Focusing on the here and now, the ISFP personality type will live life to the full, cherishing the present moment, and finding real pleasure in the more sensory and practical activities such as painting or handicrafts. They need an inner balance, a kind of karma for their lives and this means keeping things as uncomplicated as possible. Planning and control are not for the ISFP, they much prefer to stay in the background doing the things they like, keeping a balance, which includes choosing to remain, happily disorganised. Quiet supporters, rarely will an ISFP be the leader, preferring to remain behind the scenes, observing, understanding, but saying very little.
The ISFP is the astute observer of life, quiet, introspective and kindly. Harmony and respectfulness of values are so important to them. And although trust takes quite some time to establish, once it has been, the ISFP will be a solid and dependable friend. Yes, it will take some time to really get to know the inner values of an ISFP, but the reward will be a friend for life, a friend who will proactively anticipate problems and quietly support others. Conversely if trust is broken, the ISFP will (again quietly) walk away, no fuss, apparently passive but stubbornly refusing to engage again. Gentle supporters, the ISFP will prefer to remain behind the scenes, rather than lead, observing, understanding, but saying very little. There is a stubborn side to the ISFP, but this is more of a passive stubbornness, meaning they may say 'yes,' but mean 'no.' Their gentleness and thoughtfulness means that the ISFP can be an excellent mediator in the team, seeking out the positive and building harmony.
Patient and very flexible ISFPs follow the path of least resistance, rarely criticising the beliefs, actions or attitudes of others. This also means that they will not always stand against change but will instead internalise events and then accommodate for these events rather than trying to control or resist them. The desire for harmony at all costs also means that the ISFP may not voice their concerns, preferring to bottle up their feelings possibly for longer than is good for them. Their view is that to be forthcoming is to put your head above the parapet and the ISFP will not do that readily.
Focusing on the here and now, the ISFP will live life to the full, privately enjoying the present moment, and finding real pleasure in the more sensory and practical activities such as painting or handicrafts. Unlike the INFP who will be intensely future focused, the ISFP wants to remain in the concrete reality present until their need for experience is satiated and they move onto the next, new sensory experience. They need an inner balance, a kind of karma for their lives and this means keeping things as uncomplicated as possible. This need for balance and harmony may mean, however that the ISFP puts off a decision until the decision is made for them. Being so present-oriented they may neglect to plan or even try to glimpse into even the near future preferring to take life as it comes along. Planning and control are not for the ISFP, they much prefer to stay in the background doing the things they like, keeping a balance which also includes choosing to remain happily disorganised.
The downside of this is that the ISFP can be overly laid back and, unless it is important to their values, have 'one speed,' with little acceleration. The ISFP wants, and needs, a cooperative environment, where harmony is a first principle, and confrontation is kept to a minimum. Incredibly perceptive, ISFPs are ahead of the game and are usually the first to tune into the ‘new wave.’ Many ISFPs throw themselves into new fashions, ‘avant garde’ experiences, 'hip' trends, some even setting these trends. Their natural impulse hankers after freedom, and they often push off when others least expect it. The ISFP who continually represses these impulses will lack energy and may eventually push off anyway, towards anything provided it is different. Formal education is difficult for the majority of ISFPs, they prefer experiential learning, at which many excel. ISFPs will practice playing an instrument or honing a favoured skill such as painting for hours on end, not so much as practice as for the sheer joy of the experience.
Often confused with the INFP, ISFPs are less dreamers and less future oriented than INFPs, preferring to live out their sensory experiences and make them happen in real time, rather than enjoying imagining them in the future. They will internalise their feelings so much that they will be difficult to know, although sometimes these feelings will leak out at inappropriate times. The ISFP often project their reactions to their feelings, rather than the feeling itself.
Linking ‘type’ and ‘careers’ would be easy if it was just about listing specific jobs that perfectly fit specific personalities. However in truth it is more difficult than that as ignores other, more important issues, such as the organisation, the values and the culture, which are far better determinants of suitability than a job title. Also individual jobs vary widely from industry to industry, organisation to organisation and person to person. Therefore our focus on ‘type’ and ‘careers’ will be far more on you: your personality, your aptitudes, interests, likes, strengths and weaknesses and then matching these to the sorts of environments, cultures and norms within organisations that will allow you, given your character, to thrive grow and flourish. We spend a lot of our time at work and so it is important to get these issues right or we could spend a lot of working time unhappy, unproductive and unfulfilled.
