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  1. #1
    Senior Member Lambchop's Avatar
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    Default Differences between ISFJ and ISTJ?

    Please help me with differences between ISFJs and ISTJs!

    My boss at work is an ISTJ. I am an ISFJ. It's so weird to me how we can have so many similarities...but he can be so different from me too! I guess I'm trying to figure out the differences between us...so we can work better together. I've only worked for him for 3 months and I'm still trying to figure him out. He's an attorney and I'm his paralegal, so we work very closely together. ISTJs help me out here. Any ideas on working well with ISTJs? I don't actually know 100% that he is an ISTJ..I have just pegged him as that, I guess. I was thinking about sending him a personality description for ISTJ and asking if that sounds like him. He won't take the test, even though I've sent it to him. Although sometimes, if I won't let something go...he will eventually give in and do it.

    At first, I thought as a T...he didn't care about feelings or anything. I had a mini-meltdown a week or so ago..and ended up crying in his office. Looking back now, the way he reacted was somewhat comical. He didn't know what to do with me! He was very uncomfortable, etc. He said he didn't realize I was so "sensitive." Which of course hurt my feelings because I am sensitive! However, since then...I've noticed him making an effort to be more sensitive towards me...as well as making some light hearted fun of me for being "sensitive." My 90 day review is coming up...and I was a little worried that the sensitivity thing would be an issue. But he mentioned on Friday that being sensitive is actually good for an assistant to be. I want to work well with him and be good at

    My boss is now looking to add another attorney to the firm part time and is having great difficulty with choosing someone. I suggested that we do the personality test on any serious candidates. He usually just ignores anything I have to say about the MBTI, but I think he was actually listening!

    My friends, any and all advice is welcome!!!!!

  2. #2
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    I'm not sure I understand the problem.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Lambchop's Avatar
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    There is no "problem." I just want to understand the differences...or understand ISTJs better.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Lambchop's Avatar
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    Maybe I will go check out some of the ISTJ blogs.

  5. #5
    Senior Member FallaciaSonata's Avatar
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    If you think it would help, feel free to probe my brain a little. I'm sure the other ISTJ's would jump in as well. Just be specific --- what exactly do you want to know?

    As for myself, I am very, very high in the "Thinking" category. I can completely understand his reaction to your mini-meltdown - I would have been thinking along the lines of: "What do I do here? Is there a certain response she's expecting? I'm not really sure --- all I know is I have a valuable employee here with an issue I apparently didn't notice. This has to be fixed - and quickly."

    Whether or not he considers your MBTI advice could stem from a few things. I, myself, am pretty arrogant. I won't listen to someone else's advice unless I consider that person smarter than myself. I'm not in your boss's shoes, but if he thinks he is smarter than you, he will probably not listen to your suggestions --- dismissing them because he thinks "his way is not necessarily better, but has worked just fine in the past, and he sees no need to alter it."

    You have to take all that with a grain of salt though, because I'm making a few assumptions there. I don't have all the data.

    Is there anything you'd like to ask about the ISTJ's functions, mine or everyone's? We're here for you.
    Last edited by FallaciaSonata; 09-12-2009 at 08:38 PM. Reason: Butchered that last sentence in terms of grammar.

    Always remember to flank your enemies. History won't remember how dramatic your failed frontal assault looked. - Dragon Age: Origins

  6. #6
    Senior Member Lambchop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FallaciaSonata View Post
    If you think it would help, feel free to probe my brain a little. I'm sure the other ISTJ's would jump in as well. Just be specific --- what exactly do you want to know?

    As for myself, I am very, very high in the "Thinking" category. I can completely understand his reaction to your mini-meltdown - I would have been thinking along the lines of: "What do I do here? Is there a certain response she's expecting? I'm not really sure --- all I know is I have a valuable employee here with an issue I apparently didn't notice. This has to be fixed - and quickly."

    Whether or not he considers your MBTI advice could stem from a few things. I, myself, am pretty arrogant. I won't listen to someone else's advice unless I consider that person smarter than myself. I'm not in your boss's shoes, but if he thinks he is smarter than you, he will probably not listen to your suggestions --- dismissing them because he thinks "his way is not necessarily better, but has worked just fine in the past, and he sees no need to alter it."

    You have to take all that with a grain of salt though, because I'm making a few assumptions there. I don't have all the data.

    Is there anything you'd like to ask about the ISTJ's functions, mine or everyone's? We're here for you.
    I knew I could count on you, Sonata!! I think that's exactly what I wanted...to be able to pick ISTJs brains! I think you understand and hit the nail on the head...even with your assumptions!

