INFJs and ISFJs are alike in many ways. They’re introverted, feeling, and judging. They differ only on the intuitive/sensing dimension of the Myers-Briggs Inventory. Both types put much of their energy into helping others and share a drive to make the world a better place. People can count on them in times of trouble.
Although INFJs and ISFJs have high ideals, they’re modest about them. They prefer to make their values apparent in their actions. This is partly due to their introverted personalities and desire to avoid the spotlight. Seldom do they call attention to themselves or demand recognition for their achievements.
The main difference between INFJs and ISFJs is that INFJs are more perceptive. They pick up on the motives of others quickly. Because they’re so sharp at spotting phony behaviors in people, their judgments are sometimes harsh. On the other hand, ISFJs are somewhat naïve. They have a hard time understanding power-hungry people or those with self-serving motives. They are bewildered by greed and unkindness as it’s so foreign to their natures. INFJs and ISFJs complement each other because they meet somewhere in the middle. INFJs protect ISFJs from their gullibility, and ISFJs are models of tolerance.
Quiet and unassuming, INFJs and ISFJs aren’t easy to get to know, but people close to them value their friendship.
Both INFJs and ISFJs take romantic relationships seriously and are attentive to their partners’ needs. In their speech and demeanor, they’re tactful and kind. At the same time, their introverted natures make them cautious about expressing their feelings for fear of rejection. These two types may be so cautious in their approach to romance that more extraverted partners get impatient with them. INFJs and ISFJs have a tendency to hold back on the playful aspects of their personalities until they know people well.
INFJs and ISFJs sometimes remain in partnerships that are no longer working. The thought of leaving a relationship makes them nervous and insecure. When either of these types is left by a partner, they’re deeply hurt. Typically, their self-esteem suffers and they go through a period of painful self-examination. If they don’t turn to friends for support, they’re slow to regroup and move on. Some grow quiet, trying to appear composed and stoic to the people around them.
The homes of INFJs tend to be more cluttered than those of ISFJs. An abundance of books, crafts supplies, musical instruments, and other paraphernalia lie around the house, allowing INFJs to pursue their hobbies at a moment’s notice. While they would prefer a tidy environment, housekeeping has a lower priority than having fun. When family members complain about the mess, however, INFJs will pick up after themselves.
ISFJs’ homes are usually neater, as they’re more prompt about attending to home maintenance and domestic chores. Sometimes their sense of responsibility prompts them to take on more than they can handle. They may complain about their workload in a martyred sort of way, but then turn down offers of assistance from family members. To accept help makes them feel inadequate and guilty.
Celebrations such as birthdays and anniversaries are important to ISFJs, who are more traditional than INFJs. To get the most enjoyment out of such events, they participate enthusiastically in the preparations—cooking the holiday meal, cleaning the house, and so on. This is one way they show their commitment and love.
Both Myers-Briggs types take their parenting responsibilities seriously. For them parenthood is a lifelong commitment. Protective and patient, they’re likely to set aside their own needs to be sure their children are taken care of first. They give them every opportunity for a good education, for example. While ISFJs tend to encourage their children along conventional career lines, INFJs are more broad minded. They’re tolerant of unusual extracurricular and career interests as long as their children put forth genuine effort.
INFJs and ISFJs desire harmony above all. They want their partners and children to be happy. As a result, they sometimes sidestep family conflicts that should be resolved for the good of everyone.
INFJs and ISFJs need careers that are consistent with their values and desire to serve others. ISFJs are generally satisfied with conventional careers that focus on short-term goals and hands-on attention to detail, while INFJs feel fulfilled only when their intuition and creativity are called into play and they’re involved in long-range planning and problem-solving.
Both personality types are averse to conflicts and stress in the workplace. INFJs can become rigid and uncommunicative in a competitive or intense work environment. Eventually, they look for another job. ISFJs are likely to keep trying, working harder in the hope that the situation will improve.
INFJs and ISFJs enjoy their retirement years if they’re free of financial worries and have leisure time to pursue their interests. INFJs, once preoccupied with world problems, become more relaxed as they grow older, leaving many of their worries behind and enjoying the present. They’re likely to decide that the state of the world is the next generation’s problem.
ISFJs, always more now-oriented than INFJs, also enjoy being released from the time-consuming obligations that characterized their working years. With age, they become less self-critical and more extraverted. Their give their own needs and desires higher priority than they once did. Still, being of service to others remains important.
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