How to Tell if You’re an ISTP vs ISFP

ISFP vs ISTP blog cover

If you’re reading this post, there’s a high chance that you’re trying to work out if you’re an ISTP vs ISFP personality type. These two types are often confused because they share many of the same characteristics. Both types are calm, practical, and easy-going. They both have the ability to be present in the moment.

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

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

1. Dealing with emotions.

ISTPs and ISFPs deal with feelings in very different ways. For starters, ISFPs tend to be more comfortable dealing with the irrational nature of emotions than ISTPs.

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.

On the other hand, ISTPs can find it hard to process their own emotions. This is because they prioritize logic. While ISTPs do feel things deeply, they often try to rationalize their emotions because they find it hard to accept anything that doesn’t have a logical explanation.

Seeing as feelings often don’t have an entirely rational origin, ISTPs can find them confusing or even overwhelming.

Nonetheless, ISTPs are often exceptionally talented at reading other people and understanding their emotional states. This is one of the reasons why they are so charming. They usually know exactly what to do and say.

2. Making decisions.

ISFPs and ISTPs focus on different criteria when making decisions. When deciding on the right path, ISFPs prioritize emotions, while ISTPs place more of an emphasis on logic.

ISFPs have a deep need to stay true to themselves when making decisions. They primarily think about if the potential course of action is in alignment with their values. As a result, they are often individualistic and driven by a need to remain authentic.

When making decisions, ISFPs ask: “How do I feel about this?” Ultimately, they are always looking to create harmony within themselves.

ISTPs primarily use inductive logic to make decisions. This means they start at the theory, then go to the facts, and then return to the theory.

Essentially, ISTPs tend to use facts to prove their theories. Over their lifetimes, they build up an internal web of knowledge about how the world works. In fact, they can find it hard to accept information that conflicts with their framework of knowledge.

When making decisions, ISTPs ask: “Does this make sense to me?” Ultimately, they are always looking to create coherence within themselves.

3. Sociability.

As introverted sensing, perceivers, ISTPs and ISFPs love to spend time alone. In particular, they enjoy having unstructured free time to do whatever takes their fancy.

Despite being introverts, ISFPs are people-oriented. They have a strong need for human bonds, and it’s highly unlikely that an ISFP will feel fulfilled without them.

This need for connection motivates ISFPs to be more sociable than ISTPs. However, they tend to avoid large groups and prefer one-on-one interactions or small gatherings of close friends.

Ultimately, ISFPs are a paradox of wanting to connect with people but also finding social interactions exhausting. Finding that balance is essential for the well-being of ISFPs.

ISTPs, on the other hand, are content with fewer close relationships and usually spend less time socializing. They are independent and self-sufficient, and they’re perfectly happy spending time alone. In fact, they often pride themselves on their ability to be self-sufficient.

In addition, INTPs are more skeptical than ISFPs and can be wary of other people having ulterior motives. This means they tend to be guarded and can struggle to open up to others.

4. Communication style.

ISTPs and ISFPs can both need time to collect their thoughts. However, ISTPs are more direct in the way they communicate, while ISFPs think about how their words will impact others emotionally.  

ISFPs are warm in the way they communicate. It’s common for people of this type to ask a lot of questions because they are curious about people and they are incredible listeners.

Plus, they are more likely to be expressive and emotional in their communication style. They may use anecdotes and personal stories to help explain their points, whereas ISTPs are more likely to use facts.

Both types are private about their feelings, but ISFPs are generally slightly more open about them. In addition, ISFPs choose their words carefully and often want to get across how they feel about something.

ISFPs have very strong morals, and they filter what they say through a lens of whether their words are in alignment with their values.

ISTPs communicate in a more direct manner. ISTPs are reserved and often keep their thoughts to themselves. It’s rare that they seek external help.

They have an open-ended communication style and naturally see different perspectives. This means that although they can be blunt in some situations, they are generally not set on finding a specific answer.

As one of the most logical personality types, they say it how it is and are generally seen as people of few words. ISTPs can struggle to process their emotions, and as a result, they appear more detached when communicating than ISFPs.

5. Showing love.

ISTPs and ISFPs take different approaches with regard to how they show love. In general, ISFPs are more open about showing someone they care.

ISFPs are always looking for ways to help their loved ones, and they feel happiest when they are able to do so. They are naturally aware of the needs of others, and they have a desire to make life fun and enjoyable for everyone.

As a result, ISFPs naturally let those they care about know that they are loved. They often do this in many ways, including spending quality time with them and verbally showing their affection. Ultimately, you won’t be left wondering whether an ISFP cares about you or not. They will make it known.

ISTPs, on the other hand, are not as naturally inclined to show their love and care in such overt ways. For ISTPs, actions speak louder than words, and they often express their love through thoughtful gestures.

This doesn’t mean that ISTPs don’t care about their loved ones; it’s just that they tend to express it in less obvious ways.

However, they can come across as cold at times, and this is usually unintentional. Seeing as ISTPs sometimes detach from their emotions, they can forget to show their softer side, especially if they feel tired or stressed.

ISTP vs. ISFP frequently asked questions

So now we have explained the key differences between the ISTP and 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 ISTPs vs. ISFPs more creative?

The question of which personality type is more creative, ISTPs or ISFPs, is a surprisingly difficult one to answer.

On the one hand, ISTPs are known for their ability to see the world in new and innovative ways. They are quick-thinking and adaptable, able to come up with original solutions to problems.

On the other hand, ISFPs are often said to have a “keen eye for beauty” and a natural sense of style. They are passionate and expressive, and their creativity often takes the form of art or music.

In the end, it may be that both personality types are equally creative, just in different ways. But if you’re thinking about “creativity” in the sense of creating something through self-expression, ISFPs are more likely to show these characteristics.

Are ISTPs vs. ISFPs more independent?

You might be wondering whether ISFPs or ISTPs are more independent. After all, both personality types are known for their desire for freedom and for keeping their options open.

However, ISTPs tend to be slightly more independent than ISFPs. This is because ISTPs are less reliant on other people as a source of their happiness. In fact, ISTPs often pride themselves on their independence.

ISFPs need regular, meaningful conversations with those they are close to in order to feel fulfilled. While ISTPs need this to some extent as well, they often spend more time on hobbies and interests that aren’t related to people.

At the end of the day, both types place a lot of importance on the ability to be autonomous, but ISFPs have a greater need for social connection than ISTPs.

Are ISTPs vs. ISFPs more practical?

It’s a close call, but when it comes to practicality, ISTPs just about edge out ISFPs.

ISTPs are all about action and getting things done. This means that they aren’t the type of people to sit around pondering the best decision. Instead, they learn by trial and error. They’re also quick thinkers who are good at solving problems on the fly.

ISFPs, on the other hand, are more interested in enjoying life in the moment and expressing their creativity. However, they’re also very resourceful and have a knack for figuring out how to get what they want.

So, while ISTPs may be slightly more practical than ISFPs, both types can be equally successful in getting what they want out of life.

Final thoughts on ISTP vs ISFP differences

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

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