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.

How common 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 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

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.

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

Quotes About ISTJs

"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

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Comments

Guest (not verified) says...

Really fits me except for the part about typical gender roles

Eyusbi (not verified) says...

Totally true, I felt naked.

Guest (not verified) says...

I am definetly istj and my mother to, but I don't agree whith the part of children and as I have experienced my shelf I don't think that this is what shoud be done, I think that people need to teke their own choices and shoudent be pressured to be something!

Guest (not verified) says...

Nice! I get to be Queen Victoria!

Gabriel (not verified) says...

I found this to be a good look at what im like and I cant argue with it

Jennifer (not verified) says...

I can see how Sheldon Cooper could possible be an ISTJ. I'm not completely sure I'd settle on that for his type, but I'd say it's a fair contender. I can see Si (introverted sensing) being in his stacking of functions, I'm just not sure if it would be his dominant function or not. Personally, I think INTJ is still a better option for him. The key thing with ISTJs is that they think in terms of "the group" in everything that they do and they are very safety/security oriented. I just don't see that in him. On the contrary, he seems very interested in the self only.

Áine (not verified) says...

Sheldon could be listed as needing a group as he depends so much on his friends for rides and companionship. He would be very alone without his posse!

Guest (not verified) says...

Its liek they know nme #buzzin

Guest (not verified) says...

They should include math teacher for preferred occupations! Structured institutions with rules to be followed, traditions to be passed on, logical problems to be worked thru step by step... But probably only for children 13 and up.

Guest (not verified) says...

Yep, ISTJ math teacher right here too!

Guest (not verified) says...

Hi all, I am a physical ed/Health teacher and I coach boy' volleyball and track. I think I have many of the ISTJ characteristics accept I am pretty social and like to interact with others rather than be by myself. I LOVE my job the students have given me so much happiness over the past 20+ years that I cannot begin to thank them enough. When I walk down the halls numerous hellos and how's it going as well as I love comes from them. I think this makes the people I work with directly uncomfortable. I have worked side by side with someone that has hated me and belittled me for 20 years and now her friends treat me the same way. I have tried to ignore it but recently some retirees have expressed their concern over things said about me. I don't want to go to my principle because the bullies are highly respected by them and I'd like to fix it myself without putting my principle in an uncomfortable situation(Respect her immensely) It is affecting my health, anyone have any words of wisdom?

Guest (not verified) says...

Yes they should! But for middle school and up definitely. I'm glad I'm not the only teaching ISTJ out there.

Guest (not verified) says...

Pretty much sums me up but I'm not HUGE on tradition, however the communication skills sounds exactly like me.

PicoJoules (not verified) says...

Yes! This was the only part that really didn't resonate with me!

Guest (not verified) says...

Pretty dead on for the most part.

Guest (not verified) says...

Darn accurate, unbelivable. Thanks to provide this :) now i know myself more :)

Guest (not verified) says...

Love my job, but finding that certain aspects are pushing me beyond my natural wiring, causing overwhelming stress etc... Realized it was anti-productive both to myself & the organization so wanted to take another look at the myers/briggs test. Took it years ago after getting married so hubby and I could better understand one another & now again today 25+ years later its still providing valuable info that will help me re-frame my role in our organization. Many thanks - wonderful tool & so helpful!!

Sathiya (not verified) says...

This is really accurate. I learnt so much about myself which I never really realised before although the signs were pretty obvious.

Nava (not verified) says...

agreed! it's crazy how everything applies to me... it's like a scientific horoscope or something haha.

ross (not verified) says...

I was not aware of these types of personalities or the A and B types till recently. And this is me 99%. In addition, i love being neat and organized but not everyday. I have clutters too but for me they are still organized. I know if someone touched my stuff eventhough it's messy.

R. A. Mills (not verified) says...

WOW! Accurate...to the letter.

Tel0113 (not verified) says...

Me to a T. Took a career as a Sales Rep but drifted into technical sales.

ashya (not verified) says...

this is true and real!!!!!!!!!!

Guest (not verified) says...

Yep, this pretty much sums who I am, except for where most ISTJ's are in career. I've been in banking and it contradicted my personality, don't deal with mean people to well.

ross (not verified) says...

I think it means you're more on the banking financial side. Analyzing the datas and such. You're not the banking customer service or teller type. We are not people person.

