainty: everyone who has ever hurt me, most of whom were my bullies in school as well as a handful boys I liked and admired secretly from the sidelines, were people who did not understand my nature, or were highly logical themselves and possessed very little empathy. Next to them, I could not help but feel woefully inadequate. They were so confident, so sure of themselves, so beautiful, hard and smiling and bright, lean and full of energy. It was like being a single candle flickering in a sea of blazing bonfires, I simply could not compete. And when those same people teased me and hurt me, or worse, looked at me blankly, with a complete lack of understanding of who I was as a person, the pain and loneliness cut me like a knife. As an INFP, my tendency to idealise everything, needless to say, worked against me in this regard in the worst way possible. I saw these bold, extroverted people, who saw me as silly, naïve and weak, as small gods strolling across the land, capable of building cities and tearing them down again, of charming their way in and out of any situation. I idolized them, aided by my overactive imagination. They were everything I was not, and some of them made sure I knew it. I hated myself, admired them, desperately wanted to be them; I was the candle, overwhelmed by the burning blazes around me, wishing I could spit and flare just as brightly, wishing I was bigger and better.

INFPs only start to really grow up when they realise sometimes there are good things about being a candle, even if our light is dim and quiet. Sometimes, it’s better to provide soft illumination, than fiery heat, for there is a gentle beauty to candles no bonfire can ever hope to match and things in this world only candles can do, like sit in a lamp held in the hand of a young woman exploring the corridors of a haunted house. It’s funny. So many INFPs throughout history, from writers to filmmakers, who are now lauded for their achievements, would have been ridiculed and disdained by the very same people who now enjoy their creative efforts had they met those INFPs in person, or known them personally. We’re very quiet, a little odd, and loners. Most of us don’t possess a drop of charisma, and can only charm cats and children, on the best of days. We go about our days with a vacant look on our faces, absorbed in our own minds or quietly watching the world and the people in it around us. We prefer to stay at home, in our bedrooms, with our books and our fantasy worlds, than face the world outside our doorstep. We say the oddest things, and have the oddest thoughts, which are often not received well should we miraculously pluck up the courage to share them. Of course, this isn’t applicable to all INFPs—there is always variation in every group—but some of these apply to most INFPs. As a result, we are seen as silly, naïve and weak, sometimes even useless, when, really, our talents just lie elsewhere, somewhere over the rainbow.

For the longest time, due to this disconnect between who I was, and who the rest of society seemed to be, I disliked myself. I tried to change myself, by acting more extroverted, straining myself socially beyond the breaking point, trying to fend off the bullies who suddenly found me more entertaining now that I was chattier and therefore an easier target—only to end up, after twelve or so years of “faking it”, in hospital, for a severe mental breakdown. My mother and psychologist thought I was sick, I was mad, and in a way I was, but not in the way they thought I was. I was sick and mad because I had been forcing myself to be someone I was not for too long. Years of my life I lost to this false self, simply because I wanted to be accepted and loved by people who would never truly understand me. What I learned from that experience was this: no company at all is a thousand times better than bad company, and the only path to true happiness is to do what you love, for yourself, and let that be enough to fill the void inside your heart.

At the end of the day it matters little whether people scorn or disdain the essence of who we are, believe us weak and small, cowards, find us too anxious and neurotic, too strange, lacking in confidence, pathetic. What they think does not matter, and most likely they do not care what we get up to with our lives, our failures and successes, anymore than we care for theirs. In this life, each of us are alone, and each of us are responsible for our own happiness and achievements, and we would do well to remember this, hold these two truths close to our hearts, each and everyone of us, as a talisman to carry us through the many dark days of our lives.

An Imaginary INFP Conversation Written By An INFP With Imaginary Friends

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INFP: He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not—

Friend: What are you doing?

INFP: What does it look like I’m doing?

Friend: Desecrating my garden. That’s your tenth flower.

INFP: Best of ten.

Friend: You do realise that daisies are not an accurate source of information when it comes to determining whether someone loves you?

INFP: Oh, I know. He loves me, he loves me not…

Friend: So why bother with it, then?

INFP: The flowers may not talk to you, but they chatter to me all the time. Sometimes, we even play Chinese Whispers, if the wind is blowing the right way.

