According to David Keirsey, the author of “Please Understand Me II”, almost any exceptionally gifted artist, painter, sculptor, or designer is likely to be an ISFP.
Along with other SP types, he classified ISFP people as “Artisans,” i.e., people with a natural ability to excel in arts, but noted that the ISFP has the “grasp of what fits or doesn’t fit in any and all kinds of artistic works.”
He estimated that ISFPs account for about nine to ten percent of the population. However, a more recent estimation by CAPT (Center for Applications of Psychological Type) cites slightly lower numbers.
Are you an artistically inclined ISFP? Take this test to find out.
ISFP Personality Overview
Generally, ISFPs are gentle and compassionate people who are in touch with themselves and the world around them. Similarly to ESFPs, they tend to live in the here and now.
Quiet and reserved, people with this personality type are keen observers; they enjoy the moment and what’s happening around them.
They are naturally considerate and respectful and do not force their views and opinions on others. Unfortunately, their gentle non-imposing nature is often misunderstood and interpreted as a weakness and lack of direction (Otto Kroeger, Type Talk).
Thanks to their reluctance to express themselves verbally, the ISFP is one of the most mysterious personality types. Their reluctance to speak isn’t a lack of ability but disinterest. Unlike many other personality types, the ISFP prefers to express themselves through action, often through art.
ISFPs don’t like to stay idle but choose their activities spontaneously, without much planning. Doing something is better than doing nothing to the ISFP; because they are naturally impulsive like other SP types, they do whatever they feel like doing now, not what needs to be done. This habit may result in a long list of unfinished projects, which can be very frustrating even to ISFPs themselves.
When it comes to work, ISFP Artists want to serve others, while money takes second place. More often than not, ISFPs work quietly behind the scenes helping others solve problems or achieve their dreams.
To be happy at work, the ISFP needs two things:
- being active
- and interacting with other people.
Praise, recognition, and a high salary aren’t nearly as important as long as they can feel busy and useful.
ISFP professionals are often shy to push their services and often lose opportunities to less talented and more aggressive types.
Generally, ISFP men and women tend to sell themselves short. If they do terrific work, they will likely think it was just an accident. If someone compliments them, they dismiss it as “not really meant” (Otto Kroeger, Type Talk).
Relationships with friends and family are essential to ISFPs. Unlike many others, they invest much time and effort nurturing their relationships. As they age, ISFP men and women usually find themselves loved and cherished by the people who know them well, thanks to all their effort over the years (Sandra Hirsh, LIFETypes).
Their relaxed but active style, their acceptance of others, and their ability to enjoy simple things in life make them so lovable and pleasant to be around.
ISFP stands for
Introverted. Being introverted means you prefer to focus internally on your thoughts and feelings. Although ISFPs like to be around other people, they still need plenty of time alone to rest and reflect.
Sensing. Being a sensor means you are a practical and grounded person and prefer facts and details rather than abstract ideas and concepts. Typical sensors don’t worry much about the future and don’t obsess about the past; instead, they prefer to live in the here and now.
Feeling. Having a feeling style means you are a warm and nurturing person who prioritizes relationships and makes decisions based on gut feelings.
Perceiving. Having a perceiving style means you don’t believe in planning and prefer to stay open and flexible. Generally, all perceivers are spontaneous people.
ISFP Cognitive Functions
According to Carl Jung, a Swiss psychologist, psychiatrist, and the author of “Psychological Types,” introversion and extroversion cannot be demonstrated in isolation.
To gain a better understanding of each of the 16 personalities, they are each assigned cognitive functions. Let’s take a closer look at the cognitive functions of ISFPs:
Introverted Feeling (Fi)
Extroverted Sensing (Se)
Introverted Intuition (Ni)
Extroverted Thinking (Te)
Myers-Briggs MBTI assessment, Keirsey Temperament Sorter, and works of many others who expanded on the subject of the 16 personalities are based on Jung’s original insights. You can learn more about it here.
Other names for ISFP
Like all other personality types, ISFP has many descriptive names given by different reputable personality researchers who wrote on the subject of 16 personalities:
- Composer Producer (Linda Berens, the author of “The 16 Personality Types”),
- Artist (David Keirsey, the author of “Please Understand Me”),
- Composer (David Keirsey, the author of “Please Understand Me II”),
- Seeker and Keeper of Human Values (Alan W. Brownsword, the author of “It Takes All Types”),
- Amiable Artisan (Jonathan P. Niednagel, the author of “Brain Typing” and “Your Best Sport: How to Choose and Play It”),
- Versatile Supporter (official MBTI site).
