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The ISFP Personality Type

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.

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What does ISFP stand for?

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.

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

Famous ISFPs

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

ISFP Values and Motivations

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 Others See the 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

ISFP Hobbies and Interests

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.

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

Quotes About ISFPs

"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

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Cody (not verified) says...

That's funny, I actually did the same thing. I always being quiet and more introverted was a bad thing. I thought I had apsperger's or Autism too, because I thought I was weird or had social issues. Thanks for sharing!

Guest (not verified) says...

I am an ISFP with a lot of overlap from the ISFJ. I have aspergers and was diagnosed my sophomore year of high school. Aspergers is so much more than being quiet. I have trouble talking to people I don't know and making friends. I love to hang out with the friends I do have. I get overwhelmed when there is too much stimuli ex. Noise, sound, light, smells. It takes me longer to complete school work than most students which was a problem in school when I felt like my teachers were mad or upset with me because I didn't complete my assignment in the same time as the other kids even though I worked hard the entire time unlike most others who were goofing off and talking. Aspergers Is different in every individual who has it. Most people with it may have irrational fears or obsessions almost like hobbies. For me when I was little I enjoyed bugs, not spiders though. I used to find a similar type of caterpillar every time we went camping and named him Edward. This lasted for years. I was then interested in butterflies for years, wearing them all the time. Then I liked rocks. There are many different shapes and sizes and colors and then you get ones with crystals that are pretty. In high school I didn't really have a obsession. In the couple of years I have turned to cacti. I have a plant light in my room(in the basement) so that I can have them grow. I take care of them using different tools like spoons and bowls to help keep from getting pricked. I love science! There are so many things about science, the study of the earth, rocks, different plants, bugs, and the way they all interact. This is partly what led me to chose to pursue a career in science, though I haven't decided a specific area yet. So aspergers is so many things and makes me who I am and gives me in part the personality I have.

John K. (not verified) says...

I wanted to thank you for including your message. I also have Aspergers. I find it ironic that usually those that innately have empathy, dont have it with those that dont have it. I also had trouble in school, especially with finding the words in my head. I fluctuate in my severity. In a world of N.T.s and those on the spectrum, I have come to recognize that I am definitely to much either to not be other. Its a weird place to be. Anyways I am also ISFP and wanted to ask you if you know anything about taking care of aloe . Thanks again.

Guest (not verified) says...

This is really accurate but it just shows me how pathetic my life is. My career was forced upon by my parents, and seeing this just makes me more confused and lost.. I have no idea what kind of job I want to do and looking at this, and these jobs given (I admit they are my style of jobs) but dont pay well..

Guest (not verified) says...

It's okay if it doesn't pay well. Save a little money and pursue things that are a better fit on the side at first. Make time for them though, no matter what. At some point you can master them and get paid enough to make the switch, but you have to invest the time.

davrico (not verified) says...

This really defined me well. I never knew how many characteristics I had until i saw them outlined. Almost every single section, hits the kind of person I am dead on. It also tells me that the career path I have chosen to take is the right one. I am very glad i took this test.

Guest (not verified) says...

Most of this is spot on. Although there a few things that are not like me, such as being very likely to drop out of college. I also am not one to let people take advantage of me and I'm quick to stand up for myself. Other than that this is me in a nutshell.

Guest (not verified) says...

I agree. I'm not playing on dropping out of college, and I was taught never to let someone take advantage of me, something that I often remember and shows in my slightly defensive personality.

Guestjyll (not verified) says...

very accurate . now that i know which type i am, its like i have found peace , at last , with "that" part of myself ..... its a weird yet wonderful feeling .. definately more confident and assertive . thanks!

Lepidolite (not verified) says...

According to the test, I'm this type, but looking at your syntax is giving me flashes of INTJ. Very...interesting structure. Almost poetic.

...the more I read it, the more it grows on me. I think I might have to "borrow" it into a story.

Guest (not verified) says...

