ISTJ
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ISTJ Strengths

Perseverance. The ISTJ’s main and most admirable strength is perseverance; people of this type simply do not give up. This trait is advantageous to them and can be that which sets them apart in their careers. Their peers and competitors may possess greater skills, but few will match the ISTJ in dogged commitment. 

Planning. Because of the ISTJ’s Judging component, people of this type have a very clear command of time and priorities. They are quite skilled in planning, organizing, mapping out schedules and following agendas. They excel in time management, are punctual (and demand the same of others) and consistently meet their deadlines.

Detail orientation. ISTJs notice holes, gaps, errors that broader thinkers don’t. They like facts, details and numbers without the emotional or interpretive fluff. And they don’t take facts or information for granted, nor do they rely on it simply because someone else said so. They will check things out for themselves, meticulously.

Loyalty. ISTJs also have a natural instinct to protect and defend. Loyal, reliable and committed, these are people that can be depended on to guard everything from their families to our nation and these are responsibilities they proudly assume. To the institutions, organizations and people to which they are committed, they are unwavering in their service. 

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ISTJ Weaknesses

Stubborness. While ISTJs will be admired for their unwavering commitment to their duty and their sense of what is right and proper, the down side of this is that they can be stubborn, inflexible and dogmatic. They often believe there is one right way (theirs) and things must be done that way. Everything else is, by default, wrong.

Tactlessness.The ISTJ's fierce commitment to truth can also get them in trouble in interpersonal dealings. They tend to speak without much consideration for the feelings of others, thinking it is always more important to be truthful than to make people feel good. They may even experience internal conflict around trying to be tactful or diplomatic, sensing that they are not being completely honest, direct or straightforward.

Guilt. ISTJs take their work, their commitments and really all aspects of their lives quite seriously and they work hard to plan well and to make wise decisions. When things don’t go as planned, however, they may blame and beat themselves up about it, second guess their decisions and suffer guilt. They will have a hard time simply accepting that sometimes life doesn’t go as planned, and will feel a sense of personal failure and defeat. This can be a source of stress and on-going rumination.

Resistance to change. ISTJs, in their drive to uphold tradition and do things by the book, can be resistant to change and innovation. Suspicious of new advances and ways of doing things, not only do they experience strain when called upon to embrace change, they also often stifle creativity or fail to appreciate the benefit of approaching old problems in new ways. This can limit their potential and make them seem especially difficult and stodgy to their coworkers and subordinates.

ISTJ Growth and Development

In order to reach their full potential, ISTJs should:

Question the procedure. Just because it’s “the way it has always been done” doesn’t mean it is the best or the only way. ISTJs find comfort in coasting along following the manner in which things have always been done. However, this can mean missed opportunities for growth and development, both personally and professionally. ISTJs will benefit by a willingness to break out of the rut of tradition. It certainly isn’t necessary to reinvent the wheel or fix what isn’t broken, but being willing to at least examine and question is essential. 

Question the rules. Their refusal to break the rules, while admirable in some respects, can be unwise. Not all rules are just or efficient, and guidelines aren’t all carved in stone. While respect for authority and laws is generally a good thing, it is the duty of society to actively consider and question and, in doing so, serve as a check on authorities and their exercise of power.

Be spontaneous. ISTJs have a strong internal sense of time management. While this is one of the mechanisms that enables them to work hard and meet deadlines, it can also be imprisoning. The ISTJ should experiment with not setting a schedule for the day and letting life happen naturally, or try surprising his or her spouse with an unplanned date.

Get in touch with their feelings. ISTJs, in order to develop and become better-rounded individuals, may need to exert some effort in the emotions department. This will benefit them both in their personal and professional lives. Working to understand and express their own feelings will help to deepen and enliven their friendships and other primary relationships. 

Make time for leisure and personal development. ISTJs often become so laden with the duties of work, family and community that they devote little time to themselves. ISTJs, at the very least, need time to consider their lives and to think out the issues they face. They may tend to sideline hobbies because of more pressing responsibilities, but investing time in creative or social endeavors can help ISTJs to better fulfill the commitments they see before them and to relieve some of the pressure they experience.