Some online names include Adventurer and Sensual Artist.
Compared to the four temperaments personality system, the ISFP is equivalent to a mixed Phlegmatic-Sanguine temperament.
ISFPs make nurturing and supporting partners who put the needs of their partners before their own. When they first fall in love, they might become consumed by it and make important decisions regarding their future and marriage that may eventually ruin them.
They become naive and hopelessly romantic; status, financial security, intellectual compatibility, and education aren’t important to a love-struck ISFP.
The ISFP Artist sees no problem marrying someone from a completely different background, with a shaky financial status and difficult relatives. What the ISFP cares about is this:
- having fun together,
- being understood.
To ISFPs, relationships with their partner are a clear priority, and for the sake of the relationship, they are ready to make big changes in their lives, such as
- stop working if that’s what their partner wants,
- start working to support their partner,
- move to another country,
- give up on things they like to do if it bothers their partners.
ISFP Compatibility with Other Personality Types
A separate page is needed to discuss ISFPs’ compatibility with all other types, but people often search for these two particular combinations ISFP-INFJ and ISFP-INFP. Let’s talk about it a little!
ISFP and INFJ
ISFP and INFJ are a good match because both share a lot in common. Both are private and sensitive people and are likely to spend a lot of time alone with each other.
Because both prioritize the relationship, they are likely to be very considerate of each other and try to please each other as much as possible. Even better, both desire harmony and tend to avoid conflicts, making their relationship very stable.
On the negative side, the ISFP may feel like the INFJ over-complicates and overthinks things. They may wish that the INFJ partner would be able to be more present in the moment and more alive.
Another potential problem is that the INFJ is busy thinking while the ISFP partner wants to think less and do more. Money is another possible problem: The INFJ tends to be frugal, while the ISFP likes to spend freely and easily.
Because both partners tend to avoid conflicts, they may avoid discussing their problems until their little differences become major issues.
ISFP and INFP
Although the ISFP and the INFP have a lot in common, their differences attract them to each other. The ISFP is drawn to the INFP’s originality, while the INFP admires the ISFP’s ability to be mysterious and fun at the same time.
On the negative side, ISFPs may be unable to live up to INFPs’ expectations. The INFP tends to idealize their relationships, and the ISFP may feel guilty if reality doesn’t meet their expectations.
More: ISFP vs. INFP
ISFJ vs. ISFP
Another common question is, what’s the difference between ISFJ and ISFP? The answer is that the ISFP and ISFJ share three preferences and have much in common. Both are sensitive, quiet, and down-to-earth types. However, there are some important differences between them:
Generally, ISFPs of either gender don’t project a strong image. Men with this personality type are known for being quiet and private but also for having a great sense of humor.
Because of their private nature, getting to know them at first might be challenging. Still, their talent, loyalty, and natural respect for other people’s boundaries become apparent over time.
Despite a complete lack of desire to lead or control, male ISFPs often succeed in various roles and make excellent romantic partners (Otto Kroeger, Type Talk).
ISFP Strengths and Weaknesses
- good listeners,
- good taste,
- not good at planning,
- often don’t finish what they start,
- avoid conflict or any criticism,
- don’t speak out.
ISFPs have two seemingly contradicting desires: on the one hand, they are people-oriented, and on the other, they need a quiet space that they can customize according to their liking. The ideal work setting for ISFPs should:
– allow a lot of freedom,
– be active and busy,
– provide the ISFP with a private corner to work and observe others.
Careers to Avoid
- anything that requires long-term planning.
Following celebrities and famous people are likely to belong to the ISFP personality type:
- Michael Jackson,
- Steven Spielberg,
- Brad Pitt,
- Jessica Alba,
- Britney Spears,
- Lady Gaga,
- Christina Aguilera,
- Pharell Williams,
- Paul McCartney,
- John Travolta,
- David Beckham,
- Jackie Kennedy,
- Ashton Kutcher,
- Marie Antoinette.
Fictional ISFP Characters
- Charlie Brown from “Peanuts”
- Jessica Jones,
- Luke Skywalker from “Star Wars”.
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