ISFJ women. The most common Myers Briggs category

People who serve humanity - feelings

The typical ISFJ (Twenty percent of all women) is blessed with an empathetic nature that nurtures others. As a result, she is the backbone of the serving professions, whether she is a nurse, a kindergarten teacher, a social worker, a counselor, mother, homemaker, or religious worker. Kindness is part of her soft nature, and as a result, she is generally well liked by others when they get to know her.

The F in ISFJ stands for feelings.The ladies in this group make their decisions based on their feelings and not on critical thinking. Seventy three percent of all women are ‘feelers’ and make their decisions based on their feelings. Sometimes they will call this intuition but it isn't intuition, as intuition is a piece of information that comes to you out of nowhere (and then you're basing your information on data, not feelings). Only eight percent of men fit the ISFJ category, though. It is, essentially, a female persona.

The lady loves for life.

The ISFJ woman is practical, traditional, and modest. She's made for marriage and motherhood.
The ISFJ woman is practical, traditional, and modest. She's made for marriage and motherhood.

Practical and observant – Sensing

This lady is highly observant. It is not unusual for her to remember an exact facial expression from the previous year. She also notices what people do and how people do it. If you ever want a description of someone, she is the one to tell you. She'll also remember every book she has read, every shopping list she has made, and like Hermione in Harry Potter, she will probably remember every spell she has cast!

She is generally good natured and will make every effort to see the best in people. While she might note some negative traits in someone, she will not focus on it, determined only to do what is good and socially acceptable. By ignoring the bad in others, she is also being practical, as it means that confrontation is avoided.

A few good friends – Introvert

As an introvert, she doesn't function well in a huge crowd of party animals. Rather, she likes to have a handful of close friends with whom she hangs out - probably the lady serving at the church cake sale, obviously enjoying the company of the other ladies she is serving with. Rather than having a more lighthearted companionship with many different people, she gains a deep sense of satisfaction from depth relationships with a few people. The fact that she’s a thoughtful listener adds to the fact that her friends both care for her and trust her.

Manipulation rather than argument is the tool of the ISFJ.
Manipulation rather than argument is the tool of the ISFJ.

The need for closure – Judgement

The ISFJ woman needs immediate closure. She does not live happily with unanswered questions. She does not enjoy the insecurity of 'not knowing.' Her world needs to make sense immediately. If this sometimes means that she accepts the wrong answer in her hurry for all the pieces to fit, then so be it. Unhappily, she has made a determination, she does not change her mind (she lives in a black and white world), she will be loathe to change it.

As she bases her decisions on her feelings, this attribute isn't always easy for others to understand, especially if you made her feel awkward, hurt her, or embarrassed her. Her immediate response might be to dislike you, and that will be that. She won't change her mind.

Friends and family

She is loyal and will always defend those she loves to the nth degree. It doesn’t matter if they are right or wrong. If someone is her friend, she will bat for them until the day she falls down. Make no mistake, though, she will expect the same sort of loyalty from those to whom she has given her commitment. She makes life-long friends, although it may take her a while to form those friendships as she is not particularly outgoing. With family, she is highly committed, sometimes over-servicing their needs and taking little time for herself.

Anyone who is her friend will never need to doubt that they will be alone in trouble. They won't be. The ISFJ lady will hover and comfort and provide every practical assistance. You can't go wrong here.

While she will love for life, the converse is also true. She will dislike for life as well. A family vendetta or feud is more likely to arrive from the ISFJ than any other type. Don't expect forgiveness. If you've been judged and found wanting, family or not, that's where you are going to stay.

One negative is that if someone offends her or hurts her feelings, she is likely to hold a negative opinion of that person for life. This opinion will probably not be based on objective evidence or facts, merely her hurt feelings. It’s highly unlikely that you will ever be able to convince her otherwise.

The down side - being needy

Some might have an issue with needing others and not being able to function well without a constant source of incoming confirmation of affection. The ISFJ female needs constant validation, and it may well be the reason she seeks to serve. Generally, introverts obtain their strength and energy from inside, but this traditional woman does not.

She doesn’t do well with criticism so she’s not going to thank you for pointing out something that she doesn’t want to hear. It hurts too much. So if you seriously need to say something to her about something you don’t like, butter it up with the best cream you have, and you’ll find that it’s easier for her to deal with. You'll find her easier to deal with when you make a habit of honey coating anything slightly bitter. Be kind to her; she's kind to you.

That said, she does have a nasty side. As a result of her need for almost immediate closure, she has a propensity to misjudge others. She won't be open to renegotiation either, so regardless of whether you are innocent or not, once she has written you off, probably best to move on. She is unforgiving and will bear a life long grudge against you if she has arrived at the conclusion that you have wronged her, however mistaken she was in her judgement. So remember the honey coating.

