Last of the SJ types but not the least. I will explain everything I know about the healthy ISFJ in my life, whose efforts have kept me alive today.
Observing Functions: Se, Si, Ne, Ni
Judging Functions: Te, Ti, Fe, Fi
9-14% of the total US population is ISFJ type; it is a type more commonly seen in females (15-20% Female) than males (6-8%). Which is a pity since INTP and ISFJ are apparently very good matches.
Cousins of INFJ in judging (Te-Auxiliary, Fi-Tertiary), and ISTJ in perception (Si-Dominant, Ne-Inferior).
ISFJ prefers functions in this order: Si-Fe-Ti-Ne; however, unhealthy ISFJ can engage in Si-Ti loops, and/or fall into Ne grip.
Suggested processing is Si-Fe-Ti-Ne.
Same as with the ISTJ, ISFJ’s strongest and most preferred function is Si, or what personalityhacker website calls: memory. It’s actually more than just memory; it’s a heightened awareness of their internals (which makes them extra sensitive to their bodies’ states and helps them tell if something is off within them, health-wise). This can make a lot of ISFJ types hesitant to try new things (Ne), which is primarily because they’re so aware of how even the slightest change has a heightened effect on how they feel internally.
Based on this excellent self-awareness based on the senses, excellent memory, and good observation skills reliant on such excellent memory and internal state, makes them a finely tuned “human machines” of what worked and what did not, but in the case of the ISFJ, their realm of expertise and understanding comes from human relationships, meeting needs, and keeping peace.
Just as the inferior Ne in ISTJ types make them uncomfortable in the inferior Ne in ISFJ types can make them fear taking risks. ISFJ types approach risk from a different point however; unlike ISTJ who hold a negative view of Ne due to how they feel about risk (tertiary Fi), ISFJ hold a negative view of Ne due to their negative undestanding of risk (tertiary Ti). A lot of people mistake ISFJ as emotional tools they can manipulate, when this isn’t true at all. ISFJ’s function stack makes them devoting and caring (Fe), but behind that is a Ti function calculating whether you are worth their attention and love. Fe works with the weaker Ti to determine whether the relationship will pay off, creating an equal give-and-take relationship, which allows the ISFJ to take more risks in life and continuing to improve, rather than be manipulated by everyone and anyone.
ISFJ stack makes them dependable, loving, and unbelievable wise about people. They work tirelessly to meet the needs of their loved ones, working hard to end disputes, and soothe hurts. Even if uninterested, if they love the person, they will pay attention to what the person does, what the person says, what the person likes or dislikes. ISFJs… keeping the world alive and happy, one person at a time.
That being said, not all ISFJ types reach their zenithal state, and this is mostly due to the Si-Ti Loops.
Si-Ti loops make the normally loving ISFJ into little cynics of doom. Their excellent but subjective memory (Si) pairs up with the skeptical and less developed analysis (Ti), and leads the ISFJ to assume the worst about a person (Ne), therefore hindering their ability to apply harmony tactics to control their environment (Fe).
ISFJ will withdraw to the self, and continuosly replay memory and analyze until the horse is dead hundred times over. But remember that there is minimal interaction actually going on; this is pure analysis based on observation and memory only. Thus, this makes the ISFJ incredibly judgmental and builds even more fear as to the kinds of risky people out there, who are immoral/evil/dangerous. Thus ISFJ will become more controlling of the people around them (mainly loved ones), in order to “protect” them from perceived fear of outside risk (Ne).
I think most of the stereotypes for ISFJ comes out of the loop behavior of ISFJ (and now that I think of it… all other types as well).
From personal experience, the ISFJ in my life explained how she feared going to a government office to get necessary papers because she was so afraid of talking to people, after being underappreciated in her family for so long. She was forced into taking action, but as she began to realize the value of interacting with people to fulfill her duty as wife and mother, she forced herself to interact with people, using her strong and well-developed (but underused) Fe function. In doing so, her fear of negative possibilities (Ne) began to dissipate, and she began to take more risks, enriching her Si, which only fueled her Fe use even more. Gotta be honest, I am one of the luckier beneficiaries of a well-developed ISFJ.
Of course, an ISFJ continuing down their route of Si-Ti will end up exactly where they don’t want to end up; Ne Grip.
Ne is an aspiring function. Mainly working behind the scenes of the person’s psyche, it is the seat of both fear and motivation for all ISTJ and ISFJ types.
Ne grip usually leads the ISFJ type to act impulsively. They will disregard their usual dutiful behaviors and go out to spend money excessively, take roads they usually don’t take before, or decide they want to drive a day away into middle of nowhere. They become like uncontrollable ENTP, thinking of fearful patterns everywhere, and fearful of confronting people. They enter into an unstable situation, where they will make mistakes in their decision making skills, and are forced to deal with all kinds of negative results. They will see connections everywhere, but only seemingly negative ones. They will use Ne to prove Si fears rather than using Ne to help strengthen Si. Their viewpoints will continue to contort as they try to fit every Ne data into their Si view, which is impossible because Ne allows Si to realize that there is “more than what meets the eye,” meaning no matter how much the ISFJ tries, ISFJ cannot come to a full understanding of the world around them.
There are two ways one can look at the grip. By being forced into the grip, it forces the ISFJ to experience new things (Ne), which can then be stored in their memories and therefore helping the ISFJ get out of their “ruts,” but it is truly uncomfortable and comes with much side effects.
How to Get Out of the Ne Grip
Of course, everyone falls into grips a few times in their lives. Coming out of grips help the person grow, as they learn to access their auxiliary function in order to get out of that grip.
ISFJ types can leave their grips by spending much time alone, where they can then employ Fe with the few trusted individuals in their lives but in a healthy way. Use Fe not to control others or to prove to them that your vision is true; use Fe to seek them out, ask opinions, and interact with them without bias. Interact with the acceptance that they may show a new side to themselves that you did not see before, and how that helps you see these people better.
Then eventually… increase the interactions with a broader audience. As the ISFJ’s psyche calms down, the ISFJ will find a new way to accept, see, and use Ne in their daily lives; not as something to fear, but a method that helps them connect the dots on the motivations of people around them. This will help the ISFJ make better choices as to who they associate with, how much effort they put into the relationship to make it work, and to not fear new information that arises, as Ne becomes a healthy goal to achieve, rather than something to fear.
Overall, I have a special spot for the ISFJ types because I am well aware of their capabilities, strengths, and support. They have great potential in them, and it is an utter delight and amazement when they can figure people out with very little input and be right about it (no need to use a system to understand people).
Remember ISFJ types: the more you allow yourself to interact with people, the more correct you will be when it comes to people, and the less you’re likely to lose from the relationships the more you try. It is a fantastic type to be (which is why there are so many of them in existence), and you matter to a lot of people because they know how much work you put into loving the people in your lives.
This ends the SJs. Next up… not so sure. I’ll have to think about it…