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Thread: ISFJ vs. ISFP vs. INFP: Which one is it?

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    Default ISFJ vs. ISFP vs. INFP: Which one is it?

    1. What are some clear cut differences that you have noticed between each of these types?

    2. What are the similarities?

    3. What are traits that make you think ISFJ (or ISFP / INFP) right off the bat?



    I'm looking more for the differences between females of these types; males are much easier for me to spot. I am having trouble differentiating between these three types and being an INFP myself (and female) doesn't help my lack of understanding. Thanks in advance.
    4w3 sx/sp? INFP, INFp

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    Paragon Gone Wrong Array OrangeAppled's Avatar
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    1. What are some clear cut differences that you have noticed between each of these types?

    I'm going to compare them to INFPs, since I am one, and that's easier for me.

    ISFJs are very self-sacrificing and in nurturing in very tangible ways (ie. they DO things for people). They seem to take on a lot of responsibility. They accomplish quite a bit, as they have a lot of energy for introverts. Usually have a strong sense of morality, that is very tied to the community standards. Can be very creative and have a good eye for space/color, especially with hands-on activities that have a practical purpose (cooking, gardening, decorating, fashion). Tend to do things in "good taste", which don't offend, but may not be the most fresh to the eye.

    INFPs, in contrast, are a little more self-absorbed, disconnected from the real world (accomplish less tangibly), may avoid responsibility for tasks (but readily take it on for ideas), more likely to "heal", which isn't always so nicey-nice (ie. sometimes it means ripping off the metaphorical bandage and poking around), but it's because we are doing things with a view to the long-term. Their strong sense of morality is internal, meaning it can be worlds away from the community so they tend to seem more rebellious/autonomous compared to an ISFJ. Tend to lean towards the arts, be it literature or visual arts, but unlike the ISFJ, may create just to create, with no practical purpose. Might seem more offbeat and "original", but not as even with their taste (may veer into the bizarre and garish).

    ISFPs tend to differ from INFPs in being less interested in intellectual things (not less intelligent though). ISFPs will often still enjoy abstract things though. Fi is abstract in itself, plus they have tertiary Ni, and SPs in general may like things that are a bit rebellious or unusual. The bookishness of the INFP often makes them seem a bit nerdier actually. You might just ask if they have a library card and then watch their face: the ISFP may smirk, and the INFP's eyes may light up :P


    2. What are the similarities?

    They're all introverts and feelers, so if you see someone who is quiet and generally emotional, they might get tagged with any of these. However, I'd bet the ISFJ comes off the most emotional/warm externally.

    Jung describes Fi-doms as aloof, but I'm not sure how much the Ne and Se offset that. When being somewhat "outgoing", ISFPs seem rather warm to me and more connected to the moment, and outgoing INFPs seem rather wacky. Outgoing ISFJs can be almost boisterous. They definitely seem the most "extroverted" at times, although they still may seem very gentle and quiet at other times.

    3. What are traits that make you think ISFJ (or ISFP / INFP) right off the bat?

    Stuff that makes me think ISFJ: someone who is very giving by doing things, has a home/appearance that is well put-together (may or may not be fashionable), seems warm but quiet, has a serious reverence for "rules" and order, has trouble saying "no" or standing up for their own needs, speaks in direct terms though, and likes to talk about people and know about their lives.

    For INFP, I usually go with: someone who is kind of weird, into some form of art or philosophy, like to discuss theories/ideas or emotional issues, but not people's activities, often have some unusual moral stance, seem aloof and cool on the surface, but you realize they are sensitive and emotional after getting to know them, tends to use passive speech ("I would like" as opposed to "I want"), but may be more open to being the voice of dissent.

    For ISFP: also have a "different" demeanor, may be construed as anything from aloof to strange, often into the arts, likes physical activities and hands-on things more than an INFP does (ie. body boarding, hiking, dancing, etc), may be more prolific artists because of that, usually very connected to nature/animals, have strong feelings about things also, but less universal/idealistic than an INFP (who may seem to over-complicate issues), may be more demonstrative of positive emotion (if only because more connected to reality), less articulate in writing/speech than an INFP, and as I said above, less interest in intellectual things.
    "Charlotte sometimes dreams a wall around herself. But it's always with love - So much love it looks like everything else. Charlotte Sometimes - So far away, glass sealed and pretty." - The Cure

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    Thanks for answering, OrangeAppled!


