Myers-Briggs Personality Typing - INFP

"...beyond the open door the green hillside ran down to the river and the spring sunshine touched the broad sweep of the shallows with a million dancing lights. A beach of bleached stones gleamed bone-white against the long stretch of grassy bank which rolled up to the pastures lining the valley floor." (James Herriot, All Things Wise and Wonderful)

INFPs never seem to lose their sense of wonder. One might say they see life through rose-colored glasses. It's as though they live at the edge of a looking-glass world where mundane objects come to life, where flora and fauna take on near-human qualities.

INFP children often exhibit this in a 'Calvin and Hobbes' fashion, switching from reality to fantasy and back again. With few exceptions, it is the NF child who readily develops imaginary playmates (as with Anne of Green Gables's "bookcase girlfriend"--her own reflection) and whose stuffed animals come to life like the Velveteen Rabbit and the Skin Horse:

"...Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand..." (the Skin Horse)

INFPs have the ability to see good in almost anyone or anything. Even for the most unlovable the INFP is wont to have pity.

"I must have made the acquaintance of Satan and Shylock at about the same time, for the two characters were long associated in my mind. I remember that I was sorry for them. I felt vaguely that they could not be good even if they wished to, because no one seemed willing to help them or to give them a fair chance. Even now I cannot find it in my heart to condemn them utterly. There are moments that I feel that the Shylocks, the Judases, and even the Devil, are broken spokes in the great wheel of good which shall in due time be made whole." (Helen Keller, The Story of My Life)

Their extreme depth of feeling is often hidden, even from themselves, until circumstances evoke an impassioned response:

"You're just torturing yourself!" I said sharply. "That's part of your trouble. You're using Digger to punish yourself instead of doing something useful... Keep in touch with your doctor, Andrew. Take your pills regularly -- and remember." I raised my voice to a shout. "Remember you've got a job to do with that dog!" (Herriot, op. cit.)

Of course, not all of life is rosy, and INFPs are not exempt from the same disappointments and frustrations common to humanity. As INTPs tend to have a sense of failed competence, INFPs struggle with the issue of their own ethical perfection, e.g., performance of duty for the greater cause. An INFP friend describes the inner conflict as not good versus bad, but on a grand scale, Good vs.Evil. Luke Skywalker in Star Wars depicts this conflict in his struggle between the two sides of 'The Force'. Although the dark side must be reckoned with, the INFP believes that good ultimately triumphs.

Some INFPs have a gift for taking technical information and putting it into layman's terms. The following is an excerpt from a very 'friendly' document which many of us have read:

"Getting where you want to go can often be one of the more difficult aspects of using networks. The variety of ways that places are named will probably leave a blank stare on your face at first. Don't fret; there is a method to this apparent madness." (Brendan Kehoe, Zen and the Art of the Internet)