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Who's your favorite NF (Idealist) character?


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Apr 15, 2008, 12:05am Top

Hello everyone...

I'm just visiting here as I am actually from the INFJ group. I'm simply writing to you all as a fellow NF (Idealist) and introvert. I hope you don't mind. I did post this topic for the INFJ group but I thought I'd post it here as well. You guys seem to be pretty active!

I'm taking an online certification course in Temperament Theory and part of the required reading is a short book called People Patterns: A Modern Guide to the Four Temperaments by: Stephen Montgomery. In his book, Montgomery illustrates the different temperaments by referencing characters in North American pop culture. Fascinating stuff!

I was wondering if anybody had a favorite character (in books, TV, or movies... or even in history) that they suspected or know is an NF (Idealist).

I made a decision to watch more Star Trek: Deep Space Nine because I found out Benjamin Sisko is the only NF Star Trek captain!


Edited: Apr 15, 2008, 12:58am Top

First, as far as Star Trek captains: I guess Kirk must be an Artisan. Is Picard a Rational?

Now on to characters: Going by this description of the INFP...

"creative, smart, idealist, loner, attracted to sad things, disorganized, avoidant, can be overwhelmed by unpleasant feelings..."

I would go with the following characters:

Many of J. D. Salinger's characters, including Holden Caulfield and possibly Jane Galligher seem to me to be INFPs. From Salinger's Nine Stories, I would include Teddy, Seymour, Buddy, Franny, Sergeant X from "Esme"

I think many of Charles Dickens' main characters may also be INFPs.

I'd also say Shakespeare's Hamlet may be INFP, as well as Ophelia.

I'm a big Salinger fan, which makes sense, since I see so much of myself in the characters. I did my Master's thesis on Salinger's short stories.

Edited: Apr 15, 2008, 11:25am Top

Yup! For you Star Trek fans... Kirk and Jonathan Archer are Artisans. Picard and Janeway are Rationals. As far as Idealists go there's also Deanna Troi, Guinan, Kes, (I think Neelix is too), Chakotay, Dr. Phlox, Dr. Julian Bashir, and Benjamin Sisko.

I wholeheartedly agree that Hamlet is an INFP.

Edited: Apr 15, 2008, 1:14pm Top

I've always loved the differences between Elinor and Marianne from Austen's Sense and Sensibility. I imagine that Elinor is an SJ and Marianne is an NF.

Also, I'm currently reading Chocolat. I'm certain that Anouk is an NF. Vianne is quite obviously an SP. All food for thought!

Apr 15, 2008, 4:53pm Top

I've often wondered if Salinger himself might be an INFP: it's mostly his tendency towards secrecy that makes me think this. He is evidently a loner and attracted to sad things, yet his stories emphasize over and over again a need for connection.

I haven't read any Austen, can you believe that?!

Which is your favorite of the Star Trek captains, sunny jim?

I very much like Picard (I think NFs are supposed to be attracted to rationals, and I certainly am) but Kirk will always hold a special place in my heart. I kind of like that renegade nature.

I married an Artisan!

Edited: Apr 16, 2008, 12:20am Top

Well, I guess I like Picard the best. However, I've hardly seen any DS9 so I'm looking forward to getting a better read on Benjamin Sisko, who is supposed to be an NF.

I think good writers have an intuitive sense of character even if they're not consciously aware of temperament theory. It's amazing to see the temperaments manifest in so many of our most beloved characters. Do you agree?

N's certainly do "speak the same language" insofar as our interests and passions lie in the world of ideas.

I married an ENFP and I'm an INFJ! I guess we live in an ideal world... ;-)

Apr 16, 2008, 1:12am Top

I agree with what you said about good writers having an intuitive sense of character. It is remarkable to see how the temperaments play a role in our favorite movies and books.

I'm a writer and the temperament theory has helped me a LOT in developing characters. It's so easy to create characters just like yourself.

I really do admire Picard, but Kirk EXCITES me. I don't mean the romantic stuff, but just his willingness to throw rules out the window. I like that kind of independence. That was what I needed in a partner, too. There have been collisions, naturally, but we've made it work for nearly 34 years, and it's been a wild ride!

Apr 17, 2008, 3:14pm Top

> 5 "I very much like Picard (I think NFs are supposed to be attracted to rationals, and I certainly am) but Kirk will always hold a special place in my heart. I kind of like that renegade nature."

I know just what you mean. Though I always fancied Picard's reasonability and compassion (and that made him my favorite), Kirk's defiant attitude always struck a chord with me. He does whatever he feels is right and necessary and never mind those who disagree!

Oh my, we've derailed this discussion. I'll think on NF characters overnight and post a bit more on topic when I get back in the office tomorrow.

Apr 17, 2008, 4:19pm Top

Allama: right on! It's the defiance, exactly. INFPs are quiet, presenting a calm face to the world, but there is an inner volcano there and, yes, an element of defiance. A character like Kirk stokes the fire of our own bent towards defiance.