    I feel like the ISFP vs. INFP difference is the biggest area of confusion and trouble for me.


    How do you think an ISFP might behave differently than an INFP with people or in a group? In relationships?


    I'm guessing the INFP is more easily excitable and chatty (assuming an exciting topic to the INFP was brought up of course )? The INFP might be less passive and more quick to injure emotionally?


    Are ISFPs as expressive of their emotions, or do they tend to not show them as often as an INFP? Or perhaps... they just show them in different ways altogether?
    4w3 sx/sp? INFP, INFp

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mystical_Spaghetti View Post
    Thanks for answering, OrangeAppled!


    I feel like the ISFP vs. INFP difference is the biggest area of confusion and trouble for me.


    How do you think an ISFP might behave differently than an INFP with people or in a group? In relationships?


    I'm guessing the INFP is more easily excitable and chatty (assuming an exciting topic to the INFP was brought up of course )? The INFP might be less passive and more quick to injure emotionally?


    Are ISFPs as expressive of their emotions, or do they tend to not show them as often as an INFP? Or perhaps... they just show them in different ways altogether?
    The reason why it's so easy to confuse INFP and ISFP is because they are both Fi dom, so both are highly likely to have a strong sense of self and personal values, and also likely to appear a little more off-beat, artistic, rebellious, what have you than ISFJ for sure.

    OrangeAppled did a really good job of describing the differences. Actually, I think INFP is more likely to be quiet than ISFP, I don't necessarily think that INFP is less passive, either.

    The main difference I see is that ISFP is more concerned with hands on external, so *may* be better at visual arts (or more in tune with physical appearance, decor, etc.) or just more practical forms of creativity, while an INFP is going to be more inclined to theory and endless speculation, may be focused on more academic things, which may annoy the crap out of the ISFP despite the fact that they might have many other things in common.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OrangeAppled View Post
    more likely to "heal", which isn't always so nicey-nice (ie. sometimes it means ripping off the metaphorical bandage and poking around), but it's because we are doing things with a view to the long-term.
    Yes.

    I think this should be listed in more descriptions about INFPs so that people stop getting the wrong idea about all INFPs being ridiculously passive and always doing something impossibly warm and fuzzy, such as simply emanating holy light, to heal.

    It really is food for thought. It is one of the things about myself that makes me question the E/I.

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    Senior Member Array Lambchop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OrangeAppled View Post
    1. What are some clear cut differences that you have noticed between each of these types?

    I'm going to compare them to INFPs, since I am one, and that's easier for me.

    ISFJs are very self-sacrificing and in nurturing in very tangible ways (ie. they DO things for people). They seem to take on a lot of responsibility. They accomplish quite a bit, as they have a lot of energy for introverts. Usually have a strong sense of morality, that is very tied to the community standards. Can be very creative and have a good eye for space/color, especially with hands-on activities that have a practical purpose (cooking, gardening, decorating, fashion). Tend to do things in "good taste", which don't offend, but may not be the most fresh to the eye.

    INFPs, in contrast, are a little more self-absorbed, disconnected from the real world (accomplish less tangibly), may avoid responsibility for tasks (but readily take it on for ideas), more likely to "heal", which isn't always so nicey-nice (ie. sometimes it means ripping off the metaphorical bandage and poking around), but it's because we are doing things with a view to the long-term. Their strong sense of morality is internal, meaning it can be worlds away from the community so they tend to seem more rebellious/autonomous compared to an ISFJ. Tend to lean towards the arts, be it literature or visual arts, but unlike the ISFJ, may create just to create, with no practical purpose. Might seem more offbeat and "original", but not as even with their taste (may veer into the bizarre and garish).

