What is an ISFP? Personality Traits, Myths & Cognitive Functions

What does an ISFP personality type mean, and what are some of their character traits?

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) defines the ISFP personality as follows: Introverted, Sensing, Feeling and Perceiving.

This means that they are introverted, sensing, feeling, perceiving people who prefer to focus on things with their five senses and then process that information through feeling. If you want to know what this really means, continue reading!

Some myths about the ISFP include: They love art and everything creative, but this is not always true. In fact many of them do not think it is important or valuable enough for them to spend time doing it. Another myth is that they are shy or reserved but once again this isn't always true.

An Overview of the ISFP Personality Type

ISFP is a four-letter code representing one of the 16 personality types identified by the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). People with an ISFP personality are frequently described as quiet, easy-going and peaceful.

According to David Keirsey, ISFPs comprise about five to ten percent of the population.

The ISFP type are most compatible with the ESFPs personality types. (Cognitive functions but other side of expression).

Key ISFP Characteristics

  • ISFP personality types are very flexible in decision making, often preferring to see what there are before deciding.

  • According to Myers-Briggs, an ISFP is kind, friendly, sensitive and quiet. Unlike extroverts who thrive in social environments, introverts are drained by being around people for a long time. After spending too much time with others, introverts often need solitude to replenish their energy reserves. They typically prefer to socialize with a small group of close friends and family members.

  • ISFPs are easy-going and easy to get along with, though they don’t like confronting problems. They dislike confrontation and accept things that are said or done - rather than judging people for their actions.

  • ISFPs are more grounded than other types. They focus their attention on what is happening in the present rather than worrying about prospects for the future.

  • ISFPs tend to be "doers" rather than "dreamers." They dislike abstract theories unless they can see some type of practical application for them and prefer learning situations that involve gaining hands-on experience.
  • personality types

    ISFP Strengths

  • Very aware of their environment
  • Practical
  • Enjoys hands-on learning
  • Loyal to values and beliefs
  • ISFP Weaknesses

  • Dislikes abstract, theoretical information
  • Reserved and quiet
  • Strong need for personal space
  • Dislikes arguments and conflict
  • ISFP Cognitive Functions (or Function Stack)

    The MBTI identifies four key cognitive functions (thinking, feeling, intuition, and sensing) that are either directed outwardly (extraverted) or inwardly (introverted). The hierarchical order of these functions determines an individual's unique personality.

    Below we'll go over the function stack of ISFPs:

    Dominant: Introverted Feeling (Fi)

  • ISFPs are motivated more by their individual sensibilities than the objective or logical information around them.
  • People with this personality type process frameworks and experiences based on their feelings toward them.
  • ISFPs create spontaneous convictions about things, based on how they measure up to their own personal ideals.
  • Auxiliary: Extraverted Sensing (Se)

  • People with ISFP personalities are very in tune with the world around them. They are sensitive to sensory information and quickly notice changes in their environment. Because they emphasize aesthetics, ISFPs often enjoy the fine arts.

  • ISFPs are focused on the present moment, taking in new information and then taking action. They are aware of what’s happening around them, and often detect small changes in their immediate surroundings. When recalling past events, they are able to visualize strong visuals that can lead to powerful memories associated with certain senses.
  • Tertiary: Introverted Intuition (Ni)

  • The introverted intuitive function can be a vital energy source for the ISFP personality type, especially in situations when sensory input is high.
  • ISFPs are sensitive to the world around them, developing insights into existing concepts and situations.
  • Inferior: Extraverted Thinking (Te)

  • One weakness that ISFPs may have is the lack of organization, although they might use this function more prominently in certain situations.
  • This function is all about looking for the most efficient way to do something. An ISFP might become focused on being precise and proficient in the details, as well as finding an effective way to express their idea.
  • Generally experiences failure-to-launch syndrome if they feel they don't have enough credentials to speak/execute on a particular thing.
  • Famous ISFPs You Might Know

  • Marilyn Monroe, actress
  • Auguste Rodin, sculptor
  • David Beckham, soccer player
  • Neil Simon, playwright
  • Harry Potter, fictional character
  • Michael Jackson, artist
  • Personal Relationships

    ISFPs are introverts who enjoy spending time with people they know well. They tend to be reserved in unfamiliar situations and will shrink away from crowds.

    ISFPs are very private people. They might use their function stack to avoid sharing their thoughts, feelings, and opinions about things in certain situations because they don't want others to get too close. ISFPs prefer not to share their innermost feelings and are often more concerned with others' needs.

    ISFPs have strong principles but they don't need to convince others of their point of view. ISFPs care deeply about their closest friends and family, and are supportive of those close to them. ISFPs are action-oriented and show their care and concern through physical engagement rather than talking about feelings.

    Join the introvert community. One email, every Friday to start the weekend right.
    Subscribe here.

    The ISFP's Career Paths

    People with ISFP personalities have a strong appreciation for nature, so they may become involved in jobs or hobbies that bring them into contact with animals and the outdoors.

    ISFPs are deeply concerned with what they sense and feel in the present moment, and so they may enjoy careers that provide them with practical challenges. Jobs where freedom from authority is given priority are especially attractive to ISFPs.

    Popular ISFP Careers

  • Artist
  • Composer or musician
  • Chef
  • Designer
  • Forest ranger
  • Nurse
  • Naturalist
  • Pediatrician
  • Psychologist
  • Social worker
  • Teacher
  • Veterinarian
  • Tips for Interacting With ISFPs


  • In order to take advantage of the ISFP’s friendly nature and their tendency to make friends easily, they need plenty of time to get to know you.
  • You can be a good friend to an ISFP by being supporting an accepting of who they are.
  • The ISFP personality type is light-hearted and fun, but it may become intense at times. Understand that there will be moments when your friend wants to share his or her thoughts with you and other times when he or she may want to retreat into a more personal space.
  • Parenting

  • ISFP children tend to be perfectionists and can be their own harshest critics.
  • An ISFP have high expectations for themselves and often undervalue their own skills.
  • If you are a parent to an ISFP child, it is important to encourage them to take care of themselves and recognize their worth.
  • Relationships

  • ISFPs are considerate in relationships, and will often defer to their partners' desires.
  • ISFPs are often not good at expressing their emotions. Make an effort to understand your partner even when you don't always agree with them.
  • When making decisions, ensure that your partner's voice is heard and his or her feelings are given equal weight.
  • Frequently Asked Questions

    What is an ISFP personality type?

    The ISFP personality type is the "Artist" type. This personality type is introverted, intuitive, feeling and perceiving. ISFPs are known to be independent thinkers who enjoy exploring their creative potential.

    How rare is ISFP?

    ISFPs are actually one of the most common types. Even though it's not as rare as some other personalities like INFJ (Known for being altruistic), they still make up about 27% of the population!

    What are ISFPs good at?

    ISFPs are especially good at seeing the big picture. They enjoy communicating and connecting with people, but also strive for deep understanding of both themselves and their environment.

    Additional Resources

    Who Are the ISFPs? (YouTube video by CS Joseph)

    Scroll to Top