How to Tell if You’re an ISFJ vs. ESFJ

ISFJ vs ESFJ blog cover

If you’re reading this post, there’s a high chance that you’re trying to work out if you’re an ISFJ vs. ESFJ personality type. These two types are sometimes confused because they share a number of characteristics. Both types are kind, empathetic, and practical. They are also thoughtful individuals who prioritize their relationships with their loved ones.  

But there are also some core differences between how these types think and experience the world. In this post, we explore these differences. If you’re unclear about your type, we hope this helps you.

So here are five differences between the ISFJ vs. ESFJ personality types:

1. Communication style.

ISFJs and ESFJs are both caring and empathetic in the way they communicate. While both have strong opinions and stand up for what they believe in, ESFJs tend to be more outspoken than ISFJs.

ISFJs tend to speak in a soft voice, and they come across as gentle. They listen more than they talk, and they spend more time in their heads. When having a conversation, ISFJs often use subtle gestures.

In general, ISFJs will keep their thoughts to themselves when they first meet people. Nonetheless, they are genuinely interested in others, and as a result, ISFJs are some of the best listeners out there. ISFJs can need time to collect their thoughts, and they might not always respond in the moment.

On the other hand, ESFJs tend to be louder when talking. They come across as energetic and enthusiastic. ESFJs often use broad gestures to communicate their thoughts and tend to be comfortable initiating conversations, certainly more so than ISFJs.

In addition, ESFJs are generally more comfortable with eye contact. They come across as warm and open. ESFJs often clarify their thoughts by talking things through, which means their opinions may change quite literally as they are speaking. They may restate their thoughts and will often seek input from others.

2. Making decisions.

ISFJs and ESFJs both make decisions based on how their actions will impact other people. This is because they are naturally attuned to other people’s emotions, and this makes them exceptionally thoughtful.

ISFJs tend to take more time to make a decision. Essentially, they need to run each decision through their inner framework and carefully weigh up the pros and cons before coming to a conclusion.

In addition, they like to take time to analyze exactly how their decision will affect other people. This is because ISFJs are very in tune with other people’s feelings, and they strive for harmony in the outer world. Luckily, they are exceptionally talented at predicting how events will play out.

ESFJs are more likely to make a decision based on what feels most natural in the moment. They make choices based on similar criteria to ISFJs, but they are usually quicker to come to a conclusion about how they want to move forward.

This is because they feel less of a need to process their thoughts internally compared to ISFJs. That’s not to say that ESFJs don’t take time to consider their decisions. But at times, ESFJs can be impulsive. ISFJs can make rash decisions, too, but it’s a very rare occurrence. 

3. Friendships.

Both ISFJs and ESFJs value deep, meaningful connections. But they tend to thrive in different situations. ISFJs feel most comfortable in intimate settings with a small number of people, whereas ESFJs need to engage with others more frequently in order to feel their happiest.

ISFJs prefer one-on-one interactions with people. Meeting a friend for a quiet coffee or going for a walk with them in the park suits an ISFJ perfectly. They need more alone time, too, and can find large groups overwhelming.

This extends to the way they work. ISFJs often prefer to work alone, and they can find busy offices distracting, especially if they need to concentrate.

It’s fairly rare for ISFJs to strike up conversations with strangers, and they will often have a small group of close friends.

ESFJs enjoy group interactions more than ISFJs. They appreciate deep connections just as much, but they feel more energized from being in a bigger group.

If an ESFJ spends the evening chatting with a group of friends over dinner, they’ll come away feeling motivated and full of enthusiasm. ESFJs feel most comfortable working with other people, and they enjoy collaborating.

In addition, ESFJs are more likely than ISFJs to initiate a conversation with people that they don’t know, and they tend to have larger social circles.

4. Openness.

Even though it can take time for both types to truly open up, ESFJs are more open than ISFJs. This is especially the case when it comes to sharing their everyday lives.

ISFJs are particularly difficult to get to know. They can certainly hold a conversation when they want to, but they don’t usually give much away, particularly when you first meet them.

It might almost seem like they are guarding their thoughts and feelings. ISFJs are private, which means they are careful to decide who they let into their inner world. They aren’t necessarily shy; it’s more that they prefer to avoid spending time and energy talking about things that they don’t see as valuable or interesting.

