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Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® and Communicating with INFPs


Many INFPs prefer talking with people on a one-to-one basis, with an emphasis on human values, and with someone with whom they have established trust.  They usually like the personal touch, so spend time getting to know them and what they find important.  Other INFPs really enjoy and spend a great deal of effort writing long e-mails. 

INFPs generally want to be appreciated as individuals, someone unique, working for harmony and understanding.  They want people to provide positive reinforcement as well as gentle criticism.  INFPs like inspiring personal stories about how others have overcome adversity, as well as stories that have meaning.  They usually want autonomy, and the freedom to choose goals they agree with. 

As with many Feeler types, they like to know how the information or plan will help people develop and reach their potential.

Areas to avoid when communicating with INFPs include being too logical, harsh, or critical.  This can be an issue, since "too harsh" for an INFP might be "normal" conversation for other types.  INFPs generally do not do well with rigid structures, hierarchy, or inflexible timelines. 

If you focus exclusively on what's "practical" or "obvious," you're sure to alienate most INFPs.  It takes time to establish trust with them, particularly if you're highly task-oriented.   INFPs react poorly when others try to control them.  Conformity is rarely an INFP trait.  Ignoring the personal or human side of an issue will also tend to aggravate INFPs.  

Likewise, they are unlikely to enjoy long, detailed discussions about routine matters, standard procedures, or minutiae.  Another common error is to assume you understand the INFP's position on a subject without taking the time to listen to him or her.


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