ISFP: Introversion, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving

At your best

ISFPs live in the present with a quiet sense of joyfulness; they want time to experience each moment. They prize the freedom to follow their own course, have their own space, and set their own time frame, and they give the same freedom and tolerance to others. They are faithful in fulfilling obligations to people and things that are important to them.

How others may see you

ISFPs are adaptable and flexible unless something that matters strongly to them is endangered; then they stop adapting. They care deeply about people but may show it through doing things for others more than through words. ISFPs tend to be quiet and unassuming, and their warmth, enthusiasm, and playful humour may not be apparent to people who don’t know them well. They prefer not to organise situations, but instead observe and support; they have little wish to dominate.

ISFPs may be underestimated by others and may also underrate themselves. They often take for granted what they do well and make too much of the contrast between their inner standards and their actual behaviour and accomplishments. Others usually see ISFPs as:

  • Quiet reserved and private – hard to know well
  • Spontaneous and tolerant

Characteristics of ISFPs

ISFPs are guided by a strong core of inner values and want their outer life to demonstrate those values. They want their work to be more than just a job; they want to contribute to people’s well-being or happiness. They don’t enjoy routine but will work with energy and dedication when doing something they believe in. ISEPs are likely to be:

  • Trusting, kind, and considerate
  • Sensitive and gentle

ISFPs are acutely aware of the specifics and realities of the present, the people and the world around them. They learn by doing more than by reading or hearing and get involved in day-by-day caretaking activities. ISFPs are likely to be:

  • Observant
  • Realistic, practical, concrete, and factual

ISFPs are attuned to the feelings and needs of others and flexible in responding to them. They often have an affinity for nature and for beauty in all living things people, plants, and animals. They prize most those who take time to understand their values and goals and who support them in achieving those goals in their own way.

Potential areas for growth

Sometimes personal circumstances have not supported ISFPs in the development and expression of their Sensing and Feeling preferences.

  • If they have not developed their Sensing, ISFPs may have no reliable way of getting accurate data about the external world or of actualising their values. Their decisions will be based on little information and be overly personal.
  • If they have not developed their Feeling, they may get caught up in Sensing realities and not take time for the internal valuing process by which they make their best decisions. They may avoid decision making, allowing others or circumstances to decide for them.

If ISFPs do not find a place where they can use their gifts and be appreciated for their contributions, they usually feel frustrated and may:

  • Withdraw from people and situations
  • Be excessively self-critical
  • Passively resist structures and rules
  • Feel unappreciated and undervalued

It is natural for ISFPs to give less attention to their non-preferred Thinking and Intuitive parts. If they neglect these too much, however, they may:

  • Reject or not take seriously logical systems
  • Feel ill-equipped to deal with complexity
  • Be excessively self-critical
  • Not always see the wider ramifications of their specific, immediate decisions

Under great stress, ISFPs can become uncharacteristically critical of themselves and others, expressing harsh and negative judgments.

Where you focus your attention: Introversion

People who prefer Introversion tend to focus on their own inner world and experiences. They direct their attention inward and receive energy from their internal thoughts, feelings and reflections.

Characteristics of most people who prefer Introversion:

  • Drawn to their inner worlds
  • Prefer to communicate by writing
  • Learn best by reflection, mental “practice”
  • Depth of interest
  • Tend to reflect before acting or speaking
  • Private and contained
  • Focus readily

Effects of preferences in work situations

  • Like quiet for concentration.
  • Tend to be careful with details, dislike sweeping statements.
  • Have trouble remembering names and faces, tend not to mind working on one project for a long time uninterruptedly.
  • Are interested in the idea behind their job.
  • Dislike telephone intrusions and interruptions.
  • Like to think a lot before they act, sometimes without acting.
  • Work contentedly alone.
  • Have some problems communicating.

How you take in information: Sensing

People who prefer Sensing like to take in information through their eyes, ears and other senses to find out what is actually happening. They are observant of what is going on around them and are especially good at recognising the practical realities of a situation.

Characteristics of most people who prefer Sensing:

  • Focus on what is real and actual
  • Value practical applications
  • Factual and concrete, notice details
  • Observe and remember sequentially
  • Live in the present
  • Want information step-by-step
  • Trust experience

Effects of preferences in work situations

  • Dislike new problems unless there are standard ways to solve them.
  • Like an established way of doing things.
  • Enjoy using skills already learned more than learning new ones.
  • Work more steadily, with realistic ideas of how long it will take.
  • Usually reach a conclusion step by step.
  • Are patient with routine details.
  • Are impatient when the details get complicated.
  • Are not often inspired, and rarely trust the inspiration when they are.
  • Seldom make errors of fact.
  • Tend to be good at precise work.

How you make decisions: Feeling

People who prefer to use Feeling in decision making tend to consider what is important to them and to other people. They mentally place themselves in a situation and identify with the people involved so that they can make decisions based on person-centred values.  Their goal is harmony and recognition of individuals, and their strengths include understanding, appreciating and supporting others.

Characteristics of most people who prefer Feeling:

  • Sympathetic
  • Assess impact on people
  • Guided by personal values
  • “Tender-hearted”
  • Strive for harmony and individual recognition
  • Compassionate
  • Accepting

Effects of preferences in work situations

  • Tend to be very aware of other people and their feelings.
  • Enjoy pleasing people, even in unimportant things.
  • Like harmony.  Efficiency may be badly disturbed by office feuds.
  • Often let decisions be influenced by their own or other people’s personal likes and wishes.
  • Need occasional praise.
  • Dislike telling people unpleasant things.
  • Are more people-oriented, respond more easily to people’s values.
  • Tend to be sympathetic.

How you orient toward the outer world: Perceiving

People who prefer to use their Perceiving process in the outer world tend to live in a flexible, spontaneous way seeking to experience and understand life, rather than control it. Plans and decisions feel confining to them; they prefer to stay open to experience and last-minute options. They enjoy and trust their resourcefulness and ability to adapt to the demands of a situation.

Characteristics of most people who prefer Perceiving:

  • Spontaneous
  • Open-ended
  • Casual
  • Flexible
  • Adaptable
  • Like things unconstrained and open to change
  • Feel energised by last-minute pressures

Effects of preferences in work situations

  • Adapt well to changing situations.
  • Do not mind leaving things open for alterations.
  • May have trouble making decisions.
  • May start too many projects and have difficulty in finishing them.
  • May postpone unpleasant jobs.
  • Want to know all about a new job.
  • Tend to be curious and welcome new light on a thing, situation, or person.