ISFJ Credo: "Devotion to the cause, (Whatever the cause!)"

ISFJ Keywords: Loyal, Harmonious, Completer, People-centred, Takes care of the routine, Supports, Nurtures, Quiet, Shy, Practical, Behind-the-Scenes, Willing, Concerned

ISFJs are the people-centric doers, using their considerable organisational ability to make sure people are taken care of. 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 outspoken and articulate, the ISFJ will work steadily and quietly to ensure all the routine details are taken care of, and that people are happy. The ISFJ remembers specifics - details, names, faces and stores them in the pristine filing cabinet in their heads. Rarely will they share their own values, preferring to keep their own counsel and make their focus the needs of others.

It may 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! Everything is stored up, in perfect order, and may come out later in a tirade of facts and evidence dating back a very long way. 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 soul yet a behind-the-scenes mover and shaker who will hide their own light under the bushel. 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! The ISFJ gathers facts and data and are painstakingly accurate with incredible attention to detail, and methodical in their approach. They will tend to be proud of ‘being good with money,’ and can accurately recite names, milestones, anniversaries and birthdays.

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 confer 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 appears 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.

Sensitive, kind and caring, (in a very practical way), their (at times over)accommodating nature means that the ISFJ may be taken advantage of. It isn’t so much that the ISFJ is worried over confrontation because when a value is transgressed the perpetrator may get an uncharacteristic verbal lashing, surprising those who thou3.0ght that quiet and shy meant weak and fragile. Values and feelings are at the heart of who the ISFJ is as such are not to be treated lightly.

It is more about the very private nature of the ISFJ and any confrontation may allow others ‘in,’ something which would make the ISFJ very uncomfortable. The ISFJ will share their thoughts and feeling with only a very few other people, and indeed anyone revealing such information, however innocently, will have transgressed the ISFJ ‘unwritten law of personal disclosure’ and the ISFJ will ‘henceforth’ withdraw all trust from that person. However the ISFJ will often be the unsung hero in an organisation and a little appreciation and respect goes an awfully long way.

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.)

ISFJs are often unappreciated, at work, home, and play. Ironically, because they prove over and over that they can be relied on for their loyalty, duty, attention to the detail and unswerving, high-quality work, those around them often take them for granted - even at times taking advantage of them. This problem is sometimes aggravated by the ISFJs themselves; for instance, they are notoriously bad at delegating (‘If you want it done properly, do it yourself’). And although they're hurt by being treated like doormats, they are often unwilling to blow their own trumpets about their achievements because they feel that although they deserve more credit than they're getting, it's somehow morally wrong to want any sort of reward for doing work (which is supposed to be a virtue in itself). (And as low-profile ‘I’s, their actions don't call attention to themselves as with charismatic ‘E’s.)

Because of all of this, ISFJs are often overlooked and overworked. In the workplace, ISFJs are methodical and accurate workers, often with very good memories and unexpected analytic abilities. They are also good with people in small-group or one-on-one situations because of their patient and genuinely sympathetic approach to dealing with others.

ISFJs make pleasant and reliable colleagues and high quality employees, but tend to be less comfortable in supervisory roles. They are capable of forming strong loyalties, but these are personal rather than institutional loyalties, if someone they've bonded with in this way leaves the organisation, the ISFJ may well also leave.

Being SJs, they place a strong emphasis on conventional behaviour (although, unlike STJs, they are usually as concerned with being ‘pleasant’ as with strict correctness). If any of those close to them stray from the straight-and-narrow, (and in public), it causes acute embarrassment for the ISFJ. The closer the relationship and the more public the act, the more intense the embarrassment (a fact of which many of their teenage children take gleeful advantage!)

In a team situation, the ISFJ will bring order, clarity, organisation and planning. Although introverted and so not the most vocal member of the team, the ISFJ will seek to make sure the team is best placed to move towards a 'known' conclusion in a thorough, planned and detailed way.

Famous ISFJs

  • Princess Diana
  • O.J. Simpson
  • Dr. Watson