ISFPs are humble and quiet, yet they are also warm and gregarious, eager to share their experiences with others. ISFPs have an acute sense of beauty and seek it out in their surroundings. They are very sensitive to sensory inputs and often have a natural talent for the arts.
I. What Does ISFP Stand For?
ISFP stands for Introversion, Sensing, Feeling, and Perception and is one of 16 personality types studied from the MBTI test (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator). The MBTI personality assessment developed by Isabel Briggs Myers, Katharine Cook Briggs, and David Keirsey from the work of psychiatrist Carl G. Jung, the types of psychology based on theories of cognitive functions. Keirsey named ISFP The Composer/ The Adventurer because they have an innate sensitivity to creating works of art. ISFP is one of four personality types of The Artisan.
II. Personality Traits of The ISFP Group
ISFPs are peaceful, friendly, and easygoing people. Their motto is to enjoy great moments of life and are always optimistic, happy, and spontaneous with the flow to embrace what life brings.
ISFPs are highly aesthetic, always looking for beauty, they are particularly excellent at using creativity and natural talent in art. The ISFPs, though being quiet, humble, and pleasant, are still worth their own contribution. They do not like being the focus of attention and like to play a supporting role and share experiences in life.
ISFPs are labeled The Adventurer for a good reason. Confident and quick thinking, they are sharply aware of their surroundings and body. While some other introverted personality types (like INFP or INTP) are prone to get lost in their thoughts and out of touch with what's going on around them, ISFPs ISFPs are easily perceived at the present time. For these reasons, ISFPs enjoy new experiences, especially when those experiences are felt in nature. When life gets boring and repetitive, they plan their next adventures as soon as possible.
As a variation of Plato's Artisan group and Aristotle's Hedonics group, ISFPs differ slightly from other SPs in every respect. Like other Artisans, they speak concretely and realistically, sometimes to the point of being pragmatic in using their tools (or minions). They are always interested in learning art and tricks, technical issues, and able to work well with types of equipment. They also tend to be hedonistic, optimistic, skeptical, critical, and focused on the present.
Although ISFPs have always outperformed others in terms of art, the composing here means bringing together all the aspects of senses in the world. They have continually mastered other Artisan in knowing what is and is not suitable for any type of artwork.
ISFPs always want to be seen as a bold and adaptive artist. They believe in their impulses, seek sensations of the senses, appreciate generosity, and desire to be skilled at everything.
ISFPs live completely in the present, do not cling to the past or prepare expansion plans in the future – they take things as they come and will test and adjust their behavior as needed. In the dictionary of ISFPs, there is no such word as irresponsible or reckless.
In terms of intellect, ISFPs tend to practice strategy rather than logistics, strategy, and especially diplomacy. Furthermore, with their friendly personalities, they tend to freely play the informational role of an Entertainer rather than the commanding and practical role of an Operator. And because of their reserved and quiet nature, they prefer to play the role of a Composer rather than a Performer.
III. The Cognitive Functions of The ISFP Group
Dominant: Introverted Feeling
ISFPs are more concerned with subjective feelings than objective and logical information. They process information and experience based on how they feel about it. They also tend to make unconscious assessments based on relevance to their ideas and have their own value system.
Auxiliary: Extraverted Sensing
They get along quite well with the world around them thanks to this function. The small changes taking place in their surroundings are also noticed by them, ISFPs have a very profound perception and sense of the outside world. This is also the reason their artistic and aesthetic sense flourished. When they relive past events, they are able to recall powerful visuals, images, smells, and sounds that can evoke strong memories associated with those senses.
Tertiary: Introverted Intuition
This function is in addition to the extraverted sensing of ISFPs. When ISFPs seek out detailed information about the world, they often have an instinctive intuition for events and situations. Although they dislike abstract concepts or ideas, this introverted intuition can lead them to experience the obvious about themselves and others.
Inferior: Extraverted Thinking
Despite being a personality's least prominent function, it can stand out in certain situations. ISFPs focus on the most effective ways of doing something and often tend to be very precise in the details and implementation of their ideas.
IV. ISFP Values and Motivations
1. ISFP values
ISFPs value personal time withdrawing from social interaction and retaining something in their minds. This trait can often surprise others because people believe that ISFPs' spontaneity and enthusiasm mean that they will always want to be public. However, at the end of the day, ISFPs are still introverts and they need time to regain their physical and mental health. This makes the ISFP more mysterious and unpredictable, even their best friends have difficulty guessing thoughts and reactions of them.