Because of being gentle, quiet and understated may be ignored, neglected or overlooked in organisations. Yet their caring side means that they can be the most loyal and supportive staff members to those who do understand and value them and they will create harmony and underpin others in their suggestions. However, such support, as with all ISFP attributes, will be behind the scenes, indemonstrable and essentially practical. ISFPs are motivated by doing a job, or performing tasks, in which they can wholeheartedly believe, and which push their internal buttons. An ISFP will need space, time to reflect and to be treated gently and seriously. They will rarely be at the frontline but are often the catalysts for making things happen through infusing others with confidence and through their loyalty to particular individuals. Creative and quirky, the ISFP will bring a different, often unique perspective to bear but again this may have to be teased out especially until they feel comfortable. The ISFP needs freedom, and is not motivated by goals, or targets - and indeed may shy away, (in a quiet, non-confrontational way), from schedules, plans and set priorities as they like, and benefit from, freedom and flexibility to ensure they’re at their best.
The ISFP is the gentle individual, compassionate, sensitive and at times very, very stubborn. Because they shun confrontation it would be easy to assume that they are in agreement but the internalised workings of the ISFP are strange and convoluted and so to make any such assumptions could cause problems. The ISFP may smile and say, ‘I hear what you say,’ but it would be folly to make the assumption that this means, ‘I agree,’ or even ‘I will!’ ISFPs prefer a steady pace and will become overwhelmed if there is too much detail or pressure. Their desire for harmony means the ISFP may withdraw in times of conflict or even find it difficult to make tough calls as intrinsically they don’t like too much responsibility. Their need for flexibility means they may shy away from policies or procedures of they believe they are unnecessary and they struggle to maintain momentum and motivation on tasks that they find uninteresting or they feel have little point. The ISFP needs to feel appreciated, often for who they are, otherwise they can become demotivated and disengage. They tend not to like deadlines or targets and so work better when they feel involved and so will want to work for the cause, whatever that cause is. ISFPs are not naturally detailed or structured and so may need help prioritising and finishing things off.
ISFPs prefer a harmonious environment where the can have the freedom to get on and do things their way. They work best with a steady pace, as opposed to a pressurised environment, where they can think about things and often get lost on the moment. The ISFP will look for interesting work, with meaning and practical application that they can believe in. Their values are extremely important to them and so they need an environment that reflects these and which is based on trying to achieve something a little bit special. They need variety and stimulation otherwise they can withdraw into their own world. A harsh, performance-led workplace with micromanagement, set ways of doing things and a collection of rules would not suit the ISFP who need that freedom to float above it. They do not like conflict or politics and prefer a consensus approach that encourages personal development and personal growth. ISFP tend not to want to be leaders or ‘out in front’ as the limelight concerns them and they prefer to be behind the scenes, not needing the glory, away from the pressure.
The need for harmony and to be out of the limelight characterises the ISFP who will rarely be the leader and who would struggle to be at the forefront or being put ‘on the spot.’ ISFPs need freedom to express and to do things their way and so a strict environment where there are rules and regulations would not fit with this, nor would they be happy being led by rote or by objectives. An environment where there was no flexibility to be creative or do things slightly differently, even personalising the way things have to be done would not be one in which the ISFP will thrive and flourish. The ISFP doesn’t like a pressurised environment or where the pace is intense and repetitive or being micro managed or managed by numbers or harsh objectives. They like to be able to savour the moment and work at their own pace and if allowed to do so they will foster harmony, bring other people into the team and also come up with practical, creative ways of doing things. The ISFP need for harmony pervades so they like social harmony but excel in an environment where they can create harmony of colour, form etc.
