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The ISTP Personality Type

ISTPs are observant artisans with an understanding of mechanics and an interest in troubleshooting. They approach their environments with a flexible logic, looking for practical solutions to the problems at hand. They are independent and adaptable, and typically interact with the world around them in a self-directed, spontaneous manner.

ISTPs are attentive to details and responsive to the demands of the world around them. Because of their astute sense of their environment, they are good at moving quickly and responding to emergencies. ISTPs are reserved, but not withdrawn: the ISTP enjoys taking action, and approaches the world with a keen appreciation for the physical and sensory experiences it has to offer.

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What does ISTP stand for?

ISTP 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, Perceiving. ISTP 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 spontaneous and flexible rather than planned and organized (Perceiving). ISTPs are sometimes referred to as Craftsperson personalities because they typically have an innate mechanical ability and facility with tools.

How common is the ISTP personality type?

The ISTP personality type is much more common among men than women. Among men, it is the third most common type in the population. Among women, it is the fourth rarest. ISTPs make up:

  • 5% of the general population
  • 9% of men
  • 2% of women

Famous ISTPs

Famous ISTPs include Lance Armstrong, Bruce Lee, Miles Davis, Tiger Woods, Chuck Yaeger, Katherine Hepburn, Clint Eastwood, and Amelia Earhart.

ISTP Values and Motivations

ISTPs are curious about the mechanics of the world around them and typically have a unique ability to manipulate the tools in their environments. They tend to study how things work and often achieve mastery in the use and operation of machines, instruments, and equipment. They seek understanding, but in a practical sense: they like to be able to put their technical knowledge to immediate use and are quickly bored by theory.

ISTPs tend to be detached and prefer the logic of mechanical things to the complexity of human emotions. Independent and reserved, ISTPs treasure their personal space, and want to be free to be spontaneous and follow their own lead. ISTPs are selective about their relationships, and appreciate others who allow them plenty of freedom to do their own thing.

How Others See the ISTP

ISTPs are typically reserved and even aloof. Tolerant and nonjudgmental, the ISTP calmly takes in the details and facts of their surroundings, noticing sensory data and observing how things work. They often tune into what needs to be done, taking care of the immediate needs of the moment in a modest, inconspicuous way. They tend to prefer action to conversation, and are often private about their personal lives. ISTPs are unlikely to “open up” to new people in a conventional way, but may connect with others by sharing an activity or working together to solve a practical problem.

ISTPs are good with their hands and often mechanical. They are typically attracted to hands-on hobbies like woodworking or crafts, and may be found tinkering with bicycles, computers, cars, or household appliances. They often have an intuitive understanding of machines and a remarkable ability to fix things. ISTPs have an appreciation for risk and action, and often enjoy thrilling leisure activities like extreme sports, motorcycling, or weaponry.

For more information: The Art of SpeedReading People

ISTP Hobbies and Interests

Popular hobbies for an ISTP include magic and comedy, archery, weaponry, hunting, scuba diving, rappelling, aviation, skydiving, motorcycles, and other extreme sports. They are often drawn to risky or thrilling activities and those that allow them to work with something mechanical.

Facts about ISTPs

Interesting facts about the ISTP:

  • On personality trait measures, score as Critical, Detached, Guarded, Independent, and Resourceful
  • Commonly found in populations of male college scholarship athletes
  • More likely than other types to suffer cardiac problems
  • Lowest ranked of all types in using social coping resources
  • One of four types least satisfied with their marriage or intimate relationship
  • Among types least likely to complete college
  • Personal values include Autonomy; at work, value Stability, Security, Independence, and Achievement
  • Commonly found in skilled trades, technical fields, agriculture, law enforcement, and military occupations

Source: MBTI Manual

Quotes About ISTPs

"ISTPs have a vested interest in practical and applied science, especially in the field of mechanics."

- Isabel Briggs Myers, Gifts Differing

"If a given tool is operated with a precision that defies belief, that operator is likely an ISTP."

- David Keirsey, Please Understand Me II

"Though very effective at most undertakings, [the ISTP's] unorthodox way of accomplishing something, coupled with low visibility, can often lead to co-workers' wondering, to quote the people the Lone Ranger saved, 'Who was that masked man?'"

- Otto Kroeger, Type Talk at Work

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Comments

Vance (not verified) says...

Just went down every letter to find my persoanlity type, and this description is me to a T!

Anonymous (not verified) says...

I used to have a friend who was an istp before I moved. He was a little bit truthful but I guess that was the best part about him. He was the best person to go for advice. I'm an esfj but we got along so well. 

Lenachek (not verified) says...

Took the test twice because the description didn't quite fit to me being an ISTP: I think I have a very big heart, everyone says they feel very loved by me and I never treated anybody in a bad way.

I agree on being independent and a very logical person as I am in fact an engineer, but I don't agree on the emotional part.

Twinky (not verified) says...

I'm an INFJ married to this ISTP guy.. uggh!

fyahstarta (not verified) says...

