If you’ve ever met someone who was so warm and soothing that you immediately wanted to be friends with them, they were probably an ISFJ. The quiet, empathetic presence of most ISFJs is palpable even to the most rational personality type, which is why ISFJs are never lacking for friends. But wanting to be friends with this type and actually being accepted isn’t the same thing. If you’ve struggled with understanding how this type can be so warm and so elusive at the same time, this article will help you understand them a little better.
ISFJs are so warm and friendly that everyone wants to be their friend. They’re empathetic and caring, and other types just feel good being near them. It’s always nice to be around people who seem to understand your emotions and automatically adjusts to make space for them. The ISFJs auxiliary function is responsible for this ability to make everyone feel warm and connected. Extraverted feeling instinctively senses the mood of a room and everyone in it and likes that mood to be positive. And the ISFJ is pushed by this process to make that mood a good one by using this emotionally intelligent function.
But this doesn’t mean that ISFJs make friends with everyone they encounter because their strong emotions also make them naturally cautious. They’re actually quite slow to take to people, and need time and consistent interactions before they’ll consider someone a friend. This is partly because of their need to protect themselves from being exploited by emotionally needy people and partly because of their general vulnerability and the ease with which they’re hurt by others. The ISFJ loves to create deep and lasting bonds that are built on mutual respect and validation. And a person who can’t provide those things isn’t a good candidate as a friend for this type.
One potential problem for ISFJs in any relationship is their instinct to care for others. They are often incredibly altruistic, and will usually try to meet the needs of the people around them before they even consider their own. This can result in the ISFJ burning themselves out, or letting their needs go unmet for so long that it does actual damage to them in some way. And this is a problem that both the ISFJ and their friends need to be constantly aware of if their relationship is going to survive and thrive.
ISFJ friendships with NTs
Relationships between NTs and the sensitive ISFJ will be fraught with difficulties. ISFJs are masters when it comes to emotions. They can sense incredible varieties within the same emotional group, and this makes them extremely sensitive to emotions in others as well as in themselves. Unfortunately, NT types can sometimes be blind to emotion. They just don’t sense the same variety of emotions, or have the same interest in doing so. This can make them seem blunt and even insensitive to the ISFJ, who is much more open to emotional slights and shifts. This can be a point of contention between these types, and may even cause ISFJs to shy away from even starting a relationship with the overly rational NT types.
ISFJ friendships with NFs
A friendship between an ISFJ and an NF can flourish under the right conditions. Both of these types use feeling functions to make decisions, which means that their thought processes will be similar in some ways. This can not only give them a point of connection, but it will help the NF to both understand and support the ISFJ in the way they need from the people around them. This support will go a long way towards cementing the relationship between an NF and the ISFJ.
Although the ISFJ doesn’t use an intuitive learning function, their deep understanding of people and emotions can give them a depth and mystery that’s very attractive to NFs, with their emotional, imaginative view of life. There may still be some conflict between their communication styles, as NFs have a need for abstract conversation that can conflict with the ISFJs more practical, concrete way of speaking, but with a bit of work this can be a relationship that’s deeply rewarding for both types.
ISFJ friendships with SPs
ISFJs usually don’t choose SPs as friends. Although they share the sensing function, which makes communication easier, SPs are too unreliable for most ISFJs. The ISFJ looks for friends who are in it for the long term and can act as a constant source of support and mutual respect. And SPs, with their impulsive, passionate natures can often seem like too much of a risk for this type. SPs are also more independent than ISFJs, which can seem like a good thing, but means that the ISFJs relationship with them can feel unbalanced. ISFJs prefer a relationship build on support and constant, shared connection. And SP types often find this type of relationship too smothering.
ISFJ friendships with SJs
ISFJs are strongly drawn to relationships with other SJs. These friendships allow for easy communication and a similar way of looking at and relating to the world which radically cuts down on the potential for conflict. And to the peace loving ISFJ, this is one of the main attributes they look for in a potential friend. Other SJs can also provide the stable, mutually supportive type of relationship that the ISFJ really craves. And this reality will encourage the ISFJ to open up and allow the deep, emotional bonding that they crave.
The ISFJ is a sensitive soul who guards their gentle and open heart closely for their own protection. As friends, they’re quick to offer emotional support, empathetic, and usually very comforting and easy to be around because of their incredible emotional intelligence. But friends of the ISFJ have to be careful not to take advantage of their good nature, because the ISFJ is grounded enough to understand that they need to protect themselves and smart enough to do so when necessary. And stepping over that invisible line can mean the end of a friendship that was rich with the kind of support that everyone needs in their life.