How to Tell if You’re an INFJ vs. ISFP

INFJ vs ISFP blog cover

If you’re reading this post, there’s a high chance that you’re trying to work out if you’re an INFJ vs. ISFP personality type. These two types are sometimes confused because they share a number of characteristics. Both types are idealistic, compassionate, and creative. They are also deep thinkers who value their personal relationships.

But there are also some core differences between how these types think and experience the world. In this post, we explore these core differences. If you’re unclear about your type, we hope this helps you.

So here are five differences between the INFJ vs. ISFP personality types:

1. Empathizing with others.

Both INFJs and ISFPs are deeply empathetic and feel other people’s emotions on a deep level. However, ISFPs map other people’s emotions to their own, while INFJs absorb the feelings of those around them. As a result, ISFPs are more able to “switch off” their empathy than INFJs.

As ISFPs are acutely aware of their own emotions, they imagine how they would feel if they were in someone else’s shoes. When possible, ISFPs consider how they felt in similar situations in the past in order to understand what someone is going through.

They essentially have a library of emotions from a range of experiences, and they can draw on them when they choose. However, they might not always be aware that they’re doing this because it comes so naturally to them.

On the other hand, INFJs innately absorb the emotions of others in real-time. This can happen with anyone or anything—it could be a close family member, someone they are sitting next to on the train, or an animal in a book.

INFJs instinctively feel the emotions of other beings. How they empathize with others isn’t directly based on how they would feel, although this can be a conscious consideration. When they are around happy people, they naturally take on similar emotions, and the same goes for other scenarios, such as when those around them are sad.

2. Making decisions.

Both types are emotional, but ISFPs are more in touch with their own emotions, while INFJs are more aware of the emotions of others. Even though INFJs and ISFPs feel very deeply, they are extremely private.

While both types value emotions when making decisions, ISFPs primarily think about whether the potential course of action is in alignment with their values, while INFJs first consider how others will be impacted.

This also means that ISFPs tend to be more individualistic, while INFJs adjust their behavior depending on who they are with. ISFPs have a deep need to stay true to themselves, and they aren’t concerned about what others think of them.

When making decisions, ISFPs ask: “How do I feel about this?” ISFPs are often quiet yet rebellious teenagers. They are driven by a need to remain authentic, and they often make decisions on what feels right. Ultimately, they are always looking to create harmony within themselves.

INFJs primarily base their decisions on how they will affect others. They want to create win-win scenarios and avoid hurting anyone’s feelings. Of course, this isn’t always possible, and when they do have to take actions that involve hurting other people, it deeply affects them.

When making decisions, INFJs ask: “How does this impact the group?” Ultimately, they are always looking to create harmony with the outer world. INFJs are often the peacemakers in their families or social groups. They will try to see both sides of every issue and find a resolution that works for everyone.

3. Organization.

INFJs and ISFPs have a similar approach to life in a lot of ways. After all, they share preferences for introversion, intuition, and feeling.

However, the way they organize their day-to-day lives can look quite different. ISFPs prefer to keep their options open, while INFJs feel more comfortable when they have a clear plan.

ISFPs often appear relaxed and adaptable. In fact, they are in a lot of ways. They don’t like to plan too far in advance and are open to new experiences.

This is because they love entertaining possibilities and can feel uncomfortable when they give up options. One of the reasons for this is that each decision made by an ISFP must be in alignment with their values so they can struggle to choose what feels most “right.”

Despite being flexible in many regards, ISFPs have very strong values, which can come as a surprise. They know exactly what they feel is right or wrong.

But it’s unlikely that you’ll see this in an ISFP straight away. It’s just when you dig deeper or broach a topic that they have clear opinions about, you’ll see how strongly they feel about certain things. ISFPs have complex beliefs and very strong judgments.

INFJs are organized and feel most comfortable when they have a plan. They like to know what they’re doing and when they’re doing it. This is because they have a lot going on in their heads and feel more comfortable when they have some structure in their outer lives.

Being in an environment with structure enables INFJs to think clearly and explore concepts internally. In contrast to ISFPs, INFJs are often more adaptable in terms of their point of view. While both types have strong values, INFJs are less likely to see certain actions as black and white.

Even though INFJs feel most comfortable with some kind of routine, they do like to allow periods of time to recharge in their introverted bubble and pursue their interests.

