ISFP: The Artist (Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving)

An Overview of the ISFP Personality Type

People with an ISFP personality—the Adventurers—have Introverted, Observant, Feeling, and Prospecting personality traits. Unlike extroverts, who gain energy from interacting with other people, introverts must expend energy around others. ISFP is a four-letter code representing one of the 16 personality types identified by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

ISFP Personality Type
Illustration by JR Bee, Verywell

Key ISFP Characteristics

According to David Keirsey, the creator of the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, approximately 5 to 10 percent of people have an ISFP personality type. They typically share a few common strengths and weaknesses.

ISFP is the opposite of ENTJ ("the commander": extraverted, intuitive, thinking, judging).

ISFP Strengths

Positive attributes of ISFPs include:

  • A peaceful, caring, and considerate nature. They're kind, friendly, and sensitive, with an easygoing attitude. They tend to accept other people as they are.
  • Great attention to detail. Their quiet calmness lends itself to tasks that require care and focus.
  • Focus on the present. They spend more time thinking about the here and now than worrying about the future.
  • Diligence. They tend to be doers rather than dreamers.
  • Practicality. ISFPs don't do well with abstract theories unless they can see some type of practical application. They excel at projects and in learning situations that involve hands-on activity.

ISFP Weaknesses

As with all personality types, the positive traits of ISFPs have another side:

  • Indecisiveness. They like to keep their options open, so they often delay making decisions to see if things change or new options arise.
  • Trouble with abstract ideas. ISFPs don't do well with abstract theories unless they can see some type of practical application. They prefer learning situations that involve gaining hands-on experience.
  • Avoidance of conflict. Although this can be a positive in many situations, it also means they tend to bury issues rather than deal with them head-on.
  • Introversion. They typically need space and "alone time" after interacting with others.
Strengths
  • Very aware of their environment

  • Practical

  • Enjoys hands-on learning

  • Loyal to values and beliefs

Weaknesses
  • Dislikes abstract, theoretical information

  • Reserved and quiet

  • Strong need for personal space

  • Dislikes arguments and conflict

Cognitive Functions in ISFPs

The MBTI identifies four key cognitive functions (thinking, feeling, intuition, and sensing) that are either directed outwardly (extraverted) or inwardly (introverted). The hierarchical order to these functions is what determines each individual's unique personality.

Dominant: Introverted Feeling

  • ISFPs care more about personal concerns rather than objective, logical information.
  • People with this personality type deal with information and experiences based upon how they feel about them.
  • ISFPs have their own value system and create spontaneous judgments based upon how things fit with their own idea.

Auxiliary: Extraverted Sensing

  • People with ISFP personalities are very in tune with the world around them. They are very much attuned to sensory information and are keenly aware when even small changes take place in their immediate environment. Because of this, they often place a high emphasis on aesthetics and appreciate the fine arts.
  • They are focused on the present moment, taking in new information and then taking action. They have a strong sense of their immediate surroundings, often noticing small details that others might overlook. When remembering events from the past, they are able to recall strong visual imagery and sights, smells, and sounds can evoke powerful memories associated with those senses.

Tertiary: Introverted Intuition

  • This function tends to run in the background, feeding off of the extraverted sensing function.
  • As ISFPs take in details about the world, they often develop "gut feelings" about events and situations. While they generally do not like abstract concepts or ideas, this introverted intuition function may lead them to experience epiphanies about themselves and others.

Inferior: Extraverted Thinking

  • One weakness that ISFPs may have is in organizing, although they may use this function more prominently in certain situations.
  • This function is all about looking for the most efficient way to do something. An ISFP might become focused on being very precise about the details and finding the most effective way to express an idea.

ISFPs You Might Know

  • Marilyn Monroe, actress
  • Auguste Rodin, sculptor
  • David Beckham, soccer player
  • Neil Simon, playwright
  • Harry Potter, fictional character

Personal Relationships With ISFPs

ISFPs are introverted. They tend to be reserved and quiet, especially around people they do not know well. They prefer spending time with a close group of family and friends.

ISFPs are very private and keep their true feelings to themselves. In some cases, they may avoid sharing their thoughts, feelings and opinions with other people in their life, even their romantic partners. Because they prefer not to share their innermost feelings and try to avoid conflict, they often defer to the needs or demands of others.

ISFPs have strong values but are not concerned with trying to convince other people to share them. They care deeply about other people, particularly their closest friends and family. They are action-oriented and tend to show their care and concern through action rather than discussing feelings or expressing sentiments.

They're usually compatible with:

  • ISTPs (the crafter: introverted, sensing, thinking, perceiving)
  • ISFJs (the protector: introverted, sensing, feeling, judging)
  • ESFPs (the performer: extraverted, sensing, feeling, perceiving)
  • Other ISFPs

After spending time with people, introverts often find that they need time alone. Because of this, they typically prefer to intermingle with a small group of close friends and family members.

Career Paths for ISFPs

People with ISFP personalities love animals and have a strong appreciation for nature. They may seek out jobs or hobbies that put them in contact with the outdoors and with animals.

Because ISFPs prefer to focus on the present, they often do well in careers that are concerned with practical, real-world problems. Jobs that offer a great deal of personal freedom and autonomy are especially appealing to ISFPs.

Popular ISFP Careers

  • Artist
  • Composer or musician
  • Chef
  • Designer
  • Forest ranger
  • Nurse
  • Naturalist
  • Pediatrician
  • Psychologist
  • Social worker
  • Teacher
  • Veterinarian

Tips for Interacting With ISFPs

Friendships

  • ISFPs are friendly and get along well with other people, but they typically need to get to know you well before they really open up.
  • You can be a good friend to an ISFP by being supporting an accepting of who they are.
  • ISFPs can be light-hearted and fun, but they are also quite intense at times. Recognize that there will be times when your friend wants to share and times when he or she will want to retreat to a more personal space.

Parenting

  • ISFP children tend to be perfectionists and can be their own harshest critics.
  • Because they place such high expectations on themselves, they often underestimate or undervalue their own skills and talents.
  • If you are a parent to ISFP child, you can help your child by encouraging them to be kind to themselves and recognize their value.

Relationships

  • ISFPs are very considerate in relationships, often to the point that they continually defer to their partners.
  • Because they are usually not good at expressing their own feelings and needs, it is important that you make an effort to understand your partner.
  • When making decisions, ensure that your partner's voice is heard and their feelings are given equal weight.
3 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Fishman I, Ng R, Bellugi U. Do extraverts process social stimuli differently from introvertsCogn Neurosci. 2011;2(2):67-73. doi:10.1080/17588928.2010.527434

  2. Murie J. Knowing me, knowing you: personality and peer appraisalBr J Gen Pract. 2010;60(574):382-384. doi:10.3399/bjgp10X502001

  3. Myers & Briggs Foundation. MBTI basics.

Additional Reading

By Kendra Cherry
Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.