It’s not that Guardians are the self-ordained sentinels of society, as much as they are society. Civilization, as we know it, would not exist without the consistent, practical, organized strength of Stags (ESTJs), Beavers (ISTJs), Elephants (ESFJs), and Bears (ISFJs).
Past descriptions of the quadrant have not been particularly glamorous a being told that you have a natural talent for managing goods and services doesn’t exactly move the needle. And when told of their prevalence in society, some Guardians choose – perhaps subconsciously – to identify with other, rarer types – as if scarcity were synonymous with quality when it comes to individual makeup. This need to feel “special” is unfortunate, for it distracts from the very thing that makes Guardians so special to begin with: the ability to provide order and comfort in a world that seems to be increasingly bent on chaos.
Duty and Family
Guardians are frequently seen as unselfish, responsible individuals who hold themselves to high standards of right and wrong. Just think of the last time you needed help with anything. Which friend or family member did you call? Chances are, you called a Guardian. Guardians prioritize two values: their obligations to society at large and the desire to provide comfort and support to their loved ones. Stags and Beavers prioritize the former, whereas Elephants and Bears prioritize the latter. For Stags and Beavers, much of their strength lies in their ability to be objective, even when it concerns their family. They abhor the idea of playing favorites solely due on personal connection, feeling that anything worth achieving needs to be earned the “right way”. At the very least, they will remove themselves from situations where there is a conflict of interest, as opposed to using their position to benefit a loved one. The downside to this sense of fairness is that it can make Stags and Beavers seem cold and judgmental, and sometimes it causes an emotional disconnect with their family and friends who may see them as overly serious and strict. This is especially true with parent/child relationships. Elephants and Bears, on the other hand, very rarely have this issue, as they are quick to create emotional bonds with every individual in their circle of companionship. However, there are times when their constant concern is perceived as cloying, and their inability to remain impartial can be debilitating when it comes to making tough decisions concerning those that they love. Nevertheless, as it is with all types, Guardians’ strengths derive from their weaknesses, and traits that might have once been seen as judgmental or smothering transform themselves into the very building blocks of a civilized society: justice and compassion.
One thing that all Guardians have in common is a genuine faith in the idea of the traditional community. This is not a blind faith; Guardians are quick to point out possible improvements that can be made to their respective organizations. It is more an acceptance that, as flawed as the current system might be, there is no better way to ensure the continued providence of humankind than trusting what has already been established, proven, and accepted. Respective traditions are to be revered, if only out of respect for the fact that they have endured for so long – endurance being a trait that every Guardian values. Guardians also have an optimistic outlook regarding people in general. Whether extroverted or introverted, or thinking or feeling, Guardians generally choose to be around people. Not all people mind you; just the ones that they like. Guardians, being predisposed to categorization, are choosy about the company they keep and the context in which they interact- they have work buddies, friends in the inner circle, and even friends they would have sex with if asked – and, of course, those they would avoid a proposition at all costs. There is a trust that Guardians have with their fellow man and woman that is fueled by fear and practicality. They view the world as a dangerous place rife with perils both natural and man-made: war, natural disasters, unemployment, rising temperatures, etc. It only makes sense to tackle these problems as a group, taking advantage of the safety in numbers. And if you are going to team up, you need to learn to trust the people you’re with. In a Guardian’s mind, this trust is not inherent. It’s learned. That is why they work to create spaces where individuals can learn to feel safe and comfortable around all manner of people, trusting in the knowledge that the culture and traditions of the past will sustain them in the present. And whether it’s a kindergarten class, a hospital, a church, or an entire government, Guardians usually succeed.