Podcast – Episode 0098 – ISFJ Personality Type Advice

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In this episode Joel and Antonia dive deep into the needs and desires of the ISFJ personality type.

In this podcast on the ISFJ personality type you’ll find:

  • ISFJ – Memory/Harmony in the Genius System
  • Easy to overlook just how quirky ISFJs can be.
  • Our survey indicated just how sensitive ISFJs feel. They want to be in relationships and socialize but they find themselves getting overtaxed easily. They have a yin/yang relationship with socializing.
  • Car Model
  • Cognitive Function Stack – the mental processes you use that inform and influence your personality. Each refer to a different way you understand and experience reality.
  • The driver process is Introverted Sensing (Si), which we have nicknamed “Memory.”
  • Memory is a Perceiving process. A way to take in info and understand it.   (More info on Memory here.)
  • Memory is about taking in information then post processing. A review process as opposed to in the moment.
  • Si are interested in reliability. What is more reliable than what you have already experienced? All the things you pay attention to become a part of who you are. Your memory stack.
  • These are the most adaptable types over time. You incorporate experiences and they become a part of who you are.  
  • ISFJs are rather open to new info especially if they don’t feel threatened. If they have had good experiences over time and don’t face the world with fear, they can be more open.
  • ISFJs personally unique experiences craft them into the unique individuals they become.
  • They can become uber specialists if they wrap their identity around a certain hobby or skill.
  • ISFJs rely upon templates of the world. ISFJs take a new piece of info and if they have experienced it they categorize it with everything else. If there is no experience with it, they will put it on a shelf until they can ruminate on it and see how it fits in with previously held beliefs. As you mature you get better at knowing how everything fits in your world.
  • When people of this type open themselves up to new experiences they get a magnanimous relationship with novelty. They have no problem with other people choosing novelty. They don’t have an antagonistic relationship with newness. They can freely Hold back and observe.
  • An antagonistic relationship may show up for an ISFJ if they have had some trauma. If they feel the universe is hostile they will react more strongly against newness.
  • ISFJs co-pilot is Extraverted Feeling (Fe), which we have nicknamed “Harmony.”
  • ISFJs end up becoming experts of the people in their lives.
  • They are good at understanding human relationships and dynamics.
  • They are sensitive to emotional interplay and dynamics. It becomes the way they make decisions.
  • ISFJs become masters at predicting the behavior of those closest to them.
  • They will often wonder, “What can I do to smooth over the dynamics beforehand?”
  • If you are focused on Harmony and you lead with an adaptive process which incorporates other people’s behaviors, ISFJs have a similar phenomenon to INFJs. INFJs can absorb other’s emotions – even strangers – due to their iNtuitive process. ISFJs aren’t plugged into people in general, but they can be sensitive to the emotional energy of the people in their lives.
  • In fact, it is a struggle for them. “How can I hold space for my loved one without matching and absorbing their emotion?”
  • ISFJs are good for holding space for everyone they come in contact with. but they spend so much time meeting other’s needs that they take a back seat when it comes to their own needs. This can cause burnout.
  • Take the time to meet your own needs and realize that you cannot meet other’s needs if you don’t meet your own.
  • Become more sophisticated at creating better boundaries. Say no every now and then.
  • ISFJs on the survey said they feel a need to be perfect. This is not a natural tendency but it is a loop you can get caught in if you feel others are dependent upon you to create a memory or a successful event.
  • ISFJs 10-year-old process is Introverted Thinking (Ti), which we have nicknamed “Accuracy.”
  • Accuracy is concerned with metrics and data. It is Void of emotional connection. In the 10 year old level, the data comes down to things like the size of a casserole dish or making sure everything is optimized for memory creation. It can come up as perfectionism.
  • We use the 10 year old when we are feeling defensive. ISFJs want to be above reproach. Nobody can blame the ISFJ if they have done everything perfect.
  • ISFJs may cover their furniture with plastic to keep it flawless. However, When you put plastic on your couch it is not optimized for people on the couch. The original intent was to make sure everyone had a good experience, but now it has become about being above reproach. If you remove the plastic, something might spill and the couch may not be pristine but the lived in feel is what we prefer as people.  
  • ISFJs need to show up the best they can and then allow other people to have whatever emotions they are going to have.  
  • A healthy perspective for an ISFJ to have is, “I am going to do my part to meet people where they’re at, but I’m not going to take responsibility if they don’t have a good time.”
  • ISFJs are not responsible for everyone.
  • Accuracy is Not always a negative aspect of the ISFJ personality. Ti needs to be in support of Fe. Not the other way around. Letting Ti serve Fe would be Like choosing the best possible vantage point for the family to enjoy fireworks.
  • ISFJs often fill roles in the family as the budgeter or bill payer.
  • A lot of ISFJs can be found in early education. Or nursing and midwife roles.
  • The 3-year-old process is Extraverted Intuition (Ne), which we have nicknamed “Exploration.”
  • When ISFJs are safe they can have a very exploratory side to them. They can be into creative and possibilities thinking. Artistic. Martha Stewart type decor. Crafty. They like having a good time. A freedom side.
  • If they use this process when stressed it can show up as being very impulsive. They may crave some novelty. It’s best to use Ne as a creative outlet as opposed to an impulsive space.
  • If you are going to use your inferior process of Exploration, go ahead and paint the kitchen a different color. Don’t run off to Vegas and get married.
  • ISFJs may feel invisible at times. They become so good at getting other people’s needs met that people forget that the ISFJ has needs too.
  • ISFJs need to articulate their needs.
  • Some mentioned in the survey that they feel underappreciated for their profound institutional knowledge. They can be walking encyclopedias of info.
  • ISFJs need to speak up and share their wealth of knowledge.
  • Assertiveness is tough for ISFJs to develop. This is where Harmony can come to the rescue. It encourages them to be assertive.
  • ISFJs can adapt a little too much to situations that aren’t good. They need to create boundaries or they will allow intolerable situations to continue way too long.
  • You’re not fated to anything. You don’t have to deal with negativity and assume that is your role in life. You are allowed to be happy.
  • NLP can help you rewrite how your brain has experienced the past.
  • It is your responsibility to change your world to match your needs.
  • Real Harmony is a win/win.
  • Keep your finger on the pulse of that martyrdom complex and refuse to be a martyr.
  • In this episode Joel and Antonia dive deep into the needs and desires of the ISFJ personality type. #podcast #ISFJ #MBTI

