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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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Eyusbi (not verified) says...

Totally true, I felt naked.

Guest (not verified) says...

Really fits me except for the part about typical gender roles

Guest (not verified) says...

True, true, true. Working now with an ISTJ bully who was formerly a law enforcement officer. Now she is a frustrated female sales manager in a retail environment terrorizing the team. Bad career match = misery for us all. Not judging the rest of you ISTJ folks (my spouse is one!). Just need to be in the correct career

Pnice (not verified) says...

These test keep telling me I'm an ISTJ and I had a by the book job and I hated it. I actually loved my co-workers and the hanging out after work but I just couldn't remember all the rules, all the laws and how to find everything. It was so painstakingly boring to me. Now I'm going into a career where I'll be with more extroverted types and I'm afraid I won't be liked. I know my talent will speak for itself but will that be enough? I don't know.

Guest (not verified) says...

Seems true for me. Although All the jobs which "fit" ISTJ seems unappealing for me, and the jobs which are "least fitting" for ISTJ are really appealing for me and I have a desire to work as these.

Guest (not verified) says...

Very true and smartly written

Guest (not verified) says...

I really don't know, none of the types really apply to me and I've taken the test multiple times now getting different results. Ah, screw this test, I am my own type.

intj/istj (not verified) says...

So ah... How many of the detail-oriented people in here have pointed out the typo in ISTJ's description for "Sensing" so far? ;)

Guest (not verified) says...

Yes! That's been bothering me for a while! I've noticed a few other typos on other pages on this site.

Clarity (not verified) says...

Can someone explain to me how to get an ISTJ to communicate with an INFP on an emotional level? My ISTJ would rather run around chatting with my parents or older siblings when he gets the chance than sit down and quietly chat with me about my feelings... Also, do you think that by chatting with my family members he's trying to show me that he appreciates this and would like me to do the same with his family or that he's just avoiding me?

SleepingLionRoars says...

Hi Clarity!

I want to say that I sympathize, but in my case the roles and personality types are reversed. One thing you might do with your ISTJ is be explicit in what you are wanting, don't be afraid of being straight forward with them. It may also help to set a time and place to do so to, as we ISTJs are fairly structured creatures. I hope this helps!

Guest (not verified) says...

I believe that's the issue- they're not emotional chatters. And yes, that could possibly be one way of showing love, they are very family oriented. I'm in the same boat as you. Trying to see if this combination is even possible. At first it was very frustrating. I feel however, we're very attracted to the qualities we each bring each other. But this is the most challenging combination of all.

Guest (not verified) says...

I WAS married to one. Result: crash and burned. That was mission impossible to work it out. I (ISTJ) could not breathe/sigh (literally) without the INFP taking it as potentially a threat to her and negative criticism. The slightest move or talk was taken personally. That would be followed by an interrogation, an emotional drama, and end with a manipulative guilt trip. That was absolutely suffocating for both of us. We could not socialize, as "everybody likes you better than me". With both of us being introverted, it would have taken an herculian effort to discuss every little thing. I hope there is no worse match between 2 personality styles than ISTJ/INFP.

I hope you 2 find a way to work it out. We miserably failed.

Guest (not verified) says...

I feel that some parts are accurate and some parts aren't, 4 letter codes as a tool to describe cognitive brain functioning seems more realistic. Personalities however cannot be squeezed neatly into boxes. So I do not think traditional gender roles and the way someone dresses can be easily defined by a code. As far as your brain functioning goes I think the 16 types does work in that sense. Personalities, on the other hand are often way too nuanced.

Guest (not verified) says...

Spot on. Can't believe how correct this test was. Now I understand myself a whole lot better.

Guest (not verified) says...