4. Understanding their emotions.

Even though both types are emotional, the way they process their own emotions differs. This is a result of ISFPs being more focused on their own emotions and INFJs being more in tune with those of other people.  

ISFPs are exceptionally aware of their feelings in a very intricate way. They are constantly processing their emotions, and, as a result, they can sometimes seem like they’re in their own world. ISFPs are one of the personality types that are most in touch with their emotions. Despite this, they can appear aloof and unemotional.

While others usually view them as calm, they feel intensely passionate on the inside. Even when an ISFP is incredibly excited about something, it can be hard to tell that’s the case. ISFPs are easily moved and tend to cry more often than a lot of other personality types. They don’t like to cry in front of other people, though, and will wait until they’re alone if possible.

INFJs can find it difficult to understand their emotions. In certain situations, they can feel like they understand other people’s feelings better than their own. Seeing as the focus on feelings is directed outward, they can struggle to process their own emotions and sometimes try to rationalize them.

Plus, if an INFJ is around someone who is experiencing strong emotions, they may be overwhelmed by this person’s feelings. This can make it difficult to separate out their own. For example, if a family member is devastated, an INFJ will feel their pain and can struggle to know what aspects of their sadness are their own.

5. Focus.

Despite being similar in a lot of ways, the way INFJs and ISFPs see the world differently. INFJs spend a lot of time in their heads, while ISFPs are more present.

Essentially, INFJs tend to get easily caught up in their thoughts, and they aren’t usually the most observant people when it comes to specific details. They have a holistic focus, sometimes at the expense of details.

This allows them to use their imagination to see the potential in everything from people to concepts. As a result, INFJs are very future-focused and are often described as “visionary.” They often have clear, long-term goals that they work toward tirelessly.

ISFPs have the ability to stay present, and they tend to be highly aware of their physical surroundings. This is evident in the way they notice small details about people and their environment.

ISFPs feel most comfortable dealing with tangible, concrete information. They can become exhausted by too much talk about theories and intangible concepts.

In addition, they don’t see much point in talking about what might happen far into the future because they see it as impractical.

INFJ vs. ISFP frequently asked questions

So now we have explained the key differences between the INFJ vs. ISFP personality types. Even for those who have explored personality types in depth, it can still be hard to tell the difference between these two types.

Let’s now look at some frequently asked questions about each personality to help make it clearer for you.

Are INFJs vs. ISFPs more empathetic?

Both types are highly attuned to other people and are two of the most empathetic personality types out there. Plus, they are highly sensitive and easily pick up on nonverbal cues. These skills make them very good at reading people and anticipating their needs.

INFJs are more energetically in tune with how other people are feeling, but if an ISFP cares about someone or imagines what they must be going through, they can also be highly aware.

Ultimately, both types are empathetic in different ways, as discussed above. Neither type is innately more empathetic.

Are INFJs people-pleasers and ISFPs selfish?

There is a common misconception that INFJs are people-pleasers and ISFPs are selfish. Of course, as with any type, there are people out there of these types who display those characteristics. But healthy INFJs have clear boundaries, and healthy ISFPs are attentive to other people’s needs.

Healthy ISFPs are not innately selfish. Yes, they have strong opinions and values, but they are also incredibly compassionate and empathetic. They care deeply about making sure everyone is happy and comfortable, and they are always willing to put others first. In fact, making sure their loved ones are content is often a core value for ISFPs.

Healthy INFJs are able to find a balance between making sure people around them are happy and looking after their own needs. It’s true that they’re naturally more aware of other people. But they’re able to access different aspects of their personality to work out when it’s time to shift the focus to themselves.  

Are INFJs vs. ISFPs more imaginative?

When it comes to imagination, both INFJs and ISFPs tend to excel. These two personality types are often creative and daydreamy, coming up with original ideas and seeing the world in their own unique way.

However, there are some key differences between the two types. INFJs are more likely to use their imagination in a logical way, often applying it to problem-solving or planning for the future.

In contrast, ISFPs are more likely to use their imagination for fun and self-expression. They may be drawn to creative pursuits such as writing, painting, or music. As a result, they may seem more fanciful and whimsical than INFJs.

Ultimately, both types can be highly imaginative, but they tend to use their imaginations in different ways.

Final thoughts on INFJ vs. ISFP differences

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our individual INFJ and ISFP posts, which delve deeper into each personality type. Last but not least, you might enjoy ISFP vs. ESFP and INFJ vs. INTP.

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