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Showing 47 comments
  • Erin

    I can about your site from a flying free podcast and it has been a life changing support to my marriage and has opened my eyes in so many ways! I am in a covertly abusive marriage and it’s extremely helpful to understand myself at a deeper level. As the natural caretaker of everyone else, I am learning to set healthy boundaries and not allow myself to be walked all over, and it truly is harmonious.

  • Tia

    This was amazingly insightful!! I loved every moment of this podcast! Thank you so much for taking such care to understand types often misunderstood, even to ourselves. I understood myself even more and had to chuckle a few times at things I say or do without ever realizing how intrinsic it was to my personality type and my position in my isfj “car”.☺️

    Thank you for helping isfj’s to be able to feel seen, heard, valued and appreciated in the ways we truly need. Thank you!

    Huge take away for me today is remembering that I can contribute to but am not responsible for other peoples emotions. That I am part of the “everyone” who’s needs need to be cared for and met. Making sure to include myself in the cared for category was very helpful to me. Thank you so much!!


    I loved listening to the podcast, such eye-opening revelations for me as an ISFJ.
    I will definitely articulate my needs more & learn to put myself first every so often.
    Also to balance the accuracy with harmony!

    Thank you soo much for taking the time to share this information with us, God bless.

    Patricia Mwangi-Kenya.

  • Francis K

    Hello. It was wonderful to hear about the potential I have as an ISFJ. To know that my three year old and ten year old have positives was nice to hear.

    Would you ever consider writing about or doing a podcast on being an ISFJ male? Much of the information about ISFJs is more geared towards females and I have been told that how the cognitive functions play out in males and females is different. Let me know what you think.

  • JMP

    First and foremost, thank you for all of your hard work in creating these podcasts. They’re very informative and profound!

