Blog Archives

Sixteen Months of Type – ISFP

This is the second post in our 16 Months of Type series and we focus here on ISFP. To remind you, we are using material in our booklet Introduction to Type® and Reintegration as the jumping off point for each piece and then connecting this material to the self-discovery process that frequently accompanies life-changing events (LCEs). Read on!

ISFP, Introversion, Sensing, Feeling and Perceiving

When facing an LCE, ISFPs typically want an approach that is friendly and flexible to their individual needs. If your preferences are for ISFP, you most likely want to get a read on your new situation before taking action and will need others to be tolerant of your internal, private search for emotional clarity. ISFPs tend to prefer a plan that feels supportive and gives them time to make sense of disconcerting or unusual experiences. If they are rushed or forced into a “one-size fits all” approach, they may tune out or reject the process altogether – they want to consider things carefully in order to find methods that foster the wellbeing of those they care about and increase their personal sense of peace.

When ISFP preferences are overdone, people who prefer ISFP may fail to consider the logical implications of an approach and instead base their choices on the drive to preserve harmony or protect feelings. Their temperate, careful approach can mean that they delay action, or fail to ask for what they need, if doing so could cultivate conflict. They may also assume that things will get better on their own if they simply leave them as they are. If they were instead to take a more active role, by envisioning where they would like things to end up – in both bottom-line and personal terms –and then trying out a few things to move them along this path, this could be much more beneficial.

ISFPs typically need a sympathetic companion to mentor, guide, and support them on their transition journey. Since those who prefer ISFP are often self-effacing, they seek companions, whether friends, colleagues or helping professionals, who are caring, low-key and able to remind them of their strengths and talents when they forget. Providing gentle, open-minded encouragement, tailored to them specifically, is crucial for people who prefer ISFP. They seek practical help delivered in a flexible way that enables them to improve connections with their significant others. In short, this help should be from someone whom ISFPs feel will champion them in a personl and sincere fashion and also be attentive to the demands of their day-to-day lives.

When such a companion is not present in the life of people who prefer ISFP, they may struggle with the ambiguity that accompanies LCEs and interpret this confusion as incompetence on their part. A savvy companion can help them to see that it’s OK to participate more fully, even if the steps taken are experimental or tentative. Due to the careful consideration ISFPs typically put into all they do, any actions taken will often improve the situation for all concerned regardless of how imperfect they might seem to the ISFP. Without friendly but firm encouragement, people who prefer ISFP may devalue the good they could do for themselves and others due to their modest self-assessment. Having a consistent companion cheering them on helps remind ISFPs of their unique strengths; including their tendency to pursue solutions that benefit all involved, in useful, hands-on ways. Having support that reinforces the value of their unique approach allows ISFPs to feel more confident voicing their opinions and taking action – often exactly what is needed to make things better for all concerned.

Self-Discovery Tool Number 73
If you prefer ISFP (or you have someone in your life with this four-letter type code), the following questions may help as you process a life-changing event.

  1. How can you find the ways to enrich your connections with others by reaching out to share stories, time, and activities?
  2. How can you explore the larger meaning of your experiences in order to discover new ways of proceeding that might help you to manage your transition more successfully?
  3. How can you take an objective inventory of which approaches to your new circumstances are working and which are not?
  4. How can you create plans, schedules, or routines to help you manage your new way of living more easily?


Lines in italics adapted from p. 28-29 Hirsh, E., Hirsh, K. W., & Peak, J. (2011). Introduction to type® and reintegration: A framework for managing the transition home. Mountain View, CA: CPP, Inc.