Believable Characters, Part 19

We’re finally on the last trait from the Myers-Briggs core personalities. I’m pulling most of my info from Jeff Gerke’s Plot vs. Character and David Keirsey’s Please Understand Me II.

The last trait is the ISFP (introvert, sensory, feeling, perceptive), or who Keirsey calls THE COMPOSER. She’s loyal, committed, friendly, and reserved. Like the Performer, the Composer dislikes conflict and is all about the feelings: impulse, excitement, joy. She has a special talent for tactical artistry, working closely with color, tone, texture, aroma, and flavor. ISFPs are the musicians, chefs, and fashion designers of the world.

Composer make up about ten percent of the population, but they don’t want the limelight. As introverts, they prefer being alone, but will share their artistic outcomes with others just to share the joy. They don’t express themselves verbally, but in action, with tools (fabric, paintbrush, tuba), because the spoken word isn’t nearly as handy as the tool. If they can’t find a medium to express themselves, then they’ll keep to themselves. While it looks like they are hard at work on their compositions, they are extremely impulsive. They live intensely in the here and now, with little or no planning. “Composers are seized by the act of artistic composition, as if caught up in a whirlwind,” says Keirsey. They paint, sculpt, dance, and compose simply because they must. Composer seem oblivious to fatigue and pain, but it’s simply that they are so absorbed and excited that they don’t notice the difficulties.

The ISFP is the kindest of all the personality types, and are especially sensitive to the pain and suffering of others. Composers are also extremely competitive, especially in sports or table games, and hate to lose. Educating a Composer is difficult. They often drop out of school before finishing–they prefer experiential learning. Friendly and soft-spoken Composers seek a dutiful spouse, someone who can keep the Composer from wandering away when a tempting opportunity presents itself. When tension arises in a relationship, the Composer will put with it to keep the family intact, then quietly slink off once the children are grown.

Good career choices for the ISFP include teacher, bookkeeper, systems analyst, and firefighter. Famous ISFP’s include Donald Trump, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Dan Quayle, Christopher Reeves, Fred Astaire, and Elizabeth Taylor. Fictional ISFP’s include Bella Swan from Twilight, Buffy Summers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Rachel Greene from Friends, Harry Potter, Flounder from The LIttle Mermaid, and Shaggy from Scooby Doo.

Now that I’ve finished the sixteen core personality types, I’ll rely more heavily on Jeff Gerke’s book. In coming posts, I’ll discuss character temperament, physical attributes, and love language. Stay tuned!


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