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Comments

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.

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?  

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. 

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...

Amy7474 (not verified) says...

Do ISTJs really believe in zodiac? I thought we were into logic and reason.

Audra 5 (not verified) says...

Exactly! Judging someone solely off their birth month is illogical. 

 

Tina Quintana (not verified) says...

Im a Virgo

KaraLebel (not verified) says...

I am a scorpio and being an ISTJ fits like every personality trait of being a scorpio. Lol. 

Istj here (not verified) says...

Capricorn and an ISTJ.I feel like my zodiac is a match to ISTJ

Doraleo (not verified) says...

I'm a LEO.. I'm supposed to be outgoing and center of it all, yet i am an ISTJ who prefers to be left alone.  I feel more pulled in different directions... like one day i'm full of energy and want to talk to people and the next day i just want to be alone..  I'm really having a hard time trying to find a career.  I have worked in sales, graphic designer, office work, warehouse, market representative, etc...  I seem like i can't find what i like to do...  I'm 40 and still looking for a career. how sad! 

rtuttle123 (not verified) says...

Don't feel bad Leo, I am right there with you. I haven't tried as much of a variety of different careers as you have but I have been in a few different positions that required me to be more outgoing than I am comfortable with so I feel you there. I too have not found my career but am ok with it because I working to be self employeed which will give me the freedom to pick and choose when and how I interact with people.

You may be feeling pulled in different directions because you are more ambivert (mix of introvert and extrovert) which is what my wife is. Our personlaities are also shaped by the social situations we have been in. If you grew up in a family of extroverts you probably have had to be more social than you would have liked which would lead to you overcoming the introvert tendancy to a degree. 

Introversion/Extroversion also refers to how we "recharge" ourselves. Think of how you feel after a long day of work. What would you rather do to feel better, go out with some friends/family or just hang out at the house and immerse yourself in an activity where you do not have to have social interactions? This seems to give us a better view of what our I/E type is if you are having mixed feelings.

Ives (not verified) says...

No. I’m a Virgo. Seems to me like more virgos would be istj than Gemini. A lot of my Gemini friends are very social and bubbly. 

hedige (not verified) says...

Another Virgo here! ISTJs are probably mostly Virgoes...

Joseph Smith (not verified) says...

I'm a libra, and ISTJ. I was born in '88. The year of the Dragon.

munini (not verified) says...

Same here.

POOLIE (not verified) says...

Agree, Virgo here too.

John D. (not verified) says...

I am an ISTJ male and I have typed as ISTJ since I was 15 (I'm 33 now). I can relate to the whole "being seen as cold" thing. It's especially challenging when highly emotionally people expect a highly emotional response from me. It just isn't going to happen. Even when I feel things strongly, it's all internal. That also keeps me from ripping into someone who has offended me. 

 One thing that is a little different for me than what is stated by MBTI is that I am pretty funny and my humor isn't necessarily dry and offbeat as they say. My more serious side is usually catered to when it's time to get work done. I am a little less reserved than some of my ISTJ buddies and I think it's because of culture as well. Even though I always type ISTJ, it's usually a 55/45 split I/E respectively. Tests that include Ambivert often says that I am an ambivert. 

Howdy (not verified) says...

Howdy

Chris911 (not verified) says...

I bet 90 % of the people in the comments section are minors :)) 1. The test is just for entertainment purposes only nowadays. 2. Guys, why are you mad? That they told you are narrow minded? :)) that does not mean you are stupid or something. 

SimonM (not verified) says...

While the personality type describes a lot about the behaviours and attitudes, it doesn't define who we are.

We must be careful to not use labels else we use them as an excuse, a crutch, defence. We are so much more than a pigeon holed character. 

Who Cares lmao (not verified) says...

yee yee 

Sexy asparagus (not verified) says...

Nicky worded

Richard Fincher (not verified) says...

This describes me very well. I wish I had the knowledge months who while still in my relationship. The type I was mowt likely mwtched with was my ex. Having knowledge about her personality may have allowed me to seem more interested... 

