Reserved, listen carefully, prefer solitary activities, more comfortable when alone than when around other people, get exhausted by social interaction
Observant, rely on their senses, absorbed in practical matters, focus on what has happened
Sensitive, follow their hearts, keep feelings close to the surface, focus on harmony and cooperation
Probing, prefer keeping their options open, reluctant to commit, relaxed about their work, seek freedom
This personality trait is connected with ISFPs’ love of freedom – ISFPs are very independent and fiercely resist all forms of control. People with this personality type are the ultimate “free souls”, seeing nearly all rules, guidelines and traditions as self-imposed limitations that make life dull and boring. ISFPs live completely in the present, refusing to dwell on the past or prepare extensive plans for the future – they take things as they come, experimenting and adapting their behavior as necessary.
While certain personality types (especially those belonging to the SJ subgroup) would discard such notions as irresponsible and reckless, ISFPs actually do great in areas that require an artistic, independent approach. ISFP personalities also tend to be very charming, mostly because they find it really easy to pick the best compliment for a particular person – ISFPs’ sensitivity (F) and great control of all five senses (S) mean that they are very much in tune with the physical, sensual world. Consequently, ISFPs rarely have difficulties connecting with other people, despite the fact that they are introverts (I). Even when the ISFP is being truly unpredictable or even reckless, their charm easily disarms those around them.
That being said, ISFPs also need time to withdraw from social interaction and let their mind rest. This personality trait can often surprise other people who may have believed that ISFPs’ spontaneity and enthusiasm meant that they would always desire to be “in the open”. However, at the end of the day, ISFPs are still introverts and their inner batteries need some time to recharge. This contributes to the air of unpredictability and mystery that usually surrounds ISFPs – if someone with this personality type has a very strong I trait, even their closest friends may have difficulties anticipating ISFP’s thoughts and reactions.
ISFP personalities also tend to be very sensitive to other people’s feelings – they are inclined to seek harmony in all situations and have no difficulties sensing a change in someone’s emotional state. On the other hand, ISFPs can also be incredibly competitive and react very badly to any form of criticism. That competitive nature often pushes ISFPs towards risky activities such as gambling or extreme sports – and they also tend to do quite well in those fields, mostly because they are so in touch with the physical environment.
ISFPs often find it very difficult to follow a structured process and consequently may do quite poorly at school. However, their spontaneity and other personality traits make ISFPs very artistic and give them a great sense of aesthetics – people with this type may fall behind in the academic environment, but they can truly shine in the field that utilizes their talents while also giving the ISFP a sufficient degree of freedom.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that ISFP personalities are very goal-driven, and shape their internal principles and rules around those goals. This liberates ISFPs from social expectations and constraints, for better or for worse. If the ISFP’s goal is good and noble, they can be very selfless, amazingly charitable and inspiring; however, if the ISFP decides to pursue a selfish goal, they can become very ego-centric and even conniving, doing everything they can to achieve that goal. People with this personality type should be aware of these tendencies and question their own motives and reasoning from time to time.