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How to Talk to an ISTJ

by Lauren Vork, studioD

The Myers-Briggs type indicator is a personality profiling system that classifies individuals according to four variables of behavior tendencies. An ISTJ is someone who fits the categories of Introvert, Sensor, Thinker and Judger. Like all Myers-Briggs combinations, ISTJs have their own set of specific personality profile characteristics. If people in your life are known ISTJs, you can use this information to understand them more fully and to have better, more productive and meaningful conversations.

ISTJ Values

Typically, an ISTJ values logic, rules and consistency. ISTJs tend to be traditionalists and value loyalty and hard work. Conversely, they tend to be more uncomfortable with change and erratic behavior and aren't the most at home with abstract and theoretical thinking. If these tendencies are different from your own strong habits and values, try to get in touch with your more traditional, consistency-loving side before reaching to an ISTJ for conversation. Think about the ways and places in your life where the tried-and-true is valuable to you. This will help you to have some common ground with an ISTJ.

Emotional Tendencies

ISTJs are more grounded in logic and facts than in emotions. Because of this, ISTJs tend to be less aware of their own feelings and less considerate or aware of the feelings of others. Don't take it personally if an ISTJ seems cold or doesn't pick up on cues for reassurance or emotional understanding. If you need to talk about feelings with an ISTJ, spell them out. Describe your feelings and those of others as clearly as possible and talk about the practical effects that those feelings have. If you're close to an ISTJ, you may need to help him in the process of naming and understanding his feelings from time to time. Remember that ISTJ's express affection in actions more than in words.

Topics of Conversation

Because ISTJs are more at home with practical realities than they are with the abstract and theoretical, they will be more comfortable with areas of conversation that reflect this tendency. You can expect to see an ISTJ relating anecdotes and narrative stories from her life rather than discussing ideas in broader, more unspecific terms. If this is different from your own tendencies, look for the ways in which stories can relate ideas, both yours and hers. This will help you to learn to speak the ISTJ “language.”

Handling Risky Areas

At times, you may need to speak to an ISTJ about something that outside an ISTJ's comfort zone or you may need to try to convince him of something that contradicts his current point of view. The bad news is that ISTJs can be stubborn and resistant to change, but the good news is that when they do change their minds, they commit themselves fully and faithfully to that change. Therefore, it is vital to pick your battles with an ISTJ and to agree to disagree. When you do have to argue, try to appeal to his sense of tradition. Remember that even change is a tradition and growth is an important part of stability and think of how you can appeal to these truths when talking to the ISTJ in your life.


About the Author

Lauren Vork has been a writer for 20 years, writing both fiction and nonfiction. Her work has appeared in "The Lovelorn" online magazine and thecvstore.net. Vork holds a bachelor's degree in music performance from St. Olaf College.

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