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Hello peoples!
Title says all. Due to recent discussions and behavioral analysis on my part, my girlfriends type is currently in flux. She strongly believes she's an INFP but all the other INFPs I know tend to be relatively disorganized and have "cluttered" physical spaces. Whereas, my girlfriend maintains a cleanliness level that would be safe to perform a surgery.

Is it possible for INFPs to naturally be this hyper organized? Or is it a learned behavior from her past thats never really gone away and perhaps been exacerbated by past traumas? (Her mom is a nasty mean ISFJ and has been for a long long time).
 

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Is it possible for INFPs to naturally be this hyper organized?

Define naturally. Cognition =/= behavior.
Let's assume it is possible: her behavior would agree with her cognition. If it didn't, you'd have more reason to question her past.

I don't recall INFPs being very attentive to their environment, though.

You trying to confirm her type or something? Why not just figure out the argument to rule out the other 15 types? Any reason to specifically identify with INFP label?
 

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...Is it possible for INFPs to naturally be this hyper organized?...
I've just researched and easily found -- three different threads from the past here at PerCafe -- on INFPs and "Are INFPs pigs?" or "Are INFPs tidy?" If you need to see what others said about this, just let me know and I'll link. It's interesting to see what so many wrote, at one time.

I think you will find INFPs, as a whole, run the gamut. When I was working, my desk was spotless. I could not think unless my desk was clean. My folder system was massive and super-organized because when I needed information, I could not spend hours looking for something. People were depending on me. At home, I have things in boxes waiting to be organized, a bit of a pig, not quite a hoarder. Piles here, piles there. So.... as you can see .... this INFP swings both ways. I'm not set in stone as just one way all the time.

...Or is it a learned behavior from her past thats never really gone away and perhaps been exacerbated by past traumas?...
  1. Could be her preference (she likes it that way).
  2. Could be a control issue (she is able to control her items and where she puts them).
  3. Could be a learned behavior from her family. (Maybe this is a way a house is supposed to look inside).
  4. Could be a way to keep herself busy (expend nervous energy)
  5. Maybe she loves Marie Kondo. :p
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Is it possible for INFPs to naturally be this hyper organized?

Define naturally. Cognition =/= behavior.
Let's assume it is possible: her behavior would agree with her cognition. If it didn't, you'd have more reason to question her past.

I don't recall INFPs being very attentive to their environment, though.

You trying to confirm her type or something? Why not just figure out the argument to rule out the other 15 types? Any reason to specifically identify with INFP label?
I'm trying to figure out if she's actually an INFP like I previously believed or if she's an ISFJ.
She insists she's an INFP and tells me she regularly relates to all things INFP she finds online, but she behaves like a dark side ISFJ would; emotionally volatile enough where a wrong word or expression triggers a nuclear meltdown, constantly concerned with how people perceive her physical appearance and trying to maintain harmony between everyone around them and excessively aggressive when angry.
My younger sister is an INFP and I know 2 other INFPs and none of them are like this even remotely.

I've just researched and easily found -- three different threads from the past here at PerCafe -- on INFPs and "Are INFPs pigs?" or "Are INFPs tidy?" If you need to see what others said about this, just let me know and I'll link. It's interesting to see what so many wrote, at one time.

I think you will find INFPs, as a whole, run the gamut. When I was working, my desk was spotless. I could not think unless my desk was clean. My folder system was massive and super-organized because when I needed information, I could not spend hours looking for something. People were depending on me. At home, I have things in boxes waiting to be organized, a bit of a pig, not quite a hoarder. Piles here, piles there. So.... as you can see .... this INFP swings both ways. I'm not set in stone as just one way all the time.



  1. Could be her preference (she likes it that way).
  2. Could be a control issue (she is able to control her items and where she puts them).
  3. Could be a learned behavior from her family. (Maybe this is a way a house is supposed to look inside).
  4. Could be a way to keep herself busy (expend nervous energy)
  5. Maybe she loves Marie Kondo. :p
I'd love the links, but after reading what you said, I'm not sure I'd need them. If you're capable of being organized at work, I don't see why she can't be organized at home as well.
That still leaves me with figuring out what she is based on her other behaviors...
 

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Isfp?

Makes more sense. I don't think many of the type descriptions online do isfp's justice. Some older ones were better, but they're gone now.
 

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Isfp?

Makes more sense. I don't think many of the type descriptions online do isfp's justice. Some older ones were better, but they're gone now.
I'm not sure about ISFP.
My youngest sister is an ISFP, but my gf and sister are nothing alike. Ironically, even as hair trigger sensitive as my gf is, my youngest sister is even more sensitive, but she isn't at all combative or aggressive.

