INFP – Persephone, the Idealist and the Healer

Welcome to the second part of the Myers-Briggs personality type blog series. If you missed the first post where I explained what the system is about, head there to catch up.

Anne of Green Gables is Myers-Briggs INFJ

Anne of Green Gables is INFJ

This time I introduce the first of the 16 personality profiles: INFP. The abbreviation stands for Introvert iNtuitive Feeling Perceiver.

INFPs are dreamers and artists, teachers and healers. They are interested in people and have a high sense of honor derived from internal values. They usually have a few favorite causes they care about passionately.

The energy of INFPs comes from a rich internal world, their own thoughts and peace and quiet. Contemplation  and the quest for self-knowledge keeps INFPs in a constant state of flux. Ideas and new possibilities excite them, and they see alternatives and opportunities not evident to most.

Healers present a tranquil and pleasant face to the world. But underneath the reserved surface are strong emotions. Others may feel like INFPs are hard to get to know. Some may view them as shy. Those who take the time to get to know them will find them warm and gentle, with a surprising sense of humor. They care deeply for those they consider special friends. Small social circles satisfy them and they don’t actively get to know new people.

INFPs need harmony around them. Constant conflicts, arguments and grudges drain them. They are loathe to reveal negative emotions and try to control themselves.

Spontaneity and flexibility are great strenghts of INFPs but they can be on/off people. Interests come and go and many projects are never finished. Organization isn’t the strongest suit of INFPs. They might lose things or forget appointments.

They find day to day activities unfulfilling, and if the chosen job is all routine, INFPs can become quite unhappy. Variety and new things to learn is the name of the game. Leadership roles can also be challenging since they abhor conflict and don’t deal well with stress. INFP under stress can become quite critical and cynical.

Despite all their gifts, INFPs are cursed with indecision and self-doubt. They can be very self conscious and perfectionist tendencies make them too harsh on themselves. Their high standards can complicate team work. Too big work loads are common since INFPs find it difficult to say no.

Many INFPs are talented writers and prefer to express themselves through that medium.


Strenghts of INFPs

  • Strong values
  • Creative
  • Loyal
  • Nurturing & supportive
  • Good listener
  • Understands different people
  • Independent
  • Spontaneous
  • Flexible


Lessons INFPs Might Need To Learn:


  • Don’t worry so much about what other people think of you. Just be yourself and do your own thing.
  • Be more active and open. Challenge yourself to occasionally get in contact with completely new people.


  • Focus on the matters at hand instead of all the shiny possibilities. Yes, I know how fine they are. Sorry.
  • There can be too much information. Analysis paralysis is deadly for you.
  • Pay heed to schedules and deadlines. Well thought out is far from done.
  • Stop procrastinating. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow doesn’t yet exist. There is only this moment.


  • Sometimes things are just things. Don’t take it personally. Constructive criticism helps you to grow and learn.
  • Conflict is a great opportunity. When you express your worries and needs right, the situation improves.
  • Lofty principles regularly clash with the realities. Prepare for it and find a way to cope.
  • You can’t save the whole world and help everyone. Learn to say no to protect yourself.
  • When you start getting overwhelmed, take a time-out and ask for help. Don’t rush into lightning decisions.


  • Spontaneity is great but remember to keep others on the same page or you drive them crazy.
  • No new projects for you until you’ve finished the old ones.
  • Routine tasks suck for you. Make them fun or delegate.


INFPs At Work

INFPs want work that they find personally meaningful, just doing their job isn’t enough. The work needs to be in balance with their values, and preferably something that helps them and others to grow and thrive.

INFPs as leaders are passionate about their ideals and motivate others through encouragement and positive vision. They are supportive and creative leaders and most effective with small, cooperative teams of people that are similarly motivated to achieve a positive mission. Because of their flexible nature and strong desire for harmony, they may avoid conflict and delay making difficult decisions.

