An introduction to the ISFP personality type, AKA the Composer, according to the theory created by Isabel Briggs Myers.

ISFP in a Nutshell

ISFPs are gentle caretakers who live in the present moment and enjoy their surroundings with cheerful, low-key enthusiasm. They are flexible and spontaneous, and like to go with the flow to enjoy what life has to offer. ISFPs are quiet and unassuming, and may be hard to get to know. However, to those who know them well, the ISFP is warm and friendly, eager to share in life's many experiences.

ISFPs have a strong aesthetic sense and seek out beauty in their surroundings. They are attuned to sensory experience, and often have a natural talent for the arts. ISFPs especially excel at manipulating objects, and may wield creative tools like paintbrushes and sculptor's knives with great mastery.

What Makes the ISFP Tick

ISFPs tend to be tolerant and nonjudgmental, but are deeply loyal to the people and causes that matter to them. They endeavor to accept and support other people, but are ultimately guided by their own core values. They will typically look for ways to be accommodating and may have difficulty dealing with others who are not willing to do the same.

ISFPs are typically modest and may underestimate themselves. They usually do not like to be in the spotlight, preferring instead to take a supporting role, and will avoid planning and organizing whenever possible. Sensitive and responsive, they step in to do what needs to be done and are satisfied by their personal sense of being helpful to others.

Recognizing an ISFP

ISFPs can be difficult to recognize because of their tendency to express themselves through action rather than words. They may initially appear distant or aloof, but if you watch closely, you can observe their caring in the thoughtful things they do for others. They are carefully observant of the practical needs of other people, and often step in with quiet, unassuming assistance at just the moment it is needed. ISFPs prefer to take a supportive role and are rarely assertive or demanding of attention. They are typically tolerant and accepting of others.

ISFPs typically have finely tuned artistic sensibilities. They are sensitive to color, texture, and tone, and often have an innate sense of what will be aesthetically pleasing. They are often naturals when it comes to arranging something artistically, and enjoy the process of taking in the sensations around them. ISFPs focus mostly on the experiences of the present moment, and are rarely ambitious, preferring instead to enjoy the simple pleasures of life: friends, family, and sensory delights such as food, music, and art.

For more information: The Art of SpeedReading People

ISFP in the Population

ISFP is the fourth most common type in the population. ISFPs make up:

  • 9% of the general population
  • 10% of women
  • 8% of men

Popular Hobbies

Popular hobbies for ISFPs are those that use their physical or artistic skills, including independent athletics like skiing or swimming, dance, and craft projects. ISFPs also enjoy entertaining in intimate groups and exploring art and nature.

Famous ISFPs

Famous ISFPs include Cher, Barbra Streisand, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Bob Dylan, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Jimi Hendrix, and Michael Jackson.

For more information: Famous ISFPs

Research on ISFP

Interesting facts about the ISFP:

  • On personality trait measures, score as Easygoing
  • Among types most likely to report heart disease and hypertension
  • In college, likely to report low levels of assertiveness
  • In essays, projected themselves the fewest number of years into the future of all the types
  • Among the types least likely to stay in college
  • Most likely of all types to report stress associated with finances and children
  • In a national sample, likely to value a work environment which provides security, clear and simple instructions, and no expectation of extra work hours
  • Underrepresented among MBA students and small business owners
  • Commonly found in occupations in health care, business, and law enforcement

What the Experts Say

"The work of their hands is usually more eloquent than anything they say."

- Isabel Briggs Myers, Gifts Differing

"The Composers are attuned to sensory variation, which gives them an extraordinary ability to work with the slightest nuances of color, tone, texture, aroma, and flavor."

- David Keirsey, Please Understand Me II

"It is this type more than any of the others whose style it is to stand by another person (or plant or animal), with no intention to influence it, criticize it, or change it—perhaps not even to interact with it—only to be in its presence."

