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ISFP Introverted Feeling with Sensing

People with ISFP preferences have a great deal of warmth, but may not show it until they know a person well. They keep their warm side inside, like a fur-lined coat. When they care, they care deeply, but are more likely to show their feeling by deeds rather than words. They are very faithful to duties and obligations related to things or people they care about.

They take a very personal approach to life, judging everything by their inner ideals and personal values. They stick to their values with passionate conviction, but can be influenced by someone they care deeply about. Although their inner loyalties and ideals govern their lives, ISFPs find these hard to talk about. Their deepest feelings are seldom expressed; their inner tenderness is masked by a quiet reserve.

In everyday activities they are tolerant, open-minded, flexible, and adaptable. If one of their inner loyalties is threatened though, they will not give an inch. They usually enjoy the present moment, and do not like to spoil it by rushing to get things done. They have little wish to impress or dominate. The people they prize the most are those who take the time to understand their values and the goals they are working toward.

They are interested mainly in the realities brought to them by their senses, both inner and outer. They are apt to enjoy fields where taste, discriminating, and a sense of beauty and proportion are important. Many ISFPs have a special love of nature and a sympathy with animals. They often excel in craftsmanship, and the work of their hands is usually more eloquent than their words.

They are twice as good when working at a job they believe in, since their feeling adds energy to their efforts. They see the needs of the moment and try to meet them. They want their work to contribute to something that matters to them--human understanding, happiness, or health. They want to have a purpose beyond their paycheck, no matter how big the check. They are perfectionists whenever they care deeply about something, and are particularly suited for work that requires both devotion and a large measure of adaptability.

The problem for some ISFPs is that they may feel such a contrast between their inner ideals and their actual accomplishments that they burden themselves with a sense of inadequacy. This can be true even when they are being as effective as others. They take for granted anything they do well and are the most modest of all the types, tending to underrate and understate themselves.

It is important for them to find practical ways to express their ideals; otherwise they will keep dreaming of the impossible and accomplish very little. If they find no actions to express their ideals, they can become too sensitive and vulnerable, with dwindling confidence in life and in themselves. Actually, they have much to give and need only to find the spot where they are needed.


Sees Much But Shares Little

Though they struggle constantly to maintain visibility, there is in the ISFP a love and sensitivity for others, as well as serenity and appreciation for life. The combination of Introversion, Sensing, Feeling, and Perceiving puts ISFPs more in touch with both themselves and the world around them than any other type.

ISFPs have a very low need to lead and control others, and yet are driven by a desire to see everything--plants, animals, and people--living creature's space but instead want to relate to and encourage all life to fulfill its potential. As a result of being so much in tune with and respectful of the natural boundaries of life around them, it can become difficult for ISFPs to understand the need of some people to impose limits or structure on others. Unfortunately, in their desire not to influence, they often forgo expressing themselves and their wishes in favor of blending in with others. This nonimposing nature and seeming lack of direction is so much a part of ISFPs that they can easily be either overlooked or overpowered by others. In a sense, they are the most invisible of the sixteen types.

This type, often creative, artsy, and skilled in a variety of practical disciplines where people and nature are served, tends to be shy about offering his or her services--depriving the world of their contributions as a result. All too often, more aggressive, demanding and less capable types fill the void.

ISFPs may be unconventional in their approach to problem-solving, but not because they value contrariness as such or because they relish developing new ways of doing things. It happens because they see the clearest way to do something and then simply do it--often to the consternation of others who prefer to follow the prescribed methods. ISFPs are often oblivious to the "standard" way, indeed even puzzled by why anyone would consider doing something in a way that is obviously cumbersome and impractical.

Feeling (warm and nurturing) and Perceiving (open and flexible) are more traditionally feminine characteristics; Introversion (reflective and reserved) and Sensing (practical and grounded) are more traditionally masculine traits. Put the four together and you have a type who has little need to lead or influence, who relates to the world with little desire to change or control it, or even to understand it, but simply to take it all in. Thus, ISFPs of either gender do not project a strong image, nor are they competitive in nature.

Male ISFPs are successful and highly regarded in various roles, and if someone is looking for a nurturing male, this type is a natural. Both female and male ISFPs often sell themselves short. As a result, most any compliment an ISFP received can be dismissed as "not really meant" or "just an accident."

