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According to the Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator, people with an ISFP (Introversion, Sensing, Feeling, Perception) personality demonstrate many bold traits. These individuals do not live by the status quo; they test the limits of societal ideals and beliefs. Their perspectives regarding beauty, beliefs, and behaviors makes them unique. They abhor labels, compartmentalization, and structure.
This “explorer” is typically an artistic person who loves to push the limits in life, at work, and with others. They usually love to create and design, challenging norms through these creations. Their ultimate goal is to redefine the concept of “beauty”. They strive to brighten others’ lives, mostly through softening the hearts of others with compliments and kind words. Living in a vibrant, sensual world that is inspired by the connections between human thoughts and behaviors, some may describe an ISFP individual as being “otherworldly”. People with an ISFP personality enjoy reinterpreting these links, studying the connections, and offering new perspectives on them. They excel at experimentation. Moreover, their characteristics make them spontaneous and often unpredictable. Their biggest challenge is planning for the future.
Although ISFPs are known for their passions, these characteristics may lead to risky behavior. These individuals can be more prone to engage in unsafe activities, such as gambling, drug abuse, addictions, and dangerous sports. In addition, ISFPs have a higher risk than most of becoming enraged when others criticize and belittle them. In other words, they do not disengage from challenges easily. However, once they have had time to calm down, they are capable of forgiving and moving on. As ISFPs enjoy connecting with others, their irresistible charm allows them to create and maintain excellent relationships. They are sensitive to others’ feelings, helping them achieve peace and harmony, which they value.
People with an ISFP personality type make up about 5 to 10 percent of the general population. Their work ethic depends on many external factors. They thrive on space—restrictive work environments that have a lot of rules, regulations, guidelines, and limitations do not work for ISFP personality types. They are least productive when their employers try to control them. They do not function well in a work environment rife with micromanagement. Their spontaneity, charisma, and search for excitement make them work better when given independence. However, these traits can lead to unpredictability, as they may lack the ability to concentrate and focus. Employers can become frustrated with their unpredictability, risk-taking, and unconventional work ethic. The best way to get ISFPs to be the most productive at work is to give them specific goals to accomplish and then the space to make it happen.
Rarely do ISFPs act and behave as others do. Regardless, they are known for getting their tasks completed on time. When given the ideal work environments, these individuals are excellent workers, eager learners, and expert problem-solvers. They are especially good with people—helping co-workers and managers tackle work-related issues. Although most people like to be around this personality type, they tend to be more on the shy side. In fact, most people would probably describe these individuals as humble or timid, as they are quick to help and without seeking recognition or praise.
ISFPs prefer spontaneity to structure, so they tend to excel at jobs that allow them to experiment and those that provide them with freedom. These individuals tend to be “trendsetters,” even though many do not see themselves that way. They also are inclined to be artistic, seeing the world through vibrantly colored lenses. They are unique and typically see the world differently from others. Ideal jobs for the ISFP type are designers, photographers, writers, musicians, actors/actresses, and/or painters/sculptors. Moreover, they usually avoid 9 to 5 jobs, like administrative work (in a tiny, cramped cubicle). They flourish in volunteer positions, working with charities or building houses for those in need. Some enter the freelance world or act as consultants for companies.
ISFPs may have a difficult time in relationships. They are typically guarded when it comes to their hearts. They are also mysterious and quiet, which makes it hard to get to know them. They are emotional beings, who prefer to listen to others, rather than share their own issues and problems. When ISFPs do allow themselves to fall in love, they focus solely on the happiness and well-being of their partners, which sometimes causes them to neglect their own needs, wants, and feelings. Unfortunately, these characteristics can be quite annoying and frustrating to partners or potential partners, who want them to express more feelings.
However, if their partners allow them to be themselves and accept them for whom they are, the relationships can flourish. As in their personal lives and places of employment, these individuals need space to grow and develop in relationships. If their partners can accept that, ISFPs are loving, warm, charming, and enthusiastic partners. They are also spontaneous, so they need partners that love surprises and are not afraid to live in the moment. It is important for partners of ISFPs to understand that they are not long-term planners, so if an event needs to be scheduled in advance, it is best they do it, because ISFPs will not.
As friends and parents, ISFPs are loyal and loving. They love to surprise their friends and children with gifts. They place their children first, above all else, so if their children are sick, they will cancel plans just to take care of them and nurse them back to health. ISFPs enjoy spending time with their partners, children, and friends, and they make every effort to let them know just how much they are loved and appreciated. ISFPs perform acts of kindness for others, not because they are expected to but because they want to. They care about their loved ones and want them to know they can always depend on them. Those involved with an ISFP should demonstrate their appreciation, even through a simple “thank you”.
- R. Y. Langham, PhD, Author Melissa Lavery, MS, Editor