- Otto Kroeger, Type Talk at Work

At Work

ISFP at Work

ISFPs want to feel personally engaged with their work, and seek careers which allow them to express themselves or participate in a cause they believe in. ISFPs typically enjoy hands-on activities, and often gain satisfaction when they can create a tangible result from their efforts. An ideal job for an ISFP allows them to clearly observe the fruits of their labor, in a context that feels significant and consistent with their values.

ISFPs like a courteous, cooperative work environment where they can work quietly, with support when they need it. Because ISFPs are so tuned to their physical surroundings, it's often important to them that their work environment is aesthetically pleasing.

ISFPs generally prefer to keep a low profile and do not usually like to be in positions that require them to speak publicly or lead large groups. Although they often prefer to work independently, when they do work with others, ISFPs want their colleagues to be flexible, supportive, and loyal to the team.

Least Popular Careers for ISFPs

It is important to note that any personality type can be successful in any occupation. However, some occupations are well suited to the natural talents and preferred work style of the ISFP, while other occupations demand modes of thinking and behavior that do not come as naturally to the ISFP. Occupations that require the ISFP to operate outside their natural preferences may prove stressful or draining, and often sound unappealing to ISFPs who are choosing a career.

The following occupations have been found to be unpopular among ISFPs, based on data gathered from surveys of the general population.

ISFPs as Leaders

In leadership positions, ISFPs are driven by a personal mission and interested in helping their teams cooperate to accomplish realistic goals. Their strengths lie in understanding the needs and concerns of the people they work with and adapting gracefully to changing circumstances. ISFP leaders are practical and down-to-earth, good at sizing up resources and assessing the requirements of the current situation. They are good at building trust and leading by example, preferring to be quietly supportive rather than authoritarian or domineering.

ISFPs often prefer not to be in a leadership role, but are sometimes motivated to take the lead when the project is personally significant to them. When they do lead, they do best heading a small, cooperative team to achieve practical and tangible results.

ISFPs on a Team

ISFPs are sensitive, helpful team members who look for opportunities to contribute in an immediate, practical way. They want to assist other people and provide support, and often take on the role of listener. Oriented to cooperation, the ISFP will look for ways to compromise and accommodate others. They tend to step in when others need help and are often prepared with specific, relevant data that can help the team understand the facts of the situation.

ISFPs are at their best when they can work with others in a supportive, action-oriented role. They excel at creatively solving problems to meet people’s immediate needs. ISFPs shy away from theory and future projections, and may become impatient with ideas that have no concrete benefit for people. ISFPs are characteristically unassuming, and may be reluctant to advocate strongly for their own perspective on a team. They can become frustrated with team members who are domineering or competitive, and do best on a caring, egalitarian team where everyone’s contribution is appreciated.

For more information: What's Your Type of Career?


ISFP Communication Style

ISFPs are gentle, accepting communicators who tend to follow the flow of conversation and look for opportunities to contribute with factual information or practical help. They are easygoing and supportive; they don’t want to be in control or attract attention, and are often attentive listeners. Considerate and accepting, the ISFP often looks for common ground with others. ISFPs shy away from conflict or criticism, preferring harmonious, spontaneous interactions that allow them to be helpful and kind.

ISFPs as Partners

In relationships, the ISFP is loyal, patient, and easygoing. ISFPs are eager to help and quickly perceive the needs of their partners and families. They often show affection with simple, practical gestures that make their loved ones feel comfortable and well taken care of.

ISFPs like to maintain harmony and are very reluctant to engage in conflict. They may have difficulty asserting themselves and struggle with expressing feelings of anger or resentment. Ideally, they want to be cooperative and accommodate others, and may find themselves taken advantage of if their partners are not sensitive to their needs.

ISFPs are tolerant and uncritical, and adapt easily to their surroundings. They like to go with the flow and enjoy life from moment to moment. An ideal mate for an ISFP takes the time to show spontaneous gestures of affection, and appreciates the ISFP’s kind and helpful nature.

ISFPs as Parents

As parents, ISFPs are warm and sensitive, and take joy in creating comfort and stability in their homes. ISFPs are attentive to their children's practical needs and step in quickly and gracefully to provide for them. They often enjoy caring for children, but can sometimes become overworked and exhausted because of their natural impulse to help.

