Keirsey isfj

Keirsey isfj DEFAULT

ISFJ: The Protector (Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, Judging)

ISFJ is one of the 16 personality types identified on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), the personality test developed by Isabel Myers and her mother Katherine Briggs based on the theories of psychoanalyst Carl Jung. ISFJ stands for introverted, sensing, feeling, judging.

This personality type is given the nickname "The Protector" or "The Defender," and for good reason. People who have ISFJ personalities are known for being warm-hearted, responsible, and reserved. The ENTP personality type is the opposite.

This personality type is one of the more common ones. They make up about 9% to 14% of the population.

Key ISFJ Characteristics

Below are the main characteristics of this personality type.

They Are Observant

While people with this personality type are introverted and tend to be quiet, they are keen observers and are focused on other people. Because they are so perceptive, ISFJs are good at remembering details about other people.

Why Empathy Is Important

They Tend to Repress Their Emotions

Those with this personality type are particularly well-tuned into the emotions and feelings of others. While ISFJs are good at understanding their own emotions, they often struggle to express them. Rather than share their feelings, they may bottle them up, sometimes to the point that negative feelings toward other people can result.

When dealing with life struggles, such as illness or the death of a loved one, they may keep quiet about what they are experiencing to avoid burdening others with their troubles.

They Are Practical

People with this personality prefer concrete facts over abstract theories. As a result, they tend to learn best by doing. They thrive in This also means that they usually value learning for its practical applications. They also tend to become more interested in new things when they can see and appreciate how it might solve a real-world problem.

They Are Creatures of Habit

ISFJs enjoy structure and strive to maintain this order in all areas of their lives. They thrive in highly structured and consistent environments where they are given step-by-step instructions and clear expectations.

Their preference to keep things the way they are rather than change. But this does not mean ISFJs aren't adaptable. They simply prefer to have time to think about and prepare for big changes.

  • Reliable

  • Practical

  • Sensitive

  • Eye for detail

  • Dislikes abstract concepts

  • Avoids confrontation

  • Dislikes change

  • Neglects own needs

How Your Personality Type Affects Your Health

Cognitive Functions

The ISFJ type relies on four key cognitive functions when taking in information and making decisions. The dominant function is the primary aspect of personality, while the auxiliary function plays a secondary and supportive role.

Dominant: Introverted Sensing

  • This function leads the introverted sensing types to focus on details and facts.
  • ISFJs prefer concrete information rather than abstract theories.
  • They are highly attuned to the immediate environment and firmly grounded in reality.
  • Because of this tendency to focus on and protect what is familiar, ISFJs are often seen as highly traditional.
  • When making decisions, ISFJs compare their vivid recall of past experiences in order to predict the outcome of future choices and events.

Auxiliary: Extraverted Feeling

  • ISFJs place a great emphasis on personal considerations.
  • Extraverted feelers are focused on developing social harmony and connection.
  • This is accomplished through behaviors that are viewed as socially appropriate or beneficial, such as being polite, kind, considerate, and helpful.
  • ISFJs try to fill the wants and needs of other people, sometimes even sacrificing their own desires in order to ensure that other people are happy.

Tertiary: Introverted Thinking

  • ISFJs are planners and tend to be very well-organized.
  • They utilize logic in order to understand how the world works.
  • As ISFJs take in new information and experiences, look for connections and commonalities in order to find patterns.
  • Rather than simply trying to understand a small part of something, they want to see how things fit together and how it functions as a whole.

Inferior: Extraverted Intuition

  • While ISFJs tend to be focused on the present and on concrete facts, this largely unconscious function can help balance the ISFJ personality by helping the individual focus on possibilities.
  • Taking in facts and then exploring the "what-ifs" can lead to new insights about problems.

ISFJs You Might Know

  • Louisa May Alcott, author
  • David Petraeus, U.S. Army General
  • Mother Teresa, nun and humanitarian
  • Dr. John Watson, of the Sherlock Holmes series by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Kristi Yamaguchi, figure skater

Personal Relationships

Because they are quiet, people sometimes misinterpret this as standoffish behavior. However, ISFJs are compassionate and caring toward others, often working to secure the safety and well-being of other people without asking for thanks or anything in return.

ISFJs are often described as kind, reliable, and trustworthy.

Because they are hard-working, dependable, and rarely seek accolades for their own accomplishments, ISFJs are sometimes taken for granted by those around them. In some cases, people might even try to take advantage of this reliability.

ISFJs tend to have a small group of very close friends. While they may be quiet and reserved around people they don’t know well, they are more likely to "let loose" when they are around these close confidants. They place a high value on these close friendships and are always willing to support and care for the people to whom they are close.

Career Paths

ISFJs have many characteristics that make them well-suited to particular careers. Because they are so attuned to the feelings of others, jobs in mental health or the healthcare industry are a good fit.

They are also meticulous and orderly, making them suited to jobs that involve planning, structure, or attention to detail. Their commitment to their work, reliability, and ability to work independently make them attractive to a wide variety of employers.

Because of their solid people skills and desire to create order, they often do well in management or administrative roles. They excel at coming up with plans and helping other people work together to achieve a common goal.

Popular ISFJ Careers

  • Accountant
  • Administrator
  • Banker
  • Bookkeeper
  • Child care provider
  • Counselor
  • Nurse
  • Office Manager
  • Paralegal
  • Social worker
  • Teacher

Tips for Interacting With ISFJs

Below are suggestions for relating effectively with ISFJ personalities.


