This section Distinguishing ISFJ and ISTJ is to help you verify your type if you're still unsure after doing the test and reading the type descriptions.

ISTJs and ISFJs are different personalities. According to David Keirsey’s Temperament Theory, both belong to the Guardian (SJs) type personality.

However, there are several distinguishing characteristics of both personalities that will easily help you clarify your type.

  • ISFJ are often considered to be much more helpful than ISTJs

    Truth be told, ISTJs are just as helpful. However, their help often tends to come with strong advice and after that, lending that helping hand if necessary. ISFJs often, however, have a keen sense of people’s practical needs and meet them even before they’ve been asked to.

    You are more likely to see ISFJs serving in the background rather than ISTJs. ISFJs just simply have a sense that their help is far more valued than their presence. ISTJs, appearing more authoritarian, would less likely do so, but still would be extremely faithful in performing their duties.

  • ISTJs are more likely to be in-your-face than ISFJs who are conflict avoidant

    ISTJs often say things that hits you in-the-face. Their words are frank and sometimes just outright insensitive. They don’t mean to harm – rather they want you to receive the whole truth of the matter (in their perspective). You’re likely to be occasionally taken aback by the ISTJ’s frankness.

    ISFJs avoid these type of confrontations almost altogether. That is, until you coax them to tell you exactly how they think. In most other situations, ISFJs prefer to lay low and let someone else give the same dose of truth to that person – they get too stressed out in the conflict process they rather avoid it entirely. 

  • ISTJs are likely to be more achievement oriented than ISFJs

    ISTJs are more likely to be driven to succeed and become the best they know how. They will show competitiveness and will strive for the achievements and accolades they desire as a mark of their hard work.

    ISFJs, while they can be driven as well, they don’t appear to be so at first glance. They’re more likely to be seen as servile people who enjoy serving behind the scenes. Still, they too, enjoy the occasional award that is given them for their faithful hard work. 

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These differences should be sufficient for distinguishing ISFJ and ISTJ. While there are other more subtle differences, the above mentioned points are the more observable differences in behavior.

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