Have you ever taken the Myers-Briggs personality test? If not, you should! Because while (like any personality test) it’s not infallible, it can give you a great sense of who you are and why you do things.
By identifying four key qualities, in this case, ‘Introverted, Sensing, Feeling and Judging’, the psychologists behind the test are able to divide people up into 16 general personality types.
ISFJs tend to be called the “Defenders” or “Protectors” due to their love for nurturing others, and their strong desire to ensure the well-being of their loved ones. One of my closest friends, Amy, is an ISFJ. She is someone that I know I can trust to take care of my well-being, no matter what.
Have a read of these feelings that ISFJs like Amy often experience and see if they resonate!
1) You feel happiest when you’re helping others
As an ISFJ, nothing delights you more than getting to help the people you care about. You feel energized when you combine your natural gifts of patience and thoughtfulness, to use for others.
ISFJs like my friend Amy, are often found doing acts of service. Such as? Volunteering at the food bank, or at a women’s shelter, or doing a last-minute favor for a friend.
Why is this? Because you just get this deep and profound feeling of fulfillment from giving back and doing nice things, you sweet soul you!
While other people get drained from giving too much, you thrive on it. You are the friend that people turn to when they need some support. And when you’ve put a smile on someone else’s face you feel at your best.
Happy and content!
2) You strongly value tradition and security
Amy, my ISJF friend, and me, get on like a house on fire. But sometimes she shakes her head in disbelief at my nomadic lifestyle. I think my lack of stability makes her feel a bit anxious. (But she loves me just the same!)
That’s because you, more than any of the other personality types, do well when you have structure and order. You like to know exactly what the expectations of you are, whether at work or at home. This means you do really well in jobs and situations where there is an established way of doing things.
And you will make sure to become extremely skilled in those ways.
Even when it comes to buying things, you prefer to stick to tried and tested brands and products that you’ve used for years, rather than get distracted by new or trendy options.
Why is that? I think it’s because you prefer certainty and avoiding unnecessary risks. If the saying ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ strikes a chord with you, then that’s a strong sign you are an ISFJ.
3) You feel an intense sense of loyalty to your loved ones
Are you the kind of person that sticks by your old friends forever?
And rather than flitting from partner to partner, you tend to prefer long-term relationships? If so that’s another sign that you fit well with the ISFJs. Like my friend Amy, once you’ve made a true friendship, you are devoted for life. And you’ll do anything to take care of your friend or partner.
You’re the kind of person who is conscientious about sticking with your friends, even those flakey ones (like me!) who are terrible at texting back. No matter what, every month, I know I will hear from Amy, and we will swap our news and stories.
4) You take close notice of others’ feelings
Do you find that you have a natural talent for reading people? And that you’re great at deciphering other people’s emotions? This is another key sign of an ISFJ personality.
You notice subtle clues from someone’s tone of voice, body language, and facial expressions. This level of attention helps you connect on a deeper level to people, as you anticipate and understand their unspoken needs.
If your partner or friend is having a rough day but not saying anything, you’ll observe their slumped shoulders and notice if they sound less lively than normal. With patience and tact, you’ll make sure they are ok. And they will (or at least should!) love you for it.
5) You feel hurt when your efforts go unappreciated
ISFJs tend not to expect recognition or a lot of attention. But at the same time, you do hope that your kind acts are noticed. That’s because you give so much of yourself. If those around you don’t see it, you can feel taken for granted or unfulfilled.
You probably don’t expect a ton of praise, but you will expect a bit of reciprocity and kindness. Although Amy is very understanding of my bad texting habits, I know that she would be sad if I forgot her birthday or didn’t remember to ask how she was doing after an important event like an interview or big family gathering.
6) You feel stressed by conflict and avoid it whenever possible
While some people feed off high emotions and conflict, you strongly dislike tension and discord. Instead, you will go out of your way to maintain peace and harmony wherever you go. You likely score high on agreeableness in the Big Five personality traits, as your focus is on accommodating others.
Sometimes this can be difficult for you though, as you find it hard to say no. Even when you need to! Remember to work on your boundaries with self-compassion – your friends and colleagues will still love you even when you have to say no from time to time!
7) You carefully consider every decision
You don’t take decisions lightly as an ISFJ. Instead, you methodically weigh up all the options and potential outcomes when making choices.
You are likely to rely on past experiences when making major decisions. Amy really appreciates a tarot reading from me when she has a big choice to make, as she can feel overwhelmed at times.
Like Amy, the chances are that you have an excellent memory for detail, and that helps you to know what to do. You’re not prone to impulsiveness, and you’re probably the kind of person who reads every word of a contract or user agreement before signing it. And that’s after you’ve researched the night away!
8) You feel better about focusing on others rather than yourself
ISFJs are givers who aim to put the needs of their loved ones before their own. You probably neglect your own self-care at times, and what you really need and want. This is admirable but don’t let it go too far.
If you feel guilty for spending time, money or giving attention to yourself, then you are probably an ISFJ.
Remember that while this is precious, you can’t help others fully if you don’t take care of yourself! And your friends that love you and all that you do, want you to be healthy and happy. (And if they don’t, maybe they aren’t worth your time anymore!)
9) You appreciate simple sensory pleasures
ISFJs are often known for their practicality. But underneath that, you have a sweet and sentimental side.
You take pleasure from sensory experiences like cooking and eating your favorite meal. It’s not just about the taste (although you are probably a great cook!), but everything from the smell of freshly torn basil, to the sound of the meat sizzling in the pan.
You also probably enjoy a bit of nostalgia. Like what? Perhaps listening to some old music that reminds you of back in the day. Or enjoying the smell of jasmine because it reminds you of the comforting summers spent playing in your grandmother’s garden.
You love to pause to appreciate the sights, sounds, tastes, and other sensations that make life meaningful.
10) You prefer to have a small and close group of friends
As we’ve seen, ISFJs are deeply loyal and devoted to their friends. As a sentimental introvert, you probably have just a few very close friends, rather than a large social network. It may take years for you to fully open up to people and completely trust them.
But when you do, you will pour your heart, time, and energy into this inner circle. I’ve known my ISFJ friend Amy since school, and her other closest friends have also been around for a very long time.
ISFJs – the final thoughts
Do one or more of these feelings or tendencies resonate with you? If so, you likely have this warm, devoted personality type. Your empathy and conscientiousness as an ISFJ are valuable qualities that make the world a kinder place. We love and need you!
Understanding your potential ISFJ traits allows you to nurture your natural strengths while being aware of areas where you can grow.
Get to know this side of yourself on a deeper level and learn how to thrive as the amazing ISFJ you are!