If you are friends with an ISFJ, you are probably already aware that they tend to be warm and selfless. Even though they are quite social for introverts, they are not always good at sharing their own feelings. Asking them how they are doing and being willing to talk can help them to open up.

You can help be a good friend by paying attention to their needs. Take the time to see what they might need you to do for them.


ISFJs are natural caregivers and are very nurturing toward their children. They are good at giving their kids structure and order, but sometimes have a difficult time enforcing discipline.

If you are the parent of an ISFJ child, be aware of your child's need to have time alone. Also, be aware that your child may be willing to give up things that are important to them to make other people happy. Encourage them to pursue their interests and goals and remind them that meeting their own needs is important as well.


ISFJs are very faithful to their partners and approach relationships with an intensity of emotion and great devotion. While they have strong feelings, they are not always good at expressing them.

Your ISFJ partner may often be focused on taking care of your needs, but you should take care to reciprocate these actions. Showing your partner that you appreciate them can help them to feel more satisfied.

What Personality Traits Are Characteristic of INFJs

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Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Myers IB, Kirby LK, Myers KD. Introduction to Myers-Briggs type: A guide to understanding your results on the MBTI assessment. 7th ed. Consulting Psychologists Press; 2015.

  2. Keirsey D. Please understand me II: Temperament, character, intelligence. Prometheus Nemesis; 1998.


Inspectors are characterized by decisiveness in practical affairs. They are the guardians of institutions, and can best be described as being steadfast, dedicated, and consistent. They can be counted on to follow through—to get the job done in a precise and thorough manner. Inspectors are rock solid dependable—responsible and trustworthy—standing as honorable men and women of great character. In all matters, their highest commitment is to be diligent in keeping their duties.


A promise made is a promise kept. For Inspectors, they naturally communicate a message of trustworthiness and stability, which can make them successful in business and in many other affairs. Their words tend to be simple and down home, not showy or high-flown. More often than not, they are conservative and modest. Their home and work environments are kept neat, orderly, and simple. "What you see, is what you get" with these straightforward individuals.

  1. Aesthetic switch games
  2. Neon beach perfume
  3. Routerboard mikrotik
  4. Air suspension racing

About Your GuardianTemperament

Guardians tend to be both helpful and dutiful, with a strong work ethic that can take them far. However, grand rewards aren't necessarily very important to Guardians. Instead, they tend to be humble types who are happy to simply receive gratitude for a job well done. Guardians are typically more cautious and deliberate that many people are; this is not a temperament that jumps into any personal or professional situation half-cocked. Their grounded approach to life can make Guardians loyal mates, responsible parents, and stabilizing leaders. Indeed, this group can serve as the very cornerstone of society. They tend to be concerned citizens who are willing to join together with others around them. Perhaps this is because Guardians typically value the camaraderie and security inherent in belonging to groups. As law-abiding individuals who place trust in authority, Guardians will often go out of their way to seek out justice.

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Being a Protector (ISFJ)

Wanting to be of service to others, Protectors can find great satisfaction in assisting the downtrodden. In your own life, you may find that you can deal with others' disabilities or neediness better than almost anyone else around you. Although you are very caring, you're not typically one to be outgoing and talkative. As a result, your shyness is sometimes misjudged as stiffness or even as being cold. This perception couldn't be farther from the truth. Protectors like you are warm-hearted and sympathetic. In fact, you're one who'll happily give of yourself if you encounter someone in need.

Your reserve really ought to be seen by others as an expression of your sincerity and sense of purpose. The most diligent of all the types, Protectors are often willing to work long, hard hours doing all the thankless jobs that others manage to avoid. You're probably quite happy working alone regardless of the task. This can be especially true when you're in positions of authority; you're the kind to try to do everything yourself rather than delegate. Getting a job done right is important to you, but that doesn't mean that you're overly willing to walk over others in the process. You will ordinarily conduct your professional and personal affairs as humanely as possible.

Protectors almost always prefer to rely on time-honored products and procedures rather than spending time speculating or experimenting. As a result, at work, you're probably not very happy in situations where the rules are constantly changing or where long-established ways of doing things aren't respected. Tradition is important to you, whether in your work life, your family life, or in your vision of society at-large. Your type often finds a kind of stability in the social rankings conferred by birth, titles, offices, and credentials. This traditional nature can also rub off by making you a wonderful keeper of your family history, property, and heirlooms.

As the thriftiest of the sixteen types, Protectors like you seem to know the value of a dollar. As a result you can abhor the squandering or misuse of money. Putting something aside for a rainy day is something near and dear to your heart. In your efforts to be financially stable, there are times when you may overwork yourself to the extreme. Try to be mindful that it's all right to take a break from time to time. Give yourself the credit and kudos that you're due, as others who are less hard working will rarely be able to appreciate the true value of your dedication and contributions.

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Work and Career

In your ideal work environment, you and your coworkers would all share information so everyone could remain on the same page as projects moved forward. You would also keep yourself away from office limelight, tending dutifully to your own work rather than taking on an out-front leadership role. An honest day's work is something you feel strongly about. As a result, you can become unsettled or vaguely ashamed when others are derelict in their duties.