It is great to know that i'm not actually broken and this is just who I am, lol. The people in my life constantly tell me that I am "icy" or that I "have a strong personality" (depending on how polite they're feeling at the time, I guess).

I usually just stand there flabbergasted.  In most cases, all I did was be honest. I say what is on my mind, one way or another. If my life, job, or something else crucial is on the line, I will sanitize what I say before I say it. If not, I'll just spit it out whichever way I'm thinking it. 

I kinda hate that this is such a big problem for most other types, BUT I can see why brutal honestly would be uncomfortable for people who prefer things to be spun in the most rosy light (what I would simply call being lied to, but I know... nobody asked, lol).

Anyway, I've said way more than I planned to. This was a good read. Hopefully I'll find someone who is okay with my icy variety of charm one day, Haha.

Anonymous (not verified) says...

Awww, don't worry about it. It's okay to be yourself. I'm an esfj so I don't know much about what you feel inside, but keep being who you are no matter what anyone else thinks. :) good luck!

Janhavi (not verified) says...

Hi, istp here. I can totally relate to your answer. Just now I was frustrated with a relationship where I hate not being able to be brutally honest. It is a big problem for everyone around me. I was going crazy that I have to keep up with their feelings not to be hurt in order to be light. Thanks! Appreciate your response.

janinirvs (not verified) says...

I am a very blunt ISTP as well..It is a big challenge for me to soften my feelings or honestly to cater someone else's emotions. I also really enjoy my personal space.

wow (not verified) says...

after read all of that, now I know why all of my friends always keep their distance with me and called me a walking refrigerator

fyahstarta (not verified) says...

same, honestly. I gave up on making or maintaining close friendships a while back. Figured the people who are meant to understand and tolerate me will. Lol. Best of luck to ya

Just a guy who likes Tony Stark =') (not verified) says...

This is me. I feel relieved and like got that good feeling in my brain when everything works correctly. Because I have just accepted my reservancy most of the time, which bothered me because people considered me a cold person. I can be warm and "live"as well (usually with family and friends).

Also liked a list of hobbies. I wanna try everything!

Also: BRUCE LEE IS ON OUR SIDE =D *started throwing random things in the air*

Pepper pots (not verified) says...

I love u 300

Eh (not verified) says...

It's 3000, not 300 pal. ( ;¬{|)>

Lion (not verified) says...

Good to know. Now it's time to work on the weak points. 

Ches (not verified) says...

After reading a whole bunch of ISTP facts weakness from a number of websites... I can see why people think I'm rude, a jerk & most commonly... an @$$hole.

Luv you all, my fellow ISTP.

Wife of A** (not verified) says...

That's how I feel about husband.

antisocial tiger (not verified) says...

Bruh same, but nobody says it to me. I just know cause I feel like a jerk when talking to people, but I can't fix it cause of my complete lack of social skills :/

papi (not verified) says...

i can relate to that @$$hole part

shequille oatmeal (not verified) says...

Bruh, that's a fat mood. I get that. And my siblings wonder why I have no friends, huh.

im ur daddy ; ) (not verified) says...

ikr

MR. COMPUTER NERD (not verified) says...

Anyone else notice how creepy "The Craftsman's" eyes look at the top of this page?    XD

Eh (not verified) says...

Pretty much x'D. They have some other guy holding a wrench on diff websites, cos they're always talking about "risky behaviour" I seriously thought he lost his leg and replaced it with the wrench... x_x"

TommyGunn (not verified) says...

He looks more like he's thinking about smashing his own hand with that hammer rather than the steel plate :D  

Isaiah Moreno (not verified) says...

It just be like that sometimes. Your empty stare into the abyss as you dream of things that are to come. You want to feel pain but the chains of society's ideas prevent you from doing so without going to a mental hospital. 

Other than that, funny comment.

Susan Anderson (not verified) says...

And here I always contributed my  personality to being a 100 % Capricorn go figure 

Pam B. (not verified) says...

That's remarkable Susan, I too am a Capricorn! I also happen to be a retired carpenter as was my ex-husband. This information was very accurate. 

Zlaty (not verified) says...

You mean you ATTRIBUTED your personality to being 100% Capricorn.

INFP here. I'm sorry, I couldn't resist.

Twinky (not verified) says...

HA!

Seabell (not verified) says...

Nice one just had a huge row with my ISTP husband of 40 years and as an INFP I'm bloody drained

Thanos (not verified) says...

Wow, this is so relatable! Too bad I had to kill Iron Man... Very cool!

Just a guy who likes Tony Stark =') (not verified) says...

Monster.

Thanos (not verified) says...

Can relate, this really helps me so much. To bad I had to kill Iron Man... Very cool!

Tanold Drump (not verified) says...

yup

Jason cowart (not verified) says...

This is me.

Nikki says...

I don't feel that this personality type fits me. I have done this test twice this year and have the same results. I am pretty unpredictable, unemotional, friendly with a million interests. I like being crafty and finding solutions to any given problem. I don't feel like I grew up as a tomboy, but didn't mind getting my hands dirty and climbing trees. The outdoors are my absolute favorite. I can seem aloof as I don't care about things that are unimportant. I don't get caught up in being emotional. I am in the aviation industry, but not as a pilot. I have always thought about being a police officer but decided against it. Then again, I have thought about many occupations during my lifetime. 

