ISFP vs. INFP: What Are the Differences?
by Lisa Sparrow
The difference between ISFPs and INFPs comes down to adventure vs values. While outwardly both personalities are personable but introverted, what drives the two is completely different. ISFPs are spontaneous types in search of adventure and freedom, while INFPs place their humanism and morals at the center of their worldview.
Key personality differences explained
ISFP - The Adventurer
ISFP types have introversion, observation, feeling, and prospecting at the core of their personality. Open and warm people, these individuals love to explore and really enjoy the moment. Adventurers aren’t afraid to explore outside the box. While they love an adventure, ISFPs are introverts at heart and need time alone to recharge.
Not held back due to convention, ISFPs crave new connections and excitement. It makes sense then that this type can be quite spontaneous and even unpredictable at times. Adventurers can indulge in some risky behavior in their search for excitement but bring with them a charisma and charm that can win over anyone criticizing their choices.
INFP - The Mediator
An INFP personality type is someone who exhibits strong traits of introversion, intuitiveness, feeling, and prospecting. Also called Mediators, this personality is known for its sensitivity and can be incredibly empathetic and compassionate individuals. The Mediator is quite a rare personality type who leans towards introversion and quiet.
While INFPs can seem quiet, they are passionate and creative thinkers who can lose themselves in their thoughts and pursuits. Not only sensitive when it comes to the feelings of others, Mediators can also be incredibly sensitive to the creative arts. If anyone’s going to cry in a movie or to a piece of music, it’s an INFP.
Their attractive personalities are a real strength for ISFPs. Adventurers are charismatic and warm types and people often comment on their relaxed and open nature. ISFPs tend to attract lots of friends and often play the peacemaker role in their friendship circles.
Adventurers also have a strong sense of curiosity that allows them to grow and learn. ISFPs love to seek and explore, which means that Adventurers often find themselves in interesting and exciting situations. Boring is not for this personality!
INFPs are generous and caring people that come across as kindhearted and compassionate individuals. One of this personality’s greatest strengths is their empathy. Mediators understand what others are thinking easily and can be very supportive and accepting people.
Mediators are also extremely open-minded to people and beliefs. This means that they open themselves up to a range of people and opportunities. INFPs also have strong moral values. This personality follows their conscience and has a lot of passion and drive for situations that feed their beliefs and creativity.
ISFPs can struggle with rules and structure due to their independent nature. This personality is likely to reject anything that holds them from being spontaneous, and so they’re likely to struggle within rigid traditional institutions like academia. While Adventurers bring an undeniable charm and excitement, their need for adventure can make them unpredictable friends and partners. Planning for the future or even turning up to an event on time isn’t this personality’s strength.
Stress can affect ISFPs more than most. While they love adventure, when life starts to get too chaotic or out of control they tend to shut down and let it get the better of them. Adventurers also have a tendency to become overly-competitive in their search for excitement; sore losing and antagonizing others often occurs when ISFPs escalate game and competitions.
One of the weaknesses that INFPs face in life is their unrealistic expectations. Mediators can have lofty goals, whether it’s for their career, love life or hobbies, but they also have a tendency to be unfocused and unproductive. When outcomes don’t reach their high expectations, Mediators are often left feeling disappointed and harshly self-critical.
While this personality doesn’t struggle to understand others, they can struggle with putting themselves into new situations. INFPs tend to self-isolate and this can lead to feelings of loneliness. Mediators can also exhibit people-pleasing properties. INFPs can put everything into making someone else like them, leaving them drained and emotionally vulnerable.
ISFPs are adventurers at heart, and so need careers that allow them freedom and creativity. Any role that allows them the freedom and spontaneity that they crave is going to work well for Adventurers. A structured and rigid 9-5 role is likely to leave this personality feeling suffocated. The freedom to explore is so important to ISFPs that they’re willing to sacrifice money and seniority to get it.
For INFPs, purpose rather than freedom is the key to their careers. Mediators can feel frustrated in a role that doesn’t let them live up to their potential, let them be creative, or meet their principles and values.
You’ll often find INFPs in artistic roles such as art, writing, or music. They’ll really shine though when they feel that their job is helping to make a difference, and because of this, survival roles are also a good fit for this personality.
Adventurers are mysterious but exciting partners. This is not the kind of personality that you’ll get to know on a first date. ISFPs tend to keep their guard up, but once they feel accepted and safe they can grow into warm and supportive partners.
Relationships with an ISFP are never boring as these individuals bring spontaneity and excitement to relationships, always coming up with new ways to have fun.
Romance is high on the priority list for INFPs. This personality believes in true love and has high expectations for their perfect partner. But when they actually face the dating world, reality can be a bit of a shock. Connection and meaningful traits are important to Mediators – looks or social status won’t lure them into a relationship.
When they do find their match, INFPs are devoted and passionate partners. Although they do need to make sure that they don’t lose themself in a relationship and make time to ensure their needs are met.
The bottom line
Both Adventurers and Mediators can attract a lot of friends, but that’s really where the similarities end. Looking at what drives these two personality types is where we start to see real differences. At their core, ISFPs require freedom and adventure to thrive, while INFPs are searching for connections and experiences that match their morals.