In fact, it is difficult to hide something from the ISFPs because they understand others very well. They often sense when someone is upset or frustrated, even that person doesn't say it. Because the value of ISFPs is harmony in relationships, they do everything to ensure everyone's happiness and harmony. For this reason, conflict and disagreement can actually cause them to change. Like other sensitive introverts, they may even feel sick or have trouble sleeping under stress, especially in close relationships. ISFPs dislike arguments that are just for fun, and criticism and insults can be like a dagger to their heart. If a relationship is characterized by stress and constant fighting, they will retreat.
ISFPs love to explore and pursue new things, new ideas, and activities. They are excellent at sensing such opportunities, but their traits also push them towards experimenting and coming up with ideas that no one has thought of before. ISFPs are often quite easy to set new trends and inspire others – their experience preferences are unlike any other personality type.
Another outstanding feature of the ISFP is an appreciation for freedom – they are very independent and fierce against all forms of control. People with this personality type are considered to be the supreme free soul who view all the rules, guidelines, and traditions as self-imposed limits that make life boring and tiresome.
2. ISFP Motivations
It is worth mentioning that the ISFPs are very determined in pursuing their goals, shaping internal rules and regulations towards those goals. For better or for worse, this helps ISFPs to be free from social expectations and limitations. If the goals of the ISFPs are worthy and lofty, they can be very selfless, charitable, and inspiring. However, if they decide to pursue a narrow-minded goal, they can become selfish, even insidious, doing whatever it takes to achieve their goals. People like this need to be aware of inclinations and questions for their own motivation and ideals over time.
ISFPs are continuously action-oriented. They are people who enjoy working, and often do not feel comfortable theorizing concepts or ideas unless they see their practical application. They are best absorbed in the environment in which they have the opportunity to practice, and are easily bored by traditional learning methods because these methods always emphasize abstract thinking. They dislike objective analysis, as well as decisions based solely on logical reasoning. Their worldview requires that decisions are made to be judged on the basis of subjective beliefs of individuals rather than on objective rules.
V. Strengths and Weaknesses of ISFPs
1. ISFP Strengths
ISFPs perform well in areas that require an independent approach to the arts. They also tend to be very seductive, mainly because they find it really easy to receive the best compliments – the sensitivity (F) and excellent control of all five senses (S) of ISFPs help them a great deal in harmonizing the physical and mental worlds. As a result, ISFPs rarely have trouble connecting with others, despite the fact that they are introverts (I). Even if the ISFPs are truly unpredictable or even reckless, their charm easily strikes the weapons of those around them.
ISFPs tend to be very sensitive to the feelings of others – they seek harmony in all situations and easily sense a change in someone's emotional state.
As part of the Artisan group, ISFPs have a natural talent for the art of strategy and this talent is completely different from Idealist, Rational, and Guardian. Their tactics signify that they always know their direction and their senses are in great harmony with each specific reality. However, while Crafter (ISTP) can blend wonderfully with tools and naturally know how to use them, Composer harmonizes with every sensory variation – this brings about the extraordinary ability to discern even the smallest nuances of colors, sounds, textures, scents, and flavors. Responding to these very sensitive sensations is a natural instinct for ISFPs – it is inborn within them.
ISFPs have a lot of talents, especially in the field of artistic creation, and wholeheartedly help people. For the ISFPs, life is clearly not that simple for them, as they live quite seriously. But they have the tools to make their lives and those around them always interesting and precious.
2. ISFP Weaknesses
ISFPs can be extremely competitive and react very badly to any form of criticism. The competitive nature often pushes ISFPs to risks such as gambling or extreme sports – and they also tend to do quite well in these areas, mainly because they enjoy interacting with physical environments.
ISFPs often find it difficult to follow a structured process and can, therefore, perform badly in school. However, their spontaneity and other personality traits make ISFPs very artistic and also give them a great aesthetic talent – people with this type of personality may not excel in the learning environment, but ISFPs can really shine in a field where not only they can use their talents but also it gives them a sense of freedom.
Most ISFPs don't have future plans to store their assets or retire; instead, they do what they consider valuable things like building a personal image and enriching their experience. If these goals are lofty enough, ISFPs can act with incredible dedication. However, a small percentage of ISFPs can also act selfishly and toward themselves, allowing them to do what they love regardless of all.
Owning the Perception (P) trait, ISFPs are explosive and flexible. Living in the present, they embrace whatever they can, for them, life contains many opportunities for meaningful experiences but only for those who are open to them. It is true that ISFPs' straightforward attitude sometimes causes problems for them. After all, life often requires some planning and preparation to get ahead. And many ISFPs have caught the attention of friends and family when they canceled plans at the last minute or simply didn't show up. Regardless of those shortcomings, it can be said that ISFPs enjoy life more than the rest. They can learn to chart goals and take manageable steps. However, if an ISFP is forced into a rigid plan or committing that they have little power to change, they will be discouraged.
