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INFP Communication Highlights

INFP Communication Highlights

By Donna Dunning

Donna DunningIn my personality type based communication workshops I sometimes have participants complete this thought -“To communicate most effectively with me, please…”. This exercise helps participants think about and express their personal communication style and preferences.

I can’t take credit for this exercise. It is modified from one created by Jean Kummerow.

Here is a photo of a response from an individual with INFP preferences.

People who prefer INFP have a dominant function of Introverted Feeling (Fi). This can be seen in the poster as the individual describes how it is important that others listen to and are open to their ideas rather than judge or compete with them.

As an ENFP, I know I am sometimes guilty of jumping in and saying something before someone else finishes speaking. I intend to show that I am on board and exited to contribute to the idea. Those who prefer Extraversion often readily accept this kind of interruption.

However, it has been important for me to learn that others, especially those who prefer Introversion, can find this habit rude and distracting. I make an effort to keep my thoughts to myself until I am certain the person talking is finished their thought.

For more insights on communication differences between people who prefer Introversion and Extraversion, you might want to read these posts.

Connecting Personality Type to Communication:E/I Differences, a post about communication differences.

When Extraverts and Introverts Communicate, what to enjoy and watch out for.

Missed Opportunities, tips for people who prefer Introversion.

What’s Your Type?

Learn about your personal approach on our What’s Your Type? page where we’ll introduce you to personality type and the 8 Ways of Working.


For more thoughts on communicating well, read Introduction to Type and Communication.

If you live in the USA, Introduction to Type and Communication is now available on Kindle.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 at 8:06 am and is filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “INFP Communication Highlights”

  1. Q says:

    That guy was great, I absolutely understand where he is coming from on all that. I’m almost 40, and I pretty much expect all of that in “conversation” in general. One of my closest friends is ENTJ or ESTJ, I’ll ask him. But we talk daily (he moved several states over like a decade ago), and our conversations are really hit and miss. In general I would say they go great, but…he needs details….I think one of the reasons I like him is he is interested in stuff I want to talk about, and generally it doesn’t bother me at all answering 20 questions in a row. It’s when he starts repeating a question, about a detail he for some reason considers really important. I recognize this is happening, as I am wondering why he is rephrasing the same thing about something I didn’t note much about or notice any details and in no way consider important to what I was relating, but to him he needs details. And later on he will tell me that he says I need to learn how analyze what he was asking? I know immediately. So usually about the 4th or 5th time he asks me the same exact thing over and over, I start to get a little frustrated. I get a little emotional. And this is FATAL to his logical mind. And it starts a chain reaction where he just starts insulting me over and over, criticizing me in very non-subtle ways he feels are justified. And I am pissed, yes, but I am trying to get him to realize he was badgering me and then he will often toss it off, as oh I thought you said “blah and blah” and that’s why I was asking. Then he adds “I think competant normal people can participate in a conversation and react without flying off the handle for absolutely no reason and you are mentally retarded, friend.” So yes. These have ended badly, but anymore? I love him to death and he’s a good friend. I know the next day we will start off as great friends again. He absolutely refuses to try to understand me, but I know him very well and we get along 🙂 I do think he has a little sadism in him, but ya he is a cool person. I have been at war with T’s my entire life. I am strong in N and S, but N is pretty overwhelming, because it is superior. There I am, judging. I tend to shift strongly towards J when I am upset….normally not really at all. But I feel it’s cause I was strong in N and still strong in S that I did very well in school despite my overwhelming F vs T. T’s offend me to my very existance, their insistance that they are god’s gift to thinking society and that yes, I am probably at the very kindest way of expressing it a little mentally retarded 🙂 Thanks for your articles! Here is my functions. It says S edges N and honestly I have always been very confused. But intuition is something that explains a lot, now that I am understanding what it is.

  2. Donna Dunning says:

    Thanks for your comment. People who prefer Feeling can certainly have some communication difficulties when interacting with people who prefer Thinking, especially when they are not aware of type differences. I have heard many INFPS describe similar frustrations to yours and a sense of being dismissed, especially when they are interacting with E_TJs. Unfortunately, misunderstandings can escalate as both sides try to demonstrate the value of their way of thinking.

    It helps if you can look at the Thinking process in a positive way. Personality type models, created to describe healthy normal people, consider both T and F as valid and helpful ways of viewing the world. People who prefer Thinking don’t usually intend to hurt, dismiss, or insult others. They simply enjoy arguing for their beliefs, questioning to understand, and trying to convince others of their perspectives. They often assume that others are comfortable with this kind of interaction and are surprised when others are hurt or see them as intimidating. Thinking is your least preferred process, so this way of approaching situations will likely seem unfamiliar and uncomfortable. It can be difficult to hear comments from Ts without taking them personally. I find it helps to remind myself that they are arguing about ideas or decisions and not attacking the person.

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