    ISFPs tend to differ from INFPs in being less interested in intellectual things (not less intelligent though). ISFPs will often still enjoy abstract things though. Fi is abstract in itself, plus they have tertiary Ni, and SPs in general may like things that are a bit rebellious or unusual. The bookishness of the INFP often makes them seem a bit nerdier actually. You might just ask if they have a library card and then watch their face: the ISFP may smirk, and the INFP's eyes may light up :P


    2. What are the similarities?

    They're all introverts and feelers, so if you see someone who is quiet and generally emotional, they might get tagged with any of these. However, I'd bet the ISFJ comes off the most emotional/warm externally.

    Jung describes Fi-doms as aloof, but I'm not sure how much the Ne and Se offset that. When being somewhat "outgoing", ISFPs seem rather warm to me and more connected to the moment, and outgoing INFPs seem rather wacky. Outgoing ISFJs can be almost boisterous. They definitely seem the most "extroverted" at times, although they still may seem very gentle and quiet at other times.

    3. What are traits that make you think ISFJ (or ISFP / INFP) right off the bat?

    Stuff that makes me think ISFJ: someone who is very giving by doing things, has a home/appearance that is well put-together (may or may not be fashionable), seems warm but quiet, has a serious reverence for "rules" and order, has trouble saying "no" or standing up for their own needs, speaks in direct terms though, and likes to talk about people and know about their lives.

    For INFP, I usually go with: someone who is kind of weird, into some form of art or philosophy, like to discuss theories/ideas or emotional issues, but not people's activities, often have some unusual moral stance, seem aloof and cool on the surface, but you realize they are sensitive and emotional after getting to know them, tends to use passive speech ("I would like" as opposed to "I want"), but may be more open to being the voice of dissent.

    For ISFP: also have a "different" demeanor, may be construed as anything from aloof to strange, often into the arts, likes physical activities and hands-on things more than an INFP does (ie. body boarding, hiking, dancing, etc), may be more prolific artists because of that, usually very connected to nature/animals, have strong feelings about things also, but less universal/idealistic than an INFP (who may seem to over-complicate issues), may be more demonstrative of positive emotion (if only because more connected to reality), less articulate in writing/speech than an INFP, and as I said above, less interest in intellectual things.
    Orange Applied is right on the mark again, as usual.

    My ISFP son is much more into art and music and artistic endeavors than my INFP husband -- who loves to write and analyze ideas in his head. Of the two, I would say that my ISFP son is more sensitive...but he's also a teenager and hasn't developed the more thick skin of an adult. Both types are wonderful people.

    As an ISFJ, I am more of a "doer" than they are. While they are playing the guitar (ISFP) or writing (INFP), I am usually doing housework and laundry and crossing things off my to-do list. I like to read a lot as well, so I'm more inclined to have my face in a book too. The J/P difference is big too. I like schedules and routines and planning out things in advance. My husband and son are much more go with the flow and spontaneous. They feel more trapped by the routine that I love so much.

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    With regard to being overtly warm, I agree that I am most likely the one to be the most that way. However, I can still be pretty reserved. I would say that most people like my INFP husband almost always right off the bat. It takes a little longer for people to get to know and like me as an ISFJ and my ISFP son. We are both more introverted than he is.

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    Paragon Gone Wrong Array OrangeAppled's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lambchop View Post
    My ISFP son is much more into art and music and artistic endeavors than my INFP husband -- who loves to write and analyze ideas in his head. Of the two, I would say that my ISFP son is more sensitive...but he's also a teenager and hasn't developed the more thick skin of an adult. Both types are wonderful people.
    My ISFP step-dad and I are both visual artists, but I'm into music and reading/writing far more than he is. He only reads about history, culture, and religious/spiritual stuff, and he has a much harder time with theory/concepts than I do. He creates tangible art a lot more than I do though - I over think everything.

    We're both really sensitive....it's hard to say who is worse, honestly.

    My ISFJ mom is by far the most productive of us three .

