How To Make an ISFP Happy… and Snag a Dinner Date!

Written by Leilanie Lasola

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!

About the author

Leilanie Lasola

A happy mother and wife, this ISFP is interested in MBTI, conspiracy theories, the economy, painting, interior design, traveling, and playing the part of amateur food critic.


  • Dear Lasola, am glad i found your blog. I am so in love with an ISFP man…and i know how fragile it is if i wrong handling it… i need your advice. Can i discuss it in private?please.

  • One of the most tragically not-working match is probably INFP-ISFP and INTP-ISFP.

    Tragical I say, because early on it looks like a marvel… specially the INFP-ISFP or with the INTP when he is in his Te phase 🙂

    Later hell comes.
    When hell comes, the ISFP will activate their social mask and operate like ISFJs — or at any rate flit about a little and replace you with a… replacement person. “In love again”, swiftly so.

    On the other hand the INTP/INFP will have a much harder time. He/she has no mask ready to wear.
    Nor can they flicker about and be pursued by wanna-be suitors.
    Nor “fall in love” with a replacement.

    I don’t understand ISFPs, they have primary Fi and no big Fe or Te. How can they be so good at joining the social masquerade and using others for their purposes, compared with INFPs and INTPs?

    • Hi,

      Admittedly, I’m not a huge fan of cognitive functions as their abstract and vague nature makes it too easy to convince ourselves of anything. I think an easier explanation as to why Butterflies(ISFPs) are so much better than Humpback Whales(INFPs) and Owls(INTPs) at socializing is that Butterflies prefer to view the world through a concrete lens, and the last two prefer to view it abstractly. As most, if not all, social functions require the ability to converse about and navigate concrete topics, it makes sense that the ISFP would be smoother (I recommend reading the Butterfly portrait).

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