Thursday, May 16, 2013

Being an ISFJ - Part One

Most of you, my readers, found me through my writings on Femista, the webzine of my best friend. This undoubtedly means that you also follow her blog and have occasionally heard Charity speak of us sharing the relationship of Holmes and Watson on Sherlock. She's an INTJ and I'm an ISFJ. You know how she reacts in multiple scenario possibilities because she posts about being an INTJ. Well, she asked me if I would consider writing a couple of posts on being an ISFJ in my summer months off from school. So, now that you've had my long-winded explanation of why I'm doing this, on to trying to explain how and why I function as I do.

The I for Introvert
Contrary to popular belief, introverts aren't nearly as rare as extroverts would have the world believe. Someone wrote to Dear Amy a few months ago about their concerns regarding their introverted daughter-in-law and her seeming shyness. This woman, not Amy, acted as though being an introvert were a disease of some sort that could be fixed if you belittled that person enough to force them out of their shell.

Being in an introvert has nothing to do with being in a shell. It has to do with that person's reaction after being subjected to a group of people, either strangers or friends, for a long period of time. Extroverts gain energy from such groups. Introverts need to recharge alone after being a part of that type of group.

I am actually only 44% introverted, a much lower percentage compared to a few years ago so I am very extroverted in my behaviors. I get along with almost anyone that I meet, and enjoy conversations and developing friendships. The only difference is that my conversation doesn't have an endless flow, and I can't just jump into a group of people and make instant best friends. Friendships develop slowly for me, but once they do, these people are very important to me. So, after I've been around a lot of people for a long period of time, like a party or an event at work, I need to step away from people for awhile and reboot.

The S for Sensing
According to the Myers-Briggs website, Sensing means that most information comes through the five senses instead of paying more attention to the patterns and possibilities in the information I receive like with the Intuitive. Now, my sensing is only at 38%, which means that I am capable of using either Sensing or Intuition. When it comes to processing memories, I am definitely more sensing. I don't clearly recall every event that has ever happened to me. I may not even remember something that happened last week unless I consider to be something truly valuable to my experiences. I see my memories in snapshots, which is one reason why I've taken to journaling them so I don't forget.

However, I'm much more Intuitive in that I learn by doing, not by reading about doing. This is why I tend to forget those annoying manuals on how to become a better writer. If I feel something applies to me then I might remember it, but on the whole, no. I'm the type who will sit down at a computer and just press buttons until I figure out what everything does. A co-worker kindly gave me an instruction manual on my new Kindle Fire, but I didn't read it. All I had to do was play with it for an hour and I had most of it figured out. Learn by doing should be my motto.

Now, my father is a really strong S. He needs to know exactly how something will work before he even attempts it. Everything must be planned out to the minute detail before he begins a project, and that drives me crazy. We have the tools and the materials, so let's get started. Don't mull over the many ways to accomplish the goal until you decide upon the most effective one, just start, and then you won't have wasted 3 hours in the planning stage. But, that's just me, and that's a part of my lower sensing percentage. Hmm, that might be why I totally suck at outlining.

The F for Feeling
Feeling isn't about emotion, it's about how I make my decisions. Yet again, my Feeling is only at 38%, so I tend to use either Feeling or Thinking in different situations. I sometimes bounce between them, but for the most part, I do use Feeling. Feeling really means that I use my value system when making decisions. This is why I chose Regent University, a Christian college, over more affluent secular colleges, because I made the decision based on my value system. This is why I don't drink or smoke, because I make that decision based on a value system.

I would actually move to the East coast if Caitlin, my sister, ever decided to make that move. Because I love her and it would kill me to not be near her. I am very much affected by environment. My family has problems with our neighbors. If it were my decision, I would have already sold this house, even at a loss, and moved somewhere without the disruptive atmosphere of my neighborhood. This obviously means my father is not an F, but a T. I'm actually looking for another job right now out of a combination of both T and F processing. On the F side, I'm tired of the tensions at work. It has nothing to do with me, but I'm sensitive to it anyway. On the T side, each family member has a car and a driver's license and I want a full-time job instead of just a part-time one. See, a combo of both processes.

