in high school, for some class, we all took a couple different personality tests. i donʻt remember the class or what the outcomes of the tests were. i do recall thinking despite the different methodologies represented, they were both reasonably accurate.
years later, toward the end of college, i took another. this one was far more official and administered by a clinical therapist. i had been going through a difficult time, was on the verge of dropping out and was diagnosed with dysthymia. at the time, it wasnʻt a surprising diagnosis and occasional bouts of “mild depression” continues to be something i struggle with.
so, it wasnʻt too long ago that a facebook friend posted their results to an online personality test. i like and admire the guy and after browsing his results, i thought iʻd take it and see what the results were. here they are:
i think the people who know me best would agree this is a pretty accurate portrayal of me.
in addition to this snapshot, with breakdown of my personality quantified, the results come with a detailed explanation of the various aspects of my personality: how i relate to friends, romantic relationships, career, etc. as they say, the devil is in the details.
and though i also agree the results are quite accurate, sometimes there’s nothing worse that having a spotlight shined on the parts of yourself you’re not so proud of, or things you wish were different. and so it is here.
When it comes to romantic relationships, ISFJs’ kindness grows into a joy that is only found in taking care of their family and home, in being there for emotional and practical support whenever it’s needed. Home is where the heart is for people with the ISFJ personality type, and in no other area of their lives do they strive with such dedication to create the harmony and beauty they wish to see in the world.
The trouble is, these are the benefits of an established long-term relationship, and ISFJs’ unbearable shyness means it can take a long time to reach this point. ISJFs are most attractive when they are simply being themselves in a comfortable environment such as work, where their natural flow shows this kindness and dedication. Relationships built on established familiarity are a warm prospect for ISFJs — they take dating seriously and only enter into relationships that have a real chance of lasting a lifetime.
perhaps in this area, more than any other, are the practical effects of my “unbearable shyness” more apparent to me. though i’ve always wanted to be in a long-term, committed, and loving relationship, i never have. even just the idea of “dating” fills me with anxiety, though not nearly as much as it used to. now that i’m older, having missed the normal dating experiences of high school and college, i’ve mostly just given up the possibility, and have resigned myself to inevitable bachelorhood.
It is no surprise that many ISFJs are not just good at supporting their coworkers and customers in human resources and support positions, they genuinely enjoy it, as it gives them a chance to calm frustrations, see things through to a practical solution, and to be thanked, appreciated, at the close of each ordeal.
of all the areas of the isfj profile, this is probably where i differ most from typical isfj. i spent much of my early career in some section of the “service” industry. i hated it, which isn’t to say i wasn’t good at it; i was very good at it.
working in customer service at an electronics-appliance store right out of college (avoiding making decisions about my career) i constantly dealt with angry customers. it was my job eight hours a day to basically be yelled at. never was the customer angry at me and sometimes their anger wasn’t justified at all. it was my job to address their issue and, to the best of my ability, resolve it. and i was damn good at it. yeah, i had countless customers thank me for my calm and patience in dealing with them, even if i couldn’t help in the end. when i decided to move to hawaii and gave my notice at the store, they were so desperate to keep me that i was offered the manager position for customer service. flattering, yes, but i don’t think there’s enough money in the world that would have kept me there.
the profile also says isfjs are good at remembering names, birthdays, etc., which i am definitely not good at. i’ve never been good at it and i’m so thankful for the smart phone revolution because i keep all that stuff in my calendar. without reminder alerts from my iphone, i’d likely miss my mother’s birthday!
my father’s convinced, and has been trying steadily to convince me, that i would make a fantastic teacher: maybe in high school or college. “think about what you should teach them about politics, about how the world is!” though i’m not remotely interested in the prospect, i don’t deny that i’d likely be good at it, part of me thinks he likes the idea mostly because it would be a stable career.
in the end, though the idea of working in some service industry makes me queasy, it might be the underlying eagerness to please, to serve, that’s at the core of what i most want to do; leave the world better than i found it.
ISFJs are unlikely to actively seek out managerial positions, and are still more unlikely to brag about their accomplishments. ISFJ personalities prefer to be rewarded by seeing first-hand the positive impact of their efforts, and will remain enthusiastic simply knowing that what they do is genuinely appreciated by the people they care for. This makes them natural counselors, technical support, and interior designers, where they are able to help others one-on-one without having to worry about corporate politics.
there’s a scene in the west wing, where the president points out that josh lyman “doesn’t want to be the guy, he wants to be they guy the guy counts on.”
name and everything, that’s me. i’m not (terribly) interested seeking public office, or being the lead on big stuff. credit is great and i’m always grateful to be recognized for my work, but really, i just want to get shit done. i don’t need to be the guy standing in front of the crowd, in front of cameras. i want to be the guy that guy counts on.
Few personality types are as practical and dedicated as ISFJs. Known for their reliability and altruism, ISJFs are good at creating and maintaining a secure and stable environment for themselves and their loved ones. ISFJs’ dedication is invaluable in many areas, including their own personal growth.
i guess this bit is mostly true, though i’ve struggled for years with my own personal growth.
Yet ISFJs can easily be tripped up in areas where their kindness and practical approach are more of a liability than an asset. Whether it is finding (or keeping) a partner, learning to relax or improvise, reaching dazzling heights on the career ladder, or managing their workload, ISFJs need to put in a conscious effort to develop their weaker traits and additional skills.
yeah, that all sounds pretty spot on to me….
i mentioned this test to my therapist, who was interested to see the results. i told him i thought it was a fairly accurate representation of myself, but that, as i’ve said here, there are parts that are a bit troubling.
he was quick to let me know that these types of things are merely a portrayal of one’s preferences. sure, the preferences are based on numerous traits, either developed or inherited, but that in the end, one can change those preferences. this came as a surprise to me; i’m not stuck with this trait set. instead, with work and, in my case therapy, one can adjust their “personality type.”