Like other Guardians, you are wired to seek belonging within a group or community. As a result, in the workplace, you'll typically make attempts to stabilize both relationships and institutions through responsible, conventional behavior. You thrive as a conservator who establishes, nurtures, and maintains traditional social and business structures.

At Work with the Four Temperaments

At Work with Artisans: Artisans (SPs) are wired to seize freedom and spontaneity. They hunger for the liberty to act on their impulses, to play, and to create. They make up about 35% of the population.

In business, Artisans are crisis managers and troubleshooters. They can be expert at solving problems and doing what is necessary, whether they are expressly permitted to or not. They are practical, resourceful, flexible, and risk-taking individuals. Coworkers are apt to enjoy their creativity and verbal wit, but may perceive Artisans as indecisive or even as troublemakers.

At Work with Guardians: Guardians (SJs) are wired to seek belonging to a group or community. They often stabilize relationships and institutions through their responsible, conventional behavior. They make up about 40-45% of the population.

At work, Guardians tend to be administrators and managers. They can be expert at doing what needs to be done, and in the manner is must be done. They are dependable, accountable, realistic, and service-oriented. Coworkers likely appreciate their desire to belong and contribute, but may perceive Guardians as being either slave drivers or sticks-in-the-mud.

At Work with Rationals: Rationals (NTs) are wired to acquire competence and intelligence. Ordinarily, they strive to learn, know, predict, and control the resources and ideas in their environment. They make up less than 10% of the population.

In the workplace, Rationals are often the researchers and strategists. They can be expert at conceptualizing and seeing the big picture, as well as architecting and implementing the necessary systems. They are logical, precise independent individuals who usually are responsive to new ideas. Coworkers often appreciate their ingenuity and competence, but may perceive Rationals as being impersonal and not good with follow-through.

At Work with Idealists: Idealists (NFs) are wired to pursue personal growth, authenticity, and integrity. They can yearn both to develop fully as individuals and to facilitate growth in others. Idealists make up little more than 15% of the population.

In work environments, Idealists are usually positive, helpful, and people-oriented. They can be expert at dealing with the human resource concerns of an organization, whether these issues are part of their job description or not. Idealists are warm, idealistic, caring individuals. Coworkers are apt to appreciate their authenticity and loyalty to the human side of the business, but may perceive Idealists as not being effective enough or even of being flaky.

Tips to Help You Find the Right Workplace

  • Seek out a relatively structured environment where people work well together.
  • Look for environments where there's enough of a sense of order that you feel comfortable, supportive, and productive.
  • Don't let your need for comfort and security stand between you and opportunities to learn new skills, contribute in ways you may not have imagined, or take advantage of positive changes in your company or field.

When it comes to your work life, you're part of a pretty satisfied bunch. Overall, Guardians seemed to be as satisfied in their jobs as the both the Idealists and Rationals. About 75% of Guardians identify themselves as being happy in their current position. Challenging work and altruistic service seemed to be the factors that created the most job satisfaction for Guardians. Perks like being allowed to bring pets to work or have company-sponsored beer on Fridays held much less importance. Guardians are types who enjoy being of service, so feeling challenged and providing service to the employer are really top priorities, especially if that employer provides altruistic services to the community at large.

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Famous Protectors

Did you know that President George Bush Sr. and Mother Teresa were both ISFJs too? It's not so surprising when you think about it. In office, President Bush was known for his kind, friendly Texan ways and his ability to form coalitions by making personal relationships with other heads of state. During her life, Mother Teresa was the very embodiment of a Protector as she spent her days tirelessly providing food and shelter to some of the world's most destitute people.

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What Each Letter Means

In Keirsey's Temperament Sorter, there are 4 question scales used to detect one's behavioral preferences. The scales are E-I, S-N, T-F, and P-J. No single letter should be taken as naming a "type" of person. For example, you should not label yourself or others as "Expressives" or "E's". Each letter merely suggests stronger or weaker tendencies in a person's overall makeup, and the letters are not factors independent of each other. The pairs of letters indicate the following opposite qualities:

E = ExpressiveI = Attentive
S = ObservantN = Introspective
T = Tough-MindedF = Friendly
P = ProbingJ = Scheduled

The terms Expressive (E) and Attentive (I) describe two vastly different social styles. People who score highly Expressive on the Temperament Sorter tend to be gregarious and expressive; those scoring highly Attentive tend to be private and reserved.

Expressive people tend to talk and do first, more than listen and react to others. People who are strongly Expressive are typically more comfortable socializing with groups than being alone. They often report that they are energized by contact with other people. These individuals usually have a large circle of friends and are happy to approach others, even strangers, to talk. For people who are strongly Expressive, social banter is usually an easy and pleasant thing. Interaction is something that makes them feel alive. As a result, too much quiet and seclusion can actually exhaust such persons; they tend to report feelings of loneliness or power drain when not in contact with others.

On the other hand, Attentive people tend to listen and react first, rather than talk and do. People who tend toward Attentiveness often seem more comfortable alone than in a crowd. They tend to draw energy from private, solitary activities, including reading, listening to music, and working by themselves on their latest project or favorite hobby. Attentive people usually have a few, long-time friends, and can remain in contact with larger groups only so long before their energies are depleted. If their job, family, or social responsibilities require them to be outgoing or take center stage, they can soon become exhausted and need down time in quiet places to rest and recharge their batteries.