This is just liek nme. #buzzin

Mel (not verified) says...

I have taken the test through this website and am FASCINATED by the the results!
The only thing is that I scored right in the middle of Intuitive and Sensing. I've read both descriptions and can see myself in both of these, especially if with varying moods. It seems when I'm around other people (especially enlightening people) my mood lifts, even though I'm definitely not an extrovert! And when this happens it seems I might describe myslef more on the ISFP level, but when I'm feeling reclusive I would probably describe myself more INFP.
I do definitely daydream about future possibilties and what career I'd like to pursue, but I definitely appreciate my surroundings, especially a beautiful garden or house.

Nephemia (not verified) says...

I am similar! :) Don't be confused about it. Everyone has SOME amount of every function in them, I/E N/S F/T J/P. Many people get about 30/70 in a pair, while others get something more like 52/48 and still others get 95/5 or whatever! There are a lot of tests that measure this but you have to keep in mind that the tests ask a question and assume that all of X type will answer X way, etc... while some of Z type might answer X way because *reasons*. ;) If you think you have a lot in common with both sides of a pair then you might want to do what I do when discussing yourself.

I say "I'm an IxFP with a lot of T".
I am I more now than I used to be because I have had health/energy problems, but when I am around people I tend to act more low energy outgoing than the excitable high energy many Es exude.
I am pretty much borderline on N/S. A lot of MBTI fans will say "x" when they can't decide/are borderline on a piece of their type.
I have a lot of T-- I almost always test as a T. And yeah, there are probably lots of reasons for this but just accept that I'm an F for now. xD
I am very P.

I feel like some activites and behaviors also pull out certain parts of our person. When I write, I include a variety of descriptions and always try to get some part of the world I see in my mind described to the reader. I would love to do more and more but it gets boring to read and I would probably be too detailed. Constant descriptions are something I have found much much more common among S writers. Tolkein was an N and it is actually difficult for me to read him because I feel disconnected from the story and its world. In contrast, I'm pretty certain that CS Lewis was an S or at least had a great deal more S than Tolkein.

If you would like to read my poetry/fiction and analyze it a bit while thinking about N/S and ISFP, feel free to look up theoneandonlyjo on Wattpad or Figment. (just Google it. :) ) I would love to hear comments or just know another someone is reading it. I recommend Life, vol 1.

EM-S (not verified) says...

I have taken this test in the pass, but I do not remember what my type ended up being. However this time I will remember my results because I'm happy to say that they are right about me. I couldn't be more of a supporter of the Meyers, Briggs personality test. I want everyone to take the time to find themselves and start moving in the direction the test suggest for them to do, because this is a connection that helps to move forward with a better understanding of who you are and helps to understand where it is one could be most effective. Thank you to my Professor who suggested this exercise for our class. I am in the right field and on my way to a great start helping others in a safe and supportive environment.

ahealey says...

I am amazed at how dead on this is...I am a ISFP and feel amazed I am in the right field and heading in the right direction in my classes and wanting to work in doctors offices instead of a hospital.

david rico (not verified) says...

I took this assessment, and now it's making me question my college career. I have ISPF too, and in one aspect i have chosen the right path. I am going to be a massage therapist, but as far as my college career goes, I am going to be an English teacher. However it says that I am not meant to be a school administrator.

Guest (not verified) says...

Remember this is basically and educated guess based an a select amount of people studied if you think you're going to be good as a teacher or someone else does don't let this opinion get in the way!

Guest (not verified) says...

Look into Montessori- I'm an ISFP teaching at a Montessori school. The values and activities seem to line up a lot more than the traditional US school system in its current state

Guest (not verified) says...

I was reading up on this on another site & it said we make great teachers.. We usually cannot get through the studying part though... However if we can push ourselves we make wonderful teachers

Mary Anne (not verified) says...


