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ISFJ Personality Type – The “Defender”

Introverted (I), Sensing (S), Feeling (F) and Judging (J)

The ISFJ personality type is nicknamed the "Defender" and belongs to the SJ Protector temperament. ISFJs are kind, loyal and considerate. They desire to serve and protect others sacrificially. They serve behind the scenes without seeking recognition. Defenders like routine and have excellent follow-through skills. They possess rich inner lives, are private and quietly friendly.

ISFJs direct their energy inward. They are energized by spending time alone. They are private and deliberate. ISFJs usually have a small circle of close friends. As Sensors, Defenders process information through their senses. They are concrete, realistic, practical and live in the moment. Defenders give attention to details. ISFJs are Feelers and make decisions with their heart. They are gentle and empathetic. They are warm and caring. ISFJs strongly dislike conflict. Defenders are organized and plan ahead. Their lives are scheduled and structured. Defenders are responsible when it comes to finishing tasks. They get satisfaction from closure.

ISFJs define love in terms of caring and support. They are utterly committed and dedicated in their relationships. They are often trustworthy and can be counted upon through thick and thin. They cherish deep connections and seek lifelong friendships. They sometimes have a hard time standing up for themselves. Defenders have a great sense of humor and love to laugh.

"Cherish your human connections—your relationships with friends and family." — Barbara Bush

Defenders are concrete learners. They are drawn to subjects that are practical. They learn best with caring and organized teachers. They need clear and detailed directions. Teachers appreciate their willingness to work hard and turn in assignments on time. ISFJs often pursue training for service-oriented careers.

Describing an ISFJ

ISFJs can often be described with these words. They commonly posess the following strengths and weaknesses.

Characteristic of an ISFJ

  • Selfless
  • Observant
  • Service-oriented
  • Kind
  • Sensitive
  • Traditional
  • Loyal
  • Concrete
  • Private
  • Quiet
  • Realistic
  • Disciplined
  • Loyal
  • Empathetic
  • Warm
  • Organized
  • Consistent
  • Gentle
  • Considerate
  • Practical
  • Affirming
  • Responsible
  • Deliberate
  • Humorous

Typical Strengths

  • Good at listening
  • Eager to serve
  • Good at handling money
  • Warm and affirming
  • Great organizational skills

Possible Weaknesses

  • Can neglect their own needs
  • Dislikes change
  • Takes criticism personally
  • Has trouble with conflict
ISFJs by Gender Pie Chart
  • ISFJs make up 7% of all 16 personality types. ISFJs are the second most prevalent personality type among Introverts. Of the SJ types, ISFJs are the least common.
  • 1 in every 25 males is an ISFJ (4% of all males). 1 in every 10 females is an ISFJ (10% of all females). Among Introverts, there are more female ISFJs than any other type-gender combination.
  • Although male ISFJs are not extremely uncommon, there are significantly more female ISFJs, who outnumber males by more than 2 to 1. One reason there are more female ISFJs is that females tend to be Feelers (F) while males are more often Thinkers (T).

ISFJ Preferences

The ISFJ's Preferences are Introversion, Sensing, Feeling and Judging. These determine the ISFJ's Personality Type.

Introverted (I)

Introversion is characterized by a preference to focus on the inside world. As introverts, ISFJs are energized by spending time alone or with a small, familiar group. They find large group gatherings draining because they seek depth instead of breadth of relationships. Like other introverts, ISFJs process information internally. They are often great listeners.

Feeling (F)

As Feeling people, ISFJs are subjective. They make decisions based on their principles and values. They are ruled by their heart instead of their head. ISFJs judge situations and others based on their feelings and extenuating circumstances. They seek to please others and want to be appreciated. They value harmony and empathy.

Sensing (S)

Sensing focuses on the present. As sensors, ISFJs are "here and now" people. They are factual and process information through the five senses. They see things as they are because they are concrete and literal thinkers. They trust what is certain. ISFJ value realism and common sense. They like ideas with practical applications.

