ISFJ
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The ISFJ Personality Type

ISFJs are industrious caretakers, loyal to traditions and organizations. They are practical, compassionate, and caring, and are motivated to provide for others and protect them from the perils of life.

ISFJs are conventional and grounded, and enjoy contributing to established structures of society. They are steady and committed workers with a deep sense of responsibility to others. They focus on fulfilling their duties, particularly when they are taking care of the needs of other people. They want others to know that they are reliable and can be trusted to do what is expected of them. They are conscientious and methodical, and persist until the job is done.

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What does ISFJ stand for?

ISFJ is an acronym used to describe one of the sixteen personality types created by Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers. It stands for Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, Judging. ISFJ indicates a person who is energized by time spent alone (Introverted), who focuses on facts and details rather than ideas and concepts (Sensing), who makes decisions based on feelings and values (Feeling) and who prefers to be planned and organized rather than spontaneous and flexible (Judging). ISFJs are sometimes referred to as Protector personalities because of their interest in keeping people safe and well cared for.

How common is the ISFJ personality type?

ISFJ is the most common type in the U.S. population, and the most common type among women. ISFJs make up:

  • 14% of the general population
  • 19% of women
  • 8% of men

Famous ISFJs

Famous ISFJs include Mother Teresa, George H.W. Bush, Laura Bush, King George VI, Kate Middleton, Rosa Parks, Princess Mary of Denmark, and Clara Barton.

ISFJ Values and Motivations

ISFJs are driven by their personal values, and are conscientious in their behavior. They typically want to work hard, get along with others, and make sure they do what is expected of them.

ISFJs value relationships highly and strive to cooperate and maintain harmony with others. They want stability and longevity in their relationships, and tend to maintain a deep devotion to family. They feel most connected with people they know they can rely upon over the long term.

ISFJs appreciate tradition and like knowing how things were done in the past. They are loyal to established methods and values, and want to observe the proper, accepted way of doing things. They place great importance on fitting in with established institutions and contributing what they can to maintain strong, stable social structures. In groups, they often take on the role of historian, ensuring that new members respect and value the established customs.

How Others See the ISFJ

ISFJs are characteristically humble and unassuming, and rarely call attention to themselves. They can often be found offering assistance to others in a modest, understated way. They are loyal and hardworking, and often commit themselves to tasks and projects with the aim of being helpful to their families, friends, and communities. They are typically involved in social groups, but do not want the spotlight: they are more likely to be found behind the scenes, working diligently to fulfill their role.

ISFJs are oriented to relationships, but can be reserved with new people. They rarely disclose personal information quickly. They tend to be focused and aware of their surroundings, and relate details from their own personal experience. They often converse in terms of what has happened to them and what they have seen first-hand. They are compassionate listeners, and typically remember details about people. They often enjoy hearing the facts about others in the process of making a connection.

For more information: The Art of SpeedReading People

ISFJ Hobbies and Interests

Popular leisure activities for ISFJs include cooking, gardening, painting, crafts, picnics, nature walks, and watching movies. They are also often found supporting their loved ones in their interests and activities.

Facts about ISFJs

Interesting facts about the ISFJ:

  • On personality trait measures, score as Conservative, Conventional, Guarded, and Reserved
  • Among types most likely to believe in a higher spiritual power
  • More likely than average to experience chronic pain
  • Among types most likely to suffer heart disease
  • Second most common type among education majors in college
  • More likely than other types to watch more than 3 hours of television per day
  • Personal values include Happy family, Health and Spirituality
  • Overrepresented among MBA students and male small business owners
  • Among three types with the lowest income
  • Commonly found in education, health care, and religious occupations

Source: MBTI Manual

Quotes About ISFJs

"ISFJs emphasize loyalty, consideration, and the common welfare."

- Isabel Briggs Myers, Gifts Differing

"These ISFJs derive a great deal of satisfaction from caring for others, and they offer their comfort gently and helpfully, quietly seeing to it that caretaking is scheduled to protect the health and welfare of those in need."

- David Keirsey, Please Understand Me II

"Bound by fierce commitment, intense responsibility, and deep loyalty, the ISFJ is the embodiment of putting service above self in most aspects of their lives."

- Otto Kroeger, Type Talk at Work

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Comments

berceuse (not verified) says...

Spot on! As the eldest sbiling of the family, I love my dear siblings and parents to the bottom of my heart. Growing up, I wanted to be either a teacher, nurse, cook or a missionary, and now, I’m in the education field. I also prefer following orders rather than being a leader. I was very submissive a few years ago, but I’ve learnt to say no to things I don’t want to do, especially if I’m unable to help. In the aspect of health, I enjoy working out (at home) and I love God very much. 

ChrisChris (not verified) says...