Sean (not verified) says...

So... your description is EXACTLY this personality. lol

Suma (not verified) says...

maybe you are grown enough not to consist on one specific kind of job

if you don't have one of the weaknesses that doesn't necessarily make you anouther person 

because you make a better person of yourself

TommyGunn (not verified) says...

Marry me

Terralyn (not verified) says...

Lol! You describe this personality perfectly!

Boosey Finn (not verified) says...

Sounds more like a ESFP or ESTP 

Sio’Noir (not verified) says...

You said it didn't fit you but everything you said about yourself was described in the texts. Try reading it again maybe. It definitely described you. 

J100 (not verified) says...

Military Officer should be in the avoid category. ISTPs fit best in military positions where technical/weapon mastery is key. Officers are overwhelmingly generalist administrators. At the very least if an ISTP is a military officer they should strive for a position like pilot, navigator, platoon leader, special ops, etc. Most officers (in fact most of the military) are in supporting functions that will not be well suited to an ISTP.

jovial kumar shrivastav (not verified) says...

Thoughts of an ISTP

according to me the test can basically change your life. Just think about it, that by knowing each others personalitity can help you to understand others in a better way because you know how to act infront of that that particular person that you like the most and you want him/her to get comfortable while he/she is talking to you. And you can also call it mind manipulating technique.

Mike Kaufmann (not verified) says...

Could you make the book suggestions for ISTPs please? I would be really curious and would try to read them. Thanks for all the given info, love it. 

Huien (not verified) says...

  • More likely than other types to suffer cardiac problems

I’m very curious as to this point mentioned. I’m a female ISTP who just hit 30 and have been experiencing heart ‘issues’ for the last year. X rays, blood tests and a treadmill test reveal nothing wrong but yet something in me is convinced this is not normal. The doctor concluded ‘stress’.  I experience anything from tightness, heart pounding and a prickly pain in my chest when this happens- usually when I feel fatigued and still push myself. Nothing to do with caffeine or mental stress in the moment. It’s a physical phenomenon and can even happen in bed when I experience fatigue. No breathlessness or panting or anxiety attacks. So I usually still remain functional and ignore it until it goes away, most of the time. I have a (relatively) healthy diet but struggle to meet my exercise goals as my heart and lungs don’t get stronger over time. Often I fall ill after moderate exercise. The only reason why I’m posting this here because of a health website is because I would like to know if it’s related to my personality type ? Please any answers or arrows pointing even in a somewhat vague direction would be appreciated. 

WS (not verified) says...

I am NOT a doctor but have you been carefully screened for anxiety? I've heard of people with some symptoms similar to this who wound up later finding out that they had anxiety after YEARS of not knowing (or being in denial). Could be worth talking to your doctor. Also, you could ask your doctor about betta-blockers (i.e. Propranolol) as a low-risk test to try during these episodes (as related to blocking physical symptoms of anxiety).

rogerthorn says...

Being indepedent and not very socialable we carry many of our personal problems inside. Having a social support system relieves much of the stress. Just having some one to talk to helps. This, however, isn't our style.

 

Anthony8x (not verified) says...

I am a 31 year old male, same personality type and I have almost identical symptoms. Same thing, doctors can't find anything. I used to work out all the time with no issue. Then it got to the point where I just gave up working out because I would always end up feeling sick. I wish I knew what the problem was. I see you posted this 7 months ago, have you had any success finding the cause?

Matt in Seattle (not verified) says...

Huien, you said you have chest tightness and heart issues "usually when I feel fatigued and still push myself.".
It sounds like you are aware that you are not listening to your body when it tells you that it is fatigued and needs a rest.
So I think you may have answered your own question... when you are fatigued, rest, don't keep pushing. Our bodies are flesh and blood, not machines.  :)

I just previously read the ISTJ description and, like this ISTP description, it says that heart problems are more common for them...
I wonder what the common trait is with regard to the hear problems... the I, S or T ?  
Maybe its the "thinking"?  Maybe we overthink and stress our body out- or over react to things that upset us...
I know that type A personalities (people who get mad and overreact) have more heart problems.  

I focus on relaxing and letting go and not reacting to things that are upsetting (like I used to do). Driving in really bad traffic is a great way to observe how we might overreact to things and learn to stop resisting things we cannot change... which will reduce stress.

"Expending emotional energy over the uncontrollable is the definition of suffering".  - Dr. Paul Dobransky
"Know thyself".

I'm not any kind of professional on this topic in any way!

Jelena says...

I can recognise myself as an ISTP, as well as an INTP. Even when I'm taking the same test on a different pages, sometimes I get ISTP and sometimes I get INTP. Not really sure which one is my true type, because I can see myself in both of these types. Nevermind, I'm pretty satisfied with the results, it's accurate for me. 

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