Parenting is an opportunity for an ISFP to relate to children, not to control them. As a result, children who also have strong Perceiving tendencies are probably allowed to wander too much; they may not be given the basic sense of structure that may be helpful later on. Judging children, by contrast, are often frustrated by the ISFP's lack of direction and guidelines, which may set up the parents to feel like failures. They are not failures--they simply fail to offer much direction. Different types find it difficult to understand the ISFP's low need for control or influence. Clearly, it is intended to allow others to grow more freely, although the ISFP's quiet, subtle style may never receive full credit.

Children learn that the ISFP parent is always near, very much in touch with the child's needs, and very supportive and loving of the child's development, but in a quiet and unassuming way. "Love" is not so much spoken as it is displayed--quietly, and in myriad ways. "Nothin' says lovin' like something from the oven" could be an ISFP motto. The cookies or dollhouse furniture or handmade sweaters are symbols that say, "I love you." An ISFP's child knows he or she is loved because in these kindly acts and gentle deeds, love is conveyed.

The ISFP's living style is generally relaxed but active. Hands-on activities keep these Sensors busy. Interestingly, this does not always involve "what needs to be done" so much as what they want to be doing. As Sensing-Perceivers, they usually prefer doing something to nothing, but the activity is often spontaneous and scattered rather than goal-oriented. While this can be a source of fun, the result may be a long list of unfinished activities that can be frustrating, not only to others but to ISFPs themselves.

To relax ISFP-style is to do something "for the fun of it." Such "fun" things might include gardening, painting, needlework, or whittling. Some ISFP hoobies, such as creating "miniatures," for example, often demand high dexterity.

ISFP children are often curious explorers who seem unhurried about getting anywhere in particular. Content with their own company, they see the entire world as a place for discovery. Often unaware of rules, time, and other family demands, they explore the world around them. Plants, animals, brothers, sisters, and parents are all part of that world.

As Perceivers, ISFP children march to a somewhat different drummer. They are likely to be playing when they are expected to be at meals, watching TV when everyone else is in the car ready to leave, or rearranging toys when company is about to walk in the door. They want very much to please but often go about it in such a way that the person to be pleased--parent, teacher, sibling, and so on--becomes impatient, even exasperated. The message the sensitive ISFP gets from these individuals is: "You never seem to do anything right!"

As Sensors, ISFPs are a very "now" type and so learning needs to be tactile and immediately relevant. They have little interest in the conceptual and abstract and are most responsive to what is pragmatic: "What does it look like?" "How does it feel?" "What can I do with it?" "How does it work?" Questions like these spark interest in a project; the theoretical side of things is more difficult, less interesting, and often produces very negative responses from ISFPs. Such responses often lead to negative labels--"slow learners" and "daydreamers," to cite a few. The labels are inaccurate, but they contribute to the ISFPs' tendency to avoid formal education, especially higher education.

Family events for ISFPs are best when they just "happen." Too much planning, work, and structure can block things from unfolding freely. Family rituals indeed merit attention, but only once they are in process. It is not uncommon for an ISFP to be doing something totally unrelated to an event minutes before it is supposed to begin. Somehow, ISFPs know that all will take care of itself if only they are sensitive to others' needs, in touch with their own feelings, and open to whatever happens. The occasion will be great--or at least long-remembered.

Bedtime for ISFPs is "when you're tired." If there are projects, people, pets, or other forms of life that need attention, then bedtime may take second place. Once these other things are tended to, and if one is tired, it is time for sleep--whenever and wherever one happens to be. Again, others may find such behavior difficult, even "flaky."

For ISFPs, work must be rewarding, and to be rewarding it must be personally gratifying and of use to others. Money is secondary; the primary concern is that service be rendered, to whomever or whatever requires it. If a great deal of formal education or abstract theory is necessary for a certain career choice, then ISFPs will likely seek fulfillment elsewhere. Vocational education, however, is often appealing for ISFPs who desire to work in the area of hands-on, practical trades and skills, including everything from car mechanics and repair to cosmetology, carpentry, and clerical tasks.

When they are enthusiastic about themselves and confident in their abilities, ISFPs find that their four preferences give them a natural edge to excel in a variety of vocations, including psychology, veterinary medicine, botany, and theology. When they make it to managerial levels, their styles tend to be nondirective. They create an open and diverse environment, which can be fertile ground for those subordinates capable of developing themselves.