I know an ISFJ male who treats his ISFP GF 20% with tender love and care, and 80% with mean attitude, using her to take care of his and his parents' needs and as a punching bag for external things that irritate him (many things iritates him like rude drivers, uneducated people, certain race that he think is inferior, injustice). This type, when unhealthy is so messed up in a way that they don't know how hurtful their action is to others. 

Mariha (not verified) says...

Man they can be strong STRONG leaders too, the strongest leader I ever met was a female (unhealthy) ISFJ, detail, there was an ENFJ and ENTJ in the group. She was very afraid of not accomplishing the task, mainly as a responsibility sense, but she was able to share this feeling to all the group and somehow makes even the ENTJ doubt about itself and trust on her word.

an isfj, DUHHH (not verified) says...

Dudeeeeeeeee, so accurate. This described me and parts of me better than i could ever. but... no career facts?

 

Regan Dwelly (not verified) says...

Me too! But I feel I'm not a full blown protector anymore. I recently got fired after working for them for 21 years. Now, my trust is out the door and me even thinking about telling my personal business will take a very long time if any to do. 

Guest (not verified) says...

Like some of the reviewers mentioned, this is mostly accurate except that I have very happily worked in journalism for more than a decade! Not 100% sure about the partners section either. It's somewhat true. But the other sections are very accurate.

Guest (not verified) says...

Not really a traditionalist, nor do I make crafts. I also don't watch much tv or many movies, but I do love nature walks and just being outside. But yes, I have an excellent memory, especially about people, and an eye for details. I definitely catch things that other people miss, but I think my Fe isn't well developed, because I don't willingly volunteer to do things all that much. But when my father was dying, it was as if I was given a higher purpose, a calling, to be there at the end of his life like he'd always been there for my life. It was a privilege to be by his side, although it wasn't always easy. I know ISFJs also get a reputation for being organized and good at planning, etc. I'm not at all and still wonder how I'm going to put away for retirement. I also eat too much. Most of the other SJ types I know are good at watching their weight and what they eat, etc. Weight Watchers seems to be popular with the SJs I know. 

Guest (not verified) says...

Why is insurance agent listed in the best AND worst careers? 

Lauren Grice (not verified) says...

This describes me perfectly. I'm glad I finally have some guidance about what to do with my life. I was so lost, but the characteristics are exactly me. 

Felicia M Cirlos (not verified) says...

Meyer Briggs knew what she was doing when she formulated the personality tests. I'm an ISFJ and I feel a lot of the aforementioned characteristics are true and I work as a nurse, I've always known I wanted to be a nurse since I was 4.  I feel that a lot of it is so accurate due to the fact Meyer Briggs took into account our different facets that make up our individual personality such as how we portray ourselves in a social setting leading to the conclusion of either introvert or extrovert, how we respond to anothers' situation, how we are or view ourselves when it comes to demands such as work.  Everything tied in nicely.

Rob004 (not verified) says...

heh. proud isfj here. so, i've heard isfj is considered a feminine type? nah, i think men can be isfjs while keeping their machismo.

eweng (not verified) says...

So true... my giving and harmanous nature and my keen senser spotting being taken advantage of will set up a storm in my mind that will last for days. So, today, I took a day off (notify via email, Ha!) and just forget about being responsible for once. Feels nice.

 

Marie Philomene (not verified) says...

I'm sad to read this. I am INTP, and it's always been so hard for me that my ISFJ mom was so cold, distant, and emotionally unavailable! It says here that ISFJ's don't get along with INTP's. I tried so hard to get her affection, thinking I should be more logical, more rational, show less emotion, and then she would like me and I would feel loved! Instead, she got more and more distant. I wish I had known about the temperaments as a teen. That would have at least been an explanation as to what was going on. I still FEEL hated and hate-worthy even as an adult, even though I know it's not "logical". :(. For all the ISFJ people reading this, please remember that a little understanding goes A LONG WAY. If you have xxTP kids,  please stop asking them to emote, and listen to how they are desperately trying to show love in their own way. Logic is only the xxTP'S default (and they can no more change it that you can change your feelings-default) , and when they are stressed or worried, they fall back on their default. If you are patient, give them space, stop criticising their natural temperament, they will eventually open up to warm, affectionate feelings. They do have them, same as everyone else, and among them is the wanting to be loved by their own parents. But feelings are super vulnerable to xxTP's. They need to feel like they will be accepted if they open up. If you're criticising and manipulating for emotion, they don't feel safe enough to show their vulnerable feelings. You will never see their intense pain. You will probably, however, end up complaining how they never appreciated you, and they'll be thinking: "I did everything I could to get her /him to like me, but it never worked! All I wanted was acceptance, but it never came!" And because xxTP's are confused and frightened by too much emotion, including their own strong emotional desire for parental connection, they will deal with emotion the only way they can: they will go "cold" on you. As I said, a little understanding, sympathy, and patience for your Thinkers and Perceivers can go a very long way. Please don't forget this!

