infj or infp
INFJ Personality, MBTI

Type Analysis: INFJ or INFP?

INFJ and INFP personality types have quite a bit in common and it can be hard to distinguish between the two. Since both types are introverted idealists, it’s easy for INFJs to relate to the INFP personality description, and for INFPs to relate to the INFJ personality description. However, while these types are similar as far as preferences go (both INFs), they’re completely different when it comes to functions. Are you an INFJ or INFP? Read on to learn more about these quiet idealist types.

INFJ or INFP? Similar Letters, Opposite Functions

The function stack for INFJs is Ni-Fe-Ti-Se, while the function stack for INFPs is Fi-Ne-Si-Te.

For INFJs, the Ni-Fe connection makes them able to naturally empathize with and understand others in a way and few other types can relate to. INFJs are highly introspective about how their mind and thought processes work (Ni and Ti), but often have a hard time understanding their own feelings. This is because they so often put themselves in the shoes of others and feel others feelings (Fe), and it can be hard to separate that from their own emotions.

This isn’t an issue for INFPs. The INFP motto could be “follow your heart” because they are so in tune with their feelings and use them as an ultimate decision maker in most situations. INFPs often express their emotions through creative pursuits (Ne) such as poetry, storytelling, art, and music.

Both types are extremely empathetic but in different ways. INFJs have a unique ability to take on the emotions of other people, but also remain objective, which makes them great counselors. Because of their deep connection with their inner feelings, INFPs are able to see what someone is going through and connect it to a past experience or how they would feel in the same situation.

However, because of their high moral values, INFPs may not empathize as easily with someone who is doing something that they believe to be wrong. For example, an INFJ may empathize with a convict, even if they don’t morally agree with the act the person committed. They are just able to feel what the person is going through. An INFP may choose not to empathize with the convict and instead feel that the person is getting what they deserve for committing a morally wrong act.

The Judger Vs. Perceiver Problem

The INFJ or INFP confusion goes even farther. The INFJ’s dominant function, introverted intuition (Ni), is a Perceiving function. The INFP’s dominant function, introverted feeling (Fi), is a Judging function. This is a major reason that INFJs and INFPs are often mistyped as one another on online tests that list stereotypical Perceiver vs. Judger statements.

What am I talking about? Dr. A.J. Drenth explains this really well in The 16 Personality Types:

“In actuality, the J-P label merely describes whether the first extroverted function in a given type’s functional stack is a Judging function (either Te or Fe) or a Perceiving function (either Ne or Se).

This J-P labeling system actually works fine for Extraverts, since their first extraverted function also happens to be their dominant function. Hence, there is no confusion, for instance, in calling an ENFP a Perceiver or an ENTJ a Judger. This very accurately describes the dominant mode of operation for these types.

For introverted types, however, the J-P label can be a source of confusion and misunderstanding. This is due to the fact that introverts’ first extraverted function is auxiliary rather than dominant. Consequently, the J-P designation of IPs and IJs fails to describe their dominant mode of functioning. Namely, IPs’ preferred and dominant mode of functioning is Judging (Fi or Ti) and IJs’ is Perceiving (Si or Ni). This is why IPs commonly mistype themselves as IJs and vice versa.”

As an INFJ personality type, my mind was blown the first time I read about this. It perfectly explained why I felt so scatterbrained and all over the place on the inside, but still seemed to appear so organized and put together on the outside.

INFJ and INFP Self Expression

As stated above, if you are an introvert, your dominant function is internal, and not necessarily the function which most accurately describes how you express yourself in the world. INFJs express themselves to others mostly through their first extroverted function, extroverted feeling (Fe). INFPs express themselves through their first extroverted function, extroverted intuition (Ne).

Since Fe is a Judging function, INFJs appear like typical Judgers in the outside world. They’re organized, like to be on time, and appreciate having things planned in advance. On the flip side, since Ne is a Perceiving function, INFPs appear like typical Perceivers. They’re flexible, not as focused on time, and prefer to go with the flow rather than follow a schedule.