The creative side and need for flexibility means that roles where they are pigeonholed and have no wriggle room will not be best suited. The ISFP may not use the wriggle room, but they like to know they have it. Creative careers, but especially those with a practical side such as floristry, art, picture making, music, design where there is an opportunity for quiet self-expression and contentment will be ones where the ISFP will flourish. Production line, harsh targets, high visibility roles where they are constantly in the limelight do no work best.
At work, the ISFP personality type will bring a quiet sense of conviction and what is 'the right thing to do.' Although not vocal, the ISFP can glue the team together and be quietly vocal in their support of new ideas and contributions. The ISFP will not generally want to push themselves forward to lead as they prefer to remain slightly behind the scenes as a supporter and the glue which allows them to be trusted and help others. Their desire not to feel the need to push themselves forward, really helps in pushing others forward and ensuring the group is balanced in its decision making and that everyone contributes.
ISFPs are often overlooked (and to be fair they are OK with that as they are very private) yet their value is to see what’s really going on and glue the relationships within the team so that everyone feels valued and able to contribute. Paradoxically the ISFP may not want to contribute but will quietly, behind the scenes, create the conditions through which others feel part of it. They are laidback and quiet but when they genuinely feel part of the team, when they feel valued as a person they will open up and be insightful, creative and come up with ideas others may not be capable of.
As teams drive forward it is always helpful to have someone that the others trust, who sees things the others don’t and who can ensure that people feel able and willing to be part of the group. This is where the ISFP excels: gluing it all together and ensuring the little things, the things that often go unnoticed, get taken care of.
ISFPs are driven by values, making them incredibly loyal but they tend not to work best with detail or plans, preferring a flexible approach allowing them the freedom to contribute in their own unique way. The ISFP is very creative, as they have a great talent for noticing all the details and relationships between things giving them a subtle artistic approach and to come up with some genuinely unique ways of seeing things.
ISFPs are quiet and unobtrusive, quite gentle and kindly but very much under the radar. They are deep and private individuals, very difficult to know, but incredibly loyal and caring, really valuing friendships and working hard, but quietly, behind the scenes, to support their friends and family. Trust will take some time to build, and if it is broken they’ll take it very badly. They are serious and concerned in that they will worry about people and want to be there for them. ISFPs feel things, they really feel them, they are superb at tuning in and reading people and situations, they notice everything, but say very little, but everything goes in and is logged so they can build up such a well-informed picture of people and how they are feeling. This is all on an emotional, gut feel, but an ISFP will rarely be wrong and as such will be superb confidantes for others as their advice will be, not just well meaning, but usually spot on.
ISFPs are far better built to listen than to speak. They are patient, kindly and will be super at opening other people up and supporting them. They are less adept at opening up themselves, even to those close to them. Often, when asked how they’re feeling, an ISFP will find it too difficult to answer because they actually don’t know, they are more attuned to the feelings of others than to their own. They enjoy, and indeed need, their own time and space and they love to immerse themselves in some hobby, or activity, usually creative, but do not ever feel the need so share this are they’re intensely private. ISFPs love to savour the moment, indulge in practical, sensory activities, enjoy them, and keep it all to themselves. They love the new and different and want to experience as much as possible.
ISFPs don’t really like closure, they like everything open-ended and without a plan, no structure or pressure, and so this can make them struggle to make decisions. Indeed, they prevaricate so long that decisions are often made for them and, to be fair, an ISFP is generally OK with that as they dislike being tied down or held to account, they love being free spirits, to do what they want to do when they want to do it. They don’t interfere with anyone and enjoy their solitary pursuits and prefer not to have too much responsibility and certainly not to have to make tough decisions as that would mean choosing that way or that way and, for the ISFP, that means closing off an option.
ISFPs like everything to be harmonious, everyone happy and free to do their own thing. They are not judgemental, and they just love it when there’s no hassle, no friction or conflict. Even though they’re very quiet and self-contained, they will always try to smooth over any arguments or conflict, indeed so much do they dislike it that they will be very proactive in wanting to bring about harmony, usually working one-on-one to support and help. The ISFP as well as being indecisive can also see two sides of the argument and so for them the ‘win’ is diffusing the tension, it’s never about who was right or wrong.
Choose another personality type to compare side by side the different approaches work, attitudes to conflict and the way they engage with others.