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.

INFPs And Earning A Living

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Sometimes, I feel as though asking a monkey to build a Ferris Wheel using only banana peels would have a higher success rate than finding an occupation INFPs feel comfortable in – apart from, of course, the quintessential “I want to be a writer” spiel that sends parents all over the world into heart attacks at the kitchen table. Our personality perfectly predisposes us to the task – imaginative, creative, with a natural love for words, for thinking and pondering and spending great periods of time alone – and it’s been a firm belief of mine for a while that a great deal of the books in the world were written by INFPs.

When it comes to making money, however, we seem to hit a wall, against which most of us will beat our fists at for a great deal of our adulthood. I, myself, even if I did not have the anxiety and sensory issues preventing me from pursuing a traditional pathway for the time being, find it terribly difficult to slot myself into the machine. I think there a few reasons for this. One is that we are free-spirited creatures – occasionally a little too free-spirited. This not only spurs us to rebel against authority and tradition, it has other darker sides: procrastination, never committing to anything, flitting through life thinking we are free when in truth we are only sabotaging ourselves by not following a schedule and working steadily month after month in order to become an expert in whatever field we have chosen. But most of all, this means that the thought of someone – be it the government, or a teacher, or boss – monopolizing our time, forcing us to spend our days as they see fit in order to earn “money” we see all too clearly as being a sham, just paper collectively agreed to possess value, doesn’t sit right with us. In fact, it sits so very poorly that sometimes the necessity of earning a living in this world feels like a noose around our neck, tightening by the day.

Though some among us do end up making a living as writers, most of us do not have that privilege, at least not yet, and must “clock in the hours”. Thus, we end up in three possible situations. One is where we work at a tedious and usually stressful job that takes a toll on our hearts and our mind while pursuing our interests, like writing, or philosophizing, in our spare time. Another is that we end up dependent on others to keep a roof over our heads and food in our stomachs, as is the case with my life right now, living with my mother despite having reached adulthood this year and struggling with some psychological and sensory issues. The final situation is a compromise: we find something in our daily jobs to love, such as the connection or bonds formed with customers, and thus find ourselves able to bear it even if the other tasks involved in the job make us want to tear our eyes out. There is, in fact, a fourth scenario, which is that we end up homeless, extravagant little hippies living out of the back of caravans or in cars, and on the dole (if we’re lucky), despite the deep well of kindness in our hearts and our high intelligence.

However, none of these situations – and I am sure I don’t have to point out that the last is particularly unpleasant – are ideal, and sometimes not even tolerable. First, working at a job that wears away at your soul is going to have consequences, ranging from chronic fatigue syndrome, depression and panic attacks. Make no mistake: you are going to be miserable, and most likely bored out of your mind. Look, we’re quiet creatures who are energized by solitude and quiet contemplation – and most jobs either require extensive contact with people or are stressful, filled with phone calls and paperwork. Depending on someone for your livelihood can be just as miserable, and I speak this from experience. For one, you be plagued by skin-peeling guilt almost every second of the day for not financially contributing to the household and gradually see yourself as a useless, lazy excuse of a human being, even if you suffer from mental issues or have been unable to find or hold down a job due to your natural introversion or inability to tolerate workplaces. Our independence is also important to us, and it is impossible to feel independent if someone else is paying the bills for you – or, in my case, buying the groceries and even helping me borrow my library books. What’s more, INFPs need to be occupied in personally fulfilling work at all times, regardless of whether it brings in an income or not, which is why, although I do not have a job, I am taking free online courses and pretending writing is a full-time job (your imagination can do wonders for fixing your procrastination issues! A favourite of mine is to pretend I am in jail, and all I have is a laptop without internet, or a pencil and paper, in order to get myself writing). As for holding a job we acclimatise ourselves to, teasing out the good parts while tolerating the bad, well, once again, eventually, it takes a toll. Homelessness is the worst option of the lot, though living in a caravan or a car, if you do not struggle with any mental issues, can be, depending on your personal tastes, a viable method of existence.

