Profile of the ISFP Personality Type

An introduction to the ISFP personality type, AKA the Composer, according to the theory created by Isabel Briggs Myers.

ISFP in a Nutshell

ISFPs are gentle caretakers who live in the present moment and enjoy their surroundings with cheerful, low-key enthusiasm. They are flexible and spontaneous, and like to go with the flow to enjoy what life has to offer. ISFPs are quiet and unassuming, and may be hard to get to know. However, to those who know them well, the ISFP is warm and friendly, eager to share in life's many experiences.

ISFPs have a strong aesthetic sense and seek out beauty in their surroundings. They are attuned to sensory experience, and often have a natural talent for the arts. ISFPs especially excel at manipulating objects, and may wield creative tools like paintbrushes and sculptor's knives with great mastery.

What Makes the ISFP Tick

ISFPs tend to be tolerant and nonjudgmental, but are deeply loyal to the people and causes that matter to them. They endeavor to accept and support other people, but are ultimately guided by their own core values. They will typically look for ways to be accommodating and may have difficulty dealing with others who are not willing to do the same.

ISFPs are typically modest and may underestimate themselves. They usually do not like to be in the spotlight, preferring instead to take a supporting role, and will avoid planning and organizing whenever possible. Sensitive and responsive, they step in to do what needs to be done and are satisfied by their personal sense of being helpful to others.

Recognizing an ISFP

ISFPs can be difficult to recognize because of their tendency to express themselves through action rather than words. They may initially appear distant or aloof, but if you watch closely, you can observe their caring in the thoughtful things they do for others. They are carefully observant of the practical needs of other people, and often step in with quiet, unassuming assistance at just the moment it is needed. ISFPs prefer to take a supportive role and are rarely assertive or demanding of attention. They are typically tolerant and accepting of others.

ISFPs typically have finely tuned artistic sensibilities. They are sensitive to color, texture, and tone, and often have an innate sense of what will be aesthetically pleasing. They are often naturals when it comes to arranging something artistically, and enjoy the process of taking in the sensations around them. ISFPs focus mostly on the experiences of the present moment, and are rarely ambitious, preferring instead to enjoy the simple pleasures of life: friends, family, and sensory delights such as food, music, and art.

For more information: The Art of SpeedReading People

Famous ISFPs

Famous ISFPs include Cher, Barbra Streisand, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Bob Dylan, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Jimi Hendrix, and Michael Jackson.

For more information: Famous ISFPs

ISFP in the Population

ISFP is the fourth most common type in the population. ISFPs make up:

  • 9% of the general population
  • 10% of women
  • 8% of men

Popular Hobbies

Popular hobbies for ISFPs are those that use their physical or artistic skills, including independent athletics like skiing or swimming, dance, and craft projects. ISFPs also enjoy entertaining in intimate groups and exploring art and nature.

What the Experts Say

"The work of their hands is usually more eloquent than anything they say."

- Isabel Briggs Myers, Gifts Differing

"The Composers are attuned to sensory variation, which gives them an extraordinary ability to work with the slightest nuances of color, tone, texture, aroma, and flavor."

- David Keirsey, Please Understand Me II

"It is this type more than any of the others whose style it is to stand by another person (or plant or animal), with no intention to influence it, criticize it, or change it—perhaps not even to interact with it—only to be in its presence."

- Otto Kroeger, Type Talk at Work

Research on ISFP

Interesting facts about the ISFP:

  • On personality trait measures, score as Easygoing
  • Among types most likely to report heart disease and hypertension
  • In college, likely to report low levels of assertiveness
  • In essays, projected themselves the fewest number of years into the future of all the types
  • Among the types least likely to stay in college
  • Most likely of all types to report stress associated with finances and children
  • In a national sample, likely to value a work environment which provides security, clear and simple instructions, and no expectation of extra work hours
  • Underrepresented among MBA students and small business owners
  • Commonly found in occupations in health care, business, and law enforcement