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ISFP Explained: What It Means to be the ISFP Personality Type

isfp mbti

The ISFP is one of the 16 MBTI personality types and form part of the “Artisan” temperament group along with the ESFP, ESTP and ISTP. Sensitive, observant and creative, the ISFP person is an introvert who displays an openness to new experiences and adventures. They have been dubbed as the “tactical composer” and “adventurer” and are estimated to constitute roughly 9 to 10% of the population. ISFPs live in the world of their senses and are individualists who are happy to be unique and true to who they feel they are. They have discriminating tastes and they appreciate and pay attention to details that other types overlook. They have a strong subjective sense of what fits or doesn’t fit aesthetically and artistically. 

ISFPs tend to be quiet and casual in their demeanor. They quietly observe and absorb the physical details of their environment including the people that occupy it. Naturally, they take notice of the way people dress or the particular gait and gestures they use. They have a fine sense of style and composition that allows them to synthesize all the pieces and details they observe into something beautiful and meaningful. Additionally, ISFPs generally operate on very little preparation and planning. They trust their impulses and their ability to respond and react when the time is right. They welcome random excursions that give them a break from what is otherwise routine and mundane. 

Furthermore, ISFP communication is more concrete in tone and they show great craftsmanship and technique in their use of tools. They tend not to be highly verbal and instead express themselves more strongly through actions and artforms.They are tactile and enjoy working with their hands and using their body in practical ways. They immerse themselves in sensory information such as, texture, aroma and flavor. 

This is not to say that all ISFPs are artistically gifted painters and musicians. Not all ISFPs are artists in the narrow sense of painting and sculpting. Rather, it is their approach to life that defines their artisan nature. They desire to explore and allow their impulse and instincts to lead them and their decisions. They display an openness of thought and show little to no desire to control and dictate to others. ISFPs express a gentle individualism that is often extended to their children. They are willing to give their offspring freedom to explore and discover life for themselves. If they have judger children however, this can pose a problem as such children may feel deprived of a sense of structure and order in their upbringing. 

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ISFPs are often considered to be the most kind of all MBTI types, second to the ESFP. ISFPs harbor a sense of humanity that governs their actions. They care about people in a more local and practical sense as opposed to the more general sense that Fe types espouse. ISFPs seek to relate to others rather than control them and they tend to be hands-off in their parenting style. They tend to give their children a lot of latitude and freedom to grow and develop on their own. ISFPs demonstrate their love mostly through practical actions and physical affection. Both children and romantic mates will know that they are loved by their thoughtful gestures and generous provisions. 

ISFPs are relaxed but active. However, they tend to preoccupy themselves with activities that they enjoy  rather than tasks that necessarily need to be done. They tend to be spontaneous and scattered in their focus rather than goal-oriented. Because of this, ISFPs may have a penchant for starting a lot of projects that go uncompleted or get put aside for an extended period. People with this personality type tend to do things for the “fun of it” more than any other compelling motivation. They gravitate towards activities that allow them to operate free of outside constraints, rules and regulations. ISFPs prefer mediums in which they can exercise their creative impulse and instincts rather than be forced to follow inflexible procedures and  routines that constrain and bore them. 

ISFPs are more engaged with the process of things than the end goal and objectives. Although they are quiet and understated in the way they express themselves, the ISFP man or woman likes to be in or around where the action is. They soak up and absorb a lot of things they observe and experience that eventually get infused into their work and creations. As a type who lives in the here-and-now, engaged with the moment-to-moment interactions they experience, ISFPs are prone to boredom if they are deprived of a certain amount of stimulation both creative and physical. Abstract and conceptual theories prove less interesting to these types. Additionally, ISFPs tend to struggle with traditional forms of education that don’t cater to their hands-on learning style.

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ISFPs are driven by their personal values. Work must be rewarding and money is secondary to them. Doing something that is both personally gratifying to them and also brings value to others is their goal ideally. ISFPs can be lackadaisical and drag their feet in the way they handle tasks that don’t interest them. When it comes to projects related to their passion however, ISFPs can work tirelessly  and totally engross themselves with the process. In their own way, ISFPs want to create and experience everything life has to offer, soaking up all its richness and beauty in the process.

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Jetta Moon

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