I've been doing personality "work" with my kids and my students. While I do not think you should put major "stock" in a category, I think understanding who YOU are and your tendencies but more specifically, the tendencies of others, is SO important.
Here is a link I did MANY years ago discussing what personality John and I are.
So, here I share some of this. More for reference later.
Here is ABIGAIL
ISFJ-T / Introduction
WHO IS A DEFENDER (ISFJ)?
A Defender (ISFJ) is someone with the Introverted, Observant, Feeling, and Judging personality traits. These people tend to be warm and unassuming in their own steady way. They’re efficient and responsible, giving careful attention to practical details in their daily lives.
In their unassuming, understated way, Defenders help make the world go round. Hardworking and devoted, people with this personality type feel a deep sense of responsibility to those around them. Defenders can be counted on to meet deadlines, remember birthdays and special occasions, uphold traditions, and shower their loved ones with gestures of care and support. But they rarely demand recognition for all that they do, preferring instead to operate behind the scenes.
This is a capable, can-do personality type, with a wealth of versatile gifts. Though sensitive and caring, Defenders also have excellent analytical abilities and an eye for detail. And despite their reserve, they tend to have well-developed people skills and robust social relationships. Defenders are truly more than the sum of their parts, and their varied strengths shine in even the most ordinary aspects of their daily lives.
Defenders are true altruists, meeting kindness with kindness-in-excess and engaging with the work and people they believe in with enthusiasm and generosity.
The Gift of Loyalty
Among Defenders’ most distinctive traits is loyalty. Rare is the Defender who allows a friendship or relationship to fade away from lack of effort. Instead, they invest a great deal of energy into maintaining strong connections with their loved ones – and not just by sending “How are you doing?” texts. People with this personality type are known for dropping everything and lending a hand whenever a friend or family member is going through a hard time.
Defenders tend to feel most energized and effective when they’re showing up for someone who needs their help.
Defenders’ sense of loyalty doesn’t stop with their nearest and dearest – it often extends to their communities, their employers, and even family traditions. But the intensity of their commitment and desire to serve can have its downsides. Other people may take advantage of Defenders’ helpful, hardworking nature, leaving them feeling burned out and overworked. And Defenders may feel guilty or stressed when they contemplate changes – even necessary changes – to themselves, their relationships, or the way they’ve done things in the past.
The Highest of Standards For Defenders, “good enough” is rarely good enough. People with this personality type can be meticulous to the point of perfectionism. They take their responsibilities personally, consistently going above and beyond and doing everything that they can to exceed others’ expectations.
Defender personalities are known for their humility, and they rarely seek the spotlight.
But what happens when Defenders’ efforts go unnoticed or unappreciated? While Defenders tend to underplay their accomplishments, that doesn’t mean that they don’t enjoy recognition – or that they’re fine with being taken for granted. Unless they learn to stand up for themselves, Defenders may find themselves quietly losing their enthusiasm and motivation, eventually becoming resentful toward the people who just don’t seem to appreciate them.
Showing Up for Others – and Themselves: Although they’re Introverted, Defenders have a deeply social nature. Thanks to their ability to remember the details of other people’s lives, Defenders have a special talent for making their friends and acquaintances feel seen, known, and cherished. Few personality types can match Defenders’ ability to choose just the right gift for any occasion, whether large or small.
Dedicated and thoughtful, Defenders find great joy in helping those around them build stable, secure, and happy lives. It may not be easy for people with this personality type to show up for themselves in the way that they show up for other people, but when they do, they often find themselves with even more energy and motivation to do good in Strengths & Weaknesses
- Supportive – Defenders truly enjoy helping others, and they happily share their knowledge, attention, and expertise with anyone who needs it. People with this personality type strive for win-win situations, choosing teamwork over competition whenever possible.
- Reliable – Rather than working in sporadic, excited bursts that leave things half finished, Defenders are meticulous and careful. They take a steady approach, ensuring that things are done to the highest standard – and often going well beyond what is required.