    From getting into typology, I’ve considered myself as an INFP, even being typed on the official Myers Briggs test as one and having a one MBTI counselor in training type me as one too, however another professional typed me as ISFJ. I’ve felt really conflicted for such a time. INFP fit me in that I class myself as imaginative and going along with others flow. But when studying the functions in depth, I couldn’t really find resonance with Te (even as an inferior). Furthermore, I can relate to Fi since I am always trying to gauge how I’m feeling and responding to experiences and imagine how others would react too (or me in situations I haven’t been). But on listening to this podcast, I wonder if my forecasting on how others are feeling and how I may feel in hypothetical situations is to do with Si paired with Fe?

    Compared to others who have been typed as INFP or ISFP I seem to lack certainty in my values and feelings and despite my shyness, come across as more expressive emotionally. I’ve been told I have no poker face. I really found resonance with your description of Si as making sense impressions personal and internal, forming part of my identify even. I did wonder if it’s Ne to compare and contrast impressions/experiences, finding similarities and familiarity in new impressions/experiences but from how you’ve worded your podcast, that sounds more like Si?

    For some time I haven’t been at ease in my INFP typing – though it’s the one I’m most emotionally attached too. Plus because I am daydreaming, like imaginary worlds and do try to decipher what I’m feeling as separate to others – in hindsight this could be me trying to foster my own sense of self and assert boundaries. Otherwise I tend to be attached to what my loved ones and colleagues are feeling and adopt their emotions as my own.

    Objectively and with self reflection, I can see how ISFJ fits me like a glove. To be a bit pedantic, I listened to both your ISFJ advice and INFP podcast and wrote down notes on what I could see more for myself. Overall I found the most similarity with ISFJ. Now it’s a case of me accepting that ISFJ is my best fit rather than INFP, and to continue on my journey of self knowledge and self growth. Thank you again for your wisdom 🙂

    • Antonia Dodge

      Weirdly enough, INFPs and ISFJs get confused for each other often. There’s a great ISFJ article contributer at psychologyjunkie.com (the site owned by our friend Susan Storm) named Jami Wilson. Check out her articles on ISFJs and see if the overall description from the perspective of another ISFJ fits well: https://www.psychologyjunkie.com/author/jamiwilson/


  • Margaret

    This information was helpful to me. At the moment I feel a bit more depressed than before, but more educated as well. I am one of those that feels it’s my job to be “dumped on”. I have acclimated to my own unhappiness. I feel alone most of the time. In the past I would get “chewed out” for asking for help with tasks at home from my husband, so I quit asking for help years ago. I also quit my job about 4 months ago because I could’t take the insults about being too slow at my job any more and the lack of teamwork displayed. I want to find a job that suites my personality type. Having said that, I’m use to being a full-time homemaker again and the thought of working outside the home becomes scarier the longer I stay at home. I could go on about a lot of details, but I’ll just finish up by saying… I need to figure out a job for me and figure out how to make time for me. Thanks for the reminder to make myself happy, and not everyone else all the time.

  • Kim Carter

    Being assertive about your strengths and institutional memory at work can backfire. I was let go after 20 years and multiple positions when a new supervisor interpreted my efforts to be helpful and save him from making mistakes was interpreted as negativity and push back. At 62 it was impossible to find another job with benefits that paid anywhere close to what I was making. I toughed it out as long as possible because I was the wage earner and health insurance provider for our family, but I nearly destroyed myself in the process.

  • Trisha

    This was so helpful. I’m definitely an IxxJ, usually typing as INFJ or ISTJ so I’m listening to these podcasts to help me determine my type. I never really considered ISFJ because I know I don’t come across as warm and fuzzy (though this could be due to my extreme introversion and shyness). I strongly related to almost everything in the ISFJ podcast, particularly about Fe showing itself as perfectionism and how Ti can serve Fe. The only area where I couldn’t relate is to being a “yes” person… to clarify, I’ll usually say “yes” to others but I’ll be annoyed about it because in reality I can be selfish and I want to put my needs first. I have a strong desire for harmony and when it doesn’t exist I get very stressed but I still prioritize my needs. Often I won’t act because I fear striving for harmony will still upset one party and then the discord upsets me. Is not acting on my desire for harmony still consistent with ISFJ behavior?

  • Matt

    I came across this website by accident, but am glad I did. Learning about my personality and how everything works is really amazing. I’m male, but find it interesting and cool that a majority of ISFJ’s are female.