Remember, however, that no one is simply an "Expressive" type or an "Attentive" type. These terms are merely end points on the E-I preference scale, with most everyone falling somewhere in between. Most individuals embody a mixture of these two social styles. Also, different tasks or roles at work or in the family can bring out more Expressive or Attentive behavior in a person. This dimension of personality, more than the other three scales is fluid and situational.

The Observant/Introspective (S-N) preference scale on the Keirsey Temperament Sorter differentiates between two distinct kinds of human focus. People with high Observant scores tend to pay more attention to what is going on outside themselves in the world of concrete things, whereas people with high Introspective preference scores pay more attention to what is going on inside themselves in the abstract world of ideas. The S-N scale measures the most fundamental of the four dimensions of personality.

Observant people make up the majority of the population -- upwards of 65%. These people seem more at home in the material world, where they spend their time looking after the business of everyday living: food and clothing, transportation and shelter, job and family, recreation and social life. With their eye on physical realities, they tend to see all the particulars of what is right in front of them. They typically focus on what is happening in the here-and-now, or what has happened in the past, rather than speculating about future possibilities. These are practical, down-to-earth people who want facts, trust facts, and remember facts. They believe in common sense and usually trust that experience is the best teacher.

In contrast, people who are strongly introspective seem more at home in the abstract, conceptual world of ideas. Introspective people deal in inferences, theories, musings, speculations, and symbols -- things that can only be seen with the mind's eye. In fact, because they are so often focused on their internal world, these individuals can sometimes miss a great deal of what is going on around them. For highly introspective people, reality is not a solid, present thing, but is more a mental image or a stage of development toward some future ideal. The possible almost always looms large for Introspective people: whatever "is" can be better. They can be fascinated by hypotheses and potentials. They are also often absorbed by their vivid and complex imaginations.

No one can introspect and observe at the same time. However, this delineation does not mean that being Introspective or Observant is an "either-or" proposition. Since neither type can occupy both worlds at once, each person will usually show a clear preference for one. Introspective individuals certainly turn outward at times and pay attention to the world at large; they are just far more inclined to become preoccupied with their own ideas. So too, Observant people do sometimes look inward to ponder and to dream. However, for the most part, real world observation tends to dominate their flights of imagination.

The Tough-Minded/Friendly (T-F) preference scale indicates how people govern themselves and make decisions. Everyone can be both tough-minded and friendly. However those who score high on Tough-Mindedness tend to use their head more when making choices, while those scoring high on Friendliness tend to follow their hearts.

People falling on the Tough-Minded end of the scale tend to be more comfortable basing their actions on impersonal, objective factors. Tough-Minded people can be critical and exacting, both with themselves and others. They are often convinced only by hard data and sound reasoning. Individuals who scored highly Tough-Minded tend to be frank and straightforward. They are the kind of people who are usually willing to speak their minds and stick to their opinions, even if it causes conflict with others. They are known for being tough-minded in their decisions, preferring to keep emotions and desires out of the process as much as possible. Tough-Minded types do have powerful feelings, but a strong show of emotion can embarrasses them. As a result, they'll usually keep their feelings in check rather than appearing to lose self-control, even at the risk of seeming hard-nosed or cold.

In contrast, people on the Friendly end of the scale are typically more comfortable basing their actions on personal, emotional factors. When considering their course, this type will consult their feelings first and will almost always show concern for others. For the most part, these individuals are sympathetic and sentimental. As a result, many times they can be swayed by powerful desire or a touching appeal. Friendly people tend to be softhearted when making decisions. They do not like to hurt anyone's feelings. It is not that Friendly individuals necessarily have more or deeper emotions than those on the Tough-Minded end of the scale; they simply let their feelings show more easily. This tendency makes them seem warmer and friendlier, which in turn can give them an easier time getting along with others.

The Probing/Scheduled (P-J) preference scale indicates how people handle decision-making. Those who score high on Scheduling tend to make up their minds quickly and commit to schedules, while those scoring high on Probing prefer to keep their options open and their timetables flexible.

People strong in Scheduling waste no time forming opinions or drawing conclusions. They often report feeling a sense of urgency until a decision is made, and can rest only after everything is settled. Closure and finality are important to these individuals, as is orderly procedure. As a result, they can be quick to make schedules, agendas, or timetables for themselves and others to follow. People strong in Scheduling will establish deadlines and take them seriously, expecting others will do the same. They're usually comfortable with routines and can be willing to do all sorts of maintenance and cleaning up after a task, feeling that these are necessary steps for a job's completion. They usually feel unhappy or unsettled when their personal space is a mess. Straightening things up is often near the top of their list.

For their part, people given to Probing keep their eyes open to what is around them, gathering information and looking for opportunities and alternatives that might be available. They usually feel no hurry to nail things down or settle on a finished product. Instead, they tend to prefer to keep their options open. These individuals are often playful and spontaneous in action. Schedules can make them feel hurried and over-controlled; they tend to look upon deadlines as mere reminders to get on with the job. Also, people high in Probing prefer their work to be enjoyable and meaningful. If a task of routine maintenance or clean up falls to them, they may balk at doing it, or may leave it to someone else. Easy-going, even somewhat impulsive, these people are usually quite tolerant of mess. Their personal spaces are often cluttered with an assortment of things they've picked up, used, then dropped and forgotten about.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is temperament?

