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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm deciding between several personality types, and INFJ and ISFJ were brought up as possibilities based on my questionaires. So, after deciding that all the ISFJ descriptions are terrible, I wrote one.

This is PURELY hypothetical. I wrote this AS THOUGH I were absolutely positive I'm ISFJ, and as though I were confident enough to think I had the authority to write a description. It obviously doesn't match the existing descriptions of ISFJ, but that's the point. Do you guys think this description, based entirely on me, could conceivably apply to ISFJ, keeping in mind that all descriptions are stereotypes? Or am I being a typical INFJ and trying to stick up for the Sensor underdogs?

Sorry it's long:

An ISFJ likely has a strong vision of what the good life is, and he has a well-researched plan to get there. But many love a simple life, and so living according to their vision may look anything but well-planned—such an ISFJ will not worry about moving back in with her parents, for example, because deep family bonds might be the most important thing in her life. Some ISFJs are career-driven and this life-plan is long term, but their career choices are likely to be driven by a desire to maximize independence and free time; such ISFJs may work very hard to earn a degree that will allow them to do work they love, to “never work a day in their life.” Intellectual ISFJs may work hard for a doctorate, for example, but they may also be happy doing less-prestigious, even menial, work, because the physical labor comforts them and helps them think. They are the true Hobbits of the MBTI, with a love of home, food, comfort, and stories.

Ironically, however, some ISFJs struggle to enjoy the comfort they tried so hard to get. Because their experience is tinted so strongly with past experiences, ISFJs may feel nostalgic for “the good old days,” even when they are quite young. ISFJs who read (and most do, and voraciously) internalize the experiences of fictional characters, and so might feel their own life is inadequate or dull compared to the fictional places and people they know so well. The adult who longs for Victorian elegance, the glory of the Civil War (or Star Wars!), the romance of Jane Austen’s England, or the joy of Hogwarts may be an ISFJ. Their minds are busy, often with personal fantasies or plans, and they find it difficult to relax because they feel the world needs them to “do something”. Sensors may test as intuitives for these reasons, because they struggle to “live in the moment.” But these fictional experiences are, for ISFJs, sensory, vivid, and very “real.”

ISFJs are expert remixers, combining parts of reality--whether words, cultures, fictional settings, body parts--to create something entirely new. The end result is a fantasy that looks and feels real. Outstanding visual effects are likely to appeal to the ISFJ, and they may even work in animation, computer modeling, or miniature-building. Extroverted feeling gives a strong sense of the conventions of a given social setting or genre; it is the extroverted feeler who thinks of art or literature in terms of how it diverges or follows the norms set up by predecessors. ISFJ artists and writers have a special concern with originality, how their own art relates to what has come before. When examining a piece of work they are likely to pay attention to the details of how writers construct sentences, or to wonder how the artist did his underpainting or what brush he used to achieve a particular effect—art is a “creation” of a real being in a real time and place, not a trans-historical expression of human nature.

ISFJs will instantly recognize allusions, and take special pleasure in unpacking “easter eggs” in a TV-show, understanding classical references in poetry, or picking up subtle homages to great musicians in a pop song. Often, Fe gives this ability a pleasant sense of being part of an “in-group,” and ISFJs can be fantastic snobs. Ideas of good taste downplay the pure sensory qualities of art or music, and ISFJs’ Fe is sensitive to these accepted ideas. For this reason, they may have “guilty pleasures” like romance novels and reality TV—they enjoy them even as they disavow them as in bad taste.

Intellectual ISFJs may love theory and have no trouble understanding it, but it has to be made clear to them *why* a particular theory is important, and they may find something that bored them to tears years ago immediately interesting and relevant once they have a question that requires a theoretical answer. In reading theoretical books, they get frustrated when authors fail to provide concrete examples of how the theory might work, because when they discuss these theories, they’re often manipulating these examples in their head. These examples can still be quite abstract; for example, in reading Thomas Aquinas, they will understand the concepts of form, matter, and being better by showing how they manifest in the Eucharist, or they will draw a picture to understand Descartes’ philosophy of mind. Their explanations of things are littered with “for example” and they don’t feel they’ve understood something until they can provide a case study of how it works.

They fare better than average at memorization, and excel in fields that require it, such as organic chemistry, chemical engineering, medicine, archaeology, and history. In learning languages, they quickly see connections between words, which help them memorize vast amounts of vocabulary. They are especially attuned to etymological connections—an ISFJ with an understanding of historical consonant changes can spot cognates almost instantly, and when they have learned several languages, they might see the patterns in sound changes without a formal study of linguistics. They may delight in making up words and languages.

They see the abstracted impressions of a language, a story, a genre, a theory, or a physical process, and recombine them at will in their creative process. They often see these impressions as they are manifested in time. Their impression of a town likely includes all they know about the town’s past—the buildings are covered in soot, it must have been industrial; the liquor stores are closed on Sunday, there must have been a temperance movement here. Even when politically liberal, they may gravitate to spaces and groups with a sense of “history” or “tradition”; when these are lacking, they may make up traditions of their own. In looking at a theory or a piece of art, they often think about what the artist or the philosopher was like, what he was thinking, what he was responding to—and that makes it easy to see alternative ways things might have gone.

