INFP compatibility

INFP's compatibility with other types

While two individuals of any type combination can make a relationship work or fail, research conducted on committed couples shows there is a definite trend in the personality types that are drawn to each other, and in the type combinations that last longest in a romantic partnership. At PersonalityPage, we call these types "natural partners."

The natural partners of INFP are ENFJ and ESFJ types. The INFP's dominant function of Introverted Feeling pairs naturally with Extraverted Feeling types.

Outside of natural partner pairings, it's especially important for an INFP to partner with someone who can respect their deeply held personal values. The dominant Thinking types ESTJ and ENTJ might find it difficult to understand or respect the INFP's prioritizing their subjective values over objective rules, and the INFP may find the Extraverted Thinker's strict adherence to objective facts and rules uncaring. To a lesser degree, the dominant Introverted Thinking types (ISTP and INTP) might also present a challenge to the INFP, but Introverts can often respect the individual nature of each other's inner worlds, however different they may be. The shadow type for an INFP is ESTJ. This type pairing is typically challenging.

The Intuition/Sensing preference is a special case in relating—strongly expressed Intuitives relate better to other Intuitives, and strongly expressed Sensers related better to other Sensers. If the INFP has a strongly developed secondary function of Extraverted Intuition, they are likely to do better when paired with another Intuitive.

The Judging/Perceiving difference can cause conflict in any relationship, especially when one or both partners are dominant Extraverted Judgers, who are the most controlling of the types. The ISFP will eventually resent being controlled, and the Extraverted Judger will need to respect this.

Compatibility breakdown

ENFJ ESFJ        
ESTJ (shadow) ENTJ INTP ISTP    

Type-to-type relationship analysis papers


How did we arrive at the conclusion that INFPs are the natural partners of ENFJs and ESFJs? Through empirical evidence, research, and a thorough understanding of the sixteen personality types and the personality functions that drive them.

In Jungian terms, personality "functions" refer to the four core traits: Intuition (N), Sensing (S), Feeling (F), and Thinking (T). The term "attitude" refers to the direction of the function, i.e. Introverted (I) or Extraverted (E). The INFP has a dominant function of Introverted Feeling, a secondary function of Extraverted Intuition, and a Perceiving orientation toward the external world.

Our natural attraction to people who share our dominant function, but who use it in a different direction works very well for us. We not only flip-flop the Introverted or Extraverted trait, but we also flip-flop the Judging or Perceiving trait. In this way, the partner that we choose for ourselves will have a very different approach to dealing with the world. If we are laid-back and indecisive, our partner will be structured and decisive. If we are reserved, our partner will be outgoing. Natural partners complement each other, and challenge each other in healthy ways. But for all of their apparent differences, natural partners share the same dominant function, which instills them with similar ideas about what's truly important in life. They will experience a feeling of being on the same level.

Of course there are many things that influence a relationship's success or failure, such as family background and intelligence. Recent research shows that the number one cause of long-term success for a couple is that they treat each other with respect and kindness.

Although we believe firmly that this model works well to help in finding and maintaining healthy relationships, it is important to remember that it's just a tool. We offer guidelines to help you understand the kinds of things that you value in a relationship, rather than guidelines that you need to follow strictly. It's important to remember that there's no such thing as an effortless romantic partnership. But undoubtedly, some are easier than others.