10 Fictional ISFJ Characters
Yeah, yeah, you already disagree with half the list. That’s fine, but do at least try to hear me out.
Table of contents
- 10 Fictional ISFJ Characters
- Sally (The Nightmare Before Christmas)
- Meg March (Little Women)
- Rogers (Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood)
- Pam (The Office)
- Marta Cabrera (Knives Out)
- Retsuko (Aggretsuko)
- Jacob Kowalski (Fantastic Beasts Series)
- Esme & Carlisle Cullen (Twilight)
- Cinderella (Cinderella)
- Narcissa Malfoy (Harry Potter)
Estimated reading time: 15 minutes
Sally (The Nightmare Before Christmas)
Let’s start with the sweetest love interest of all time. If you’ve seen The Nightmare Before Christmas you probably know a thing or two about this ragdoll. In the film, we witness Sally try to convince Jack ‘The Pumpkin King’ (I would argue that Jack is an ENTP) that he’s good enough as he is. Sally thinks that Jack doesn’t have to get involved in figuring out what Christmas means because his nature lends itself towards understanding Halloween. But Jack is Jack. He’s curious and as soon as his brain latches onto an idea, he must pursue it. Sally knows this and knows that Jack has been experiencing general boredom with his life. Thus, she makes subtle moves to show her support of him. Despite knowing Jack belongs in and to Halloween, Sally still encourages his wish to pursue Christmas, to “play” Santa Claus.
Just marry this girl already, Jack.
Sally continually depicts the sort of concrete help many ISFJs flourish by. She, for example, makes Jack a basket of food when he’s up in his tower, lost in thought. At a time when Jack’s refusing to see anyone, he accepts her gift with a smile. She also helps sew together what would become his Santa costume. Sally’s gentle nudges provide a good example of how ISFJs might go about showing their care, especially when they remain uncertain as to whether their love interest shares a mutual desire towards them. Her compassion and devotion are quite visible, as well as her brilliant mind—something ISFJs aren’t given enough credit for.
She outsmarted the “brainy” doctor, didn’t she?
Of special note is Sally’s clear connection with Introverted Sensing (Si), which forms impressions and meaning based off of objects. Before Jack “becomes” Santa, Sally has a “vision” that is physically manifested. She picks off a dead flower from a bush, which quickly transforms into a fully decorated Christmas tree with cute ornaments hanging off of it. Sally is wowed by the shift. However, suddenly the tree catches fire and she knows that Jack’s Christmas will end badly. Sally knows that she must tell Jack of the symbolism the object gave her. However, when Sally approaches Jack on the matter, he doesn’t listen to her pleas and moves forward with his plot (for all the dads out there) anyway. And his attempt at being Santa fails as he is shot out of the sky. Although the pair ultimately winds up together, Jack might have saved himself some grief had he trusted the meaning Sally had found in the object.
Trust your SJs sometimes, people!
Meg March (Little Women)
Meg March is the oldest of four girls that make up Little Women. We actively see her trying to keep the peace between her sisters, helping her mother whenever possible, and trying to keep with the social customs of the time. Meg’s help is very practical in upkeeping family bonds. Her irritation flairs when her siblings refuse to get along or conduct irrevocable acts such as when Amy burns much of Jo’s (handwritten!!!) book.
Meg is quite smart and a bit playful. She wants to enjoy herself at balls and the like but never goes too far as to make a scene. While her sister Jo March basically tries to prove her independence and strength, Meg’s sense of calm derives from the hope that one day she will get married and start her own family. Meg remarks, “I don’t want a fashionable wedding, but only those about me whom I love, and to them I wish to look and be my familiar self. Tomorrow I shall put away my ‘fuss and feathers’ and be desperately good again.” Meg’s wishes are just as strong as Jo’s, although they have much different goals. Meg’s general disposition provides a good example of how an ISFJ might act within a family dynamic and care so strongly for those around her.
Rogers (Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood)
It’s Mr. Rogers. Need I say more? Mr. Rogers is the teacher, friend, and face of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. Much of the show explores how to approach emotions, how to treat others, and how to be open to the range of people in one finds in life. The show is considered children’s programming, but I would venture to guess that most adults would gain something from it as well. Mr. Rogers is generally kind, welcoming, practical, and very interested in cardigans.
So interested in cardigans.
Hello, perfect ISFJ.