There are two sides to personality: One is temperament and the other is character. Temperament is a set of inclinations we are born with, while character is a set of habits we acquire as we grow and mature. Character is disposition, developed over a lifetime; temperament is predisposition, hardwired in from birth. Thus, those of the Artisan temperament are predisposed to impulsive action, those of the Guardian temperament to responsible service, those of the Idealist temperament to personal development, and those of the Rational temperament to objective analysis. Each type of person, unless blocked or deflected by an unfavorable environment, will develop the habits of character appropriate to his or her temperament.

Put another way, our brain is a sort of computer that has temperament for its hardware and character for its software. Our hardware is the physical base of our personality, placing on each of us an unmistakable temperament signature, some facets of which can be observed from a very early age. Our software on the other hand, is made up of our individual experience and social environment -- the forces around us that, with time and occasion, give shape to our individual character.

Thus temperament is the inborn form of human nature and character is the emergent form that develops through the interaction of temperament and environment. Personality, your unique personal style, is a combination of the two.

How can the Temperament Sorter help me?

Fundamentally, the Temperament Sorter helps you to do two things: Understand your own temperament, and gain insight to other peoples'. Possessing this valuable knowledge of human nature can have a variety of far-reaching effects on your life.

In the work world, being savvy about your temperament can lead you to a clearer understanding of your natural role and functions within an organization. It can also help you better capitalize on your personal strengths to build your success. By comprehending your coworkers' temperaments and how each temperament relates, you can begin to master your interactions with supervisors and staff. In addition, being able to interpret others' innate styles can help you to meet their implicit expectations, as well as increasing your own leadership abilities.

In your personal life, being knowledgeable about temperament can help you build strong, lasting ties with others. This is true because it aids you in anticipating your loved ones' needs and respecting their different ways of dealing with life. When you are responsive to others, you will naturally be looked upon as dependable, responsible, helpful, and empathetic. These are all wonderful qualities to bring to your personal relationships. In addition, coming to terms with your own temperament and innate tendencies can bring new levels of wisdom and self-knowledge to all of your interactions, as well as identifying how your particular temperament impacts and influences others.

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Who Are The ISFJs (The Knight)? - ISFJ Cognitive Functions - CS Joseph

Keirsey Temperament Sorter

The Keirsey Temperament Sorter (KTS) is a self-assessed personality questionnaire designed to help people better understand themselves and others. It was first introduced in the book Please Understand Me. It is one of the most widely used personality assessments in the world. The KTS is closely associated with the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI); however, there are significant practical and theoretical differences between the two personality questionnaires and their associated different descriptions. It has been criticized as pseudoscience.[1][2]

Historical development[edit]

See also Historical Development of Theories of the Four Temperaments

David Keirsey became familiar with the work of Ernst Kretschmer and William Sheldon after WWII in the late 1940s. Keirsey developed the Temperament Sorter after being introduced to the MBTI in 1956.[3] Tracing the idea of temperament back to the ancient Greeks, Keirsey developed a modern temperament theory in his books Please Understand Me (1978), Portraits of Temperament (1988), Presidential Temperament (1992), Please Understand Me II (1998), Brains and Careers (2008), and Personology (2010). The table below shows how Myers' and Keirsey's types correspond to other temperament theories or constructs, dating from ancient times to the present day.[according to whom?][citation needed]

Four temperaments[edit]

Keirsey expanded on the ancient study of temperament by Hippocrates and Plato. In his works, Keirsey used the names suggested by Plato: Artisan (iconic), Guardian (pistic), Idealist (noetic), and Rational (dianoetic). Keirsey divided each of the four temperaments into two categories (roles), each with two types (role variants). The resulting 16 types correlate with the 16 personality types described by Briggs and Myers.[3]


The Artisan temperament is one of four temperaments defined by Keirsey. Correlating with the SP (sensing–perceiving) Myers-Briggs types, the Artisan temperament comprises the following role variants (listed with their correlating Myers-Briggs types): Composer (ISFP), Crafter (ISTP), Performer (ESFP), and Promoter (ESTP).[4] Artisans are concrete and adaptable. Seeking stimulation and virtuosity, they are concerned with making an impact. Their greatest strength is tactics. They excel at troubleshooting, agility, and the manipulation of tools, instruments, and equipment.[5] The two roles are as follows:

  • Operators are the directive (proactive) Artisans. Their most developed intelligence operation is expediting. The attentive Crafters and the expressive Promoters are the two role variants.
  • Entertainers are the informative (reactive) Artisans. Their most developed intelligence operation is improvising. The attentive Composers and the expressive Performers are the two role variants.


The Guardian temperament is one of four temperaments defined by Keirsey. Correlating with the SJ (sensing–judging) Myers–Briggs types, the Guardian temperament comprises the following role variants (listed with their correlating Myers–Briggs types): Inspector (ISTJ), Protector (ISFJ), Provider (ESFJ), and Supervisor (ESTJ).[6] Guardians are concrete and organized (scheduled). Seeking security and belonging, they are concerned with responsibility and duty. Their greatest strength is logistics. They excel at organizing, facilitating, checking, and supporting.[citation needed] The two roles are as follows:

  • Administrators are the directive (proactive) Guardians. Their most developed intelligence operation is regulating. The attentive Inspectors and the expressive Supervisors are the two role variants.
  • Conservators are the informative (reactive) Guardians. Their most developed intelligence operation is supporting. The attentive Protectors and the expressive Providers are the two role variants.


