We all know someone who approaches life as if they are creating a work of art. Every moment is a blank canvas and an opportunity to fill the room space with joy, growth, and great memories. These people take advantage of the time they have with others and build strong connections, writing love stories everywhere they go. Every day is a work of art, and every day is an adventure.
These people, or The Adventurers, are probably ISFPs.
Not sure if you're an ISFP? Learn more about the Myers Briggs Test to find out!
What Does ISFP Stand For?
ISFP is one of 16 personality types as described by researchers Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother, Katharine Briggs. Inspired by the work of Carl Jung, these researchers made a huge impact on how we describe ourselves to others. The traits of an ISFP are I, S, F, and P.
The 16 personalities are used in the workplace, in psychology, and among friends who just want to chat about their respective traits.
We’ll begin by talking about the different traits that make an ISFP such a great adventurer.
“I” stands for introvert (as opposed to extrovert.) An introvert is more likely to be focused on their internal thoughts and feelings, rather than outside stimulation. Introverts are not necessarily shy, but they do gain more energy from reflecting on their own feelings than by surrounding themselves with other people and external stimulants. The adventure is not just one of physical feats and winning a prize - they see life as an adventure of growth, resilience, and perseverance.
S is for sensing (as opposed to intuition.) This is also identified as “observant.” Rather than relying on intuition, ISFPs use real-time facts and observations to interpret what is happening around them. What happened in the past or the future matters less than what is going on in the present. ISFPs look for the most obvious solutions and use straightforward, logical methods of thinking to help them get there.
F is for feeling (as opposed to thinking.) Of course, people with both “feeling” and “thinking” in their personality type can do the other. ISFPs may rely more on how they, and more importantly others, feel. They thrive off of living in their emotions. If they want to make a decision, they are also more likely to ask around for opinions instead of doing research in textbooks. This often means they feel the weight of the world and empathize with others and their stories.
Finally, P is for perception (as opposed to judgment.) Although “judgers” tend to enjoy structure, people with perception in their personality type are likely to keep their options open. (This trait is also known as “prospecting.”) ISFPs logically see all of the possibilities in front of them, and know that there is always more to learn about a situation. This is one of the reasons why an ISFP keeps an open mind. They know, logically, when another person may have a different perspective or that there is always another way to look at a problem. Everyone is on their own adventure, and ISFPs acknowledge that as they move throughout the world.
These four traits together create a person who sees art and beauty in every present moment. They are excited about every adventure that comes their way, from the moment they start the journey to the moment they reflect on what they have learned. People with this personality type are also called “The Composer,” and they certainly do a great job at making beautiful “music” out of life!
There is more to the 16 personalities than just these four sets of traits. Each of the 16 personalities performs four out of eight “functions.” These functions, inspired by the work of Carl Jung, describe how we make decisions and choose the next leg of our “adventure.”
Not all functions are performed at equal rates. The dominant function of ISFP types is Introverted Feeling (Fi.) ISFPs are more focused on their personal feelings and concerns rather than taking a practical approach or processing logical information. Their decision-making greatly relies upon their “gut instinct” and personal emotions. They have a strong system of beliefs and values, contributing to their judgment of other people/ideas.
Next is the auxiliary function of ISFP types: Extroverted Sensing (Se.) This function causes ISFPs to have a strong connection with their immediate surroundings, leading them to live in the present moment. They have a great sense of small sensory details in their environment and will quickly recognize changes. Overall, they use their senses to process the world around them.
The tertiary function of ISFP types is Introverted Intuition (Ni.) ISFPs use this function to take intuitive leaps based on the specific information gathered from past & present experiences. If they experience a “gut feeling,” they will connect it to other patterns or ideas they understand, leading them to jump to conclusions or experience epiphanies.
Last is the inferior function of ISFP types: Extroverted Thinking (Te.) As their weakest function, ISFPs will rely on this function in certain situations where an organization is needed. They aren’t skilled in organizing, but when they feel it is necessary, ISFPs will use this function to focus on details to determine the most efficient way to solve a problem.
Real-Life Examples of Famous ISFPs
You probably won’t be surprised to learn that some of the most famous ISFPs are artists and musicians! These are people who have truly embarked on an adventure throughout their life. Not every ISFP shares that adventure with the public, but here are a few that do:
- Britney Spears
- Michael Jackson
- Paul McCartney
- Lady Gaga
- Kurt Cobain
- Marilyn Monroe
- John Travolta
- Paris Hilton
- David Beckham
- Pablo Picasso
- Bob Ross
In addition to an artist or the frontman of the most famous band in history, ISFPs make great architects, designers, and graphic designers.
