All About ISFJ Personality Type

Updated December 14, 2018

Reviewer Lauren Guilbeault


Have you often wondered why you have a hard time socializing and blending in with a mix of crowd, while that person across the room can easily make everyone crack up with a single joke? Or why you can gracefully execute tasks under enormous pressure, while your co-worker can't even finish what they have started as they mumble under their breath that they're "running out of time"? Our perceptions about the world, how we deal with day-to-day mundane task and problems, and our actions or treatment towards other people vary from person to person. Each of us has our own set of traits that make us who we are. This is because of specific psychological factors that drive us human beings into doing things the way we do and act the way we think.

No two people are the same. Not even identical twins. But there have been studies that gave birth to the successful creation of a personality test. Carl Jung concluded that our personalities and traits, albeit varying, are all housed within four dichotomies as proposed by him which later became the basis of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) - hence, the 16 personality traits that are now being widely used by educational institutions, government agencies, and in the field of healthcare.

A Deeper Understanding

A lifelong perception of ourselves paves the way for better communication and long-lasting relationships become more genuine. The initially perceived personality traits become more evident as people take the MBTI and gain a deeper understanding of their self-concept, prompting them to improve their interpersonal relationships.

The 16 Personality Types according to the MBTI are as follows:

Myers-Briggs propose that there are four major personality types, each divided into 4 sub-types.

Analysts: architect (INTJ), logician (INTP), commander (ENTJ), debater (ENTP).

Diplomats: advocate (INFJ), mediator (INFP), protagonist (ENFJ), campaigner (ENFP).

Sentinels: logistician (ISTJ), defender (ISFJ), executive (ESTJ), consul (ESFJ).

Explorers: virtuoso (ISTP), adventurer (ISFP), entrepreneur (ESTP), entertainer (ESFP).

Although people want to know about each trait, the focus of this article are the ISFJ personality traits.

The Defender in You: An Overview


An ISFJ Personality trait means Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, and Judging.

A defender's desire to help others serves as evidence that they are unique and are true altruists. Their need to "be there for you" indicates that they are brimming with kindness to the point that the law of "give and take" just doesn't cut for them.

As long as a Defender's helping hand reaches out to anyone who needs it, he/she is satisfied. This leads them to have the characteristic of being reliable to get the work done even when they procrastinate, as they take their responsibilities with great pride and joy and considering the fact they are meticulous and perfectionists. A person with an ISFJ personality type may even go above and beyond other's expectations, which in turn gives them delight just by knowing that they have helped people.

With their unparalleled kindness - reaching out to everyone - the Defender is still an introvert at heart, a social introvert if you will. You can be sure that a person with ISFJ personality type makes for a good team member as they make sure everything is laid out according to plan due to their characteristic of being methodical and having excellent analytic abilities.

Through the looking glass: In-Depth discussion

The ISFJ personality traits comprise of both Strengths and Weaknesses:


  • Supportive

ISFJs are social introverts and feel uncomfortable when they are under the spotlight. They would very much prefer to volunteer and work on the sidelines and behind the scenes where they can comfortably do what they love. They are incredibly supportive and take joy in helping others learn and grow as a person.

  • Reliable

Combined with their other strong traits, ISFJs are sure to be able to accomplish their work. They are hard-working and are dedicated to ensuring that their work is completed. They even go through such lengths to give more than what is asked for. They make a great addition to any team since they are cooperative and choose harmony and peace over long-standing arguments.

  • Observant

Their empathetic nature allows them to observe their surroundings keenly and recognize if someone is in pain, happy, or depressed by looking at their facial expressions. ISFJs will then know how to respond, and this makes them a good friend and a listener. ISFJ personality types tend to do well in a career involving counseling, teaching, and psychology because of these ISFJ personality traits.

  • Methodical

ISFJs are very careful as they take on a task with a systematic approach. Although they are often underappreciated at work, home, or anywhere due to their quiet nature, they still dedicate most of their time and commitment to the task at hand. But people should not belittle those with ISFJ personality type as they are patient beings and work well in a small group or a one-on-one situation.


  • Too Modest


ISFJs tend to shy away from the center of attention because of their humility. For them, helping is a virtue in and of itself and does not require recognition. But this trait can be a dangerous one in terms of accepting a duly noted credit for exemplary work and contributions as someone else might take the credit. In other words, ISFJs tend to downplay their own accomplishments. This is why it is vital for ISFJ personality types to work on their self-esteem. This is a tricky task, especially for the Defender who might shy away from traditional counseling settings. Thankfully, there are progressive counseling options for ISFJ personality types who don't like the spotlight. Companies like are now providing opportunities for individualized professional counseling that takes place in the comfort of your own home through the technology of your choice (instant messaging, video chat, etc.)

