Friday, May 7, 2010

Getting Into Character: The ISTP (Introvert, Sensor, Thinker, Perceiver)

Today we continue our specific look at the sixteen types in the MBTI line-up. This is going to be so fun, because even if this is not your particular label, more than likely you will recognize someone you know and love revealed on the page. I need to let you know that this is NOT a professional opinion or blog--I am just teaching you what I've learned over more than ten years of studying personality.

I’m not going to repeat my description of the dominant preferences and such, but if you haven’t been following along, go back and read the beginning of the first week’s post, which you will find under the April archives (The ESTP). I’ve highlighted the part you need to read  in green, so you can easily catch up.

Last week we looked at the ISTJ's, inward-energized analytical, logical, fact-based approach to life. This week we will just tweak one letter, changing the J to a P. ISTPs are inward-energized, logical and fact-based, go-with-the-flow-ers. Let’s see how changing the Judger label to Perceiver changes the personality of the individual.

Living Life with an ISTP: ISTPs are independent thinkers. They are adept at taking in information and then doing something with it. They are problem-solvers, healthy skeptics, and are observers of people who generally make quick and truthful assessments of others. This leads them to often remain in the background, but to come to the rescue or defense quickly if needed. They rely on logic and reasoning in their constant search for truth. ISTPs are realists who aren’t afraid to challenge the rules when they see a better way to proceed. They may not spend much time in the spotlight, but they will step up when they see a way to cut through red tape or to share the wealth of information they possess in regard to interests they feel strongly about.

Career/Service Area Choices for an ISTP: Because of their realistic approach to life, ISTPs enjoy working and serving in areas of practical and pragmatic needs. Things like crisis or disaster relief often appeal to them. They may enjoy working with their hands in artistic or craftsmanship endeavors or using their minds for problem-solving. Since ISTPs don’t live their life by a schedule, they may enjoy jobs or ministries that don’t require much planning but rather allow them to get moving. Hands-on tasks and outdoor activities often are at the top of their lists for work or service projects. ISTPs often flourish in the sciences because of their preference for flexibility with a more impersonal bent. Occupations that might appeal to them include: business analyst scientist/biologist/chemist, engineer, accountant/banker, writer, and computer specialist. However, they may also enjoy jobs that help people with practical needs such as teacher, consultant, manager, sales, human resources, career coach, military forces, or lawyer.

Free Time for an ISTP: ISTPs often enjoy leisure time pursuits that involve risk-taking or adventure. Due to their practice of involving themselves deeply in special areas of interest, they may continue to explore a sport or hobby all the way from childhood through adulthood. ISTPs can also become bored with anything and will often switch from one activity to another. They like having the best technology or equipment in their pursuits, so will often up-grade to have the latest and greatest thing. ISTPs sometimes enjoy being alone, but often they will find someone to share their hobbies and activities, such as a friend or their child. ISTPs are good with facts and often use their free time to gain more knowledge or learn new facts. Reading may appeal to them, as well as learning and memorizing sports statistics

Warnings for the ISTP: Too much of any good thing can be a bad thing, so here are some things ISTPs need to beware of: The propensity of ISTPs to cut through red tape may also come across as laziness or seeking shortcuts just for the sake of getting out of work. ISTPs have a tendency to keep to themselves and not open up or share with others. And often when they do share, they are drawn to share the negative or to point out the flaws, which can turn others off. ISTPs can find themselves alone and lonely. ISTPs enjoy collecting new information and facts, but they may find themselves unable to make a decision or to wonder after the fact if they made the right choice. In collecting their new information, they may put off deciding at all. This is frustrating for anyone waiting on the ISTP's decision. ISTPs sometimes lack perseverance and need to learn to stick out a situation and see it through to completion before moving on to bigger and better things. ISTPs need to learn to focus on long-range plans and goals as well as the short-term practical plan they can see.

