As an ISFJ, your primary mode of living is focused internally, where you
takes things in via your five senses in a literal, concrete fashion. Your
secondary mode is external, where you deal with things according to how you feel
about them, or how they fit into your personal value system.
ISFJs live in a world which is concrete and kind. They are truly warm and
kind-hearted, and want to believe the best of people. They value harmony and
cooperation, and are likely to be very sensitive to other people's feelings.
People value the ISFJ for their consideration and awareness, and their ability
to bring out the best in others by their firm desire to believe the best.
ISFJs have a rich inner world which is not usually obvious to observers. They
constantly take in information about people and situations which is personally
important to them, and store it away. This tremendous store of information is
usually startlingly accurate, because the ISFJ has an exceptional memory about
things which are important to their value systems. It would not be uncommon for
the ISFJ to remember a particular facial expression or conversation in precise
detail years after the event occured, if the situation made an impression on the
ISFJs have a very clear idea of the way things should be, which they strive
to attain. They value security and kindness, and respect traditions and laws.
They tend to believe that existing systems are there because they work.
Therefore, they're not likely to buy into doing things in a new way, unless
they're shown in a concrete way why it's better than the established method.
ISFJs learn best by doing, rather than by reading about something in a book,
or applying theory. For this reason, they are not likely to be found in fields
which require a lot of conceptual analysis or theory. They value practical
application. Traditional methods of higher education, which require a lot of
theorizing and abstraction, are likely to be a chore for the ISFJ. The ISFJ
learns a task best by being shown it's practical application. Once the task is
learned, and it's practical importance is understood, the ISFJ will faithfully
and tirelessly carry through the task to completion. The ISFJ is extremely
The ISFJ has an extremely well-developed sense of space, function, and
aesthetic appeal. For that reason, they're likely to have beautifully furnished,
functional homes. They make extremely good interior decorators. This special
ability, combined with their sensitivity to other's feelings and desires, makes
them very likely to be great gift-givers - finding the right gift which will be
truly appreciated by the recipient.
More so than other types, ISFJs are extremely aware of their own internal
feelings, as well as other people's feelings. They do not usually express their
own feelings, keeping things inside. If they are negative feelings, they may
build up inside the ISFJ until they turn into firm judgements against
individuals which are difficult to unseed, once set. Many ISFJs learn to express
themselves, and find outlets for their powerful emotions.
Just as the ISFJ is not likely to express their feelings, they are also not
likely to let on that they know how others are feeling. However, they will speak
up when they feel another individual really needs help, and in such cases they
can truly help others become aware of their feelings.
The ISFJ feels a strong sense of responsibility and duty. They take their
responsibilities very seriously, and can be counted on to follow through. For
this reason, people naturally tend to rely on them. The ISFJ has a difficult
time saying "no" when asked to do something, and may become
over-burdened. In such cases, the ISFJ does not usually express their
difficulties to others, because they intensely dislike conflict, and because
they tend to place other people's needs over their own. The ISFJ needs to learn
to identify, value, and express their own needs, if they wish to avoid becoming
over-worked and taken for granted.
ISFJs need positive feedback from others. In the absence of positive
feedback, or in the face of criticism, the ISFJ gets discouraged, and may even
become depressed. When down on themselves or under great stress, the ISFJ begins
to imagine all of the things that might go critically wrong in their life. They
have strong feelings of inadequacy, and become convinced that "everything
is all wrong", or "I can't do anything right".
The ISFJ is warm, generous, and dependable. They have many special gifts to
offer, in their sensitivity to others, and their strong ability to keep things
running smoothly. They need to remember to not be overly critical of themselves,
and to give themselves some of the warmth and love which they freely dispense to
ISFJs place a great deal of importance on their personal relationships.
They're generally very giving and loving people, who place the needs of others
above their own. They sometimes have a problem with becoming overly emotionally
needy, and with keeping their true feelings hidden from others. They take their
commitments very seriously, and seek lifelong relationships. ISFJs are extremely
dependable, and put forth a lot of energy into keeping things running smoothly.
