Fortunately, I’ve developed a skill that I think will serve me well for the rest of my life, which is being able to laugh at myself. I find that rolling my eyes and laughing is less stressful than getting annoyed and trying to figure out why things are the way they are.
While I am proud of my INFP quirks, sometimes I have to laugh at them to keep my sanity in check. Here are seven quirks of my INFP personality that often leave me shaking my head and grinning through it. Although I’m not the only personality type to do things like this, I think INFPs will especially relate.
(What’s your personality type? Take a free personality assessment.)
1. Staring at the TV and having no clue what just happened
Watching movies is actually kind of hard because I have to consciously make myself stay out of my head and pay attention. Otherwise, my mind ends up running rampant with all the usual thoughts, and while I may be looking at the screen, I’m miles away. It’s especially awkward if you have company, and they return after a bathroom break and ask what happened. I end up stammering something like, “Uh, well, see, I actually have no idea, because I was thinking…” There is no explanation that doesn’t make me sound crazy.
2. Forgetting the important things and remembering everything else
As an INFP, I’m prone to seeing the big picture while letting smaller details slip by me. I’ll be the first to admit that I probably won’t remember your birthday. I’ll also struggle to remember your name, unless I know you well, and I always have ripped up pieces of paper with me to remind me of important things I need to get done.
And yet, I constantly have new writing ideas that stay in my brain for weeks, and I can quote entire movies from beginning to end. I’m sure being able to remember those things has something to do with visual reminders and emotional connections, but still. It doesn’t make it any less annoying that I have to be reminded ten times that I have a dentist appointment.
3. Never being able to find my keys
As already established, my brain is often doing other things while I go about my day. This means that small, absent-minded things get done without me even realizing it. One of those things is dropping my keys somewhere after coming home. I don’t even think of them until it’s time for me to leave again, and by then I have no clue where I put them.
Since my husband, Josh, is also an INFP, he does the same thing every night. So, like clockwork, almost every morning is spent searching for two different sets of keys before either of us can go. If you’re thinking that we should have a designated place to put them, it has been suggested, but we would probably forget where the designated place is.
4. Constantly second-guessing everything I say
INFPs are introverts, and introverts tend to need time to think before they speak (among many other things). Unfortunately, that often isn’t possible in even the mildest of social situations, and I often end up speaking or answering before I’m fully ready to do so. When I do this, it’s pretty much guaranteed that for the next several hours, I’ll be replaying the conversation in my mind and thinking of all the things I could have said.
It doesn’t end there. Anytime something reminds me of that conversation or that day, I will again overthink what I said and pick apart where I went wrong. Sometimes even years later. I still remember an unpleasant conversation I had with a friend’s mother when I was about nine years old, and I wish I could go back and change the things I said.
5. Waking myself up thinking
Yes, it’s really happened. I swear that I think in my sleep. I can’t explain it, because sleep is supposed to be the time when the brain takes a much-needed break. But it happens. When my alarm goes off, something is always immediately on my mind and ready to be thought about.
And there are times when something is spinning around in my brain and I’m pulled out of sleep in the middle of the night. This usually happens when I’m really fixated on something, and I remember exactly what I was thinking about as soon as I wake up. I wish my introverted brain would quiet down long enough for a good night’s sleep.
6. Beginning projects with hulk-like enthusiasm and finishing none of them
As my husband can attest, I’m constantly babbling on about something that has piqued my interest that I would like to learn more about. As we speak, I’m pursuing four different career paths (while I wish that was sarcasm, it’s true). As an INFP, I’ve discovered that I enjoy the journey far more than the destination. This leads to a lot of beginnings and not a lot of endings, because who wants an adventure to end? I can finish something when I’m especially passionate about it and when I truly put my mind to it, but it’s not my default mode.
7. Being a dragon on the inside and a kitten on the outside
As an INFP, I have strong personal values, and I desire to make the world a better place. In my mind, I imagine all the things I could do and the people I could help. In reality, I tend to revert back to the “quiet person in the corner who looks a little lost.” I may be raging on the inside, but translating that to my outer world is… harder than one might imagine.
Whenever I start wishing I was wired differently, I try to imagine myself as any other person than who I am. The image never feels right, and I immediately remember that I could never function as anything other than what I am. Even though that brings struggles of its own, I wouldn’t have it any other way.