INTJ vs. ISFJ

Compatibility

So much has been written about whether opposites attract or difference is the key but in real life it is all about understanding the differences, accommodating and managing them. This section will help you see where the potential for conflict exists between personality types and help you manage it.

The INTJ is the patient visionary clear on how the future should look and will work with quiet, logical determination to make it happen. The INTJ loves an intellectual challenge and is stimulated by the abstract, the complex, the new and the untried; facts and figures bore them. They can seem a little detached from others as they quietly process so much information inside their heads.

ISFJs are quiet, and often understated people-centric doers. Conscientious and hardworking, they are loyal and dedicated to people and organisations, and they take their responsibilities very seriously. They have an incredible store of knowledge and superb memory used to support people and solve problems. Shunning the limelight the ISFJ is often the one who quietly make it all happen.

Relationships

There is no perfect type and in the same way there are no perfect matches. We can all learn to adapt and modify our behaviour if we choose and this section is therefore not designed to suggest particular specific matches but to demonstrate areas of similarity and difference so that a true understanding can happen and thus reduce the risk of misunderstandings.

Being around them

For the INTJ everything has a scientific base so getting close would be difficult initially, as they don’t see the need for emotional connection. Their engagement tends to come via intellectual arguments with like-minded people.

ISFJs are deep and caring with strong values and these will be held privately until the ISFJ allows people in. What others will perceive is a helpful, supportive, patient and detailed individual who is under the radar. The ISFJ is sociable but doesn’t like the spontaneity of crowds.

Dealing with emotions

For INTJs emotion doesn’t compute and so they may not understand their impact on others or indeed gauge the emotional reactions of others, which can make them appear as insensitive or a little cold.

The ISFJ is an emotional type, but may struggle at times to deal with these, as they are so private and reflective. It may be possible to deeply offend an ISFJ and not realise it, so private are they.

Openness and sharing feelings

INTJs are private and can often be naturally impassive as well, which makes them easy to misunderstand. INTJs want people to make logical sense and so feelings are difficult for them to fathom.

Once allowed close the ISFJ will open up but it will take time and they are not naturally forthcoming. This may mean it emerges in small chunks, often off the back of other conversations.

Drivers and values

INTJs are intellectually curious and love complex problems and analysing data to and come up with unique solutions, driven more by concepts and abstract ideas than by the emotions of people.

ISFJs have a strong sense of what is right and wrong and will tend to do what they believe is right, even at the expense of themselves. They really do want to support, care and are generous with their time.

Building stronger relationships

Learn what INTJs are like in a relationship. Understanding the differences between two types is a really great starting point for getting along. For practical guidance on building strong relationships take our practical tutorial.

Get along better with an ISFJ. Understanding the differences between two types is a really great starting point for getting along. For practical guidance on building strong relationships take our practical tutorial.

Conflict

Some people seek harmony, some see conflict as simply robust discussions, some people are emotional, some more factual. So there is no right or wrong about this and what we are trying to do is help two different people each understand how the other might deal with conflict and what it will mean for the relationship.

Initial response to conflict situations

The INTJ is often impervious to their environment as they are deep and private and love getting their heads into complex problems. They love the intellectual robust debate and won’t really ‘see’ conflict.

The ISFJ will initially close down on conflict as they prefer harmony and indeed will work hard at creating that. Indeed the ISFJ will be a superb diffuser of conflict but they themselves do not enjoy it.

Issues they'll fight on

For the INTJ it is about creating something new and worthwhile and this will be their focus. They won’t really see the emotional issues and will work at a more cerebral level where they are more comfortable.

ISFJs are often called ‘the defender’ and this is because they will stand up for what is right and the rights of others. So whilst they may shun conflict personally, they will fight for other people.

Conflict style / communication

INTJs work more at an intellectual than emotional level and so would see conflict, if they did engage, as simply an extension of the debate and their arguments would be well thought through, based on data.

Naturally more quiet and low key, the ISFJ will be conciliatory and seek consensus preferring to see good in people and they will look to get to a resolution that makes everyone happy.

How they feel after

As the INTJ inhabits an internal world of complexity, ideas and possibilities, working towards conclusion, any conflict would simply be seen as part of that process, enacted then it’s time to move on.

Altercations and over interaction in general sucks the energy of the ISFJ and so they will need some private ‘me’ time to recharge their batteries and build up their energy levels.

Dealing with conflict

Some types dislike and avoid conflict, whereas others use it to solve problems and get things done. Understand how an INTJ deals with conflict in our practical tutorial.

Manage conflict with an ISFJ by taking our practical tutorial. Do they use conflict to solve problems and get things done, or do they dislike and avoid it? Find out more.

At Work

We all bring something different to the team and we all agree that difference and balance are good things. However when someone is different from us we might not understand them so well so in this section we allow you to compare the differences at work, how these might manifest themselves and how best to manage them.

Contribution to the team

INTJs will overturn established practice be forward thinking and truly radical. They love the intellectual challenge, coming alive with difficult problems to solve then step back again when it becomes mundane.

The ISFJ will bring order, clarity, organisation and planning. Although not the most vocal member of the team, the ISFJ will make sure the team moves towards a 'known' conclusion in a planned way.

Leading

The INTJ will be at their best with the facility to work for long periods on their own. If they do lead they prefer like-minded people who also love the intellectual debate and complex challenges.

ISFJs are more of the behind the scenes operators rather than being a charismatic leader. Yet their incredible memory, their caring and practical nature and planning ability make them good team leaders.

Being managed

The INTJ will often find the mundane and routine tedious and energy sapping and may prefer individual contribution excelling at deep diving and working on the unique, the interesting and the complex.

Ironically, because they prove over and over that they can be relied on for their loyalty, attention to detail and high-quality work they can be taken for granted. Give them clarity and trust, they will deliver.

Attention to detail / focus

INTJs are perfectionists, with an endless capacity for improving upon anything that takes their interest. They will work long and hard on such tasks, driving towards closure, impervious to the outside.

The ISFJ is painstaking, orderly, conscientious and anxious with a superb capacity for follow-through although they have a tendency to worry about the smaller things and a reluctance to ‘let go.’

Creativity

INTJs are ideas people. Anything is possible. INTJs love developing unique solutions to complex problems, and, conversely, if it were not complex or interesting then why would they bother?

ISFJs have a great memory for facts and superb attention to detail. They will be more factual and practical than overtly creative, motivated by an internal anxiety to ensure the team doesn’t fail.

Getting the best and motivating

Find out how to get the best out of an INTJ and what motivates them in our practical tutorial. Are they more motivated by the task at hand, or by the people around them?

Get the best out an ISFJ and learn the way to motivate them. Are they more motivated by people, or by the task at hand? Find out more in our practical tutorial.

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