ISFP
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What is an ISFP?

ISFP is an acronym used to describe one of the sixteen personality types created by Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers. It stands for Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving. ISFP indicates a person who is energized by time spent alone (Introverted), who focuses on facts and details rather than ideas and concepts (Sensing), who makes decisions based on feelings and values (Feeling) and who prefers to be spontaneous and flexible rather than planned and organized (Perceiving). ISFPs are sometimes referred to as Composer personalities because of their innate sensibility for creating aesthetically pleasing experiences.

What are ISFPs like?

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 are the core values of the ISFP?

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.

How can I recognize 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

Who are some famous ISFPs?

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

How common is the ISFP personality type?

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

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

What do ISFPs like to do?

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

Facts about ISFPs

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

Source: MBTI Manual

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Check out the ISFP Discussion Forum

Want to have a more in-depth conversation about being an ISFP? Head on over to our discussion forum and post your questions, comments, and/or general musings!

Comments

Guest (not verified) says...

This is very true to me and I am so glad to see something so spot on! The only difference is that I tend to be a little more rude/outgoing to people I know. Otherwise perfect! Everyone is different :).

Lylah (not verified) says...

I've taken a lot of personality tests, but I feel like this one is right on the dot for me. thank God for the experts.

Guest (not verified) says...

I think i am both isfp and istp. they are both SPOT ON with the descriptions given and to choose one seems impossible. but the fact that they describe portions of me so well is really something!

Guest (not verified) says...

Hi it's impossible to be 2 types. Look at the cognitive functions of both types and from them you should be able to make a decision on which of the two you are

Guest (not verified) says...

Forgot all about this!! Yeah, I was possibly changing around all the time but pretty sure ISFP fits the bill. Thnx.

Nikita (not verified) says...

Wow everything is spot on. I studying Interior Designinh which is one of the best career options for an ISFP personality and I'm loving it :)

Guest (not verified) says...

dead on can't believe it

Guest (not verified) says...

Interesting! Reading all this opens perspectives and makes me curious about my creative side. :) What I also like, is that the type is not described in a negative way like other personality tests do (inconspicuous, hesitant, ...) as if I would be lacking something. Of course, we all have weaknesses... However, don't take it too serious either, you shouldn't start reconsidering your whole life or career. I'm working on a phd now, so not all isfp's drop out on college.

Guest (not verified) says...

This is funny because my two top career choices are in the least popular category for ISFPs.

Guest (not verified) says...

I am an ISFP who discovered my mbti profile quite recently... And also realised that so far, I had chosen the academic and professional paths that were the exact opposite of what would theoretically suit me best: I joined one of the most elitist business school of my country, and have been working in audit, business, marketing fields. Despite the continuous efforts that I engaged, and the reward of being in such prestigious companies, I somehow felt that it was never really my cup of tea. That's why I would constantly change missions, hoping for a better fit, but always ending disappointed by the spectrum of opportunities that are offered. Sad to say that after 26 years of constant reflection on "what should I do with my life", I still do not get satisfied of what I am doing today... Still have some artistic hobbies that enlighten my days (piano, drawing, photography), but could or would never dare pursue a career in that direction. I would feel so sad to waste my time and money studying for nothing, so I still hope to find a fulfilling job, far from the competitive and fierce business world, where I could shine. I read that on average, ISFPs find it hard to work in the ideal jobs of their lives, jobs that are meaningful. I totally agree. Maybe we value it too much, with such passion that we end up being frustrated. I truly hope that I will one day manage to show my real talent and earn my living through it, but today I am still confused ... :( am I the only one in this situation ?

Guest (not verified) says...

No, I k now how you feel too. Im only 27, but I am searching for something meaningful to do!! Good luck xoxo I hope to find something. So exhausting trying things, and keeping positive.

Guest (not verified) says...

Yep, this confirms I am definitely an ISFP. In my case, it is also true that I can function against type, for instance in a visible leadership role...but it is very stressful for me over time. I had to fight my introversion to reach a certain level in my career. Luckily I was eventually able to step back and focus on the favorite creative parts of my job so I enjoy my work with a much lower level of stress now. Young people should not be persuaded to categorize themselves too easily...we all learn about our strengths and weaknesses with maturity. And we learn what matters enough to fight for.

