Believable Characters, Part 11

We’re on Part 11 of this extraordinarily long series about creating believable characters using the Myers-Briggs core personalities. I’m pulling from several sources, but mostly Jeff Gerke’s book Plot vs. Character and David Keirsey’s book Please Understand Me II

You remember the four parts:

1.  Extrovert (E) or Introvert (I)
2.  Sensing (S) or Intuitive (N)
3.  Thinking (T) or Feeling (F)
4.  Judgment (J) or Perception (P)

Today, let’s look at INFP, who Keirsey calls THE HEALER. These folks are curious, helpful, and values-oriented. They strive to mend divisions, restore lost unity, and establish integrity. On the outside, they’re easy-going and serene. On the inside, they’re going nuts trying to help everybody achieve world peace and wholeness. They see the world as an ethical, honorable place, and strive to make all that idealism come true. More often than not, they are let down and take it badly. They love fantasy, and love to please everyone at all times.

INFPs are rare, making up less than one percent of the population. Think of the princess in fairy tales, or the knight who wanders the wilderness seeking someone to save. Logic is usually optional to the INFP, who prefers impressionism, metaphor, and intuition. They may make errors with facts, but never with feelings. They make excellent mates, having a deep commitment to their vows and showing immense loyalty to their spouse. 

Famous INFP’s are Princess Diana (quit laughing! Just because most INFP’s are loyal to their spouses doesn’t mean that one can’t stray…), Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, William Shakespeare, Helen Keller, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Julia Roberts. In fiction, Anne of Green Gables, Winnie the Pooh, and Sleeping Beauty are all INFP’s.

Great career choices for INFP’s are missionary, psychologist, social worker, writer, and actor. You won’t find INFP’s seeking employment in science and technology fields, so keep that in mind when you’re creating your characters. That *would* create a ton of tension for your INFP protagonist, though…

-Sonja
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