ISFPs seem to carry this easygoing nature into maturity. Adapting to each day as it comes, with little need to plan, they tend to "wait, see, and hope for a surprise." Retirement allows some special time for the kinds of hobbies that are open-ended and can result in high levels of personal satisfaction related to the process, not necessarily the product.

Two famous likely ISFPs include Peanut's Charlie Brown (whose Introversion demands that he constantly rehearse what he will say to the little redheaded girl, but prevents him from actually delivering the goods, whose Feeling often raises the question, after he's been beaten badly in baseball, "How could we lose when we were so sincere?" and whose need for action demands that he try to kick a football, fully knowing Lucy will always foil him); and Saint Francis of Assisi (whose quiet, reflective way of relating to animals around him brought scorn and misunderstanding from his colleagues, but whose need to serve inspired an entire new order).

Summary - ISFP

Contributions to the Organization


Attend to the needs of people in the organization as they arise

Act to ensure others' well-being

Infuse a quiet joy into their work

Bring people and tasks together by virtue of their cooperative nature

Pay attention to the humanistic aspects of the organization

Leadership Style


Prefer a cooperative team approach

Use personal loyalty as a means of motivating others

More apt to praise than to criticize

Rise to the occasion and adapt to what is needed

Gently persuade by tapping into others' good intentions

Preferred Work Environment


Contains cooperative people quietly enjoying their work

Allows for private space

Has people who are compatible


Aesthetically appealing

Includes courteous co-workers


Potential Pitfalls


May be too trusting and gullible

May not critique others when needed, but may be overly self-critical

May not see beyond the present reality to understand things in their fuller context

May be too easily hurt and withdraw

Suggestions for Development


May need to develop more skepticism and a method for analyzing information rather than just accepting it

May need to learn how to give negative feedback to others while appreciating their own accomplishments more

May need to develop a more future-oriented perspective

May need to be more assertive and direct with others

Order of Mental Preferences






64 Posts
Here is a nutshell description of all the mbti types

ISFP- VERY easy going
INFP- Narssisstic
ISFJ- Derives pleasure from obeying authority
INFJ- An unsocial people person
ISTP- Solitary adventurer
INTP- Laziness and hedonistic tendencies holds them back in life
ISTJ- Derives pleasure from work
INTJ- Sees the world as their to shape
ESFP- Goes along with the flow
ENFP- Chaotic
ESFJ- Group oriented
ENFJ- Attracted to dominance and people
ESTP- Social adventurer
ENTP- Quick
ESTJ- Get's the job done
ENTJ- Dominant individualist

6,606 Posts
My life summarized. Period.

It made me laugh and cry. The parts about the kid (or adult) who's doing totally unrelated things before ___ starts really got me good. I chuckled. The parts about how and when an ISFP cam possibly succeed, or be appreciated, made me cry.

Sensitive little runt.

1,471 Posts
I stumbled on this link/blog and it had this description of the ISFP:

Valerie Whittle: Do What You are- personality (ISFP)

Of the many factors that contribute to a successful college experience, and subsequent career, an understanding of Personality Type is among the most useful. While interests and skills change during the course of a person's life, the one thing that does remain constant is an individual's Personality Type - the innate way each person naturally prefers to see the world and make decisions. And although all individuals are unique, people of the same type share enormous similarities in the kinds of academic subjects and careers they find interesting, and the kind of work they find satisfying. By understanding the role Personality Type plays, people can gain important insights into their educational, career, and relationship needs. And because people of different types often communicate in very different ways, counselors and advisors can learn which strategies work most effectively with each individual student.

People like you are gentle, caring, and sensitive. To those who don't really know you, you may appear cool and reserved. But inside you feels things very deeply. Your close friends know you are loyal and affectionate, expressive and eager to please. And you are thoughtful, considerate, and supportive of your friends and family. While you love to be included in social activities, you also need time alone to relax or pursue your interests. Because you have such a big heart, you often take even the most constructive criticism personally and may frequently feel disappointed or hurt. You have to force yourself to deal with conflicts head on, and to speak your mind honestly, even when you know it might hurt someone's feelings. You are also a down to earth and realistic person. You probably have a keen sense of aesthetics and may love a variety of artistic expressions or activities. Since you are so observant, you usually give your full attention to whatever you are doing at the moment, and are often able to tell amazingly accurate stories. You are easy going and playful, but may not be especially adventurous. You struggle to stay organized and may find large or complicated projects are overwhelming and draining. Since you naturally want to follow your curiosity wherever it leads you, you may have trouble making decisions, following through, and finishing all of the projects you start. You hate to disappoint anyone, but are usually quick to forgive others who disappoint you.

