Given how warm, supportive, and generous Defenders are, it’s not surprising that others gravitate toward them as friends. But while people with this personality type value and even cherish their friendships, they don’t find it easy to bond with just anyone.

Defenders tend to be private and a bit protective of themselves, and it can take them a while to feel comfortable enough to open up to someone new. This explains why most of Defenders’ friendships don’t start as random encounters on a wild night out, but rather through comfortable and consistent contact – for example, at school or at work. Defenders appreciate the opportunity to deepen their connection with another person over time, with the two friends gradually sharing more and more of themselves with each other.

Defender (ISFJ) friends

Getting Along

Deep down, many Defenders long to be liked and accepted. This is a natural desire, and it helps explain why people with this personality type are known for being such thoughtful, reliable friends. Defenders care about what other people think of them, so they strive to bring their best selves to all of their relationships, including their friendships.

Defenders know that being a good friend takes effort – and they’re more than willing to put in the work.

This trait tends to make Defenders exceptional friends. If taken too far, however, it can lead them to fall into the trap of people-pleasing. Some personality types have no trouble expressing an unpopular opinion or posing an awkward question – but not Defenders. Defenders are reluctant to rock the boat, whether that means asking a friend to pay back a loan or disagreeing with where everyone else wants to go for dinner.

In most cases, this behavior stems from a fear of being rejected. While most Defenders are perfectly comfortable having a small, tight-knit circle of friends, they hate the idea of risking the disapproval of even one of those friends. The problem is that, over time, people-pleasing can cause Defenders to lose touch with their sense of self and their ability to make decisions on their own terms.

Seeking Balance

Few personality types can match Defenders’ fervent desire to be there for their friends through thick and thin. Ever ready to offer advice, help, and reassurance, Defenders take pride in the fact that people turn to them in times of need – in fact, showing up for their friends in this way offers people with this personality type a sense of purpose in life.

Defenders appreciate their friends deeply, and they aren’t afraid to show it – but it may be difficult for them to ask for that same appreciation in return.

In return, all Defenders wish for is loyalty and respect – and, in an ideal world, a bit of recognition for all that they do. But even though many Defenders crave validation and support from their friends, they tend to be too proud to ask for it, just as they may not be comfortable asking for the help that they need. Fortunately, with time, many Defenders learn that anyone who takes advantage of their generous, altruistic nature isn’t a true friend.

An Inspired Bond

Defenders can become attached to their visions of how things “should” be. In the world of friendship, they may believe – consciously or not – that they should be completely selfless. But when they ease up on this expectation, balancing their friends’ needs with their own, people with this personality type can bring the full magnitude of their gifts to their friendships. And this helps them enjoy the sort of meaningful, enduring bonds that make life all the more worthwhile.