ISFP parents often seem calm and unflappable. ISFPs are private people and can be reserved or remote, so their children may not always grasp the depth of the ISFP parent's devotion to family. Although it is not often conspicuous, ISFPs have a deep loyalty to their loved ones. They value their intimate connections above all else and are tremendously dedicated to the care of their children.

For more information: Please Understand Me II


Connect with ISFPs

Our new conversation circles let you start discussions with other ISFPs just like you! Share your experiences, get advice on ISFP issues, or just see what weird things you have in common. Start a conversation and start connecting now!

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I am amazed at how dead on this is...I am a ISFP and feel amazed I am in the right field and heading in the right direction in my classes and wanting to work in doctors offices instead of a hospital.

as am i this is entirely on point

I am amazed at how dead on this is...I am a ISFP and feel amazed I am in the right field and heading in the right direction in my classes and wanting to work in doctors offices instead of a hospital.

I took this assessment, and now it's making me question my college career. I have ISPF too, and in one aspect i have chosen the right path. I am going to be a massage therapist, but as far as my college career goes, I am going to be an English teacher. However it says that I am not meant to be a school administrator.

Go with your gut. I'm reading ISPF for the first time and it is dead on. Now I realize how my life has changed when I switched from 1.5 years of Criminal Justice to Photography. I don't have the money coming in but I'm the happiest I've ever been... EVER!

Don't let it change you if you still think you are going a good direction. If the reasons you started on the path you are on are still valid, you have no reason to change things! However, if you realize that you will not be happy and will actively be untrue to yourself then you might rethink things. Being a massage therapist is something I have considered, however my hands are not strong enough. It sounds like a great profession for us ISFPs. If you become an English teacher, that will also be amazing-- I wish I had been taught English by ISFPs or similar types who would nurture and focus on the beauty of writing rather than the deadline. My mother got me into creative writing and I "self learned" how to love literature and writing, both technical and creative. You'll just have to keep in mind that you have blind spots and check up on them every once in a while if you are in a vocation that is a challenge to you. I am headed toward law school next year and the page says that being a lawyer is one of the least popular careers for ISFPs, but I am going to try to specialize in family law minus divorce. E.g. elderly law, adoptions, and anything where I would represent a child. That is how I will make it worthwhile. My dad is a worker's compensation attorney and I know I would hate that-- endless perusal of every factoid and keeping a million factoids in line on a million cases, often interviewing people who are trying to defraud someone else... Blech! :P

I have taken this test in the pass, but I do not remember what my type ended up being. However this time I will remember my results because I'm happy to say that they are right about me. I couldn't be more of a supporter of the Meyers, Briggs personality test. I want everyone to take the time to find themselves and start moving in the direction the test suggest for them to do, because this is a connection that helps to move forward with a better understanding of who you are and helps to understand where it is one could be most effective. Thank you to my Professor who suggested this exercise for our class. I am in the right field and on my way to a great start helping others in a safe and supportive environment.

I have taken the test through this website and am FASCINATED by the the results!
The only thing is that I scored right in the middle of Intuitive and Sensing. I've read both descriptions and can see myself in both of these, especially if with varying moods. It seems when I'm around other people (especially enlightening people) my mood lifts, even though I'm definitely not an extrovert! And when this happens it seems I might describe myslef more on the ISFP level, but when I'm feeling reclusive I would probably describe myself more INFP.
I do definitely daydream about future possibilties and what career I'd like to pursue, but I definitely appreciate my surroundings, especially a beautiful garden or house.

I am similar! :) Don't be confused about it. Everyone has SOME amount of every function in them, I/E N/S F/T J/P. Many people get about 30/70 in a pair, while others get something more like 52/48 and still others get 95/5 or whatever! There are a lot of tests that measure this but you have to keep in mind that the tests ask a question and assume that all of X type will answer X way, etc... while some of Z type might answer X way because *reasons*. ;) If you think you have a lot in common with both sides of a pair then you might want to do what I do when discussing yourself.