However, since the INFJs dominant function, Ni, is a Perceiving function, their internal world is more Perceiver-like, and vice versa for INFPs. If you find yourself thinking, “I’m really not as put together as you think I am” a lot, you might be an IJ. And if you find yourself thinking, “I’m way more put together than you think I am” often, you might be an IP.

If you have further questions about the differences between INFJs and INFPs, feel free to send me a message on the blog or Tumblr, or check out the resource section for more information. In the next article in this series, I’ll discuss the differences between INFJs and ISFJs.


Megan is an introvert and INFJ personality type who enjoys reading, researching, and writing about personality psychology and human behavior. As the founder of this blog, Megan wants to help other INFJs better understand their personality to improve their personal and professional lives.

28 Comments

  1. Great work! I’m an INFJ and I never quite understood the whole judging/perceiving dichotomy of INFJs and INFPs.
    One thing I didn’t quite grasp is; why do we *seem* organized when we actually aren’t?

    1. Excellent article. As someone who recently found out they were an INFJ, I had quite a number of doubts and confusions despite time taken to understand the functions and function orders. This certainly provides clarity where I was previously confused. Many thanks.

  2. Excellent article. As someone who recently found out they were an INFJ, I had quite a number of doubts and confusions despite time taken to understand the functions and function orders. This certainly provides clarity where I was previously confused. Many thanks.

  3. Such an interesting and insightful article. Definite affirmation, for me, as well, of my INFJ status 🙂

  4. I’ve nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award. If you wish to accept, check out more here http://midnightblahs.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/my-first-nomination/
    if not, then feel free to opt out 🙂

    From a fellow INFJ, <3

    Mulki

  5. Thanks so much for this. My friends are always talking about how organised I am and how “You’ll do fine you study so hard” When I can never find anything ever and I procrastinate like it’s going to help me in life. Definitely an INFJ

  6. This article is so ON POINT! One of my best friends is an INFP and I totally see where we mesh and where we split. She’s very open to giving things and people chances where I would sometimes “put the gavel down.” Also, it seems she has to prove that she’s on top of things, whereas I can seem like I have it altogether but be a jumbled mess inside! Thanks for the good read 🙂

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    […] INFJs more frequently mistype as INFPs or INTJs, it’s not entirely uncommon for an INFJ to mistype as an […]

  8. I am INFJ.. but recieved a mere 1% Judging… which then they say that I could fit under both INFJ and INFP… How can I be both?

    1. You are most likely an INFJ with a low J preference or INFP with low P preference. Reading the descriptions of each type and studying the cognitive functions is the best way to determine which type fits you best.

  9. my mind, officially, is blown! I think to myself that I almost entirely go with the flow, but magically end up in the right place at the right time. WOW.

  10. Are you an INFJ mistyped as an INFP? How these "sibling" types make decisions differently. - Introvert, Dear

    […] These two personalities don’t share any of the same functions, explains INFJ blogger Megan Malone in her post, Type Analysis: INFJ or INFP? […]

  11. “Basically, if you find yourself thinking “I’m really not as put together as you think I am” a lot, you might be an IJ. And if you find yourself thinking “I’m way more put together than you think I am” often, you might be an IP.”

    This is gold. I am an INFP, and yes. This.

    People are always so surprised when everything turns out well for me. Like yes, because I have everything figured out. In my head. No need to tell the whole world my plan :p

    1. This comment is magical. haha I’m an INFP as well, and when I got married, my mother in law was like, “woah, this turned out so well! how did this work out so perfectly?!”
      and I was just like, “I know.” haha

    2. Haha INFP here and so relate! I find it kinda irritating because my friends and family are always surprised when say, I do really well on a test. I think they all see me as a bit dumb and scatterbrained! Little do they know, I’ve got it all worked out in my head 😉

  12. “Basically, if you find yourself thinking “I’m really not as put together as you think I am” a lot, you might be an IJ. And if you find yourself thinking “I’m way more put together than you think I am” often, you might be an IP.”

