ISFPs are often gentle and sensitive people who like to understand where they fit in the world. To this end, they will sometimes explore systems like the MBTI to see how they fit within it and how they can understand and help other people better. These explorations can be extremely beneficial for this type but they can also be derailed by mistyping mistakes that cloud the issues of who they are and how they should grow.
ISFP General Strengths and Weaknesses
ISFPs are quiet types who have a lot to offer to the world. They’re naturally imaginative and analytical, so they can bring a lot of new ideas and innovations to the world at large. These ideas are usually focused on helping other people in some way. Because this type uses introverted feeling as their dominant, they have a lot of empathy for the struggles and worries of the people around them. This is why this type often ends up working in the humanitarian sector, their understanding of emotion usually drives them to help in whatever way they can. ISFPs also use extraverted sensing as their auxiliary function. This pushes them to be independent and open-minded and to explore everything the world has to offer. This makes them warm and pleasant companions who help to minimize conflict and unrest in the people around them.
Like most types who use extraverted sensing, ISFPs dislike rules, expectations and restrictions more than anything else in the world. This type doesn’t see the point of following rules or living according to a specific lifestyle just because others tell them to or because it’s tradition. Because of this dislike, even the gentle ISFP will fiercely resist anyone who tries to force them into this type of life. This can cause a lot of conflict between the ISFP and people who are more traditionally minded, and it also makes certain career paths difficult for this type.
Common Type Confusions
ISFPs usually mistype as INFJs. It may seem quite strange that a sensing type, one who uses a sensing learning style, should mistype as an intuitive type, but ISFPs are usually extremely sensitive and intuitive, which makes this mistyping very common. This serious type uses their introverted feeling function to constantly analyse their own emotions to determine the value and direction of their present and their future. This can make them look a lot like INFJs, who naturally do the same thing.
INFJs have extraverted feeling as their auxiliary, which explains their deep connections to emotions and to other people. In contrast, ISFPs use introverted feeling as a dominant and extraverted sensing as an auxiliary. The combined work of these two functions can operate very much like the INFJs extraverted feeling. It’s also helped along by their tertiary function introverted intuition, which is underdeveloped in this type but often gives their analysis a future focus that intensifies the similarities between these two types. This combination gives ISFPs a strong compulsion to explore the external world, and because ISFPs are focused on emotions, this usually means that they prefer to explore the emotions of the people around them. And this is almost exactly how INFJs move through the world.
Common Confusions Comparisons
Exploring the differences between these two types isn’t easy as they’re both introverts and tend to hide or conceal their dominant functions when around other people. ISFPs also often feel very different to the people around them because of their sensitivity and may strongly identify with being the rare INFJ type. All of this can get in the way of the way of ISFPs being typed correctly.
However, looking at the dominant functions of these two types should make the differences clear. INFJs lead with introverted intuition. This is future focused and tracks the patterns of the world to predict how the future will look. When it’s functioning well, the predictions of this type will be right far more often than they’re wrong. This causes INFJs to create very detailed plans for the future. In contrast, ISFPs use introverted feeling as their dominant and introverted intuition as their tertiary. This means that they can create plans for the future, but their dominant function would much prefer to analyse their own emotions and use them to create art, a preference which distinguishes them from INFJs.
Unusual Type Confusions
ISFPs can also mistype as INFP. This is due to their sensitive, analytical nature. They also use introverted intuition as a tertiary and may over rely on this if they haven’t developed their auxiliary function enough. Relying on the tertiary function rather than an auxiliary is a common mistake that all MBTI types make. This mistake can make ISFPs even more analytical and give their musings a future focus that makes them appear like an intuitive type. ISFPs usually mistype as INFPs when they type themselves based on online tests which examine behavior rather than the cognitive functions. This is an incomplete and often problematic way to use the MBTI system generally and to determine type more specifically.
Unusual Confusions Comparisons
Looking at the cognitive functions can reveal the differences between INFPs and ISFPs. Both of these types use introverted feeling as their dominant, but their auxiliary is very different. INFPs have extraverted intuition as their auxiliary. This function explores the world looking for patterns. It’s also highly theoretical and is very rarely interested in practical or concrete ideas or pastimes. In contrast, ISFPs use extraverted sensing as their auxiliary. This function also explores the world looking for new things but it focuses on the concrete. This is a sensing function, so it focuses on what it can see, hear, taste, smell, see and experience. It isn’t interested in abstract ideas. So where an INFPs will feel satisfied learning about or experiencing something theoretical for its own sake, ISFPs will either get bored or make the idea practical by turning it into or expressing it as art.
The practical, sensitive ISFP needs to know that the MBTI system will benefit their life in tangible ways to be truly interested in it over the long term. And this won’t happen if they mistype themselves based on behavior or incomplete online tests. They need to overcome these issues and come to understand their own cognitive functions and how they use them to really enjoy the full benefits that this typing system can offer.
- “Introverted Feeling (Fi)“. Jan 16, 2013. (Retrieved Apr 2019).
- Storm, Susan. “How Ech Myers-Briggs® Type Uses Their Tertiary Function“. Nov 20, 2017. (Retrieved Apr 2019).
- Irish, Chelsea. “Developing “Sensation” for ISFPs and ISTPs“. Apr 03, 2017. (Retrieved Apr 2019).
- ISFP – The Artist.
- INFP – The Idealist.
- INFJ – The Counselor.