Albeit, our defiance is often worked out through subtler ways. But I've always wished I had the confidence of Kirk.

Apr 18, 2008, 6:37pm Top

a favorite character who might be an IN? hmm...
I really enjoy Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and I suspect Tara is an IN.
Also, in the 'verse -- (Firefly) -- I think Kaylee might be an IN -- it's in the way she really knows how to appreciate a good strawberry!

Apr 19, 2008, 11:19am Top

Oh, and as far as a literary character goes, I'm thinking Cassandra, the narrator of I Capture the Castle.

Aug 6, 2008, 4:48am Top

Special Agent Dale Cooper from Twin Peaks is my favorite character of all time
Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes is also great

Aug 13, 2008, 4:06pm Top

Doug, Christopher Robin, Mowgli.

Feb 9, 2009, 1:12am Top

I read that Anne of Green Gables is an INFP, which makes sense. I was named after her so I'm particularly chuffed. :)

Sep 10, 2009, 11:08pm Top

On the subject of space captains, I'm pretty sure Firefly/Serenity's Malcolm Reynolds is an ENFP, which really sets the tone for the series, which is kind of an anti-Star Trek in which the Federation/Alliance isn't all good and not everyone got an equal share of that rosy future. Kaylee could be an ISFP; it seems like a weird personality type for a mechanic, but maybe not so strange for a woman who enjoys working with machines (do women and men tend to choose a particular profession for different reasons?) She reminds me of my ex a lot (one side of her -- in real life, people are a little more complicated.)

More literarily, there's Antigone, who I know from Jean Anouilh's play only:

"I am disgusted with your happiness! With your life that must go on, come what may. You could say you are all like dogs that lick everything they find. You with your promise of a humdrum happiness--provided a person doesn't ask much of life. I want everything of life, I do; and I want it total, complete: otherwise I reject it! I will not be moderate. I will not be satisfied with the bit of cake offered for being a good little girl. I want to be sure of everything this very day; sure that everything will be as beautiful as when I was a little girl. If not, I want to die!" (quote copied from Wikipedia since I don't have a copy on hand)

You can't get much more idealistic than that!

Sep 11, 2009, 10:19pm Top

In the Anouilh play she does seem like an idealist. In the Sophocles version she seems more like an INTP because of her logical response to injustice. Interesting.

Sep 12, 2009, 2:10pm Top

Ok, I've read Sophocles' now (perhaps not the best translation though).

I was thinking it couldn't be a logical response if she knew she was going to die for such a symbolic, sentimental act, and she even told her sister not to keep it a secret, and she went back and did it again, unnecessarily, when she didn't get caught the first time. But she was the rational one in the preceding play, trying to dissuade Polynices.

I guess it is a modern vs. ancient Greek perspective. In the modern world (or in Nazi-occupied France, say), there too often isn't any rational response to injustice. The logical thing to do is to keep quiet and try to navigate it and survive as best one can. Idealists often don't fare well in that situation.

But presumably Sophocles' Antigone believed, literally, that without burial her brother would not reach the afterlife, and that in dying for her crime she would leave the unjust world of men for a better one (and perhaps turn the people against the tyrant). And she was totally alone, having disowned her sister, so she really wanted to die.

Sep 13, 2009, 2:12am Top

I do know what you mean. The play is typically seen as a clash of rationalism and idealism. But I've always believed that Antigone can be equally as realistic as her uncle. She has a very realistic approach to her death. She is very aware of the consequences of her actions and she is more than willing to face them. Her actions do not seem to be guided by emotion only but by a rational concept of what is right. Creon is rational but he plays by the old rules, which to Antigone are illogical. I think I am in a minority opnion, though!

Sep 13, 2009, 11:49pm Top

Yes, they're both rational (and idealistic!), starting from different ideas of right and wrong, which reason alone can't supply, and arriving at a terrible conclusion. If many people think of Creon as rational and Antigone as idealistic, that's scary to me.

It's pretty amazing to realize that reading a play written 2400 years ago I can see the characters as real people, and empathize with their motivations and inner life. I think I see the appeal of studying classics now!

Sep 14, 2009, 1:02am Top

You said: If many people think of Creon as rational and Antigone as idealistic, that's scary to me.

Exactly! You said what I wanted to say, only better, more clearly.

And, yes, these characters are as real to me as Sophocles, maybe even more so! :-)

Nov 3, 2009, 10:37pm Top

Hi, my name is Paul, and I'm an INFP, and also an alcoholic. I am trying hard to be healthier, but I am struggling. I am very idealistic, and I think that is the root of my problems. The practical world never seems to measure up to my ideals, so I get disappointed.

anyways, looking forward to meeting you all and discussing our INFP-isms.


Nov 4, 2009, 2:23am Top

Hi Paul, I know what you mean about being idealistic, having high expectations of oneself and the world. You are right: that can be a trap. I think most of us have had to work on that.

Jan 25, 2010, 3:45pm Top

I am struggling with unrealistic idealism at this very moment!!!

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