Wow this sums up my partner!! I'm an ENTP female and it normally states we are not compatible but in reality we learn so much from each other. I Love ISTJ's, so organised and straight forward..... He puts some order in my life and I seem to have helped his confidence. What is great though is he doesn't suffocate me with emotions.....perfect match.

aefa (not verified) says...

lol, my husband and I are ISTJ/INFP. In the almost 6 years that we've known each other and almost 2 years of marriage, we have yet to have a conflict that lasts more than two hours. We must be one of those couples that learn well from one another. He's a math/computer nerd, and I enjoy arts and crafts. I try very hard not to hold grudges or take offense with my ISTJ hubby because I know that's how his personality works and he has tried hard to provide me at the very least with unspoken support. We've had all sorts of obstacles thrown our way in the last two years, and we have come out just fine.

Don't be distressed! If *both* partners work to understand each other and keep their emotions in check, it can work out!

Lauren F. (not verified) says...

I married an ISTJ and I am an INFP. They say opposites attract, boy do they ever! haha. We have our ups and downs, but we balance each other out very well. He is more logical, and I am more emotional. He is more rigid in his decision making, and I am more go with the flow. We are different in almost every single way, yet what I lack he makes up for and vice versa. We have grown exponentially together, challenging each other in our weakness and upholding each other in our strengths. I help him to see other people's emotions and relate to others, and he helps me to stay on solid ground and make more rational decisions. Respect and praise of the differences is key, as well as open communication (with complete honesty) in keeping a happy relationship. It has been an interesting journey, though not impossible.

All the best to those who have also married their direct opposite!

Helen Stanton (not verified) says...

Of course I dont believe in personality tests as an fangled 'pen ticking' or measuring yard sticks the world is obsessed with rather than getting on with the job! I would add LOL ....but this has been deemed old fashioned which is another one of our traits. Being a woman I guess the extroverts would say I am cold - again like others who have written on this post... I dont think I am exceptionally so.... haven written comedy for TV and often have people rolling around in tears when I add comment to a given situation...what I dont do is swan in an hour late for work....make a coffee read all my emails and then text and answer my cell phone to swan back out the door after 2 hours no work done...I find extroverts exhausting...I feel sorry for my husband as I can be reclusive which suits me....(take out food rather than fancy restaurant) but we dont row and I love him to bits...I tell my kids I love them and proud of them. As an ISTJ I would not change me or my personality for any other - it is structured and achieves success if not for my self ...others employer and company I work for children as a single mom having to work to support them...I dont see being dedicated as debilitating...and the person in previous entry about jobs of opposite personality that attracts.... them my suggestion is 'go for it' as I have no doubt you will succeed as it is not only the challenge but you will become the internal 'cog' which makes the others tick!

I dont have the need to wave banners for success but I do enjoy seeing others happy I stand behind them while they wave the banner! I like being supportive and not being in the lime light...I dont have time to interrogate although I like things done well...but I do like to move on with pace and where possible style...proof reading ..bill of quantities....knitting...gardening...painting & decorating...fine connoisseur and being good at what you do all have been personal motivators in work and life.

People have systems and rules and it is up to the ISTJ's to keep these working and well oiled if they want order as they say they do? which sometimes working for folk you think they invent rules just to break em....if being a good citizen is not enough for you try to find something abstract as a distraction which wont cause chaos in your orderly life...colourful tie or bright red shiny stilettos (possibly not at the same time) to brighten up that grey/black wardrobe we love and lighten the day of others misconception ;)

GrammarJunkie (not verified) says...

Hi! Is translator and interpreter a good career choice for an ISTJ?

NicoleM (not verified) says...

Most of this is very fitting for me. Though I am a speech pathologist and am very fulfilled in my job and think it matches the skill set of an ISTJ quite well-- work independently/set your own schedule, high need for organization, critical and analytical skills needed for assessment and diagnosis, independent management of IEP deadlines, etc

Guest (not verified) says...

Sheldon Cooper is, how do I say it? Oh, right ... FICTIONAL.

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'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.

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"...

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.

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

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. 

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.

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. 

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.

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". 

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.

Elber Galarga Hidura (not verified) says...

wtf xDlol omg 2011

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

Oc grasias krak teapresio amix

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... 

Who Cares lmao (not verified) says...

yee yee 

Sexy asparagus (not verified) says...

Nicky worded

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. 

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. 

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. 

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