Possible Career Paths:

  • Writers, Artists & Musicians
  • Journalists
  • Graphic designers
  • Counselors & Social Workers
  • Professors & Teachers
  • Librarians
  • Psychologists & Psychiatrists
  • Religious occupations
  • Corporate Trainers
  • Human Resources Recruiters


Inside the Mind of an INFP (me)

I hate conflicts. Unless I’m really passionate about the issue, I either give in or walk away from from the situation.


But one day on a bus stop, I witnessed a scene I couldn’t close my eyes of.
Four boys, maybe 13 or 14 years old, stood in a group, and one of them constantly heckled another kid with the two others just watching by. Eventually he started pushing the skinny boy around physically.


I’m ashamed to say I was too coward to do anything right then. Like everyone else, I tried to pretend nothing was happening.


Then we entered the crowded bus and the boys ended up standing where I was with my kids on a stroller. And the bullying continued.


“Soon. Soon. Soon”, the bully crooned and the smaller boy shrank with each repeat.


Adrenaline surged through me until I was shaking.


“Your dick must be really small since you need to bully others”, I said, my voice strangled with emotion.


The boy flushed red and then paled. The bullied kid bit back a smile.


For the rest of the ride, I glared the little shit and he fidgeted, even asked me to stop staring. But I didn’t. He deserved every minute of discomfort.


Then the boys got off the bus and I heard the bullied one say: “Hey, wanna go to the mall?”


I don’t know if he was really brave or stupid. Maybe both.


Afterwards I was in a turmoil. I recalled moments from my own school years when I had been too afraid to stand up for myself. And how it encouraged the bullies. They’re like sharks who smell blood.


I wish I had told the tormented boy: “Ditch those losers who enable the bullying by not saying anything. They’re not real friends. You deserve better.”


But who am I to judge when I almost ignored the situation too.


I wonder if my words helped at all. Or made things worse. I still think the kid occasionally and wish him well.

Mythical INFP: Kore/Persefone

Kore was the daughter of Demeter, the Goddess of Harvest and Plants. Hades, the ruler of the Underwold, fell in love with her and kidnapped her. Demeter grieved her loss so hard that she refused to let the plants to grow.

A compromise was reached and Kore would spend four months of the year in the Underworld and the rest of the eight with her mother on earth. During the four months she is gone, the plants die and winter reigns. Kore brings the spring with her.

Eventually Kore grew to like her role as the Queen of the Underworld, and assumed the name Persephone. She was a kind ruler who helped mortals entering Hades to fulfill their quests. She gave Psyche her beauty serum that Aphrodite, Goddess of Love had demanded. It was the condition of Aphrodite allowing Psyche to marry her son Eros.

Persephone was also moved by Orpheus, who came to seek for his dead wife Eurydice. She allowed Eurydice to follow him but required Orpheus to not look back before they were both out of the Underworld. Unfortunately he couldn’t resist the temptation.


Mythical INFPs: Asclepius and Proteus

Male counterpart for INFJ could be Asclepius, the God of Healing and Medicine. He was the son of Apollo and when he brought a dead person back life, Zeus slayed him at the demand of Hades, Lord of the Underworld. After Asclepius’ death, Zeus placed his body among the stars as the constellation Ophiuchus (the Serpent Holder). An early Christian philosopher suggested that Asclepius’ healing powers foreshadowed those of Jesus.

Another great candidate is Proteus, an ancient Sea God who has the gift of foretelling and whose shape is as mutable as the sea.  From this feature of Proteus comes the adjective protean, meaning “versatile”, “mutable”, “capable of assuming many forms”.


INFJ Archetypes

In art Kore has been depicted as the eternal maiden, victim and martyr. But by becoming Persephone, she accepts her new reality and responsibilities. She is a woman who will always grow and develop. In literature and plays, she is the sensitive, vulnerable woman who is on a constant quest for her identity.

With a deep connection to the unconscious and her inner child, she is the archetype of the artist. Another archetype is an older woman who finally finds her real purpose in art, ideology or religion.

Like INFPs, Asclepius selflessly helped people. He is also associated with creativity through his snake-entwined staff, the symbol of medicine and pharmacy. Serpents and snakes represent fertility and creative life force. By sloughing off their skin, they symbolize rebirth, transformation, immortality, and healing.


