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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 ISTPs are reserved, but not withdrawn: the ISTP enjoys taking action, and approaches the world with a keen appreciation for the physical and sensory experiences it has to offer.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

Diesel Mechanic/ Motorcycle rider (not verified) says...

This is amazing. I just got out of a long term relationship, and it nailed it perfectly. I was asking for action and she was more dreaming. this is scary accurate

Cookie Crumbles 1000 (not verified) says...

This is so true its creepy

Guest (not verified) says...

Interesting fact: Link from the Legend of Zelda series actually has this personality type. Any Zelda fans out there who are ISTPs?

Melody Hazi (not verified) says...

I've always felt mis-understood and an outsider, but as I have grown older I have found confidence in myself as an ISTP. As I kid I always took apart things like my parents old black and white TV to figure out how they worked. People see me as aloof ( I was nicknamed the Ice Queen), because I can not tolerate small talk, small people, lines, mediocrity. My motto is always jump and people see me as risk taker/daredevil, but I actually do think before jumping. I often give mixed signals that confuse people because I can be outgoing and gregarious if a topic interests me, but then pull back and am reserved for topics I find mundane. I work in technology and excel at troubleshooting and working under pressure finding solutions to problems needing resolving yesterday. I do not good with expressing compassion or feelings and people tend to think I am cold though I feel deeply. Now if one day I can finally find someone who gets and will put up with me. If you try to change or control me I will be gone faster then you can blink

Guest (not verified) says...

This fit me to a t. I am a woman and learned how to ride a motorcycle back in the early eighties. I loved speed. It gave me the biggest thrill of my life. I have always had a natural aptitude for machines also. I have never been one for small talk either

TheIntrovertedManiac (not verified) says...

I seem to be a complicated mix of ISFP and ISTP it seems. Kinda depends on how tired I am and my current mood, but I think I lean more towards this than ISFP.

Nickimite (not verified) says...

I agree with the majority of the content on this page, however it does seem pretty narrow, even by Myers Briggs standards. I am an ISTP and some of these things about me are true, however it fails to capture what other websites delineating what an ISTP is. This website is particularly bad at including borderline personalities, that is, personalities that are close to 50/50 in I/E S/N T/F and P/J. Simply put, it is overly stereotyping the ISTP personality. I attribute the number of people commenting in awe of this website to their lack of gathered comparable information and the desire of those who closely match to express their opinions, whereas the moderates are less likely to come forward. Good day.

potato psoas says...

You are definitely an ISTP. Your Ti is showing. Wonder what you've learnt in 7 months...

Guest (not verified) says...

it's absolutely true for me....really nailed it...

Gamer (not verified) says...

This describes me. I love technology and spend 76% of my time alone in my room. What else could fit better?

Lyddie (not verified) says...

I'm an INFP, while my husband for 11 years is ISTP. It was described here that I'm a challenging opposite for him. But I'm so in love with him so I fought with all my heart to keep him happy beside me. I think our relationship really works, and we are both satisfied with each other very much. I adore his ability and sense in things (he's like my personal Superman), and he loves me for appreciating all his works to the specific details. So IMO no matter which group you are, if you love a person deep enough, you could have a beautiful relationship with them by understanding their personality. And of course vise versa. ;) MBTI is the best in describe personalities, I believe. So much fun!

Nickimite (not verified) says...

I absolutely love the sound of your relationship with your husband. I also believe that any two personalities can have a beautiful, loving relationship. I do think it's funny how not-ISTP-like this post is. It is open, free, and expressive of the good things in your life. For an ISTP, generally it takes them until later in life to be able to open up at all. It is obvious to me how different our two personality types are, and I think it's wonderful you can be there to help your man grow as a person.

Guest (not verified) says...

interesting nonetheless

Guest (not verified) says...

As an istp i find this very true. But im dissappointed in the lack of job options that should be associated with istp's, like surgeons or lawyer. Im an istp college student who is aiming for a job in plastic surgery. these jobs make the most sense because it appeals to my love of fixing things, aesthetics, mechanics, and curiosity.

Atato (not verified) says...

I'm a consultant who loves her work. I find rewarding having to fix things, reacting to crisis quickly, crafting beautiful slides and learning about new things.

Feisfocused (not verified) says...

the jobs did seem limited

ECA (not verified) says...

This makes sense to me. This is spot on and describes me a lot.

Guest (not verified) says...

Part of the 2% :)

Chastinins (not verified) says...

i agree with you all i am a 14 yr old and they all match me! we are doing this for an English assignment and it is actually quite interesting!

melissa deason (not verified) says...

good wish's (:

RealityIsCrazy (not verified) says...

