Is the world’s loneliest personality type truly as lonely as it’s described to be?
The ISTP personality type or the Virtuoso personality belongs to the Explorers group of the 16 personalities test which is based on the Myers-Briggs Indicator and Carl Jung’s personality theory.
ISTPs are described as very private, unpredictable yet independent, and mechanical thinkers.
With a clear head and an action-oriented mind, this personality type is constantly curious about how everything works.
They’re the type of people to break apart their robotic toys as kids just to see how they’re moving and then try to put them back together.
Not only are ISTPs mentally sharp but they’re also stimulated by physical activities such as sports and they often find the perfect balance between the intellectual and physical world.
ISTP personality types are happy to live in their world without meddling in other people’s businesses; And they will most certainly not tolerate you meddling in theirs.
Curious to know more about how ISTPs think, how they behave in relationships, where they excel in life, and what are their downfalls?
Just keep on reading, to find out!
Personality aspects of an ISTP
A person’s personality type (aka ISTP-A/T) is essentially an acronym for their preferences in 5 different aspects of life which make up their personality.
These aspects are mind, energy, nature, tactics, and identity. Each of these aspects has 2 categories.
Mind– The mind trait describes how we engage and interact with our environment. This can either be Extroverted (E) or Introverted (I).
Energy- The energy trait describes how we view the world and process it, which is either Observant (S) or Intuitive (N).
Nature- The nature trait describes how we deal with our emotions and make decisions. The nature trait is either described as Feeling (F) or Thinking (T).
Tactic- The tactic trait describes how we tackle our daily tasks and can either be Prospecting (P) or Judging (J).
Identity- The identity trait describes our overall confidence in our abilities and decisions. The identity trait can either be Assertive (A) or Turbulent (T) and varies in every individual.
In ISTPs, the preferences are Introverted (mind), Observant (energy), Thinking (nature), and Prospecting (tactics).
Now let’s take a closer look into what each of these traits tells us about the ISTP personality type.
ISTPs tend to be highly introverted, and very happily so!
Introverted people expel energy in social gatherings. So after spending time around others, they need to take time off to recharge by themselves.
This is unlike extroverts who gain energy from people and their surroundings.
Although this can make them difficult to get to know, for the most part, ISTPs love to live and work alone as they find happiness in independence.
ISTPs prefer to actively take in the world through their senses and focus on what’s going on in the moment rather than indulging in talks of what-ifs and maybes.
However, this doesn’t mean that they don’t analyze like the intuitive personality types.
Even though they might not pass everything they see through a logical filter, combined with their thinking trait, ISTPs can take in everything around them and connect it with what they already know.
But unlike intuitive personality types, (even though both of them tend to be very intellectual), ISTPs are stimulated by the world around them.
They love engaging in physical activities that trigger an adrenaline rush and make them feel alive.
While most of the time these are just your everyday sports, every now and then, ISTPs can move over to more dangerous activities such as bungee jumping, sky- diving and paragliding, etc.
In ISTPs, this is the most dominant trait. Thinking implies that an ISTP gives more importance to logical analysis and facts rather than feelings when it comes to making decisions of any sort.
ISTPs do feel emotions, but they do not consult their gut feelings if they need to make an important decision in life.
Whenever an ISTP personality type sees something, whether it’s machinery or a system of some sort, they use the observant trait to view it carefully and then use their thinking trait to break it down, step by step in their heads to get to the core of how it works.
This comes quite naturally to ISTPs from a young age and they feel frustrated if they’re unable to figure out the mechanism behind how something functions.
Having the prospecting trait means that ISTPs prefer to work in a very disorganized manner rather than by following strict schedules and deadlines.
Most ISTPs hate structured environments where their days are scheduled down, telling them what to do at given times.
Strengths of an ISTP Personality Type
Efficient problem solvers
If a problem occurs, an ISTP’s result-oriented mind quickly gathers all necessary input and immediately jumps to finding the best solution, even in extremely stressful situations.
Not only are they good at finding solutions, but they’re also highly skilled at spotting errors in a system, or with people’s work and ideas.
If you need an honest consultation about something, ISTPs are the people to go to!
When an ISTP commits to something, they have the self- discipline to follow through with it. This can be anything from quitting a bad habit to completing a project.
