Home » Personality Types » INFP vs INFJ: 12 Essential Differences You Should Know

INFP vs INFJ: 12 Essential Differences You Should Know

The INFP personality is introverted, intuitive, feeling, and perceiving, whereas the INFJ personality is introverted, intuitive, feeling, and judging. As introverted personalities, they tend to avoid conflict and tend to follow their judgment when it comes to moral situations. We will cover all aspects of INFP vs INFJ compatibility in this post.

Although both types share a lot of similarities, there are characteristics to how they approach certain aspects of life that differentiate the two personality types. It is important to note that the INFP personality type is mostly guided by their principles and standards, whereas the INFJ is typical to follow what they believe is logical. Here are twelve detailed differences between an INFJ and an INFP.

INFP vs INFJ: 12 Essential Differences You Should Know

12 Essential Differences about INFP vs INFJ

#1 Differing Primary Processes

Each personality under the Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicator has a primary process. These primary functions, also known as cognitive functions, are what determine the way in which a personality will intake information and make decisions.

For the INFP personality, that primary process is known as introverted feeling. This means that the way in which INFP’s determine decisions is based on what they believe is the way they would like to be treated were they in that position. Essentially, this type is quite receptive to others and they hold authenticity rather highly.

As for the INFJ personality, their primary process is introverted intuition. With internal intuition, this type tends to gather large pieces of information that are then processed into impressions that later turn into what the INFJ believes to be facts.

#2 The Need for Understanding and Validation

The qualities of being understood and receiving validation by others seem quite similar on the surface but are distinct when it comes to the two personality types. With an INFP, they look to being validated rather than being understood by others. This means that an INFP is hurt if they feel if they are not being accepted the way they want to. INFPs value authenticity, and when their intentions are not being perceived as good, this is when the personality type is affected.

As for the INFJ personality type, they prefer to be understood rather than validated. They also prefer to understand any situation presented to them. They prefer to avoid anything that will upset them and a method to prevent that is to fully assess any situation. This personality type is not concerned with how people view their ideas, but would rather have people understand the motives for their ideas.

As it is apparent, the two personality types have different perceptions of how others should react to their intentions. The INFJ would rather have understanding and the INFP would much rather prefer validation for their own peace–although subtle, the difference is significant.

#3 Reflection versus Absorbing Emotions

Both personality types are known to be great empaths. The INFP will most likely reflect the emotions presented whereas the INFJ is more likely to absorb emotions.

In terms of INFP vs INFJ, The INFP will use reflection as a method to approach emotions when it comes to trivial situations. If a decision needs to be made, an INFP will take it upon themselves to try and put themselves in certain positions to gauge which action needs to be taken. To understand what another person is going through all they have to do is imagine themselves in their position.

As for the INFJ, they tend to absorb emotions which tends to be a much more magnified experience. Where an INFP can just imagine themselves in a situation, an INFJ needs to be present to empathize. Since an INFJ is so great at understanding another individual’s emotions, so much that they can sometimes feel that emotion themselves, they will sometimes put others’ emotions above their own.

#4 The Approach to Anger

It should be noted that both of these personality types tend to stay away from conflict, and will often put their own issues aside to avoid any disruptions.

The INFJ personality does not like to express that they are angry, however, when they are, they are more likely to deal with their anger privately. Not only do they worry their anger may not be justified but they also fret over how their anger may affect those around them.

When it comes to the INFP their anger is also rarely shown. Like the INFJ, they do their best to avoid any type of conflict but if it does arrive it is most likely for them to react they need to feel like an honest injustice has been made. Unlike the INFJ they may lash out under severe circumstances but it is rarely a full-blown scene.

#5 What They Read

Generally speaking, the INFP personality will prefer reading fictional stories and the INFJ will prefer to read non-fiction.

For example, many say that the INFP will prefer fiction over non-fiction based on the idea that they prefer to look at the human condition–that is birth, death, love, growth, etc. They want to read to what they can relate to, whether it be the highs or lows of the characters they read.