Compounding this problem is the fact that our natural skills and abilities are not prized by the modern workforce, and are sometimes even liabilities rather than assets. We are highly empathetic, highly independent, highly scatter-brained, highly idealistic, highly imaginative, highly melancholy and highly introverted – almost the exact antithesis of the kind of person society values: extroverted, charismatic, charming, bold, a go-getter, cheerful, good social skills. All we have really going for us is our creativity and writing skills – hence why so many of us gravitate towards writing as a possible career path – but, as we all know, getting good at writing takes time, and you often need to support yourself in other ways as you build up your skills. So basically, what you have is a group of people who are creative, philosophical, sensitive and kind who find themselves without a place to call home in the world.

Granted, some INFPs do end up landing in jobs which are the right fit for them, such as roles in non-profit organisations perhaps involving writing, or as a freelance writers – but they’re rare, and those INFPs who are successful today in a field they enjoy often went through similar struggles due to their personality type before they hit their sweet spots. So what do we do? Where is this elusive home that everyone else seems to find and for which we seem to be forever seeking?

It’s different for every INFP, but I believe that our only true homes are our own minds and imaginations, the one place in the entire universe where we can be entirely free – yet another reason why writing is so natural an activity for us. What this means, however, is that anything which exists beyond the boundaries of your mind – basically, the rest of the world – will never live up to your expectations, and never satisfy you (this is true for everybody, on some level).

Thus, the only solution to living the life we want (once again, not applicable to all INFPs) is to find a way to live inside our minds as much as possible, where we are the happiest and often find the greatest fulfillment. Now, there are probably people out there who will disagree with this conclusion, because it seems to suggest that INFPs should, instead of going out there and truly “living”, retreat into their imaginations and escape reality. But they do not understand that it is only in the realms of our mind do we feel truly free and happy, nor the joy wandering through the labyrinth of our own thoughts brings us. The true reason why we find it so hard to find a place in this world is because we are internal rather than external creatures; we are organisms of the mind and the heart, rather than the body. Therefore, as dreamers, centering ourselves more in the mind and the heart, where we naturally feel the most comfortable, is the truest path to happiness.

I don’t know exactly what you would find most fulfilling – it doesn’t have to be writing, not all INFPs are natural-born writers or love writing, we’re all different – but chances are, it’s connected to the heart or the mind in some way, in that it is something that engages your creativity, imagination, and natural empathy for other living creatures. As long as you make sure whatever you are doing comes from either of those two spiritual organs, you’re on the right path.

The good thing is that your mind and your heart can be engaged no matter what task you are doing or where you are in life. If you are working at a job you dislike that burns your soul a little more with each day that passes, then use your imagination to free yourself. Escape during meetings, while waiting in line for the photocopier; it will be enjoyable, and make the time fly by much faster whilst also exercising your creativity. This will be easier if your job does not involve much higher-order thinking. Pretend you are a djinn, forced to do tasks for your unbending master, trapped by shackles made of crisp dollar notes. You can also use work time, as surreptitiously as possible, to write, or engage in whatever task that fulfill you. For example, write on used office sheets, or finish the work you do very quickly and write during the rest of the time while pretending to be doing company work. Be creative: write in office diaries, on Post-It Notes. It’s not unscrupulous – much of the workforce is set up to waste your time on meaningless, dull tasks just to spool some extra numbers into your bank account and keep you occupied, and if it’s possible for you to find a loophole, a rambling little path away from the highway, then, by all means, take it. No matter what your situation is, use your creativity to try and make life fulfilling for you, while still allowing you to keep a roof over your head.

For those of you who are unemployed and on the dole, living in caravans or cars, or dependent on another for food and shelter, the same principle applies. Just because you don’t have a proper “job” doesn’t mean you can’t keep yourself busy. It’s easy for INFPs to fall into procrastination and laziness, as we’re easily distracted by anything that flies by our way, and, with the Internet, the air is now filled with swarms of interesting flying things. Reading books is much easier than writing them; thinking about philosophy much easier than putting philosophical concepts into practice; imagining a flourishing garden easier than getting your hands dirty and planting one. Often for us, like most people, the more time we have, the more we squander it. So don’t. If you’re not in traditional employment, make sure you are still constantly engaged in productive and meaningful tasks, whether that is writing, or reading up books on Psychology, building your own freelance writing business, planting some spring onions in pots along the grimy windowsill of your caravan – anything other than being idle and wasting your time. Doing so will also help beat back the guilt that will swamp you for not working and contributing to society, because technically you are working, working very hard indeed, only you are not being paid for it yet.