However, their discipline is reserved for things and rules that are valuable to them only rather than those which are generally deemed valuable by the majority.
ISTPs believe in direct and honest communication. They hate lies and will say it like it is. They communicate fairly with people regardless of their authority or social standing.
Very Handy and Creative
ISTPs tend to be very creative people, trying their hands at all sorts of things from cooking to arts and design to practical, household tasks. They like to come up with new and innovative ways to carry out regular tasks.
If you have a broken shower and an ISTP in your house, you can almost guarantee that it’ll be fixed without the need for a plumber. This is because of how easily ISTPs understand how things work and can figure out a way to fix them.
Learning is very meaningful to an ISTP. Always excited and fascinated by everything they learn, they’re on the constant lookout for new skills and information.
Learning stimulates them and opens up more opportunities for them. They especially enjoy linking what they learned from one concept to another.
An ISTP’s process of learning can be quite different from others. Rather than simply taking in the knowledge they are given as hard-core facts, they question everything.
They question how things work, why they work a certain way, and how they relate to one another etc. So when they finally understand it, it sticks!
Even though the typical, system-based, bookish learning is never the way to go for an ISTP, once a topic interests them, they can be just as successful as someone who spent hours learning through reading textbooks.
An ISTP forms their own opinions, rather than simply following a crowd. And even though they can be quite stubborn in their beliefs, they are still open to hearing people’s opinions.
However, they’ll need their time to process them before they think about changing their point of view.
Weaknesses of an ISTP Personality Type
Not always the best in helping those around them
ISTPs are very likely to not pay much attention to other people’s problems because they’re so busy dealing with their own.
Even if an ISTP promises to do something, they are likely to forget and not follow through with the commitment.
This can be quite an annoying habit of theirs and makes them come off as selfish and unreliable, which is usually never their intention.
Insensitive to emotions
ISTPs prefer to shove their feelings aside and not deal with them, so dealing with other people’s emotional problems is a big no-no for an ISTP.
Even though they are very good at analyzing people’s feelings, if they don’t want to deal with your emotional trauma, they simply won’t acknowledge that you’re upset.
This makes it relatively harder for ISTPs to get along with personalities having the feeling trait who are very expressive of their emotions..
Extreme self- isolation
An ISTP’s love for social isolation can come to bite them if they withdraw themselves so much that they aren’t able to reach out and ask for help when they need it.
Not only does it make finding new friends increasingly difficult but often, the extent of their isolation tends to disintegrate the bonds they already have with people.
A general dislike for rules
ISTPs find rules annoying and bothersome as they restrict their actions.
For the most part, the rest of the world tends to respect the systems that have been put in place.
ISTPs on the other hand, do not.
They look at the world from outside the system without a political or philosophical filter. Before doing anything, rather than going with the majority, they will stop, think about it, and then make their decision or rules as they see fit.
Don’t do well with commitment
Commitments are very conditional to ISTPs. They want to live a life that’s constantly moving forward, evolving, and changing. They don’t like to be held down by one thing for too long.
Because of that, they find it hard to commit to one person, project or relationship for long, unless they’re very invested in it. This can also make them susceptible to breaking promises.
Prone to risky behavior
Combined with their tendency to easily get bored, their stubbornness, and their need to focus on what happens in the moment, leads ISTPs to indulge in a lot of risky behavior such as alcohol, drugs, stealing for the thrill of it and etc.
This is especially common in ISTPs who have yet to discover their passions and find their purpose in life.
ISTPs tend to be very stubborn people. They have very strong opinions and are hell-bent on questioning everything, which can lead to a lot of arguments with other stubborn personalities or authority figures.
How ISTPs communicate?
When talking to an ISTP, bag those emotions and unnecessarily wordy sentences. It makes them think that you’re doing it on purpose to be annoying.
ISTPs prefer to keep their words precise and direct, delivered with complete honesty.
ISTPs can read people well by observing their body language, the way they carry themselves, talk, dress, etc.
They pick up on all the subtle changes in your behavior that you wouldn’t normally expect people to notice.
As creepy as it may be, it does mean that they’ll probably understand you much faster than you can even get close to understanding them.
An ISTP personality has no interest in sitting around and discussing philosophical ideas that hold no tangible outcomes.
ISTPs are people of action so if you’re about to engage them in talks of all the things you could do, but aren’t going to, don’t bother.