VI. Personal Relationships of ISFPs
1. Romantic relationship
ISFPs are very affectionate and sweet, they are always serious about their commitments and looking for long-term relationships. They belong to a discreet group of people and they don't want to reveal their feelings outward. This causes ISFPs to tend to follow their partner's feelings and can create problems if their partner doesn't understand the feelings of them. Some ISFPs have a habit of not expressing their emotions and needs, so they often feel being underestimated, ignored, or even offended by others.
With a pragmatic and skeptical nature, such feelings can make ISFPs become harsh, and either abandon their relationship or take advantage of it to achieve personal purposes. They always have a gracious and positive view of love and life, and in their romantic relationship, they do their best to avoid being taken for granted or looked down upon by their partner. They can do anything to make their partner satisfied, are very loyal, and devoted wholeheartedly. ISFPs hate fighting and quarrels and always want to be accepted for who they really are. They need their own space and always respect the personal space of others.
ISFPs tend to be relaxed, natural, enjoy life in the present and do not worry much about long-term plans or serious debates. Not surprisingly, people with this type of personality tend to be attracted to and attract people who prefer improvisation, activities, artistic or recreational interests, rather than an intellectual pursuit. They also make a few close friends with people who like safe structures and environments – they need a lot of freedom and personal space.
Even though ISFPs like improvisation and a relaxed lifestyle, they are introverts. Even if they know how to have fun with friends, they can be very private or even shy when meeting strangers. This is their natural defense mechanism – people with this type of personality are very sensitive and may be reluctant to be open for the first time.
ISFPs tend to hide part of their emotions or actions, for example, if their behavior or habits are being criticized by their friends – as a result, they do their best to shield the sensitive feelings from people they don't fully trust.
ISFPs are very sympathetic, helpful, and tolerant friends. However, they need to know that their friends are willing to pay back by supporting rather than criticizing them. The nature of the ISFP group is to dislike being bound by rules, traditions, or expectations, and cannot stand people who teach them how they should live their lives.
It is worth mentioning that ISFPs believe in non-verbal action – things that originate from reality, and they care about certain things rather than being possible, should be, or will be. This is the main reason why ISFPs incline toward Sensing (S) rather than iNtuition (N).
ISFPs feel great strength and pleasure when they are with their loved ones, especially their children. ISFP parents are attentive to the real needs of their children and create fun and exciting activities that can be experienced together every day. As their children are in their developmental stage, they encourage them to have habits and preferences associated with those activities.
This doesn't mean that ISFP parents are overbearing – in fact, they're one of the most comfortable personality types when it comes to parenting. They believe that the only way their kids truly grow up to be open-minded and well-balanced thinkers is for them to discover and experience new things, make mistakes and learn from them, and knowing that they will always have ISFPs as the best spiritual support.
The freedom that ISFPs parents give their children comes with risks, as it requires a certain degree of maturity from their children. As their children grow into adolescence, ISFPs parents may have difficulty learning how to control their emotions to not overreact when things don't go the way they want. Children often try to distance themselves from their parents at that age, ISFP parents should respect their children's privacy and be with them as companions.
Fortunately, ISFPs are one of the few people who create the gaps that other types of rigid personality sometimes cause between them and their children. Their children will always have peace of mind when there is a roof that is forever there for them and parents who are warm and care for them unconditionally.
4. Relationship with other personality groups
ISFPs are courteous in communication, open to those who want to follow the conversation, and seek opportunities to contribute with real information. They are laid-back and supportive, don't want to control others, and are usually people who pay a good deal of attention.
For ISTP, ESFP, ISFJ groups: they have similar characteristics and many things in common so it is easy for ISFPs to share values, interests, and approaches with these groups
For ESTP, ESFJ, ENFP, INFP groups: they have some differences but these differences are attractive to ISFPs. They still have something in common to create a balance in their relationship with each other
For ISTJ, INFJ, ENFJ, INTP groups: at first, ISFPs may have some difficulty accessing and connecting with these personality groups. However, after interacting for a while, they will discover commonalities as well as other points of view that can complement each other
For ENTP, INTJ, ENTJ, ESTJ groups: these personality groups are opposite and conflicting with ISFPs, but if it is possible to develop a relationship, this is an opportunity for ISFPs to learn and grow themselves, the challenges always come along with great opportunity.
VII. ISFP Career Paths and Development Areas
ISFPs are exceptional individuals who want a career rather than a job. A career path that helps them develop their inner core values, not half-hearted work, is what they aim for. Because they like to live in the present and take the time to enjoy it, they are not suitable for a dynamic work environment. They need their own space and freedom to take advantage of their sharp cognitive abilities. If they are free to master their natural abilities, they will awaken the wonderful artist within themselves. Most famous artists in the world are part of the ISFP group. Since they are deeply concerned with the emotions and reactions of others and tend to help others, ISFPs are natural counselors and teachers.