- Observant – Defender personalities have a talent for noticing things, particularly about other people. They pay attention to the smallest details of what someone says and does, giving them unexpected insights into other people’s lives and emotions.
- Enthusiastic – When the goal is right, Defenders apply all of their gifts to something that they believe will make a real, positive difference in people’s lives – whether that’s fighting poverty with a global initiative or simply making a customer’s day.
- Hardworking – Defenders don’t just get their work done – they take pride in it. People with this personality type often form an emotional attachment to the projects and organizations that they’ve dedicated themselves to, and they won’t rest until they’ve done their share – or more than their share – to be of help.
- Good Practical Skills – This personality type offers the rare combination of an altruistic nature and hard-won practicality. Defenders don’t just hope to help others. They take action – meaning that they’re more than happy to roll up their sleeves and do what’s necessary to care for their friends, family, and anyone else who needs it.
- Overly Humble – Defenders are so concerned with other people’s feelings that they may refuse to make their thoughts known or to take any duly earned credit for their contributions. And they often downplay their efforts entirely when they think that they could have done some minor aspect of a task better.
- Taking Things Personally – Although they might try to hide it, people with this personality type are deeply sensitive to others’ opinions, and they can be thrown off-balance if someone doesn’t appreciate, approve of, or agree with them. When they encounter criticism or disagreement – even if it’s well intentioned – Defenders may feel as if they’re experiencing a personal attack.
- Repressing Their Feelings – Private and reserved, Defenders tend to internalize their feelings, particularly negative ones. This can create misunderstandings in their relationships. Eventually, all of their repressed feelings and resentments may boil over in a sudden, uncharacteristic outburst of frustration.
- Overcommitted – Defenders’ dutifulness can create situations where they are overwhelmed but unwilling to relax their standards or ask for help. As a result, Defender personalities may suffer silently, trying to do everything themselves, even when it’s simply impossible.
- Reluctant to Change – Defenders are among the personality types that struggle the most with change. Breaking with tradition isn’t easy for Defenders, who place great value on history and precedent. Even when change is necessary, they may wait until the situation reaches a breaking point before altering course.
- Too Altruistic – Defenders’ giving, generous nature can leave them vulnerable to being taken advantage of by others. It can be hard for people with this personality type to rock the boat and stand up to someone who isn’t pulling their own weight.
Friendships: Given how warm, supportive, and generous Defenders are, it’s not surprising that others gravitate toward them as friends. But while people with this personality type value and even cherish their friendships, they don’t find it easy to bond with just anyone.
Defenders tend to be private and a bit protective of themselves, and it can take them a while to feel comfortable enough to open up to someone new. This explains why most of Defenders’ friendships don’t start as random encounters on a wild night out, but rather through comfortable and consistent contact – for example, at school or at work. Defenders appreciate the opportunity to deepen their connection with another person over time, with the two friends gradually sharing more and more of themselves with each other.
Deep down, many Defenders long to be liked and accepted. This is a natural desire, and it helps explain why people with this personality type are known for being such thoughtful, reliable friends. Defenders care about what other people think of them, so they strive to bring their best selves to all of their relationships, including their friendships.
Defenders know that being a good friend takes effort – and they’re more than willing to put in the work.
This trait tends to make Defenders exceptional friends. If taken too far, however, it can lead them to fall into the trap of people-pleasing. Some personality types have no trouble expressing an unpopular opinion or posing an awkward question – but not Defenders. Defenders are reluctant to rock the boat, whether that means asking a friend to pay back a loan or disagreeing with where everyone else wants to go for dinner.
In most cases, this behavior stems from a fear of being rejected. While most Defenders are perfectly comfortable having a small, tight-knit circle of friends, they hate the idea of risking the disapproval of even one of those friends. The problem is that, over time, people-pleasing can cause Defenders to lose touch with their sense of self and their ability to make decisions on their own terms.