    This is gold. I am an INFP, and yes. This.

    People are always so surprised when everything turns out well for me. Like yes, because I have everything figured out. In my head. No need to tell the whole world my plan :p

  13. I found this very helpful. I come from a family of TJs (mostly) which overly developed my thinking and perceiving. Led to lots of confusion, but I’m fairly certain after this I am and INFJ not an INFP.

  14. I have often wondered about this. Now I am almost certain I am INFJ…who frequently masquerades as an INTJ, INFP and ENTJ (that is my job talking). No wonder they call INFJs the “chameleon type”.

  15. The whole bit about seeming put together was so true! I’m an INFP and I have a best friend who is an INFJ. I always felt pretty organised in my head and put together but other people just never saw it that way and it really frustrated me! It was like I was getting this bad reputation for being disorganised and scatterbrained when that wasn’t who I felt I truly was inside. I can tell my INFJ friend is actually way more scatterbrained than me but all our friends think she is so organised! It really frustrated me! 😉

  16. I wonder if it couldn’t be the other way around. INFJ to seem scattered brain and disorganised but inside not being like this. Because this is my case. I definitely think like an INFJ. And feel like one. My F is extroverted and my N is definitely introverted.
    If someone is organized internally, then they must be J. These are cognitive functions not lifestyle functions …

  17. This is pretty condescending towards INFPs, which is typical of these articles. Don’t agree with your assessment of them. You don’t understand INFP manner of empathizing. Also how many times do you emphasize how unique INFJs are, how they do something like no other type, etc? Okay, okay, you’re a special snowflake – congrats *BARF*

    1. I’m more than happy to engage in constructive conversations about how this article is condescending towards INFPs and how I misunderstood how they empathize. But if all you want to do is complain and criticize with no valuable feedback then all I can say is I hope you find the content you’re looking for somewhere else. Thanks!

  18. Thank you so much for everything you type 🙂 it helps me to understand many things better, I think I am actually an INFJ because of everything I have read until now (the tests showed me this result most) but sometimes I doubt because of the shadow functions (the tests also showed me until now being all the diplomats and mostly the ENFP and INFP). But the ones I feel and see I am most identified with are INFJ and ENFP, I do “see some INFP” in me but only when I “want to” for getting deeper in some artistic things)
    I really would like you to (if you can) write a post about how to differentiate if you are an INFJ, an ENFP OR if you are using your shadow functions and “being an ENFP”. I think it would be a really good post! I am sure I am not the only one who has been in mode “Shadow functions” I still struggle with knowing if my type is actually an INFJ or an ENFP because of how long I have been adapting myself to some situations, it arrived to a point (for example) I don´t really know if I´m a dominant Ni user or Ne and if I have Si or I have been just depressed in that time. I hope I don´t sound selfish with this suggestion and question. I actually think it would be a good post and it would help confused INFJs with their shadow functions too, thanks a lot, blessings, bye 🙂

  19. Your articles are by far the most informative and I think I’m an INFJ instead of an INFP, now. Most information online is inaccurate & written by egoists.

    1. Thank you Lena!! I really appreciate the kind comment. I’m glad the articles are helpful to you. 🙂

  20. Hello Megan, i got your post from a friend, we both INFJ too. But i want to comment regarding the photo you use at the beginning at the post. It happened to be my daughter’s photo. And i see that you didn’t credit my husband not ask permission for it. I hope you understand how it feels for us as a parent.

    1. Ridha, thank you for letting me know! When I started this blog I did not completely understand the copyright rules regarding photos from the photo sharing sites I would get them from. I’ve been trying to fix the issue with older posts but obviously haven’t fixed all of them yet. I will definitely change the photo on this post immediately! If you’d like me to keep it up and credit your husband please let me know but I will remove it for now. So sorry!

      1. Thanks for your quick reply. I appreciate it 🙂

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