Your Strengths and Blindspots

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. The key to finding the best path for all people is by using their natural strengths and becoming aware of their natural blindspots.
Your strengths may include: Collecting lots of information. Developing a good rapport with people. Being responsive to questions by providing thoughtful, detailed answers. Being able to make a realistic assessment of the information gathered. Having a good instinct for what would make you happy.
Your blindspots may include: Not being assertive enough at selling your strengths and talents. Not considering new possibilities you may not have yet thought of. Not being objective enough; relying too heavily on your immediate feelings and impressions. Not prioritizing your goals well. Focusing only on your current needs, and ignoring possible future needs.

For a college experience to be satisfying for you, it should provide: A friendly, nurturing, supportive faculty and staff. It's particularly important for you to have a close relationship with people you interacts with often, such as advisors and counselors. A peaceful, congenial living situation with a minimum of conflict and tension. The opportunity to develop friendships with other gentle people like yourself. The opportunity to work independently or collaborate with other students in small groups if you choose. A course of study that stresses the development of practical skills.

For a career to be satisfying for you, it should: Be consistent with your strong, inner values and be something you care deeply about. Involve helping people in real, and practical ways. Be done in a supportive, friendly, and tension-free environment. Make good use of your ability and desire to pay attention to facts and details. Let you work somewhat independently, but also have contact with other people. Not have too structured an environment, or too many rules and policies. Allow you to work outside the public spotlight and not require heavy public speaking. Preferably let you spend time outdoors, and get some physical exercise.

Your Preferred Learning Style: While ALL individuals are unique, people of the same type often learn best in similar ways. The following summarizes what you need in order to maximize learning. A friendly, non-competitive, supportive learning environment. Being allowed to work alone or in small groups when he prefers. Demonstration of how the learning relates to something you care deeply about. Plenty of time to absorb and apply information at your own pace. Sticking to the practical and realistic, rather than the abstract and theoretical. Reward for your gentle and cooperative nature.

Your Interpersonal Negotiating Style: Everyone negotiates something with someone on almost a daily basis. Borrowing the family car, requesting more time to finish a research paper, deciding amongst friends which movie or restaurant to go to, etc. In college and in work "interpersonal negotiating" becomes substantially more significant. Here are your possible strengths and blindspots with this process:
Possible Strengths: Ability to make people feel comfortable and valued. Practical and realistic; good common sense. Good knowledge of the details that are important to people. Flexibility and willingness to take calculated risks. Strong sense of loyalty to your ideals and organizations.
Possible Blindspots May lack assertiveness due to your strong desire to avoid conflict. May become defensive and take innocuous comments personally. May have difficulty juggling more than one complex idea at a time. May fail to see the effect on the future of actions taken in the present. May not bother to adequately prepare.

Potential careers and majors for you to consider: The careers listed below are all linked to your personality type and are organized by career cluster you have indicated most to least interested in. (Keep in mind that the stacking of the categories is based on one isfp student's preference).
While there is never a guarantee, people of your type have indicated job satisfaction with these careers.

Human Services (Very Interested)
Medical and Public Health Social Workers Health System/Health Services Administration Social Work Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers Mental Health/Rehabilitation Social Work Social Science Research Assistants Social Sciences, General Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors Counseling Psychology Mental Health/Rehabilitation Nursing (R.N. Training)

The Arts (Pretty Interested)
Artists and Related Workers, All Other Graphic Design, Commercial Art and Illustration Dancers Dance Fashion Designers Clothing and Textiles Fashion Design and Illustration Graphic Design, Commercial Art and Illustration Floral Designers Art, General Botany, General Interior Designers Interior Design Interior Environments Landscape Architects Architectural Environmental Design Landscape Architecture Photographers Photography Singers Music - General Performance Consumer Services,

