Cool, aloof, socially cautious ISTPs account for about 2-6 percent of the general population. Thanks to their introversion (I), ISTPs have a tendency to quietly observe and analyze events without interfering. Then, when they see a problem they can solve, they will typically jump in and offer a solution, surprising everyone by their resourcefulness; because ISTPs keep mainly to themselves, nobody expects this from them. Similarly, you don’t want to mess with ISTPs because their reaction can be very surprising, not only to you but also to themselves.
This isn’t a problem for the ISTP, however. Their tendency to send mixed messages can be very confusing but also very exciting at the same time; this particular characteristic makes them very attractive to a lot of people. Constant switching between enthusiasm and quiet reserve keeps people off guard and makes them think about the ISTP way more than they should.
And then, there will be people who will try to change the ISTP, to make him or her more predictable and reliable. Extroverted and Judging types (E and J) , in particular, feel deeply disturbed by the ISTP’s behavior and can’t get over desire to “fix” them. Not a chance! The ISTP doesn’t want to change and may even derive a secret pleasure from not complying with social norms and remaining mysterious (source: “Type Talk”, Otto Kroeger).
ISTPs do not believe in planning. Rather than planning things, they prefer to be ready for anything. Because they constantly scan the world and search for explanations of why things happen the way they do, ISTPs are typically well-prepared for whatever life throws at them.
Other names for ISTP
Like everybody else, ISTP personality type has several descriptive names. The following are the descriptive names given by some of the most reputable authors who wrote on the subject of 16 personality types:
- Analyser Operator (Linda Berens)
- Artisan / Crafter (David Keirsey)
- Tester of Theories (Alan Brownsword)
- Athletic Artisan (Jonathan P. Niednagel)
- Logical Pragmatist (official MBTI test site)
In terms of four classical personality types, ISTP is the equivalent of
ISTP stands for
- Intoversion. Being introverted means that the ISTP’s focus is directed inward.
- Sensing. Being sensing means that the ISTP’s view of the world is very concrete.
- Thinking. Thinking is associated with objective decision-making.
- Perceiving. Being perceiving means that ISTPs are generally spontaneous people who relate to the world in an open-ended way.
How the ISTP communicates
As expected from any introverted type, ISTPs aren’t particularly gregarious but can have several close friends. They tend to connect with others over specific interests they share or activities they enjoy. According to Sandra Hirsch, the author of LIFETypes, ISTPs’ favorite sports include skiing, bowling, soccer, surfing and wrestling. David Keirsey, the author of “Please Understand Me II”, mentions racing, sky diving and water skiing. Whatever it is, it should involve some risk and strategy to make the activity appealing to the ISTP. Like any sanguine, the ISTP is poor at tolerating boredom and needs constant stimulation and surprise.
From the early age, ISTPs show lack of interest in traditional means of communication and communicate through action instead. Teachers may label them with learning disabilities, but any careful observer will see that the ISTP is very intelligent, especially when it comes to working with tools, hence the name “Crafter” or “Artisan”. The ISTP will figure out some of the most complex tools very quickly and when he speaks about it, he does so precisely and intelligently.
ISTP Learning Style
ISTPs learn best from observation. Because they refuse to communicate as other people do and because of their unwillingness to prepare for anything, ISTPs’ education is often less than brilliant. Despite being misunderstood and labeled with dyslexia, ADD or simple hyperactivity, many ISTPs manage to do well in life. From plumbers to pilots and from carpenters to jewelers and surgeons, the world is in desperate need of the ISTP’s practical skills and their wonderful eyes and hands.
When the ISTP learns a new skill, he or she will typically
- optimize energy ouput so that they can accomplish a task at a satisfactory level with minimum effort involved;
- categorize things so that information can be understood and processed effectively;
- demand for an independent study environment;
- pick projects with concrete and practical outcomes.
ISTP in Love, Dating and Relationships
The ISTP might not be the easiest lover to deal with, but appealing to them is not complicated: Figure out what the ISTP likes to do and share it with him or her.
