Be your best self
ISFPs are warmhearted, gentle people who take their commitments seriously, and seek lifelong relationships. They are very private people, who keep their true feelings and opinions reserved or hidden from others. This may cause them to constantly defer to their partners in their intimate relationships, which may cause problems if their partners are not extremely aware of the ISFP's feelings. Some ISFPs who are in the habit of not expressing their needs and feelings find themselves in situations throughout their life where they feel overshadowed, overlooked, or even "tread upon" by others. Highly practical and cynical by nature, these feelings may cause the ISFP to become bitter, and to either give up on their relationships, or to start using their relationships for their own personal gain. Although this problem is observed sometimes in the ISFP type, it does not seem to be present in those ISFPs who consistently express their feelings to those closest to them. These ISFPs have a very positive, warm outlook on life and love, and are not as likely to find themselves in relationships where they are taken for granted or taken advantage of. ISFPs go to great lengths to please their partners. They're very loyal and supportive, with a deep capacity for love. They detest conflict and discord, and highly value being seen and understood for who they are. They need space to live their lives in their own unique way, and will respect other's need for space.
Each type has traits and behaviors that can strengthen their relationhips. Most ISFPs will exhibit the following strengths with regards to relationship issues.
The first step in overcoming our weaknesses is identifying them and recognizing them in our own behavior. Once we've done that, we begin to naturally correct our weaker behaviors in real-time. ISFPs may recognize some or all of the following behaviors that can negatively impact the health of their relationships.
"To love means to open ourselves to the negative as well as the positive - to grief, sorrow, and disappointment as well as to joy, fulfillment, and an intensity of consciousness we did not know was possible before." —Rollo May
ISFPs are warm and giving people, who have a depth of emotion and caring which is not often obvious to others, except those who know them extremely well. They are usually intense people, who experience their emotions on an intense level. Although they may appear to be light-hearted, they are in fact extremely serious, and take their relationships seriously. Unlike other SP types, people with the ISFP type desire and seek lifelong, committed relationships.
ISFPs may have a problem with communication. With Introverted Feeling dominating their personality, they are more vulnerable than most to being hurt. Perhaps because of this, they tend to hold back part of themselves from others, and do not always say what they think or feel. This is especially true during conflict situations, which the ISFP abhors more than anything in the world. Confrontations and arguments are very difficult for the ISFP to deal with. They feel personally threatened in these situations. If the ISFP falls into the habit of not communicating their feelings with their partner, this could cause serious problems in the relationship over the long haul.
Sexually, the ISFP approaches intimacy with complete attention, seriousness and depth. They experience lovemaking through their senses, and welcome the chance to interact with their partner at this level. They are not likely to express their feelings verbally, believing that actions speak louder than words.
ISFPs need positive affirmation to be happy and feel good about themselves. They need to be praised, although they are usually uncomfortable with "gushy" praise. The greatest gift their partners can give them is the expression of their affection and admiration.
Although two well-developed individuals of any type can enjoy a healthy relationship, the ISFP's natural partner is the ESFJ, or the ENFJ. ISFP's dominant function of Introverted Feeling is best matched with a partner whose dominant function is Extraverted Feeling. The ISFP/ESFJ combination is ideal, because the types share Sensing as their way of perceiving the world, but ISFP/ENFJ is also a good match. More on ISFP compatibility
"You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth...
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable." —Kahlil Gibran
ISFPs enjoy their parenting role, and take great pride and comfort in their children. Most have a special affinity with babies and young children, and form bonds with their children when they are very young. They are very laid-back parents, and are not likely to have highly defined expectations of their children. They will gently guide their behavior, and suggest a particular direction, but their own respect of the individual psyche will cause them to be quite easy-going and non-demanding as parents. The ISFP is likely to treat their children as individuals, and encourage them to have their own role in the family.
ISFPs love to have fun, and live in the current moment. All ISFPs have a bit of little kid inside themselves, and they love to play games alongside their children. They're special affinity towards nature and animals makes them likely to lead their children in fun outdoors activities.
ISFPs are not likely to provide a very structured environment for their children. They are also likely to have a problem with disciplining their kids. The gentle manner and kind heart of the ISFP makes it hard for them to make others unhappy - especially their own children. However, structure and discipline are important for growing children. If the other parent encourages and promotes structure, and is able to administer discipline when necessary, the parent combination may work very well without there being an obvious lack of structure. However, if the other parent is also not strong with structure or discipline, this is an area which needs to have special attention. Growing children do not have the experience to decide on their own the difference between Right and Wrong. They need to have barriers set down in a tangible way, to help them decide.
ISFPs like to show their love in deeds rather than words, which is manifested in their doing a lot for their children. They may lavish them with gifts on Christmas day, or go out of their way to do special things for them.
The ISFP is a service-oriented person, who defines their personal worth in some part by how happy they make others. This is typical of people with the Feeling preference. The special potential problem that ISFPs face is their service-oriented attitude combined with their habit of not expressing their own needs and feelings. This combination causes some ISFPs to get taken for granted. If this happens frequently to an ISFP, they may become bitter and angry. They think of themselves as victims, and may erect barriers to keep out those who have hurt them. This may be a serious problem if the ISFP parent feels that their children are taking them for granted. The best defense against such a situation occuring is for the ISFP to get into the habit of verbalizing and communicating their needs.
ISFP parents will be loyal, dedicated and self-sacrificing to their children until they leave home. When the kids have left the nest, the ISFP will enjoy their time alone to do things for themself. If the ISFP has not allowed themselves to become victims or victimizers in their life, they will be very good parents, and will be remembered fondly and affectionately by their children.
ISFPs tend to be protective of themselves and picky about who they choose to get close to. This can give them an air of aloofness that puts off strangers, but those who know the ISFP will see their kind and gentle natures. ISFPs are able to get along with most of the other personality types, and enjoy spending time with others who share their interests, and who understand and accept the ISFP for who they are. They greatly value their space and autonomy, and appreciate other's respect for that.
The ISFP is not likely to have much patience or tolerance for those who are strongly Judging. ISFPs celebrate their own uniqueness, as well as everybody else's, and don't appreciate being judged harshly for their differences.
In work settings, the ISFP is likely to get along with most everyone, unless someone inhabits their space too much, in which case sparks may fly. Generally, the ISFP is kind-hearted and generous with those they care about, and makes a true-blue friend.