This can bore them quite easily and seems like a complete waste of time.
On the occasion when they’re feeling a bit humorous, an ISTP will get inside your head and say things they know will get a reaction out of you.
Even though they do feel emotions quite intensely, they are unable to express them, and their disregard for others’ emotions in their conversations can make them seem very apathetic.
So if you’re simply looking for someone to vent to and a shoulder to cry on, they are not the people you’re looking for.
However, if you’re approaching them with a problem, you can most certainly expect them to try their best to come up with a solution. If you take their advice, or even listen to them closely, they’re more likely to open up to you.
ISTPs in a Relationship
When you’re in a relationship with an ISTP, initially, things can be quite exciting. They will eagerly go on adventures and try all sorts of new things with you.
Most of their dates will probably involve an engaging outdoor activity. They’ll be quite charming to be around and easy to carry a conversation with.
However. It’s under the surface that’s harder to get to know. ISTPs find it very hard to open up to people emotionally and along with that, they are difficult to fully understand.
This might worsen under stress as not knowing what to do can lead to quite erratic, and often self-destructive behavior.
One of the most important things in a relationship with an ISTP is to not control them or pin them down to anything because that will be an immediate turn off for them.
Even though they can come off as quite selfish at first, once you get close to an ISTP, they’ll show extreme loyalty and will go out of their way to help you in any way they can.
ISTPs as friends
As surprising as it may seem from their introverted exterior, ISTPs tend to be quite popular because of their ‘cool’ attitude.
They find it easy to engage with various groups of people by bonding over different activities which often leads them to gather up a large group of acquaintances.However, they only get close to very few people of their choice.
Their dislike for schedules means that they don’t like to be tied down to commitments. They like to keep their options open and having strict schedules in friendships for meetups or plans will probably discourage them from making plans with you in the future.
Especially if the ISTP happens to be accidentally running late to a hangout, and you hold them accountable for it.
ISTPs as Parents
The ISTP personality type makes some of the most relaxed parents who find great joy in exploring the world with their kids.
From a very young age, ISTP parents believe in actively engaging their kids in activities that will stimulate their senses. This makes them get along great with other SP types who enthusiastically share this trait.
However, with their love for independence and freedom, they often struggle when it comes to disciplining their kids with strict routines.
Additionally, as their kids grow older, especially if they possess a feeling trait, ISTPs will struggle to bond with them emotionally which can cause quite a hindrance in their relationship.
ISTPs at work
For an ISTP to perform their best in a workplace, they need to be passionate about whatever it is that they’re doing.
They thrive best in situations that allow them to do hands-on tasks and put their mechanical skills to use rather than coming up with ways to improve something or plan only.
Their ability to break down and analyze systems makes them great in a lot of problem-solving areas as well.
Apart from the classic mechanical job that most ISTPs are associated with, they also make great engineers, bloggers, system analysts, athletes, graphic designers, and forensic scientists.
Since they’re result-oriented people, they are likely to get their work done better if they know they’ll be seeing the results soon rather than in the long term.
This can make long- term projects very difficult for them to tackle as they tend to lose their focus and motivation.
However, if an ISTP learns to break long-term projects into smaller tasks that will produce tangible results in the short term, they can overcome this problem.
ISTPs need to have a flexible work environment and need to be given the space and freedom to do their work as they please.
They like to keep their focus on their work, rather than sticking their noses into everyone else’s business.
They’re the types of leaders to lead by example, rather than by long speeches. However, even as managers, they tend to give each employee the flexibility to get their work done.
ISTPs love acquiring new skills and they love putting these skills to use to solve whatever problems their workplace might have.
As coworkers, they are easy to get along with as long as you ignore the occasional blunt comments that come off as hurtful.
They bring their creativity to work by trying to incorporate different ways of doing things. If something isn’t working, they will defy the norms, adapt, and make it work as they see fit.
Do you recognize these behaviors and habits in yourself or your loved ones? If so, you just might be an ISTP!
And to all the intelligent ISTPs, keep putting that incredible brain to good use and make sure to take proper precautions when you indulge in insane activities.
If you’re an ISTP and you have no idea where life is headed for you, just try your hand at everything you can. Because remember, you do have a lot of untapped potential! So Goodluck!