THE ISFP SERIES part 1: What is an ISFP?


The ISFP is deals in pure, unfiltered information and emotions. During alone time, they take in a lot of information, both sensory and factual, and love to be creative. However, they don’t tend to analyse things so can suffer from irrationality or impulsiveness. They are very laid back, prefer going with the flow, and are forgiving and accepting of everyone.

  • An ISFP is an easy-going, open-minded person who accepts a diverse range of people for who they are. They value harmony and peace and everybody getting along. Due to their high empathy and easy-going nature, they often value keeping peace more than they value doing the right thing according to any system of objective morality. Consequently they would hold a dim view of one person wishing to exclude another person or a person attempting directly to change the minds of others. In situations of conflict, they are more likely to apologise to keep the peace, than to try to analyse who did what wrong and how to improve in the future.
  • ISFP’s live completely in the moment and experience each moment in isolation, without reference to potential future consequences or continuity with the past. This can be a very positive thing since they don’t mind going with the flow and doing things spontaneously. They are not inclined to get hung up on boring details or judge others for not being organised. They almost never hold a grudge for any length of time and very quickly forgive past misdemeanors. However this can also be a fault. Their spontaneity and lack of forward thinking can lead them to do stupid things without considering the consequences. Since they do not themselves bear grudges or dwell on past misdemeanors, they would not understand why anyone would continue to be upset with their behaviour after a conflict is over. This trait can also lead them to hold onto toxic relationships, or encourage others to do so, since they wish everyone to get along at the moment and do not think much about the past or potential future.
  • They can be loud and gregarious with friends (to the extent that they might be mistaken for Extraverts) but greatly value time alone, reflecting and often reading and writing. ISFP’s like to learn facts about the world and often have a wide-ranging and detailed general knowledge. They are eloquent at describing that knowledge, as well as describing the sensory information around them and their emotions. ISFP’s are very self-motivated and can easily learn new things in their spare time alone. They may teach themselves languages, read books, or teach themselves to knit. They are self-sufficient and don’t need a lot of time with others. They like things to look beautiful and can be very creative with the space they are given and with their own personal appearance. Their high awareness of their surroundings and desire for aesthetic pleasure often makes them tidier than other Perceivers.
  • ISFP’s easily bond with other people who are similar to themselves and form long-lasting, robust friendships with a great deal of emotional bonding. They have a lot of love to give. Once ISFP’s have formed this close bond with somebody, they often like to communicate with them non-verbally and through in-jokes, which INxx types might find very offputting. Due to this tendency, the ISFP may come across in social situations as not being very intellectual. Consequently people are often very surprised by how eloquent, knowledgeable and artistically engaged an ISFP can be when they want to. Although ISFP’s get on very well with close friends—to the point of nonverbal codes or a “secret language” between friends—they are often awkward with new people.
  • The ISFP is not a person who particularly enjoys being analytical. This may seem in conflict with the ISFP’s group of interests—because they love information and beautiful sensory experiences, ISFP’s often have interest in art, music, history, literature and other subjects that are commonly subject to analysis. ISFP’s are good at putting these things into categories—for example, they can recognise if something is punk-inspired or gothic—but generally prefer to absorb them as they are without analysing further. When analysis is required, they will sometimes recite other people’s analysis as though it were solid fact. On the other hand, they are very good at remembering and describing small details in an articulate fashion.
  • ISFP’s are one of the least consistent types, meaning that although they are empathetic in each moment, they can lack the analytical skill to translate that into consistently moral behaviour. For example, ISFP’s sometimes parrot viewpoints they have heard without recognising that those viewpoints may be harmful or not consistent with their empathetic outlook. They are poor at forming judgements of people, which can be a good thing (it’s what leads them to be non-judgemental most of the time). However, when they do try to do these things, they do it very badly and often form unfair judgements. Their lack of consistency can cause them to hold others to different standards than they hold themselves. ISFP’s act on pure emotion; they do not process that emotion to determine if they are being reasonable or not. They may not correctly identify the cause of their feelings, meaning they may lose their temper with people who are not at fault in the situation.
  • ISFP’s can sometimes appear to be very opinionated. Although they generally accept that people have differing opinions, they tend to interpret passionate and lengthily-justified disagreement as a personal attack and respond as such. They don’t like to discuss things very much. This can cause problems because again, the ISFP’s expressed views often haven’t been thought through and may be inconsistent or offensive—and they will back down immediately or get upset if challenged. This can be an issue between ISFP’s and xxTP’s, who like to debate things for pleasure. The xxTP thinks they are having an interesting discussion about an issue, while the ISFP feels that they are being personally criticised.

In summary, the ISFP is a caring, creative person with a wide range of interests and a close bond with their friends–but don’t expect them to debate the finer points of moral philosophy or political theory with you; they won’t like it. They empathise in each moment and act on that empathy; they love to learn and be creative, but they come across as very laid back, down to earth people.


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