ISFP in Relationships
Watch the ISFP Relationships video above and tell us what you think in the video comments.
What is an ISFP?
ISFP stands for:
ISFPs are calm, friendly, and artistic, being well-liked by the other types. They are sensitive but also tough – able to face criticism and solve problems, always moving forward diligently. With strong morals and the drive to help others, they make great friends, partners, and family members.
As introverts, they enjoy time alone and prefer a smaller circle of friends. Their sensing trait means they focus on facts and details. They are feelers who value and understand emotions, and perceivers who are flexible and interested in learning new things.
ISFP Common Traits
- Take time to open up to people but very caring towards their friends
- Strong morals and values (which they hold themselves and others to)
- Dislike people who seem false
- Enjoy using all their senses to experience the world
- More interested in people and experiences than material things
- Creative and stylish
Along with their four-letter description, each MBTI type has a ‘function stack’, which goes into more detail of how their personality specifically works. The ISFP function stack includes Fi-Se-Ni-Te.
Introverted Feeling (Fi), the ISFP’s dominant function, makes the ISFP type very value-focused. They form their morals, beliefs and values through their emotions (internal feelings). They consider how they would like to be treated, and use that as a compass as to how to treat others. These values are very strong, and ISFPs spend time and energy making sure their values and morals are right – and use them to guide their lives. ISFPs are sensitive and caring, honorable, honest, and authentic. They dislike people who don’t represent these traits. Fi cares deeply and enjoys authenticity and uniqueness over falseness. Sometimes, however, ISFPs can become too inflexible in their values, and struggle to see things from another’s point of view.
Extroverted Sensing (Se), the ISFP’s auxiliary function, is how the ISFP observes and internalizes information. They live in the moment and take in their surroundings; they are usually grounded and playful. At its best, Se is carefree and fun, logical and honest, and productive. At its worst, it is impatient and impulsive. ISFPs love the physical world and sensory experiences, and must enjoy these in a healthy way (and in moderation).
Introverted Intuition (Ni), the ISFP’s tertiary function, pulls together the information learned from Fi and Se. Ni collates data, looks for patterns, and provides answers. It connects the ISFP’s beliefs and values with the evidence they’ve gained from the outside world. This gives the ISFP strong gut instincts and problem-solving skills.
Extroverted Thinking (Te), the ISFP’s inferior function, is where the ISFP improves their processes and beliefs. Although it’s their weakest function, Te runs in the background to help the ISFP problem solve (like Ni). But Te conflicts with Fi, meaning it can undermine Fi’s strong values and cause uncertainty in Te. Developing their inferior function helps all types to become more well-rounded and aware of their weaknesses.
So, now you know what an ISFP is, how does this relate to their relationships?
ISFP Relationships: Communication Style
The sensitive and caring ISFP feels deeply and wants their loved ones to be happy. They show dedication with actions rather than words. ISFPs are also very observant. They tend to know if something is wrong, and their strong values will ensure they do what they can to fix it.
ISFPs are very well-liked people, although they keep their circle small. They’re positive, patient, rarely speak badly of others, and are protective of their friends. In saying this, they can take some time to warm up and open up to people. But once they do, they’ll show this very clearly and care with enthusiasm.
Because they take a while to open up, they can be seen by some as overly modest or cold. But ISFPs always have good intentions and you can trust that even when they aren’t being direct and clear, they typically don’t mean any harm. Despite their very strong values, they are flexible, patient, and non-judgmental. They want you to be happy, as this will make them happy, and they see the best in people.
They aren’t incredibly talkative, and prefer to keep subjects light and positive. Friends and partners of ISFPs may wish for deeper conversations or more honesty. ISFPs also don’t like to listen for a long period of time. Although they’re good friends, conversation isn’t their strong point, and they can ‘zone out’. They can be mysterious and it’s important that people remember they do have feelings and need support – they’re just quiet about it.
Unless they’re talking to someone they know well, they’ll be very uncomfortable answering personal questions. They’re observant and interested in making others feel good – they don’t want to be the center of attention. However, they are interested in speaking about their passions and creative endeavors. If they have a current artistic project they’re working on, ask them about it.
The ISFP’s creative side can be underappreciated even by themselves. They can also be very intelligent, but again will be talented quietly. Friends, family and partners can make the ISFP feel better by complimenting and showing pride in their artistic endeavors – whether it’s a big creative project, what they’re wearing, or the way they decorate their home.
