ISFJ and INFJ personality types may seem very similar on the surface, but they’re very different in many distinctive areas.

To those who are new to personality typing, the one letter that isn’t the same may seem insubstantial; however, there’s much more to it than that when it comes to personalities.

You can take a look at the functional stack of each of these personalities to see that there are more differences than you may have first thought.

ISFJ Functional Stack:

  • Dominant Function – Introverted Sensing (Si)
  • Auxiliary Function – Extraverted Feeling (Fe)
  • Tertiary Function – Introverted Thinking (Ti)
  • Inferior Function – Extraverted Intuition (Ne)

INFJ Functional Stack:

  • Dominant Function – Introverted Intuition (Ni)
  • Auxiliary Function – Extraverted Feeling (Fe)
  • Tertiary Function – Introverted Thinking (Ti)
  • Inferior Function – Extraverted Sensing (Se)

Similarities Between the Two Abound

Both the ISFJ and INFJ share an auxiliary function of extraverted feeling and a tertiary function of introverted thinking. Having extraverted feeling means that they can feel very intense emotions at times.

Because of the introverted thinking, both of these types like to mull ideas around in their heads before coming up with a solution to a problem.

Because each of these personality types are introverted, they prefer to spend time alone or in a small circle of very close friends rather than engaging with large groups of people.

In fact, being in crowds can become emotionally and physically draining, creating the need for solitude to recharge.

ISFJs and INFJs are sensitive people who tend to take things personally, especially if they feel their values are under attack. With a focus on building and nurturing relationships, these personality types can be devoted and altruistic.

Because they genuinely care about people, they’re likely to put the needs of others above their own, frequently allowing others to take advantage of their good natures.

Both the ISFJ and the INFJ types prefer organization in their surroundings. This allows them to spend their time focusing on matters that are more important to them. Preferring predictability, those with these personalities like their lives to follow a set routine.

Change is hard to deal with for both of these types, though the INFJ is typically more accepting of such challenges.

With acute attention to detail, the ISFJ and INFJ personalities are both hardworking and strive the get the job done right. They’re conscientious and determined, giving their best efforts in everything that they do. Very decisive, they stand by their values.

Because of these similarities, it’s common to see a very deep bond develop between these two personalities when they befriend each other. They may be equally excited to find another person that really gets where they’re coming from.

However, it can be a struggle for these two types to overcome their very different perceptions of the world. It’s good that ISFJs and INFJs are willing to entertain the perspectives of others as this makes it easier to accept these differences to build more fulfilling relationships.

Differences that Matter

The dominant function shows what a person values most of all. Commonly compared to being the driver of a car, the dominant function basically controls all of the others.

As you can see in the functional stacks of these personality types, sensing and intuition are opposite one another in dominant and inferior functioning.

Additionally, ISFJs and INFJs are different in whether these traits are introverted or extraverted.

ISFJs make sense of the world on the information that they can gather from their five senses while INFJs see patterns that they use to develop meaning. Someone with an ISFJ personality is more likely to focus on facts and concrete examples that mesh with their past experiences.

On the other hand, abstract concepts, symbolism, and a focus on what could be are more important to one who is an INFJ.

When making decisions, an ISFJ will generally stick with methods and ideas that have worked in the past based on personal experience. Working methodically, those with this type will compare what has happened before with a current situation to determine what will happen in the future.

Alternately, creative solutions are more likely to drive the outcome for the INFJ. These individuals are more likely to proceed based on their innate hunches.

In romantic relationships, ISFJs and INFJs both enjoy physical intimacy but for different reasons. Whereas the former uses physical connection as a way to express emotions, the latter simply sees this type of contact as an extension of the strong emotional bond that is felt for another.

Simply put, ISFJ individuals may hide their feelings while INFJs wear their hearts on their sleeves.

During times of excessive stress, both personality types often resort to their inferior functions. Because these functions are underdeveloped, they are often expressed to the extreme.

For example, the ISFJ may resort to extraverted intuition, dwelling on possibilities and spending time worrying about all that might happen no matter how unrealistic the scenarios may be.

On the other hand, the INFJ is more likely to act out on their extraverted sensing, often engaging in high-risk behaviors and activities that bring pleasure to the senses.

Unique Strengths and Weaknesses

ISFJs find it easy to put the shoe on the other foot, making them great at knowing just how others feel in a given situation. They’re practical people, finding it easy to put their ideas into action.

When reaching their goals, ISFJ personality types are able to work at a steady pace, getting the job done right the first time.

INFJs are more likely to see through the deceptions of others, thus they’re not easily manipulated. When promoting their convictions, they can take their insights to promote a compassionate solution to even complex problems.

Selfless in nature, the INFJ type will put their efforts into causes that they feel will actually make a difference in the world and the lives of others.

When it comes to people, the ISFJ personality type will put others first, often hiding their own feelings in the process. Finding it hard to ask for help, they often struggle with difficult situations on their own. They can reduce frustration if they learn effective ways to express their emotions and needs.

Although INFJs work hard to avoid conflict, they can lash out when they feel criticized. As idealists, INFJs are often disappointed when reality doesn’t match their visions. To prevent exhaustion, they need to find a homeostasis between what could be and what actually is.

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