I too am an ISFP ( used the MBTI for more than 30 years in schools) I was a learning strategist, learning diversity consultant for 13 school and FINALLY for the last 5 years of my 32 year career an administrator ( Assistant Principal in a large highschool) As an ISFP in education I only met 2 other ISFP"s and I used the assessment with more than 500 educators BUT because there were very seldom any ISFP's in my profession I brought a totally different viewpoint to every meeting, school and project I worked on. I excelled at what I did but certainly had to believe in my belief in what the education system could be or what a school could be. I was excellent at what I did because no one else was doing it my way. Do what you choose and you will love it and bring another point of view very rarely heard.

Remember the majority of dropouts are SP's so for them to meet an instructor or and administrator who understands them is a gift beyond anything you can imagine.

Become an administrator!!!! They need to hear your voice in the school system.

Lots of luck

Guest (not verified) says...

A school administrator is like a secretary. Go with your passion. I'm sure you'll be an excellent English teacher.

Guest (not verified) says...

it says you will be a great teacher, admin is management.

Guest (not verified) says...

Teaching is not the same as school administration. Administrators include principals, deans, superintendents, etc.

Guest (not verified) says...

This is why I'm glad I didn't know my ISFP type until after I finished college! I chose a major based in very cerebral, esoteric theory, and although I got mostly As, as I told my prof when he tried to get me to take on harder assignments than others, "I may be one of your stronger students as you say, but this doesn't come easy for me! I work really, really hard and it takes me a long time to get this stuff." However, I do not regret finishing my ill-matched degree, for better or for worse, since we ISFPs have a hard time finishing college in general. And as the studies show, just finishing your bachelor's in anything gives you more lifetime earning power. The only problem is you may not be using that English degree to teach, for example. You might use it for some other career that pays well, but that which might not be your passion. Having said that, however, if you haven't gotten too far in your college career, I see no problem in switching degrees if you have your doubts. It's just that those college loans do start to stack up, and switching degrees can mean more debt down the road, so just keep that in mind. I am actually thinking about nursing school, myself, but then again, I think about that college loan debt I already have. Sigh. But another thing to keep in mind: ISFPs typically lack confidence and don't give themselves enough credit, yet also tend to excel at pretty much anything they set their minds to. (See my story about finishing my degree above :-)) Finding what makes you happy, however, takes a lot of time for a lot of MBTI types, not just ISFPs. We're all just figuring it out as we go along. Good luck!

Nephemia (not verified) says...

Don't let it change you if you still think you are going a good direction. If the reasons you started on the path you are on are still valid, you have no reason to change things! However, if you realize that you will not be happy and will actively be untrue to yourself then you might rethink things. Being a massage therapist is something I have considered, however my hands are not strong enough. It sounds like a great profession for us ISFPs. If you become an English teacher, that will also be amazing-- I wish I had been taught English by ISFPs or similar types who would nurture and focus on the beauty of writing rather than the deadline. My mother got me into creative writing and I "self learned" how to love literature and writing, both technical and creative. You'll just have to keep in mind that you have blind spots and check up on them every once in a while if you are in a vocation that is a challenge to you. I am headed toward law school next year and the page says that being a lawyer is one of the least popular careers for ISFPs, but I am going to try to specialize in family law minus divorce. E.g. elderly law, adoptions, and anything where I would represent a child. That is how I will make it worthwhile. My dad is a worker's compensation attorney and I know I would hate that-- endless perusal of every factoid and keeping a million factoids in line on a million cases, often interviewing people who are trying to defraud someone else... Blech! :P

Guest (not verified) says...