Mariha (not verified) says...

Calm down, I‘m an ENFJ and have an ISFJ mom too and an ENFP sister, what I can tell is dear, it’s not bc you’re an XXTP, the greatest problem is the N. My mom is the same way, and I understand how it works. ISFJs problem dealing with intuitive types is the Si, isn’t like she doesn’t love you, she just love you by the “political correct” way, I mean, it doesn’t seem, but ISFJs have problem sharing their emotions and feelings, they do it doing tasks for you, protecting you when you are in trouble (even if by the way they try assure that you will learn the lesson that the trouble is teaching you, what is annoying and traumatic sometimes). ISFJs have A LOT of trouble with intutive types, specially with Ne users, their trouble is not about incompatibility, hate or whatever, but in their heads, Ne is like “no law life” “crazy life” “on the air lifestyle” “dangerous life”, so, if as a friend, they’ll try to protect you, and as your mom, they WOULD try to change it, bc for them, learn with our present is the only safe way to live, and they want you to be safe, but I say WOULD bc they would just don’t like this feature and let you just fine with it too, but isn’t like she doesn’t care about you.

It’s hard for NF child’s too. My mom sees my NF behavior as immaturity, she tries her best to take away some dreams that I have. I don’t feel free to share my issues, plans and emotions with her, and what annoys me the most is that I can’t use any word I wish with her, I need to choose words, or she start trying to “teaching me how to live in society” that is more something like “how to be accepted and not annoy people in the society”. Even by all of this, understanding what is deep in others isn’t their strongest point, isn’t like they doesn’t love or accept you, mothers have a deep instinct that can’t taken them away from its kids, it’s Nature acting, surely she loves you, it’s logic, but surely people have weak points, about understanding others too. I’m not you so this is just another way to think that no one but you need to judge if it’s correct, but what annoys you is the lack of feeling loved and accepted? Or it’s you who can’t accept her way to love and behavioral being?

(Notifying again: I’m not telling this is happening, it’s just maybe a point that you would had missed, and surely answer this won’t solve all of your problems, but would be a starting point).

Hope I should help :3

JJA (not verified) says...

Just took the test, it said im a ISFJ which is the "protector" and a good caretaker and I care. This i feel, is very very inaccurate becuase I hate people and am very selfish, lazy, and I am not a caring person to others. I seriously do not care about others and I am not good with others.

Mariha (not verified) says...

You would just be unhealthy, the behaviors you listed don’t have any to deal with personality type, why don’t you search about the cognitive functions? If you wish to go for searching for your type, being unhealthy would even lead to wrong results, you should try to type yourself

Mike (not verified) (not verified) says...

I have not read through all of the comments to see if anyone else noticed, but George H.W. Bush is listed as both a famous ISTJ and ISFJ...

kayla Dinsmore (not verified) says...

I found every thing on this website true as an ISFJ .

Guest (not verified) says...

I've taken a similar personality test before, and it had sorted me as an INFJ, which I find highly accurate for me. Although, some ISFJ traits are very similar to my personality too, usually relationship and communication wise, all the rest is either wrong or sounds far fetched for the kind of person I am.

Mariha (not verified) says...

Did you read about cognitive functions? ISFJs and INFJs share a lot of behaviors, you can find it out reading about functions

Guest (not verified) says...

wow indeed this is really me....ISFJ #painting..... watching movies....

JWilderness (not verified) says...

This really described my personality right on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Genie (not verified) says...

I used to be the ISFP, but the result says I'm ISFJ-T for now. I'm still changing maybe. I wonder if it is accurate because this is result from myself.

Guest (not verified) says...

Well Stew it is time to use your creative imagination on something that interests you. Like invent something in your field, you have enough knowledge.

Stew (not verified) says...

I've always wanted to be an interior designer... I am a civil engineer. I hate my job. My heart is broken because I am not using all my creative imagination. Instead I have to always follow stupid rules. It's like a butterfly in a closed jar.

eweng (not verified) says...

That's why I want to go back to graphic design rather than programming. I am a ok programmer, but it doesn't come natural to me. I don't get lost in it. But when I am designing / creating images, time flys.  

Stew (not verified) says...

Exactly, it's like we are lost, if we do not create and show the world what our imagination and talant can give to express the emotions we feel, to show the world our way of thinking/helping. When we work something else, there's like no passion in this "measurement", like it's "never mind", like it's no love. And I personaly truly believe, that all of us here give 1000% of everything when we do what we love, because this is what we want. And there is no such thing like "big money" or carriere here, it's just being pleased of what you do.

Grasshopper (not verified) says...

I understand how you feel because I am a mechanical engineer and I don't really enjoy my job, either.

kev (not verified) says...

says im a protector its accurate seeing that im protective lol

Aprille (not verified) says...

