INFJ 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.

Serious minded and caring, values are so important to the INFJ. Integrity is their watchword and they will be excellent listeners, supportive and with a strong desire to ‘do the right thing’ often the catalyst for making things better. The INFJ will work patiently long and hard behind the scenes to maintain harmony but they are also intensely independent of thought and spirit.

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

Although quite gentle, and preferring to be out of the limelight, the INFJ will work long and hard behind the scenes to maintain harmony but they are also intensely independent - both of thought and spirit.

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

This is a necessary escape valve for INFJs providing both time to rebuild their depleted energy and a filter to prevent the emotional overload to which they are so susceptible as inherent ‘givers.’

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

Although at times strident and outspoken, INFJs can only be emotionally open about themselves with a chosen few. At times INFJs will withdraw into themselves, shutting out even their close friends.

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

Values are at the heart of the INFJ and they will take relationships as seriously as they do their causes and their global outlook and big picture focus may mean that it is difficult to get on their wavelength.

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 INFJs 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

Deep and private the INFJ will keep their own counsel. Yet they have such deeply held beliefs that others may be surprised how forthright they can become to defend values or those they feel need support.

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

Although the INFJ prefers and will create harmony, they have such strong and deeply held values, these honed over a long time and they will defend those values vigorously if they are transgressed.

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

Because the INFJ is basically private, they will fight only on issues that really mean something to them and thus they can switch from being quiet to incredibly crusading, assertive and stubborn.

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

All interactions, given the nature of the INFJ as champion and supporter, will eventually deplete their energies and they will need to recharge on their own, thinking deeply about issues and connecting the dots.

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 INFJ 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

Although introverted, the INFJ has very strong opinions, honed over much private reflection and will voice these strongly, less concerned with self and ego than with the cause.

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

INFJs can make inspiring leaders as followers will believe in them and want to ‘sign up’, having a devotion to the cause that borders on evangelical so people will have a crystal clear vision of what could be.

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

Meaning is at the heart of who the INFJ is and they would not be motivated by ‘doing a job’ but need a cause, something which is important to them, something to believe in.

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

Strongly humanitarian, INFJs tend to be idealists, and because of their desire for closure and completion, they are generally ‘doers’ as well as dreamers, who take on a disproportionate amount of responsibility.

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 INFJ is the innovator, coming up with genuinely radical and different ideas and solutions a great driver for the team, often taking on far too much but this is simply due to the INFJ desire to complete.

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 INFJ 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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