Visiting INFJ (not verified) says...

I'm an INFJ browsing for a friend. She thinks it makes her sound cold-hearted. I really don't see it that way. Any opinions?

RFA (not verified) says...

No, not at all!  Very helpful and practical friends, enjoy playing and interacting as long as they know the parameters. Wonderful folks!

Guest (not verified) says...

Being an istj myself we do often come off as cold hearted but honestly when my friends talk about me they always say I'm one of the nicest people you will ever meet. In my opinion we just have a different way of looking and analyzing the world that not everyone can understand. It's very analytical and it takes some time to get used to that. But no we are not cold hearted some of us yes but not all of us.

Edward (not verified) says...

Unfortunately, this - and many other - ISTJ descriptions describe us as overly serious and cold. I have never thought of myself this way, but I HAVE had the problem of being preceived this way by others my whole life. Those who really know me know that I have a wry sense of humor, but I suppose that is the rub - I only show that sense of humor to those close to me. Otherwise, like I imagine most everyone else, I have a polite and senseable persona I project to acquaintences and strangers. It sounds like your friend disagrees. Does she feel like people "get" her and does she feel generally well liked by strangers? While we have sixteen personality types here, it is entirely possible there is a yet to be discovered third layer.

Bub (not verified) says...

That's me too! People (apart from my few friends) think that I'm an *ssh*l*.

Tanika Jones (not verified) says...

Spot on me

EvolvedHeathen (not verified) says...

As a female ISTJ myself, I can understand her concern. I Felt this way at first and still catch myself thinking it even now! It makes me feel better to finally know this is just my personality... I'm not cold; in reality, I'm the most loyal giving person to those very close to me. I don't throw "mushy" meaningless words around... my actions consistently show how I feel and this is not a bad thing!

Guest (not verified) says...

I am also a female ISTJ, an uncommon profile for a woman I'm advised by my therapist. I realize, however, the many wonderful qualities this profile has. ISTJs should be loved, respected, and appreciated. I think they need to shy away from "needy" men whose egos require constant stroking. Trust me, it's a battle an ISTJ will never win because it's clearly contrary to her nature.

tyrone kruxchlichmeov (not verified) says...

so we are all females now?

Guest (not verified) says...

Something I should have learned long before marrying my very emotionally needy husband of 25 years!! :-) I am a firm ISTJ and I realize marrying an ENFJ at a very young age when one is not very self aware can be a challenge. We're still together but boy has it been a roller coaster ride!

Guest (not verified) says...

As an ENFJ myself, I must say that describing your husband as emotionally needy seems disrespectful. However, I am married to an ISTJ male and he can come across a bit cold when that is not his intention so I am sure that is not yours.
25 years is a long time so something is working.
ENFJs have exceptional understanding of social dynamics and natural skill with people overall. INTJs are dutiful, factual and together each truly compliment but it requires so much patience.
I am usually the one to reach out and extend the olive branch but.... That's what our types usually do.
Best to you both.

Liz DSR (not verified) says...

I'm an INTJ female, figuring I should read up more on my to-be-ex-husband of seven years, an ISTJ male. This site has provided some really good insight into why our relationship didn't work. It didn't work right from early on, and it came to a head three years into our relationship... but by then, we were already married, and while we discussed divorce then, we both felt it important to try to make the marriage work. Four years later, life is intolerable, so I'm leaving.

I've accused him of being "cold" plenty of times. I get zero-emotional response from this guy. He has also zero-potential for conversation. As we're both introverts, and as he's a particularly anti-social introvert, we never spend time with friends or at any sort of social thing, outside of family functions. Those, he feels he has a duty to attend, so we do. But it's easier to pull teeth than it is to get him to let us spend time with any of our friends, even his friends! He will occasionally go to spend time with coworkers after a day's work, but that falls under "duty," too, and he usually has a drink and comes right home.

He's definitely been the provider for us, and perhaps I need to thank him more strongly for that, as we go through divorce proceedings. But he has also kept me from providing traditional female roles for our relationship, feeling the need to control and micromanage every single thing that's done. If I fold clothes, it's wrong, and he corrects it... unless I do it his way. I cannot do dishes, because, even though I was the oldest of four children and the only girl and I learned "traditional family roles" at my INTJ father & ENFJ mother's knee, somehow, I still don't "do them right," if I dare to do the dishes, he will re-do them.

