ISTJ
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The ISTJ Personality Type

ISTJs are responsible organizers, driven to create and enforce order within systems and institutions. They are neat and orderly, inside and out, and tend to have a procedure for everything they do. Reliable and dutiful, ISTJs want to uphold tradition and follow regulations.

ISTJs are steady, productive contributors. Although they are Introverted, ISTJs are rarely isolated; typical ISTJs know just where they belong in life, and want to understand how they can participate in established organizations and systems. They concern themselves with maintaining the social order and making sure that standards are met.

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What does ISTJ stand for?

ISTJ is an acronym used to describe one of the sixteen personality types created by Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers. It stands for Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging. ISTJ indicates a person who is energized by time spent alone (Introverted), who focuses on facts and details rather than ideas and concepts (Sensing), who makes decisions based on logic and reason (Thinking) and who prefers to be planned and organized rather than spontaneous and flexible (Judging). ISTJs are sometimes referred to as Inspector personalities because of their focus on details and interest in doing things correctly.

ISTJ Values and Motivations

ISTJs like to know what the rules of the game are, valuing predictability more than imagination. They rely on their past experience to guide them, and are most comfortable in familiar surroundings. ISTJs trust the proven method, and appreciate the value of dedicated practice to build confidence in their skills.

ISTJs are hardworking and will persist until a task is done. They are logical and methodical, and often enjoy tasks that require them to use step-by-step reasoning to solve a problem. They are meticulous in their attention to details, and examine things closely to be sure they are correct. With their straightforward logic and orientation to detail, ISTJs work systematically to bring order to their own small parts of the world.

How Others See the ISTJ

ISTJs have a serious, conservative air about them. They want to know and follow the rules of the game, and typically seek out predictable surroundings where they understand their role. You may find the ISTJ doing something useful even in social situations (for instance, organizing coats and hats at a party) as they’re often more comfortable taking charge of a task than they are chatting up strangers. When given something to do, they are highly dependable, and follow it through to the end.

ISTJs are practical and no-nonsense, and rarely call attention to themselves. Their clothes and possessions tend to be chosen based on utility rather than fashion, and they have an affection for the classics. ISTJs typically speak in a straightforward manner and have a good head for details. They are usually more enthusiastic about sharing factual information than exploring abstract concepts or unproven ideas.

For more information: The Art of SpeedReading People

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How rare is the ISTJ personality type?

ISTJ is the third most common type in the population and the most common type among men. ISTJs make up:

  • 12% of the general population
  • 16% of men
  • 7% of women

Famous ISTJs

Famous ISTJs include Queen Elizabeth II, Harry Truman, Warren Buffett, Queen Victoria, George H.W. Bush, and J.D. Rockefeller.

ISTJ Quotes

"All contracts should be cleared by ISTJs; they will overlook nothing that is in it and assume nothing that is not."

- Isabel Briggs Myers, Gifts Differing

"Whether at home or at work, ISTJs are nothing if not reliable, particularly when it comes to inspecting the people and things in their jurisdiction—quietly seeing to it that uniform quality of product is maintained, and that those around them uphold certain standards of attitude and conduct."

- David Keirsey, Please Understand Me II

"ISTJ is a no-frills, work-hard, play-hard type. They are seen as compulsive, hard-charging, capable, and true to their word."

- Otto Kroeger, Type Talk at Work

Facts about ISTJs

Interesting facts about the ISTJ:

  • On personality trait measures, score as Calm, Stable, Steady, Cautious, and Conventional
  • More likely than other types to experience cardiac problems and hypertension
  • More likely than other types to experience chronic pain
  • Among four highest types in college GPA
  • More frequent among African Americans
  • Personal values include Financial Security
  • Most likely of all types to enjoy a work environment where “everything is done by the book”
  • Overrepresented among bank officers, financial managers, MBA students, and small business owners
  • Often found in careers in management, administration, law enforcement, and accounting

Source: MBTI Manual

ISTJ Hobbies and Interests

Popular hobbies for the ISTJ include concentration games like chess and Trivial Pursuit, playing computer games, watching sporting events, pursuing physical fitness, and playing solitary sports such as golf.

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Comments

Aa says...