Friend: Oh, for the love of God. I mean it. It’s a complete and utter waste of time, the way I see it—and don’t you have a novel you should be writing?

INFP: I know the flowers aren’t actually going to tell me if he loves me or not. I just do it because it’s romantic. When I pluck the petals and whisper the words beneath my breath, I feel like some heroine in a film, lovesick and beautiful, like Ariel in The Little Mermaid.

Friend: Isn’t that a show for children?

INFP: You don’t like Disney?

Friend: Not particularly, no. What’s wrong? What’s wrong with you?

INFP: Not—like—Disney! I’m sorry. Our friendship must come to an end. It has been good knowing you. Shall we shake hands, all melancholy and solemn-like?

Friend: So who is it that you’re pining over this time? Is it the one who works at the grocery store, who smiled at you that one time?

INFP: No. It turns out he didn’t harbor a secret love for me. He was just being friendly.

Friend: You don’t say. So who is it, then? Do I know him?

INFP: Not exactly.

Friend: What kind of answer is that? Wait. Let me guess. You do have a tendency to yearn after the bold and pragmatic, which is frankly beyond me, seeing as they are the exact opposite of who you are, and therefore terribly incompatible. Why do you like them so much? All they do is hurt you with their insensitivity.

INFP: I don’t know, to be honest. I think it’s because they have a soft streak, underneath all the hardness, and I want to get to it and snuggle there, like a worm wriggling its way to an apple’s soft core.

Friend: Okay, well, I did not understand a word of that. If you don’t want to tell me, that’s fine. The heart must keep its secrets, I suppose.

INFP: It’s you.

Friend: What?

INFP: Just kidding. There’s isn’t anyone. I’m just plucking these petals for an imaginary person in my head, who I pretended to have met at certain spots throughout the neighbourhood and who sent me flowers on my birthday—imaginary ones, of course. Those are the best.

Friend: Oh! I should have guessed. Dinner’s ready. You can come inside and join me, if you want.

INFP: Okay. Bye.

Friend: Bye.

INFP: He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not, he loves me! He loves me. Does he? Oh, daisy, is it true? Do you speak the truth? Oh, I so wish you could speak, and tell me, and we could have a good proper conversation about it, person to plant. Well, I suppose I’ll find out. Come on, little flower, let’s go get our dinner.

What Would Happen If An INFP Was Chosen To Compete In The Hunger Games

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One of my greatest peeves regarding The Hunger Games, amongst a host of others—-I’m not too fond the series, in short (Where in the world are the Asians, seeing as this is meant to be a futuristic America? Why do all the African American characters–Rue, Cinna, and Thresh–end up dead?)—is how unrealistic the tributes’ reactions are to being thrown into an arena where they are forced to fight to the death.

There are no panic attacks, no breakdowns; the kids (yes, they’re only teenagers) segue instantly into warrior-mode, and are suddenly able to kill and evade those who want to kill them without blubbering or going crazy. If you or I were actually in a situation where we were forced to fight to the death, we would most likely lose our wits, not get a surge of adrenaline and jump right into getting our hands dirty. Despite the fact that grown men who have had years of training still freeze up in the midst of battle or go crazy from the pressure and the constant exposure to carnage, all the teenagers in the book, at least while in the arena, remain remarkably sane, even after killing others, or narrowly missing death themselves.

It doesn’t make any sense.

But nevermind that. Let’s consider, as the title of this post suggests, what would happen if an INFP were to be chosen as one of the twelve tributes in the next Hunger Games.

First, once the realisation hits, one can expect a great deal of crying, with perhaps a panic attack or two thrown in for good measure. When meeting with her family, most likely for the last time, the INFP will probably sob and beg for them not to take her away, though of course, her pleas will be disregarded.

On the train ride to the Capitol she (or he, but for the convenience of this piece I’ll just refer to the INFP in question in the feminine) will most likely become very, very quiet, and sink into a deep state of existential depression, spending lots of time in her cabin, lying in bed and staring up at the ceiling, or watching the scenery stream past outside the window, pondering over the meaninglessness of death

Eventually, two things will happen. Either the INFP will resign herself to her fate, simply because she has no choice, or she will attempt suicide and then resign herself to her fate after she is unsuccessful in ending her life, not because the knife didn’t penetrate deep enough, but because she found herself unable to stick it into herself in the first place. The attempt will be conducted so secretly, and with so little success, she won’t even kept on close watch by the Capitol authorities so she isn’t able to do it again.

