Find your own place in the rainbow

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

My Type is:

Introverted Sensing Feeling Judging

Strength of the preferences (%):
I: 70 S: 50 F: 75 J: 50

I originally took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test mid-2004 and found my type to be ESFJ. When reading the description, a lot of it seemed accurate but there was part of me that felt it didn't quite fit. However, I accepted it and whenever I was asked what my type was, I said I was ESFJ.

Fastforward to the beginning of 2006. Out of curiosity - and probably a little boredom - I retook the test. This time, I found out I was ISFJ. This was such a switch; from an Extravert to an Introvert? I didn't believe the result and decided to do it again over the next couple of days. Every time I took the test, I got ISFJ and upon researching the type, found that a lot of this fitted so much better than the previous one. The only reason I can think of for the drastic change is that over the 18 month period between the two tests, I had become more comfortable with who I really was and didn't need to hide behind a mask anymore. Obviously, the ESFJ was the character I assumed in order to fit in but the ISFJ was the real me underneath.

So what does this mean? An ISFJ is an Introverted Sensing Feeling Judger which means:
I - my energy is focused on the inner world of concepts and ideas
S - I rely on experience and actual data, taken in through the five senses
F - my decisions are based on human values and needs ie heart, not head
J - I have a planned and organised approach to life and prefer to have things settled.

On the test at at HumanMetrics, I scored I: 70, S: 50, F: 75, J: 50 which means that I am:

  • A very expressed introvert
  • A moderately expressed sensing personality
  • A distinctively expressed feeling personality
  • A moderately expressed judging personality

ISFJs tend to be: cautious, gentle, and thoughtful; hesitant until they know people well then affectionate and caring; very literal and aware of the physical world; uncompromising about personal standards and easily offended; diligent and conscientious, organized and decisive. The most important thing to ISFJs is living a stable, predictable life and helping people in real ways.

Academic subjects preferred: practical skills.
Career/Professions preferred: teaching, social work, most religious work, nursing, medicine (general practice only), clerical and secretarial work of any kind, and some kinds of administrative careers.

Detailed description of an ISFJ
My bolding to indicate aspects that are particularly accurate for me.

Description by J. Butt and M.M. Heiss from

ISFJs are characterised above all by their desire to serve others, their 'need to be needed'. In extreme cases, this need is so strong that standard give-and-take relationships are deeply unsatisfying to them; however, most ISFJs find more than enough with which to occupy themselves within the framework of a normal life. (Since ISFJs, like all SJs, are very much bound by the prevailing social conventions, their form of 'service' is likely to exclude any elements of moral or political controversy; they specialise in the local, the personal, and the practical.)

ISFJs are often unappreciated, at work, home, and play. Ironically, because they prove over and over that they can be relied on for their loyalty and unstinting, high-quality work, those around them often take them for granted - even take advantage of them. Admittedly, the problem is sometimes aggravated by the ISFJs themselves; for instance, they are notoriously bad at delegating ("If you want it done right, do it yourself"). Although they're hurt by being treated like doormats, they are often unwilling to toot their own horns about their accomplishments because they feel that although they deserve more credit than they're getting, it's somehow wrong to want any sort of reward for doing work. (As low-profile Is, their actions don't call attention to themselves as with charismatic Es.) Because of all of this, ISFJs are often overworked, and as a result may suffer from psychosomatic illnesses.

In the workplace, ISFJs are methodical and accurate workers, often with very good memories and unexpected analytic abilities; they are also good with people in small-group or one-on-one situations because of their patient and genuinely sympathetic approach to dealing with others. ISFJs make pleasant and reliable co-workers and exemplary employees, but tend to be harried and uncomfortable in supervisory roles. They are capable of forming strong loyalties, but these are personal rather than institutional loyalties; if someone they've bonded with in this way leaves the company, the ISFJ will leave with them, if given the option.