The Idealist temperament is one of four temperaments defined by Keirsey. Correlating with the NF (intuitive–feeling) Myers-Briggs types, the Idealist temperament comprises the following role variants (listed with their correlating Myers-Briggs types): Champion (ENFP), Counselor (INFJ), Healer (INFP), and Teacher (ENFJ).[7] Idealists are abstract and compassionate. Seeking meaning and significance, they are concerned with personal growth and finding their own unique identity. Their greatest strength is diplomacy. They excel at clarifying, individualizing, unifying, and inspiring.[citation needed] The two roles are as follows:

  • Mentors are the directive (proactive) Idealists. Their most developed intelligence operation is developing. The attentive Counselors and the expressive Teachers are the two role variants.
  • Advocates are the informative (reactive) Idealists. Their most developed intelligence operation is mediating. The attentive Healers and the expressive Champions are the two role variants.


The Rational temperament is one of the four temperaments defined by Keirsey. Correlating with the NT (intuitive–thinking) Myers-Briggs types, the Rational temperament comprises the following role variants (listed with their correlated Myers-Briggs types): Architect (INTP), Fieldmarshal (ENTJ), Inventor (ENTP), and Mastermind (INTJ).[8] Rationals are abstract and objective. Seeking mastery and self-control, they are concerned with their own knowledge and competence. Their greatest strength is strategy. They excel in any kind of logical investigation such as engineering, conceptualizing, theorizing, and coordinating.[citation needed] The two roles are as follows:

  • Coordinators are the directive (proactive) Rationals. Their most developed intelligence operation is arranging. The attentive Masterminds and the expressive Fieldmarshals are the two role variants.
  • Engineers are the informative (reactive) Rationals. Their most developed intelligence operation is constructing. The attentive Architects and the expressive Inventors are the two role variants.

Four interaction roles[edit]

In his book Brains and Careers (2008), Keirsey divided the role variants into groupings that he called "four differing roles that people play in face-to-face interaction with one another."[9]

There are two Proactive Enterprising Roles:

  • Initiators (expressive and directive): Field Marshal (ENTJ), Supervisor (ESTJ), Promoter (ESTP), Teacher (ENFJ)—Preemptive
  • Contenders (attentive and directive): Mastermind (INTJ), Inspector (ISTJ), Crafter (ISTP), Counselor (INFJ)—Competitive

There are two Reactive Inquiring Roles:

  • Coworkers (expressive and informative): Inventor (ENTP), Provider (ESFJ), Performer (ESFP), Champion (ENFP)—Collaborative
  • Responders (attentive and informative): Architect (INTP), Protector (ISFJ), Composer (ISFP), Healer (INFP)—Accommodative

The roles were implied in the informing/directing factor introduced in Portraits of Temperament.[9] In his 2010 follow-up book, Personology, "Coworkers" is renamed "Collaborators" and "Responders" is renamed "Accommodators".[citation needed]

Temperaments and intelligence types[edit]

The following table shows how the four rings relate to one another and to the various temperaments.

Myers–Briggs types versus Keirsey's temperaments[edit]

The type descriptions of Isabel Myers differ from the character descriptions of David Keirsey in several important ways:

  • Myers primarily focused on how people think and feel; Keirsey focused more on behavior, which is directly observable.
  • Myers's descriptions use a linear four-factor model; Keirsey's descriptions use a systems field theory model.[10]
  • Myers, following Jung's lead, emphasized the extraversion/introversion (expressive/attentive) dichotomy; Keirsey's model places greater importance on the sensing/intuition (concrete/abstract) dichotomy.
  • Myers grouped types by ‘function attitudes’; Keirsey, by temperament.

Myers grouped types according to cognitive function: the ‘thinking type’ grouping for those with dominant thinking; the ‘intuitive type’ grouping for those with dominant intuition; the ‘feeling type’ grouping for those with dominant feeling; and the ‘sensing type’ grouping for those with dominant sensing. Keirsey's temperaments correlate with Myers' combinations of preferences: Guardians with sensing plus judging (SJ); Artisans with sensing plus perceiving (SP); Idealists with intuition plus feeling (NF); and Rationals with intuition plus thinking (NT).

Myers paired ESTJs with ENTJs, ISFPs with INFPs, INTPs with ISTPs, and ENFJs with ESFJs because they share the same dominant function attitude. ESTJs and ENTJs are both extraverted thinkers, ISFPs and INFPs are both introverted feelers, INTPs and ISTPs are both introverted thinkers, and ENFJs and ESFJs are both extraverted feelers. Keirsey holds that these same groupings are very different from one another because they are of different temperaments. ESTJs are Guardians whereas ENTJs are Rationals; ISFPs are Artisans whereas INFPs are Idealists; INTPs are Rationals whereas ISTPs are Artisans; and ENFJs are Idealists whereas ESFJs are Guardians.[11]

Empirical validation[edit]

In a 2001 peer-reviewed study published in the Journal of Career Assessment, data from the Keirsey Temperament Sorter II online instrument and Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) for 203 college freshmen were analyzed and compared. Positive correlations appeared between the concurrent MBTI and Keirsey measures of psychological type, giving preliminary support to the validity of the online version of Keirsey.[12]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]


Isfj keirsey


Protectors derive a great deal of satisfaction from caring for others, and they offer their comfort gently and helpfully. Though they present a quiet reserve, these individuals are friendly and fondhearted in nature. They enjoy assisting the downtrodden and can handle disability and neediness in others better than most. Protectors are devoted and loyal to their superiors. They influence those around them by setting an example of humility, service, and dedication.