However, you seem to know about this than you're letting on, heh.
 

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I don't think an INFP would typically develope an escessive need for cleanliness. Sometimes, sure, that can be inferior Te. Letting stuff get very dirty and messy and then cleaning everything in one go is something I often see Fi-doms doing. But in general? Unlikely. Fi/Ne doesn't typically value that. Especially not with inferor Te and tertiary Si.

It's also not very likely for ISFPs. Obsessive cleanliness bordering OCD is often a trait of Si in combination with Fe or Te. SHe might be an ISFJ.
Many ISFJs mistype as INFPs, because ISFJ seems like such a boring stay-home mom type. Which is not true, of course.
 

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I'm not sure about ISFP.
My youngest sister is an ISFP, but my gf and sister are nothing alike. Ironically, even as hair trigger sensitive as my gf is, my youngest sister is even more sensitive, but she isn't at all combative or aggressive.

However, you seem to know about this than you're letting on, heh.
Emotional stability doesn't factor into mbti type. It's now believed that (according to Big 5/SLOAN system) emotional stability is a 5th element of personality, existing independently of mbti's S,N,T & F, which do have some correlations to the remaining 4 facets of big 5.
So for instance, there's calm isfj's, calm entp's and then there's emotional isfj's, emotional entp's and so on. The same applies to every other type.

This seems to be influencing your judgement about her type when it's not actually relevant. Studies have strongly suggested it's largely an independent facet, not a correlating one (low correlation at most).

Take those things out of the equation and it should be more clear.

Infp's aren't usually attuned to their physical surroundings. They can definitely maintain a certain standard of cleanliness, depending on circumstances, but I doubt they will maintain it meticulously in more than one area. Work area's might be kept spotless, certain area's of the home might be kept spotless, but they're unlikely to apply it throughout the whole house and workplace. Maybe if they live alone or they live with one tidy person, therefore there's not much cleaning and tidying to regularly do anyway.

I'd consider what she focuses on when she's upset for clues as to whether she's S or N. Does she focus on sensory information to justify her negative feelings or does she imagine negative things?

An infp might be more focused on what's around them in a negative way, ie the pile of clutter they still haven't sorted out and how they will never be organised. An isfx might be more focused on what could possibly go wrong or imagining other people are judging them negatively or something like that.
 

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Emotional stability doesn't factor into mbti type. It's now believed that (according to Big 5/SLOAN system) emotional stability is a 5th element of personality, existing independently of mbti's S,N,T & F, which do have some correlations to the remaining 4 facets of big 5.
So for instance, there's calm isfj's, calm entp's and then there's emotional isfj's, emotional entp's and so on. The same applies to every other type.

This seems to be influencing your judgement about her type when it's not actually relevant. Studies have strongly suggested it's largely an independent facet, not a correlating one (low correlation at most).

Take those things out of the equation and it should be more clear.

Infp's aren't usually attuned to their physical surroundings. They can definitely maintain a certain standard of cleanliness, depending on circumstances, but I doubt they will maintain it meticulously in more than one area. Work area's might be kept spotless, certain area's of the home might be kept spotless, but they're unlikely to apply it throughout the whole house and workplace. Maybe if they live alone or they live with one tidy person, therefore there's not much cleaning and tidying to regularly do anyway.

I'd consider what she focuses on when she's upset for clues as to whether she's S or N. Does she focus on sensory information to justify her negative feelings or does she imagine negative things?

An infp might be more focused on what's around them in a negative way, ie the pile of clutter they still haven't sorted out and how they will never be organised. An isfx might be more focused on what could possibly go wrong or imagining other people are judging them negatively or something like that.
I'm definitely going to go look into the Big 5, that sounds really interesting. I suppose I should also start investing more in the enneagram types as well.

My girlfriend HATES mess. Being in a sorta messy room gives her anxiety. If anyone here is familiar with the Bionicle franchise, she's kind of like the Bohrok when they get to chanting "We must clean, it must be clean, it must be cleaned...". I often have to tell her stop working to clean or else she ends up going so far as to physically hurt herself by doing too much.🤦‍♂️

When she gets upset, all she can think about is how everything in life can and will go wrong and where applicable how other people "must think she's an absolute idiot/imbecile" when she makes a mistake.

I have a suspicion that she refuses to believe she's an ISFJ because of how absolutely terrible her mother is, but she keeps sending me videos made an INFP who has figured life out from that perspective, and she resonates with those videos more than anything else we've ever listened to.

I'm so confused...
 

