The Dark Side of INFPs

I often found that the description of an INFP can sound something like a happy little imp frolicking through the forest. This same imp lays under the stars dreaming of fantastical creatures. Think Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter, or Lulu from League of Legends. However I know that I and many other INFPs have a dark side to them that doesn’t fit that idealistic image.

INFPs Get Sad or Depressed Easily and Often

The dark side of an INFP can be a sad and lonely one. INFPs often make decisions based on their feelings. That is because we often feel A LOT and very strongly. These lyrics from The Front Bottoms instantly resonated with me and made me think how INFP-like they were:

“When I am sad, I am sad
But when I’m happy, oh god I am happy
there’s just no place in-between for us to meet “

The Front Bottoms – Flashlight

INFPs can often feel overemotional because of how intense our feelings can be. Those feelings allow me to extremely appreciate the nights out with friends laughing, or when someone lets me know I really helped them out by listening to them. However, it can also make bad situations feel overwhelming. INFPs are no strangers to long cries and burrito-ing themselves in blankets not wanting to get out of bed. They can fall down a dark hole easily and have depressive or even suicidal thoughts. It is important as an INFP to take care of ourselves and find ways to help us through our emotions. It can be important to reach out to others when we feel overwhelmed.

INFPs Idealism Can Have a Dark Side

I have found that a lot of INFP traits labeled as strengths can also be our biggest weaknesses. Idealism can have it’s dark side. No matter how logical I want to be, I am just another idealistic fool like the rest. I often find that I will have an idea for a project and then get in over my head wanting things to be perfect. When it appears that it won’t live up to this image, I get completely discouraged.

If I start a new chapter in my life and it doesn’t fit my level of expectations, I can get very down about the whole thing and write the whole experience off as terrible. It is only when I have had time to get over the disappointment that I can look at the positives. INFPs also tend to idealize people and relationships. I often found, especially as a younger INFP, that I put people and friendships on a pedestal. Someone was the greatest person ever and then later, when they didn’t fit this image I painted of them, they were horrible. I found it often hurt or ruined relationships because I was expecting certain things from people that I would do for them, and I felt attacked when they didn’t do those same things for me. In those moments, I could be a really passive aggressive and angry person.

I later started to learn that people react to things and show they care in very different ways. Just because someone does not say the perfect words to make you feel better doesn’t mean they don’t care about you or they are not trying. Sticking to relatable lyrics, I often think about the comedy lyrics in Bo Burnham’s song:

“If you want love, lower your expectations a few
Because Prince Charming would never settle for you
If you want love, just pick a guy and love him”

Bo Burnham – Lower Your Expectations (If You Want Love)


INFPs Are Masters at Avoiding Reality

INFPs often want justice in the world. With how unfair life can be, sometimes we just want to escape reality and bury our heads into our sketchbooks. I often used to say how I hated reality because there was no meaning in it. Things could happen and it was utterly meaningless. In stories, everything had a meaning and made sense, and often justice was served. It felt nicer to be lost in those stories than experience reality where everything was mundane and unfair.

I had a terrible internship, for instance, where my supervisor was very unfair to me and I felt there was nothing I could do about it. When it was all over, I felt completely empty inside that someone could make me feel so miserable without any repercussions. I found myself avoiding everyone and anything remotely related to that internship and spending more and more time playing video games and watching television shows in order for me not to think about it. While it is great to find ways to cope with our feelings, INFPs can really get out of touch with reality and avoid our responsibilities. This can also lead to INFPs straying towards unhealthy coping mechanisms such as abusing drugs or overeating. It is important to catch ourselves when we are going down the rabbit hole, and find the things in life that make reality great again.

“I’m so sick and tired trying to change your mind when it’s so easy to disconnect mine.”

Elliott Smith – High Times

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  1. As usual, weakness is just the inverse of strength. The best killer has the least compassion; the most compassionate is unable to defend himself.

    Reality will always disappoint us because we see what the world could be if it weren’t so fucked.

    Reading world history has been very difficult for me (albeit wildly interesting) because of how far off reality was from my ideals. It really is a cruel world, and real kindness is pretty rare.

    I think action oriented idealism is probably the key. So the world sucks. Okay. What are you going to do about it? Do something to make somebody around you happy? Try to invent some cool technology? Or just write a song…

    Idealism without action is just feelings and thoughts, after all. You need willpower for your feelings and thoughts to make a difference.

    1. These are pretty much my everday mental struggles as an infp. I have difficult time accepting reality as well and it’s hard to compromise with my ideals eventhough I’m aware I’m stubborn as hell and life can’t be as I imagined it in my head.

      I’m glad you gave an insight about it, so the others could understand and see how vulnerable acually we are. And I think we still need to learn to express it more.

      Love your article.

      1. as an infp it is very hard to cope with life.
        you get drowned out in ur feelings. it feels as if no one understands.
        them days where u lack motivation and slowly sink back into the dark place which u had tried so hard to get out of
        your consumed by ur thoughts overthinking every small little detail worried what other people will think of u if they see this is how u rlly are.
        our emotions overwhelm us
        and its extremely difficult to cope

  2. Took the MBTI test for the first time and it blew my mind. I am definitely a lost INFP. Never met people like me. Is there hope for us?

    1. Short answer: Yes there is always a time to find hope.
      Long answer: This is speaking from an INFP who is struggling a lot with mental health during the pandemic. I have clinical anxiety and currently struggling with a class. I have people that are supportive but don’t know me that well; a reality that I need to accept. Acknowledge, Baby Steps, recognize what you can or cannot control. Even though my mental health is at an all-time low what prevented me from sinking even lower to depression and other mental health disparities is going outside my comfort zone. The world is not fair especially for a lot of INFPS. But the world doesn’t bother because time only moves forward.

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