"The small individual contributors of caring, friendship, forgiveness, and love from each of us can form a phalanx, an army, with great capability."
ISFJs as They Typically Are
Warm-hearted and congenial, ISFJs are quiet - and sometimes overlooked - individuals who genuinely like getting to know other people and helping them. They often enjoy conversing with others and learning all the details of their lives, such as who they are, who they are married to, where they work, whether they have children, and where they grew up. They tend to be very accepting and forgiving of people and they like to get a firm grasp of the identities of others, so that they have a solid idea of what the person is like. They tend to easily pick up on the emotional states of others and are often quite skilled at soothing them and smoothing over awkward situations.
ISFJs generally carry themselves with a sense of social etiquette. Often they will seem to know exactly how to act in order to come across as friendly and constructive so that both parties will get the most out of the social situation.
In their personal lives, they tend to enjoy keeping an orderly environment where they can feel that they are in control. They can be somewhat fastidious at times, diligently spending long hours making sure that everything is just right and set up the way they like it. Forward-thinking, ISFJs are known to double-check things and carefully review information to make sure that they are on top of things, that they haven’t missed anything, and that no mistakes can be found in their work. Yet because they are not as one-sidedly object-focused as their ISTJ counterparts, but are intensely attuned to people as well, this can sometimes mean that they have a hard time reconciling their own high standards with the messiness of having to coordinate the different emotions, values, and approaches of the various people around them. They don't want to come down on anyone, but at the same time, they often see what could go wrong with a given arrangement before others do.
When encountering a new situation, or entering into a new workplace, ISFJs are usually respectful of authority and keep a low profile. To them, attaining mastery of something is a long and studious process, and they are not apt to set themselves up as big reformers or know-it-alls until they have made sure that they know all the intricacies of the situation at hand. They also generally prefer to stay in the background, leading through their example rather than through their words. When they do speak up, it is usually the result of a long process of thoughtful study whereby they have come to be absolutely sure that they know what they are talking about and after having ascertained for themselves that nobody else is going to step up to effect the desired improvements.
ISFJs tend to value social harmony. To them, solidarity and community are not merely values in themselves, but devices that help arrange the qualities of everyone involved so that the whole is stronger than the sum of its parts. As mentioned, ISFJs do not jump the gun as soon as they have seen that something could be improved. They attempt to factor in the wishes and feelings of others too, and at times, this can lead ISFJs to feel conflicted between asserting the better solutions they have seen on the one hand, and reaching out to accommodate the feelings of people on the other.
ISFJs tend to form strong and deep attachments to the people in their lives whom they consider especially important. They find strength in the bonds that they have created and these bonds are often a source of identity and pride for them. Consequently, ISFJs are often capable of great feats of loyalty and dedication whenever a person in their inner circle needs their help in some way.
They genuinely enjoy supporting others and with their talent for planning and organizing, they tend to make good managers and to excel in all types of roles that require them to use their combination of people skills and attention to detail in order to make sure that everything is running smoothly. While they do not like calling attention to themselves, or causing too much of a stir, they tend to be very focused on the requirements of the task at hand. Consequently, some ISFJs may end up in situations where they're really the glue holding everything together, but where other more blusterous natures are hogging the credit for their work.
ISFJs tend to pay great attention to detail and to hold a special regard for others who have proven themselves to be masters of what they do. While such mastery may sometimes seem mundane to others ("Well, of course he's good at his job, duh!"), ISFJs tend to hold a special appreciation for the fact that just because someone has a given position, that doesn't necessarily mean that they are managing that position conscientiously. In this way, the presence of an ISFJ is often a good litmus test of who is walking the walk and not just talking the talk, and many would do well to listen to their soft-spoken, yet carefully researched opinions.