The Capitol is certain to disgust the INFP to a greater extent than the other tributes in the way it flaunts wealth, consumerism and exploitation. Anger will grow in the INFP at the sight of the lavish lifestyles of Capitol citizens enjoy while those living in the districts are poor and starving, smoldering like an old flame beneath her soft exterior, which she will most likely release by eating herself sick, or entertaining private fantasies of revenge.

At the training centre, where she gets a good look at the other tributes for the first time, the INFP will be highly intimidated. If you think about it, being chosen to fight in the violent Hunger Games is kind of the worst situation for a peace-loving person like the INFP to be in. Therefore she is likely to make a wide berth of the dangerous weapons most useful for survival, as well as the other tributes, perhaps even give a little shudder at the keen sharpness of the knives, and spend the sessions keeping her head down and fiddling with ropes and memorizing edible plants.

If she is a little sociable, she might attempt to convince the other tributes to move towards harmony by promising to not to kill each other in the arena and letting the Gamekeepers pick them off one by one instead. As her reasoning will go, if they refuse to kill each other, they will be able to, in their own small way, rebel against the Capitol, as it denies its citizens a good show. Some will consider the idea, but others, the more realistic, will tell her, with a little pity in their voice, that once in the arena, all promises are nothing more than air. If just one person kills, then everyone will start to kill, and the prize, a life free from economic penury, is too tantalising for everyone to resist. No-one will approach her for an alliance in advance, or pay her much attention, because she is too weak to be considered a true threat. In that assumption, they will be correct.

Likewise, during the televised interviews, the INFP is likely to be unmemorable, very shy and awkward, too anxious to reveal any of her deep-seated anger in her answers to Caesar Flickerman’s questions. Her performance in front of the judges will likely involve tying a little fancy knot, and for that, she will receive a score of 1, or 2 if it was a particularly interesting knot and the judges were feeling particularly generous and tipsy by the time it was her turn.

At this point the other tributes will see her as nothing more than a flea, easily flicked out of the way, and if there is someone else also shy and scared amongst the tributes, the INFP is sure to have sensed them and befriended them by now, because in life the frightened and awkward usually have only each other for comfort.

The night before the tributes are released into the arena, the INFP is sure to have another breakdown, a serious one this time, bordering on psychosis, because her imagination will be very good at envisioning how the next day will play out. It will most likely not have a good ending. She will try and find a way to escape, running drunkenly everywhere through the building searching for hiding places or exits, and eventually be found by Capitol staff, weeping and hysterical, and be tranquilised.

When she next awakens, she will find herself in the glass tube traveling traveling slowly upwards into the light. Again, she will become hysterical, start beating at the glass, sobbing, crying out, the thought of composure and preparing herself for the battle ahead never crossing her mind. When the tube finally rises completely into the sunshine, and the countdown begins, the INFP might, if especially brave, deliberately step off the platform early and get blown up than be killed at the hand of someone else, or forced to kill another human being.

More likely, however, when the countdown ends, she will start running for her life towards the woods. Under no circumstances would an INFP ever risk visiting the Cornucopia, as that would mean willingly putting herself in conflict. Instead, if she is not killed in the initial bloodbath, she will keep on running through the woods, crying and panting and hysterical, until she can run not a step further.

It is then, lost and broken and frightened, that she will reach an epiphany, and resolve to win the Games for the sake of her family and her district, to use her victory as a way to rebel against the Capitol. As she made herself seem less of a threat in the beginning, she will go on to evade and slyly kill the other tributes without them ever knowing what hit them, win the Games, and return home traumatized but alive.

Just kidding.

She’ll probably just try climb a tree and conceal herself amongst the foliage, or find some other hiding place inside or under some bushes. There she will stay, in her hiding place, still and quiet, too afraid to expose herself and search for food and water, and if the Gamekeepers don’t interfere, the INFP will probably die, after trying to eat leaves or bark for several days, of thirst.

Because let’s face it, the chances of an INFP winning the Hunger Games are exactly nil.