ISFPs prefer a collaborative and polite working environment where they can work quietly with support when needed. Although interested in working independently, ISFPs want their colleagues to be flexible, supportive, and loyal. They are suitable for the following career fields:
- Education (Preschool Teacher, Administrator);
- Business, Management, and Sales (Marketing, Human Resource Management, Business Management);
- Entertainment, Art, and Design (Singer, Musician, Fashion Design);
- Health Service and Personal Care (Personal Trainer, Nannie, Nurse);
- Police and Firefighter;
- Architect, Carpenter, Tailor, Chef, Goldsmith.
VIII. How ISFPs perform in the work and learning environment
The majority of ISFPs have difficulty with very tight subjects, and many people drop out in the middle. They are more likely to pay attention to experimental learning styles and many are very successful. ISFPs can learn to play an instrument or practice a skill they love for hours and still be excited.
At work, ISFPs are often geared toward positions where they are comfortable enough to be creative and work their own way. Environments in companies that are traditionally and rigorously organized don't seem to appeal to the ISFPs. Being natural, charming, and always looking for fun around, they need the opportunity to show those qualities and to know that their efforts are valued.
As subordinates, people with the ISFP personality type don't like to be controlled. Despite being known for their long-term focus, they are also highly adaptable to work environments. They will use unique –sometimes risky – methods to work effectively their way. In order for ISFPs to work well, their manager needs to set clear goals for them.
They show themselves as curious and passionate about problem-solving, especially when they face other people directly or solve problems on their own. However, they tend to like being overrated, and therefore, when given a task, they will work hard to get their superior's appreciation.
Among colleagues, ISFPs are the most pleasant ones. They work equally and usually give honest advice to solve problems. Even though they may feel exhausted from jobs that require a lot of social interaction, they still have great working skills and an engaging way of communication. They tend to be tolerant and friendly, often doing what they need to do, regardless of their colleagues. A well-placed and timely compliment will give them extra motivation. Some ISFPs may let their personal goals influence their approach to work, but on the contrary, this can help them be productive and find solutions quickly.
The manager role is the position that makes ISFPs feel the most unnatural, as they are not the type of authoritarian and controlling others, and they also don't favor planning long-term goals or taking disciplinary action. However, this doesn't mean that ISFPs are not good at management. Their sensitive nature allows them to be great listeners and helps them to understand their subordinates and streamline their tasks. Sometimes, they let their subordinates freely do what they need to do, so they can be comfortable with their work and creatively solve problems.
IX. 10 Things you might not know about ISFPs
1. This is the fifth most popular personality group in the world and accounts for about 4-9% of the world's population.
2. By gender, only 8% of ISFPs are male and 10% are female.
3. This ISFP personality is often considered the most spontaneous and unpredictable of all introverted types. Their outstanding feature is adjusting.
4. Some ISFP men are highly aggressive and competitive, especially in sports or fighting games, and they have a hard time admitting being defeated. This competitive nature (also common in the other SP groups) make them seem fortunate, brave, and adventurous.
5. The love of nature and the enjoyment of things that run well make ISFPs always want to own an attractive and fully functional home.
6. ISFPs respect the privacy of others as well as their own.
7. ISFPs are not proficient in financial management (or many other fields) in the long run.
8. ISFPs are sometimes not good at expressing feelings with words.
9. ISFPs can be very cute and lovable on the first meeting, with countless compliments (both true and false) for others. But in other cases, they are very taciturn and difficult to understand.
10. ISFPs often don't recognize themselves as much, even though they do great. Their value-of-life system makes them perfectionists.
X. ISFP Famous people
- Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States;
- Marie Antoinette, the last Queen of France before the French Revolution;
- Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th president of the United States;
- Millard Fillmore, the 13th president of the United States;
- Warren G. Harding, the 29th president of the United States;
- Bob Dylan, an American singer-songwriter, author, and visual artist;
- Ervin Johnson, an American former professional basketball player and former president of basketball operations of the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA;
- Paul McCartney, an English singer, songwriter, musician, composer, and record and film producer;
- Christopher Reeve, an American actor, writer, and director;
- Kevin Costner, an American actor, director, producer, and musician;
- Britney Spears, an American singer, songwriter, dancer, and actress;
- John Travolta, an American actor, singer, and dancer;
- Michael Jackson, an American singer, songwriter, and dancer;
- Marilyn Monroe, an American actress, model, and singer – one of the most popular sex symbols of the 1950s and early 1960s;
- Elizabeth Taylor, an English-American actress, businesswoman, and humanitarian.