ISFJ VS INFJ: 6 Differences for These Personality Types

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When it comes to defining personalities, we are often placed into two boxes – extrovert or introvert. The reality is that people's personalities and character traits can be further defined based on how they handle situations and how they view the world.

It has been obvious since childhood that I fit into the introvert category. As I grew older, I also began to understand how I could pick up on things about people that did not make logical sense. After learning more about specific personality traits, I think I certainly possess traits of INFJ and ISFJ… but may lean more toward the INFJ category. 

What do I mean by INFJ? Well, like ISFJ, it is a personality type that is in the introverted category. However, you would not simply say an ISFJ or INFJ personality is shy and leave it at that. There is more to the story of ISFJ vs INFJ.

So let’s take a closer look at what defines these two personality types, how they are alike and, most importantly – what makes them different.

What is ISFJ Personality?

ISFJ means Introverted, Sensing, Feeling and Judging. People with this characteristic are often responsible, reserved and kind-hearted. As much as 14% of the population fit this type. As an introvert, one is usually quiet. The sensing part means you prefer specific and logical information and have little time for theories. Feeling means you opt for personal reasoning over objective information. The judging element means you plan things well.

These people also tend to be very down-to-earth and reliable. They absolutely hate fights or conflict, as they also tend to be considerate and kindhearted people. The ISFJ characteristic I most identify with is the hatred of conflict. I have my strong opinions, but know when to walk away from a fight.

What is INFJ Personality?

INFJ stands for Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling and Judging. Like ISFJ, an INFJ personality is a quiet introvert. Their intuition makes them prefer abstract ideas, so it is easier to focus on the big pictures as opposed to little details. They want to make decisions as quickly as possible and also emphasize personal concerns over objective reasoning.

INFJs are always looking ahead to the future and value deep and close relationships. Their love of abstract ideas makes them ponder about the meaning behind things and actions. I, for one, am always thinking about the meaning of life and what life may be like in 20, 50, or 100 years from now.

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The ISFJ characteristic I most identify with is the hatred of conflict.

INFJs also tend to be highly creative and private. I have always been an artist with a passion for all types of creativity. I am not a dancer but could watch them perform all day. I value my close friendships, but you won’t see me out at the club every weekend since I do tend to be more private.

How Do I Know Which Personality I Am?

You may have an idea of where you fit based on the above descriptions; but, to get a clearer understanding of your personality type, take a few minutes to take this test. There are 16 personalities that Myers & Briggs define. The test will help you take a deeper look at your strengths and characteristics.

What Do INFJ and ISFJ Personalities Have In Common?

ISFJs are similar to INFJs in that they also have some close friends rather than a large social circle. ISFJs, like INFJs, are focused on helping others and often find themselves in a helping hand role. INFJs and ISFJs are empathetic people who strive to make decisions that help make or save the world.   

Both ISFJs and INFJs tend to be better at focusing on one task or project at a time rather than jumping around from project to project (successful multitasking can be difficult for both types). 

ISFJs and INFJs are sensitive people who tend to take things personally, especially if ISFJs feel their values are under attack. Simply put, ISFJs can hide their feelings while INFJs wear a heart on their sleeve.  INFJs tend to be sensitive creative types, so it can be impossible to hide their feelings even if they are not verbal about it.

Determining whether you're an INFJ or an ISFJ can be a little tricky, as both personality types tend to favor introversion and judgment, and share supportive and tertiary functions. ISFJs and INFJs are compassionate types with a huge empathy threshold.   

The INFJ and ISFJ personalities, in addition to being introverted in nature, act quite differently. The four cognitive functions of INFJ and ISFJ personalities are arranged in a hierarchy from the strongest (dominant) to the weakest (lower). 

6 Differences for These Personality Types

To that end, let's look at a few differences between INFJs and ISFJs to help you understand who you are. Feeling and intuition play the most important role in distinguishing between ISFJs and INFJs, so once you learn to identify these traits, it will be easier for you to distinguish who is who. 

Looking at the two types of similar preferences, you will notice that ISFJs and INFJs are introverted types, feeling types, and judgment types. When it comes to the two types of thought processes, ISFJs and INFJs are very different. 

1. Perception and Intuition  

When it comes to the differences between ISFJs and INFJs, the most obvious one is their introverted perception and introverted intuition. With this background in mind, you will find that the INFJ's primary or strongest cognitive function is Introverted Intuition (Ni), while the ISFJ's primary function is Introverted Perception (Si).   

As you can see in the functional stacks of the ISFJ and INFJ personality types, feeling and intuition are opposed in dominant and inferior functions. You can look at the functional stacks of each ISFJ and INFJ personality type to see more differences between them than you might think. Because each of these personality types is introverted, they prefer to be alone or with a small group of very close friends rather than interact with a large group. Large groups of people can be overwhelming for both.   

2. Dealing with People

When it comes to people, the ISFJ personality type puts others first, often hiding their feelings in the process. Both value close friends but ISFJs are more likely to deal with people more. In other words, ISFJs may have small circles of friends they hang with but INFJs are more likely to be loners who see their close friends less frequently.

3. Dealing with Change

While both types are generally resistant to change, INFJs are more open to change than ISFJs. It is difficult for ISFJs to cope with change, although INFJs tend to be more accepting of such challenges.

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INFJs also tend to be highly creative and private.

Dealing with change so easily may be a result of INFJ's ability to see the big picture and think about how change can affect it.

4. Problem Solving

The INFJ likes to solve problems creatively, while the ISFJ prefers to stick to more logical methods. With a well-developed intuition, INFJs see more possibilities than ISFJs, who are focused on what is happening here and now. Although ISFJs are better at planning than INFJs, the two types of focus will be logically different.    

5. Looking at the Past vs Ahead

ISFJs can look to the past and present more than INFJs, and ISFJs, despite their need for structure, exhibit different schedules and desires that shape their daily lives. INFJs are less prone to nostalgia (although it can appear from time to time) and are less likely to replay past experiences as accurately as ISFJs. If you want to remember tiny details about the senior prom from 30 years ago, ask your ISFJ friend. If you want to ponder what human life will be like on Mars one day, sit down with your INFJ friend.

6. Seeing Details

The most obvious difference is their cognitive function – introverted intuition (INFJ) and introverted perception (ISFJ). An INFJ introvert can perceive things differently than others such as ISFJs. The INFJ sees through the big picture and ISFJ focuses on the details. When it comes to details, both personalities are highly perspective in their own way. An ISFJ may remember how many times you wore the color blue whereas the INFJ may notice how you act when you wear the color blue.

Then Which Personality Type Is More Common?

Because their personality profiles are very similar, many INFJs get confused about their type. The result type INFJ is one of the most common miscellaneous types you may come across. A high amount of people who think they are INFJs on the internet are actually ISFJs, INFPs or ISFPs.    

Final Thoughts on 6 Differences between INFJ and ISFJ Personality Types

As you can see, both the INFJ and ISFJ are very similar with defined differences. When you try to study these personality types, it is easy to see that reserved people may be vocally quiet, but highly active and attuned to the world in more ways than meet the eye.

So, the next time you think that something is wrong with a quiet child or adult, a peek inside their mind may reveal a world of perception that will give you vast knowledge. Never judge a book by its cover, as there are many pages inside that will tell you otherwise.

To get more insight about personality types, check out the Happier Human article Myers-Briggs 16 Personality Types: A Beginner’s Guide.

Finally, if you want to identify YOUR personality type, then take one of these 11 personality tests to better understand what makes you tick.

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