ISTJs are practical, concrete people who don’t often have time for speculative or abstract ideas. This means that they don’t often come to the MBTI system in their own, but once they’re introduced to it they can find a lot of value in it as long as they avoid some common ISTJ typing mistakes.
ISTJ General Strengths and Weaknesses
ISTJs always do what they say they’re going to do. This type enjoys being reliable and dependable and getting things done in the right time and the right way. This is because of their extraverted thinking auxiliary function, which drives them to complete things in the external world and see how well their work operates. This function is highly efficient and can handle a great deal of work calmly and practically, which explains why most ISTJs have the reputation of being unflappable at work. It also gives them a practical, problem solving nature that can be of great benefit in just about any field except the purely abstract ones.
ISTJs like to get things done by the book at all times. This can be a great benefit if they’re doing a job or task that requires such exact attention to detail, but when it comes to dealing with people it can be a huge weakness. ISTJs can become so attached to already established ways of doing things that they alienate or anger the people around them. They use introverted sensing as their dominant. This means that they’re very strongly attached to the past. This type uses the institutions, social norms and rules of the past to determine the rules of the present. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always work in this changing world, but some ISTJs can refuse to see that and persist in trying to force these old values onto the people around them. This stubborn inflexibility is the greatest weakness of this type and it’s one that often sets others against them.
Common Type Confusions
Most commonly, ISTJs mistype as INTJs. This mistyping occurs when people determine type based on a shallow understanding of the behavioral characteristics associated with each personality type. ISTJs can be very analytical and spend a lot of time thinking over new information and comparing it with their existing values and beliefs. This thoughtfulness can superficially resemble the INTJ, who spends a lot of time deliberating over information before taking action. Both of these types also use extraverted thinking as their auxiliary, which means that they usually use this function to interact with the external world. Extraverted thinking drives these types to make things happen in the world and evaluates their work for efficiency.
Common Confusions Comparisons
Though these two types might seem similar superficially, they’re actually very different and an evaluation of their dominant functions can show the extent of these differences clearly. ISTJs use introverted sensing as their dominant. This makes them focused on the past as a means of valuing and determining the present. It gives them a practical, concrete view of life that they have a lot of trouble letting go of, no matter how much resistance they experience. In contrast, INTJs use introverted intuition as their dominant. This function is focused on the future and is highly speculative and abstract. As a result, most INTJs spend most of their time identifying the patterns of life in the present and using them to predict how things will change or not in the future. The goals and focus of this function are very different to the goals of the ISTJs introverted sensing, and can’t really be confused when examined in this light.
Unusual Type Confusions
Less commonly, ISTJs can be mistaken for ISFJs. This might seem a little strange, after all ISTJs are thinkers who are often quite blunt and insensitive in the way they talk. They aren’t always aware of how their words can affect other people because they’re more focused on data rather than on emotional content. In contrast, ISFJs use extraverted feeling as their auxiliary, which makes them very attuned to the emotions of others and gives them a fair amount of emotional intelligence. However, when people try to type themselves or others based on behavior rather than on the cognitive functions, this typing mistake can occur.
These behavioral similarities can occur based on the ISTJs tertiary function. ISTJs have introverted feeling as their tertiary. This function is underdeveloped in this type, but it can give ISTJs a better understanding of emotions and a sometimes surprising emotional depth. ISTJs will rarely speak of these emotions, they’re not generally big talkers in general, but they’re often very attached to their family members and other loved ones and this depth of feeling and loyalty can result in them being mistaken for ISFJs.
Unusual Confusions Comparisons
It isn’t always easy to distinguish between an ISFJ and an ISTJ. Both are introverts, which means they prefer to keep their own counsel most of the time, so they can look quite similar to people who aren’t familiar with the cognitive functions and how they manifest. Distinguishing an ISTJ from an ISFJ is a matter of looking at the auxiliary functions. These functions are extraverted for both these types, so they should be readily on display in social situations. ISFJs use extraverted feeling, which makes them focus on the emotions of the people around them. This function drives them to make decisions based on the collective good, on what will make the most people happy even if it goes against what the ISFJ actually wants. In contrast, ISTJs use extraverted thinking as their auxiliary. This function focuses on data and metrics and makes decisions based on what works. It also combines with the ISTJs dominant function to create a focus on what worked in the past, which is why many ISTJs try to adhere to processes and procedures from the past in the present. But even when this occurs, extraverted thinking still focuses on objective data, and this is how it can easily be distinguished from extraverted feeling.
The solid, dependable ISTJ type isn’t often mistaken for other types. They have a focused and practical approach to life that makes them quite distinct from other types. However, typing mistakes can still occur with ISTJs and be a barrier to growth, which means they still need to be aware of this potential problem when using this system.