    I could totally see himself thinking that he's smarter than me. Although, the longer I'm around and the more I come out of my shell and say what I think...the less arrogant he is with me. How do you suggest that I get him interested in the MBTI? Should I say "You're not smarter than me"? What interested you in the MBTI?

    What do you value in other people? What kind of things get you excited? What do you dislike about other people (pet peeves?)

    Is it okay to show my feeling side to you...or should I keep that hidden? If I show it to you, will I lose your respect? What kinds of things make you lose respect for someone?

    Do you EVER get emotional? Why do you have a hard time with complimenting other people?

    Those are good starter things I'd like to know from you. I always enjoy your posts so much...so I'm so glad you answered the way you did! I was starting to think "That was a stupid thing to post. Nobody is going to answer and people on here are going to think I'm stupid."

    You better get prepared, because I'm sure I will have 1001 questions for you!!!!

  7. #7
    Senior Member NewEra's Avatar
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    Yeah, I could definitely relate to your boss by being uncomfortable if someone's crying like that in my presence.

    I know I'm not Sonata, but I'll answer these questions, since I am ISTJ too:

    Quote Originally Posted by Lambchop View Post
    I could totally see himself thinking that he's smarter than me. Although, the longer I'm around and the more I come out of my shell and say what I think...the less arrogant he is with me. How do you suggest that I get him interested in the MBTI?
    Why do you want him to get interested in the MBTI? What will it help him do? I think what you should do is, if you do notice that he's less arrogant when you're around him more, then be around him more.

    I can usually come off as arrogant, but then again since he's your boss, maybe he will be less arrogant if you show you can accomplish something really well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lambchop View Post
    Should I say "You're not smarter than me"? What interested you in the MBTI?
    No, don't say 'You're not smarter than me' to him, probably not a good idea. What interested me in the MBTI is that it was involved personality and behavior, which I became very interested in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lambchop View Post
    What do you value in other people? What kind of things get you excited? What do you dislike about other people (pet peeves?)
    I value people who can get things done efficiently. What you can do, if you know your boss is ISTJ, is get things done and don't be too feely.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lambchop View Post
    Is it okay to show my feeling side to you...or should I keep that hidden? If I show it to you, will I lose your respect? What kinds of things make you lose respect for someone?
    If it were me, I would prefer not to have someone that emotional break down like that in front of me.

    Do you EVER get emotional? Why do you have a hard time with complimenting other people?
    Sometimes I do get emotional, but whenever I do, I will not generally not show it. It takes a lot to get me to blow up at someone.

  8. #8
    Senior Member FallaciaSonata's Avatar
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    Anytime. Glad to help.

    My interest in MBTI originally began for two reasons.... First of all, I've always wanted a greater understanding of what makes me tick. Throughout most of my childhood, I have (at different times and from different people) been called out for being "anti-social", or "too analytical" (Mom says that of me especially. Probably her stronger Fi talking.) and stuff like that. I used to dabble in those "get to know your friends" quizzes on MySpace I was semi-forced to participate in (for my friends' sake) and that sparked me a little.

    But me, being the detail-craving dude I am, I wasn't satisfied with those "you're a good person" quiz results --- I wanted something *more*.

    So I looked into several personality studies, mostly searched through Wikipedia (being bored in Photography class because it was geared for slow kids and I had turned in my assignment three weeks prior) and I stumbled across this MBTI.

    So I suppose you could condense all that into one thing --- you could just say I'm unnaturally curious. I've taken it to the next level as well - now that I know how I tick, I try to figure out what makes other people tick, so we have a greater camaraderie.

    So unless he just wants to know how he works (and if he's an older guy, he probably either already does, or doesn't thinks the knowledge is necessary) you'd have to introduce "A logical reason for why he should consider this MBTI".

    Instead of merely wanting him to do it, you should show him results of it. Show him how it's helped you, (if it has) or show him how it *is* applied to real-life scenarios. I emphasize the "is" because I personally do not like it when people say, "But it could be". I want to see a literal real-world result that has positive effects, or at least effects worth using.


    What do I value in other people? What gets me excited? What do I dislike (pet peeves)?

    Let's see. When I'm at work (I'm not the boss, I'm just one of the more experienced peons. : D ) I like to see....diligence. As long as you're following the rules my boss has set down (or if I was the boss, the rules I set down) and you "keep your crap in a pile", as my Dad puts is, then I'm fine. I'm not saying you have to be a total robot, like me, but I want the department (or the law firm in this case?) to run like a well-oiled machine. I don't want any drama, I don't want repeated errors, (I'm okay if someone makes a mistake and then learns from it because that's how I learn.) and I want to ensure the productivity level remains at an acceptable level.

    I suppose I could just say that I value most of the "J" qualities....be on time, organized, etc....and as an ISFJ, I'm sure you have no issues with that.