Famous INFPs:

Humanists: Helen Keller, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Søren Kierkegaard, Margaret Mead & Princess Diana

Writers:  J. R. R. Tolkien, Albert Camus, C.S. Lewis, Hans Christian Andersen, William Shakespeare, John Milton, William Blake, Edgar Allan Poe, Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, George Orwell, Antoine de Saint Exupery, A.A. Milne, J.D. Salinger & J.K. Rowling

Artists:  John Lennon, Andy Warhol, Vincent Van Gogh, Peter Jackson, Tim Burton, David Lynch, Alanis Morissette, Lady Gaga, Johnny Depp & Julia Roberts


INFPs in Books:, Movies & TV Series

Books: Neville Longbottom, Luna Lovegood & Remus Lupin (Harry Potter), Anne of the Green Gables (by L. M. Montgomery), Holden Caulfield (Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger), Jane Eyre (by Charlotte Bronte), Odd Thomas (by Dean Koontz)

Movies: Frodo (Lord of the Rings), Luke Skywalker (Star Wars), Peter Parker (Spiderman as acted by Tobey Maguire), Belle (Disney’s Beauty and the Beast), Amelie (Amelie)

TV Series: Willow Rosenberg & Drusilla (Buffy The Vampire Slayer), Fox Mulder (X-Files), Deanna Troi (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Peter Petrelli (Heroes), Prince Zuko (Avatar: The Last Airbender), Daniel Jackson (Stargate SG1)

Motivational Posters For INFPs

Please leave a comment 🙂

Do you know an INFP? Have you ever written an INFP character? And do you have experiences about bullying? What would you have done in the situation?

Oh, and was this post too long? 😛 I could cut the mythology part off from the future posts if your eyes glazed while reading.


  1. Emma Burcart
    Sep 13, 2012

    I go back and forth between INFP and ENFP, depending on how I’m feeling when I take the test. A lot of those descriptors fit me. Some of them are also common for water signs, so I wonder how much that has to do with it too. I am excited to see the ENFP and compare it to this one. I think I’ll find I’m somewhere in the middle.
    Emma Burcart recently posted..Breaking Our Own RulesMy Profile

    • Reetta Raitanen
      Sep 13, 2012

      It’s fascinating how we fluctuate between some pairings. And you’re right about water signs, Emma. NF types are associated with that element. NTs are Air, SJs are Earth and SFs Fire.

      Since I’ve grouped similar types for the following spots, separated only by I/E difference, I’ll cover for the E type how it is different from the I type. Or well, as much information as I can find 🙂

  2. Marcy Kennedy
    Sep 13, 2012

    I don’t honestly know what I would have done in that situation. It’s easy to claim we would have acted, but it’s not until we’re actually in the situation that we can know what we would have done. I like to think I would have stuck up for the bullied boy because I do tend to fight for the underdog and defend others when given the chance. I think you handled it extremely well.
    Marcy Kennedy recently posted..Is Your Website at Risk from Hackers? 8 Ways to Protect Your BlogMy Profile

    • Reetta Raitanen
      Sep 13, 2012

      Indeed. It is easy to say what we would do and then do different when a situation is on. Even we have actually given it a thought and had training.

      I’m glad to hear you think I did alright in the situation. It’s one of the rare times when I came up with something scathing there and then. Usually I just splutter and think the good lines only afterwards.

      And yay, the tips against hackers are posted to your blog. That is really useful information.

  3. Julie Glover
    Sep 13, 2012

    I test as INFP and INTP at different times, but when I read the descriptions, I relate to the INFP more. I found it fascinating I like all of those authors you named! And Jane Eyre is among my favorite books.

    Great stuff!

    • Reetta Raitanen
      Sep 20, 2012

      I think that relating with a type is very important because our test results can vary. And very cool that you liked all the INFP authors 🙂 I enjoy many of them too.

