The 16 Myers-Briggs Personality Types
S = Sensing Types - SJ & SP N = iNtuitive Types - NF & NT
analytical gif Drivers Gif
amiables.gif Expressives GIF

What Do The Letters Mean?


"The Inspector"

Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judgement


ISTJ's are quiet, serious, responsible, sensible, patient, loyal and steadfast maintainers of society's time-honoured traditions and institutions.

ISTJs are characterized by decisiveness in practical affairs, are the guardians of time-honored institutions, and, if only one adjective could be selective, dependable would best describe this type.

Whether at home or at work, this type is rather quiet and serious. ISTJs are extraordinarily persevering and dependable. The thought of dishonoring a contract would appall a person of this type. When they give their word, they give their honor. ISTJs can be counted on to conserve the resources of the institution they serve and bring to their work a practical point of view. They perform their duties without flourish or fanfare; therefore, the dedication they bring to their work can go unnoticed or unnappreciated.

People with ISTJ preferences are extremely dependable and have a complete, realistic, and practical respect for the facts. They absorb, remember, and use any number of facts and are careful about their accuracy. When they see that something needs to be done; they accept the responsibility, often beyond the call of duty. They like everything clearly stated. Their private reactions, which seldom show in their faces, are often vivid and intense. Even when dealing with a crisis they look calm and composed. Not until you know them very well do you discover that behind their outer calm they are viewing the situation from an intensely individual angle. When ISTJs are "on duty" and dealing with the world, however, their behavior is sound and sensible.

ISTJ's are thorough, painstaking, systematic, hard-working, and careful with particulars and procedures. ISTJs can handle difficult, detailed figures and make sense of them. They communicate a message of reliability and stability, which makes them excellent supervisors of, for example, a ward in a hospital, a library, or a business operation. They would be capable of handling the duties of a legal secretary, or a law researcher. Their perseverance tends to stabilize everything with which they are connected. They do not enter into things impulsively, but once committed, they are very hard to distract or discourage. ISTJ's often choose careers where their talents for organization and accuracy are rewarded. Examples are accounting, civil engineering, law, production, construction, health careers, and office work. They often move into supervisory and management roles.

If they are in charge of something, their practical judgment and valuing of procedure makes them consistent and conservative, assembling the necessary facts to support their evaluations and decisions. They look for solutions to present problems in the successes of the past. With time they become masters of even the smallest elements of their work, but don't give themselves any special credit for this knowledge.

They may encounter problems if they expect everyone to be as logical and analytical as they are. They then run the danger of inappropriately passing judgement on others or overriding less forceful people. A useful rule is for them to use their thinking to make decisions about inanimate objects or their own behavior, and to use their perception to understand others. If they use their senses to see what really matters to others, so that it becomes a fact to be respected, they may go to generous lengths to help.

Another problem may arise if the ISTJ's thinking remains undeveloped. They may retreat, becoming absorbed with their inner reactions to sense impressions, with nothing of value being produced. They may also tend to be somewhat suspicious of imagination and intuition, and not take it seriously enough.

Leisure Activities of an ISTJ

Serious and often solitary in their leisure, they apply their concentration and thoroughness to leisure activities. They prefer activities with purpose and concrete outcomes or measurably increased skill. They're deliberate in their approach to play and tend to be little given to spontaneity. Examples of play activities for ISTJs include: chess, Trivial Pursuit, computer games, aerobics, or golf.

While not as outgoing like the ESTJ's, ISTJ's are likely to involved in community service organizations that transmit traditional values to the young, such as Sunday School, Little League, or Boy and Girl Scouting. They understand and appreciate the contributions these institutions make in preserving the national heritage. Along with all of the Traditionalists, the ISTJ's find value in ceremonies and rituals-weddings, birthdays, and anniversaries, for example-although they tend to be shy if the occassion becomes too large or too public. At work, they are apt to see the company picnic or holiday office party as a necessary nuisance, but are liley to enjoy these events once they arrive and loosen up a bit. More to the male ISTJ's liking is the men-onlyh party, where he can drop his guard and use a bit of off-color language. The yearly hunting or fishing trip is often a cherished male ritual for the ISTJ.


As a husband or wife, the ISTJ is the pillar of strength. Just as they honor business contracts, so do they honor the marriage contract. Loyal and faithful mates, they take responsibilites to children and spouse seriously, giving lifelong commitment to them. In family matters, as in all other, "duty" is the word the ISTJ understands.

In the parenting role, ISTJ's are firm and consistent in handling their children; they make the rules of the family clear and expect them to be followed. A reblellious, nonconformist child may have a difficult time with an ISTJ parent, and vice versa. ISTJ's care about passing along thier work ethic to their children, and will often require t hem to help with household chores and projects. They patiently teach their children basic home maintenance skills, cooking, gardening, carpentry-time consuming activities which sometimes leaves them little opportunity to play with their children. The ISTJ child is apt to be obedient and a source of pleasure to parents and teachers.

Although ISTJs are outstandingly practical and sensible, they can marry people who are thoroughly irresponsible, with the marriage developing into a relationship more parent-to-child than adult-to-child. The ISTJ fluctuates from being the rescuer to reformer of the wayward mate. The marriage then becomes a lifelong game: on one side, there is Irresponsibility, Promise of Reform, Brief Period of Reform, and Irresponsibility again; on the ISTJ's part, the cycle is Disapproval, Rescue, Scolding, Forgiveness, Acceptance of Promise To Do Better, and on and on. This pattern often is seen when an ISTJ mate marries an alcoholic and enters a life of caretaking punctuated by periods of anger and rejection. Somehow, although ISTJs can accpet periodic fickleness and selfishness in significant others, they do not see this kind of behavior as acceptable in themselves.

The male ISTJ may enjoy stag, men-only parties and use different sort of language when only men are present. The yearly hunting or fishing trip as a male ritual is often a part of recreation for an ISTJ. The ISTJ is apt to be involved in community service organizations that transmit traditional values to the young, such as Boy Scouting. They understand and appreciate the contributions these groups make in preserving the national heritage. Along with the SJs, the ISTJ takes particular delight in festive occasions held in the context of rituals, for example, weddings, holiday feasts, and birthdays. At work, the ISTJ is apt to see the holiday office party as a necessary nuisance and would be likely to participate and enjoy these events.