They are especially atuned to *genetic* or *developmental* understandings of things, seeing the world as the cumulative effect of past events. This needn’t be understood in a biological sense, though it can be, but it means that the ISFJ sees the world in four dimensions, and understands the world best when she can see how things got the way they are, and why they are the way they are. ISFJs are far less likely than NTs to accept generalized versions of history, like Marxism or environmental determinism—they are sensitive to the details and the contingency of events, and love to explore the past (whether formal history, their own development, the making of a movie, a biography, or the different stages of building a house) in all its detail, seeing where things didn’t go according to plan and how the past leaves its mark on the present.

This does not mean the ISFJ is constantly ruminating on their own past, or telling stories about their own past. Any type under stress can do this. The ISFJ’s tendency to see things as products of the past is so much a part of their consciousness they may not recognize it, and because it is introverted, it shapes their experience of the world without being expressed in the world. ISFJs who prides herself on her attentiveness to others may have excellent memories of the details of particular conversations or events in their past, but in general their sensation is impressionistic, not photographic—they are much more likely to remember what they were sensing, feeling, and thinking (or what they assumed the other person was sensing, feeling, and thinking: was the room cold? Was she secretly thinking I’m an idiot?) than what was actually said.

Where introversion is strong, the ISFJ may understand what is expected of him and may want to help other people, but feel inadequate or afraid to do so. He may have wildly exaggerated ideas of what might go wrong. Their awareness of the possibilities for failure makes them exceptionally good planners. In arguments, they’re quite skilled at coming up with counter-arguments; this, combined with an Fe desire to consider other peoples’ point of view, can make them seem wishy-washy in debates, but also good at synthesizing divergent points of view.

Many ISFJs have a strong sense of duty that compels them to do things they may not wish to do, but this is not true of all ISFJs, who may avoid or get out of obligations because they feel the weight of them so deeply. Obligation is the bane of the ISFJ’s existence. The classic “mother goose” ISFJ embraces obligation, driven by Fe, often to the extent of ignoring her own needs. These ISFJs often have deep feelings about how the world should be, and can be exceptionally assertive, even bossy or nagging, when others fail to fulfill their responsibilities, alternating between “doormat” and “taskmaster” as their objective Fe standards require.

ISFJs with less-developed standards of behavior may simply be aware of, even obsessed with, how other people feel, without having the social skills to manage these feelings or even to understand them. These ISFJs may simply try to be invisible, afraid of taking on responsibilities and of disappointing others, and feeling too fragile and insecure in their beliefs to be assertive (oh, that waitress is probably having a bad day, I don’t really *need* a spoon for my soup, so I won’t bother her). Such ISFJs often have inaccurate ideas about what others are feeling, and may struggle with very low self-esteem and with self-deprecation, thinking that others are better than they are.

ISFJs, in general, are out of touch with their own feelings. They are experienced physically; for example, a person may start crying and not know why, or may feel a heaviness on his chest. If healthy expression of emotion is not modeled for the ISFJ child, they may appear quite cold, because they come to associate “emotion” and especially “expression” with conflict. An ISFJ child, desiring to please adults and maintain harmony, may inadvertently learn that emotion is something “bad kids” have. This is especially true if the ISFJ (or any Feeler) learns early that smart=thinking and dumb=irrational, emotional, lack of control. But the ISFJ is always keenly aware of how others are feeling, and disharmony—aesthetic or interpersonal—in the environment makes it very difficult for him to function.
Thanks.
 

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There's a lot of type-irrelevant statements, as well as some points that appear to be solely based on expanding the theory. Most of it seems quite solid though. The description has a cute little Ti structure to it.

ISFJs should not have difficulty identifying their feelings because they have a strong F function. According to Jung, F is the function and Fi and Fe are the two different approaches to the F function.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
There's a lot of type-irrelevant statements, as well as some points that appear to be solely based on expanding the theory.
But of course. I'm not sitting on mountains of quantitative data. All I've got are a bunch of texts on type theory and a few years' experience as a human. Unlike INTJs, I have the good grace to admit when I'm making things up:)

Seriously, though, this description is unabashedly based on the way *I* believe that I think, interpreted/distorted *deliberately* through the lens of the theory. No denying that. I just want to know if it strike people as plausibly representative of ISFJ, or looks more like another type masquerading as ISFJ by misapplying the theory.

The description has a cute little Ti structure to it.
IFJs: We make Ti cute.:tongue:
 

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Unlike INTJs, I have the good grace to admit when I'm making things up:)
Intuition is all about making things up as you go along. The disclaimer would have to be permanent.

IFJs: We make Ti cute.
It's cute in a, "look daddy, I can Ti!" kind of way. I'm honestly quite amazed I recognised a function's writing style. Years of reading and I finally feel like I'm actually getting somewhere!
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Intuition is all about making things up as you go along. The disclaimer would have to be permanent.
Welp, that settles it. I'm N.

It's cute in a, "look daddy, I can Ti!" kind of way. I'm honestly quite amazed I recognised a function's writing style. Years of reading and I finally feel like I'm actually getting somewhere!
Asshole:) You know, back in my day I got typed as Ti-dom...
 
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