Protectors are extremely industrious, working tirelessly, as they sacrificially give of themselves to the institution. They offer their service in the form of guarding against life's pitfalls and perils, that is, seeing to the security of all those they care for. Their greatest contributions often stem from their self-denial, as they go about their caretaking tasks modestly and unassumingly. Protectors are the least self-serving of all, and when they undertake a task, they will complete it if at all humanly possible.

what it means to be the ISFJ (the defender personality type)

ISFJ (introverted, sensing, feeling, judging) is one of the 16 personality types identified on the Jung Personality Test. People who have ISFJ personalities tend to be reserved, warm-hearted, and responsible.

According to David Keirsey, ISFJs make up about 9 to 14 percent of the population.

If you haven’t already, you can take the free Jungian personality test here.

ISFJ Characteristics

The test identifies your personality type by looking at four main areas: 1) Extraversion vs Introversion, 2) Sensing vs Intuition, 3) Thinking vs Feeling and 4) Judging vs Perceiving.

For each of the four main dimensions, the test identifies whether your personality tends to lean toward one dimension or the other. As you can see, the ISFJ personality type leans toward Introversion, Intuition, Feeling and Judging.

  • Introversion (I): ISFJs are introverted and tend to be quiet and reserved.
  • Sensing (S): ISFJs prefer concrete information rather than abstract theories.
  • Feeling (F): ISFJs place a greater emphasis on personal considerations rather than objective information.
  • Judging (J): ISFJs are planners and tend to be very well-organized.

People with INFJ personality types tend to have the following characteristics:

  • Reliable, stable and down-to-earth
  • Enjoys order and structure
  • Dislikes conflict and confrontation
  • Kind, warm-hearted and considerate
  • Practical-minded
  • Likes concrete information
  • Very aware of other people’s feelings
  • Has a great memory for detail

ISFJs enjoy structure and strive to maintain this order in all areas of their lives. While people with this personality type are introverted and tend to be quiet, they are keen observers and are focused on other people.

Because they are so perceptive, ISFJs are good at remembering details about other people. Those with this personality type are particularly well-tuned in to the emotions and feelings of others.

Because they are quiet, people sometimes misinterpret this as standoffish behavior. As Keirsey notes, this is far from the truth.

ISFJs are known for their compassion and caring for others, often working to secure the safety and well-being of other people without asking for thanks or anything in return.

Because they are hard-working, dependable and rarely seek accolades for their own accomplishments, ISFJs are sometimes taken for granted by those around them. In some cases, people might even try to take advantage of this reliability.

While ISFJs are good at understanding the emotions, they often struggle to express their own feelings. Rather than share their feelings, they may bottle them up, sometimes to the point that negative feelings toward other people can result.

When dealing with life struggles such as illness or the death of a loved one, they may keep quiet about what they are experiencing in order to avoid burdening others with their troubles.

ISFJs tend to have a small group of very close friends. While they may be quiet and reserved around people they don’t know well, they are more likely to “let loose” when they are around these close confidants. They place a high value on these close friendships and are always willing to support and care for the people they are close to.

ISFJ Compatibility

In relationships, ISFJs usually stand back until a certain point, after which they can show unconditional devotion to their partner. They pair well with extraverted and sensing types, because they typically need someone who is willing to take the initiative with them and eke out their true feelings. They are less compatible with introverted and intuitive types, because the partners may have difficulty overcoming their mutual reticence and understanding the different ways they express themselves.

ISFJ Women

ISFJ is the most common personality type for women, characterizing about 20% of the female population. ISFJ women are much more common than ISFJ men, and you are probably acquainted with at least one in your daily life.

The most prominent trait of ISFJ women is their empathy. These women are especially nurturing, and often their greatest goal in life is to be a good mother. They are also very dutiful in fulfilling their commitments, which allows their compassion be actualized.

ISFJ women prefer to serve others in their careers, but as introverts they usually go for positions outside of the limelight. Nurses, schoolteachers, and social workers are likely to be ISFJ women.


Men with the ISFJ personality type are very empathetic and affectionate, though they are generally reluctant to say this outwardly, vastly preferring to show it by their actions. They will go to great lengths for others, but can begin to resent those who take advantage of them.

These traits make them ideal as doctors, assistants, and activists — though they are very hesitant to embroil themselves in any particularly controversial cause. Similarly, while they greatly enjoy helping out in their community, they prefer to stay away from local politics.

ISFJ males need to learn to set healthy boundaries to prevent others from relying too much on them. While they generally will not directly stand up to abuse of their generosity, it can embitter them and cause them to withdraw from charitable activities.

Famous People With ISFJ Personalities

By looking at their lives, works and behaviors, researchers have suggested that a number of famous individuals fit in with the characteristics of the ISFJ personality type. Some of the possible famous ISFJs include:

  • Mother Teresa, nun and humanitarian
  • Louisa May Alcott, author
  • Elizabeth II, Queen of England
  • Robert E. Lee, general
  • Mary I, Queen of England
  • Kristi Yamaguchi, figure skater
  • Michael Caine, actor
  • Alfred, Lord Tennyson, poet

Famous ISFJ Fiction Characters

Some fictional characters that fit in with the ISFJ personality type include:

  • David Copperfield, David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  • Ophelia, Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  • Dr. John Watson, Sherlock Holmes series by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Bianca, The Taming of the Shrew
  • Joel Barish, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Best Careers/Jobs for ISFJs (Nurturers)

ISFJs have a number of characteristics that make them well-suited to particular careers. Because they are so attuned to the feelings of others, jobs in mental health or the health care industry are a good fit. They are also meticulous and orderly, making them suited to jobs that involve planning, structure or attention to detail.

