Are INFJs and ISFJs Compatible? An In-Depth Look
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INFJs (Ni-Fe-Ti-Se) and ISFJs (Si-Fe-Ti-Ne) will find they have quite a lot in common due to their shared judging axis (Fe-Ti), conveniently located in the same slot positions. The way INFJs and ISFJs relate to others and analyze information can come off similarly and thus be accepted by the other readily. One knows where the other is coming from and they are often quick to befriend each other.
As an ISFJ, I’ve befriended quite a number of INFJs. I generally find them easy to talk to, yet endearing with their far-off destinations front and center in their mind. In my interactions with them, they have noted their appreciation for my love of the “little things.” Such as my abundant happiness that comes from a surprise box of donuts at work. We are also apt to compliment others. As we both generally want the best for those who come in contact with us—sometimes at the expense of ourselves—we also tend to mobilize each other in affirmation.
ISFJ: You’re so sweet!
INFJ: No, you’re so sweet!
ISFJ: Thank you for existing! It’s just so great we can be friends!
INFJ: No, thank you for existing! I value our friendship so much!
You get the picture.
“Really? So we’re nice to each other and that makes things all hunky-dory, Jami?”
Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
The Problem Child: The Perceiving Axis
The differences between INFJs and ISFJs are readily seen if we look at the perceiving axis. INFJs use introverted intuition and extroverted sensation while ISFJs use introverted sensation and extroverted intuition. Usually, this means that IxFJs focus on different aspects of a situation. Their perception and the information they naturally process have a different focal point.
- INFJs seek to analyze things in the unconscious realm.
- ISFJs seek to analyze concrete things from their experiences.
Imagine one ISFJ student and one INFJ student are both staring at the same painting of an orange sunset, totally engrossed.
“But I thought only INFPs liked art, Jami?”
I’m blinking rapidly, if you didn’t know.
Two IxFJs are gazing at the magnificence of the same painting. Suddenly, their teacher approaches them and asks what they think the most important feature of the painting is.
ISFJ: The pretty blue flowers in the lower-left corner are most important because the eye is naturally drawn there!
INFJ: The painting addresses how life is cyclical and that is most important!
Clearly, very different perspectives play out in their approaches. And both are valid in their own right. The differences between Si and Ni display similarly, with Si focusing on the concrete details from the past and Ni seeing beyond physicality and into the realm of meaning.
The main question I see in interactions like this between INFJs and ISFJs is whether they will accept each other’s information as valid. The IxFJ students can respond to each other’s perspectives in numerous ways, but I’ll focus on two potential possibilities.
The “My Aunt Just Gave Me Bitter Tea And It Sucks” Approach:
ISFJ: What do you mean life is cyclical? Are you crazy? It’s a painting of a sunset!
INFJ: Really? All you see are some stupid flowers in the corner? Get a brain!
Although IxFJs communicate effectively with each other, they are sometimes baffled by how differently they perceive a situation. It’s what one chooses to do with this observation that ultimately matters.
The “Everyone Sees With Different Eyes” Approach:
ISFJ: Wow, I never thought about that! I didn’t know this painting could say so much!
INFJ: Aww! I didn’t even notice the flowers before you pointed them out! They’re so cute!
ISFJs and INFJs can, of course, get along well, but they simply witness and take in a different world. For relations to go well between the types, acknowledging that the information each other takes in is relevant is key. It may not be naturally relevant to you, but it is to them.
Special note: Ni does not see more than Si. Ni and Si simply look for two sets of information that often don’t overlap with each other. There is such a thing circulating in the typology community related to sensor bias, which basically portrays any xSxx type as basic, boring, conventional, and “less than” any xNxx type. However, what people who hold true to this sensory bias fail to realize is that without focus on the sensory, one is apt to trip over their shoelace Ha. Thus, both intuition and sensory are important and one is not greater than or less than the other. Both focal points can provide strengths and weaknesses.
We’re Friendly, But Don’t Always Trust Each Other’s Evidence
When INFJs and ISFJs don’t get along, it is often because of the irrelevancy they attach to each other’s dominant function, which of course can be taxing to either party. What usually displays is a general distrust of each other’s evidence for reasoning. Neither sees each other’s evidence clearly and thus may not trust the conclusions derived from each other’s reasoning.
A great example would be Tarot card reading. Not all INFJs are interested in Tarot, but the meaning within a card can help translate how an INFJ evaluates what lies beyond the physical. If you know anything about Tarot, you’ll know that whatever cards are drawn in a particular order for you means something specific for your life. Strong Ni users are often in tune with this sort of “beyond.” They can formulate conclusions with their introverted thinking that often can’t be tracked in the physical realm.
This concept of INFJs seeing evidence in the beyond, in order to Ti sift through, will likely bug their ISFJ friends. High Ni users take in evidence subconsciously and simply “know” their evidence carries weight. ISFJs want to see the concrete evidence in order to follow the reasoning behind every conclusion, but INFJs don’t often operate with trackable concrete information in tow.
ISFJs can also annoy INFJs.
ISFJs contemplate their past experience and evaluate it over and over again. This means they pay attention to the physicality of the world around them. They care about who, what, where, when, and why. They utilize Ti to come to thoughtful conclusions on the past. Most INFJs I know find this process irrelevant. Their Ni tells them that the past is the past for a reason. These moments cannot be replicated. INFJs are often the ones asking, “why would someone like to replicate a past moment? It will never be the same.” For the Si dom, it’s obvious. We are nostalgia junkies that need to reprocess the same events over and other again in order to grow and learn.
Si and Ni are clearly quite different information gathering processes.
Fe Blooms Mutual Understanding
Any type can get along with each other, but we will often understand those with our shared functions best. Those who share functions with us have relevant information that we see an immediate need for. Thus, while INFJs and ISFJs appreciate each other’s feeling and thinking functions, in some cases, IxFJs can deflate each other because they don’t find the information and evidence each other focuses on necessary to live. This causes an IxFJ’s blood to rush a bit quicker because all that their auxiliary Fe wants to do is accommodate the other and yet they can’t accommodate the other if they can’t understand and accept what the other is saying.
With Fe, communication is key and without the key, you have two very frustrated FJs who don’t understand their own emotions but do know that you’re very upset. They’ll want to help make you feel better, but they can’t fix the problem because they don’t understand your needs.
Cue the violin.
However, if INFJs and ISFJs are aware that these cognitive lenses seek out information particular to its need—as in, it’s a must for Si to care about the details and a must for Ni to care about the overarching theme—issues can certainly be avoided. To be frank: Si doesn’t naturally give a crap about the things it hasn’t experienced and can’t see and Ni naturally doesn’t give a crap that you lost your toothbrush in the second grade because your cousin Tony tossed it in the sewer.
Dang it, Tony.
You’re not forgiven.
With some awareness of how the other party operates, however, INFJs and ISFJs can shift their own perspective on how to approach the other. But never discount what a shared judging axis can do. At the end of the day, IxFJs are all about compromise and I find that most IxFJs approach each other with grace and acceptance. They can form great relationships with each other, just so long as they acknowledge their perspectives will forever be angled in different directions.
What Are Your Thoughts?
Did you enjoy this article? Do you have any thoughts or experiences to share? Let us know in the comments!
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About the Author:
Jami Cannon is an MBTI® enthusiast who hopes to shed more light on the SJ experience. She holds a very stereotypical degree in History (MA) and loves to learn all she can about the people around her.