Hello, I am a ISTJ (as you may be able to tell), according to one of the other tests, it says I would do very well/well as a: INTJ, ESTJ, ENTJ.

I'm not overly extoverted, I prefer silence, though I am blunt, direct, confident (along with being cold, relaxed/calm, ambitious, sometimes harsh and cruel), and would make a great boss (according to my friends). The only difference is the S and N, which I am 50% and 50%, I'm able to adapt to the situation.

I'm a Leo if that helps, personally I think I would do better as a Virgo or Capricorn.

How do I know which one I would be better in? Is there truly any way to know?

S (not verified) says...

All are extraverted thinkers. Ask your self if you are introvert sensor or introverted intuitive. 

Jono (not verified) says...

Go to objective personaity to be scientifically typed not subjectively and likely incorrectly typed by mbi to find you answer with clarity 

Frannncesca (not verified) says...

oh my god, we're literally the same person

Aritri Nag (not verified) says...

You are literally my soulmate !!!

We are the same !!

Texas (not verified) says...

You should research about the cognitive functions. This is also something that affect our way of dealing with things, and our personality, it could help you understand better your type and your way of thinking. Write me an email and we can talk  more about this :) 

T.V (not verified) says...

Why would you being a Leo, Virgo or Capricorn make a difference? (just interested to know)

 

RTX (not verified) says...

Duuude...

INTJs don't really care that much about their zodiac; that would be more of an ISTJ, as you were considering the faith/tradition factor (Si function) just in case it turns out to be true.

Nadea (not verified) says...

ISTJ here! And as mentioned above, I would concur, your zodiac sign statement would lead me to believe that you would be an "S". I myself am a Leo and I would include that within a comment or question hoping that it might help....love this feed of comments! Feeling a little less alone after reading all this.

KaeTheCat (not verified) says...

I don't think any ISTJ cares about zodiac signs. I'm an ISTJ and I couldn't care less about it.

T.V (not verified) says...

Yeah I was gonna say.

Not a big believer in the Zodiac stuff

Anony Mous (not verified) says...

Man, this is great. It almost describes me perfectly. Did someone hack life for this? Issomeone tracking me right now? :v

Hildy (not verified) says...

ISTJ Born in August. Not totally a description of this personality type. I have a B.A. in Literature, a B.S. in Accounting and I work as Tax Compliance Officer too serious lol. Reality is I'm an avid photographer, I paint, write poetry, volunteer in shelters, I'm a CERT member, I have built housing for the underprivileged, volunteered in health counseling, I learned roofing, plumbing and the list goes on. All my friends and coworkers say I'm extremely sociable and super friendly so it baffles me that I have scored ISTJ. Not one single person that knows me or might meet me finds me cold or distant but rather funny, compassionate and super open minded, at least that's what I have been told :). I believe there's a spectrum to things, therefore one label doesn't define the complexity of the human soul.

Lubs (not verified) says...

From reading your description, you're probably an ENFP. You might have been mistyped. 

Raymond (not verified) says...

Hi,

An observation of how you describe yourself, you may not be an ISTJ. Being creative in the realm of photography or painting is likely an N trait. A few others things jump out but hopefully this helps to find a type closer to yourself. 

Peita (not verified) says...

You might find the types who find the ISTJ challenging are not the types to let you know about it. An INFP will not tell you they find you difficult, for instance, work with. They may even find you enjoyable to be around away from work too. Just a thought...

Suraj (not verified) says...

Yaa .I am infp and I hate my friends rigidly and stubbornness and her didn't think morality and judgment without asking questions and think yourself more accurate and smart.

This rigidity became the cause of breakup in our friendship. Even I get the cause of broken friendship. Will she get the reasons of breaking friendship ever in future.?????

Brian Gibbons (not verified) says...

I hear you. When reading the "standard characteristics" I often think, "but that's not me at all". I am very sociable and consider myself open minded. I am also creative and do many of the same things you mentioned. But I KNOW this is my type (and I bet it's yours too).  That's part of the beauty of understanding temperaments and personality types. Obviously each of us is still unique and few if any can confirm to all these characteristics with such precision. But knowing some of my inherent tendencies (shich definitely exist) is a huge help. And even though I consider myself open-minded, I also know I can be really stubborn too, especially when I think (know?) I'm right. Regardless, I think there's great value in knowing I am an ISTJ, but also in embracing the many ways I break out of the mold. 

