ISFP Credo: "Gentle, quiet, unobtrusive commitment"

ISFP Keywords: Astute, Sensitive, Laid-back, Quietly watchful, Modest, Caring, Gentle, Loyal, Gives little away, Gets overlooked, Harmonious, Dislikes conflict, Difficult to know

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 support others.

The quiet supporters, rarely will the ISFP be the leader, preferring to remain behind the scenes, observing, understanding, but saying very little. There is a stubborn side to the ISFP, but this is more of a passive stubbornness, meaning the person may say 'yes,' but mean 'no.' Their gentleness and thoughtfulness means that the ISFP can be an excellent mediator in the team, seeking good things and building harmony.

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. An ISFP will need space, time to reflect and to be treated gently and seriously. They will rarely be at the front, line but are often the catalysts for making things happen through infusing others with confidence and through their loyalty to particular individuals.

An 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. However, getting close to an ISFP will provide individuals, or the team, with a very different, astute perspective on issues or people, and in that sense can be very rewarding. ISFPs are motivated by doing a job or performing tasks which they can wholeheartedly believe in, and which push their internal buttons.

The ISFP is the gentle soul, 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!’

The ISFP is the person of few words, intensely loyal to friends and family and the causes for which they stand - although this manifests itself much more in deeds than in words. The ISFP does not use logic or even intuition but genuinely FEELS things, through the sense, including how others are feeling if those others are part of their life-space. This sensitivity remains hidden to any other than the few chosen ones the ISFP has allowed close.

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 until they feel ready.

Focusing on the here and now, the ISFP 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. 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 of course includes choosing to remain happily disorganised.

The ISFP 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 member to those who do understand and value them. However such support, as with all ISFP attributes, will be behind the scenes, indemonstrable and essentially practical.

ISFPs are 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. More in touch with the concrete reality of their senses than their INFP counterparts, ISFPs live very much in the ‘here and now.’ 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.

Organised education is difficult for the majority of ISFPs, and many drop out of education early. Their interest can be held better through 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.

ISFPs are less fantasy-oriented than INFPs. These two characters are often confused, however, INFPs lean strongly to daydreams and more philosophical pursuits whilst ISFPs often live out Freudian 'Id' experiences rather than talking about them. Whilst ISFJs are driven by the conventional, by 'should' and 'ought,’ ISFPs internalise their Feeling (by nature a judging function) which bursts out spontaneously and leaves as quickly and mysteriously as it came. An ISFP is not easy to know.

ISFPs are sometimes confused with ESFPs, but keep themselves more aloof, more often concealing the feelings that ESFPs are so keen to exhibit. ESFPs express thoughts more readily (and, in the main, skilfully), whilst ISFPs spontaneously develop their own codes and values for life, about which they are quite sober and intense, though generally unforthcoming other than to those very few who’ve been allowed close.

In a team situation, the ISFP will bring a sense of conviction and what is 'the right thing to do.' Although quiet, the ISFP can glue the team together and ensure that all members' views are considered and given equal weight and the ISFP will actually become vocal in their support of new ideas and contributions.

Famous ISFPs

  • Matt LeBlanc
  • Elizabeth Taylor
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Pablo Picasso