Some ISFJ’s have difficulty fitting into our society. Their problems are often a result of an inability to flow with what is, a too negative or correcting attitude which dismays others, or unrealistic ideals and ideas about the world. These issues mostly stem from using Extraverted Feeling in a diminished manner: the lack of a strong externally focused value system allowing an often ambiguous and yet strongly defended world view which has little relation to concrete reality to control the personality. An ISFJ who attempts to feel and value the feelings of others for the sake of understanding the world around them, rather than quickly deciding how they and they alone feel, will have a clearer, more objective understanding of how society is dependant not only upon structure and correct behavior, but also how human values make it just what it is and not something else perhaps more desirable. He or she will also be more comfortable and less likely to demand that the world and the behavior of others conform to some abstract code of being. Such well-adjusted ISFJ’s will fit happily into our society. Unless you really understand Psychological Type and the nuances of the various personality functions, it’s a difficult task to suddenly start to use Feeling in an unambiguous and totally extraverted direction. It’s difficult to even understand what that means, much less to incorporate that directive into your life. With that in mind, I am providing some specific suggestions that may help you to begin exercising your Extraverted Feeling more fully:
Take care to try and discover why others feel the way they do. Try to notice the connections between their feelings and the way they see the world. Don’t immediately compare your own value judgments about the world to theirs; simply accept that for them this is a real and perfectly valid way of responding.
Think of those times and situations in your life when you felt misunderstood or disregarded by others. Now try to understand how one or two other people would see the situation. Don’t try to assume they would judge as you do: “she would have to feel the same way if that happened to her”, or “he would change his tune if he saw things from my point of view”. Rather, try to understand how they would truly see the situation. Would it be seen as a problem, or as an opportunity? Would it be taken seriously or lightly? Try to determine their point of view without passing judgment or comparing it to your own.
When having a conversation with a friend or relative, dedicate at least half of your time to finding out how the other person feels about what they are describing. Concentrate on
really sensing their emotional state. Tell them how you feel and compare. Ask questions about why they feel as they do.
Think of the people who are closest to you. As you think of each person, tell yourself “this person has their own life going on, and they are more concerned with their own life than they are with mine.” Remember that this doesn’t mean that they don’t care about you. It’s the natural order of things. Try to visualize what that person is feeling right now. What emotions are they enacting, what thoughts are they having? Don’t pass judgment, or compare their situation to your own.
Try to identify the personality type of everyone that you come into contact with for any length of time.