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

ISFP vs ESFP blog cover

If you’re reading this post, there’s a high chance that you’re trying to work out if you’re an ISFP vs. ESFP personality type. These two types are sometimes confused because they share a number of characteristics. Both types are spontaneous, kind, and creative. They have a unique ability to be present and are always up for an adventure.

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

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

1. Communication style.

ISFPs and ESFPs are both caring and empathetic in the way they communicate. While both have strong opinions and stand up for what they believe in, ESFPs tend to be more outspoken than ISFPs.

ISFPs tend to speak in a soft voice, and they come across as gentle. They listen more than they talk, and they sometimes drift off because they get caught up in their thoughts.

When having a conversation, ISFPs will likely use subtle gestures. In general, ISFPs will keep their thoughts to themselves when they first meet people.

Nonetheless, they are genuinely interested in others, and as a result, ISFPs are some of the best listeners out there. They can need time to collect their thoughts and might not always respond in the moment.

On the other hand, ESFPs tend to be louder when talking. They come across as energetic and enthusiastic. ESFPs often use broad gestures to communicate their thoughts, and they tend to be more comfortable initiating conversations than ISFPs.

In addition, ESFPs are generally more comfortable with eye contact. They come across as warm and open, even though, in reality, they may take a while to open up.

ESFPs often clarify their thoughts by talking things through, which means their opinions may change quite literally as they are speaking.  They may restate their thoughts and will often seek input from others.

2. Making decisions.

ISFPs and ESFPs both make decisions based on what feels right to them. This is because they have strong values and morals. In addition, both types have a deep need to stay true to themselves.

ISFPs tend to take more time to make a decision. Even though there’s a high chance that they know what best aligns with their values, they prefer to take time to make sure that it’s definitely the case.

Essentially, they need to run each decision through their inner framework of values before coming to a conclusion. This is because ISFPs are very in tune with their inner world.

ESFPs are more likely to make a decision based on what feels most natural in the moment. They make choices based on criteria similar to ISFPs, but they are usually quicker to come to a conclusion about how they want to move forward.

This is because they feel less of a need to process their thoughts internally compared to ISFPs. That’s not to say that ESFPs don’t think deeply. However, at times, ESFPs can be impulsive. ISFPs can make rash decisions, too, but it’s less common. 

3. Friendships.

Both ISFPs and ESFPs value deep, meaningful connections. But they tend to thrive in different situations. ISFPs feel most comfortable in intimate settings with a small number of people, whereas ESFPs need to engage with others more in order to feel their happiest.

ISFPs prefer one-on-one interactions with people. Meeting a friend for a quiet coffee or going for a walk with them in the park suits an ISFP perfectly. They need more alone time, too, and they can find large groups overwhelming.

This extends to the way they work. ISFPs often prefer to work alone, and they can find busy offices distracting, especially if they need to concentrate. It’s fairly rare for ISFPs to strike up conversations with strangers, and they will often have a small group of close friends.

ESFPs enjoy group interactions more than ISFPs. They appreciate intimate connections just as much, but they feel more energized from being in a bigger group.

If an ESFP spends the evening chatting with a group of friends over dinner, they’ll come away feeling motivated and full of enthusiasm. ESFPs feel most comfortable working with other people, and they enjoy collaborating.

In addition, ESFPs are more likely than ISFPs to initiate a conversation with people that they don’t know, and they tend to have larger social circles.


4. Openness.

Even though it can take time for both types to truly open up, ESFPs are more open than ISFPs. This is especially the case when it comes to sharing their everyday lives.

ISFPs can be difficult to get to know. They can certainly hold a conversation when they want to, but they don’t usually give much away, particularly when you first meet them. It might almost seem like they are guarding their thoughts and feelings.

ISFPs are private, which means they are careful to decide who they let into their inner world. They aren’t necessarily shy; it’s more that they prefer to avoid spending time and energy talking about things that they don’t see as valuable or interesting.

ESFPs tend to be more open. They are less cautious about what they choose to give away about themselves. Of course, it takes time to build trust with ESFPs, more so than you might think, which means they won’t be sharing their deepest, darkest secrets with you right away.

But they are more willing to talk about what’s going on in their life, how their work is going, their current passion, etc. This means that it’s easier to get to know an ESFP, at least to a certain level.

5. Solitude.

ISFPs need more alone time than ESFPs because they are more sensitive to external stimuli, such as noise and bright lights.

While ISFPs value deep connections, they recharge in solitude. Socializing, particularly with large groups or in loud places, can be exhausting for ISFPs.

They can start to feel drained quite quickly. If they don’t get enough alone time, they tend to become irritable and restless.

ESFPs tend to spend more time with people and interacting with the world than ISFPs. However, it’s worth noting that ESFPs need alone time too. Ultimately, every type needs a balance.

The main difference is that they are able to spend much longer without alone time than ISFPs. Up until a point, they draw energy from social settings, particularly if the situation involves fun, dynamic activities.

ISFP vs. ESFP frequently asked questions

So now we have explained the key differences between the ISFP vs. ESFP 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 ISFPs v.s ESFPs more unconventional?

It’s a tough question to answer, as it really depends on how you define “unconventional.” Overall, it’s fair to say that both ISFPs and ESFPs can be pretty unconventional. After all, they’re both sensing, feeling, and perceiving personality types, which means they’re more likely to go with their gut instinct and follow their heart than the average person.

When it comes to social norms and expectations, ISFPs tend to be more non-conformist. They’re the type of people who are more likely to march to the beat of their own drum, and they’re not afraid to stand up for what they believe in – even if it means going against the grain.

Where they differ slightly is that ESFPs are more likely to take risks. So even though ISFPs are often more quietly rebellious and less traditional, ESFPs can come across as more unconventional to others.

Ultimately, ISFPs tend to have a more inwardly focused individuality, while ESFPs appear less traditional to other people.

Are ISFPs vs. ESFPs more independent?

ISFPs and ESFPs are both fairly independent compared to a lot of other personality types. However, they tend to achieve independence in different ways.

ESFPs are often more outgoing and assertive than ISFPs, which means they appear more independent in their actions and choices. ESFPs are also less likely to second-guess themselves, which can lead to a greater sense of confidence in their decisions.

ISFPs, on the other hand, are more introspective and thoughtful in their approach to independence. They typically take more time to make decisions and may consult with others before taking any action. However, once an ISFP has made up their mind, they are just as confident and self-assured as an ESFP.

In general, ISFPs are more self-sufficient than ESFPs and tend to need less external validation.

Are ISFPs vs. ESFPs more creative?

When it comes to creativity, both ISFPs and ESFPs tend to excel. These two personality types are often drawn to fields such as writing, art, and music. They are both observant and are constantly inspired by the world around them.

Some might say that ISFPs are more imaginative because they’re more in touch with their emotions, and they have a very rich inner life. ISFPs are also more likely to spend time daydreaming and exploring their inner world. This allows them to come up with creative ideas, but it might take them some time.

Some people might say that ESFPs are more imaginative because they’re always coming up with new concepts. ESFPs are more likely to be drawn to outer world stimulation. They are constantly seeking new experiences and adventures. While this can make them very imaginative, it can also mean that they are less able to focus on one task or project. ESFPs are more likely to be able to quickly come up with creative ideas.

In summary, ISFPs have more of an inner world creativity, while ESFPs focus their resourcefulness on the outer world.

Final thoughts on ISFP vs. ESFP differences

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our individual ISFP and ESFP posts, which delve deeper into each personality type. Last but not least, check out our blog post about ISFJ vs. ISFP differences.

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