ISFJ Characteristics

ISFJs are the people-centric doers, using their considerable organisational ability to make sure people are taken care of and protected. They are extremely conscientious, hardworking, loyal and dedicated - to people, organisations, groups. Once they are allied to the cause they take their roles very seriously. It may be possible to overlook the value of an ISFJ as they are the behind-the-scenes 'glue' for organisations and groups. Unlike the ESFJ who will be more outspoken, the ISFJ will work steadily and quietly to ensure all the routine details are taken care of, and that people are happy. Rarely will they share their own values, preferring to keep their own counsel and make their focus the needs of others. It would be a mistake to underestimate the ISFJ as, although they may give very little out in terms of articulating their feelings, their 'S' detailed type memory stores everything of relevance, including any slight against them. Because they don't necessarily share their feelings this does not mean they don't have any. It is easy to transgress the values of an ISFJ without ever knowing you have done it. Their values are so intrinsic to them, such a part of who they are, and they therefore share them with very few people. In the team the ISFJ will be the quiet one getting things done, almost invisible at times, but the strong glue holding the team together.

The ISFJ is the quiet, shy, gentle individual yet a behind-the-scenes mover and shaker who will not seek the glory, indeed would prefer to remain understated, needing only stroking from those they trust and value. Loyal, shy, devoted to the cause, the ISFJ has an intense need to belong and will work tirelessly for the cause and will channel their considerable energies into their work, or indeed anything which has been asked of them. They have incredibly clear and precise memories and are scarily accurate with facts, figures, names, faces - oh and any person who has slighted them! Detailed and methodical, everything is stored up, in perfect order, in pristine grey filing cabinets in their heads, and may come out later in a tirade of facts and evidence dating back a very long way.

Although generally shy and reserved, the ISFJ takes work, indeed anything they do, seriously and much prefer it when others do the same. They are caring, sympathetic and want to help, but do not need the kudos, indeed they may be suspicious of those who try to bestow compliments on them especially in the early stages of a relationship. The ISFJ exists only in the present (and the past!) and will use actual, real concrete past experiences to deal with present problems. This means they may struggle with concepts or trying to imagine a future indeed the future may appear scary as it is full of the unknown and the ISFJ prefers the known. This means that change and the new and untried can worry the ISFJ as they fear looking foolish and being ‘in the spotlight.’ The ISFJ loves to be appreciated but does not like constant scrutiny, expecting others to let them get on with it. Although private and shy ISFJs are often sociable and characterised above all by their desire to support others, the ‘need to be needed.’ In extreme cases, this need is so strong that standard give-and-take relationships can be deeply unsatisfying to them, however most ISFJs find more than enough with which to occupy themselves within the framework of a normal life. Since ISFJs, like all SJs, are very much bound by the prevailing social conventions, their form of ‘service’ is likely to exclude any elements of moral or political controversy; they specialise in the local, the personal, the obvious and the practical all in the here and now.

Being SJs, they place a strong emphasis on conventional behaviour (although, unlike STJs), they are usually as concerned with being friendly, kind and sympathetic.