Pragmatic. Nurturing. Conscientious. These are all words that describe the ISFJ personality type. When it comes to relationships, people of this type are often valued for their level-headedness and generosity. ISFJs usually love selflessly and have great concern for bringing comfort and stability to the lives of the people they care about. Today we’re going to take a look at a few specific struggles and mistakes these types encounter in relationships so that they can be avoided! Let’s get started.
#1 – Being Overly Generous
I think we can all agree that generosity is a good thing. But it can go too far. When I surveyed ISFJs in my email list, the most frequent struggle that they encountered was getting lost in a relationship. Many ISFJs reported giving so much to their partner that they gradually lost sight of their own needs, both physical and emotional. Some ISFJs in long-term relationships or marriages have become burned out and taken-for-granted. It’s important for ISFJs to remember to take care of themselves and to stand up for what they truly need and desire. Without doing this, ISFJs can become exhausted, resentful, and emotionally weary.
How to Avoid This Mistake:
It’s important to pause throughout your day and take into account the fact that you are an individual that matters. It can be easy to become so focused on the person you love that you forget about your own voice and needs. You matter. You are someone you should be taking care of just as readily as you take care of your partner or your friends. Practice being assertive in your relationship. Here are a few ways that you can do that:
#1 – Start small. When your partner asks you what you want for dinner, say specifically what you want. When they ask you what kind of TV show you feel like watching, be specific. Don’t try to find out what they want first, just be honest and kind.
#2 – Remind yourself that your thoughts and feelings are worth listening to. Remember that your thoughts matter and your feelings are valid. Don’t get caught up in obsessing over how your partner will interpret things. If your partner loves you, expressing your opinion won’t change that. If they do react negatively, then take some time to assess the relationship and where each of you are in it. Maybe there needs to be a change in expectations, duties, or the seriousness of the relationship.
#3 – Express your feelings firmly, but without passive-aggressive comments or accusations. It can be very stressful to express your needs, desires, and values in a relationship. Sometimes it’s easier just to focus on the other person. Remember that it’s okay to be firm and direct about what you need or want. It’s nearly always worse for a relationship to be passive-aggressive or accusatory.
#2 – Hesitation
ISFJs can be very hesitant to express their true feelings, especially early on in a relationship. They can develop very intense, passionate feelings towards someone, but then become stuck, unsure about how to reveal those feelings. They may try to hold their affection inside, in order to avoid “scaring” off the potential partner. In a relationship, they may refrain from expressing negative thoughts in order to avoid conflict. Either way, ISFJs can hold onto feelings, both positive and negative, for too long. This can result in confusion and a lot of frustration over time.
How to Avoid This Mistake:
Remind yourself of these things:
- Open communication is essential in a healthy relationship.
- There is no excuse for your partner to make you feel inferior.
- Always stand up for yourself.
- You are worthwhile and valuable.
- Own your choices. Sometimes this means defending your decisions or apologizing for them.
- It’s good to have an opinion. Share it.
- Trust your instincts.
- It’s smart to tell a potential partner how you feel about them. If they don’t feel the same way then you’ll save a lot of time and energy by getting that sorted out soon.
All introverts tend to mull over things for a long time before expressing them, especially in relationships. It’s tempting to keep your thoughts and feelings inwards rather than risk putting them out only to face rejection. Remind yourself to be brave every day in your relationship. What’s a new way that you can be brave today?
#3 – Rushing for Closure too Quickly
Because harmony and inter-personal connections are so important to the ISFJ personality, they can be overly-hasty to race through problems that are affecting themselves or others. They may be so anxious for closure that they don’t think through the problem in-depth or they fail to reach the most satisfying, logical conclusion. Later on this can cause them regret and frustration as they live with the long-term consequences of their choices.
How to Avoid This Mistake:
It’s important to slow down when you are in the middle of a crisis. Stay with discussions, even if they are uncomfortable so that you can reach solutions that are effective for both you and your partner. If you’re with an intuitive partner, remember that what they are talking about might seem weird or disconnected from the problem at hand. Ask for clarification, but be patient when listening to their more abstract thoughts concerning a problem.
Remember not to shut down or withdraw from problems or reach for an instant-fix solution. It’s normal for Feeling-Judging types to search for the quickest way to make everyone happy, but sometimes the best solution isn’t the one that makes everyone happy the fastest. Sometimes the best solution means sitting with uncertainty for a while, getting alone for a while and thinking things through, or asking for advice from people with personality types different from your own.
Here are some steps to go through when trying to settle on the best decision for your life:
Step #1 – Look at the facts. What do you know to be true? What is observable, proven, and trustworthy?
Step #2 – Look at the history of the situation. Are there any patterns that you want to avoid repeating? What led to the current problem you have today? Is there any wisdom you can pull from past experience?
Step #3 – Look at the big picture. Where do you envision things going if life stays on its current trajectory? Where would you like to be? What really matters in the grand scheme of things?
Step #4 – Think outside-the-box. What connections might you be missing? What alternate possibilities are there?
Step #5 – Think about the pros and cons and logic. What makes the most sense? What is true? What will get you the best outcome? Separate your feelings and relationships from the decision. What would you do then? If needed, enlist a Thinking personality type to help you with this.
Step #6 – Now it’s time to check in to your feelings. What will be best for all the people involved? What is ethical and right? What is in line with your values?
After going through these six steps you should have a better idea of which choice makes the most sense. Analyzing your decisions and your conflicts in this way can help you to avoid rushing to a solution that isn’t ideal.
Summing It Up…
As an ISFJ personality type you have a lot of unique gifts to bring to a relationship. Your pragmatic nature, nurturing spirit, and sensible outlook on life makes you a source of strength to many. For you, the important thing to remember is to stand up for yourself, express yourself, and to take time when looking for solutions. If you can focus on these three things then you’ll avoid a lot of the relationship roadblocks that ISFJs tend to experience. If you’d like to find out more about your type, be sure to check out Joel and Antonia’s ISFJ personality kit here.