ISFP 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 ISFP is quiet and introspective. Harmony and respect for values are important to them and if trust is broken the ISFP will walk quietly away, no fuss, but stubbornly refusing to engage again. The ISFP will live life quietly to the full, savouring the present moment, and enjoying the more private, sensory and practical activities of life, keeping things as uncomplicated possible.

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

The ISFP is a person of few words, intensely loyal to friends and family and the causes for which they stand - although this manifests itself much more in deeds than in words, as they are very private.

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

The sensitive nature of the ISFP means they can be easily hurt, but only really by those whom they have allowed in. From such people the ISFP will expect them to understand, to ‘get’ them.

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

The ISFP is extremely deep and private and so only those whom they had allowed close would really get to know how they are really feeling. A passive stubbornness will see the ISFP simply walk away. 

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

ISFPs are driven by the need for harmony. The ISFP doesn’t use logic or intuition but genuinely FEELS things, through the senses, including how others are feeling if those others are part of their life-space.

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 ISFPs 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 ISFP does not like conflict partly due to their need for harmony and partly due to their intense need for privacy and not to be ‘known’ and so they will tend to quietly walk away from fractious situations.

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

The ISFP is a complex type and whilst they have extremely strong values and beliefs they do not like to open up except to those few they trust and so, even if pushed they will tend to walk away.

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

Quiet and unobtrusive the ISFP will rarely project their feelings and so they will be difficult to know and even when they are upset or riled will tend to walk away and keep their own counsel.

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

Emotional situations, indeed any people-centric situations can deplete the ISFP energy levels and they will need to go back inside themselves to recharge their batteries, enjoying quiet sensory time.

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 ISFP 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

The ISFP will bring a quiet sense of conviction and what is 'the right thing to do.' Although not vocal, the ISFP can glue the team together and be quietly vocal in their support of new ideas and contributions.

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 ISFP will not generally want to push themselves forward to lead as they prefer to remain slightly behind the scenes as a supporter and the glue which allows them to be trusted and help others.

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

ISFPs need freedom, and is not motivated by goals, or targets - and indeed may shy away, quietly, non-confrontationally, from schedules, and set priorities preferring the flexibility to work in their way at their pace.

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

ISFPs are driven by values, making them incredibly loyal but they tend not to work best with detail or plans, preferring a flexible approach allowing them the freedom to contribute in their own unique way.

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

The ISFP is very creative, as they have a great talent for noticing all the details and relationships between things giving them a subtle artistic approach and to come up with unique ways of seeing things.

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 ISFP 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.

Share this comparison