Sunday, June 16, 2013

Being an ISFJ - Part Two

Yes, Samwise Gamgee is an ISFJ

 I know that someone must be reading these ISFJ posts because they're getting hits, so I hope they're useful to you. :) If you have any questions, just post a comment. Or if you've got something you wish I would cover, let me know.

1) Saying "No"

ISFJ individuals are notorious for accepting any and every request put to them. This tendency, unfortunately, gets me into a great deal of emotional trouble and turmoil. A coworker asks if I'm available to take a sub shift because they need to go home sick. Even if I've already worked my full shift, have taken other sub hours that week, and know that I have textbooks pleading to be read, I will still accept the shift. Why? Because someone asked.

How does this translate into my personality? I am an F, feeling, which means that I tend to put others first. This means that I will, and have, exhausted myself to the point of a mental breakdown because I have agreed to participate, and/or assist with, too many projects for too many people. It's because I like them, and I want to help them succeed. I'm the support group, however, I'm also an Introvert, which means this type of behavior EXHAUSTS ME.

So, this is one of these moments when I have to actually learn to say "No." And live with the guilt of denying others so I can have time to myself. Yes, all of your other ISFJ people out there, you too can learn to say "No." And it's best to figure it out early in life so you don't let others run you into the ground.

2) Bad Moods

I don't know if this is an ISFJ tendency on the whole or if it's just me, but when I'm in a bad mood, I want to kill something. And if I don't get my alone time then I'm much more prone to argue with the people I ordinarily like. In fact, I can be downright mean. This translates with me spending hours, sometimes days, away from people. I will hole up in my room with a favorite tv show and listen to people converse and rejoice in not being expected to actively participate in anything.

How does this happen? Because I haven't spent enough time by myself! Because I've over-extended myself at work and at home and am surrounded by people 24/7 until I want to pull my hair out by its roots. These are the days when I totally disappear from the world, wishing that no one other than myself existed. Bad moods thrive on my being too much in the company of others. ISFJs need their time by themselves if they're going to function on any level of normalcy. No expectations from anyone, just the bliss of being alone.

3) Needing Positive Feedback

I am insecure. I never know if the serious decisions I make are the right ones. I question myself every step of the way, and doubt my ability. Lately I've been receiving critical feedback from coworkers, meant kindly, but every little reminder of my inability is like a dagger through my heart because I'm doing something insufficiently. As an ISFJ, I need positive reinforcement and encouragement. When I receive a correction every once in awhile, that's one thing, but when I get loaded down with critiques all at once, from coworkers, friends, and family, it feels like I'm dying inside, completely unlovable and incapable. It's the "I can't do anything right" mentality, and is something I struggle with on a daily basis. If my car won't start, it's not because the car has a problem, it's because I'm doing something wrong. Unfortunately, being aware of this part of my personality as an ISFJ does nothing to lessen the devastating emotional affects of feeling that I'll never be good enough. Positive feedback when I do something well is the sunshine to my day and when it's removed, well, the day goes dark.

4) Expressing Myself to Others

If we're talking a long-term friend, I'm generally good at expressing myself with honesty and clarity. If something irks me, I can talk it out, and we move on. It's easy. But when it's someone that I don't know very well, I have a hard time trusting them with the real me. So if they say or do something that I dislike, I tend to hold back, which is never a good idea. Someone says they hate Matt Smith as the Doctor. I may not argue with them or I might, but I certainly won't look at them and say "You're a bleedin' moron!" even though I'm thinking it. If I were able to communicate myself in a way that helped the other person understand how much they've offended me then the relationship would be fine. When I can't express my feelings to that person, the relationship stagnates.

Take right now, for example. I currently have a problem with someone who dislikes cats. He makes no bones about disliking cats, and could care less if he hurts anyone else's feelings. He thinks I'm joking when I respond,  since I try to respond nicely, but I'm not joking, I'm angry. And that bundle of negative emotions keeps building and building until I can barely even stand to look at him. He knows something is wrong, but I don't like him anymore so I don't even want to bother explaining how much his opinion against cats angered me. I want to drop him like a hot potato and never think about him again. And all this happened because my ability to express myself to him is stifled.

5) Stepping Back

If I feel that a friendship is unimportant or going nowhere, I will step away. It's not that I don't like that person, it's just that I have so much going on, and they're not that valuable to me, not enough to give them a lot of my time. It doesn't mean that I don't care, it just means that I have other interests. You know those trips down memory lane? I hate them. I hate returning to places that I've left because the people there will be so excited to see me, but I've moved on from them, and their reaction only makes me uncomfortable.

On the positive side, what this does mean is that the people I choose to have in my life are important to me. I have exactly two close friends, along with my sister, and that's enough for me right now. I have numerous acquaintances that I like, but I wouldn't know where to put them if we ever went beyond acquaintance. My close friends list is full.

6) Being Needed

I struggle so much when it feels like I'm not needed. I don't crave attention by wanting to do for others, so not only is this a part of being an ISFJ, but it also means that doing for others is a part of my love language. And when someone shuts me down, doesn't need me, even to show them a simple step in a knitting pattern, then I feel insignificant and unimportant. It's like I'm standing against a wall, getting smaller and smaller, and no one notices or cares.

This is why I thrive in my customer service job, because the patron needs something from me and I'm only too happy to help them. It's fulfilling! Of course, this also explains my need to say "No" more often, but you already knew that. Being needed and saying "No" before I get overwhelmed is a fine line to walk.

7) Loyalty

This is attached to the way I have only a few close friends. I am insanely loyal to them. To the point where if anyone ever hurt them, I would become potentially violent in defense of them. This is both a good and a bad thing because it means I would make the switch logically in my mind from passive to aggressive in order to defend a loved one. I could excuse the use of violence and deal with any guilty repercussions later, after my family and friends were safe. Here's where you can see some of Sam Gamgee in me. Nothing could easily induce him to leave Frodo, especially the Sam in the books. He is loyal in a way that few people encounter. I love my close friends and family, and damn be he who dares threaten them.


  1. Sam is my favorite hobbit for a reason -- he's so loyal that he sticks by Frodo even when Frodo sends him packing. Being a Sam is a good thing!

    It's hard to say no to people who "need" you (that may be why it's doubly hard for your type -- because you're prone to saying yes, but the person needing you to fill in also NEEDS YOU!) but sometimes we do have to do it, for our own best interest (and everyone around us!).

    When I'm in a bad mood, I want to tell people exactly what I think of them -- which as you might imagine, isn't a good idea.

    Everyone needs positive feedback. For some reason, we forget to encourage one another. :(

    I'm sorry about the cat-hater. That would irk me too.

    Like Holmes, I have ONE CLOSE FRIEND -- you. So... I need you. ;)

  2. Oh goodness, I hardly know where to start. First things first I guess. I'm an ISFJ, and also I married my INTJ best friend. We've been together 11 years in total. It's a good relationship.

    I definitely agree about needing alone time. There is nothing like a solid block of alone time to recharge! I also cannot have but one or two close friends (husband included). I test very, very high "I"...once I tested 100%, so. Acquaintances? Sure, but with most people that's all I can handle and I'm good with that.

    Saying NO gets easier. I'm in my 30's now, and everything is much more balanced.

    I pretty much identify with everything you outlined, so I'm not going to be long-winded (sounds tiring) about the rest. Anyway, good two-part article! I was surprised just how similar we are. I understand the underlying personality stuff, but I just figured more individuality in individual lives...but there were a LOT of spot on things in your post!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...