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We don't all fit into perfect little boxes, actually I'd guess most of us don't. If you are talking about a flat out stereotypical NP type characteristics, then no, it doesn't fit. But, if someone takes the test they often may fall to varying degrees of the matrix dividers. So, perhaps organized and cleanliness is actually part of where she leans the other direction.

But yeah, if you see my desk and how often I clean, and I'm very high N and P.
 

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I agree it's not typical for INFPs to be 'neat freaks' but it could definitely be a learned habit. The question really is what motivates her to clean? What is her mood like while cleaning? Does she feel an anxious "I have to make sure everything is perfect so people won't be upset with me" or does she feel a "I can't focus until this mess is cleared away" or does she feel like "ug this place looks depressing let's make it pretty again" or does she feel like "This is just what an upstanding person does, being responsible, work before play" sort of thing, or is it a habit she has learned that she doesn't even notice or think about doing like just auto-pilot putting things away as she passes through a room?

A very INFP motivation for neatness is aesthetics, a messy house doesn't look very pretty. INFPs often highly value beautiful surroundings, and I can definitely see this being important enough to motivate an INFP to keep things tidy.

If you look at cognitive function theory INFPs have inferior Te which I feel in my case may explain my tendency to clean and organize when under stress or as a form of procrastination - like 'hey I'm doing something useful' even if I'm not doing the practical thing I really should be focusing on or don't feel like I can face. Sorting and organizing can actually be kind of entertaining, and I practically Love doing dishes in the winter when my hands are always frozen and washing dishes means soaking in hot water. While I don't usually feel frazzled by clutter, when I'm feeling overwhelmed with other things, then the physical mess can make me feel even more scatterbrained. Also, getting an easy task done and checked off the mental list - like brainless picking up - can help jumpstart my motivation and energy for accomplishing other tasks which may be more difficult.

Granted, my nervous cleaning is probably also influenced by growing up with an ISTJ mom who always put work/chores/cleaning/homework before everything else to the point that she didn't really know how to enjoy herself and felt guilty every time she did anything fun. so... yeah... cleaning can also be a sign of nervousness and sort of trying to make sure someone else is pleased with me and not secretly thinking I'm a lazy bum because they don't value the things I would spend my time on if I wasn't feeling nervous and guilty. For me cleaning can definitely be an anxious cry of 'don't be upset with me', but nervous cleaning habits can't be sustained for a long time without the emotional distress becoming apparent.
 

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I agree it's not typical for INFPs to be 'neat freaks' but it could definitely be a learned habit. The question really is what motivates her to clean? What is her mood like while cleaning? Does she feel an anxious "I have to make sure everything is perfect so people won't be upset with me" or does she feel a "I can't focus until this mess is cleared away" or does she feel like "ug this place looks depressing let's make it pretty again" or does she feel like "This is just what an upstanding person does, being responsible, work before play" sort of thing, or is it a habit she has learned that she doesn't even notice or think about doing like just auto-pilot putting things away as she passes through a room?

A very INFP motivation for neatness is aesthetics, a messy house doesn't look very pretty. INFPs often highly value beautiful surroundings, and I can definitely see this being important enough to motivate an INFP to keep things tidy.

If you look at cognitive function theory INFPs have inferior Te which I feel in my case may explain my tendency to clean and organize when under stress or as a form of procrastination - like 'hey I'm doing something useful' even if I'm not doing the practical thing I really should be focusing on or don't feel like I can face. Sorting and organizing can actually be kind of entertaining, and I practically Love doing dishes in the winter when my hands are always frozen and washing dishes means soaking in hot water. While I don't usually feel frazzled by clutter, when I'm feeling overwhelmed with other things, then the physical mess can make me feel even more scatterbrained. Also, getting an easy task done and checked off the mental list - like brainless picking up - can help jumpstart my motivation and energy for accomplishing other tasks which may be more difficult.

Granted, my nervous cleaning is probably also influenced by growing up with an ISTJ mom who always put work/chores/cleaning/homework before everything else to the point that she didn't really know how to enjoy herself and felt guilty every time she did anything fun. so... yeah... cleaning can also be a sign of nervousness and sort of trying to make sure someone else is pleased with me and not secretly thinking I'm a lazy bum because they don't value the things I would spend my time on if I wasn't feeling nervous and guilty. For me cleaning can definitely be an anxious cry of 'don't be upset with me', but nervous cleaning habits can't be sustained for a long time without the emotional distress becoming apparent.
This was extremely helpful! A lot of what you said sounds like something she'd say, while a lot of the "this or that" she tends to be both of.

Sounds like I've got some more investigating to do.
 
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