Strengths and Weaknesses of ISFPs
ISFPs make a lot of friends on their adventures. Their passion for life and the joy they find in each present moment makes them a magnetic person. Who wouldn’t want to hang out with Lady Gaga or Bob Ross? Here are some of the ways you might describe the ISFPs in your life:
- Sensitive to Others
- Bold & Spontaneous
But not everyone sees life like a constant adventure. ISFPs can run into problems when they are stuck with tedious tasks or are placed in groups where people clash with their passionate personalities. Everyone has weaknesses, and here are some common weaknesses among ISFPs:
- Easily Stressed
- Overly Competitive
- Fluctuating Self-Esteem
- Too Sensitive
- Indecisive & Unpredictable
- Easily Bored
- Lack of Future Planning
Basic Stats of ISFPs
ISFPs make up about 9% of the general population, and are pretty evenly balanced between men and women. One in 10 women are ISFPs, and around one in 12 men are ISFPs.
Working and Living with ISFPs
Maybe you aren’t an ISFP, but your coworker or partner is! Understanding the motivations of an ISFP is a great way to connect with them further. The great thing about personality tests like the Myers Briggs test is that they show just how different we are. If you can meet an ISFP (or any personality type) at their level, you increase the chance of building a strong, meaningful relationship.
ISFPs At Work
The words “adventure” and “work” are rarely used in the same sentence. Adventurers are not likely to dedicate themselves to the 9-5 grind. Climbing the corporate ladder, or having any long-term career goals, is rarely their priority. But this doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t work. They will get their stuff done, provided that they are given the freedom to do it in their own way. Don’t breathe down your ISFP employee’s neck. Trust them, and they will show you loyalty and turn in creative work.
Are the ISFPs at your office likely to become a manager and be your boss? Only if they are really passionate about the job at hand. Otherwise, they make a great colleague. Don’t be afraid to remind them that they are doing a great job!
In their personal relationships, ISFPs are very warmhearted and gentle people. They value commitment and loyalty and seek lifelong relationships. If you can provide that, you will get the most exciting friendship in return. ISFPs aren’t going to spend their days debating for fun or causing drama. They would much rather pack a bag and go paddleboarding or drive around town. Friendship, to ISFPs, is about having someone to enjoy their adventures with.
There is a downside to focusing on fun and spontaneity. ISFPs aren’t completely devoid of conflict - they just tend not to focus on when things are bothering them. They are very reserved and may hide their feelings from the people in their lives, which can cause conflict if they begin to feel ignored or overlooked by others.
This isn’t to say that you should tell ISFPs how to handle conflict or be a friend. ISFPs want freedom - “freedom” is synonymous with “adventure.” And that means the freedom to be the person they are and live how they want to live. If you think something is bothering your ISFP friend, gently give them the space to share their feelings and assure them that you are not going to judge their emotions. Then, follow through. Creating a non-judgemental, fun, and loyal relationship is the best way to keep an ISFP by your side.
ISFP Compatibility and Romantic Relationships
In romantic relationships, ISFPs are highly emotional but prefer to focus on their partner’s emotions. They would rather listen than express themselves and try not to allow their feelings to navigate situations in their relationship. They make sure their partner feels loved and that the connection remains exciting long-term.
ISFPs connect best with other people who have Sensing in their personality type, including ESFPs, ISTPs, and ISFJs. An ISFP’s perfect love match is an ESFJ: the counsel. The two of them make a dynamic duo, and the ESFJ can bring the ISFP back down to Earth when they are off on their adventures.
You can learn more about ISFPs, both as an ISFP or as someone who works with one, by checking out the ISFP subreddit!
Assertive vs. Turbulent ISFPs
In addition to the four traits listed at the beginning of this video, ISFPs may hold one of two additional traits: assertive or turbulent. This pair of traits was more recently added to the 16 personalities theory. As we wrap up this video, let’s look at what it means to be an ISFP-A and an ISFP-T.
Assertive Adventurers (ISFP-A) – Assertive ISFPs are more confident and interested in new experiences. They are less likely to feel stressed about others’ problems or opinions, making it harder for them to work well with others, depending on the situation.
Turbulent Adventurers (ISFP-T) – While most turbulent types are more doubtful in themselves, turbulent ISFPs are more likely to feel confident with themselves. However, ISFP-Ts are sensitive to stressful situations and can sense when problems need attention before snowballing into a greater issue.