Judging (J)

As Judging people, ISFJs think sequentially. They value order and organization. Their lives are scheduled and structured. ISFJs seek closure and enjoy completing tasks. They take deadlines seriously. They work then they play. The Judging preference does not mean judgmental. Judging refers to how a day-to-day activities at dealt with.

ISFJ Cognitive Functions

Every person engages the world through four Cognitive Functions. The ISFJ's primary function is Introverted Sensing and secondary is Extraverted Feeling.

Introverted Sensing (Primary)

ISFJs use this function most often. Through Sensing (S), ISFJs process data with their five senses. The Introverted Sensing function allows them to remember data in detail and to compare it with current information. It is the ability to link present experiences to past experiences in search for a connection.

Extraverted Feeling (Secondary)

ISFJs use of this function is somewhat high. When Feeling (F), ISFJs make decisions based on feelings. The Extraverted Feeling function allows ISFJs to tune their behavior to the needs of others. Is it the ability to relate and the desire to connect with others with warmth and consideration as well as draw others out and responds to expressed or unexpressed needs.

Introverted Thinking (Tertiary)

ISFJs use this function but to a lesser degree. While Thinking (T), Defenders make decisions based on logic and reason. The Introverted Thinking function enables them to categorize and analyze information that they receive. It is the ability to identify inconsistencies and know how things work as well the ability to solve problems.

Extraverted Intuition (Least)

ISFJs use this function least of the four. With Intuition (N), ISFJs process new information through impressions, possibilities and meanings. Extraverted Intuition allows them to see different paths or ways. When an ISFJ receives information, they are able to see that there is more than one way to look at things.

ISFJs and Work

ISFJs are dependable and trustworthy. They feel a great sense of responsibility for the job assigned to them. They work well when they know what is expected of them. They often enjoy working alone and do best without distractions. Defenders have a hard time stopping until the job is done. They are committed to treating others with respect.

ISFJ Career Matches

People with the ISFJ personality type may find satisfaction with the following careers which tend to match well with their Defender personality.

  • Administrator
  • Career Counselor
  • Child Care
  • Police Officer
  • Church Worker
  • Clerical Supervisor
  • Counselor
  • Medical Doctor
  • Social Worker
  • Actor/Actress
  • Counselor
  • Human Resources
  • Medical Technologist
  • Office Manager
  • Shopkeeper
  • Researcher
  • Scientist
  • Senior Manager
  • Early Childhood Development
  • Librarian
  • Nurse
  • Auditor
  • Bookkeeper
  • Business Analyst
  • Health Service
  • Homemaker
  • Writer
  • Military
  • Accountant
  • Administrative Assistant

Famous ISFJs

Here is a sampling of Famous People and Fictional Characters that may share the ISFJ personality type.

  • Louisa May Alcott
  • Alfred, Lord Tennyson
  • William Howard Taft
    American President
  • Robert E. Lee
    Army Officer
  • Queen Mary I
    Queen of England
  • Barbara Bush
    American First Lady
  • Nancy Reagan
    American First Lady
  • Bess Truman
    American First Lady
  • Robin Roberts
  • Kristi Yamaguchi
    Figure Skater
  • Mother Theresa
    Missionary Nun
  • Johnny Carson
    TV Show Host, Comedian
  • Jimmy Stewart
  • Michael Caine
  • J. P. Morgan
    Financier, Banker
  • Ed Bradley
  • Navigator Lambert
  • Tonya
    Doctor Zhivago
  • Bianca
    Taming of the Shrew
  • David Copperfield
    Charles Dickens Character
  • Hero
    Much Ado About Nothing
  • Melanie Hamilton
    Gone With The Wind
  • Ophelia
  • Joel Barish
    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  • Samwise Gamgee
    The Lord of the Rings
  • Dr. John H. Watson
    Sherlock Holmes
  • Winnie the Pooh
    Disney Character


ISFJs are agreeable and kind. They are deeply caring and conscientious. They are excellent helpmates and need appreciation from those closest to them. Their greatest contribution is their ability to identify the needs of others and meeting them selflessly.