  • Repressive

This is beneficial since ISFJ personalities are very, very private and are fond of internalizing their own feelings and actions. They are sensitive and the need to protect their emotions just as much as they protect others. They think they do not feel the need for expressing their thoughts, as they do not want any attention focused on them. This may lead to bottling up their emotions and could create unnecessary frustrations on their part. It may even lead to health problems in the long run, which is another reason why counseling can be such an asset to an ISFJ.

  • Overworking

People with the ISFJ personality traits tend to put a lot on their plate, as it is difficult for them to say "no" or decline people's request to help them. ISFJs, perfectionists as they are, tend to put their own health on the line and overwork themselves to meet beyond expectations or until they are satisfied that they have done an excellent job.

  • Too Kind

If there is such a thing as being "too kind," those with ISFJ personality traits fit the mold. As far as being kind is concerned, some people will see it as an opportunity to take advantage of this trait and take them for granted. ISFJ people will have the drive to reach out to anyone and ask if a person needs help. Unfortunately, there will be a tendency that the Defender will be subject to rumors as being "too nosy" even when they are not. There are people, however, who will genuinely recognize the Defender's efforts and give credit where it's due.

ISFJ and Relationships

Be it a family, romantic, or friendly relationship, the ISFJ's kindness resonates all around, creating joy for those people they love. But be warned about their repressive trait. If their partners take advantage of their altruism (even when the partners or family members don't realize it), Defenders will genuinely make a stance, and their jar of repressed emotions will erupt all at once. There will be an argument full of verbal attacks and pent-up frustrations that no one would ever suspect from someone with an ISFJ personality type.

Let it be known that Defenders can commit. However, their shy and humble nature makes it hard for them to express the feelings and thoughts, although physical contact makes up for it in time. There lies a possibility that ISFJs will have a difficult time opening up to their partners even when they are already in a long-term relationship. If both partners have ISFJ personality type, it may take a longer time to express themselves. In some cases, it may even create doubt regarding the Defender's stand in the relationship. All ISFJs want is to be appreciated and loved - like most people do. And when the relationship becomes successful and thriving, you will see that their number one priority is their family. With their warmth, parenting seems to come off as natural for an ISFJ.


ISFJ and Friendship

Considering how generous Defenders are when it comes to dedicating their time and effort, it is no surprise that some people view them as friends. But make no mistake, you might call them your friend, but ISFJs won't even see you as one. It takes time and emotional connection. They don't randomly pick their friends. They want to learn more about the person little by little before they call them a friend. For Protectors, they seek mutual support, appreciation, and commitment that friendships have.

With their "need to be needed" attitude, ISFJ personalities sometimes go out of their way to commit to their other friends such as putting off their own agenda to hang out with the friend in a bar (and they don't even like to socialize in such a setting). But what sets the Defender from other personality types is that they are inclined to make a tightly knit bond with the people with the same qualities as them.

ISFJ and Career

With their unwavering drive to be of service to others, the ISFJ personality type chooses careers that serve as the backbone of many workplaces that require support positions as well as human resources. They fit nicely in the field of healthcare, too. They are well-liked by customers and co-workers as they can have a shoulder to lean on during an emotional time, propose a practical solution together which results in a win-win situation. If you are looking for a co-worker with less drama and little to no friction between a colleague and you, seek out a person with ISFJ personality type.

Defenders are a toughie when it comes to remembering the tiny details. This makes them valuable assets to individual companies with their ability to memorize and keep track of events and happenings. In other words, ISFJ personality traits make them very good at being virtual assistant or secretarial work positions.

As mentioned, they do not feel the need to be recognized for their accomplishment but a Defender's effort will bind to make an impact in other people's lives, with their ability to remember even so little a detail as someone's name and how they frequent the establishment. Although they do not seek out managerial positions, they have the ability to fill in those said positions should the need arises because of their positive qualities.

Other careers that defenders seek out are volunteer work (food bank, shelter, and community help), doctor, nurse, human resources, teacher, counseling, psychologist, and social and religious work.

Other notable people with this personality are Mother Teresa, Vin Diesel, Kate Middletown, Queen Elizabeth II, and Selena Gomez. If you want to know fictional characters with ISFJ personality traits, you can count in Catelyn Stark (Game of Thrones), Samwise Gamgee (Lord of the Rings), and Dr. Watson (Sherlock Holmes).


ISFJ personality types really are in a league of their own when it comes to defending others, giving their all, and being the backbone for family and friends. Still, it's important for them to remember that their own needs are important and strive to do what it takes to take care of themselves and receive support.

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All About the ESFP Personality Type
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