Gangari the Wanderer (not verified) says...

First of all, you're right that this isn't a full description of the ISTJ, and that there definitely IS a spectrum for all of this which the typical MBTI guide generally doesn't take into account for simplicity's sake (typically, they just describe the average/stereoptypical type for each and then move on).

For each personality type they basically just describe what a type looks like based on their primary two thought functions (in this case, Si and Te).  But in reality, as people age and develop mentally, some of the weaker functions (for an ISTJ, Fi and Ne) begin to present themselves more prominently and can make them seem quite different from the stereotypical type.  The fact that you're saying you have a B.A. in literature and a B.S. in accounting supports this, since the accounting would be the "stereotypical" trade for an ISTJ, but there are PLENTY of ISTJs that have developed their intuitive and feeling functions enough to not only enjoy but also be good at analyzing literature or pursuing something artistic (like your photography).

Suggestion: check out the description of the ENFP (the "shadow type" of the ISTJ--same functions but in opposite order).  If you are either a well-developed ISTJ OR a well-developed ENFP, you could very easily get either type in a test like this.

EDP445 (not verified) says...

man these r good test

EDP446 (not verified) says...

You are a legend...

EDP447 (not verified) says...

No my friend, YOU are.

The maskked demon (not verified) says...

this is actually terrifingly accurate if you want to see your personality described perfectly this is perfect for you.

Amy7474 (not verified) says...

I am a female ISTJ, and 20 years ago I would have said this describes me to a T. It still does, but as I get older, many of the characteristics are more relaxed than they used to be. I thrive in order and organization and predictability; but I try to add spontenaity to my life, or at least be flexible, so that I can say I had some fun along the way. This description says we are not tactful; but maybe because I am female, I have always had tact in my toolbox of dealing with people. Now, what I am thinking and what I am saying may be two different things, but I try not to hurt people's feelings. However, I do prefer directness in conversation, especially business dealings, because how else are we ever supposed to get anything done? I have little patience for emotional outbursts (drama), indecisiveness, manipulative behavior, and lying.

I fully realize that I can come across as aloof and reserved, so I actively try not hold on to that tendency so tightly and try to step out of my comfort zone and find something inane to say to people, just to appear friendly. It's really hard for me in large groups or with people I don't know. However, in small groups or with good friends or even acquaintances, I feel like I can hold my own. I crave intellectual or deep conversation, and I hate small talk, which is why I am generally more comfortable with men than with women. I don't have a lot of friends, but the ones I do have intelligence and integrity, values I admire and respect.

I definitely took on a traditional gender role as a mother, something I don't regret. However, it was a source of stress at times, because my intellectual side was not nurtured during this period; also, I didn't feel in control of my life during this time, and ISTJs value predictability. However, being present to raise my children was also a value, and their needs trumped my own.

Like several others have mentioned, I feel like I can be hilariously funny. I have a knack for noticing oddities and making a joke out of it; I really crack myself up! On the flip side, my kids think I'm horribly corny, so I suppose it's a matter of opinion. LOL But I do have a good sense of humor; I love to laugh, and I don't take myself too seriously. I enjoy goofing around with the kids and the pets. It's hard for me to be around people who are easily offended. Even though I might appear cold-hearted around strangers, I am definitely open and warm hearted around those I love! Just have to be careful around certain family members because not everyone can take a joke.

I have great relationships with my Sensing family members, and tumultuous relationships with my Intuiting family members. As a mom, it took me quite a while to learn that my kids did not inherit my personality, traditions, or values. My eldest was a mystery to me for a long time. However, because I am so introspective, I try to be honest with myself ABOUT myself, as well as try to understand those around me. That may set me apart from other ISTJs, because understanding motives is very important to me - my own and others. So even if I don't understand someone, I still make a point in making sure they understand that I love them and accept them they way they are.

JennieI (not verified) says...