In group or professional settings, the ISFP has no wish for control or leadership. They prefer to sit back, observe, and help how they can as part of the team. Speaking in a group is definitely not the ISFPs comfort zone – they’re more likely to offer opinions one-on-one. Despite preferring to work behind the scenes, they love being noticed and appreciated for their hard work.
When offering criticism or feedback to an ISFP, do so gently and with caution. Again, their sensitivity can cause them grief when it comes to this, and you may think they are overreacting, but their negative emotions are real. They hold themselves to high standards and will feel guilty and shameful if others accuse them of not meeting those standards.
ISFP Dating and Compatibility
ISFPs are committed and serious in relationships, despite their live-in-the-moment attitude. They want to devote themselves to someone for life. They are simple in the way they show love, and aren’t afraid to show you they love you. Actions speak louder than words for the ISFP in romantic relationships. They are more likely to show love by doing, not talking, and value physical touch.
They don’t tend to be planners – they live in the moment and are very present and grounded. Their sensory aspect makes them artistic and excitable. In relationships, this can present as the ISFP being easy-going and enjoying the relationship for what it is, rather than looking too far into the future or worrying.
Don’t forget, however, that despite their easy-going nature, ISFPs are sensitive. They need fulfilling relationships with people who want to get to know them, and who also have strong morals. If there are too many arguments, the ISFP will be very unsettled. Disagreements in relationships are normal, but the ISFP’s partner should be cautious not to be mean.
Most of the time, unless very agitated, an ISFP prefers to keep their opinions and needs quiet, rather than cause or risk conflict, especially with their partner. Don’t mistake their quietness and lack of boundaries as them not also having needs and a depth of emotions. Unfortunately, ISFPs are easy to take advantage of. They have to be pushed to their limits to snap, and if they do, know you have crossed boundaries; they aren’t just overreacting. But they dislike this feeling and will avoid it if possible, and feel very guilty after snapping.
ISFP’s significant others should put effort into uncovering the ISFP’s needs, and ensure they feel safe to share their feelings. However, ISFPs need to make their needs heard so their partner can meet them. If the partner is not willing to prioritize their needs at all, they should re-evaluate the relationship instead of just backing down.
ISFP Top Romantic Matches
All Myers-Briggs types can establish a good romantic relationship with maturity and good communication, but some types are more likely to be drawn to each other based on compatible traits.
ISFPs may struggle most with relationships with other ISFPs, as they are both introverted and conflict-avoiding. This could result in a lack of communication leading to resentment and needs not being met.
ISFPs, because they are so friendly, easy-going and quiet in their talents, need a partner who balances these traits; someone who won’t take advantage of them, is a bit more organized/ambitious, and appreciates them. The ESFJ is a great match for an ISFP, since they both love people, physical touch and actions over words. They also have enough differences balance each other.
Other good matches:
- ESTJ – meet each other’s needs well and are both energetic and loyal
- INFP – both are simultaneously emotional and easy-going, so they’ll understand each other on this level
- ENFP – their extroverted nature helps the ISFP open up
ISFP Relationships: Parents & Children
The ISFP is strong and serious in their role as a parent. Despite being easy-going, they parent diligently, loyally and with great care. They work hard to create a safe, stable space for their children and family. Because their family, and their role in the family, is one of their greatest values, they put a huge amount of effort into parenting, providing for both the physical and emotional needs of their children.
The creative, sensory and calm ISFP enjoys teaching their children the value of playing outside, doing crafts, or completing household projects. They’re far less likely to allow their children to watch movies all day, or play video games. They want their children to learn in a trial-by-error manner, so they give them plenty of freedom.
With the high standards they hold themselves to in their role as parents, ISFPs can risk becoming exhausted from always providing for everyone’s every need. They need to be shown appreciation for their hard work, and be offered help. They love to provide, but they’re still only human.
ISFP parents will always be supportive, often not stepping in when they disagree with something their child is doing, and not saying ‘I told you so’ when something they knew would go wrong, does go wrong. Instead they step right in to support their child through the fallout (for example, a breakup with a partner the ISFP parent didn’t approve of). Their warmth and easy-going nature are much appreciated by the children.
As children, ISFPs are similar to their adult counterparts – creative and well-liked. They tend to have plenty of friends and be loved by their family. They spend a lot of time outside playing, enjoying the sensory world, and creating art. ISFP children are gentle, kind and relaxed.
See our list of books for the ISFP Personality Type that can help you with relationships and other life aspects.
Are you an ISFP?
If you’re not sure, click here to find a test.
If you are an ISFP, subscribe and join your special mailing list below for more videos and information about the ISFP personality type.