Hospitality and Tourism (Pretty Interested)
Lodging Managers Hotel/Motel and Restaurant Management

Communication & Media (Somewhat Interested)
Interpreters and Translators Communication Disorders, General Foreign Language Interpretation and Translation Foreign Languages and Literatures, General Sign Language Interpreter

Health Services (Somewhat Interested)
Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians Cardiovascular Technology/Technician Diagnostic Medical Sonography Counselors, All Other Counseling Psychology Counselor Education Counseling and Guidance Services Psychology, General Dental Hygienists Dental Hygienist Diagnostic Medical Sonographers Diagnostic Medical Sonography Medical Radiologic Technology/Technician Dietetic Technicians Dietetics/Human Nutritional Services Foods and Nutrition Science Foods and Nutrition Studies, General Institutional Food Services Administrator Dietitians and Nutritionists Dietetics/Human Nutritional Services Food and Beverage/Restaurant Operations Manager Foods and Nutrition Science Foods and Nutrition Studies, General Medical Assistants Medical Assistant Medical Office Management Optometrists Optometric/Ophthalmicoratory Technician Orthotists and Prosthetists Medical Assistant Orthotics/Prosthetics Personal and Home Care Aides Gerontology Health Aide Health Science Psychiatric Technicians Psychiatric/Mental Health Services Technician Radiation Therapists Nuclear Medical Technology/Technician Radiologic Technologists Diagnostic Medical Sonography Health and Medical Laboratory Technologies Medical Radiologic Technology/Technician Recreational Therapists Art Therapy Registered Nurses Nursing (R.N. Training) Nursing Science (Post-R.N.) Nursing, Adult Health (Post-R.N.) Nursing, Family Practice (Post-R.N.) Nursing, Maternal/Child Health (Post-R.N.) Nursing, Pediatric (Post-R.N.) Nursing, Surgical (Post-R.N.) Rehabilitation Counselors Rehabilitation Therapy Respiratory Therapists Respiratory Therapy Technician Surgeons Pre-medicine Studies Surgical Technologists Medical Administrative Assistant/Secretary Surgical/Operating Room Technician Veterinarians Pre-veterinary Studies

Veterinary Sciences Sports & Entertainment (Somewhat Interested) Athletic Trainers Athletic Training and Sports Medicine Physical Education Teaching and Coaching Physical Therapy Coaches and Scouts Health and Physical Education, General Sport and Fitness Administration/Management Fitness Trainers and Aerobics Instructors Exercise Sciences/Physiology and Movement Studies Health and Physical Education,

General Agriculture & Natural Resources (Not Very Interested)
Nursery and Greenhouse Managers Agricultural Business and Management, General Agricultural Production Workers and Managers, General Botany, General Crop Production Operations and Management Farm and Ranch Management Greenhouse Operations and Management Horticulture Science Horticulture Services Operations and Management, General Nursery Operations and Management Ornamental Horticulture Operations and Management Turf

Management Education & Training (Not Very Interested)
Curators Curriculum and Instruction Education, General Educational/Instructional Media Design History, General Museology/Museum Studies Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education Elementary Teacher Education Kindergarten Teachers, Except Special Education Education, General Educational Psychology Elementary Teacher Education Preschool Teachers, Except Special Education Child Care and Guidance Workers and Managers, General Child Development, Care and Guidance Child Growth, Care and Development Studies Elementary Teacher Education Teacher Education, Multiple Levels Recreation and Fitness Studies Teachers, Postsecondary Physical Education Teaching and Coaching Recreational Therapy Special Education Teachers, Preschool, Kindergarten, and Elementary School Educational Assessment, Testing and Measurement Educational Psychology Teacher Education, Multiple Levels

The Environment (Not Very Interested)
Fish and Game Wardens Fish/Game Management Fishing and Fisheries Sciences and Management Natural Resources Law Enforcement and Protective Services Wildlife and Wildlands Management Foresters Forest Harvesting and Production Technology/Technician Forest Management Forestry Sciences Forestry, General Horticulture Services Operations and Management, General Natural Resources Conservation, General Nursery Operations and Management

Military and Protective Services (Not Very Interested)
Fire Inspectors Fire Protection and Safety Technology/Technician Insurance Adjusters, Examiners, and Investigators Insurance and Risk Management
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