But really, I'm truly an F because I deeply care about other people. I take their opinions into consideration when I make a decision, at least the people I trust, and I'm a supporter or an advocate for friends and family. One of the titles of the ISFJ is "The Defender" and I fit the category in my love of my close friends and family, and my desire to protect them at all costs. Hmm, do you see a similarity between John H. Watson and myself? I recall him shooting someone to protect Sherlock in the very first episode, the act of a defender.

The J for Judging
Being Judging or Perceiving determines how I live my day-to-day life. Despite my percentage being only 11%, I'm very much a J in that I like decisions, once they're made, to be finalized. If we're going on a trip, we're going on a trip. If we're making a move, we're making a move. If we're hosting an event, we're hosting an event. If I'm pursuing a BA degree then I won't stop until I achieve it.

My P occasionally sneaks through if I have the opportunity visit someone on short notice. Spontaneity is very much a P reaction, and I do experience it occasionally. I am unfortunately a very last-minute planner with certain things. I might actively pursue my education, but I will leave assignments to the last minute. If I were a higher percentage J then it's much more likely that I wouldn't procrastinate.

Remember how I mentioned the Sensing and Intuitive? Well, that applies here as well. I use Perceiving more because I don't fully plan out projects like my father. I don't need to know all the details, let's just get started and we'll figure it out as we go along. So, really, I'm very P leaning except in that I like resolutions in decisions and do tend to make lists of things I need to accomplish in a time frame.

Conclusion for Today
I'm tired. It wears me out trying to figure out my motivations and why I make decisions, but it's important to help myself and the people who know me figure out how I tick. My next post will be on my interactions with others; family, friends, coworkers, and yes, possibly guys. I hope this gave you a little glimpse into the inner workings of my bizarre brain.


  1. Yayy, something to read that teaches me more about my favorite girl! 

    My tests all come out different for the I – but the lowest I’ve gotten was 50%! (Which is way better than 73% or 93%!)

    It’s interesting that you’re a jump right in there and get started person – I am too! I never bother to read patterns, I just cut out all the pattern pieces and use logic to figure out where it goes. Most of the time it works. But sometimes you … um… do need to read the manual. Or so I hear.

    You are very, very loyal. It’s one of the things I love about you!

    … yeah, I procrastinate too, and I’m a 36% J. Hehehe. I’m not spontaneous though!

    Thanks for this glimpse into your head!

  2. I think the I can really depend on how tired or introverted we're feeling at the moment. If I took the test after being around people for two weeks, I would come out as a higher introvert because I was just too exhausted to want to see anyone, even family. So that's the one that can fluctuate with me, too.

    You know, it's funny. I say that I jump right in there without planning, but I'm actually doing a bit of planning right now. I'm repainting the kitchen cabinets and that requires a lot of forethought. So, I'm giving it a lot forethought, considering the color scheme carefully, considering how to paint the molding and what color to use. I guess in the right circumstances, I give the "planning stage" more attention than I usually would. Weird, eh!?

    My loyalty can backfire. I don't know John has his under such tight control. I've gotta work on that so I don't jeopardize the relationships the people I care about have with other friends. *sigh*

    And you know, you can be somewhat spontaneous. Not often, but there are times when you ask me to come out on short notice. It's a spontaneous move on your part, and rather unusual, but that's what makes it intriguing. :)

  3. Although it's strange -- with me, when I'm not around people, I become even MORE of a recluse. Wanna go somewhere? Nope. Wanna see someone? Nope. I'd probably be a shut-in if I could get away with it. =P

    Interesting. Well, I'm sure you'll pick a good color. =)

    I suppose I am spontaneous to a point -- but only with 24 hour notice. I'll decide the day before if I want to see this or that movie, but I rarely do anything right on the spot.

  4. So we're both potentially spontaneous with a 24 hour notice. I rarely ever agree to anything the day of, mostly because it throws what I perceive as my schedule off. I'm pet-sitting this week and even that came at sooner notice than I prefer. With bigger events, I like to know at least a few weeks in advance to give my brain time to prep. ;)


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