I'm a questionable ISFJ with very high, very unhealthy Fe (I asked this question /post/125607151290) and now I don't know whether I'm ISFJ or ESFJ. I've been reading your answers stating the difference between the two and I'm still not sure. You reblogged a post about mental disorders, and this quote "Social anxiety can make extroverts think they are introverts, and cause Fe to be socially awkward." is making me question myself further. Do you have any advice on how I can figure this out?
Hey! I’m so sorry that I wasn’t able to help you out before and that you ended up more confused than you originally were.
Just a question, have you already looked at inferior functions? I know I talk about them a lot with E/I confusion so I’m sure you have but that’s a much easier way to figure out if you’re ISFJ or ESFJ. However, I’m sure you’ve already read through that so I’ll try to approach this from a different standpoint.
Warning: This is probably going to seem extremely scattered because I’m basically trying to recall everything I know about ESFJs and ISFJs and putting it into a very messy post.
ISFJs find it easier to take a step back and analyze a situation objectively, but it’s always through their Fe (Fe-Ti is not as harsh or oblivious to others as Ti-Fe). They can defend themselves with more confidence than ESFJs and usually enjoy things that stimulate their Ti. ESFJs find it easier to look at different/alternate possibilities without feeling out of their element. They’re much more comfortable envisioning what could happen and preparing for it. They can make decisions despite knowing the various different outcomes, which is something ISFJs may have a harder time with.
During stress, ESFJs might look for someone to blame (often irrationally). ISFJs start thinking about the worst case scenario and become convinced that it’ll happen. I read a really interesting post that said that during stress, ESFJs become TiNe where their Ne gives them ridiculous conclusions and their Ti kind of comes up with logical explanations for why they can’t come true. For ISFJs, however, their Ti almost fuels their Ne - Ti’s logical reasoning is crushed by or undermined by Ne’s endless possibilities.
ESFJs, contrary to popular belief, are usually very blunt about their feelings and aren’t scared with confrontation. I have an ESFJ cousin and she’s always left me feeling very awed by her - how does she make everyone happy? She knows just what to do to get on everyone’s good side, she’s very good at making everyone feel included and engaging in conversation with what she knows will entertain you. They can be very mothering and pay attention to details, but can get hurt easily (from experience though, a direct talk and a sincere apology usually fixes that). They might have a hard time logically assessing situations, often only doing so when forced.
ISFJs are down to earth, practical, and value past memories/experiences that mean something to them. They like routine - why bother changing something that’s proven to work in the past? Why bother changing myself when I’ve been this way all this time? The value stories and tradition, especially ones that mean something to them. They’re usually (although not always) the ones who remember birthdays and anniversaries (although ESFJs might do this as well). I know an ISFJ (he was my boss at my previous job) and he was very sweet and disliked unnecessary change. He always said to me “the less I have to think, the better my job.” My Ti, of course, found that unimaginable. They are usually the ones that worry over things that may happen in the future that aren’t in their control.
Are you an ESFJ? They’re doers. Constantly busy and like to implement change and improve things. They like to feel accomplished. They won’t hide their emotions from you. They’re genuinely interested in other people and hearing about their experiences, etc. They’re extremely loyal and will go out of their way to defend what and who they believe is right.
Are you an ISFJ? They improve steadily through repetition - they may not understand a concept right away like high Ne users tend to, but by the end of the class they’ll probably know more than you. They trust things that have worked before. They have Fe and Ne, which means they often see the best in people and will give you the benefit of the doubt. They trust their own past experience and don’t usually make the same mistake twice. It may take time for an ISFJ to warm up to you, but once they do, they’re unwaveringly loyal. Si-Fe is also a pair with the desire to act and do instead of just sit there and be sad, but probably to a lesser extent compared to ESFJs.
Unhealthy ISFJs tend to be easy to manipulate. They are paranoid and might think their own opinion is the most important. Unhealthy/Inferior Ne makes them worry constantly about everything and make them freak out over “new” or “unknown” things. They might find it hard to express emotions without being rude. They might get stuck in the past and be unwilling to give second chances. They cling to the past despite knowing how it’s hurting them.
Unhealthy ESFJs won’t be able to see the logical explanation of things. They might become emotional and unreasonable when confronted with logic. They might see themselves as the only “right” person in a world full of wrong people. They tend to have a hard time rationalizing. They may try to take control of your life for you: “I know what’s best for you, so let me make your decisions for you.”
If you’re still confused, just message me off anon or send me a fanmail and we can work through it. It’s much easier when you can tell me about yourself and I can ask you questions. Don’t be shy!!