Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving Approximately 5-7 percent of the population
Quiet, friendly, sensitive, and kind. Enjoy the present moment, what’s going on around them. Like to have their own space and to work within their own time frame. Loyal and committed to their values and to people who are important to them. Dislike disagreements and conflicts, do not force their opinions or values on others.
ISFPs are gentle, caring, and sensitive people, who keep much of their intensely personal ideals and values to themselves. They more often express their deeply felt passions through actions than through words.
Modest and reserved, ISFPs are really tremendously warm themselves except with people they know well and trust fully. ISFPs tend to be misunderstood because of their tendency not to express themselves directly.
ISFPs are patient, flexible, and easy to get along with and have little need to dominate or control others. They are non-judgemental and accepting of others’ behaviour in a rather matter-of-fact way. They are observant of people and things around them and do not seek to find motives or meanings.
Because ISFPs live completely in the present moment, they do not tend to prepare or plan more than is necessary. Good short-range planners, they are relaxed about getting things done because they are fully engaged in the here and now and like to enjoy the current experience without rushing on to the next.
Interested in what they learn and sense directly from their experiences and senses, they are often artistic and aesthetic, and seek to create beautiful and personal environments for themselves.
Without the need to lead, ISFPs are often loyal followers and good team members. Because they use their personal values to judge everything in life, they like other people who take the time to get to know them and understand their inner loyalties. Basically trusting and understanding, they need harmonious relationships in their lives and are sensitive to conflicts and disagreements.
Possible Blind Spots
The highly sensitive nature of ISFPs allows them to clearly see the needs of other people, and they sometimes work so excessively to fulfil those needs that they neglect themselves in the process. This can result in their becoming physically ill from exhaustion and overwork. They need to take time out from caring for others to take care of themselves.
Because they focus so completely on their experience in the moment, they tend not to look beyond the present, and miss the broader view. They sometimes have difficulty understanding things in a more complex context. Because they don’t usually look for or see possibilities that don’t exist at the present time, they don’t tend to prepare in advance. They often have trouble organising their time and resources. They may have to work hard to curb their impulse to go off and enjoy a quiet moment, or participate in a favourite activity.
ISFPs are vulnerable to the criticism of others because they tend to take feedback personally and become offended and discouraged. They may be seen as gullible and too trusting because they accept people and things as they are and don’t expect a malicious motive or read anything else into them. They need to be more assertive about their own needs and consider the implications of another’s behaviour. By applying some objectivity and scepticism to their analysis, they can become better judges of character.
ISFPs are the first to hear the different drummer. Many eagerly plunge into new fashions, avant garde experiences, ‘hip’ trends – some even setting the trends.
More in touch with the reality of their senses than their INFP counterparts, ISFPs live in the here and now. Their impulses yearn to be free, and are often loosed when others least expect it. The ISFP who continually represses these impulses feels ‘dead inside’ and may eventually cut and run. (One ISFP friend has become non ambulatory within the past few years. He will still, on impulse, leave home in the middle of the night and go to Las Vegas or wherever, regardless of the difficulties of his physical condition.)
ISFPs may be quite charming and ingratiating on first acquaintance, flowing with compliments which may (or may not) be deserved. On other occasions, the same individual may be aloof and detached. Some ISFP males are fiercely competitive, especially in sport or table games, and may have great difficulty losing. This competitive nature, also seen in other SP types, sometimes fosters ‘lucky,’ ‘gut’ feelings and a willingness to take risks.
Organized education is difficult for the majority of ISFPs, and many drop out before finishing secondary education. Their interest can be held better through experiential learning, at which many excel. ISFPs will practice playing an instrument or honing a favoured skill for hours on end, not so much as practice as for the joy of the experience.
ISFPs are less fantasy-oriented than INFPs. These types are often confused, however, INFPs lean strongly to daydreams, poetry, prose and more philosophical pursuits; ISFPs often live out ‘id’ experiences rather than writing or even talking about them. ISFJs are driven by the conventional, by ‘should’s and ‘ought’s; ISFPs internalize their Feeling (by nature a judging function) which bursts out spontaneously and leaves as quickly and mysteriously as it came. Because of these variant expressions of Feeling judgement, ISFPs are sometimes confused with ESFJs, but keep themselves more aloof, more often concealing the feelings that ESFJs are so apt to expose.
ESFPs express thoughts more readily (and, in the main, skilfully). ISFPs can and do perform admirably in the spotlight, but generally have little to say about the performance. For example, few ISFPs would be disc-jockeys, a field strongly represented by ES_Ps.
As an ISFP, your primary mode of living is focused internally, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit into your value system. Your secondary mode is external, where you take things in via your five sense in a literal, concrete fashion.
ISFPs live in the world of sensation possibilities. They are keenly in tune with the way things look, taste, sound, feel and smell. They have a strong aesthetic appreciation for art, and are likely to be artists in some form, because they are unusually gifted at creating and composing things which will strongly affect the senses. They have a strong set of values, which they strive to consistently meet in their lives. They need to feel as if they’re living their lives in accordance with what they feel is right, and will rebel against anything which conflicts with that goal. They’re likely to choose jobs and careers which allow them the freedom of working towards the realization of their value-oriented personal goals.
ISFPs tend to be quiet and reserved, and difficult to get to know well. They hold back their ideas and opinions except from those who they are closest to. They are likely to be kind, gentle and sensitive in their dealings with others. They are interested in contributing to people’s sense of well-being and happiness, and will put a great deal of effort and energy into tasks which they believe in.
ISFPs have a strong affinity for aesthetics and beauty. They’re likely to be animal lovers, and to have a true appreciation for the beauties of nature. They’re original and independent, and need to have personal space. They value people who take the time to understand the ISFP, and who support the ISFP in pursuing their goals in their own, unique way. People who don’t know them well may see their unique way of life as a sign of carefree light-heartedness, but the ISFP actually takes life very seriously, constantly gathering specific information and shifting it through their value systems, in search for clarification and underlying meaning.
ISFPs are action-oriented individuals. They are “doers”, and are usually uncomfortable with theorizing concepts and ideas, unless they see a practical application. They learn best in a “hands-on” environment, and consequently may become easily bored with the traditional teaching methods, which emphasize abstract thinking. They do not like impersonal analysis, and are uncomfortable with the idea of making decisions based strictly on logic. Their strong value systems demand that decisions are evaluated against their subjective beliefs, rather than against some objective rules or laws.
ISFPs are extremely perceptive and aware of others. They constantly gather specific information about people, and seek to discover what it means. They are usually penetratingly accurate in their perceptions of others.
ISFPs are warm and sympathetic. They genuinely care about people, and are strongly service-oriented in their desire to please. They have an unusually deep well of caring for those who are close to them, and are likely to show their love through actions, rather than words.
ISFPs have no desire to lead or control others, just as they have no desire to be led or controlled by others. They need space and time alone to evaluate the circumstances of their life against their value system, and are likely to respect other people’s needs for the same.
The ISFP is likely to not give them self enough credit for the things which they do extremely well. Their strong value systems can lead them to be intensely perfectionist, and cause them to judge themselves with unnecessary harshness.
The ISFP has many special gifts for the world, especially in the areas of creating artistic sensation, and selflessly serving others. Life is not likely to be extremely easy for the ISFP, because they take life so seriously, but they have the tools to make their lives and the lives of those close to them richly rewarding experiences.