Spiritual Helps for the ISTP: ISTPs will likely enjoy the factual and practical side of their faith. Traditional Bible study and prayer may appeal to them, as well as study with a close, trusted friend or mentor. Since traditional worship may feel too “emotional”, they may experience worship more profoundly in nature or an outdoor setting. ISTPs will also likely enjoy spiritual application to things they deem practical like parenting, work-place relations, or service. They will also likely go more willingly to corporate worship if they have a practical, necessary role such as usher, offering accountant, or hospitality.

What Others Say about the ISTP: Known for their reserved manner, ISTPs generally only have a few close friends. However, they are in-depth experts when it comes to the causes or areas of interest that hold a special interest for them. People may refer to the ISTP as “a walking encyclopedia” because of their knowledge on their chosen subject. They are efficient workers, who objectively apply facts and practical thinking to find both the flaws and the solutions. They assess truth and are able to predict and react to immediate needs. While they are known to be logical and practical, they are also spontaneous and adventurous. The ISTJs loved a routine, but ISTPs are adaptable, due to that last little letter. In fact, they will feel frustrated with too much structure and too many rules.

Okay, who do you know that is an ISTP? Let me hear from you if you are!

Next week, join us as we change just one letter and look at the ISFP. What difference does one little letter make? Come back and see. It's not too late to send me your personality type if you want to see it here.


  1. haha I'm a ISTP and just about everything you say in here is right on the dot. Have you ever heard of Canyoneering? A movie called 48 hours was released about it. Basically adreneline filled sport that I do A LOT. Its nice to see some one putting spiritual applications on as I am a born again christian.
    One thing you didnt touch on that is extremely important is if ONE person is trying to control an ISTP be that a boss, friend, or parent. Dont EVER try to control an ISTP unless you want them to run away. Even worse if an ISTP cannot run away from the controller(say its a parent) be ready for total and complete war that wont be resolved easily. If a parent tries to control their ISTP child they will never have a good relationship. When this happens the parent will see a sudden stop in almost all communication from their child(ISTPs arent good at this to begin with).
    Another thing that you should never do with an ISTP is manipulate them in any way shape or form. Be honest with them, they will appreciate that and be more talkative with you. If an ISTP ever tells you how they are feeling you are one of their closest friends. Normally an ISTP will only share what they are thinking not feeling(as they do not believe in their emotions and distrust them)
    If you ever use an ISTPs emotions against them they will forever hate you and probably never share emotions again. I'm putting this all out here for parents, understanding your kid better will give you a better relationship. Oh and lastly dont keep changing rules on an ISTP be very upfront. An ISTP believes in total fairness, this includes siblings.
    For example if a parent punishes an ISTP for having a messy room the ISTP would expect equal punishment on their siblings(younger or older) if their rooms are just as messy. If this doesnt happen the ISTP will question the rules and most likely will stop obeying them. A motto for parenting an ISTP is "do as I do not as i say". A ISTP child will watch their parents to see if they practice as they preach.
    Such as if an ISTPs father says "respect women and be kind" but then see's their father having a rude arguement with their mom about something small they will not normally listen to what their father tells them. They will now view him as incompetent and not a good source of info.

