As an ISFP, I process information based on how I feel.  This is quite typical for ISFPs.  ISFPs focus less on concrete facts when forming an opinion or making a decision.  ISFPs process their environment and make an opinion based on how one is affected emotionally.  The human senses of sight, sound, touch, smell and taste all operate to collect external information.  Then, that information is processed through an emotional filter.  If you are in a relationship, friendship, courtship or marriage with someone like me (ISFP), knowing this can be quite handy.  If you want input from an ISFP, here’s a good rule of thumb.  First, consider your timing, or more specifically, “is this ISFP in a good mood?”; second, and most importantly, engage their human senses in the conversation to spur excitement.

Let me give you a quick example.  My husband of several years always asks where I would like to celebrate a mother’s day, a birthday or an anniversary dinner.  We typically try a new place to eat.  He spends quite a bit of time choosing 3 to 4 options.  He makes reservations for all potential dining spots.  Then, my husband asks me which I would prefer.  He asks at the most untimely of times – at dinner while our pre-school aged twins are running amok of eating their peas.  He presents his research options over the laments of our whining kids; straight and to the point, this is the conversation that ensues:

HUSBAND: Restaurant 1 serves steak, restaurant 2 serves pasta dishes and restaurant 3 is mostly seafood.  What do you think?  

ME: What are our options, again?  What was the second one?  What did you say?  I can’t hear you.  It doesn’t matter.  You decide!

My husband is well intended.  I must give him credit for the time he researched and reserved the restaurants.  First mistake though, he always asks the question while my children are behaving badly.  Sufficed to say, I am usually a bit annoyed.  Not at him, it’s just that the present conditions of the moment are affecting my mood.  Then, his question is presented like a fact sheet.  Yawn.  Under those current sensory conditions, I am underwhelmed by any options.  They all sound unappealing and annoying.  More often than not, I am short and indifferent.  He intended a celebration to my liking, but he is left trying to guess what I want.  This scenario repeats itself every time my husband plans a dinner celebration.  What a stressful experience for the both us!

All this could be avoided by understanding how his ISFP wife processes information. Applying the above rule of thumb would be simple and revolutionary, in a marital sense.   First, he should ask after the kids are asleep in bed.  Any time the children are not causing havoc is a more relaxing time.  Then, he can present the information more contextually with my undivided attention.  He could elaborate on the options.

HUSBAND: The steakhouse serves a great risotto to accompany the rib-eye and there is a very popular soufflé dessert!  Did I mention the wine list is fantastic?!  The Italian place is family friendly, the portions are huge and I know they serve Chianti, your favorite.  The last place is seafood.  The location is near the water, the views are spectacular and the surf and turf comes highly recommended.

ME:  Ooooh, they all sound good! Let’s go to the Italian- kid friendly and Chianti is a winning combination!  Thanks, Babe!

By adding context and vivid imagery at the right time, he could spark excitement about our dinner celebration options.  Moreover, I would happily share with him my preference.  His typical fact-based language sans the fluff takes away from what he intended, which is to draw out my preference and plan a pleasant celebration.  This all could be achieved by asking my opinion at the right time (a relaxed setting) and using descriptive language (instead of matter-of-fact tone) to engage my senses.  And hey, with the excitement of an upcoming dinner celebration right before bed, he might even get lucky!

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