ISFP vs. INFP

Compatibility

So much has been written about whether opposites attract or difference is the key but in real life it is all about understanding the differences, accommodating and managing them. This section will help you see where the potential for conflict exists between personality types and help you manage it.

The ISFP is quiet and introspective. Harmony and respect for values are important to them and if trust is broken the ISFP will walk quietly away, no fuss, but stubbornly refusing to engage again. The ISFP will live life quietly to the full, savouring the present moment, and enjoying the more private, sensory and practical activities of life, keeping things as uncomplicated possible.

Meaning, harmony and personal values are at the heart of the INFP. It is essential to the INFP that their beliefs and actions are totally in sync. An INFP is unlikely to take any action which they don’t believe in their heart is right. Sensitive, caring and empathetic INFPs are excellent in supporting roles. Deep and private, they do not like being boxed in or constrained by rules.

Relationships

There is no perfect type and in the same way there are no perfect matches. We can all learn to adapt and modify our behaviour if we choose and this section is therefore not designed to suggest particular specific matches but to demonstrate areas of similarity and difference so that a true understanding can happen and thus reduce the risk of misunderstandings.

Being around them

The ISFP is a person of few words, intensely loyal to friends and family and the causes for which they stand - although this manifests itself much more in deeds than in words, as they are very private.

The INFP has two contrary characteristics, curiosity and shyness. They love to know what's going on, feel excluded if not kept informed but do not like to be the centre of attention, shunning the limelight.

Dealing with emotions

The sensitive nature of the ISFP means they can be easily hurt, but only really by those whom they have allowed in. From such people the ISFP will expect them to understand, to ‘get’ them.

INFPs are incredibly emotional, indeed they can actually feel what others are feeling and this can even stay with them. They are tuned in and insightful and they are happy to deal with the emotions of others.

Openness and sharing feelings

The ISFP is extremely deep and private and so only those whom they had allowed close would really get to know how they are really feeling. A passive stubbornness will see the ISFP simply walk away. 

The INFP will often display their reactions to their feelings, rather than their feelings, and may bottle things up which then leak out at strange moments thus adding to the 'difficult to understand' image.

Drivers and values

ISFPs are driven by the need for harmony. The ISFP doesn’t use logic or intuition but genuinely FEELS things, through the senses, including how others are feeling if those others are part of their life-space.

It is essential for the INFP that their beliefs and their actions are totally in sync at all times. An INFP is unlikely to take any action which they don’t believe in their heart is right.

Building stronger relationships

Learn what ISFPs are like in a relationship. Understanding the differences between two types is a really great starting point for getting along. For practical guidance on building strong relationships take our practical tutorial.

Get along better with an INFP. Understanding the differences between two types is a really great starting point for getting along. For practical guidance on building strong relationships take our practical tutorial.

Conflict

Some people seek harmony, some see conflict as simply robust discussions, some people are emotional, some more factual. So there is no right or wrong about this and what we are trying to do is help two different people each understand how the other might deal with conflict and what it will mean for the relationship.

Initial response to conflict situations

The ISFP does not like conflict partly due to their need for harmony and partly due to their intense need for privacy and not to be ‘known’ and so they will tend to quietly walk away from fractious situations.

INFPs have a deep desire for harmony and balance and will prefer to see the good in people, focusing on the positive issues and the interconnections between people rather than with the negatives.

Issues they'll fight on

The ISFP is a complex type and whilst they have extremely strong values and beliefs they do not like to open up except to those few they trust and so, even if pushed they will tend to walk away.

For a type so caring and gentle there is a surprisingly crusading side to the INFP. When a personal value is trodden on, the INFP can become uncharacteristically outspoken and champion of the cause.

Conflict style / communication

Quiet and unobtrusive the ISFP will rarely project their feelings and so they will be difficult to know and even when they are upset or riled will tend to walk away and keep their own counsel.

The INFP does not like conflict and will seek to be the one who brings harmony, diffusing tension and seeing things from the other person’s perspective, excellent supporters and empathetic friends.

How they feel after

Emotional situations, indeed any people-centric situations can deplete the ISFP energy levels and they will need to go back inside themselves to recharge their batteries, enjoying quiet sensory time.

Conflict, aggression or even extended people interaction will sap the energy of the INFP who will need to disappear back into their own inner sanctum, reflect deeply on how it made them feel and recharge.

Dealing with conflict

Some types dislike and avoid conflict, whereas others use it to solve problems and get things done. Understand how an ISFP deals with conflict in our practical tutorial.

Manage conflict with an INFP by taking our practical tutorial. Do they use conflict to solve problems and get things done, or do they dislike and avoid it? Find out more.

At Work

We all bring something different to the team and we all agree that difference and balance are good things. However when someone is different from us we might not understand them so well so in this section we allow you to compare the differences at work, how these might manifest themselves and how best to manage them.

Contribution to the team

The ISFP will bring a quiet sense of conviction and what is 'the right thing to do.' Although not vocal, the ISFP can glue the team together and be quietly vocal in their support of new ideas and contributions.

Although gentle and sensitive the INFP will bring a sense of conviction and what is 'the right thing to do.' Though quiet, the INFP can glue the team together and support others fostering great team spirit.

Leading

The ISFP will not generally want to push themselves forward to lead as they prefer to remain slightly behind the scenes as a supporter and the glue which allows them to be trusted and help others.

The INFP will tend to prefer a less visible role as their strengths are working from the back and supporting others, using their insight and wisdom and lack of ego rather than being the leader.

Being managed

ISFPs need freedom, and is not motivated by goals, or targets - and indeed may shy away, quietly, non-confrontationally, from schedules, and set priorities preferring the flexibility to work in their way at their pace.

The INFP does not want to be constrained by rules, and they dislike the routine. Others will see the INFP as flexible, gentle and difficult to understand. They do not appreciate criticism or a hard taskmaster.

Attention to detail / focus

ISFPs are driven by values, making them incredibly loyal but they tend not to work best with detail or plans, preferring a flexible approach allowing them the freedom to contribute in their own unique way.

Flexible and spontaneous INFPs will need their space and freedom to work their way. They dislike routine and need meaning to be part of something special, and they will be loyal and diligent and productive.

Creativity

The ISFP is very creative, as they have a great talent for noticing all the details and relationships between things giving them a subtle artistic approach and to come up with unique ways of seeing things.

Spontaneous and creative the INFP inhabits the internal world of imagination and is not bound by traditions. The ideal world is one where they can immerse totally in interesting and meaningful tasks.

Getting the best and motivating

Find out how to get the best out of an ISFP and what motivates them in our practical tutorial. Are they more motivated by the task at hand, or by the people around them?

Get the best out an INFP and learn the way to motivate them. Are they more motivated by people, or by the task at hand? Find out more in our practical tutorial.

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