  2. As a parent try to enjoy your ISTP child expect lots of cuts and bruises and little to no emotional drama. Explain everything very clearly and present clear reasons for your actions(punishments etc.) Don't expect to have deep emotionally and even spiritual conversations with a ISTP. If you really want to talk with your ISTP go do one of their interests and prepare to listen to throngs of knowledge on one subject.
    Or introduce them to a adrenaline fueled sport(paintballing, jet skiing, skiing, rock climbing, running, football etc) If you really want a convo with your son/daughter ISTP take them hiking or bachpacking. the last one is especially appealing to many ISTP's because it is physically challenging offers new experiance and most imports=ant has throngs of info they can study on.
    Anyway sorry for writing a small book but I think this is very important as this type is the most likely to rebel, flee home and structure, and even more common not have a relationship with their parents. Most important thing with an ISTP is dont try to control them let them have at least some freedom. Never give them the "illusion" of a choice. Ask them what they think about something not how they feel.
    And this is extremely important the easiest way to tell if a ISTP is under stress is short angry outbursts. Almost rage like but then they will be gone as soon as they came, many people diagnose this as bipolar which is wrong. This is just how they vent their emotions, because they refuse to share how they feel to people it builds up inside and then explodes. Another common trait of an ISTP is their death stare. Because of their normally expressionless face when they decide to stare down someone for whatever reason they will feel as if their soul is being looked into. That is because their is no emotion behind the eyes of an ISTP. They view emotions as weak and that it will hinder their ability to make logical decisions.
    If you know for sure that someone is an ISTP and you either see them cry or they break down and cry red falg GO UP. This is not normal something is triggering this and it is something big. Take a step back and try to find out whats wrong do this first before you ask them whats wrong, because they wont tell you. Anyway I think that ISTPs are one of the more interesting types because they are so complex. A lot goes on with them. Hope this helps especially the parents, also if you want a great book on figuring out your childs type and how to parent it read "Nurture by Nature" offhand I dont know the author.

  3. please please please email me any questions concerning this type and several other types also I deal mainly only with the "introverts". Anything from handling them to a odd behaviour, I would be happy to help. "

  4. Dear Anon,

    I have not heard of Canyoneering, but I will check it out.

    Those are very interesting and valuable insights you provide. I'm sure other ISTPs or parents of them will find that very helpful. And they make sense with the other things we know about ISTPs.

    Thanks for reading,


  5. no problem, I just discovered your blog and I am enjoying the variety of info you have on it.

  6. another question you say this isnt professional opinion but you seem to know quite a bit about the types...are you someone you studied it for fun? Or did you minor in college?

  7. I've been studying type in depth since I became a mom almost 14 years ago. Before that, I studied some in my training as a teacher. But it really amazed me how different my kids could be and I started seeing it in other people as well. At my church I direct a program that helps people find their "fit" for ministry, which entails first helping them understand how they were put together. So I teach a class at least once each year when I help people discover their personality type as well as their natural talents, their spiritual gifts, their passions, and the experiences unique to them. I also do a lot of reading and studying about personality type on my own, just because I think it is interesting.

  8. Wow... I am a writer and recently learned about the 16 types and about mine (INTP btw) and I started typing all my characters. ISTP is so like my "favorite" I'v created so far that it's almost scary!

  9. Factual and practical side of the bible, that's funny.

  10. I'm an ISTP and I feel that I'm very different by others. Nobody understand me, or they are understand me but very hard. some people told me that I am very smart but after that they runaway from me. Why? I don't know. Maybe they fell in my presence lowers?
    90% I'm alone, I work in IT (hardware), but I like too, music, to make something with my hands, work in the garden.
    I fell the others trivials in emotions and feelings and I don't want to talk with them. I respect everybody believes and I like when others express their felling, their own feelings.
    Many times I wonder why other peoples are talking to me secrets or intimate topics?
    sorry for my english. I hope u understand what I want to say.

  11. This is a wonderful blog. I am an entp and my oldest son is an istp. Every thing stated here applies to him. I have a hard time communicating with him. When I try to give him any advice..... He shuts down and does the opposite. I have just tried to love him, and be a good example. I have also given him almost completely freedom. I have been trying to ask questions of him , ask him about intelligent things he is more knowledgeable about...... it's a hard process. If I would have known about mbpt 18 years ago, i would have parented different.

    1. Also, would appreciate any advice! Thanks

  12. I'm an ISTP too and yes it is true that most other types dont understand us...but i'm glad that I'm an istp...and i wana be associated with my own time...if you;re an istp..please send me a fren request on my facebook.... just email me

    1. Added in facebook, brother. Look for someone called desrina

  13. I tottally agree with Nikki. I hope my family read this and give me room & time to be alone and never control me. But hope is hope, life goes on. I've learned to adapt with them now.