The following are just a few of the career options that are a good match for people with an ISFJ personality type.

  • Social worker
  • Counselor
  • Nurse
  • Paralegal
  • Book keeper
  • Child care provider
  • Office Manager
  • Administrator
  • Teacher
  • Banker
  • Accountant

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The ISFJ Personality Type

ISFJs are industrious caretakers, loyal to traditions and organizations. They are practical, compassionate, and caring, and are motivated to provide for others and protect them from the perils of life.

ISFJs are conventional and grounded, and enjoy contributing to established structures of society. They are steady and committed workers with a deep sense of responsibility to others. They focus on fulfilling their duties, particularly when they are taking care of the needs of other people. They want others to know that they are reliable and can be trusted to do what is expected of them. They are conscientious and methodical, and persist until the job is done.

What does ISFJ stand for?

ISFJ is an acronym used to describe one of the sixteen personality types created by Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers. It stands for Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, Judging. ISFJ indicates a person who is energized by time spent alone (Introverted), who focuses on facts and details rather than ideas and concepts (Sensing), who makes decisions based on feelings and values (Feeling) and who prefers to be planned and organized rather than spontaneous and flexible (Judging). ISFJs are sometimes referred to as Protector personalities because of their interest in keeping people safe and well cared for.

ISFJ Values and Motivations

ISFJs are driven by their personal values, and are conscientious in their behavior. They typically want to work hard, get along with others, and make sure they do what is expected of them.

ISFJs value relationships highly and strive to cooperate and maintain harmony with others. They want stability and longevity in their relationships, and tend to maintain a deep devotion to family. They feel most connected with people they know they can rely upon over the long term.

ISFJs appreciate tradition and like knowing how things were done in the past. They are loyal to established methods and values, and want to observe the proper, accepted way of doing things. They place great importance on fitting in with established institutions and contributing what they can to maintain strong, stable social structures. In groups, they often take on the role of historian, ensuring that new members respect and value the established customs.

How Others See the ISFJ

ISFJs are characteristically humble and unassuming, and rarely call attention to themselves. They can often be found offering assistance to others in a modest, understated way. They are loyal and hardworking, and often commit themselves to tasks and projects with the aim of being helpful to their families, friends, and communities. They are typically involved in social groups, but do not want the spotlight: they are more likely to be found behind the scenes, working diligently to fulfill their role.

ISFJs are oriented to relationships, but can be reserved with new people. They rarely disclose personal information quickly. They tend to be focused and aware of their surroundings, and relate details from their own personal experience. They often converse in terms of what has happened to them and what they have seen first-hand. They are compassionate listeners, and typically remember details about people. They often enjoy hearing the facts about others in the process of making a connection.

For more information: The Art of SpeedReading People

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How rare is the ISFJ personality type?

ISFJ is the most common type in the U.S. population, and the most common type among women. ISFJs make up:

  • 14% of the general population
  • 19% of women
  • 8% of men

Famous ISFJs

Famous ISFJs include Aretha Franklin, Mother Teresa, George H.W. Bush, Beyoncé, Laura Bush, King George VI, Kate Middleton, Rosa Parks, Princess Mary of Denmark, and Clara Barton.

ISFJ Quotes

"ISFJs emphasize loyalty, consideration, and the common welfare."

- Isabel Briggs Myers, Gifts Differing

"These ISFJs derive a great deal of satisfaction from caring for others, and they offer their comfort gently and helpfully, quietly seeing to it that caretaking is scheduled to protect the health and welfare of those in need."

- David Keirsey, Please Understand Me II

"Bound by fierce commitment, intense responsibility, and deep loyalty, the ISFJ is the embodiment of putting service above self in most aspects of their lives."

- Otto Kroeger, Type Talk at Work

Facts about ISFJs

Interesting facts about the ISFJ:

  • On personality trait measures, score as Conservative, Conventional, Guarded, and Reserved
  • Among types most likely to believe in a higher spiritual power
  • More likely than average to experience chronic pain
  • Among types most likely to suffer heart disease
  • Second most common type among education majors in college
  • More likely than other types to watch more than 3 hours of television per day
  • Personal values include Happy family, Health and Spirituality
  • Overrepresented among MBA students and male small business owners
  • Among three types with the lowest income
  • Commonly found in education, health care, and religious occupations

Source: MBTI Manual

ISFJ Hobbies and Interests

Popular leisure activities for ISFJs include cooking, gardening, painting, crafts, picnics, nature walks, and watching movies. They are also often found supporting their loved ones in their interests and activities.


About the Author

Molly Owens is the CEO of Truity and holds a master's degree in counseling psychology. She founded Truity in 2012, with the goal of making quality personality tests more affordable and accessible. She has led the development of assessments based on Myers and Briggs' personality types, Holland Codes, the Big Five, DISC, and the Enneagram. She is an ENTP, a tireless brainstormer, and a wildly messy chef. Find Molly on Twitter at @mollmown.


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