Similarly, the ISTP is likely to introduce you to his or her favorite activities early on in the relationship — becoming interested in these things will definitely score you some serious brownie points with your ISTP!
If there is no way you are going to participate in the ISTP’s favorite activities, you should at least be willing to allow them a lot of freedom to do what they want to do.
ISTPs aren’t particularly vocal about their feelings and will express their affection by doing many little things for their partners. To the ISTP, experiences speak for themselves and words are not needed.
This is true during the times of trouble as well. If there is something that bothers ISTPs, they aren’t likely to discuss that with their partners. They will not work on issues and focus on overall experience of the relationship instead. If there aren’t many common things left between them and their partners, they may decide to move on; and when they move on, they do so completely, without wasting time on revenge or obsessing over the breakup (Sandra Hirsch, LIFETypes).
ISTP Decision-Making Style
ISTPs tend to base their decisions on real and tangible data. Sometimes they may postpone making a decision because they feel they need to examine all additional possibilities. Despite being generally spontaneous, ISTPs make their decisions only after rational and logical evaluation of all options.
ISTP Leadership Style
ISTPs love freedom and, when put in a position of power, they manage others accordingly. Typically, ISTP leaders manage their subordinates very loosely, and unlike ISTJ or ISFJ, they rarely follow established policies and procedures. While they don’t impose their will on others, they still expect all team members to equally contribute.
Overall, ISTPs make good leaders who lead by example and allow their subordinates to thrive under their leadership.
Ideal Work Setting for ISTPs
Working within strict guidelines and requirements stresses the INTP. To be happy at work the ISTP requires:
- independent working environment,
- being unconstrained by unnecessary rules and procedures,
- an opportunity to actually do things, i.e. to be active,
- competent coworkers and supervisors,
- the right balance between introverted and extroverted activities — too many extroverted activities may stress the ISTP.
Best Careers for ISTP
- Air Force Personnel
- Air Traffic Controller
- Animal Trainer
- Audiovisual Specialist
- Automotive Products Retailer
- Budget Analyst
- Building Inspector
- Civil Engineer
- Coal Miner
- Commercial Artist
- Commercial Designer
- Computer Engineer
- Computer Programmer
- Computer Repair Person
- Computer Support Specialist
- Corporate Executive
- Cost Estimator
- Criminal Investigator
- Database Administrator
- Dental Hygienist
- Electrical Engineer
- Electronic Technicians
- Emergency Medical Technician
- Emergency Room Physician
- Exercise Physiologist
- Financial Manager
- Financial Planner
- Flight Engineer
- Forensic Science Technician
- Intelligence Agent
- Landscape Architect
- Marine Biologist
- Mechanical Engineer
- Medical Technician
- Military Officer
- Office Manager
- Physical Therapist
- Police Officer
- Private Investigator
- Property Manager
- Securities Analyst
- Service Worker
- Software Developer
- Stock Broker
- Surgical Technician
- Systems Analyst
- Transportation Worker
- Web Developer
Random Facts About ISTPs
- ISTPs will try almost anything once.
- Dealing with excessively emotional people stresses ISTPs.
- ISTPs have a tendency to hold back their opinions.
- ISTPs aren’t good at expressing their feelings.
- ISTPs live entirely in the present and have difficulties with long-term commitment and planning.
- ISTPs want to feel excited about something.
- ISTPs can be very accepting of a wide range of behaviors and can get along with any personality type; however, they usually bond only with those who share their interests.
- “Live and let live” is a typical ISTP approach to relationships.
- Because of the ISTP’s tendency to ignore rules and protocols, they may sometimes put themselves and others in danger.
- The ISTP is able to leave the relationship with relative ease once it’s over.
Famous People with ISTP Personality Type
- Burt Reynolds
- Scarlett Johansson
- Tom Cruise
- Red Adair
- Bruce Lee
These fictional characters display ISTP personality traits:
- Jacob Black from Twilight
- Brett from Alien
- Boba Fett from Starwars
Banner image Designed by Freepik.