Yes, the writing thing! INFPs are the ones who typically get most of the credit for being gifted with the written word, but I was actually a pretty good writer in high school and college. We often believe that writing skills are a thing of divine providence, but as you say, you can learn to be a great writer. For me, I struggled with writing until the 11th grade when my AP history teacher provided a clear blue print for the parts of an essay, how to arrange it, what it must accomplish, etc. He basically spelled it all out while other teachers had a habit of speaking about writing as if it were some product of spontaneous inspiration that we should always be on the look out (for) and drop everything to grab it once it clutches us. In many ways, teachers made it seem as if great writers are only born, never made. It would be helpful in our education system to read more of the "duds" those great writers produced instead of just being slapped upside the head with all their epic sagas of brilliance. At least then we could see that even the most naturally gifted get dry spells. No wonder kids get discouraged. ... I also expanded my vocabulary by memorizing definitions, etc, to make my writing more melodic and engaging. I can analyze things pretty well, but this was also a learned skill and something that takes a great deal of energy from me. But math? Eh, not ever my strong point. Higher math just never seemed relevant to my life, which I guess taps into the ISFP need to know HOW something will be useful to us. ... I guess my conclusion is that we ISFPs can learn anything and master it, but it just takes lifelong interest and practice to maintain certain skills, like good writing. My husband, an NP, is a professional journalist and can analyze something in an instant and make his observation seem so obvious. Ha.

Guest (not verified) says...

Go with your gut. I'm reading ISPF for the first time and it is dead on. Now I realize how my life has changed when I switched from 1.5 years of Criminal Justice to Photography. I don't have the money coming in but I'm the happiest I've ever been... EVER!

Guest (not verified) says...

That's awesome! Just follow your dream and everything should work out great! ^^ Oh I am ISFP too by the way. :)

ahealey says...

I am amazed at how dead on this is...I am a ISFP and feel amazed I am in the right field and heading in the right direction in my classes and wanting to work in doctors offices instead of a hospital.

TayTayeds (not verified) says...

Is it weird that I want to make music?

deebcapozzi says...

Weird? No...but gifted! Never say no to your urges when it comes to the Arts. Music is one of the Fine Arts. Music is the universal language, crossing all borders it is free and born of the heart. Listen to your passions, they will guide you.

Guest (not verified) says...

No its not weird at all! I feel the exact same too! What type of music would you like to make?

Maryrose (not verified) says...

No; music is my passion. I am an ISFP (and it's dead-on), and music can be included in arts. So no, it's perfectly normal.

Amanda Jacobson (not verified) says...

Me too!!

Guest (not verified) says...

If you don't mind me asking, what career path did you choose? I recently learned that I am an ISFP and seeing this list helps tremendously! (I am in the medical field and have been wondering if I should continue on this path)

T (not verified) says...

ISFP here. I'm a designer. I'm happy I'm on the right path.

Teafairy (not verified) says...

What kind of designer? What was the journey like to landing where you are now?

Guest (not verified) says...

Depends I'm also a isfp I love makeup, hair, photography, landscaping and I love to paint. I get stressed out easily though especially with my kids. But I also was a cna at a care home for 7 years, I have a strong passion to help others. Even though I hated the rules I loved the residents and would go far and beyond too meet their needs. I guess I care too much for people. I also hate seeing others in pain. I see the inner beauty of those people, their passions, their hurts, and knowing their time on earth is short. I want to make sure they get treated with the love other might not be there for them in their final days. The scheduled sucked and didn't do well with new rules, I lost my cool a few times at the nurses an almost got fired. I was easily stressed out and the nurses were very demanding. I prefer to be a cosmologist or photographer but have doubted myself with the compition out there. I don't know how to say yes continue bc of your caring heart for others or no bc the rules and demands and scheduling is a pain. All I can help with is sharing my own experiences, which I hope will help!!!

deebcapozzi says...

How much do you like cosmetology? Do you have a degree? ...and photography? Can you do all the things you feel passionate about? You are compassionate and caring, please don't waste that. The world needs our humanity in these times. I really appreciate how you feel. Good luck!

Guest (not verified) says...

as am i this is entirely on point

TA1979 (not verified) says...

