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The Burden of Self Promotion

The Burden of Self Promotion

INFP Reflections Blog

By Paul Dunning

I have INFP preferences and I always have found it difficult to talk about myself. I don’t mean going on and on to the point of making people feel ill, but simply directing the conversation to something that promotes me. This, of course, makes it hard to do well in job interviews.

I can remember interviews where I had practiced for anticipated questions about my accomplishments only to flounder and diminish my skills when asked. I still find it more rewarding to do something well and feel good inside about it, rather than seek external gratification.

I’m not alone, if the personality types on Celebrity Types are correct. While the types may not all be accurate, some of the quotes rang true for me. It seems that INFPs avoid self-promotion no matter how famous they are.

A. A. Milne, author of Winnie the Pooh, says “Even now when I see my name in the paper, I feel that the world is intruding unduly on my privacy. I ought to be anonymous.”

Bill Watterson, author of Calvin and Hobbes, seems to agree. “I was not prepared for the … attention [that comes with being famous]. … Besides disliking the diminishment of privacy and the inhibiting quality of feeling watched. … I didn’t see how I could write honestly without [seclusion].”

And J. R. R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit downplays his creativity, rather than endorsing it. “I often long to work at my nonsense fairy language and don’t let myself ’cause though I love it so it does seem such a mad hobby!”

The world would be a much different place without the INFPs’ accomplishments.

INFPs seem to search for that sense of internal satisfaction, wanting the rest of the world to enjoy their efforts, but unconcerned about status.

Let me know your thoughts. Is self-promotion a burden for you?

Further reading for INFPs and others:

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 Thursday, June 26th, 2014 at 7:50 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.

4 Responses to “The Burden of Self Promotion”

  1. My preferences are for INFJ rather than INFP but I have the same problem, for example with my website and blog. I force myself to announce on Facebook when I have published a new blog post. But as much as I love my site and enjoy working on it, I find it hard to really talk it up. Maybe I don’t talk for fear of appearing to push it on people and boring them, or for fear they won’t be interested or will give me blank looks. I will talk if asked but I agree it’s hard to initiate mentioning something that promotes me or even to insert a comment drawing attention to something I’ve done.

  2. admin says:

    Hi Gayle,

    That’s exactly what I am talking about. Thanks for commenting. For those who haven’t been, take a look at Gayle’s site.


  3. Thank you, Paul! 😎

  4. This article and website is awesome! So far all of the articles I have read on INFPs have been so true for me. I can relate to every single one of them. I thought I was alone in my propensity to analyze words, being shy about self promotion and so many other traits in your articles. Thank you guys for this valuable insight, it is like gold to me 🙂
    I have struggled with severe social anxiety and depression for over twenty years. I wonder if it is common or at least somewhat common for other INFPers. Depression is my passion, that is understanding it and teaching others about it. Looking at the famous INFPs out there it is no wonder I am a thinker like them (Shakespeare, Augustine, Camus, etc). Please keep pumping out the INFP articles, they are great!

    Michael Wilson
    Nelson, BC

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