He's a loving man who simply wants a wife to stay by his side. His ex-wife couldn't remain with him. I cannot remain with him. I truly hope he finds someone with whom he is truly compatible and who loves him back the way he deserves to be loved, into old age and beyond. Sadly, I am not that woman.

AmADunkyFoo (not verified) says...

I'm and ISTJ male, and I'm confused. I didn't think being controlling of others was right.  You are right, we can be terrible with conversation since we are more action oriented. If you were wanting to explore, then you really should have shopped around for an extrovert. ISTJs are very ritualistic and predictable.  

POOLIE (not verified) says...

That's quit funny actually, well not in your divorce but the actions of your husband. I am also an ISTJ female tho, lesbian, so I can pretend to be your husband lol. Literally how I am. I can't watch my GF wash dishes or I'll have to redo them, Don't fold clothes in front of me or it'll be the wrong way. I've had the same issues in relationships not being a communicator and "seeming" to not give a crap about the relationship. I can relate to your perhaps ex husband now? Cold, not emotion, asked all the time if I love the SO ... Just on and on. I always thought it would be easier for a male to get away with... 

What I really wanted to say was I bet you anything in this world he was just happy to call you wife and to be in the same room as you everyday. Cause that's how I am. We have feelings and emotions, deep, deep, deep within us and they are very hard for us to show. Trust me when I say we feel EVERYTHING, TO THE CORE. We're probably the personality type most intune with our emotions yet we dont process were hurting the ones we love until it's to late. 

Not that you should be ok with that or made to accept it, as you have stated in your comment, which I thought was extremely thoughtful and introspective. 

I hope everything is well, I'm sorry but the dishes thing and the laundry thing got me, I had to say it's not just him. 

 

ryan cayenne up flyin (not verified) says...

hi :)  i just thought i would ask you a question (as an istj) if you don't mind and you feel like you would like to share some insight:  i am a infp and have a excetionally ardent beneficent demeanor towards everyone in general.  i am quite odd and completely unique in my approach to almost everything (which is very difficult and not by choice; but by what naturally motivates me).  i have a 140 iq (slightly above average).  i tell you this because i'm a pretty big failure when it comes to life.  my dad is an istj and he seriously dislikes everything about me, quite intensely.  this isn't an exaggeration.  he truly is turned off by my personality and the way i apporach everything in life.  i know a part of it is that i'm always in a position of having little money (just enough to get by) and he thinks of me as this leech because, if we're involved with anything in life together, he has to pick up my slack because i can't afford to do stuff like eat out.  his disdain has a lot to do with how he wants me to capitulate to what he sees as the inevitable set of life's demands...  he's one of those people who hates people who got successful via windfalls, achieved success relatively quickly, more easily, or by creative means rather than than those who worked hard for a long time.  he has this life philosophy that one must sacrifice long and difficult hours of existence in a position of suffering to maintain an independent life.  he sees exploration of other avenues of giving value to the world as hustling or swindling society, even when it may be completely legitimate practice in society.  

in my opinion, he has this hateful attitude towards most people who don't make absolute logical sense in a well defined way (he often parrots words or phrases back to people when he feels like the exchange is somehow inequitable.  in reality, he just needs to simply take into account that the person he's interacting with is different than he and the spirit of the exchange is rarely as he interprets it to be).  as an infp, i feel i'm the opposite of this type of being.  i just am unable to force myself into a type of life he thinks is right and he's constantly seeking to punish me into it.  when i play around on guitar or talk with a friend regarding my entrepreneureal personal business plans, he seeks to obliterate any confidence or interest i have in these independent things.  i think his idea is that i should, "get real," regarding possible pipe dreams.  the variable he doesn't see, is that i am so depressed when i have to do the conventional thing that i literally get physically ill;  this has been the course of my life.  it's a stalemate of existence caught in indecision.  i'm told i can not take the path i feel i must.  in the past, i am forced into having to do the 9-5 job type thing and i get so unable to cope that i blow up my whole world because it's joyless to a frightening degree.  i seeked out chemical help to maintain such a life, just to get by, and it eventually ruined my health. 