    I’m a writer, so I’m wondering how being an ISFJ affects my writing. How does being ISFJ help my writing. I think ISFJ’s are more on the plotter side. If someone has any tips for writing as an ISFJ I’d love to know.

    • Charlotte

      I took the quiz and it came back that I am an ISFJ. I watched this video and agree with a lot of it except a few things:
      During holiday and special occasions I tend to do it all myself. I don’t want to impose on others. This becomes overwhelming and I tend to not enjoy the special occasions because of this. I don’t have collections and I don’t like knowing everything about a subject. I don’t voice my opinion on subject matter because I don’t like coming across as a know it all. The example of the fireworks is not me. I have anxiety when I spend money. I like putting money in savings for fear of needing it for essential needs. I don’t put plastic on the furniture. I don’t like being noticed. I prefer being invisible. Other than that I think the video was right on for me. I feel this need to be perfect. I like things very organized. I love to organize. I enjoy being around people for a short time, after that I become overwhelmed. I need my own space and time by myself. I do attend to others needs more than my own. I am very traditional. My hobby is doing genealogy. I have over the top severe anxiety speaking. It’s not the normal fear of speaking in a group or in front of people. What is that about? I also do wonder at times if I am an anti-social type personality as well. Is there a test for this? I pretty much never feel in a comfortable zone unless I am alone. I don’t want to be this way. I would much rather be an extrovert.

  • Marko

    Well this is getting worse and worse,

    I just watched, I don’t know what I watched, honestly… This thing: https://personalityhacker.com/resources-isfj/ Well, Jesus Christ. I really am in trouble. I mean, omg! What the heck? Now I’m a grandma too? I categorically refuse to be portrayed in such a fashion. Seriously people, after I’ve seen this, you still have the nerve to say that people like me are putting too much pressure on them selves? Well, I wasn’t under any pressure before I saw what I saw. How the heck did this happen? I mean, to me. That I somehow managed to get female personality results? 4 times in a row, I’m not sure for the first type, but knowing my luck, I don’t want to go back and find out. I’ll block all females that I know, enough is enough (impossible). But, even if I could, I spend most of my time alone, so either they’re very persuasive when they have the chance, or what? Because I sure don’t consume estrogen as a spice for my meals, or something. I mean, what the heck is going on? Now seriously, are you pep’s sure that you got my result right? I’m not sure that I can relate to this stuff. I don’t bake biscuits. I don’t know how, nor I’m interested in that. Not to mention that happy images everybody has to have great life stuff. I honestly don’t feel like that. This stuff is so confusing. Are there any male ISFJ videos and resources? And I’m not talking about por* here. Are there any? If there are, maybe I could finally relate to something that I find close. This stuff, brrr, that’s scary…

    • Marko

      And oh,

      just oh no… I was just reading this article: https://personalityhacker.com/isfj-protector-personality-type/ in which I finally found some examples to which I can relate to without fear. Or denial. And I found out just what kind of on dork I can be when I’m not keeping my mouth shut. I can only say how I wish that I’ve read everything I could, first. But I’ve learned my lesson, for life. So in my learning process, while maximizing my mistakes (or so I thought) I’ve managed to maybe hurt someone feelings. And I’m seriously mad at myself because I had to read about that to became aware of the same. Like I’m 14 or something, God… I’m sorry if I have hurt anyone with my idiotic comments, I really am. I just can’t believe that I’ve realized that last. I guess, I can be a b**** even while I’m not trying to be one. Another lesson learned. I just wish I learned them alone. And yes, I saw other guys in comments, so, I guess I’m really left out of excuses here…

      • Antonia Dodge

        Everything’s great, Marko. I appreciate that you didn’t ‘abandon ship’ when you were initially frustrated. ISFJ women are the most common demographic in Myers-Briggs (followed by ISTJ men), so descriptions tend to reflect those numbers. But there are also plenty of ISFJ men, and I can understand why the descriptions may be disenfranchising.

        Also, while I understand that this was more about not finding male examples of ISFJs, feel free to read other type descriptions that may resonate with you. The test isn’t always 100% accurate. But if ISFJ fits like a glove, then great. 🙂


        p.s. Would you like me to delete your other comment? Either way is fine on our end.

