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 ISTPs are reserved, but not withdrawn: the ISTP enjoys taking action, and approaches the world with a keen appreciation for the physical and sensory experiences it has to offer.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

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

How rare 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 Quotes

"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

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

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.

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Comments

jkm (not verified) says...

ISTP female...yeah in my home I have an ISFJ mom, ESFP dad, brothers ENFP, INFP. According to them I am a RAZOR sister...selfish, mean, insensitive, unpredictable etc. 1. It is super hard for me to constantly be ready for the emotional roller coaster each one rides every day...and to save myself I tend to 'cut off' situations where someone has a meltdown. 2. I have a very hard time explaining to *everyone* of my moodswings as they call them...and honestly I just wish for someone to 'get/understand/except' my neutral moods and bad moods as just a = fleeting mood. Nothing personal or planned and it will pass I promise! 3. Definitly have a need to connect but it takes time-time-time, and alot of steel cut trust...before I 'feel' I can share those tender deep thoughts and questions. It amazes me how the Feeling types/Intuitive types have this freedom to express and fluency to say how they feel...wish I could participate or relate but to me ----That's a dangerouse zone.

lourna barnett (not verified) says...

I found that the description is pretty spot on for me at least.  Really has helped me understand why I am the way I am.

As a woman, I struggle being an ISTP I'm finding it very difficult to find a potential mate.  I hear men want a unicorn but when presented they run the other way, or maybe it is just me.

soup (not verified) says...

hi, ISTP female here, too. I've dated as many men as possible in my 20s just to see what work for me, and currently end up with a person who is caring but at the same time can give me plenty of freedom in how I run my life. A low maintenance,  caring but in a way that doesn't bother me, and very laid back about what I do and how I do my life. This type of mate works for me so far. Maybe you can try one? 

Leo W (not verified) says...

I feel the careers to avoid section to be incorrect. I wonder how wide and diverse their sampling pool was?

Being a performer and a craftsperson is pretty cool. You get to focus on your abilities and work on challenging things all the time. This makes it seem like we can't be on the creative end of the spectrum. I especially like breaking down a piece of music and turning it into something else entirely. And don't even get me started on making things out of glass.

Christinepl (not verified) says...

Hi, other websites do say that istp's can be very creatieve!

Vance (not verified) says...

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

Jennylol (not verified) says...

Enjoy and rejoice, you are the best personality in all of them in my opinion.  The most talented and nicest to be sure.  Just watch that you don't use alcohol for social lubrication.  Try and learn communication styles from others to increase your social abilities.  That is the only issue you have and it can impact greatly on the ISTP.  Apparently "how to make friends and influence people" is a good book to help ISTP's.

James111111 (not verified) says...

God I love people like you. Thanks for that Info. That is the only problem I have. Otherwise I am deeply empathetic and optimistic, until someone tries to force my way of thinking and living. I find that I am becoming a bit misanthropic due to my inability to understand why people do the most evil things. I also can't understand how a human being could allow themselves to have envy for another person when they cannot change that persons blessing. Being able to immediately tune into things around me and immediately finding solutions, doesn't make it any easier for me to deal with others who aren't the same way. I still have much to learn, but thanks. Thanks for the book recommendation.

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.

Jennylol (not verified) says...

In my experience ISTP's are emotional and very kind.  They just don't display their emotions as other might do more freely.  Check out Socionics for a more thorough expansive explanation of the ISTP.  It might resonate for you more!

John Uke (not verified) says...

We ISTP's have emotions but don't notice them much. We are governed by logic and care more about how YOU feel than how we feel.

Twinky (not verified) says...

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

Brian F. (not verified) says...

My wife is an ISFJ married to me, an ISTP. Its wonderful. She gives me space and wonderful home. She really balances me out well. 

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.

Pau1a (not verified) says...

I completely understand the problem of being "too blunt." No one has ever told me to my face that they dislike my manner of communication or that I'm too cold, but in my interactions I notice the other participant tends to be uncomfortable. I tend to mask my bluntness in humor, but it's still clear enough to make people uncomfortable with the way I'm bashing on them. Honestly is my tool, truth my sword, and others just can't quite appreciate that. I can assure you, there are people out there who will take quite wonderfully to your charm. I know an ISTP myself, and he and I get along swimmingly. He and I talk often and tend to understand each other's humor in a way few others do. If you want to know, I'm an INTJ. ISTP and INTJ don't have especially high compatibility, but we still make fantastic cousins, especially since we both have ESFP siblings and can sympathize with one another.

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!

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