Love is the life-blood of those who identify as the INFP personality type. As “lovers of love,” finding a compatible partner willing to investigate our complex nature can be hard. Thankfully, we found you.
In a relationship, our No. 1 desire is to be understood and accepted for who we authentically are. While INFPs are keenly self-aware, we can struggle to explain our perplexing ways to others. If you haven’t already noticed, we can be paradoxical, possessing many traits that contradict each other.
Getting to know an INFP can be an expedition full of surprising twists and turns. Here’s what you need to know about your compatibility with an INFP — and how to decode us in a relationship.
Who Is the Perfect Partner for an INFP?
Rest assured, any type is compatible with the INFP in a relationship — or with any other type. It is true, however, that INFPs tend to most commonly date certain types, which include the INTJ and ENFJ (ENFJs are often described as the “perfect match” for INFPs, although this is highly subjective).
Truth is, there are advantages (and drawbacks) to every match. INFPs who partner with a similar personality — like the ENFP, our extroverted twin — will have almost endless traits in common, but the two will share glaring weak spots with no one to balance them out. On the other hand, an INFP who choses to date or marry an ISFJ will have to overcome some major differences, but the ISFJ can help hold them accountable and keep them organized. (On the flip side, the INFP will help the ISFJ think big, dream big, and express the emotions they may normally bottle up.) There are some very strong couples who are complete opposites.
As with any relationship, maturity and communication are key. And nothing helps more than knowing what to expect from your INFP partner and understanding what they need in love and relationships.
10 Things You Need to Know if You’re in a Relationship with an INFP
So, here are 10 things you should know about us:
1. We reveal ourselves slowly.
In the beginning of a relationship with an INFP, you may notice their hesitance to reveal certain parts of themselves. Extremely private by nature, we reveal ourselves in layers, and the stuff that matters most to us will take time to unveil. We take emotional (and physical) intimacy very seriously, as we want to be sure that you are fully capable of accepting us.
Tip: Despite our reserved nature, one of our romantic ideals is to share our innermost self with you. But we may need help doing that, so ask (gentle) questions to draw us out. Conversely, pressuring us to open up may result in more resistance — we’re stubborn that way.
2. We’re genuine romantics.
Think: a Shakespearean sonnet as opposed to a Hallmark greeting card. Sure, we’ll enjoy those fresh flowers or dinner by candlelight, but more personalized gestures will make us really feel special.
Tip: A foolproof way to accomplish this is through handmade gifts. Whether masterful or loaded with imperfections, your gift is thoughtful because you put in the effort. Finding creative ways to say, “I love you” that are uniquely suited to your INFP demonstrate that you understand us — which is the greatest gift of all.
Bonus tip: After spending many years counseling couples, Dr. Gary Chapman concluded that there are five love languages, or in other words, five ways that people speak and understand emotional love. The five love languages are: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. I’ve noticed that INFPs tend to appreciate quality time the most. Try deliberately fitting us into your schedule for some one-on-one time so we can feel connected to you.
3. We’re hopelessly devoted to you.
Thanks to our ever-present idealism, when we fall, we fall hard… to the point where we might overlook our own needs and desires. We love to please others, especially you, the one we adore.
Harmony is important to us, and we value working together so we both win. Unfortunately, as the song lyrics suggest, being “hopelessly devoted” can result in staying in relationships that don’t serve us well. Due to our devotion, we’re sometimes taken advantage of — and we may end up damaging important parts of ourselves to serve our partner’s needs.
Tip: If your INFP has dealt with codependency in the past, remind them that it’s all about balance. Take care of them the best you can, but make sure they consider their own needs, too.
4. Take our emotions taken seriously.
INFPs think with their emotions. Using our dominant Introverted Feeling (Fi), we navigate the world via our personal feelings, tastes, and values. As a result, we feel things deeply and intensely — even when we don’t obviously display it.
Tip: If you aspire to understand an INFP, you must understand that emotions are how we perceive the world. And, you must aspire to respect this. We are accustomed to judgment and criticism when we share how we feel. Dismiss our emotions or values and you might as well be rejecting our entire self. Please choose to listen. And of course, kindly assist us when we aren’t being objective and it’s clearly called for.