I absolutely think this is a guide to tendencies that one may have. Fortunately we are not robots, and adapt to the world more than this website suggests. I do feel that I have many attributes of the isfp, however, I also feel as I'm a leader and not a follower.  I do not follow many as there are bad leadership qualities and unproductive leaders even though people put the ENTJ or Narcissistic personality in these positions. I have found in my personal experience it's their gift to BS and not actually produce results. I can see through this from the beginning and when expected to follow these methods, yes of course I will not, as I know there effective methods to being a leader than just again, BSing. Right? 

As much as people want to put the ENTJ on a leadership peddle stool, we give them way more credit than usually deserved.

I worked for a Dean that said he demoted himself to Dean from a CEO, but had absolutely no idea what he was doing. Me, being put there unwillingly, knew he was a complete idiot. I was also new to this position annd tried to explain I had no access to many of the things he wanted me to do. So, why didnt he just go ahead and hire a full time admin.? I let him know from the beginning I'm going to grad school and not interested in the position and only want part time.

He thought, after 8 months of working for the college, he could accomplish things as if he did in the corporate world. Even had a two day retreat and paid a speaker 1000.00 to tell professors things that were completely irrelevant to producing any successful results.

Why would he try to tell them how to do their job when they have the most successful program, and for years!

One of the professors tried to tell him it's not the same corporate world experience that you have. He got extremely offended and almost went to battle.

So whether you're an ISFP or INTJ or the opposite, we are put in positions in life to strengthen ourselves, in being productive, successful, and competent sometimes even more than the personality type than originally thought.

We as people are like sheep. We tend to put too much stock in MBTI, or other pioneers. 

We do have our own gifts and talents to and I have put myself in positions such as serving in the military, to strengthen my character. So, although I may not be a natural born leader, I find that I have better leadership qualities than many I've seen in positions that are leaders.

Johnjohny (not verified) says...

I totally get your point. I am the same and always felt that way: although I don’t like to be in the position of leading, very often I find like I could be a way much better leader than many leaders I’ve work with.

i believe it’s because us, IFSP types, are naturally intuitive and are good at planning.

scaussie (not verified) says...

I come out as an ISFP, and although we are not traditional leaders, a Director once said to me that he could see as a manger (reluctant one at that!) that I was a great teacher and did not know how I managed out bring some of the worst thought of staff in the way of productivty into well regarded productive members of staff, but he found it very refreshing. As a manager, I find that my tecnique is always one of as a teacher or guide rather than the traditional leader is thought to be. I show compassion, commitment and understanding, never one to shy away from owning and speaking up about my mistakes. I think it makes staff members feel totally comfortable to ask questions and make mistakes themselves, if they mess up, I am there to support and pitch in and give them full credit to others. I see my team as a reflection of my own ability. This personality type is extremely likeable as well. I think over time, people want to do a good job and this is when they get noticed in other parts of the organisation. We bring the best out in people because we take the time to understand them. It does take time to build this up and I think that if we were to use tecniques like discipline and targets, we would be very unhappy and fail as a leader. We wont be leading the head of platoon anytime soon for sure but there is a place for our leadership qualities in a corporate world if given the chance!

Guardian (not verified) says...

Yes, MBTI most definitely is a guide to tendencies. It doesn't show how you are in every situation, rather it assesses your core personality. Factors such as past, trauma and experience will move you away from the core.

Judging by what you wrote you seem to be ISFP. Of course you will not follow a leader who is incompetent, you have strong values which you wont let go easily, if at all. Adding this to the fact you went to military to strenghten your character it makes sense that you  are a leader type. You hold your values high, in this case one of your values is to have a strong character, being prepared for whatever is to come.

Also ISFJ might fit you but I dont have enough information on that. You are who you are and thats great. Keep raising up new leaders :)

Guest (not verified) says...

This did not fit me at all

Issaccccccccc (not verified) says...

lol F

Guest (not verified) says...

The tests sometimes are skewed by many factors - I find this dead on for me! However tests gave me other types. I found this to be my type by looking at the cognitive functions and recommend that method ;P

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