ISFJ – Defender (Description + Functions + Examples)

I don’t know anything about your personality, but if I were to guess Myers-Briggs Personality Type you were, I would guess ISFJ. Why? Not just because you’re watching a video about the ISFJ type! ISFJ is the most common personality type out there, especially among women. Experts aren’t really sure why ISFJ is so common, but it is! Most likely, you have a friend or family member who is an ISFJ. 

This video is going to break down what it means to be an ISFJ: what all of these letters mean, what it’s like to work with someone who is an ISFJ, and who else out there can identify with this personality type. Let’s get started!


First, we’ll break down what each of these letters mean. 

I is for introvert (as opposed to extrovert.) An introvert is more likely to be focused on their internal thoughts and feelings, rather than outside stimulation. There is a misconception about introverts: that they are shy, quiet, and reserved. Not always. Think of being an introvert as someone who gains more energy from reflecting on their own feelings than by surrounding themselves with other people and external stimulants. They have to be alone to “recharge.” 

S is for sensing (as opposed to intuition.) This is also identified as “observant.” Rather than relying on intuition, ISFJs use real-time facts and observations to interpret what is happening around them. They look for the most obvious, concrete solutions over abstract ones that may require more reach. People with “sensing” in their personality type may be called out for providing “narrow-minded” solutions, but this is only because of the limited facts and factors that they are using to come to their conclusion.

F is for feeling (as opposed to thinking.) Of course, people with both “feeling” and “thinking” in their personality type can do the other. ISFJs may rely more on how they, and more importantly others, feel. If they want to make a decision, they are more likely to ask around for opinions instead of doing research in textbooks. This often means they feel the weight of the world. Stats may not sway them as much as a story.

Finally, J is for judgement (as opposed to perception.) Judgment and perception are often identified as the “least obvious” of the four letters in your personality type. Think of this as how a person works within structure. People with a J in their personality type prefer structure. They take control of the structure of their day. They make judgements about how tasks are approached and when a job gets done. 

When you put this altogether, you get a person who looks out for the well-being of others. Their good nature makes them the perfect defender of others. That’s why experts have labeled ISFJ as “The Defender.” 

Functions of ISFJs

What do defenders do? Well, they defend! Often, their behaviors are the result of one of four functions. Out of the eight “functions” developed by psychiatrists Carl Jung, Isabel Myers Briggs, and Katharine Briggs, ISFJs perform four. 

Let’s start with the dominant function of ISFJ types: introverted sensing (Si). The introverted sensing function allows ISFJs to focus on hard facts and multiple details. They enjoy processing clear, logical information rather than abstract ideas. They are very grounded in reality and feel most comfortable relying on what they know to be true from past or present experiences.

The auxiliary function of ISFJ types is Extraverted Feeling (Fe.) ISFJs use their extraverted feeling to seek harmony and balance in social situations. They are very aware of what is considered polite or non-offensive, and they act in order to keep situations peaceful. Therefore, they put others’ needs/happiness before their own to avoid conflict.  

The tertiary function of ISFJ types – Introverted Thinking (Ti.) This function of ISFJs gives them the ability to plan well and remain organized when absorbing new information. They organize through logical practices and often seek out patterns or connections between their experiences to see how everything functions together.

Finally, the inferior function of ISFJ types is Extraverted Intuition (Ne.) ISFJs will use this function without any awareness, so they don’t notice how it affects their behavior and decisions. That being said, this function helps them balance their strict logical approach by providing new insights for them to explore.

Real-Life Examples of ISFJs

A lot of the most famous ISFJs are historical figures and activists. Not all of them dedicated their lives to fighting for the rights of others, but many of them did! Here are some of the most well-known ISFJs:

  • Kate Middleton
  • Prince Charles
  • Jimmy Carter
  • Mother Teresa
  • Rosa Parks
  • Tiger Woods
  • Halle Berry
  • Bruce Willis
  • Beyonce
  • Barbra Streisand
  • Selena Gomez
  • Kendrick Lamar

In addition to activism, politics, or becoming the world’s best golfer, ISFJs make wonderful teachers, social workers, and healthcare workers! Of course,there are ISFJs holding just about every job there is. 

Strengths and Weaknesses of ISFJs

What makes someone a good defender? Looking out for others and having a strong sense of morals helps! These are some of the top strengths held by some of your favorite ISFJs:

  • Supportive
  • Reliable
  • Patient
  • Imaginative & Observant
  • Enthusiastic
  • Loyal
  • Hard-Working
  • Practical

Often, when people are so worried about the well-being of others, they lose themselves. ISFJs have weaknesses, too. If an ISFJ were to say what they want to work on about themselves, they would probably tell you they:

  • Take Things Too Personally
  • Repress Their Feelings
  • Resistant To Change
  • Overload Themselves
  • Are Overly Altruistic

Even though not all introverts are shy, ISFJs are likely to take their humility to a level that holds them back. ISFJs aren’t the life of the party, but they are one of the best people to have by your side.

Living and Working with ISFJs

ISFJs take all of their relationships very seriously and rely on them to fulfill specific needs. They are very giving personalities and will put others’ needs before their own without asking for anything in return. However, they require attention from others to keep them emotionally fulfilled but have trouble expressing their needs and will take most things very personally. 

In all relationships, including romantic relationships, ISFJs are loyal and trustworthy. They enjoy commitment and well-functioning relationships. They are most compatible with sensible people who can anticipate their personal needs so that they won’t feel personally offended. Often, these sensible people fall into the ESTP or the ENTP category! The “defender” and the “debater” make an excellent love match!

Basic Stats About ISFJs

You already know that ISFJ is the most common personality type! The least common personality type, INFJ, only makes up around 2% of the population. This one difference, observing vs. intuition, is much more common. ISFJs make up 14% of the general population! This personality type is much more likely to be associated with women. Almost 1 in 5 women (19%) are ISFJs! 8% of men are ISFJs.

Assertive vs. Turbulent ISFJs

Did you know that there are two types of each personality type? That’s right! The Myers-Briggs Personality Types were developed in the 1960s, but the study of these types continues to evolve to this day. A few years ago, experts added a new set of letters to the personality types: A vs. T. Defenders are either an assertive defender or a turbulent defender. 

Assertive ISFJs (ISFJ-A) are more likely to be easy-going in situations they can’t control. When problems arise, they can look at them with a positive mindset, which might downplay the severity. They are also quite confident, making them more outspoken and causes them to assume things about other people without asking.

Turbulent ISFJs (ISFJ-T) have more awareness when facing conflict and often anticipate problems before they are made clear. If they don’t have control of something (opinions, problems, etc.), they are more likely to feel guilty and concerned. Their consideration allows them to be good listeners when solving problems.

How to reference this article:

Theodore. (2021, April). ISFJ – Defender (Description + Functions + Examples). Retrieved from

About the author 


Theodore created PracticalPsychology while in college and has transformed the educational online space of psychology. His goal is to help people improve their lives by understanding how their brains work. 1,700,000 Youtube subscribers and a growing team of psychologists, the dream continues strong!

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