Few personality types can match Defenders’ fervent desire to be there for their friends through thick and thin. Ever ready to offer advice, help, and reassurance, Defenders take pride in the fact that people turn to them in times of need – in fact, showing up for their friends in this way offers people with this personality type a sense of purpose in life.
Defenders appreciate their friends deeply, and they aren’t afraid to show it – but it may be difficult for them to ask for that same appreciation in return.
In return, all Defenders wish for is loyalty and respect – and, in an ideal world, a bit of recognition for all that they do. But even though many Defenders crave validation and support from their friends, they tend to be too proud to ask for it, just as they may not be comfortable asking for the help that they need. Fortunately, with time, many Defenders learn that anyone who takes advantage of their generous, altruistic nature isn’t a true friend.
An Inspired Bond
Defenders can become attached to their visions of how things “should” be. In the world of friendship, they may believe – consciously or not – that they should be completely selfless. But when they ease up on this expectation, balancing their friends’ needs with their own, people with this personality type can bring the full magnitude of their gifts to their friendships. And this helps them enjoy the sort of meaningful, enduring bonds that make life all the more worthwhile.
Defenders are often the backbone of their workplace: reliable, hardworking, and always ready to lend a hand. People with this personality type take pride in getting the job done and getting it done well, rarely cutting corners or balking at a time-consuming task. This unshakable work ethic, combined with a genuine desire to be of service to others, makes Defenders invaluable in a range of careers.
Shining Behind the Scenes
Few personality types can match Defenders’ deep appreciation of what it means to play a supporting role. Rather than seeking out the spotlight for themselves, Defenders genuinely enjoy helping and uplifting others. It’s no surprise, then, that Defenders tend to seek out workplaces that are collaborative and team-oriented rather than competitive and high pressure.
With their natural humility, Defender personalities tend to feel especially fulfilled by careers that allow them to facilitate others’ growth, healing, and progress. Teaching is a prime example of this, as are speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, medicine, and social work. Defenders’ patience and ability to stay present in the moment enable them to be incredibly attuned to the needs of the people they are serving.
Defenders are motivated, consistent workers, rarely losing sight of the ways in which their daily tasks can benefit others.
No matter what it says on their business card, many Defenders approach their work with an eye toward helping others in practical ways. People with this personality type tend to excel at customer service, with a particular gift for listening to concerns, calming frustrations, and seeing things through to a clear resolution. These skills can also translate well into roles in human resources, IT support, hospitality, retail, office administration, library sciences, and pretty much any job that involves fielding and helping answer people’s questions.
Never Missing a Beat
Some personality types lose steam in the face of a tedious, multifaceted task, but not Defenders. Defenders’ attentiveness to detail is among their greatest strengths, and detail-oriented fields like law, accounting, data analysis, and research can be right up their alley. What’s especially notable, however, is how Defenders stay connected to the human dimension of this work, rarely forgetting the impact that their spreadsheets and memos might have on real people.
Meticulous and socially oriented, Defenders have a talent for remembering things about other people – a talent that can help them connect with a customer, bolster a faltering business relationship, or simply brighten a colleague’s day.
Despite their many gifts, Defender personalities are unlikely to demand recognition or ask for promotions, preferring to let their work speak for itself. Given their respect for tradition and security, Defenders generally have no problem with the idea of moving along in a structured hierarchy, trusting that their bosses will promote them if and when the time is right. But even the most patient Defender can become frustrated if their contributions seem to be continually overlooked. When Defenders do take the leap into management roles, they often find that their strengths are surprisingly well suited to building a cohesive, productive, and effective team.
Defenders can be loyal to a fault, and they may feel guilty at the idea of moving on from their employer – even if it just isn’t working out. But as long as they put themselves in a work environment that appreciates and takes full advantage of their many strengths and talents, Defenders can use their determination, precision, and altruistic energy to do even more good in this world.
Wherever they may be on the career ladder, Defenders share the goal of putting good service and dedication above all else. People with this personality type can always be relied on for their kindness and ability to listen carefully to concerns – and to find ways to resolve them. Win-win situations are Defenders’ bread and butter, and no other personality type can quite match the satisfaction that they take in finding practical, clear resolutions to day-to-day challenges.