The ISFJ is uncomfortable with confrontation

Because this lady likes her world in black and white, she doesn’t cope well with confrontation or argument. She does not like her world being challenged. She also wants peace in all her relationships - traditionally well mannered is the way she sees it. She shies away from fights and her mode of dealing with aggression is to agree on the surface, to smooth over differences, and, sometimes, to pretend she is in agreement. The result is that she may well be party to something that doesn’t suit her. She also finds has great difficulty in saying no to the many favors others ask of her.

Balance her discomfort with your disagreement with her humanitarian contributions, and you'll learn to live silently with her being uncomfortable with handling challenge.

She’s conservative and traditional

No rocking the boat here! She likes to do things the way she was taught to do them during childhood. She will fit in with the status quo, and can always be relied upon to carry out things in a tactful and proper manner. She won’t be the lady who embarrasses her escort or stands out from the crowd. That isn’t her comfort zone. She makes a great politician’s wife, or in fact, the wife of any leader. In fact, she's the perfect person to head the Parents and Teachers Association because she will make everybody feel comfortable, do what is expected of her, uphold old traditions, and make you want to join the crowd.

She shuns academia

The lady is not a learner, well not an academic one! She doesn’t enjoy strategy and/or analysis. However, take five minutes to show her something practical and she’ll outshine anyone else. She will be outstanding in crafts and arts, will quickly master a recipe or understand how to make a garden grow. Her superior observational skills will have her copying the master chef she watches every week on TV and any meal she serves you will have the artistry and excellence of the best chef in the world.

She’ll lay a table fit for a queen and plant a garden forever green. She’ll have an office running smoothly in no time at all, and she'll take the drabbest room in existence and make it paradise in no time at all. There's a reason she makes great decorator or interior designer.

Do you have ISFJ friends

  • Yes. They are so caring.
  • No, but after reading this, I would love to.
  • No, not my type.
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Reliable and trustworthy - the perfect committee chair

If you want to be absolutely sure that something is done, this is the lady to give it to. If she says she will do something, she will. There won’t be any excuses from her, and the more that task is related to giving something back to the community, the greater is going to be her commitment. She does not let people down.

Courting an ISFJ woman for a lifelong relationship

She’s monogamous and fully committed. Aside from her personal relationship with god, her relationship with her man is the second most important thing in her life, as is her family. She makes an outstanding partner because she loves her mate and her family more than anything else on earth. She gives a depth of feeling that other types do not.

You’ll court her through practical efforts – not flowers so much (unless she likes to arrange them) as offering to mow the lawn. You’ll listen to her without offering contradiction or wanting to argue. She loves to explore mutual interests and do practical things that need doing together with you. Don’t expect her to make her needs known to you, though. You’re going to have to find that out for yourself. So observe her carefully, and ask questions in a subtle way.

You can also ask if she needs help in anything. Her day is usually packed with all the things she needs to do for other people, so she will really appreciate your offer.

Now you want to know if she likes you and returns your warm feelings? She will go out of her way to speak to you, to ask you advice, or have some other pretext to make conversation. Remember that she doesn’t make conversation with everybody – just people she is interested in.

These are the percentages of different Myers Briggs types for women.
These are the percentages of different Myers Briggs types for women.

Mother Theresa was an ISFJ woman.


Famous ISFJ women

And finally...

There aren't that many famous ISFJ women. It goes with the territory, I suppose. These women serve humanity, so that means they often work in the background. Unsurprisingly, when they do finally reach the limelight they so much deserve, they do so as a result of serving others. Two that come to mind are Rosa Parks, the civil rights activist, and Mother Theresa.

The stunning surprise on this one are the famous men - eight percent - who fall into this category. They include a high number of military personnel - David Petraeus (US general), George Marshall (US general), Robert E. Lee (American general during civil war), George A Custer (American general), and a string of politicians, including Rand Paul, Jimmy Carter, Mitt Romney, and George W Bush. All these positions are ones of service, though.

© 2015 Tessa Schlesinger

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Comments 3 comments

Julie K Henderson profile image

Julie K Henderson 18 months ago

This is an informative and engaging article. I've several good friends who are ISFJs, and they are loyal beyond belief. They also do not like to be praised for their contribution. At least this has been my observation; I am less certain if it is true for the type as a whole. Thank you for covering this important topic.

Deborah Demander profile image

Deborah Demander 9 months ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

Interesting observations. I know several women who would fall into this category. And they are truly caring people.

I look forward to reading more of your articles.


grand old lady profile image

grand old lady 3 months ago from Philippines

This is the first time I heard of such a category in psychology. It is very interesting and informative. I wish I had friends from this category:)

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    TessSchlesinger profile image

    Tessa Schlesinger (TessSchlesinger)113 Followers
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    Tessa Schlesinger developed an interest in human psychology when she 'didn't fit.' She has consistently tested INTJ for five decades.

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