Lately I’ve been having conversations about Myers-Briggs personality types, which is a topic I find completely fascinating. I remembered a while back that Jen brought up the idea of a theme song for your personality type…she identified with “Surrender to Hope” by Trailerhead as an INTP, after reading Delena’s post, which suggested “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore as the ESFP theme song.
Choosing a theme song to represent my personality is complicated, only because there are so many options to choose from—because I am an INFP, and I have somewhat of an obsession with finding music that captures and defines my emotions and speaks to my inner life. Case in point: I have an iTunes playlist called “Chronology” containing 716 tracks, each of which reminds me of a specific period or event I’ve experienced in my life.¹
Some frontrunners in my mind for INFP theme song: “Into the Mystic” by Van Morrison, “Dreamer” by Bethany Dillon, “And So It Goes” by Billy Joel, “The Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)” by George Harrison, “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac, “No Turning Back” by Audrey Assad, “The Dangling Conversation” by Simon and Garfunkel, “In My Own Little Corner” from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, and “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” by Neutral Milk Hotel.
Being an INFP means that I write out my feelings in thick journals that I refuse to share with anyone else. It means that I’m slow to open up to others but intensely loyal once I do. It means that I’m scatterbrained, frequently lose things, and have trouble keeping track of practical details, because whatever’s going on inside my head is usually much more interesting. But when it comes to remembering details that carry meaning for my inner emotional life, my memory is frighteningly accurate—I can remember exactly what I was doing on a specific day, even if that day was years ago, and I can remember things my friends have said that they don’t even remember themselves. I am generally easygoing and defer to what other people want to do most of the time, except when it comes to the few things I value the most, or anything which I consider to be a moral issue—then I am incredibly stubborn and will not bend. I hate arguing and avoid it at all costs. I am a terrible procrastinator; I constantly lose track of time. I have lots of creative ideas but sometimes have trouble following through and finishing the projects I start. I am exhaustingly indecisive. I read a lot of fiction. I am generally sensitive and good at reading other people’s emotions. I have an affinity for words; I am more comfortable writing my thoughts than speaking them, and I use many words to do so; my close friends know to expect long emails from me (or novels, as they call them) from time to time. I am easily distracted by my own daydreams, and I am rarely bored, because I can always retreat into my own head, which is usually located up in the clouds.
To be clear, I don’t think that knowing your personality type ought to serve as an excuse for flaws or shortcomings, nor should it be seen as a clear-cut mold that you’re expected to fit into. Rather, I think becoming aware of your natural weaknesses can be a good way to focus on improving them. Like, it would not be valid for me to say, “This project is late because I’m an INFP and I procrastinate,” or “I didn’t tell you my true opinion because I’m an INFP and I hate arguing.” Sometimes my personality type makes it more difficult to do the right thing, and sometimes it makes it easier, but either way, it doesn’t change the fact that I’m responsible for my own actions. What I like, though, about understanding my personality type—and others’ as well—is that it gives me a better sense of how to optimize my lifestyle so that I can rely heavily on my strengths while improving my weaknesses, and it helps me understand where other people are coming from, too. If I can orient my routines to play off my strengths and try to avoid overwhelming myself with tasks that are not my forte, it will leave me the energy to tackle the things that challenge me when they come up. (Like staying on schedule, remembering to cook meals, and making quick decisions—all seemingly insurmountable hurdles for me.)
I think that despite the fact that my natural preference is toward feeling, I have pretty well-developed thinking skills and enjoy intellectual discussion, and despite the fact that I am very much an introvert, I really enjoy socializing and connecting with other people. They just aren’t the things I’d do to recharge. It helps to get to know people with different perspectives and personalities—since I’m the only INFP in my family, I am used to relating to people who think differently than I do, and that helps me practice the skills that don’t come so naturally to me.²
If there are any other INFPs out there who have other ideas for INFP theme songs, I’d love to hear them! It’s hard to pick just one. I like “Into the Mystic” because it’s a mellow, easygoing song with a nostalgic feel, slightly melancholy yet joyful at the same time, and filled with strong, underlying emotion; its lyrics are subtle and simple on the surface, but with a deeper, poetic meaning implied. In Jen’s post, someone suggested “The Scientist” by Coldplay as an INFP theme song, and I can see that, too. Really, there are a great many songs that would work, because INFPs feel such a wide range of emotion that it’s easy to identify with so many songs! Plus we’re indecisive, so instead of narrowing it down to just one, I’m giving you a list of ten. :)
¹ I almost added “The Light in the Piazza” by the musical of the same name, but I think that one’s actually more ISFP.
² I have a (completely unproven) theory that INFPs tend to be picky eaters because we’re more interested in re-experiencing the memories and emotions found in familiar, comforting foods than in experiencing new flavors. On an average day, I am not that tuned in to the sensory world and not really interested in changing up my routines. I have gradually grown to be a lot more adventurous in my eating habits, and I’m glad to have found new foods that I like, but truth be told I’d be happy as a clam to eat nothing but eggs and toast for the rest of my life. In fact, when I was a kid, I brought the same exact lunch to school every day for eight years in a row—mini bagels and cream cheese. They were delicious. (Of course, now I’m allergic to them, so…)