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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.

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

How rare 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.

INFJ Quotes

"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

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.

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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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