Wow, we are so much the same! I’m a female ENTJ but I am used to alot of alone time and I am almost 50/50 S and N. Drama, indeciseviness, manipulation and lying are at the top of my hate list too! I get along so well with other ENTJs, INTJs, ESTJs and ISTJs, there is no fuss and alot of deep conversations. People sometimes also see me as cold, orderly and strict but I have a huge playful and goofy side to my personality that I only show people I trust. Playing with kids and pets is so much fun! I also like to joke alot but it can be taken harshly from people who don’t understand my humor. I have a couple of INFP and ESFP friends and we share and learn from eachother, they help me understand feelings within me and others and why people jump to conclusions and are so easily hurt. Thank you for sharing! It’s not so easy being a T female. 😉

Melanie. (not verified) says...

I think you are my twin :)

Melanie. (not verified) says...

I think you are my twin :)

Adam223 (not verified) says...

tell me why i am 15. Having to do a project about this and this ISTJ relates to me all the way I find it crazy that this test was accurate 

EDD240 (not verified) says...

My gosh! You've pretty much described me to a 'T'!

 

AM 77 (not verified) says...

In the facts section, I have to disagree about ISTJ being more frequent in the Afican American community. Most African Americans, as well as most blacks in general, are more intuitive (n) and emotional (f).

Not to say there are no black ISTJs because there are, like Evander Holyfield, but the personality in not the majority in their communities.

IS (not verified) says...

What makes you say that? Where are you pulling these stats from?

AM 77 (not verified) says...

No stats, experience.

Perhaps (not verified) says...

Could it be that you are more likely to interact with or see african american people who have those personality type indicators (N, F). Or perhaps tend to remember the more Emotional qualities as they stand out more or are more memberable?

Perhaps, consider what experience do you have, how is that shaped, living with, media based? In depth conversation? Sample size?  

AM 77 (not verified) says...

All in all though, when it comes to the balance of creativity and analyzing,  the black community has more creativity which shows more like you said,  it is vice versa with me.  The other reply is mine as well but I'm still half asleep and it went under the name guest.

Guest (not verified) says...

First, experience is not synonymous with media.  Second, I have lived in every type of community there is in America and chatted with all walks of life around the globe.  Third, there is no so called coincidence when it comes to majorities and experience (as well as anything else for that matter).

Learner (not verified) says...

Hey, I was going to scroll past but I thought to let you know that you could be wrong. I am fully African and I am of this personality type and know others who are too. I have not traveled out of Africa yet either, so maybe the blacks you have met are mostly "abroad" . Of course, the type description is not going to be 100% accurate for everyone as I also believe that other things like environment and background can influence one's personality as well. I also believe one can learn to change certain aspects of themselves and learn any skill if they really wanted to, so the thing about careers, creativity, style and humor being different for different people even though they are of the same personality, is really not surprising to me. I am very creative and in fact I think one of my gifts is learning new skills (still discovering myself of course) but I took the test and wanted to read more about the personality type and I find this article to describe me up to 85%. 

AM77 (not verified) says...

I know I said "blacks in general" in my original text, which was an error of judgement due to still knowing only mostly American people at the moment.  So that was my bad.

AM77 (not verified) says...

I know it's been 3 months since your post.  But now I have time to respond.  I absolutely agree with you when it comes to foreign blacks, and also agree with you about how people can change, especially when doing a paradigm shift.  I have a black friend who's from Rio and is ISTJ like me.  The discription mentioned how it's mostly in the African-American community,  which I was mainly talking about, not blacks in other nations.  And while I disagree about the former having ISTJ majority these days,  I do agree with you when it comes to the latter and even old school African-Americans.  But either way, like you said, anyone from anywhere can change.

keegan7567452850906747635 (not verified) says...

how tf does it know what im going for in college thats crazy i wanted to be an accountant and go in at a commisioned officer and it calls all those things out I love chess and golf and it still calls me out im kinda weirded out by this tbh.

Ives (not verified) says...

I’ve been taking this test every few months for about 8 years since I discovered it. Thinking it would help me define who I was and make it simple to plan my future career. I always hated getting ISTJ and would often subconsciously answer with wishful thinking to receive e.g. INFP. I just really didn’t like the idea of being reserved and cold (negatively connotated descriptions). I guess I just wasn’t ready to accept myself. 8 years of trying to be something I’m not kind of seems like a waste, but I guess now that I’ve finally accepted ISTJ I’ll just keep progressing as my true authentic self in my personal life and in a few years a perfectly suited career. Too bad society frowns upon a lot of our characteristics. Maybe I would have accepted myself sooner if it wasn’t this way. 

