ISTP Personality Type

The Detective in Myers Briggs

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What is the ISTP personality type (The Detective)?
People with an ISTP personality type tend to be curious, pragmatic, and confident in their behavior. They are unpredictable and spontaneous, but are often quiet, preferring to think and process information internally.

ISTP Personality Traits

Detectives are generally more reserved and prefer being alone. They are self-sufficient, independent thinkers.

They are very observant and focus on the details of a situation, trusting facts and making decisions based on the here-and-now.

ISTP types favor logic and reason over emotional influences. They base their decisions on what makes sense.

They are also spontaneous and prefer keeping their options open. Detectives are often more adaptable and less aware of time.


In summary, ISTP personality types tend to...

  • Focus on the specifics and details rather than the big picture

  • Trust logic and reason over emotions when making decisions

  • Seek alone time and privacy to think, process, and recharge

  • Reject rules and regulations and favor spontaneity

  • Study the world around them and seek to understand it

ISTP Meaning

  • (I) INTROVERSION: Introverts tend to draw energy from spending time alone.
  • (S) SENSING: Sensing types usually prefer to experience new things and focus on the reality of the situation.
  • (T) THINKING: Thinking types tend to follow their head and consider facts when making decisions.
  • (P) PERCEIVING: Perceiving types usually prefer to be flexible and spontaneous.

ISTP Strengths

Every personality archetype has strengths and blind spots, and these are often amplified in professional settings where we often encounter a diverse group of people with vastly different backgrounds and value systems.

Myers-Briggs ISTP Strengths

Strengths that are typically associated with the ISTP personality type include...

  • Ability to adapt to new situations

  • Positive and light-hearted attitude

  • Deep curiosity and passion for understanding

  • Thorough, logical, and creative thinking

  • Natural confidence and calm demeanor

ISTP Weaknesses

Myers-Briggs ISTP Weaknesses

Weaknesses that are typically associated with the ISTP personality type include...

  • Logical thinking bordering on insensitivity

  • Difficulty focusing on long-term goals

  • Spontaneous nature leading to excessive risk-taking

  • Struggling to commit to others

How ISTP personality types like to work

Myers-Briggs ISTP Communicating

Communicating with an ISTP personality type

Recognize their need for independence; avoid emotional expressions and focus on logical arguments when communicating with an ISTP type.
Myers-Briggs ISTP Meeting

Meeting with an ISTP personality type

Address the concern clearly and logically while working to keep the meeting concise.
Myers-Briggs ISTP Emailing

Emailing an ISTP personality type

Avoid pleasantries and surface-level conversation when emailing ISTPs; Instead, focus on being direct.
Myers-Briggs ISTP Feedback

Giving feedback to an ISTP personality type

Give straightforward feedback, focusing on the details and specifics.
Myers-Briggs ISTP Conflict

Resolving conflict with an ISTP personality type

Communicate conflict clearly with ISTP types; avoid displays of emotion.

ISTP Motivations

When people experience pain, stress, or dissatisfaction, it can usually be attributed to energy-draining activities. Therefore, it’s important to know what kinds of activities energize each personality type and which activities drain them. 

Myers-Briggs ISTP Motivations

ISTP personality types tend to be motivated and energized by...

  • Taking things apart and figuring out how they work

  • Flexible schedules that allow them to be impulsive

  • Freedom to be independent and alone

  • Exciting new adventures and experiences

  • Finding unique solutions to difficult problems

ISTP Stress

Myers-Briggs ISTP Stress

ISTP personality types tend to be stressed and drained by...

  • Pressure to commit to long-term projects

  • Monotonous or purposeless routine

  • Spending too much time around other people

  • Dealing with interpersonal conflict   

ISTP Careers

ISTPs tend to thrive in environments that allow them to be independent and problem-solve at their own pace. They enjoy using their strengths in logical thinking and passionate curiosity to help improve the productivity and effectiveness of their team.

Myers-Briggs ISTP Energized at Work

ISTP personality types feel energized at work when...

  • They are asked to work independently.

  • Their boss directly addresses the task at hand.

  • Their peers are direct and motivated.

  • Their direct reports need very little guidance.

Myers-Briggs ISTP Drained at work

ISTP personality types feel drained at work when...

  • They have to censor themselves to spare others’ feelings.
  • Their boss is easily offended by honest feedback.
  • Their peers are passive-aggressive.
  • Their direct reports need a great deal of affirmation.

ISTP types like to use their hands to interact with the world. They enjoy seeing how things work and learning through experience.

Myers-Briggs ISTP Common Jobs

Common jobs for people with ISTP personality types

  • Engineer
  • Mathematician
  • Pilot
  • Carpenter
  • Mechanic
  • First Responder

ISTP Relationships (Professional)

ISTPs can maintain a positive, calm attitude even in difficult circumstances. They can help others keep their composure in stressful, high-stakes situations.

Myers-Briggs ISTP Working With

ISTP personality types tend to work well with others who...

  • Give them space to work privately

  • Communicate their honest opinions and ideas

  • Can handle necessary, honest feedback

Myers-Briggs ISTP Professional Obstacles

ISTP personality types may hit obstacles in professional relationships when they...

  • Fail to finish the projects that they start

  • Offend someone with direct criticism that they perceived as helpful

  • Feel trapped in a rigid schedule or routine

ISTP Relationships (Romantic)

ISTPs can be patient, positive partners who take their time in understanding situations and finding practical ways to solve problems.

Myers-Briggs ISTP Romantic Strengths

In a romantic relationship, Detective personality types bring strengths like...

  • Staying composed in unexpected, emotional situations

  • Calmly, objectively working through difficult conversations

  • Innate desire to get to find practical solutions for a problem

Myers-Briggs ISTP Romantic Troubles

In romantic relationships, Detective personality types may have trouble...

  • Opening up emotionally with their partner

  • Considering their partners feelings about a decision

  • Feeling comfortable in routine or boring relationships

ISTP Females

Women with the ISTP personality type

ISTP females tend to be inquisitive, logical thinkers, who are likely to prioritize facts over emotion. They may easily adapt to new situations while remaining calm and confident. Though they may be reserved, they can be assertive when sharing their opinions. They are often excited by the chance to figure out how something works and find a practical solution to a complicated problem. ISTP females may face wrongful criticism from those who hold more traditional views of women, but their ability to remain grounded and logical will likely prevent them from taking unnecessary comments too personally.

ISTP Females

Famous ISTP Females

  • Kate Moss
  • Susan Sontag
  • Michelle Rodriguez
  • Venus Williams
  • Amelia Earhart
  • Scarlett Johansson

ISTP Males

Men with the ISTP personality type

ISTP males are likely to seek privacy and value practical solutions over new ideas. They tend to be impulsive and adventurous, often choosing to pursue new opportunities on their own. Though they may have a difficult time connecting emotionally with others, their analytical mind can help them find proven, safe solutions.

ISTP Males

Famous ISTP Males

  • F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Bear Grylls
  • Tom Cruise
  • Daniel Craig
  • Frank Sinatra
  • Shaquille O’Neal

Myers-Briggs is a personality framework that can help you understand other people and why they behave in certain ways.
Explore Myers-Briggs types here:

ISTP Slide Show

Click through the slides below to learn more about ISTPs:

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Related Personality Types

Below are the DISC and Enneagram types that are similar to Myers-Briggs Type ISTP. 

DISC Type Dc, D, or Di

Enneagram Type 5 or 8

You can find your DISC, Enneagram, and Myers-Briggs types by taking Crystal's free personality test.

Are you an ISTP? Take the Myers-Briggs test to see

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