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What Makes Us Give—An ISFJ Perspective

What Makes Us Give—An ISFJ Perspective

I asked a person with preferences for ISFJ (my partner, Kevin) what reasons he has for contributing to a cause.

Recently, he asked me to join him in helping run an afternoon of bingo at a nearby retirement home. I asked him what the experience meant to him.

“I’ve always felt that I needed to be doing something that was just the giving of my time,” he said. “I like working with elderly people because a lot of our elderly just get left alone and no one comes to visit and engage with them anymore. I don’t want to think that way. I want to engage. One day, I am going to be in a position where I’m going to need others’ help and I want people to be there, whether it is family or volunteers making sure I’m okay, even if they don’t know me.”

I asked if this has always been a part of who he is.

“I’ve felt a desire to serve from my early teens to now,” he replied. “Volunteering to serve the community, to be of service in a community…to humankind with everyday things is important to me. When I was a teen I wanted to be a missionary so I could help people who were not as fortunate as us. That way of thinking has manifested in different ways as I have gotten older, but the root of it has stayed the same. I just want to help.”


  1. Everyone likes to help and give.. what is unique with ISFJ?

    • Thanks for your comment. The idea with this series on why we give is to try to learn a little bit about why every type likes to give. So far, we have seen examples from INFP, ESTJ, and now ISFJ. Coming up is ENTP.

      Regarding ISFJ, I can see the idea of providing practical help which is what you would expect of all the SF types (ISFJ, ISFP, ESFP, ESFJ).

      • I find this very interesting and helpful. I am curious if you have more descriptions as to service by type.. Not sure I can find all the information. I am also very interested in learning about type and volunteering this seems to play into this as well. Hope you can give me some info.


  2. Yes, the desire to help is present in people, but the underlying manifestation might be different. As an ISTJ, I tend to feel I ought to help others. It is almost an unwritten rule. Yes, it has been instilled in me by the values of my family and religion, but I imagine the sense of duty – the ought to. While I am stressing that, and obviously motivations are more complex, an SF might identify the internal reasons – the expression of preferences.

  3. As an INTJ, I’d really be curious as to the INTJ perspective.

    • I hope to have information on all 16 types. ISTJ and ENFP are coming up next week.

  4. To give is to share something about yourself,whether it be a tangible or an intangible part of you.

    For me, helping out is a stimulating interaction with others that completes me as an individual.

  5. It is interesting to see how psychological preference affects one’s motivation to perform a similar action.

    I am certainly looking forward to seeing more of these. Also particularly interested in “Rational”/NT temperament perspectives.

  6. I wish everyone loved to help and give, but it isn’t always the case. It is nice to hear that from someone, because usually what people assume of others is how they are themselves.

  7. For me, it’s more along the lines of giving to people I know well, not so much of “volunteering” for strangers. I love to help friends and family, I love making sure that my family or friends feel special when they are with me or come to visit. Things such as their favorite soda, or snack; maybe their favorite food for dinner.

  8. Michael – I really like this thread. I work with some fundraisers and would love to hear more about each type and “giving”. I could probably draw some intuitive correlations myself but don’t want to assume I know what I’m talking about! Was great to have you in Portland in June :)

    • Thanks Jen,

      It’s great to hear from you! I’m in SLC this week and Long Beach next week.

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