Ellie Simmonds, MSc
University of Bath, Psychology
Ellie Simmonds, MSc in Psychology from University of Bath. Ellie is an associate lecturer on psychometric assessments and has extensive knowledge of the 16-type model.
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ISFPs value meaningful and harmonious relationships where they feel comfortable opening up and being themselves. As partners and friends, an ISFP is generous, respectful, and tolerant of differences. They approach relationships hoping to be treated in kind.
As one of the more romantic types, ISFPs fall in love completely and relatively quickly. They can tell almost immediately whether a relationship is likely to work out. They seek out partners with whom they can share adventures and hobbies as well as heartfelt conversations.
An ISFP type in dating is likely to:
An ISFP makes a kind and charming partner, they are easy to talk to and will enjoy the present moment - making it pleasant for both parties.
ISFPs are free spirits who often hold egalitarian views. They cherish their freedom as unique individuals, and they are actively fascinated by the different perspectives, beliefs, and ways of being that they experience vicariously through friends and intimates.
Conflicts once resolved are readily forgiven. ISFPs rarely hold grudges. They know that feelings and situations change, and that people learn and grow.
Warm-hearted ISFPs fall in love with others quickly and easily while guarding their own hearts. They keep the focus on their partners, maintaining a charming persona until they are ready to brave self-exposure. They have little desire to direct or control others, preferring instead to encourage those they love to discover their own paths. They show affection through practical gestures like meals and massages, and through physical connection. Reciprocation in kind is important.
Although they would rather avoid conflict at all costs, a frequent source of friction in their relationships is their preference for indirect communication. Highly sensitive, they are easily wounded by criticism and reluctant to risk wounding those they love in the same way. Their attempts to show loved ones how they feel when something isn't right, rather than telling them directly, can lead to confusion and hurt feelings.
Commitment can be difficult, even though ISFPs fall in love easily and wholeheartedly. They are not terribly focused on the future, and they are well-aware of how feelings can change over time, so they may have a “why bother” attitude toward commitments such as marriage. None-the-less, they dread separations and miss former partners terribly once relationships have ended.
|Beneficial dating traits||Negative dating traits|
|Respect for individual differences and freedom. Nurturing and supportive rather than controlling.||Reluctance to share private opinions and feelings until trust is established.|
|Quick to forgive and forget.||May resort to passive aggressive tactics to make a point rather than addressing issues directly.|
|Excellent listeners, attuned to the feelings and needs of others.||Tendency to react strongly to feedback. May take constructive criticism personally.|
|Affectionate and open-hearted.||Difficulty committing to long-range plans.|
|Can be counted on for interesting adventures and fun surprises.||May be noncommittal when partners want to make long-range plans.|
ISFPs are often content to be “along for the ride,” when paired with more goal-oriented Judging types, particularly with ENTJs. ISFPs support their partners both emotionally and by taking care of practical details behind the scenes. They can easily lose themselves in the lives of those they love, so times when they can withdraw into solitude and recharge, remembering who they are as individuals, is crucial to their wellbeing.
ISFPs are most compatible with others who share their Sensing approach and Feeling orientation. Outward-focused Extraverts can draw them out of their shells and reflect the nurturing support that they so generously give them to others.
Figure 1: ISFP partner compatibility
Percentage compatibility between ISFP and other types
What this chart shows
This chart shows an estimate of the compatibility between ISFP types and other types. We see that ISFP types are most likely to be compatible with other ISFPs, and least likely to be compatible with an ENTJ. This 'like-minds' effect is often the case (see Figure 2 below).Notes:
Figure 2: 16 type model partner compatibility
Percentage compatibility between the 16 factor model (Myers Briggs®) types
What this chart shows
This chart shows an estimate of the compatibility between Myers Briggs® types. Our research shows that the strongest match is usually with someone of the same type. Another general pattern we observe is extraverts are generally more compatible with other extraverts, and introverts are more compatible with other introverts. This data supports the adage "birds of a feather flock together” and discredits the often-quoted mantra "opposites attract".
Across almost all types, the most compatible combination is with someone of an identical type. Within this general trend, the degree of compatibility varies slightly. For example, the compatibility between two INFP types is very high (at 95%) whereas the compatibility between two INTJs is 86%. The only exception to the observation that the best match is with someone of the same type is for ESFP types. The researchers note that ESFP types do still strongly favor other extraverts.Notes:
As respectful, easy-going, and fun-loving partners, ISFPs have a lot to offer. Both partners in a relationship can benefit from a stronger, more meaningful bond when ISFPs have the confidence and courage to let others into their private lives.
ISFPs are caring and attentive partners who love with their whole hearts. Although it can take some work to bring them out of their shell, the lucky few with whom they share their secret selves have the opportunity to create a lifetime tender, meaningful, and fun memories.
ISFPs are very interested in getting to know people. They’re fascinated by all of the diverse ways of being. They accept differences easily and enjoy living vicariously through others. While immersing themselves in the lives of interesting new friends, they guard their own hearts with care. They are likely to develop a charming persona as a way to protect their inner lives, about which they are very private.
Privacy is still important to an ISFP and will only share this once they feel they've built a strong connection with another person.
ISFPs don't usually go out of their way to pursue new friendships. They do often have a playful, open-hearted nature that attracts new friends. They tend to create relaxed and aesthetically pleasing environments where others feel welcome and free to be themselves. Once they've opened up to trusted friends, advice on how they could do things differently, no matter how well-intentioned can lead to hurt feelings. Everyone is entitled to their own quirks.
ISFPs naturally attract new friends through their warm behaviour.
ISFPs value friendships in which they feel seen as the unique individuals they are. Highly perceptive and attuned to the feelings of others, they don't rely as much on verbal communication as most other types do. They pay close attention to their friends, hoping that the nurturing support they provide will be reciprocated.
They tend to live in the moment and they like the freedom to act spontaneously, so friends shouldn't take it personally if the ISFP in their lives is reluctant to commit to future plans. What they do from moment to moment is largely determined by how they feel. How would they know what they’re going to feel like doing a month from now?
ISFPs are all for spontaneity and enjoying life as it comes.
ISFPs are avid people watchers. As curious adventurers who naturally tune in to the emotions of others, they live vicariously through the adventures of the people around them. They have a lot of respect for each individual's approach to life.
As an ISFP this is what can be done to improve relationships with other people:
University of Bath, Psychology