Wow. This is right I'm young and is learning computer coding at home I will always love to help, tinker, and anything to do with electronics. And I like to be alone.

Guest (not verified) says...

I love my result!!!

Guest (not verified) says...

I'm off to jump from a cliff top,

Amia says...

Ha same 

Guest (not verified) says...

Hopefully you didn't jump. Today is the first day of the rest of your life, pace yourself.

Guest (not verified) says...

Hopefully he was talking about bungee jumping or cliff diving!

Melody Hazi (not verified) says...

Or skydiving or all of the above. It doesn't matter what it is the answer is "always jump"

Guest (not verified) says...

Hits the mark way closer than I expected, and now I feel such a sense of freedom and understanding. Granted, there are nuances here and there, but wow. I'm glad I put aside my skepticism for this test and went ahead and did it.

ISTP (not verified) says...

This really is who I am. Recently I have been looking into engineering, and was excited when I found many types of engineering in the predicted jobs! I can also finally understand why I do what I do. I may hold a grudge for a while then drop it randomly, and I always try to steer my friends' conversations away from emotions. This is me in a nutshell and I'm proud of it.

Some confused girl (not verified) says...

Nope, I don't buy it. I've answered everything as truthfully as I can and this is not me at all. Sorry test, better luck next time.

Guest (not verified) says...

I encourage you to look into the validity and reliability studies published on the MBTI CAPT website. I promise you, if you took the assessment with the correct mindset, 96% of the time, it will result in exactly what your preferred personality type is...as long as you are assessed through a verification process with a credentialed practitioner.

Gamer (not verified) says...

Just accept the fact girl!

Guest (not verified) says...

I am not sure, the ISTP sounds more like me but I feel every time I take this test I get a different one?

Roger Hayden says...

You need to be brutally honest with yourself when answering the questions. Answer the TRUE answer - don't give the answer that will give a desired response, don't guess what the answer should be, don't second-guess the question or try to anticipate the result. The brutally-honest answer will reveal your true personality. Usually the first answer you give will be the most accurate one.
Think about it, you're not trying to pass a test. You're trying to discover the real you. This is an investigation - not a test.

Guest (not verified) says...

Yes! My husband took the test at my request early in our marriage and got infp. It didn't feel accurate to me. Now after 5 years of marriage and many misunderstandings between the two of us he retook the test on his own and was honest and got istp. It is so accurate my jaw was on the floor. ... from rotfl

Guest (not verified) says...

Honestly, it doesn't seem like me that much - but I think that's my own fault, with the way I was answering questions in a test.

Guest (not verified) says...

im amazed. normally i dont buy into the "take a quiz for your horoscope or personality", thing, but this is insane. sure maybe 1 or two things didnt fit me, but that was out of like 110 things that did.

Guest (not verified) says...

what this isnt accurate at all literally every single job i'd ever wanted to have is considered least popular and everything id never want to do is most popular? the only thing i can relate to is the introvert part but i think i did the quiz wrong lol

GuestIGuess (not verified) says...

2% of the female population. oh my. I'm part of a very small percentage. Completely accurate though.

Guest (not verified) says...

we are pretty rare *throws hair over shoulder*

Feisfocused (not verified) says...

Me too, I always knew I was rare.

Guest (not verified) says...

Wow, im actually really surprised at how accurate this was. Im a girl too, and sience my dream job was literally an electrician, I got teased a lot. It finally makes sense now...

Guest (not verified) says...

me too. :D

Guest (not verified) says...

Yeah me too, that's why I've decided to just go ahead and finish getting my A&P license, so I can start working on airplanes, I have two thirds of it already done I just have to take the tests :D it's the only thing that seemed fun to me even though I'm a girl

Guest (not verified) says...

I'm a female ISTP who used to think I was (or had to be) an ENFJ. I had a lot of issues and was trying to be the opposite of who I really am. I finally accepted who I am and I really love myself and my life now that I think of myself as ISTP and allow myself to act within my true personality.

Guest (not verified) says...

i was unfortuantely tested ISTP while i want to be ENFJ.
i am in your previous trail.

Guest (not verified) says...

I used to think I was an ISTJ. I do enjoy weaponry/archery/fixing stuff... however I do enjoy doing math and writing or drawing at a desk.

Guest (not verified) says...

I've done this quiz a couple of time and I got ISTP, ISTJ and ISFP. You CAN be a mixture of them depending on the situation

potato psoas says...

You can't.

Have a look at the cognitive functions. ISTJ and ISFP are completely different kettles of fish from an ISTP. The only types that are similar to an ISTP are the ESTP or INTP.

Guest (not verified) says...

on point . i love being an ISTP

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