  • Marko

    Hi & hm,

    I’m confused. I found myself in about 20-30% of those examples and explanations. The fact is, the things in which this personalty type is good, or is prone to, are the things in which I ‘m not even close to those examples. I suck with money, not to mention institutional memory. Then, I don’t make parties, never did, or will, nor that I’m taking care that everybody has a great time. I’m not even there, and if I am (so rare), I’m shut out. I get “Where are you?” question even when I’m having coffee with people that know me for a long time. What else? Marty? Nope. Or maybe from loneliness? Destiny? Nope. Plastic covers for furniture? Who does that? Although, I do like to have everything in order. Things have their place (that’s how I always know where my stuff are). I like when everything is very clean, and arranged in my way. But people are free to do what they want, I honestly don’t care how they spend their time as long as it’s not hurting them or anybody around. I would do for people anything, it doesn’t matter if I know them or don’t. I don’t make differences among them. I just don’t need to be around them much, an hour a day is ok. Not even every day. For example, the other day, I decided t go out for a drink (I was braver that day than in general). So I went to a cafe which I know well. People and everything. And I’m sitting alone, although they all like me a lot, I like to be aside. Then I notice a kid (21) standing in front of local crew’s table and when I looked at him, I knew right away. This guy is in trouble. The local crew communicates with him like his a bit weird, or like they don’t get him. I’m in my thoughts “What is it? Why are you like that? What’s that feeling? Anxiety? Sadness? Felling lost? All of it?” Anyway, I look away continue to read a book “The reason I jump” from an autistic child about being like that. My friends son is one. Next thing I know, he’s sitting next to me and starts pouring his life story onto me. He’s schizophrenic and under medication. He feels lost and lonely. Doesn’t like what his family talks about him. Has surreal stories about himself and his connection to the world. Has no one to talk to. He just needs a friend. So, we’re friends now. Because, nobody else would. And they all know him from before. I saw him first time. I gave him my number to call me whenever he needs something, doesn’t matter what. Just, call me. That’s me. The guy who has to listen to problems of people he knows and doesn’t know. And that’s why I’m rarely among them. I just get overwhelmed. Like I have a special talent for drawing other people misery on myself. So I get just that. Social networks are the same for me, I end up depressed for days from one photo of baby who’s got cancer. So is that ISFJ? (my 1st & only result, 4th by order) Or INFJ (my result 3 times)? Or am I something else? Or bipolar? Although I like the ISFJ more, it look less damaged (perspective is in the eye of the observer). But those examples, those are hotshots for me. I’m a mouse for them. I’m getting tired and sad of trying to figure this out…

    • Marko

      Hey, I saw this video already. And there’s my comment too. So, now what? Two days later… Well I guess I’m closer to this descriptions than to those I’ve found in that other type. So I’m this character then. Now, I honestly don’t know what to do with that, make myself a badge? Oh well, we’ll see what the future holds for me. But I’m not stopping wearing pants, that’s for sure. And you can forget about those plastic covers at my place…

  • Jean

    Some of what you said seems correct for me but other things don’t. What does that say? Am I something other than ISFJ? For instance, the part about memory isn’t quite accurate for me but the harmony parts are.

  • Nichols

    Wow, you certainly hit the nail on the head when you said that an ISFJ would adapt to a crappie situation and assume that is how the universe is going to be for them! That has been a reoccurring theme in my life. Your insight into my personality is a balm on my past hurts….Thank you!

  • Huda

    Thank you both so much for the insight into my type and everything that you all do to help people to better understand themselves and why they are the way they are. I really appreciate it. I’ll try my best to follow your advice, expecially the part about perfectionism and also learning to say no to people. I understand myself a lot better now. Thanks again!!!!

  • Janette

    WOW! Thank you guys for all your research and knowledge expressed on the podcast. Through it I got the answer that began my search and the realization that I have a lot of personal growth to do yet. On a subconscious level I think I knew that I fell back on my 10yr old accuracy when confronted with stress or conflict but not why I do or that I can do something to change that situation. Before this search I would have just defined my self by how intensely I feel for people in my life. Hiccups only occurred when I met difficulty with my 10yr old. I can switch that now that I’m aware, thanks to you guys.
    I have experienced trauma in my life but was extremely lucky to have one parent teacher by word and example that the universe is generally a friendly place. So mostly I don’t act my age, more like a big kid looking at the world with huge eyes of wonder. I would like to give my 3yr old more free reign.
    Having been part of an organization that empowers people with disabilities for 15yrs now, the bank of procedural knowledge and history of the org and personal knowledge of the people is sitting there waiting to be tapped into. So your suggestion of speaking up and offering factual info for shaping pending change was extremely helpful. Just like that my frustration dissapates. Just got to work on that assertive thing!
    Wow again!! What a powerful few minutes to my life. Thanks. Awesome. Life changing!