anyway my question is just:  is there any way i can appeal to my father to make him like me more or to be on my side in life?  is there anything that enlists your effort on behalf of a struggling life?  what causes you to go into high gear, when it comes to altruism for another person?  i think he's of the current opinion that i should get so low that i'm forced to, "live properly."  he always talks about how i will soon be without a car and my apartment because my resources are dwindling and then i'll be forced into a conventional life to merely keep my head above water.  i don't operate well under this kind of dire threat and pressure.  i have no aversion to responsibility or hard work.  i just feel the need to succeed in less conventional ways instead of the 9-5 (that i genuinely feel i can not keep up) and he can't respect this approach.  this is a question of ability at this stage.  due to my health, i need to have a schedule i can make myself.  is there a way i could appeal to him to stop trying to actively shoot me down and maybe even get a bit of support behind me?  i honestly think he bvelieves i am this person he feels so much distaste for.  yet people who know me well understand that i am an exceptionally altruistic person who will help with all i have when someone's in need. 

is there any way i can appeal to him and enlist his love he might gain for me as his only child?  he's well off in life and i get the feeling that he dislikes me so much, that he would prefer to take me out of his will (i'm not sure where i currently stand).  again, this hatred isn't due to any criminal, evil, or nasty behavior of any kind whatsoever.  he just dislikes my, "type."  when he describes my personality characteristics, he krinkles up his nose and shakes his head in disgust.  i think he sees this as me being entitled or wanting something for nothing or not willing to do the work and start at the ground.  the way he sees me isn't accurate.  he's always talking about how i need to be in prison with rats swarming me to force me to do what i have to do.  then, if i want to improve my conditions and not be infested or else die in filthy misery, i have to scrub the toilets, so to speak (he then goes on about how many people live in filth and i can too if i want and he's not giving me a penny).  when he talks to me about the future, i see no good options that i'm inclined to pursue whatsoever.  i believe i have massive potential to succeed given the right path.  but each path he suggests, accentuates the most negative qualities of me, as a person.  can i possibly accentuate some part of myself that he may respond to better and perhaps back me up in life (even if just in an emptionally supportive way; not necessarily monetarily)?

 

soooo sorry for tmi;  i really appreciate you reading it (if you did.  if you didn't, i understand also ;)

nah (not verified) says...

Just stop relying on him and git good, be independent.

Anonymous (not verified) says...

Try not to take it personally. I'm pretty sure Red Foreman from That 70's Show was an istj and his son may have been an infp or isfp. They had a very similar relationship to what you describe... Someone told me the sooner you accept your parents for who they are the happier you'll be.

You may have to be the bigger person. The worst thing you can do though is let your father's criticism affect you. Maybe traditional jobs don't fit your personality but that's fine it's not 1950 there are a lot of ways to use your talents to make a living today. 

Mary Shero (not verified) says...

It is very hurtful when a parent judges harshly.  It helps a little to understand that they follow the patterns of their own personality just as you do...but it doesn't help alot.  My advice is to know that you can never win this parent's love and respect.  Accept this; seriously or completely minimize contact, And LOVE AND APPOVE OF YOURSELF.  There's some great info online about parental no-love.  You are not alone out there.

Guest (not verified) says...

Well, I'm an ISTJ and my friends often say I sound cold hearted but they know better than to really call me that.

Guest (not verified) says...

I am the same and receive the same treatment

Guest (not verified) says...

are you sexy tho

Guest (not verified) says...

Amazing!! Really confirmed to me who I am. Now I have to let everybody else know!! LOL

Genesis (not verified) says...

There's a lot of speculation about Sheldon Cooper's possible personality type. Most people believe it's INTJ, however while reading information about ISTJ I'm quite sure he is ISTJ. Does anyone else have an opinion on this?

johnRedman (not verified) says...

Although not having precisely considered your contention before reading it just a few moments ago, I have been intriqued as to the fictional personality of Sheldon Cooper.  Never having known many people seemingly very much like the comedic version written, directed, and portrayed for the TV series' episodes, still my impression has been that various elements of that personality have struck me as familiar.  Perhaps a degree of self-identification may be somehow involved?  Anyways, I do certainly, for the present, agree that the Myers-Briggs ISTJ category does seem to well fit Sheldon Cooper's expressed personality characteristics.  I'll have to reread detailed descriptions of the various Myers-Briggs typologies and give this matter a thorough considersation.

Sheree (not verified) says...

Sheldon Cooper is not a real person, but a creation of someone else's mind, therefore is not likely to fit into any type 100%. - said the INTJ

 

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