    • Chad Giovanni
      Aug 28, 2016

      Hey Julie, I too think that I am a mix between INTP and INFP as well. I believe the brain/personality can shift to compensate towards different situations and allow for deep thought. Just as people differenciate between their Astrological signs (such as their Sun sign and Moon sign). In the end they are labels meant to help equate a simplified answer to describe someones behavior, personality, thought process, etc. The only way to possibly know for sure is to observe certain situations (usually asked on Myers/Briggs tests) while remaining authentic to your natural decisions. Theroretical questions are less accurate than real world experience. Hopefully we all as a species can soon learn more about ourselves and hopefully next achieve a better understanding of others around us…

  4. Jennette Marie Powell
    Sep 18, 2012

    I’m an INTJ, but I can totally relate to the avoids-conflict part! I’d be hard-pressed to say what I’d do in the situation you were in – hopefully the same!
    Jennette Marie Powell recently posted..My Town Monday: Flying High, Running (or Walking) FastMy Profile

    • Reetta Raitanen
      Sep 20, 2012

      I think that most people like to avoid conflicts, at least public scenes in front of completely strange people. All the more special when someone makes a stand.

  5. Debra Kristi
    Sep 18, 2012

    Curious. I feel like I relate a lot to the descriptions you’ve given. I tested INFJ but was really close to the TP. Guess I could have tested INTP if I was feeling differently at the time. It’s all variable. I enjoyed the mythological refresher as well. I just finished Meg Cabot’s “Underworld” on which that story is loosely based. It fascinates me.
    Debra Kristi recently posted..“Why Vampires?” with Emma Meade – Immortal MondayMy Profile

    • Debra Kristi
      Sep 18, 2012

      I must revise my own statement already. Sheesh. I scored thinker over feeler. I should know that! Hell, I only plan EVERYTHING. LOL.

  6. Karen McFarland
    Sep 20, 2012

    Okay Reetta, can I just tell you how much I love Anne of Green Gables? Thank you so much for using it as one of your examples. I had forgotten about her. Now I want to watch/read the series all over again. It’s a classic! Back to Meyers/Brigg. I think I have a little INFP, but not totally. Can you have a category overlap with another? I do appreciate how you explain the personality. Much clearer than how I was taught previously. Thank you so much. I look forward to the next post. And I do hope that you and your family are feeling much better Reetta! 🙂

    • Reetta Raitanen
      Sep 20, 2012

      Thank you, Karen. I’m glad you found the post enlightening.
      As for your question, if you’re very closely balanced in some of the pairs, you’ll likely have some features from both the types. Like if you’d be INFP/J, you’d have some bits from INFP & INFJ.

  7. Amber
    Oct 11, 2012

    Oh, I missed this post earlier!

    I am very strongly INFP, and the descriptions fit perfectly. It makes a lot of sense that I related so strongly to characters like Anne and Jane Eyre as a child. 🙂
    Amber recently posted..Writing Advice May Lead to BlindnessMy Profile

  8. Maria Viemerö
    May 14, 2014

    I want to thank you for making this post,because this opened my eyes even more.I have had this slight feeling that I might be an INFP and I have taken several tests and I have gotten INFP as a result,but after reading this and especially reading the part of your own experience,I can safely say that this is my type. I think its not that strange that I have since childhood,felt that I could relate to Luke Skywalker very,very much and now I know why! =D
    Im sorry that this is so long,but I wanted to say one more thing and its about bullying experiences.I myself have been bullied very constantly when I was about 6 to 17 years old.(im 20 years old now)And I have always been against bullying and I have always went to help the ones that were being bullied,because I didnt want anyone else to feel hated and alone.And I can understand your frustration toward the boy.I myself would probably have gone between the bullied and the bulliees and told the bullies to piss off.(in a nicer way if they were alot younger than me)And that was my two cents on this matter.Still,thank you very much for the wonderful post and sorry that this is so long. =)

  9. Eileen Burns
    Feb 15, 2020

    I am fascinated by archetypes and personality types and find it so helpful when I am helping heart-based and spiritual business owners identify their strength and uniqueness. thanks for sharing
    Eileen Burns recently posted..Attract Soul Clients By Sharing Your Soul Essence In Your MarketingMy Profile

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