Also, I would recommend you try and save your money and not purchase unnecessary items – not only will it help the environment, but the less money you spend, the more money you save, and the more money you save, the more freedom you will have. Don’t eat out, buy second-items and less-processed foods, save up for items that truly contribute to your well-being like books. This shouldn’t be particularly difficult, as most of us are quite content with very little, and have little desire for extravagances or luxuries. Pinching pennies doesn’t make you a cheapskate – it makes you smart, and environmentally aware. Consumption in the world is at an all-time high, flushing the environment with our toxins and wastes, and the consumerism model of a constant cycle of using and discarding just isn’t sustainable in the long-term. Besides, the best things in life, like friendship, literature and the imagination, are free, anyway.

What’s more, the more money people like us have, the better of a world it will be, because, being kind folks, we’re more likely than any other group of people to donate to charities and help people if we have the resources to. If more of the world’s wealth and power was concentrated in the hands of INFPs (unfortunately most of us only seem to make our fortunes through artistic fields, like writing and film-making, notorious for their low entry-rates), there would be less suffering on Earth. Take J.K Rowling, for instance, a famous INFP – she is no longer a billionaire because she gave away so much of her money. In that sense, we almost have an obligation to try and accumulate as much wealth as possible (out of all MBTI types, we tend to earn the least due to our natural skill sets – bankers earn more than psychologists – so it’s a tough call), to the best of our abilites, in order to help the people who need help, rather than let wealth pile up in the bank accounts of the greedy, selfish and less philanthropic, where it sits there, an untapped resource, doing nothing and helping no-one.

There are no easy answers, but armed with our hearts and our minds, our imagination, creativity and kindness, we can fight back, and carve out lives true to ourselves and make the world a better place in the process. We are often intelligent and discerning, able to see easily into the workings of society, the shams of the modern-day world (the crowning jewel of which is the economic system), yet powerless to change the terrible things we see, and often the most oppressed group of people by the system itself. You are not alone, however; a small percentage though we may make of the world population, we do actually number in the millions if you take the total world population into account. So, in reality, there are millions of good people, idealists and dreamers, INFPs, out there, who all feel alone, and like they are the only pure and good souls in the world, the last moral bastions of society, when it’s just that we’re a little spread-out – and it is this dispersal that reduces our power.

With the Internet, however, that no longer has to be the case. It’s cliché, I know, but it’s true: alone, we are weak; together we are strong, stronger than our wildest dreams. Can you imagine what it would be like if we formed a global network of INFPs through the internet, leveraging our combined strength to help each other and do good in the world? INFPs are, in essence, an untapped resource of kindness in humanity, and have been up, until now, being soft, shy, retiring, unseen, brushed under the carpet, our voices drowned out by louder ones. You must stay strong – for yourself, for other INFPs, and for the world (and really, when I say “INFPs”, I am in actuality referring to anyone who is extraordinarily kind and idealistic; the MBTI just allows us to find like-minded people more easily). Take heed my advice on making money so you will be able to survive in society whilst maintaining your sanity. I will do my part, continually honing my writing skills so that one day, when I am a published and established writer, I will be able to leverage my economic and social power to help you, to help any suffering people in the world, and to help and bring joy to as many human beings as I can over the course of my life. That is what making money means for INFPs: to allow us to survive so we can seek personal fulfillment and improve the world.

If you need any help or support in life, no matter what the issue is, please feel free to contact me at dreamerrambling@hotmail.com. In the past, I’ve not been the best at replying to emails on time, but these days I am making a conscious effort to check it more often, and to try and reply to every message that I receive, especially from INFPs who are struggling. Please, however, do not be disheartened if it takes a few days. You are NEVER alone; every single INFP existing in the world today, including myself, suffers along with you, and understands you. Let us support each other, and, in doing so, support the world.

Becoming A Life Coach: Yes? No?

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**If any of you who read my blog or are just stumbling across it are needing any life advice or guidance, especially if you are sensitive, introverted or a dreamer and feels a little lost in this cold world, please send your Skype username to dreamerrambling@hotmail.com. Though I can’t guarantee I can speak with everyone, I will try my best. These sessions will be free, as I’m just going to be practicing my life coaching skills and developing my own techniques and learning how to talk and counsel people. Thank you for helping me practice and taking me a step further on this new little journey of mine, and I hope that I can help you in the process too. Please no spam: it’d be good to send a message along with your username telling me a little about yourself. Thanks. Keep dreaming.