Elber Galarga Hidura (not verified) says...

wtf xDlol omg 2011

, Busca El Thunas (not verified) says...

Oc grasias krak teapresio amix

Anonymous23 (not verified) says...

I'm a female INFJ, and discovering my personality type has helped me a lot. I've always struggled with who I am, and how I think. I have just always been interested in learning more about myself. Being an INFJ is hard, especially since I'm also a teenager with a lot on my plate at the moment. In saying this, I have found it especially difficult to understand my younger sister as she has grown up. After I found out I was an INFJ, I really wanted to know what she was, to maybe understand her better, and understand why we don't always get along well. There is so much that frustrates me about her, so much that I didn't get. As an INFJ, I really dislike surface-type people, I enjoy deeper conversations with people who show they care and show their emotions. My sister is the opposite, it always felt like I would just talk and talk but she would never hear what I was saying. She comes across as very insensitive, and unsympathetic. This always annoys me so bad. But recently, I asked her to please find out what type she was, even if she didn't want to learn about herself, I did. I wanted to understand her. We discovered she is an ISTJ. It has helped me to understand our relationship, and I am so grateful that I have this opportunity to know her better. Our relationship is fascinating, because we prefer the same way of living (I & J), but how we gain information and make decisions is completely opposite. This fascinates me. I hope that I will continue to learn more about her, and hopefully understand how I can improve our relationship even more.

SLS (not verified) says...

This is so me - I am a female ISTJ. I had a boss once tell me that I cannot expect everyone to have the same work ethic as me – I did not understand at the time but now I do. I do not work well with slow paced individuals so I rather work by alone.  I always organize, plan & schedule everything at work or when I go on vacation, I am that person who makes a notebook w/itinerary, hotel information, etc. I have to tell myself to relax & just go w/the flow but if I do not want to do something, no one is going to convince me, no one.

I am very direct & I have been told that I am harsh or savage but I call it being honest. I have also been told by guys I date that my thought process is very much like a man. My feelings very rarely get hurt - I thought it was because I have always worked with men [litigators]. I do not have the “feelings” talk w/my boyfriend & I do not ask where are relationship is going – I basically said to him, if the time comes when you do not want to do this w/me anymore, tell me & I will walk away, no hard feelings.

I find it difficult to work or be friends with women because of all the emotions that come to the surface when under pressure/stress - this is where I walk away because I am uncomfortable. I do have 3 girlfriends & we are very much alike & our professions are in the same area & we do not relate to traditionally feminine interest.

Although, I do like having a traditional role in my home & I also treasure my time alone so I do not do well w/clingy or needy men. I do not do malls or shopping, do not get my nails done, jewelry consist of small earrings that go w/everything - I pride myself in my appearance and people see me as a girly girl, very feminine but I am far from it, I am very no non-sense type of woman. I did not start planning my wedding at the age of 5 or even heard my biological clock ticking.

I have a 24 yr old daughter & I have to remind myself to be more affectionate towards her – we are very good friends but I never forget or allow her to forget that I am her mother. I tell her I love her every day but I do not hug her often - I am not one for hugs – if I hug you it is because I genuinely like you as a person. I have conversations w/my daughter & explained that I show my love by my actions because I think words are cheap & she gets it. I am very supportive of her w/my actions & I am great at motivating her & the people around me when they are questioning themselves.

People who do not know the real me, see me as cold/heartless & even think I am a snob & there have been time when I am asked if something is wrong … my answer is no, this is just my face. I consider myself a caring person because I will give the shirt off my back to someone who needs it. I do consider myself nurturing but not the traditional female sense. People are surprised that I am a Cancer because I am not moody or easily offended.

Ashley J (not verified) says...

Omg! Nice to know i'm not the only "heartless" female istj. lol  Very well said, fits me to the "T". 

Miss T (not verified) says...

Am an ENFP female - was married to an INTJ male architect for almost 6-knew him 2-1/2 years before marrying.

Most Eeyore (negative-poor me attitude) I have ever seen. High functioning alcoholic who once married pretty much was a loner within himself (aside from his father-ex was an only child) and was unable to express or work on marriage as a team. Worst experience. Everything was always my fault. He used to tease me when dating there were rules. He wasnt kidding. Pretty self centered.

