The Defender (ISFJ)

Updated: Sep 28, 2020

By: Lihong and Sumay McPhail


Defenders (ISFJ) have Introverted, Sensing, Feeling and Judging personality traits. Famous ISFJs include Mother Teresa and Samwise Gamgee from the Lord of the Rings. Defenders are known as the most considerate personality type. They engage the work and people they believe in with enthusiasm and generosity. Their attention to detail and warm and personable nature make them the ultimate caregivers. Here we share common characteristics of Defenders, their strengths and weaknesses, and what it’s like to be a defender’s friend.


Defenders are highly adaptable to those around them. They can do this because they are exceptionally good at reading the emotions, wants and needs of the people around them. This acute sensitivity to others can be overwhelming at times, but is the source of their superpower...extreme flexibility. Though they share the sensing personality trait, Defenders can exercise analytical skills. Though typically organized and structured, defenders are quick to adapt to change. You can often spot the Defender in a crowd as the one that is reserved but paying careful attention to those around them. At times a Defender’s sensitivity to others’ emotions and expectations can become deafening which is why Defenders tend to be introverted as time away from others helps them recharge. The Defender’s superpower is also its Kryptonite.


Defenders have many strengths as we just outlined...especially the ability to adapt to others and demonstrate extreme flexibility. As a result, Defenders are often described as supportive, reliable, patient, observant, enthusiastic, loyal, hardworking and practical. But some of these strengths have a flipside. Defenders can sometimes be too humble, very shy, take things too personally, repress feelings, and overload themselves in their attempt to help others. The Defenders’ extreme flexibility can go too far. One challenge of defenders is setting boundaries on just how flexible they should be. More than any other personality type it is very hard for Defenders to say no because defenders are so sensitive to the wants and needs of others. Another challenge for defenders is ensuring that what they do gets noticed. They tend to downplay their accomplishments or expect others to notice their contributions the way they notice others. Defenders take observing the wants and needs of others to an extreme; which helps them to read other people extremely well, but Defenders sometimes assume that others do the same. This can make it challenging for Defenders to get noticed as they wait for others to acknowledge their contributions without prompting. Defenders will give more at home and the workplace without acknowledgement than just about any personality type. This can cause Defenders to become resentful if left unchecked, and there comes a point at which Defenders simply give up. This is also why Defenders tend to surround themselves with conscientious friends that share their sensitivity to and awareness of the wants, needs, and contributions of others.


Defenders make amazing friends. They are extremely loyal and can provide an almost supernatural ability to fill others with a feeling of self-love and confidence. Defenders make such great partners because of their emotional awareness and adaptability. More than any other personality type the Defender will try their best to understand what you need out of a relationship and quietly support you. These same qualities are also what make Defenders such nurturing parents...especially for young children that are especially dependent on the caring of others. One great example of a Defender type is Samwise Gamgee from the Lord of the Rings. Who doesn’t want a friend like Samwise Gamgee? Throughout the epic series Sam never left Frodo’s side...even into the fires of Mount Doom. He was always conscientious and dependable.


In this lesson we learned about the Defender...a personality shared by Mother Teresa and Samwise Gamgee from the Lord of the Rings. Defenders are perhaps best known for their ability to understand and adapt to others … demonstrating an extreme flexibility. They tend to be very compassionate, nurturing, devoted, hardworking, practical and efficient individuals. This is why Defenders make such great friends, parents, partners, and colleagues. However, defenders can become resentful if their giving personalities are not acknowledged and reciprocated at least a little. Their flexibility can be taken to an extreme in which they sometimes forget to take care of themselves, set boundaries, and not overcommit to helping others.



Question #1: Who is a famous Defender with ISFJ personality traits?


1. Samwise Gamgee from the Lord of the Rings

2. Steve Jobs

3. Elon Musk

4. Donald Trump

Question #2: Which of the following is not a strength of Defender?

1. Compassionate

2. Nurturing

3. Loyal

4. Non-practical

Question #3: Which of the following is a challenge for Defender?

1. Saying no

2. Give credit to other people

3. Listen

4. Go above and beyond to reciprocate


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