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16 Types

ISFP Relationships

How ISFP types approach relationships

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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.


ISFPs Attitude to Relationships

How do ISFP types approach relationships?

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:

  • Propose unconventional activities and locales for dates.
  • Engage companions in lively conversations on surprising topics.
  • Focus attention on their companions rather than talking about themselves
  • Maintain a charming façade until they feel comfortable revealing their deeper selves.
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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 and Dating

How do ISFP types fare in the dating world?

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.

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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.

Info Table
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.

ISFP Partner Compatibility

Analysis of personality compatibility for ISFP types

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

isfp compatibility

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:
  • 1. n=3297
  • 2. Population: Global
  • 3. Live dataset last updated:
  • 4. The questionnaire asked participants to select the traits that they favor when thinking about their ideal romantic partner, and the traits were mapped to each of the 16 types.

Figure 2: 16 type model partner compatibility

Percentage compatibility between the 16 factor model (Myers Briggs®) types

mbti compatibility matrix

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:
  • 1. n=3297
  • 2. Population: Global
  • 3. Live dataset last updated:
  • 4. The questionnaire asked participants to select the traits that they favor when thinking about their ideal romantic partner, and the traits were mapped to each of the 16 types.

Advice for Dating as an ISFP

How to have successful ISFP relationships

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.

As an ISFP

  • green tick Do verbalize your feelings and needs. Your partner may not be as attuned to the feelings of others as you are.
  • green tick Your date is probably as interested in getting to know you as you are curious about them. Don't hold back.
  • green tick Try not to withdraw from uncomfortable conversations and conflicts.
  • green tick Do try to remain open-minded to your date's unique perspectives.
  • green tick Do keep the promises you make with an ISFP.
  • red cross Don't be afraid to make plans for the future.
  • red cross If things don't go well, don't take it too hard. Not every person you date will be a great match.
  • red cross When dates offer advice or feedback, take it as a learning opportunity instead of feeling bad.

Advice for Partners of ISFPs

How to attract an ISFP

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.

Being with an ISFP

  • green tick Find out how you can help your ISFP partner feel comfortable enough to open up to you.
  • green tick Encourage an ISFP partner to clarify their needs and feelings any time you feel that you are receiving mixed messages or vague signals.
  • green tick If you would like to request a change in their behaviour, do so gently and with the utmost sensitivity.
  • green tick Allow them to take as much downtime and alone time as they need to recharge
  • red cross Don't expect them to make long-term plans or commitments in the early stages of the relationship
  • red cross Be aware that they prefer to do things their own way and in their own time. Helpful advice delivered with the best of intentions can feel like criticism or pressure to an ISFP.

ISFP Friendships

Principles of how ISFP types behave in a friendship

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.

blue star

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.

face reading open book

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.


How ISFPs can Improve their Relationships with others

ISFPs becoming a better partner and friend

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:

  • Make a special effort to allow new friends to get to know the real you.
  • Understand that others may not read your feelings as well as you can read theirs when misunderstandings arise. Sometimes difficult conversations are necessary in order to save a relationship.
  • Practice making and keeping future plans. You can view this as a way to show that you care and that you are committed to the relationship.
  • Don't take advice or criticism as a reflection on who you are or what others think of you. Don't be afraid to challenge yourself and grow.

 


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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.