Whilst searching on the internet for possible career choices for INFPs, I came across one that struck a chord: life coaching.

After reading a few articles on what this position involved, I have come to the conclusion that, other than writing, which utilises both our literary and creative skills, this would be an ideal career choice for INFPs as it taps into our often pent-up altruistic tendencies.

For those of you have do not know, what life coaches essentially do is help people overcome issues that prevent them from having the life they want, such as a lack of self-confidence or purpose, or recent adversities that have thrown a hammer into the workings of their existence. Through counseling and mentoring, these people then hopefully emerge from the counselling sessions feeling re-energized and healed. Often these sessions are undertaken over the phone, or Skype.

Frankly, as an INFP myself, I can think of few careers so suited to our sensibilities.

Most of our personality type are excellent at reading and analysing people, which would come in useful for targeting things like self-limiting beliefs preventing people from achieving the things they want to. We also like to help people nearly more than anything else, and what could be more gratifying than aiding people in building the life they want in order to achieve their own, unique form of happiness?

Not to mention the fact that most of us are budding philosophers or old souls who are wise beyond our years, and thus able to look at issues from the perspective of a much older and jaded individual.

Very little qualifications other than experience and testimonials are necessary to become a life coach. Personally I would love to work as one, rather young though I may be, especially as a life coach specifically for the groups of people I am care most about, such as INFPs, HSPs, introverts and dreamers.

Considering how many questions I receive through email and comments on this blog regarding life, it certainly seems a viable career path, especially when people who are introverts or HSPs tend to have a harder time of it than those who are not.

Of course, before you start haranguing at me for trying to exploit all my lovely readers at “Dreaming. Living. Loving.” by imposing my sudden, new-found life coaching services upon them, I’d just like to say that all these are but the seeds of ideas at the moment – nothing germinating yet folks, not even a tendril.

However, it is a possibility. Making it as a creative writer in this world isn’t the most lucrative job out there, and what else can an INFP do except capitalise on the few skills valued by society, in my case, my literary, creative and counseling abilities?

Without any hefty inheritances ready to plop into my lap in the near future, or a parent who can support me, and some family debt to boot, lately I have definitely been dwelling more on ways to survive in our capitalist society.

I do not doubt as to whether I am capable of, say, counseling teenagers on their career choices or helping people understand introverted women; it feels as much a part of my blood, my soul, as writing. I have even volunteered, two years ago, as a camp counselor, a brief stint which was very enjoyable.

However what I do not much like is the idea of asking people for money, even for services that I provide. To be honest, it makes me feel guilty, which might sound ridiculous to some, but, well, it’s true. If it were up to me, I’d help people regardless of whether they paid me or not, out of the sheer pleasure of helping others. Unfortunately, this would probably be a fast-track to homelessness, a state which I never plan on entering again.

Either way, it’s just a possibility that has been percolating through my brain. Who knows, perhaps if I do end up acting on it, I could end up helping people using my insight and wisdom, both of which I have in abundance but have little outlet for, and maybe even make a living out of it. That would be very nice; I know we can’t always get what we want in life, such as the jobs most suited to our sensibilities, but we can try.

Would any of you be at all interested, if I did act on this idea? There would be little point in starting a service if there is no need for it. I know that INFPs aren’t the wealthiest individuals out there, nor are introverts and dreamers likely to come from money too, but I could charge low fees, or allow for free sessions.

Or I could just extend my services to everyone, of all personalities and races and walks of life. The more I think about it, there more I feel as if there would be nothing more personally fulfilling. Apart from writing novels, stories and articles, counseling is my one other ability I can offer society.

This is just a thought. If I must wade my through the morass that is our capitalist society, I might as well find some ways of doing so without compromising my integrity and help those whose plights I care about in the process.

INFP Careers

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**If any of you who read my blog or are just stumbling across it are needing any life advice or guidance, especially if you are sensitive, introverted or a dreamer and feels a little lost in this cold world, please send your Skype username to dreamerrambling@hotmail.com. Though I can’t guarantee I can speak with everyone, I will try my best. These sessions will be free, as I’m just going to be practicing my life coaching skills and developing my own techniques and learning how to talk and counsel people. Thank you for helping me practice and taking me a step further on this new little journey of mine, and I hope that I can help you in the process too. Please no spam: I don’t want to find myself contacting any creepy people, so it’d be good to send a message along with your username telling me a little about yourself. Thanks. Keep dreaming.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that an INFP (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling & Perceiving) in possession of a conventional occupation must be dissatisfied with their life.