    As for what gets me excited....this one is indeed difficult. Throughout all of my life, people rarely see this in me. I think it's because my rewards and excitement are..."intrinsic". I'm happy / satisfied just knowing that I finished whatever it was I'm working on, reached my goal, or whatever it is I'm striving for. This also ties in with your "Do you have a hard time complimenting people". I'm not hypocritical --- it's just that because I'm happy because of an "intrinsic" cause, I think others should be / are as well. I don't require a pat on the back - and on the same token, I don't pat other people on the back. (Even though I probably should.)

    As for pet peeves, they're mostly just J related. I generally dislike sloppy/messy people, I can't stand it when people show up late for work, or when they leave work without finishing whatever it was they started (because even I would stay after work a few minutes to finish whatever it was I was doing.) A lot of it ties into that "high standards" thing. I may appear to be hypocritical --- holding others to a high standard, but remember, I hold myself even *higher*. I'm a perfectionist.

    The only other pet peeve I can think of that might help you is T/F related. I can mention this because of the occasional issue I have with my sister, who I believe uses a lot of Fi. I don't like it when people put more importance on the socially correct move, or "erring on the side of the people". I always put logic first (which is both a good thing and a bad thing) and I prefer when others do the same. For example, I would fire someone without hesitation if they weren't meeting the standard written in the "Here's your job" manual they got when they were hired. I don't really care if they're financially struggling --- they've got no excuse for slacking in my book. I know that sounds cold, but that's just how I view it. If I were in there shoes, I would be working my butt off so I wouldn't be in a bad financial situation. That's just me though. ; )


    Is it okay to show your feeling side? Depends on how close you are to me. I value harmony in the workplace, so if you're having an emotional issue, I would prefer you express it to me in the most blunt manner that way we can discuss a resolution for it. I don't want disunion in the workplace, and I don't want any issues. I would work very hard to resolve any conflict if it meant I could keep my valuable employee. (Key word, valuable. If you were a slacker and you had issues, I would consider simply letting you go.)

    Showing it to me otherwise wouldn't necessarily make me lose my respect for you, however I may delegate a more "logic-based" task to someone who thinks more with their head and less with their heart. (I know that sounds cold, but remember, it would work in your favor in the inverse situation. If there was a task that required better people skills, or social grace, or whatever it is you do that I don't, I would select you for the task in a heartbeat. And even better because you're a J, I have peace of mind knowing you'll get it done - probably better than I would have.)

    The only things that would make me lose respect....are once again, mostly the J stuff. I don't really have much patience/respect for people who are late for work, and all of that aforementioned stuff.


    Do I ever get emotional? Rarely. And when I do, it's never in public, and God forbid in the workplace. Most of my emotions I keep bottled up. I don't find them useful, in fact, I find them to be quite the hindering force most of the time.

    Actually, just the other day at church, my youth pastor's wife laughed at me because I laughed at my friend Jordan's stupidity. (Love Jordan, he's just....a goofball.) Her words were something like this, "Look! Erik actually has emotions -- I never knew!" She was being sarcastic, of course, but it just adds to the rest of 'em....people think I'm a statue.

    ....and I'm OK with that.




    I hope that helped a little. Once again, you'll have to take all that with a grain of salt. It's got a huge Erik-bias on it, and a lot of assumptions about your boss, and in addition to that, I'm only 18 so I'm making assumptions of how actual adults think. (Remember, society says I'm an adult. But I'm really just a thinks-he-knows-it-all teenager.)

    Anything else you'd like to ask? Any other ISTJs out there want to add to it? Or better yet, are there any other ISTJs who can make my analysis better? I'd prefer that.

    Always remember to flank your enemies. History won't remember how dramatic your failed frontal assault looked. - Dragon Age: Origins

  9. #9
    Senior Member NewEra's Avatar
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    Also, think of it in the difference between Te and Fe.

    Te is a logical way of categorizing things which ISTJs have as their Auxiliary (second) function.

    Fe involves a desire to connect with others which ISFJs have as their Auxiliary (second) function.

    Basically to answer your question, the difference between ISTJs and ISFJs is generally that ISFJs care more about connecting with others or being friendly to others, and that ISTJs generally care more about logically categorizing useful data.

  10. #10
    Let's make this showy! raz's Avatar
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    I don't think I've ever thought before MBTI as it being, "Think with your head instead of your heart." I've always viewed it more as...looking at the impact of a decision on the actual lives of the human beings rather than the objective situation. At the end of the day, it's about the people. The logic only serves to make life easier for the person. Apparently it's hard to find people who admire the logic for what it is, rather than the addition to your life that it is.

    If someone shows a feely side to me, I lose trust in them to do the logical thing because they'll just....be more touchy-feely.


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