They sometimes have difficulty saying "no" when asked to do something,
and therefore may be taken for granted.
- Warm, friendly and affirming by nature
- Service-oriented, wanting to please others
- Good listeners
- Will put forth lots of effort to fulfill their duties and obligations
- Excellent organizational capabilities
- Good at taking care of practical matters and daily needs
- Usually good (albeit conservative) at handling money
- Take their commitments seriously, and seek lifelong relationships
- Don't pay enough attention to their own needs
- May have difficulty branching out into new territory
- Extreme dislike of conflict and criticism
- Unlikely to express their needs, which may cause pent-up frustrations to
- Have difficulty leaving a bad relationship
- Have difficulty moving on after the end of a relationship
ISFJs as Lovers
"To love means to open ourselves to the negative as well as the
positive - to grief, sorrow, and disappointment as well as to joy, fulfillment,
and an intensity of consciousness we did not know was possible before." --
ISFJs are committed to their relationships. They have very intense feelings,
which is not immediately apparent to others because they tend to hold things
inside themselves without expressing them, unless they have a strong reason to
do so. Their intensity of feeling makes their intimate relationship their first
priority in life, with the possible exception of God. They seek monogamous,
lifelong commitments, and can be depended upon to be faithful and loyal to their
mates once they have made a commitment.
ISFJs have a difficult time leaving a relationship which is bad, or accepting
that a relationship is over. They tend to put all of the blame on their own
shoulders, and wonder what they should have done to make things work out. If
they have been loyal to their vows and have done their duties, they will be at a
complete loss as to what went wrong, and will have great difficulty accepting
the end. They are "true blue" lovers, and may even remain faithful to
their deceased partners.
ISFJs tend to be very selfless, and to put the needs of others well before
their own needs. This may backfire on them, if they get into a situation in
which they are taken advantage of, and do not have a good outlet for their
strong emotions. In this kind of situation, the ISFJ might bottle up their
feelings inside them, and form strong resentments against others. The ISFJ
should work on recognizing their own needs, and place some importance on meeting
them, rather than always putting the needs of others first. After all, if you
can't take care of yourself, how can take care of someone else?
Sexually, the ISFJ sees intimacy as a tangible way of strengthening their
relationship bonds. They also see as something of a duty, and are likely to be
more interested in serving their partner than in their own personal
satisfaction. Although the ISFJ is not likely to be very wordy about expressing
their love and affection, they're likely to do so through their deeds, and will
deeply value their partner's responding affirmations.
The ISFJ is very warm and selfless. They'll put forth tremendous amounts of
energy and time into doing what they feel is ther duty. What makes them feel
best about themselves is when others show them their appreciation of the ISFJ.
Consequently, the best gift that the partner of an ISFJ can give them is the
expression of their love and appreciation.
ISFJs have difficulty with conflict situations, and would much prefer to just
sweep things under the rug. Sometimes facing a conflict situation helps to
resolve it, and the ISFJ should realize that the world will not end if they face
the conflict, and express how they feel about it. A conflict situation is not
necessarily a "problem" which needs to be gotten rid of, and it is
also not necessarily the ISFJ's fault. It's a common problem for ISFJ's to not
express their feelings until pushed to some limit, after which they explode in
anger and say things which they later feel they shouldn't have said. These kinds
of outbursts can be reduced by expressing their feelings on a more regular
basis, rather than keeping them pent up inside.
In general, the ISFJ is usually a traditional, family-minded individual who
places the comfort of their mates and families as their first priority in life.
They're great for providing for everyday basic needs, and have a depth of caring
which is very unusual, and not found in most types. They highly invested in the
health of their relationships, and will work very hard to make things run
smoothly. They are dependable and affectionate lovers.
Although two well-developed individuals of any type can enjoy a healthy
relationship, the ISFJ's natural partner is the ESTP,
or the ESFP. ISFJ's dominant
function of Introverted Sensing is best matched with a partner whose dominant
function is Extraverted Sensing. How
did we arrive at this?