The INFJ on the other hand is said to prefer non-fiction because they are more interested in observing and noticing patterns within our society. The INFJ tends to analyze the world around them, whereas the INFP personality tends to be more artistic.

#6 Their Perception of Emotional Significance

When it comes to the emotional significance the INFP personality type will approach it based on their past experiences and their values. The reason for this is due to having introverted feelings as their primary function.

To some, the way they evaluate emotional significance can come off as selfish however it is important to remember that an INFP values authenticity greatly and they are not willing to do something that will jeopardize their authenticity.

On the other hand, the INFJ personality type is more attuned to the emotions of others around them. They will approach emotional significance based on what they believe will be the best for the greater good, or at least for the people it will directly affect. This means that they might sacrifice their own emotions if it means that the group as a whole will benefit.

#7 Outwardly versus Inwardly

Another great distinction between the two personality types is the direction of their feeling functions. For the INFJ their feeling function is focused outwardly whereas for the INFP it is directed inwardly. So what does this mean?

In terms of INFP vs INFJ difference, for the INFP the primary core function of this personality is introverted feeling. Essentially, this personality type is focused on themself when it comes to emotions and it allows them to fully understand their inner self.

As for the INFJ, their feeling function is extroverted feeling. This means that the way they process emotions is done outwardly, and although this means that they are still able to be in touch with their own emotions, it mainly causes the INFJ personality to be an expert at gauging others’ emotions.

For the INFP their emotions and the feeling function play a larger role, than it does to an INFP,  it can render them vulnerable if they focus too much inwardly.

#8 How They Approach Happiness

The INFP looks to find a cause or motivation that they truly care about to consider themselves happy. This is because they want to be an integral part of something they think is important and that they believe will have an impact. It should also come as no surprise then that an INFP also seeks to be validated by their external affairs.

The INFJ personality doesn’t concern themselves with validation like their counterpart but they do find happiness in working toward finding their role in the world. They like to pursue things with a purpose while also being able to express their creativity.

An INFJ will be proud of their achievements, and so will an INFP but an INFP will look for that validated from an audience.

#9 Their Approach to Ideas

The INFJ personality is more likely to focus on one idea or topic when compared to the INFP. This is because they are much more interested in learning all there is to know about one topic or idea–allowing for extreme focus and dedication. This focus allows the INFJ to make informed decisions quicker as well.

In terms of INFP vs INFJ difference, when compared to the INFJ, an INFP might seem more indecisive. This personality type is receptive to new possibilities and outcomes, so it is likely for them to jump from idea to idea.

#10 The Decisive and Indecisive

The INFP personality type tends to be on the indecisive side. The INFP may appear indecisive due to their ability to bounce from idea to idea. They are very open individuals and might struggle to become fixed on a certain topic. With that being said, one thing that they will always be set is themselves–they are very aware of who they are.

As for the INFJ they tend to be perceived as decisive because they will form static opinions on topics with which they are familiar. To some, they can come off as a bit judgemental because their opinions and decisions will form quickly, especially if they are well informed.

#11 How They Approach Nostalgia

Like any other individual, these two personality types tend to become nostalgic at one point or another. INFPs tend to relish looking back at what they have experienced and the emotions that they felt at monumental points in their life.

As it might be expected, especially after looking at how these personalities approach emotional significance, although being nostalgic isn’t a terrible thing if an INFP dwells on the past too much they can become caught up in it.

In contrast, the INFJ personality tends to be less nostalgic. They enjoy reminiscing but won’t be found dwelling on the past.

#12 How They Approach Friendships

INFPs tend to struggle even in small friendships circles. Despite being with close friends, INFPs may encounter feeling awkward and unable to truly reveal who they are. This does not mean that they don’t appreciate and love their friends, but sometimes an INFP is best left alone.

On the other hand, the INFJ thrives in their small circles. They hold their friends very dear and show they care by giving helpful advice. Individuals will be typically drawn to the kindness of their character.


Although seemingly similar on the surface, these personalities differ greatly when details are magnified. When determining whether someone is an INFP or INFJ it is important to look at the details, as the two often tend to be mistaken for one another.