  • Michael Sanders

    Hey, Joel and Antonia!

    Michael here. I appreciated meeting you both recently at the NC meetup.

    Just before leaving, Antonia was saying that she really didn’t get the “ISTJ vibe” from me and that I may actually be an ISFJ. I took this positive feedback and started investigating what makes an ISFJ tick.

    I’m definitely very traditional and see how that is my dominant trait, ISTJ or ISFJ. One of my uncles actually did genealogical research on our family and was able to trace us back to European nobility. These early impressions in my life, along with frequent family reunions, helped form me to be who I am today. I see family and community and tradition as important values to have. One of my friends shared with me how his family tradition was to eat all the samples at Costco and then have a hot dog and a drink for $1.50 afterward. I admired that aspect of his life and started to brainstorm about what traditions I could start for my family or continue to support.

    After listening to your podcast, I certainly could see how I am an ISFJ in that I have had desires in my life to create the perfect experience for my friends or family. This is definitely the tertiary introverted thinking or accuracy trait. The whole idea of wanting to optimize where you stand so that you see the fireworks is a perfect example which actually happened to me once!

    I was with some friends at Disney World in Orlando and we were going to see the fireworks. We have to navigate through an already large crowd at that time. So I suggested that we each place our hand on the shoulder of the person in front of us so that we did not get separated from one another. Then I led the train to the best place we could get to see the fireworks.

    Also, regarding the harmony aspect of my personality, I usually have a hard time saying no. This was feedback from a previous employer. I definitely struggle with boundaries in relationships and my friend shared some resources with me on how to develop healthy boundaries and it was like the holy grail to me. I was thinking, “Where has this been all my life!?”

    As far as the exploratory/fun/Disney side, or exploration trait, I definitely have that as well. My friend has also called it the “X-factor”. This charismatic unexpected side of me that usually leaves most people with their jaws on the floor. It’s only in situations where I feel safe and comfortable. It would be difficult for me to consciously choose to audition in front of thousands of people. It only comes out when I get in my element.

    For example, I was hanging out with some orphans from Uganda one time. We started playing drums together and all of a sudden I found myself singing along with them. There was a sense of being drawn into it that helped me relax and unveil that side that is usually reserved for those who are closest to me.

    Thanks for your podcast!

  • Colleen

    I don’t agree with the idea that ISFJs do things like they do so that they can’t be blamed if something goes wrong or that they try to be above blame. For me and my understanding is if this was someones motivation to put so much into something this would actually be working against their harmony. As an ISFJ i have never be in a situation when something has gone wrong that i think “well i did the best and can’t be blamed for it going down the shitter” I am more like “shit what else could i have done, what did i miss” I think a more accurate idea is that its about about not beating themselves up when they feel something didn’t go well.

  • Diane

    Wonderful, rich description of a number of ISFJ attributes.

    I’ll list just a few here that really hit home:

    » On becoming an “expert” and “mastering” something.
    This has happened to me during my life. For me, “expert/mastering” has come as a RESULT of long-term study in an area of interest, not the GOAL in and of itself. The final outcome being, I have been able to teach or assist others in the same.

    » Concept of “exploration” (3 yr. old seat), bingo! When I feel safe I open up like a flower and am free to be my most fruitful. I can truly be “me”. But as you cautioned, I can get too spontaneous when over stimulated.

    » Avoid discord. I like to make the environment I’m in (when I have control over it) try to influence such that people can be themselves comfortably.

  • Larry

    I enjoyed the majority of what was shared but the “F” in me felt a a bit defensive during certain segments. All in all it was informative and helpful. The closing comments about avoiding the martyrdom complex rang true and a lifelong relationship with a toxic parent has certainly imprinted me. I would be grateful for your feedback regarding some of the particular personal development programs or products that were mentioned in order to achieve the win-win harmony you mentioned. Probably not ready for the neurolinguistic therapy at this point but certainly interested in the self help reading and methods you alluded to.