ISFJs as Parents
"You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable." -- Kahlil Gibran
Parenthood is seen as natural state and duty to the ISFJ. They are
responsible about ensuring that their children have their practical needs met,
and try to teach them the rules and observations of our society so that they
grow into responsible and independent adults.
ISFJs may have difficulty administering punishment or discipline to their
chldren, although most are able to overcome this discomfort because they feel it
is their greater duty to instill their children with sound values. As
individuals who value order and structure, they're likely to create well-defined
boundaries and roles for their children to live within.
ISFJ parents have a very difficult time if their children grow into
"problem" adults They tend to believe that it is their responsibility,
and that they didn't work hard enough to raise their children well. This may or
may not be the case, but usually it isn't. The ISFJ usually puts forth a lot of
energy and effort, and doesn't give themselves credit for doing so.
In many ways, an ISFJ makes an ideal parent. Their children will not lack for
structure, appropriate guidelines, or warmth and affection. Their children will
remember and value the ISFJ parent for their warm natures and genuine efforts on
their children's behalf.
ISFJs as Friends
Although the ISFJ is likely to place God and family above their friends in
their priorities, they genuinely enjoy spending time with friends and
colleagues. In fact, ISFJs usually feel a strong need to talk problems and
issues over with people before making decisions on their actions. Some ISFJs
like to discuss things over with their friends, rather than their families.
ISFJs enjoy spending time with most other types of people. The love to
observe people's reactions and emotions in situations, and so enjoy being around
diverse types of people. The ISFJ usually remains reserved around others, and
does not open up very much. However, since they have a need to talk things over
with others in order to make decisions, they do really need some close
confidantes in their life. Their preference for these companions are other
Sensing Feeling Judgers. They really enjoy and respect the company of Intuitive
Feelers as well, but are not able to relate to them quite as well.
Friends of the ISFJ will value them for their warmth, dependability, depth of
emotional awareness and understanding.
Careers for ISFJ Personality Types
Whether you're a young adult trying to find your place in the world, or a
not-so-young adult trying to find out if you're moving along the right path,
it's important to understand yourself and the personality traits which will
impact your likeliness to succeed or fail at various careers. It's equally
important to understand what is really important to you. When armed with an
understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, and an awareness of what you
truly value, you are in an excellent position to pick a career which you will
ISFJs generally have the following traits:
- Large, rich inner store of information which they gather about people
- Highly observant and aware of people's feelings and reactions
- Excellent memory for details which are important to them
- Very in-tune with their surroundings - excellent sense of space and
- Can be depended on to follow things through to completion
- Will work long and hard to see that jobs get done
- Stable, practical, down-to-earth - they dislike working with theory and
- Dislike doing things which don't make sense to them
- Value security, tradition, and peaceful living
- Service-oriented: focused on what people need and want
- Kind and considerate
- Likely to put others' needs above their own
- Learn best with hands-on training
- Enjoy creating structure and order
- Take their responsibilities seriously
- Extremely uncomfortable with conflict and confrontation
ISFJs have two basic traits which help define their best career direction: 1)
they are extremely interested and in-tune with how other people are feeling, and
2) they enjoy creating structure and order, and are extremely good at it.
Ideally, the ISFJ will choose a career in which they can use their exceptional
people-observation skills to determine what people want or need, and then use
their excellent organizational abilities to create a structured plan or
environment for achieving what people want. Their excellent sense of space and
function combined with their awareness of aesthetic quality also gives them
quite special abilities in the more practical artistic endeavors, such as
interior decorating and clothes design.
The following list of professions is built on our impressions of careers
which would be especially suitable for an ISFJ. It is meant to be a starting
place, rather than an exhaustive list. There are no guarantees that any or all
of the careers listed here would be appropriate for you, or that your best
career match is among those listed.
Possible Career Paths for the ISFJ:
- Interior Decorators
- Administrators and Managers
- Administrative Assistants
- Child Care / Early Childhood Development
- Social Work / Counselors
- Clergy / Religious Workers
- Office Managers
- Home Economics