Mr. Rogers’s Extroverted Feeling (Fe) preference is quite visible. Nearly everything he “preaches” has to do with how our actions, our decisions, and our approach to problems affects others. We may all experience strong emotions at some point in life, but it’s what we do with it that matters. In the words of Mr. Rogers, “what do you do with the mad that you feel?” He goes on to say there are healthy ways to manage anger, sadness and so on. Like striking the lowest note on a piano. Managing your emotions without negatively affecting others or yourself was of pivotal concern, something most ISFJs could get behind. The goal is to have positive relations with people now to avoid negative Introverted Sensing (Si) impressions later. Mr. Rogers wanted a better world for everyone on a daily basis.
Gotta love an ISFJ king.
Pam (The Office)
Pam Beesly is our favorite ISFJ from The Office. She’s quiet, calm, and has a playful side. She doesn’t mind getting lost in shenanigans with her love interest Jim. She also tends to drift along with whatever madness her boss Michael forces on the entire office, but will “check” him if he goes too far. Pam is near-constantly trying to assess her social role so that she can meet the needs of the people around her. It’s a big moment when Pam finally says, “I’m gonna start telling people what I want directly.” Something most ISFJs struggle to learn, but learn in time they do.
And some of us are still learning this lesson, dang it!
Like many ISFJs before her, it takes Pam several seasons to see her own inherent value (given our Introverted Feeling lies in the shadows, it’s not hard to see why this can be such a problem for ISFJs). There are a range of choices Pam makes that reflects her general underassessment of herself. She stays in a loveless engagement with Roy out of comfort for several years. She has to nearly will herself out of her “stable” role as a receptionist in order to try art school, and when that doesn’t go as planned, she reels in worry over what she will (or will not) become. Her fear at the changes she must make for her growth showcase inferior Extroverted Intuition (Ne) quite well. Pam spends much of the series making subtle shifts until she stands beside Jim, on equal footing.
Marta Cabrera (Knives Out)
Marta Cabrera from Knives Out immediately struck me as the quintessential ISFJ. Ever polite and always agreeable, she moves through her environment bordering on timid. Marta spends the majority of the movie accommodating the people around her and trying to put her learned skills (nursing) to work for the wealthy Harlan Thrombey. She also makes herself present at every beck and call of the family, taking her duty to the group seriously.
These people are nuts.
When Harlan is murdered, Marta becomes a suspect in his case given her proximity to him as his caretaker. Detective Blanc keeps Marta close as she holds an interesting habit of not being able to lie without puking: seemingly helpful and convenient in a murder investigation. Marta does what she can to not become the prime suspect. Yet, when it matters most, Marta saves the life of another who could raise her stakes as a suspect in the crime. However, it didn’t matter that the other person could ultimately hurt her reputation through their survival. Marta simply saw it as her duty to save the life before her and she did.
Don’t cry. It’s beautiful. Okay, fine. Cry.
Aggretsuko’s Retsuko is a red panda who works in an accounting office. She’s dutiful in her work but can never seem to make her explosively aggressive boss happy. Retsuko lives a semi typical life with semi typical problems. She frets over letting down her friends, has some anxiety over managing her relationship with her mom, and some reservations training incoming staff. Much tends to weigh on her furry shoulders.
But when Retsuko finds karaoke, she finds a place that can hold the weight of her drear. She expels all of her anger by singing screamo music.
Retsuko: “Underneath that smile, I’m metal till I die.”
One wouldn’t guess by looking at her that she would carry so much raw energy inside her—as she, like many other ISFJs keep that in check—but her own disappointments and stressors pile up. Making herself feel “heard” gives her a release. Ever dutiful, once her scream sessions are complete, she heads back into the world where she accommodates at all costs.
Jacob Kowalski (Fantastic Beasts Series)
All Jacob Kowalski from Fantastic Beasts wants to do is own and run a bakery. Hello, strong ISFJ vibes. Nuff said? Jacob is generally lowkey, wanting only to convince the bank of the potential of his startup. He wants not for fame or fortune. He’d settle for a cupcake or two. That is, before getting thrust into the wizarding world.
As Jacob tags along with Newt Scamander, what he knows of life shifts drastically. He’s constantly (and somewhat unwillingly) put into situations he doesn’t understand with objects and creatures set in his path that he’s never heard of. At one point Jacob asks himself, “What did you do today, Jacob? I was inside a suitcase.”