Strange. I got a four-way split between ENFJ, INFJ, ESFJ and ISFJ. Maybe I have multiple personalities (bahahaha!). It makes sense, though. I think I was born (inherently) an INFJ, but life has forced me into a caretaker role for so long, that I it has impacted my personality. Lots of people think I am an extrovert, as I appear to be quite sociable at work, but being around people is very draining for me.

Guest (not verified) says...

I like to help people in the easiest way possible. If it is hard, ill find a simpler, easier way to do it. If it is easy and requires nearly (or no) effort, then ill do it no problem.

Guest (not verified) says...

I enjoyed taking this test. Quite accurate in fact. Career selection on point, I'm a social worker. Also enjoyed reading other ISFJ's comments. would be great to have my husband take the test:).

Guest (not verified) says...

It's pretty accurate for me except that I prefer jobs that are not only in the sciences, such as chemistry( which they said that were unpopular) but ones that I can do alone or in a very very small group.

Jodie (not verified) says...

Everything, is very accurate but the information that states that I will mostly suffer heart disease and chronic pain is very offensive. I hope that this is not true and that if its not, that you will take it off and put something better.

Kyle Hearst (not verified) says...

My personality is very sensitive. I don't show it but I care a lot. I also watch out for who people are. I don't let many people into my life.

Eden R. (not verified) says...

Hey, I'm an ISFJ and have done a lot of studying of types, especially my own, and it's important to note that ISFJs normally have a very good sense of aesthetics, so the thing about photography being a bad choice for an ISFJ is pretty wrong.

Also, after reading the comments section, I've noticed some misunderstandings of the theory. Your Myers-Briggs type is just the way you process things mentally, not a dictator of every individual personality trait, personal choice, mental illnesses, likes/dislikes, et cetera. It affects your personality, but no one will be completely stereotypical. For example, most ISFJs have very organized home spaces, but my room is an absolute mess, and I'm okay with that. No one will fit the stereotype, and you shouldn't expect yourself or others to. Also, getting different results on the test when you take it different times is normal. I would take a few tests to get a general idea, then look at a chart explaining the basic differences between each letter and type yourself. You know yourself more than a computer does.

Additionally, I've noticed a few "this is a girl type" comments. I absolutely must refute that. There are no "boy" or "girl" types. None of these types are inherently masculine or feminine. I will admit that I am a female ISFJ, but there are plenty of male ISFJs. It does not make you girly just because you are concrete, caring, introverted, and organized. Saying "this is a girl type" reinforces a gender stereotype that suggest that masculine men should not be quiet or loving or show emotion or do things for people they care about. Saying "this is a girl type" suggests that many positive ISFJ qualities should not be expressed in men, which is oppressive, and in some cases, toxic to a male who feels he cannot express himself. Conversely, this also suggests that females cannot be what a stereotypical male should be. One stereotypically masculine MBTI type is the ESTP type, which is generally spontaneous, outgoing, assertive, and self-assured. These are qualities that are socially considered masculine traits, but can be held by any person of either sex. I know several ESTP girls; in fact, one of my old friends is an ESTP. So in conclusion, don't say "this is a girl type," because that confines the different genders to a set of characteristics, even when the characteristics are perfectly okay things for both sexes to be.

Guest (not verified) says...

Thank you. I'm a male ISFJ, and I don't think being faithful, or being a caring or nurturing father/friend/etc makes me "girly." I think it makes me a better man.

FathaAma (not verified) says...

Right on. Well said.

Guest (not verified) says...

what if you are interested in another person with the same personality type? it doesn say anyhing about relationships with same type

nurfitriani (not verified) says...

this is a positive character

Guest cookiezzz (not verified) says...

This perfectly describes me ^-^

RATWFSG (not verified) says...

Besides the fact I am an artist and Love photography this was pretty good

Guest (not verified) says...

Right? I'm on the fast track to getting a degree for Art so I can become a Graphic Designer, and I don't think I would do well with jobs that are super picky like corporate jobs, being a doctor, or a teacher. I'm too wishy washy for that! But everything else fits me to the T, just not the careers part...

Guest (not verified) says...

I find that the careers for the ISFJ fit ok. I am positively ISF but I am between the P and J. The personality types are not completely accurate for every individual person, they are more like a stereotype. I love Science and am working on my Associates now. I love photography. I am excellent at taking super close up pictures because I have an eye for all the details. It's an art that just shows the beauty of the subject and can provide a new perspective.

L (not verified) says...

pretty accurate except for the part about gender roles. i despise gender roles.

Guest (not verified) says...

really a girls personality.....-_-

Guest (not verified) says...

We need a compatibility field on here.

Justin S (not verified) says...

im scared now. O.O

BRENDA (not verified) says...

I am an isfj going through trauma and mourning. anxiety over not finding the right job. depression

Guest (not verified) says...

what about degrees in psychology?

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