Suhas (not verified) says...

The audio for ISFP says, "you're energized by spending time alone or in quiet surrounding.. ". However, the video reads differently - "energized by spending time with others".

Can the admin kindly correct this please? or am I wrong?

mahto (not verified) says...

48 years old and have done everything as far as types of work, trying to figure out now what will be the MOST appealing for me and something I can do for the rest of my career, this test seems to be right on, what are some jobs that some of you all have and are happy in? thanks

Guest (not verified) says...

right on point

Guest (not verified) says...

Hey:)

Nice to see some ppl like me:) my main worry is finding a boyfriend :D it feels like guys don't even look twice at me. N the age that I am I should have had at least 1 by now :D

Stephanie Edwards (not verified) says...

I am an ISFP and this is very accurate for me. I am very good at the arts and expressing myself. I've learned a lot from this.

INFJ with an ISFP (not verified) says...

Infj here. I see a lot of isfp people wondering if they are suited for healthcare fields... Yes! My fiance is ISFP. Nurse for 15 years, has worked behavioral health, and phlebotomy too. He once wanted to do chiropractic, but not the buisiness end of it. There's a lot of postings on isfp claiming you are artists, well you're more than that. You're also accomodating, nonjudgmental and compassionate too. Those qualities are needed in healthcare. You guys do excell in structured task oriented environments, even if sometimes time crunches wear on you. ISFPs take a lot of emotional punches true, but are resilient none-the-less. My guy struggles with the cliques in healthcare, and often puts his foot in his mouth because he's had to learn how to balance authentic expression with a professional style. But it's not just ISFP's that experience that in healthcare. My guy's best days are when he's clicked well with a patient and assisted them through something difficult. It's easier to deal with job stressors when you're not attaching labels to cans or moving boxes, but helping someone heal and return home, or alleviating their pain. School was tough for him, but not impossible. Sure he's got a guitar and he kind of plays... But honestly I'm the one who paints

Guest (not verified) says...

Only half of the isfp fits me how do I figure out what the other half is?

Guest (not verified) says...

everything describes me but i love what am studying...am doing a degree in biomedical engineering i think that your career list is outdated or uninformed please update

Sue1476 (not verified) says...

I definitely identify with Introversion, Sensing, and Perception, but I have a mix of the Feeling and Thinking. Is that a thing? Can you naturally be inclined to both or is one a product of your surroundings and experiences?

Guest (not verified) says...

These videos weren't proof read at all. This is the third video in a row I've watched where in the audio says something completely different than the on screen text says. Not impressed...

Guest (not verified) says...

Am so happy and delighted to know I am this. I love nature especially been at sea side and can be so poetic.I naturally read people's mind and my assumptions often comes with great accuracy .Am going for a Masters degree in Psychology.I love listening to people and love to share in pains of others.The problem is that I dont have people around who naturally fit into my world.

Steev (not verified) says...

I find architecture very interesting and liberal. I'm of type isfp, and wondering why it's not part of our career paths??

BettyH says...

Explains a lot. I might have taken a completely different path if I'd known this in my 20's. 

Courtney H. (not verified) says...

Some of these characteristics describe me, as I am a laid back person and easygoing, and nonjudgmental. But as far as being an artist, sadly I am not. I always wanted to be creative, but sucked at art. :( I have respect for people who do those things because they are truly inspirational! My sisterself are the artistic one's. I am the calm and supporting one. I don't seem to match any of the 16 personalities. I'm convinced that these suit sensitive personalities only, which I am not. 

Piah (not verified) says...

I'm working in sales and marketing and have been feeling lost in my career for awhile that's why I've been seeking what other options I have. I'm just taking it one day at a time but I just don't have the passion and drive for my job. I love make up and graphic design but I'm afraid I'm too old to go back to school and change my career. 

sarah lei (not verified) says...

this is definitely me, i'm very anti social and quiet but i love helping others i love art and have a huge ear for music this is spot on!

 

Diane92 (not verified) says...

I found this site by chance while taking a class on understanding our personality. Took The MBTI twice at another website and came up with ISFP with slightly different % each time and had to laugh at the list of careers I was best suited for. It was only about 10 and lets just say I would never make it in about 75% of them. So my son and I googled ISFP careers and found the huge list here.