ESFJs tend to be more open. They are less cautious about what they choose to give away about themselves. Of course, it takes time to build trust with ESFJs, more so than you might think, which means they won’t be sharing their deepest, darkest secrets with you right away.

But they are more willing to talk about what’s going on in their life, how their work is going, their current passions, etc. This means that it’s generally easier to get to know an ESFJ, at least to a certain extent.

5. Solitude.

ISFJs need more alone time than ESFJs because they are more sensitive to external stimuli, such as noise and bright lights. While ISFJs value intimate connections, they recharge in solitude. Socializing, particularly with large groups or in loud places, can be exhausting for ISFJs.


They can start to feel drained quite quickly. If they don’t get enough alone time, they tend to become irritable and restless.

ESFJs tend to spend more time with people and interacting with the world than ISFJs. However, it’s worth noting that ESFJs need alone time too. Ultimately, every type needs a balance.

The main difference is that they are able to spend much longer without alone time than ISFJs. Up until a point, they draw energy from social settings, particularly if the situation involves a group of close friends happily discussing deep topics with enthusiasm.

ISFJ vs. ESFJ frequently asked questions

So now we have explained the key differences between the ISFJ vs. ESFJ personality types. Even for those who have explored personality types in depth, it can still be hard to tell the difference between these two types.

Let’s now look at some frequently asked questions about each personality to help make it clearer for you.

Are ISFJs vs. ESFJs more thoughtful?

Both types are highly intuitive and natural empaths, so they tend to be very attuned to the needs of others. ESFJs and ISFJs are driven by a deep desire to make people happy.

ISFJs are more introspective and analytical than ESFJs. They are more prone to overthinking, and they take more time to consider all the possible implications of their actions. This can sometimes make them seem overly cautious or even indecisive, but it also allows them to see things from multiple perspectives, which helps them to gauge other people’s needs.

ESFJs, on the other hand, are more likely to follow their gut instinct and go with their first impulse. While this can lead to impulsive decisions, it can also result in quick, decisive action when it’s needed. ESFJs are also

Ultimately, both types are kind and thoughtful in their own way. ISFJs carefully consider how to bring harmony and positivity to people’s lives, while ESFJs are more likely to take action quickly to make others happy.

Are ISFJs vs. ESFJs more emotional?

ISFJs and ESFJs are two of the most emotional personality types. In a recent So Syncd poll, over 90% of both types said that they are in touch with their emotions. After all, both personality types have a preference for intuition, feeling, and judging.

ISFJs tend to be more private with their emotions and may not share them as openly as ESFJs. Additionally, ISFJs may be more likely to internalize their emotions and may seem calm on the surface even when they’re feeling overwhelmed inside.

On the other hand, ESFJs are usually more expressive with their emotions and tend to wear their hearts on their sleeves. They aren’t afraid of emotions. In fact, they see them as a valuable way to connect with others and build relationships. ESFJs are naturally drawn to people and want to build close connections. They feel that emotions are a vital part of who we are and that hiding them only creates distance.

In summary, both ISFJs and ESFJs are equally emotional, but ESFJs are more likely to express their feelings, while ISFJs tend to be more guarded.

Are ISFJs vs. ESFJs more practical?

When it comes to practicality, both ISFJs and ESFJs tend to excel. These two personality types tend to be grounded and realistic. In fact, they are some of the best planners out there, particularly when it comes to focusing on the details.

ISFJs are known for their traditional values and their understated nature. They’re often the ones who keep households running smoothly, and they’re always ready to lend a helping hand to a friend in need. ISFJs often have patience and focus to work through everyday tasks.

ESFJs are also known for their caring nature, but they tend to be more outgoing and social than ISFJs. They’re often the ones organizing neighborhood get-togethers or leading community service projects.

So, when it comes to practicality, both ISFJs and ESFJs have a lot to offer. ISFJs tend to be practical in a more home-oriented sense, while ESFJs are more likely to use their practicality in a way that involves others.

Final thoughts on ISFJ vs. ESFJ differences

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our individual ISFJ and ESFJ posts, which delve deeper into each personality type. Last but not least, you might also like our posts about ISTJ vs. ISFJ and INFJ vs. ISFJ.

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