    Quote Originally Posted by Lambchop View Post
    With regard to being overtly warm, I agree that I am most likely the one to be the most that way. However, I can still be pretty reserved. I would say that most people like my INFP husband almost always right off the bat. It takes a little longer for people to get to know and like me as an ISFJ and my ISFP son. We are both more introverted than he is.
    Yeah, it probably has a lot to do with the level of introversion, and possibly enneagram.

    I am probably more introverted than my ISFJ mom and ISFP step-dad. Of the three of us, I come off the least warm and inviting to new people. My mom is the most outgoing (seems extrovert in social situations) and everyone finds my step-dad to be a "nice guy" even if "different". I'm the cranky one .
    "Charlotte sometimes dreams a wall around herself. But it's always with love - So much love it looks like everything else. Charlotte Sometimes - So far away, glass sealed and pretty." - The Cure

    INFP | 4w5 sp/sx - 451| RLUEI - Primary Inquisitive

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    The bold is my internal commentary while reading this.

    Quote Originally Posted by OrangeAppled View Post
    ISFPs tend to differ from INFPs in being less interested in intellectual things (not less intelligent though). (I don't know... define 'intellectual things'.) ISFPs will often still enjoy abstract things though. Fi is abstract in itself, plus they have tertiary Ni, and SPs in general may like things that are a bit rebellious or unusual. (Yup.) The bookishness of the INFP often makes them seem a bit nerdier actually. You might just ask if they have a library card and then watch their face: the ISFP may smirk, and the INFP's eyes may light up :P (The library is one of my most favorite places in the world.)

    Jung describes Fi-doms as aloof, but I'm not sure how much the Ne and Se offset that. When being somewhat "outgoing", ISFPs seem rather warm to me and more connected to the moment, and outgoing INFPs seem rather wacky. (I definitely tend toward wacky.)

    3. What are traits that make you think ISFP / INFP right off the bat?

    For INFP, I usually go with: someone who is kind of weird, into some form of art or philosophy, like to discuss theories/ideas or emotional issues (all the above), but not people's activities (depends on the activity), often have some unusual moral stance (Does feeling guilty about making purchases that aren't 'eco' or 'fair trade' count? How about getting pissed off when people intentionally break stuff?), seem aloof and cool on the surface, but you realize they are sensitive and emotional after getting to know them, tends to use passive speech ("I would like" as opposed to "I want"), but may be more open to being the voice of dissent. (Yes to all.)

    For ISFP: also have a "different" demeanor, may be construed as anything from aloof to strange, often into the arts, likes physical activities and hands-on things more than an INFP does (ie. body boarding, hiking, dancing, etc) (Yes to all), may be more prolific artists because of that, usually very connected to nature/animals, have strong feelings about things also, but less universal/idealistic than an INFP (who may seem to over-complicate issues)(Yes to all.), may be more demonstrative of positive emotion (if only because more connected to reality)(I don't know... maybe), less articulate in writing/speech than an INFP (am I?), and as I said above, less interest in intellectual things.(Again, define intellectual things.)

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    1. What are some clear cut differences that you have noticed between each of these types?

    I don't know anything about ISFPs.
    ISFJs are generally more conservative thinkers than INFPs. They are better equipped to deal with their emotions while INFPs may hide/deny it. ISFJs are not as dark and morbid. ISFJs are less reserved and less really to judge people within a few seconds.

    2. What are the similarities?
    My ISFJ friend enjoys some abstract communication, which was surprising to me and which made me think she was intuitive, but she lives in the moment and doesn't spend a lot of time planning the future, which INFPs are more prone to do. But, these can vary with each person and their current situation, etc.

    Similarily, both ISFJs and INFPs are warm with people they consider their friends, will give out compliments to reassure them, will try to help them. INFPs are more stingy than ISFJs, but they're nice too.

    3. What are traits that make you think ISFJ (or ISFP / INFP) right off the bat?

    INFP - long, ramblings in conversations
    ISFJ - considerate, honest and to-the-point, but nice, usually

    For me, I'd say ISFJs are much, much more comfortable with their emotions than INFPs who struggle to understand and validate them.

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