Dominant, Introverted Feeling (Fi): Inwardly focused on evaluating ideas according to their personal values

Auxiliary, Extraverted Sensing (Se): Outwardly acting on the facts and details of the immediate situation


At Their 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.

ISFPs take time to develop intimacy with others, but, once they do, those relationships are very important. They express their devotion to others spontaneously in many quiet ways.

ISFPs can be considered Practical Enhancers. They use Introverted Feeling (Fi) as their core approach to work and living. ISFPs usually take a calm, reflective, personal approach. They tend to quietly work with and help others in a supportive manner.

Practical Enhancers thrive in situations where they can help meet people’s immediate needs. They often want to express themselves personally in their work. If you are a Practical Enhancer, you are likely at your best when you are working in harmony, making a product or offering a service that is useful to others. To gather information, Practical Enhancers are observant and pay attention to relevant facts and details. This open-ended, practical approach to the world provides input to help ISFPs make better decisions and connect with people. Others usually see the ISFP using this secondary, flexible approach, but this adaptability is guided by and limited to what fits with their values. For example, if others push too much against a core belief or value, they will see the normally adaptable ISFP become more stubborn and less flexible.

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. ISFPs 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.

ISFPs are typically observant, loyal HELPERS; reflective, realistic, empathetic, patient with details. Shunning disagreements, they are gentle, reserved and modest. Having Introverted Feeling as their strong mental process, they are at their best when responding to the needs of others.

They typically value:
  • Personal loyalty; a close, loyal friend
  • Finding delight in the moment
  • Seeing what needs doing to improve the moment
  • Freedom from organizational constraints
  • Working individually
  • Peacemaking behind the scenes
  • Attentiveness to feelings
  • Harmonious, cooperative work settings
  • Spontaneous, hands-on exploration
  • Gentle, respectful interactions
  • Deeply held personal beliefs
  • Reserved, reflective behavior
  • Practical, useful skills and know-how
  • Having their work life be fully consistent with deeply held values
  • Showing and receiving appreciation

How Others May See Them
ISFPs are adaptable and flexible unless something that matures 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 humor may not be apparent to people who don’t know them well. They prefer to observe and support rather than organize situations; 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 behavior and accomplishments.

Others usually see ISFPs as:
  • Quiet, reserved, and private – hard to know well
  • Spontaneous and tolerant 

Potential Areas of Growth
Sometimes life 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 actualizing 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
  • Not always see the wider ramifications of their specific, immediate decisions 

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

Introduction to Type, Sixth Edition developed by Isabel Briggs Myers

MMTIC®Murphy-Meisgeier Type Indicator for Children developed by Charles Martin, Elizabeth Murphy, and Betsy Styron

Donna Dunning’s terrific blog