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On INFP vs ISFP and My Creative Constipation.



A friend of mine with a recently budding interest in mbti was talking to me earlier tonight about what type she thought she might be. She’s narrowed it down to either INFP or ISFP, but remains unsure. Her uncertainty towards it has inspired me to do a shit ton of research myself, which, as usual, is super fulfilling for me :)

While IxFP is definitely the stereotypical ultra-sensitive-mushy-gushy-introspective-artist type, there are subtle, often undetectable, but crucial differences between the two that set them apart. This is true of all types that only have one function difference separating them, of course, but i think this especially true of INFP and ISFP because they share the same dominant function.

Upon reading a forum and a few short articles, i’ve concluded that the easiest way to tell a difference between an INFP and an ISFP is by observing how they express themselves creatively. It seems like ISFPs find a great deal of fulfillment in the act of creating something beautiful. Their approach to their art is incredibly visceral,  and they are often very concerned about the aesthetics of their work. They find genuine satisfaction in the simple act of reveling in beauty.

INFPs, on the other hand, are obsessed with stories, messages and meanings. I know that whenever i want to take on artistic endeavor i put a lot of thought and analysis into the concept… often to the point where i overthink and nothing ends up getting done.  If the message behind what i’m making doesn’t feel complete or adequately expressed i am not satisfied.

I feel like i might do this to a larger extent then many INFPs, however. Recently I’ve been so paralyzed by anxiety that my thoughts rarely escape the labyrinth of my mind and make it onto paper (aside from this small gem of analysis, i suppose!)   It turns into a vicious cycle: i never get any art done because i’m too busy perfecting a concept. Once I’ve finally got a concept I’ve deemed “deep” enough, i don’t have the confidence to execute it because i’m so out of practice in turning my intangibles into tangibles that i become intimidated by the task and just know that my vision will not line up with its physical reality.  So i get exasperated and ditch the whole project. 

Buuuuuuut I digress.

Given their preferences for creative expression, it’s no surprise to see that many INFPs prefer prose and poetry over more visceral forms of expression, like visual art or music that ISFPs tend to prefer. Of course, both types are more then capable of being proficient in any artistic field- but the trend exists for a reason.

I think ISFPs are very much hands-on artists. They live, breathe, and embody their work. Their life is art. The act of creating is what drives them. An INFP is more cerebral- they come up with an idea and hope to put the idea to use. They are driven by thought. I know i have a very active internal world- i find just thinking about things genuinely satisfying! Unfortunately, ideas, fascinating as they may be, are not very useful unless they get implemented somehow, and art requires an audience. 

Substance is nothing without style, and vice-versa. After reading about their creative preferences, it seems to me that INFPs and ISFPS would make make a dream team of substance and style. I remember reading somewhere a long time ago that John Lennon was an INFP and Paul McCartney was an ISFP… i wonder if that could be true!

The creativity of the ISFP is fluid.

The creativity of the INFP is focused. 

An INFP in the forum i mentioned earlier said that ISFPs “walk the walk” and and INFPs “talk the talk”. I like this A LOT.

Aaaaand now it’s almost 3:30 am and i have once again successfully thought myself into sleep deprivation. Alas, fair tumblr, i must bid you adieu. Bonsoir. 

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