As employees, Defenders exemplify the strength of humble dedication. Relied on and respected for their patience and commitment, people with this personality type really only need one reward for their work: the satisfaction of knowing that they’ve helped someone. And if that person expresses a bit of gratitude, so much the better.
At times, Defenders’ radical humility can hold them back. They tend to be unwilling to play up their achievements, often for fear of creating unnecessary friction. Unfortunately, this can make it all too easy for their bosses to overlook them when opportunities for promotion come along.
Defenders’ humility is a strength – but people with this personality type may struggle to get new opportunities unless they learn to take at least some credit for all the work that they do.
Defenders’ loyalty and dependability often makes them invaluable to their bosses. In general, people with this personality type can be trusted to carry out their tasks precisely and without complaint. But Defenders’ aversion to rocking the boat may make it difficult for them to correct or disagree with their bosses or coworkers, even when it’s necessary to do so in order to avoid wasted time and energy. Fortunately, with time, many Defenders learn to express their opinions (and corrections) in a gentle, nonjudgmental way.
For Defenders, an ideal work environment is founded on working together with colleagues rather than competing against them, with everyone collaborating toward the shared goal of getting the job done. Close-knit and supportive teams are what Defender personalities enjoy most, allowing them to express their altruistic spirit among people who rely on their dedication and warmth.
Defenders build relationships with their colleagues naturally – a skill that they use to keep things running smoothly, not to ingratiate themselves with others.
These strengths can become drawbacks, however, as Defenders’ aversion to conflict and their desire to help can be abused by less scrupulous colleagues. Instead of only asking for help when they need it, some colleagues may heap extra work on Defenders’ desks, knowing that Defender colleagues have a hard time saying no. Unless they learn to set boundaries, Defenders can feel overburdened and stressed – and not a little taken advantage of.
Defenders don’t always raise their hands for leadership opportunities, but their interpersonal skills and work ethic can lend themselves quite well to managing others. As managers, Defenders tend to be warm and approachable, always willing to answer questions and always ready to step up and help. Having no real desire to exercise power over others, Defender personalities prefer to work alongside their subordinates, keeping things running smoothly and minimizing conflict.
Defenders bring a team spirit to their work, and they aim to impart this spirit to the people they manage.
Defender managers care about efficiency and effectiveness, but never at the expense of maintaining a positive relationship with their subordinates. Change can be a challenge for bosses with this personality type – including the none-too-pleasant change of firing someone who isn’t working out. At times, Defender managers may sink a bit too much of their energy into an underperforming employee – but they’d much rather make this mistake than the mistake of giving up on someone who just needed another chance.
What you have read so far is just an introduction into the complexities of the caring, devoted, and incredibly loyal Defender personality type. Along the way, you may have muttered to yourself, “Wow, this is so accurate, it’s a little creepy,” or “Finally, someone understands me!” You may have even asked, “How do they know more about me than the people I’m closest to do?”
If you feel understood right now, it’s because you are. Years of research have given us deep insights into the unique strengths and challenges of Defenders like you. We understand your altruism and your can-do attitude, but we also know the vulnerabilities of your personality type, including the fear that you’ll fall short of your potential.
Defenders’ gifts include generosity, patience, and determination – but they aren’t people who just want to hear what makes them great. Defenders are committed to actually using these gifts to become better people and be of service to others.
That’s why we’ve made it our mission to help Defenders like you not only appreciate your strengths but also make the most of them. Learning about your personality type is fascinating, but there’s a deeper purpose to it, too – because self-understanding is what helps you ensure that you’re putting your gifts to full use.
So here’s our question for you, Defender: Are you ready to take full advantage of your unique strengths? If so, your Premium Profile will give you new insights into your personality, your relationships, your career path, and your life’s mission. This is the journey of a lifetime – and you’ll find everything you need to get started by moving on to the next section.
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