While their work ethic is high on the ISFJ priority list, their families are the centres of their lives. ISFJs are extremely warm and demonstrative within the family circle - and often possessive of their loved ones, as well. When these include Es who want to socialise with the rest of the world, or self-contained ITs, they must learn to adjust to these behaviours and not interpret them as rejection. Being SJs, they place a strong emphasis on conventional behaviour (although, unlike STJs, they are usually as concerned with being 'nice' as with strict propriety); if any of their nearest and dearest depart from the straight-and-narrow, it causes the ISFJ major embarrassment: the closer the relationship and the more public the act, the more intense the embarrassment (a fact which many of their teenage children take gleeful advantage of). Over time, however, ISFJs usually mellow, and learn to regard the culprits as harmless eccentrics. Needless to say, ISFJs take infinite trouble over meals, gifts, celebrations, etc., for their loved ones - although strong Js may tend to focus more on what the recipient should want rather than what they do want.

Like most Is, ISFJs have a few, close friends. They are extremely loyal to these, and are ready to provide emotional and practical support at a moment's notice. (However, like most Fs they hate confrontation; if you get into a fight, don't expect them to jump in after you. You can count on them, however, to run and get the nearest authority figure.) Unlike with EPs, the older the friendship is, the more an ISFJ will value it. One trait that is easily misunderstood by those who haven't known them long is that they are often unable to either hide or articulate any distress they may be feeling. For instance, an ISFJ child may be reproved for 'sulking', the actual cause of which is a combination of physical illness plus misguided 'good manners'. An adult ISFJ may drive a (later ashamed) friend or SO into a fit of temper over their unexplained moodiness, only afterwards to explain about a death in the family they "didn't want to burden anyone with". Those close to ISFJs should learn to watch for the warning signs in these situations and take the initiative themselves to uncover the problem.

Description of Protector Guardian by D.Keirsey

The primary desire of the Protector Guardian is to be of service to others, but here 'service' means not so much furnishing others with the necessities of life, as guarding others against life's pitfalls and perils; that is, seeing to their safety and security. They are steadfast in their protecting, and seem fulfilled in the degree they can insure the safekeeping of those in their family, their circle of friends, or their place of business.

Protectors find great satisfaction in assisting the downtrodden and can deal with disability and neediness in others better than any other type. They go about their task of caretaking modestly, unassumingly, and because of this their efforts are not sometimes fully appreciated. They are not as outgoing and talkative as the Providers, except with close friends and relatives. With these they can chat tirelessly about the ups and downs in their lives, moving from topic to topic as they talk over their everyday concerns. However, their shyness with strangers is often misjudged as stiffness, even coldness, when in truth these Protectors are warm-hearted and sympathetic, giving happily of themselves to those in need.

Their quietness ought really to be seen as an expression, not of coldness, but of their sincerity and seriousness of purpose. Like all the Guardians, Protectors have a highly developed puritan work ethic, which tells them that work is good, and that play must be earned - if indulged in at all. The least hedonic of all types, Protectors are willing to work long, long hours doing all the thankless jobs the other types seem content to ignore. Thoroughness and frugality are also virtues for Protectors. When they undertake a task, they will complete it if at all humanly possible; and they know the value of material resources and abhor the squandering or misuse of these resources. Protectors are quite content to work alone; indeed, they may experience some discomfort when placed in positions of authority, and may try to do everything themselves rather than insist that others do their jobs.

With their extraordinary commitment to security, and with their unusual talent for executing routines, Protectors do well in many careers that have to do with conservation: curators, private secretaries, librarians, middle-managers, police officers, and especially general medical practitioners. To be sure, the hospital is a natural haven for them; it is home to the family doctor, preserver of life and limb, and to the registered nurse, or licensed practical nurse, truly the angels of mercy. The insurance industry is also a good fit for Protectors. To save, to put something aside against an unpredictable future, to prepare for emergencies - these are important actions to Protectors, who as insurance agents want to see their clients in good hands, sheltered and protected.

Note for ISFJs on getting along with people:
You are the most loyal. Be more assertive. Your mate would probably like to tell you, "I appreciate twenty years of loyalty, but I wish you'd get mad once in a while." Getting angry with you is like eating cotton candy; you bite into it and it disappears. That's not constructive for anyone. Try to be more assertive and less committed to duty at any price.