Magpie59 (not verified) says...

Hi Ives,

Your comment affected me.

Did you know that there are a lot of variations within the same type? You can have two ISTJs, and they may seem quite different. Each Letter is weighted between the two extremes for that category, for example introverted vs. extroverted. When you take the full 100 question test, the results would include the percentage that you have in each category. I'm telling you this, although I realize you may already know, (but again you may not if you have taken the test over 8 years and have fretted that you are the "same" type). I am an ENFP and have become more introverted as I have aged. I also use logic more than I did when younger. Now, although my N is still overwhelmingly skewed to 80%, my other letters are weighted at 60/40 which means closer to a healthy balance between the 2 extremes. I hope you realize the value of your strengths, and have developed ways of overcoming perceived weaknesses, just like all of us have to do. Loving who you are ensures that you attract the kind of people who like you - exactly as you are!! So do not fret!!  :)

Wishing you well, Dee.

Sharon says...

Thank you, Dee. Your kindness touches me. And it is true. Ives, you are a unique individual, you are full of potential, you are loved, and you are far more complex than a simple personality test!

All the best to you!

Sharon

Amy7474 (not verified) says...

I love being an ISTJ and it suits me so well. I wonder if your problem was because of your parents' personality types? I was raised by an ESTJ, and we are like two peas in a pod. I conformed really well to their expectations. However, my sisters are much more "feelings" people and have a lot more complicated relationships with my parents, which I believe affected their self-esteem. So I wonder if you were raised with more intuitive or feeling parents.

Like someone else said, ISTJ females don't come across and popular and feminine, usually - I never cared about that, but maybe some do. I always wished I was more "fun" in high school and college, but as an adult I think I'm just as fun as anyone else, as long as I'm with the right people. Some things get better with age, and ISTJ is one of them.

AM 77 (not verified) says...

Ives, I'm a proud ISTJ and yes a lot of people frown upon us, but most Istjs (including me) don't care what people think because we're not people pleasers, you (as well as everybody in all 16 categories) should try that .  It's the first step to being a true alpha.

Stew (not verified) says...

I absolutely love this response!!! 

ShannonG (not verified) says...

Why would you WANT to be an infp?  I am one, and trust me it's a painful experience.  My mom is ISTJ, and she's dependable, productive, and reliable.  Me.. not so much.   I'm a failure to her.  Be happy, you're every employers dream worker, for one thing.  Good luck!

AM 77 (not verified) says...

Read my response to Ives, it may help you out with your situation.  Your right about the dream worker part, but it's no prize considering that employers can take advantage of the hardest workers unless the latter calls the employer out (I always call them out).  

POOLIE (not verified) says...

Are you female? Cause I can see your point completely. Just because the world expects females to be bubbly smile and have a face full of expression. 

If I get told one more time to smile more... 

I've never rejected my type, I'm well going on 36 and just recently discovered my personality type and I feel if I had known this sooner maybe I would have let some of the comments slide... No, no I wouldn't have, I'd have thrown so much damn ISTJ information in their face and said it's just the way I am! 

The older I get the easier it gets, you just get more comfortable with yourself. I am happy the way I am, I love all the things about me, I am the most loyal person you'll ever meet and most trustworthy. I Don't beat around the bush. I'm creative and I get stuff done. I have a stunning sense of humor to boot. The feelings thing tho, being reserved in communication and emotion and intimacy, now that, that I would love to change. To be a feeler when I need to be, in those situations, I'd kill for that. But now I realize that's just not possible, not how were built. We need to work on our other strengths to mitigate our weakness. I'm realizing at 36, I hope you get an earlier jump on the game. Cause it really is quite beneficial to be ISTJ! 

Suppeeps (not verified) says...

Ok, so im curious if anyof you are geminis bc im wondering if its just more likely for geminis to be ISTJ

HSquaredISTJ (not verified) says...

No, not Gemini.  I'm a Libra that's married to a Gemini...

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