For all those folks who are just embarking on their higher education or trying to find their place in the world, there are two ways to look at a job. 1) Do what you love and the money will follow (though you may need to supplement with some part time grunt work)  2) Get a "real" solid, steady job, and do what you love on your own time. My kids are seniors in high school so this is advice I've given them.

I always remember that my dad told me he took a "career" test and he should have been a forest ranger. Well, he ended up being a civil/aeronautical engineer. And we went camping ALOT. Then he bought a lake lot when I was 13 and they have a nice permanent trailer and fishing dock. So he has his little forest.

I wasn't lucky enough to take such a test. I did pretty good in most classes in high school, but had to do a report on a career that uses chemistry so I found out way back in 1985 pharmacists were in demand and making a whopping $10,000/yr. Sign me up. So far I had worked as a dance instructor, swim instructor and life guard. And I LOVED (did I say LOVED) photography. I mean, I was going to work for Life Magazine and National Geographic. (except my mother told me that only men worked and it was too competitive, etc) So I went to college and while I read Glamour magazines in all my advanced math classes, I could barely pass biology and chemistry. I adored my social science and English classes and even took the 1year of photography class they offered and some business classes (towards my MBA with an emphasis in advertising). I changed my major every 3 months! Then I had to decide if I wanted to go to pharmacy school......  I decided to try it out but almost dropped out after 1 winter break of working in an actual pharmacy! 

Fast  forward 26 years. I am still a pharmacist. I work part time and I learned along the way there are SOOO many things you can do with this degree. I am sure this is true with many degrees. Back in the late 80's/ early 90's my goal was to settle down and make a dark room so I could focus on my photography. The dark room never happened but I did end up taking amazing trips every year all over the USA and taking great pictures until my kids were born. I became a stay at home for 4 years while my kids were young and they became to objects of my camera lens. Then I turned to other art forms- crafts, cards, sewing, and lots of volunteering on my days off.

So even if you start down one path, never be afraid to change. My husband met his best friend at his second job here. I'm pretty sure this guy has had about 10 totally different careers- Latin teacher, yoga teacher, worked in genetics lab (where he met his wife who is now an artist and sells her paintings for crazy amounts of money), software designer (where he met my husband - when they got laid off from this job, he went back to school to become an urban planner), worked for local transit as urban planner, now retired and works as tour guide in city and back in genetics lab PT- these are just the jobs I can remember. The guy next to me at work has not gone back for college degrees but he's been a ski instructor, bar tender, cook, sold Mercedes, worked dialysis unit of hospital, and is currently a pharmacy tech. He's also our computer guy, Mr. Fix-it, etc at work, builds decks, fences, etc at home, and he makes an amazing authentic cheesecake (not my Philly 2-step).

So never say you are too old. My husband hates his job. It pays the bills, esp since I work PT. I'd go back to FT if he wanted to go back to school to learn something new. Learn something new that excites you then put it to good use or make gifts. I sew and donate to Days for Girls, grocery bags to food bank, homeless shelters, etc. I make gifts and stuff for around the house. I love to write so there is a group at our church that sends cards to sick folks, bday cards, etc. If you like to build, make benches for a park, help with Habitat for Humanity, etc. Just put in your skill/passion and volunteer into google and you'll find ways to get yourself known in the community. Who knows, it can lead to cash customers?

Guest (not verified) says...

Does anyone have suggestions for ISFP jobs for those 60+ years old where going back to school is not (less) an option? I had a biochemist reasearch position and then my wife and I ran an online bookstore for 20 years. I can't go back to science after that long and I don't want to work for Amazon!

ISFP lady (not verified) says...

Totally spot on for me, especially the creating beauty and aesthetics - professional cometologist and certified makeup artist who loves fashion, interior design, I recognize quality, have my own style, and I feel good when my environment is attractive.

 

Ellairë from Middle Eart (not verified) says...

Wow! This is awesome, seeing how accurately this fits me, but even more so, seeing that there are thousands of fellow ISFPs. There are so many like me, but I still feel super unique! Thank you all for commenting! God bless you today! ~Ellairë the elf

Foobar (not verified) says...

Wow.  This was an interesting read.  With the exception of one sentence (I'm a small business owner), the description of ISFP was like reading a manual of me.  A little scary, actually.

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