The INFJ and INFP are some of the rarer types in the MBTI personality system and they also happen to be two types that people commonly mistype between. With just a one letter difference, they can’t be too different, right? Well, in terms of cognitive functions, the J/P axis is the most important in determining the functions attitudes and orientations.
The J in a personality type means that the (J)udging function of that type is in the extroverted attitude (judging functions being Feeling and Thinking). The P in a type means that the (P)erceiving function is in the extroverted attitude (perceiving functions being intuition and sensing). The other function will be in the introverted attitude; so, for a J type the perceiving function will be introverted and for a P type the judging function will be introverted.
This means that for an INFP their perceiving function, intuition, will be extroverted while their judging function, feeling, will be introverted. For the INFJ this means that their judging function, feeling, will be extroverted while their perceiving function, intuition, will be introverted. The final step is to match the function with the same energy as the type’s energy orientation (I/E) to determine which function is dominant/first.
So that means that INFPs are Fi (introverted feeling) Ne (extroverted. intuition) = FiNe types (SiTe as the bottom functions) INFJs on the other hand are Ni (introverted intuition) Fe (extroverted feeling) = NiFe types (TiSe as the bottom functions).
That may be A LOT to take in if you aren’t too experienced with MBTI, but it is CRITICAL to know that IP types (such as INFPs) are JUDGING dominant types, while IJs (such as INFJs) are PERCEIVING dominant types.
INFPs leading with the judging function Fi will approach situations in a way that reflects their internal value judgements. Essentially, INFPs have a very strong sense of right and wrong from a subjective and internal standpoint – what is right to ME, what is wrong to ME, and they will live by this and make decisions according to this. They also have a strong sense of identity and authenticity; INFPs tend to be unshakingly true to themselves and their interests. They are often comfortable expressing their hobbies, interests, and passions without much care for what others think. They usually even enjoy this form of expression due to their secondary function Ne which causes them to have a creative and sometimes even artistic mindset. This often leads to people who end up being in subcultures such as Harajuku or Gothic – these are just examples; the point is that they often find and attach themselves strongly to some interest that they proudly express as representative of themselves.
INFJs on the other hand lead with the perceiving function Ni and will primarily approach situations from a place of introspection and reflection. Instead of trying to decide what is right or wrong they will often try to view problems and conflicts from varying angles to see if they can come to some sort of conclusion as to what is causing the issues. They will attempt to find the underlying pattern in conflicts and issues and attempt to find some middle ground between themselves and the person/people on the other side. This is due to their secondary function Fe which has at its core the primary desire to create and maintain social harmony. INFJs, like the INFP, are often very authentic people, but the primary difference is that INFJs are far more likely to want to meet in the middle ground when it comes to authentic self-expression. They usually prefer situations in which everyone involved can have the greatest possible outcome, even if it means they have to give a little. This leads to a personality type that is often able to chameleon themselves well in nearly any social setting – it is important to note that this is NOT inauthenticity, this is because INFJs enjoy interacting with others in a way that lets everyone feel involved/welcome.
In terms of weaknesses the INFP and INFJ also tend to differ, and this is because of their repressed cognitive functions. Te (extroverted thinking, the opposite of introverted feeling) is the repressed function for the INFP and Se (extroverted sensing, the opposite of introverted intuition, is the repressed function for the INFJ.
Te is often known as the “executive” or “business” function, it is the function most associated with a desire to succeed in work or competitive environments (a HUGE majority of CEOs are lead/dominant Te types). INFPs tend to struggle with this aspect because they are often unwilling to engage in activities or work that go against their authentic self. Say for example the INFP who won’t work for a company despite the fact that they pay well because they are anti-LGBT (or any other cause). They are willing to sacrifice productivity, efficiency, and sometimes even logic if it goes against their sense of right and wrong, what they deem to be the most important aspects of their life. At their worst, they can be blind followers to their “cause”, refusing to find any middle ground between themselves and those from opposing viewpoints.
Se on the other hand is the function most associated with being able to take in information from the immediate environment and to experience life in the moment – to be HERE and NOW. INFJs struggle with this and are often lost in their own thoughts and daydreams. Due to this, its likely that they will forget to place value in the importance of enjoying life and letting loose, they could be averse to new activities that might seem frightening to them because their Ni can’t predict or see exactly how things will turn out. They will also struggle with keeping up with their environment and body at times. "In this way, the consciousness of his own bodily existence fades from the introverted intuitive's view, as does its effect upon others." – Carl Jung, Psychological Types This essentially means that it is not uncommon for INFJs to “forget” their body and their environment because they are often stuck in deeper thought/reflection. At their worst, they can be extremely reclusive, manipulative, or even vindictive. They might fall into states where they completely ignore their bodily needs or refuse to engage in anything outside of their comfort zone.
Those are some basic differences between the INFJ and INFP personality types. If you are interested, consider checking out my video on this topic!