Guest (not verified) says...

I’m an ISTJ and a Dental Hygienist. Love my job and patients, but at the end of the day I do drive home in silence. Lol. Also...married to an ESFJ who jokes that I’m the male in the relationship bc I seem to not be as needy emotionally as he is. Wow! Hoping that awareness in career and relationship will help me have an ok life. 

Thanh-Tinh Tran (not verified) says...

It is amazing how this tool can do.  It is amazing how it can help people in career management.

 

I am now a pensioner. About 30 years ago, I was working in a large telecommunication company. I was considering a career move. I had an idea what I wanted to look for.  I talked to Human Resource Department asking for assistance.  They told me that it would help me if I do a voluntary test. I agreed without knowing anything about this test. I never heard of its name.

 

After the test, they told me that I am a strong ISTJ. They gave me a sheet containing the definition of ISTJ and describing my type.  I was amazed that it said so accurately about me.  Every single adjective it used is absolutely accurate.  Human Resource suggested that I would work best in testing environment (the inspector).  It proved that it would be a mistake if I move to an area I thought that I wanted to go to.

 

Since then, I worked in Verification Department for decades. I was rated top talent and I was retained through many layoffs.  I coincidentally come across this web page. Reading what it is described here, I still feel it accurately describes my style.

 

Anybody knows whether this kind of test will help young people before they go to university and choose a career?  They are young and I believe personal style can change much at that time.  Is the result valid at that age?

 

Too often young people (including myself when I was at that age) choose career by luck, arbitrarily, by the prestige of the job, because of parents’ pressure, etc. No rationale. It ends up bad for them.  Many parents push their children into professions that the kids do not like at all.  In the worse cases, the kids commit suicide. We see those tragedies in Vietnamese communities.  Good academic records at high school do not assure that the kids become happy medical doctors.

Skurtcobain (not verified) says...

Thought this was very helpful and credible until I scrolled down and saw grown adults debating Sheldon's (not a real kid btw) personality type. 

guest? (not verified) says...

So umm this is a not maybe accurate thing? The careers seem to have a complex side and im attending a different career so hmmm maybe il rate this a 5.387428/10 but well not bad anyway

Guest (not verified) says...

Multiple tests have shown me as ISTJ so I guess I am but I lean toward INTJ many days. Alot of times I just am not concerned about other people's feelings. Sorry. Sometimes people use sympathy to get what they want & I can see thru it. It doesn't fool me. I am sympathetic to truly hurting folks & help any way I can. Major introvert. Leave me alone & we will be fine.

Gaby80 (not verified) says...

Do any of my fellow ISTJs have experience with reacting emotionally to feedback/criticism at workshops? As I am always trying to do the best I can, I am frustrated to bits if it still isn't enough, especially if I "should try to stay in touch with the group"...

Amy7474 (not verified) says...

I am very sensitive to criticism, which is why I work so hard to do everything right the first time. If I don't mess up, I don't have to deal with anyone being disappointed in me. Now that I'm in my 40s, I deal with it better (I hope). Conversely, I find it easy to criticize others. I spend much of my life biting my tongue, because I know it is not healthy or helpful, but to me some things are so obvious. LOL

Guest (not verified) says...

I first took the MBPI in 1996 and am an ISTJ. I do not deal with people well. Computers, yes. People? Not so much.Unfortunately, I've been in computer support positions for pretty much all of the last thirteen years. BIG mistake. My supervisors were also ISTJ, so they constantly nagged me and questioned every tiny little thing I did.

I finally got out of that environment (one of the supervisors was fired...the other one is probably on the way to being fired along with HIS supervisor) and now I am in a Sys. Admin. position. I should have been doing this my entire career.

Where I am now, someone else holds the users hands and helps them use MS Word...I deal with servers and backups primarily. This is what I should have been doing all along. I am so much happier now...it's unbelievable. I am happy to wake up and go to work now!

Folks...take your assessment seriously as well as the career recommendations. If I'd have done that in '96, I probably wouldn't have a head full of gray hair in my early forties.

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