Real sane, Jacob.
Still, despite the oddities, Jacob remains by Newt’s side, doing what he can with what he learns. Jacob’s dedication to Newt forms quickly and they become fast friends. Newt is more than sorry when he’s told Jacob’s mind must be erased.
Everyone needs an ISFJ bff.
Esme & Carlisle Cullen (Twilight)
Carlisle and Esme Cullen from The Twilight Series share a similar gentle touch. They are both compassionate, understanding, and would put their family above all else. The vampires share their home to a human (Bella) simply because their son Edward likes her (causing some discomfort on their part, I’m sure…who’s hungry?). Esme even reveals how her son’s unhappiness prior to Bella directly correlated to her own: “He’s been the odd man out for far too long; it’s hurt me to see him alone” (Twilight).
We witness Carlisle’s immense care when he puts aside his own desires (blood) in order to treat his patients (humanity at large). Becoming a doctor was one way he could still help others progress in time: “What I enjoy the very most is when my… enhanced abilities let me save someone who would otherwise have been lost. It’s pleasant knowing that, thanks to what I can do, some people’s lives are better because I exist” (New Moon). Carlisle’s general concern for humanity appears in every move he makes. He is one of the few vampires who chooses to live a life aware of how his diet affect others and he gently entices others onto a softer path, if they are willing. Yet he doesn’t harshly judge the vampires who reject his “vegetarian” cause either. He’s generally open and giving to all who come into his path.
It’s no secret that Carlisle does not view his vampirism positively. Despite disliking his natural state, he does his best to help everyone he can. “I’m sure all this sounds a little bizarre, coming from a vampire. But I’m hoping that there is still a point to this life, even for us. It’s a long shot, I’ll admit. By all accounts, we’re damned regardless. But I hope, maybe foolishly, we’ll get some measure of credit for trying” (New Moon).
As if Carlisle would ever be damned.
Carlisle is my favorite fictional ISFJ. Don’t tell the others I said that.
Esme shares her husband’s vision and openness. It’s no wonder Carlisle saw something in her and changed her at near death. Esme moves to assist him and the family in little ways, supporting her children by lending an ear. Her kindness is readily felt by even Bella, who is instantly put to ease upon their first meeting. Esme at one point notes to Bella, “You’re what he wants. It will work out, somehow” (Twilight).
Cinderella lives under the thumb of her stepmother, cooking and cleaning nearly 24/7. She doesn’t have much freedom and tends to relive her days over and over. Her kindness and care never falters, even when no compassion from others can be found. Although locked inside a rough situation, Cinderella makes the best of it.
As is the ISFJ samurai code.
Cinderella’s fantasies of a better life and family keep her going, despite the daily struggles she encounters. “Well, there’s one thing: they can’t order me to stop dreaming” (Disney’s Cinderella). Amidst her daydreams, Cinderella makes the most of her days. She befriends the animals around her and hums while she cleans. When she has the opportunity to attend the ball, she does with no expectations. Yet she wins the heart of the prince. When the castle scours to find the princess who enticed the prince, she is reluctant to come forward and claim the glass slipper as her own. Yet when she does, the world falls into alignment. Her undying hope and kindness ultimately guides her towards a better life.
Narcissa Malfoy (Harry Potter)
Narcissa Malfoy is Draco’s mother in the Harry Potter series. Her role might be small, but it carries weight. We witness her seal an unbreakable curse with Snape so that her son might be protected if her son’s mission fails. Although Narcissa may be associated with the Death Eaters, her role with them does not rise above her family. We see Narcissa’s will focused on the preservation of those she cares about. She proves herself to be a caring mother who would lie to the devil himself if it meant protecting her own. Very much the Slytherin way.
Later, with everything at stake, Narcissa asks a breathing Harry, “Is Draco still alive?” (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows). Harry confirms that he is. It’s all she needs to hear. Narcissa then lies to Voldemort, claiming that his spell had killed Harry, when in fact, the boy had lived.
Why does he keep doing that.
We can question whether Narcissa lied about Harry because she learned that Draco was safe or that she had a moment of compassion for Harry due to her position as a mother. Either way, it would set the course for the fate of those at Hogwarts.
What Are Your Thoughts?
Do you agree with this list? Disagree? Have any other characters you think might be ISFJs? 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.
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