I say "I'm an IxFP with a lot of T".
I am I more now than I used to be because I have had health/energy problems, but when I am around people I tend to act more low energy outgoing than the excitable high energy many Es exude.
I am pretty much borderline on N/S. A lot of MBTI fans will say "x" when they can't decide/are borderline on a piece of their type.
I have a lot of T-- I almost always test as a T. And yeah, there are probably lots of reasons for this but just accept that I'm an F for now. xD
I am very P.

I feel like some activites and behaviors also pull out certain parts of our person. When I write, I include a variety of descriptions and always try to get some part of the world I see in my mind described to the reader. I would love to do more and more but it gets boring to read and I would probably be too detailed. Constant descriptions are something I have found much much more common among S writers. Tolkein was an N and it is actually difficult for me to read him because I feel disconnected from the story and its world. In contrast, I'm pretty certain that CS Lewis was an S or at least had a great deal more S than Tolkein.

If you would like to read my poetry/fiction and analyze it a bit while thinking about N/S and ISFP, feel free to look up theoneandonlyjo on Wattpad or Figment. (just Google it. :) ) I would love to hear comments or just know another someone is reading it. I recommend Life, vol 1.

This is just liek nme. #buzzin

very accurate . now that i know which type i am, its like i have found peace , at last , with "that" part of myself ..... its a weird yet wonderful feeling .. definately more confident and assertive . thanks!

According to the test, I'm this type, but looking at your syntax is giving me flashes of INTJ. Very...interesting structure. Almost poetic.

...the more I read it, the more it grows on me. I think I might have to "borrow" it into a story.

Most of this is spot on. Although there a few things that are not like me, such as being very likely to drop out of college. I also am not one to let people take advantage of me and I'm quick to stand up for myself. Other than that this is me in a nutshell.

I agree. I'm not playing on dropping out of college, and I was taught never to let someone take advantage of me, something that I often remember and shows in my slightly defensive personality.

This really defined me well. I never knew how many characteristics I had until i saw them outlined. Almost every single section, hits the kind of person I am dead on. It also tells me that the career path I have chosen to take is the right one. I am very glad i took this test.

This is really accurate but it just shows me how pathetic my life is. My career was forced upon by my parents, and seeing this just makes me more confused and lost.. I have no idea what kind of job I want to do and looking at this, and these jobs given (I admit they are my style of jobs) but dont pay well..

It's okay if it doesn't pay well. Save a little money and pursue things that are a better fit on the side at first. Make time for them though, no matter what. At some point you can master them and get paid enough to make the switch, but you have to invest the time.

i don't feel weird any more. i always thought there was something different about me, but in a negative way (i even suspected i had Autism or Aspergers at one point). it feels so good just to know, ya know? and this description is dead on. im even a cosmetologist!

That's funny, I actually did the same thing. I always being quiet and more introverted was a bad thing. I thought I had apsperger's or Autism too, because I thought I was weird or had social issues. Thanks for sharing!

this is very interesting module to know about the personality of any person living in the society. This is going to be very helpful for the persons who go through this module - Guest (From India).

This is very spot on. Accurate in every aspect.

This is very true to me and I am so glad to see something so spot on! The only difference is that I tend to be a little more rude/outgoing to people I know. Otherwise perfect! Everyone is different :).

I've taken a lot of personality tests, but I feel like this one is right on the dot for me. thank God for the experts.

I think i am both isfp and istp. they are both SPOT ON with the descriptions given and to choose one seems impossible. but the fact that they describe portions of me so well is really something!

Wow everything is spot on. I studying Interior Designinh which is one of the best career options for an ISFP personality and I'm loving it :)

dead on can't believe it

Interesting! Reading all this opens perspectives and makes me curious about my creative side. :) What I also like, is that the type is not described in a negative way like other personality tests do (inconspicuous, hesitant, ...) as if I would be lacking something. Of course, we all have weaknesses... However, don't take it too serious either, you shouldn't start reconsidering your whole life or career. I'm working on a phd now, so not all isfp's drop out on college.

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