    • Antonia Dodge

      Hey, Larry – there are some really powerful models found in Anthony Robbin’s book “Awaken the Giant Within” for re-imprinting your mind. He does use a variation of NLP, but I think you’d enjoy investigating the tool through his book.

      This article was written in response to a question from an INFJ, but the advice would be exactly the same for any ISFJ:


      Hope those help as a starting point. 🙂


  • Jennifer

    Listened to this on Christmas after waiting for it for several months! Best gift this year. I really resonated with the idea of post-processing; I need to give myself permission to say “let me think about that” rather than be forced to make a fast decision. In a forced/fast choice situation I often have a negative response, but after some time to process, even only a few minutes at times, I will come out more positive. And yes, I am flexible, adaptable to a fault.
    I also really appreciated the comments about how overwhelming the quantity of sensory information can be. I am very easily distracted and must make – often subconscious – decisions to disregard certain input that does not seem relevant. This gets me into trouble sometimes, when that discarded info proves to be relevant. This mental process drives me to like tidy space over clean (sanitized) space. It feeds de-cluttering which drives those close to me nuts sometimes, as I discard things that they think I should have more sentimental attachments to.

    No doubt in my mind that I am ISFJ, it feel great to have this affirmed. I love how much variety there is in our interest/content, and I agree we are definitely quirky – a surprising trait given how “traditional” we can be.

    Thanks for the great insights!

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for your comment, Jennifer! Since realizing I am an INFJ, I have given myself permission to post process to a certain extent. I am self employed, so when my phone rings it is likely a client looking for an appt. I never answer the phone. I wait to hear the message and find out the needs of the client before deciding when, and if, I want to see them. This way I sound way more professional and organized on the call, rather than floundering for dates and times.

      I really resonated with your comment re: de-cluttering. I do that too, and have thrown things away I wish I hadn’t. :/

  • Sarah

    Thanks for this! My mom is an ISFJ, and I really enjoyed this insight into her thought processes. Being an INFP, I felt she viewed me with suspicion through my younger years (she does view the universe as hostile, and with reason, although I’ve been hoping she’ll address that,) but your observation on long-term adaptability was spot on; she has become one of my integrity-supporters! Also, she is beyond master of her interest and I love knowing how she keeps digesting such huge chunks of information. Finally, your plastic on the couch comment cracked me up: there is plastic on her couch!

    • Charis Branson

      Haha! As I was listening to this, I was thinking back on all the women I have met over the years that covered various parts of their house with plastic. This INFJ isn’t entirely immune however. I actually had a plastic cover over a vintage dining table. I threw it away after this podcast.

  • Kerry

    I think my husband is an ISFJ, and finding that balance between harmony and accuracy is such a thing. Sometimes it means any little complaint I have is the equivalent of forbidding that thing for all time. Remember that time five years ago I said I didn’t like ____? He does, but I don’t, and five years on it feels like he’s just making things up as excuses even though it probably did happen. But the research and the optimization is real too, and everyone near him benefits.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the feedback, Kerry! I’m glad you benefitted from the podcast. 🙂

    • David Bergman


      • David Bergman

        Hi, your podcast hit the nail on the head for me. It was a great reminder of what I used to be like, and could be again, esp in a crisis situation in 1992, I checked myself into a hospital to deal with important life issues about which I felt incredibly fragile. The psychiatrist I was going to see there said, “I read your intake evaluation twice. It seems you are a bit of a perfectionist. Tell me, did you have a perfect nervous breakdown, or do you think you could have done it better?” That was like getting hit in the face with an iron tell tennis racket and I have never tried to be a perfectionist since. Working on letting go of expectations, along with a lot of therapy was the answer for me.

  • Todd Hartzel

    Really enjoyed the similarities between this type & infjs. The use of archetypes vs templates (buckets). It’s fascinating how similar Ni & Si are. Maybe this might clear it up for those that are still on the fence of which one applies to them.

    • Charis Branson

      Thank you for the comment, Todd. And thanks for bringing up the term “archetypes.” I was trying to figure out which term to apply to my way of categorizing. Archetypes is it.