Okay. That may be an exaggeration. Perhaps you’re an INFP reading this who is perfectly content with your job and life, and to that I say, kudos to you. I envy you from the bottom of my heart because you have achieved something which I feel I will never attain.

After surfing through the internet and wasting my life for an hour today, I came across many plaintive posts in various forums from INFPs who were lamenting their lot in life, in having so wayward and unconventional a personality that it precludes them from finding a job that they like. My heart fingered out waves of sympathy from my chest through the computer and across cyberspace, in a futile effort at commiseration with these gentle, creative and lost souls.

Choosing a career is the bane of my existence as an INFP. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not a lazy person. Well, I do procrastinate excessively but I don’t want to be one of those indolent people who laze around on their couches all day watching television and living on welfare because they’re not bothered to get off their keister and do something with their lives.

I want to contribute to society. I want to help humanity. I want to play my part. I want to make my life meaningful.

But it is just so difficult to find a career or job that would be fulfilling. I feel like Sisyphus pushing that massive boulder up the hill every time I contemplate the issue. The thing is, many of the occupations adored by INFPs are few and far between, hard to get into and even harder to make a living at. I’m talking about writers, artists, film directors – you get the drift. I can think of no better personality type suited to the stereotype of the starving artist. But those jobs can’t put money on the table, can they?

Here’s where the trouble starts. I am the epitome of paradox and have a love-hate relationship when it comes to writing and money.

I know there are many writers who are making a decent living out there, whether through journalism or freelance or whatever. But I am so riddled with low self-esteem and bereft of belief in my own abilities that I don’t think I could possibly pursue a career as a writer, my ultimate dream. Why? First, because I believe that I don’t have any talent when it comes to writing, that there are scores of more brilliant literate folks across the globe that can do the job better than me. This self-doubt gnaws at me everyday. Two, because I come from a low-income background and have my mother to support. I’m not fortunate enough to have parents I can depend upon for fiscal means. I need money. Without the sense of security (and by security, I mean knowing that I won’t starve and be sleeping on a flea-ridden bed in a run-down house), I feel like a ship that hasn’t been moored, just sailing off to goodness knows where across the turbulent seas. And pursuing writing? It’s too much of a plunge, a risk. I’m too much of a coward. I don’t want to be poor, I don’t want to be homeless and live on the streets, I want to provide for my family and writing seems like a frivolous hobby that sucks away time better spent on churning out dollars.

At the same time, my idealized brain yearns to give myself fully to the craft. To become a starving artist and to hell with everything and everyone else. But even I know that’s not realistic and its selfish. Then there’s the fact that I don’t give a damn about the luxuries that money can provide. All I need to survive is a roof over my head (preferably one which I own, I like the thought of having my own place rather than renting a dwelling for all eternity), enough money to cover the basic amenities such as food, water and electricity, a mountain of books, a laptop and an internet connection.

This post was meant to be logical and cohesive but its just turned into a puerile ramble, as it always does. I’m just trying to say that I’m so lost in life right now. I realize that society needs accountants, lawyers, businessmen, doctors and that when it comes to survival the creators of art are kicked to the curb. But I know, deep inside my heart, that I have something to offer. INFPs are sensitive, compassionate, full of warmth, see the deep truths in life, are creative, good at inspiring people and bringing their own kind of magic to the world. But we’re just fragile faeries gobbled up by the bugs of society. I feel worthless because I’m not interested in the hard sciences that make planes fly and bring water to our homes. I’m interested in the imagination, the wonders of the mind and the transcendence that art can facilitate.

I want a job that’s meaningful.

I want a job that has minimal social interaction, preferably one-on-one.

I want a job where I can utilize my creativity.

I want a job that requires sensitivity and compassion.

Surely there must be some job out there that could be half-way perfect? Surely my abilities aren’t worthless and the only path in my life is to become a philosopher who drugs themselves to death or an artist who claws through life of poverty. Surely there must be some job out there for introverted, creative and sensitive people.

Surely?