ISFJs' modesty and trusting nature make them loyal, reliable teammates and friends.
Reading time: 5 minutes
This series of short articles touches on several aspects of the ISFJ personality type.
You can jump straight to any section by clicking the links below, or keep reading to learn about the definition of the ISFJ personality type.
ISFJs stands for Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, and Judging.
In the popular Myers-Briggs or 16-personalities tradition, all personalities belong to one of 16 types. Each type is defined by preferences across these four dimensions:
Here’s how to understand the ISFJ’s place on all four dimensions:
ISFJs have an introverted attitude or orientation.
ISFJs tend to focus more on the inner, subjective world of concepts and ideas, while an extraverted attitude leads to a greater focus on the external world of objects and people.
ISFJs prefer to use the cognitive function of sensing over intuition when taking in information about the world.
This dimension, sensing vs. intuition, is known as the perceiving function in MBTI theory.
Sensing refers to perceiving and gathering information directly through the sensory system. People who prefer sensing trust their five senses to directly observe the world, and they can be more skeptical of more intuitive, theoretical approaches to learning and understanding.
ISFJs prefer using their feeling function when judging information and assessing values and needs among people.
This dimension, thinking vs. feeling, is known as the judging function in MBTI theory.
By prefering feeling over thinking as their judging function, ISFJs lean on their acute understanding of others’ emotions, desires, and perceptions.
As a judging type, ISFJs tend to present their judging function of feeling to the external world.
Because they present their feeling function externally, other people see ISFJs as sensitive and empathetic.
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The four-letter types from MBTI theory encode each type’s attitudes and preferred cognitive functions.
For the ISFJ,
From this, we can determine how the ISFJ prefers the four cognitive functions of intuition, sensing, thinking, and feeling:
Why? ISFJs have an introverted attitude (I) and a judging attitude (J), so they present their judging function (F) to the external world.
However, as an introverted type, ISFJs prefer an orientation to the inner world, so their primary cognitive function is not what they show to the external world. Instead, their primary cognitive function is their perceiving function: sensing or sensory perception (S).
ISFJs’ secondary function is the one they show to their external world: feeling. This counterbalances their introverted primary function.
In MBTI theory, the tertiary function is the opposite of the auxiliary function, which for ISFJs is thinking.
Lastly, the inferior function is the opposite of the primary function, which for ISFJs is intuition. The inferior function in all personality types is the least developed function.
According to the MBTI, somewhere between 4% and 20% of all people will be classified as an ISFJ, depending on the test format and the demographics of the sample.