Understand me. I’m not like an ordinary world. I have my madness, I live in another dimension and I do not have time for things that have no soul. –Charles Bukowski
5. We’re open-minded (most of the time).
Due to our auxiliary Extroverted Intuition (Ne), we have a penchant for exploring ideas, possibilities, and patterns. This is what makes us unconventional, easy-going, and (almost) always willing to try something new.
Nevertheless, these traits can come with the price of indecision. Don’t expect us to know where we want our life to be in five years — or where we want to go for dinner. We’re much better at laying out options and deciding together when the time is right.
It’s tempting to bask in the convenience of our open-mindedness, kicking around even the craziest ideas… until you hit up against one of our core values. We’re compromising — to a point — but when it comes to our ideals, we don’t give an inch.
Tip: Highly individualistic, each INFP will have values worth defending and standing by, no matter what. These may appear unexpectedly, and seem to come out of nowhere, so be ready for them. You don’t have to agree with what we believe (or feel), but if you show respect for it — and don’t push us to change on these key points — you will be even dearer to our hearts.
6. We can be cryptic.
Being direct can feel impossible for us, as Extroverted Thinking (Te) — our logical, no-nonsense straight-talking function — is our last and least developed cognitive function. That means we can be reluctant to divulge specific emotions straightaway, which can make our roundabout manner of communicating hard to decipher.
In moments of affection, this may mean we prefer to tell you how much we care about you through a heart-felt letter rather than a face-to-face conversation. In moments of frustration, we may unfortunately resort to passive-aggression, along with some uncharacteristic lashing out.
Tip: If we lash out, approach the situation directly, so it can be resolved. Try not to take this personally (we know, it’s hard). INFPs who feel “heard” will also feel loved, and INFPs who get a clear, direct message about your feelings will appreciate you even more.
7. We need a lot of time and space for processing — alone.
This need manifests a number of ways. As introverts, we need time by ourselves to regain lost energy. Our creative process also requires isolation so we can form new thoughts and ideas. Without sufficient alone time, we may become overwhelmed, irritable, and unable to focus.
Tip: Please note that alone time is the most critical when an INFP is processing their emotions. We often know how we feel instantaneously, but we need time to sort through our labyrinth of emotions before sharing them with others. Be mindful that we may be unable to properly share how we feel unless we’ve had time to think things over on our own.
8. We may need your help when we’re stressed.
Everyone has to deal with stress from time to time, but it can be particularly daunting for INFPs.
We can quickly become distraught when our perfectionism kicks in. Tedious day-to-day activities can add up and contribute to the madness. As I mentioned earlier, we have trouble being direct — and this applies to asking for help. Step in and help us when we need it, even if unasked, and we’ll love you for it.
Tip: Crossing things off our to-do list for us will win you major points, especially the little things. Sometimes we’ll need to vent while you dry our tears of exasperation. Thank you in advance for this; you don’t know how much it means to us.
9. We want you to be honest, despite how sensitive we can be.
Being completely honest with us can seem dangerous. We don’t take criticism well and can often respond emotionally when confronted with an issue. However, we truly believe that it doesn’t help anyone to withhold concerns, and we will become hurt if we realize that you can’t share your heart and mind with us completely.
Tip: INFPs can be receptive to negative statements if they are explained in a loving and affectionate manner. Try to phrase things in a way that won’t be perceived as an attack. We recognize compassionate intentions. Approaching potential conflict this way shows you’re trying to help us, and ultimately, help our relationship.
10. Be our rock.
The world can be a harsh place for the sensitive and emotional INFP. We regularly feel misunderstood. We worry that our attributes are not highly valued by those around us. We can struggle with crippling self-doubt. As a result, our imagination often serves as our place to retreat and feel free.
Tip (and the way to our heart): When we come back to reality, we want to rely on you, our romantic partner, first and foremost, for support and care. Be our refuge when we’re caught up in the unfairness of the world. Be our champion and point out when we’re not properly sticking up for ourselves. Be our source of comfort and assurance when we’re in need of empathy and a warm hug.
We will forever cherish this, and we’ll be determined to do the same for you.