INTP vs. INFP

Compatibility

So much has been written about whether opposites attract or difference is the key but in real life it is all about understanding the differences, accommodating and managing them. This section will help you see where the potential for conflict exists between personality types and help you manage it.

The INTP is deep, private, difficult to know and extremely independent. They focus on things that interest them most putting off completing tasks until the last minute as the routine bores them. INTPs love logic and an indicator of being an INTP is obsession with logical correctness. An INTP will struggle with emotion, great at reading situations but less good at reading people.

Meaning, harmony and personal values are at the heart of the INFP. It is essential to the INFP that their beliefs and actions are totally in sync. An INFP is unlikely to take any action which they don’t believe in their heart is right. Sensitive, caring and empathetic INFPs are excellent in supporting roles. Deep and private, they do not like being boxed in or constrained by rules.

Relationships

There is no perfect type and in the same way there are no perfect matches. We can all learn to adapt and modify our behaviour if we choose and this section is therefore not designed to suggest particular specific matches but to demonstrate areas of similarity and difference so that a true understanding can happen and thus reduce the risk of misunderstandings.

Being around them

The INTP is very independent, deep and private yet can at times seem totally outspoken because of their directness of communication and economy of words speaking only when there is something to say.

The INFP has two contrary characteristics, curiosity and shyness. They love to know what's going on, feel excluded if not kept informed but do not like to be the centre of attention, shunning the limelight.

Dealing with emotions

INTPs find emotion difficult as they are at heart logical, analytical and objective with no time for anything they see as 'fanciful.' They will not be motivated by someone saying, 'please,' or by emotional pleading.

INFPs are incredibly emotional, indeed they can actually feel what others are feeling and this can even stay with them. They are tuned in and insightful and they are happy to deal with the emotions of others.

Openness and sharing feelings

The INTP will find it difficult to share their feelings, although they will be blunt and outspoken regarding their thoughts. In moments of single-minded concentration, the INTP will appear aloof and detached.

The INFP will often display their reactions to their feelings, rather than their feelings, and may bottle things up which then leak out at strange moments thus adding to the 'difficult to understand' image.

Drivers and values

Sceptical and difficult to know the INTP is wary of close emotional involvement as emotions tends to be slightly outside their own life-space and if someone gets too close too soon they close down.

It is essential for the INFP that their beliefs and their actions are totally in sync at all times. An INFP is unlikely to take any action which they don’t believe in their heart is right.

Building stronger relationships

Learn what INTPs are like in a relationship. Understanding the differences between two types is a really great starting point for getting along. For practical guidance on building strong relationships take our practical tutorial.

Get along better with an INFP. Understanding the differences between two types is a really great starting point for getting along. For practical guidance on building strong relationships take our practical tutorial.

Conflict

Some people seek harmony, some see conflict as simply robust discussions, some people are emotional, some more factual. So there is no right or wrong about this and what we are trying to do is help two different people each understand how the other might deal with conflict and what it will mean for the relationship.

Initial response to conflict situations

Rational argument, logic and intellectual theory are the routes to the ‘heart’ of the INTP who will have no problem taking the hard decision, as long as it is the 'right' decision, one based on logic and evidence.

INFPs have a deep desire for harmony and balance and will prefer to see the good in people, focusing on the positive issues and the interconnections between people rather than with the negatives.

Issues they'll fight on

INTPs are relatively easy-going until something violates a principle. Then they can become outspoken, inflexible and unreasonable, switching from reserved to actually enjoying the heated drama.

For a type so caring and gentle there is a surprisingly crusading side to the INFP. When a personal value is trodden on, the INFP can become uncharacteristically outspoken and champion of the cause.

Conflict style / communication

Blunt and to the point, the INTP will rarely let emotions get in the way and will use logic and data to make their point. Those who are more emotional may find them at such times a little cold and harsh.

The INFP does not like conflict and will seek to be the one who brings harmony, diffusing tension and seeing things from the other person’s perspective, excellent supporters and empathetic friends.

How they feel after

As they are more deep and private the INTP will happily debate, using all their intellectual and logical abilities, before withdrawing back to their own world, not hard feelings, no feelings at all, it was a chat.

Conflict, aggression or even extended people interaction will sap the energy of the INFP who will need to disappear back into their own inner sanctum, reflect deeply on how it made them feel and recharge.

Dealing with conflict

Some types dislike and avoid conflict, whereas others use it to solve problems and get things done. Understand how an INTP deals with conflict in our practical tutorial.

Manage conflict with an INFP by taking our practical tutorial. Do they use conflict to solve problems and get things done, or do they dislike and avoid it? Find out more.

At Work

We all bring something different to the team and we all agree that difference and balance are good things. However when someone is different from us we might not understand them so well so in this section we allow you to compare the differences at work, how these might manifest themselves and how best to manage them.

Contribution to the team

Although quiet the INTP will come to the fore at analysing problems and evaluating ideas using their superb judgement and serious, unemotional nature to ensure the team makes balanced decisions.

Although gentle and sensitive the INFP will bring a sense of conviction and what is 'the right thing to do.' Though quiet, the INFP can glue the team together and support others fostering great team spirit.

Leading

INTPs need those around them to be proactive and not keep coming to them with questions. They like arguments and actions to be well thought through and will excel at ensuring this is the case.

The INFP will tend to prefer a less visible role as their strengths are working from the back and supporting others, using their insight and wisdom and lack of ego rather than being the leader.

Being managed

The INTP will not fit snugly into a typical structure. They value independence, of thought and action and they need their space: to think, to be free from other people to work in short bursts of energy.

The INFP does not want to be constrained by rules, and they dislike the routine. Others will see the INFP as flexible, gentle and difficult to understand. They do not appreciate criticism or a hard taskmaster.

Attention to detail / focus

The INTP does not like too much detail, preferring a broad-brush stroke approach. The simple, the obvious bores them and anything they see as trivial or unimportant will be pushed away.

Flexible and spontaneous INFPs will need their space and freedom to work their way. They dislike routine and need meaning to be part of something special, and they will be loyal and diligent and productive.

Creativity

If it holds their interest the high critical thinking ability of the INTP and their shrewd judgements means they can analyse and distil even the most complex problems and cut to the core of what needs to be done.

Spontaneous and creative the INFP inhabits the internal world of imagination and is not bound by traditions. The ideal world is one where they can immerse totally in interesting and meaningful tasks.

Getting the best and motivating

Find out how to get the best out of an INTP and what motivates them in our practical tutorial. Are they more motivated by the task at hand, or by the people around them?

Get the best out an INFP and learn the way to motivate them. Are they more motivated by people, or by the task at hand? Find out more in our practical tutorial.

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