  • Steven

    Wow.. ISFJs have a ton of overlap with INFJ (from a external point of view). Do any other types share this connection to quite this extent?

    • Charis Branson

      Sure. A lot of the types are going to have some overlap. In fact, that is why there can be so much confusion between types. We have done a few comparison articles to address these similarities and some ways to tell them apart.

    • Papacrown

      Hey folks, Papacrown here, just thanking you for replying to my email of not being able to listen to this podcast. Updated chrome browser & here I am. Long story short , (putting new door locks on, long side later) why is it that we ,isfj & Male, get “burned out”, taken for granted , etc. No one wants to take responsibility for their own actions, expect kind hearted souls like us, male, & female to cover their a***s for their misgivings as we always have because we love them. What if it came back the same as was given, no strings attached, without comments, no ticket parades, with love ! We have our harmony back , don’t have to look ahead , cover couches, hahaha,whoever spilled something, clean it up. Harmony’s back,not that hard to do ,”Treat others as you expect to be treated “.Thanks for hearing me out, we are.not invisible, have a great night.

  • Tracey

    LOVED this deep dive into my type. Thank you!

    I liked how you examined the 10-year old function of accuracy from a few different angles. I knew how it show’s up when I’m feeling defensive, but knowing that it’s positive to use it in the service of harmony helps give me some direction in developing it more.

    The discussion about how ISFJs can resemble INFJs in the area of sensitivity to others’ emotions was SO interesting, since I have always felt like I identified with that aspect of the INFJ personality, and my INFJ spouse and I seem to share it in common. I think the distinction that ISFJs do this more with their loved ones is SPOT ON. I notice that I am much more able to tune out the “noise” of others’ problems than my husband is, but if something is going on with close friends or family, my empathy kicks in hard, and it’s all I can think about.

    I’m not sure if I’m the specific survey-responder that Joel mentioned in regard to being the institutional memory at work, but if I didn’t say anything about that in my survey, I definitely feel that way, too! For me, it’s not really about being offended at not being asked my opinion, though. It’s frustration that I seem to be the ONLY person who remembers my organization’s activities, policies, and procedures on various projects from year to year. I realize that this institutional memory is a particular strength for me, but sometimes I have to work to remind myself that it’s not a strength (or even a priority) for many others.

    • Tracey

      Can’t let my apostrophe typo go up above. SHOWS. Not show’s.

      ALSO, I love how Antonia pointed out how “quirky” we ISFJs can be. My friends know that I’m an expert in a couple of really random subjects and they can always come to me for information. 🙂

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the comment, Tracey! It’s nice to get some perspective from an ISFJ.

  • Jeremy

    Very insightful. I love how Personality Hacker has nicknames for the cognitive functions that encapsulate the way the function works. The terminology used in the discussion is also helpful, for example, describing “Memory” as post-processing and utilizing templates helped to create a visual for me of the mechanics of introverted sensing. In my experience with ISFJ’s, since they focus on others’ needs over their own, they tend also to not ask for help. I picture an ISFJ as Atlas trying to selflessly balance and hold up the world for everyone else, while ignoring the personal toll that effort takes.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the comment, Jeremy! Great illustration of Atlas. Maybe he should ask the giant Tortoise for help. 🙂

  • Victoria

    Loved this! I really appreciate the point about the ‘templates’ we (as ISFJ’s) create to more easily process information. It was quite a revelation for me to hear someone else speak about the overwhelm I can feel in processing information quickly…and that more often than not I just need time to post-process it to see how I feel or what I think about a certain experience or situation. I’ve also never noticed that I’ve created these ‘templates’ to more easily process what I’m experiencing- now that I think about it I use them in so many aspects of my life. Really found this episode insightful and helpful, thanks!

    • Jeremy

      As an ISFJ, how do you create and use templates in your daily life? Can you give an example? I’m an INFP and this aspect of introverted sensing puzzles me.

    • Tracey

      Agreed! The “template” idea was a new revelation for me, too. I understood already that my ISFJ type influenced my need to take my time with things that are new and my desire to want to try new things out alone instead of in front of an “audience”, but the template idea helps me to understand why.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for your feedback, Victoria! As an INFJ, I prefer some time to post process as well. Maybe I should try the template idea. 😉

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