Ten Personality Traits Associated With The ISTP Personality Type

Medically reviewed by April Justice, LICSW
Updated April 29, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Understanding your personality type may be a fun way to discover more about your personality, including what makes you feel comfortable, how to use your strengths to your advantage, and what careers you might consider pursuing. ISTP—one of 16 personality types from the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI)—stands for Introversion, Sensing, Thinking, and Perceiving. 

Each of the 16 personalities has unique traits that make them stand out, including ISTP. Although no two people with the ISTP personality may be exactly alike, they could have a few personality traits in common. Looking through these common traits can be valuable if you find the MBTI accurate and enjoyable.

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Common traits of an ISTP personality type

Per the MBTI test, below are a few potential traits of an ISTP personality type. 

They can be problem solvers

People with the ISTP personality type often intuitively understand machines, logic, and problem-solving. Few tasks may feel unsolvable to an ISTP when given enough time. They might enjoy using their introverted thinking to solve different problems and optimize functioning independently. During this process, they may also be imaginative and develop creative ways to start projects. 

People with the ISTP personality are often analytical, which can make them significantly successful at problem-solving. They can be skilled at using their minds and hands to solve different puzzles. ISTPs may also prefer to break down problems into many parts and try to find the interrelation and framework associated with the details. 

After accurately understanding how an event has played out, ISTPs may examine the problem once again to check for any inconsistencies. Next, they might look at the concrete facts and the most reasonable solution. The potential adverse impact of this trait is that an ISTP may be so focused on the facts that they miss the emotional or creative elements present in the problem.

ISTPs can prefer hands-on activities

ISTPs may have significant hand-eye coordination, are often mechanically inclined, and may enjoy solving problems using their hands. ISTPs often display high energy levels and prefer to use their hands and body to explore the concrete world. They may prefer hands-on activities and underperform academically due to a lack of stimulation. 

As parents, ISTPs can often come up with different hands-on activities that help their children learn and have fun at the same time. In some situations, they prefer hands-on experience as opposed to theoretical ideas. 

They may be effective at prioritizing 

Although ISTPs are often considered spontaneous, they may sometimes reign in their spontaneity until they find it necessary. People with the ISTP personality type can use their energy when and where it is most needed. However, some ISTPs have a "do not care" attitude that may impede prioritization. ISTPs might want to live in the moment and reduce barriers that hold them back or stifle their ideas. 


They may get easily bored 

ISTPs can be influential thinkers but might struggle to concentrate on long-term concepts. Instead, they may prefer to move to the next task as soon as possible. People with the ISTP personality enjoy keeping their minds busy and partaking in the thrills of life. When forced to stay dormant, ISTPs can get bored. ISTPs may try to live in the present and enjoy the freedom to change their mind without judgment. 

They may avoid commitment

People with the ISTP personality can try to live each day for the moment and might dislike commitment. Long-term commitments, even in romantic relationships, can challenge these individuals. They might feel stifled and upset if they are held back from plans due to a commitment. 

Although ISTPs may run from long-term commitments, they might be able to comfortably remain in a lifelong relationship if given the space to take it one day at a time. They could feel uncomfortable if they are forced to decide on a long-term commitment prematurely. ISTPs enjoy the freedom of choosing what they want, and longstanding commitments may remove the freedom of choice if pushed onto them.

They have an adventurous spirit

People with the ISTP personality type are considered curious by nature. Their insatiable adventurous spirit can give them the desire to learn new skills. They might try to start a project and abandon it midway once they understand how it's supposed to be done. 

ISTPs can enjoy thrilling and new experiences, which may lead them to engage in risky behaviors. People with this personality might be found in risky hobbies such as ice hockey, bungee jumping, and motorcycling. ISTPs are stubborn and might also avoid long-term commitments, making them vulnerable to risky behaviors. 

They may struggle with the verbal expression of emotions 

ISTPs are considered uncomfortable with expressing their feelings. When friends and loved ones are in a difficult situation, the ISTP personality may feel uncomfortable when asked for emotional support. They might prefer offering practical solutions for the problems of others instead of sympathy. 

This trait might not mean that people with the ISTP personality don't have emotions. Instead, they might hide their emotions out of uncertainty about expressing them. They might struggle to find the words to express themselves to their partners, which could be a problem in their intimate relationships, especially if their partners expect an emotional connection. ISTPs may prefer non-verbal expressions.

ISTPs might prefer time alone over social interaction

ISTPs are introverts and may enjoy spending time alone. They might require time alone to process their thoughts and regain energy after social interactions. This alone time may help them formulate ideas and develop problem-solving strategies. In relationships, ISTPs may unintentionally forget to offer love and support to others because of their need for alone time. They may love being independent since they are intelligent people who like having space to process. 

ISTPs can be insensitive

People with the ISTP personality type might feel uncomfortable when they are required to show empathy, making them seem insensitive to others. Although they may care and feel empathy, they might have a different view of handling a situation. ISTPs use logic and reasoning instead of emotions for many challenges. 

When someone with the ISTP personality tries to show empathy or emotional sensitivity, it may not come out correctly. Personality types that value emotional displays often find people with the ISTP personality type insensitive and unwilling to connect with them emotionally. As a result, people with certain personality types may avoid developing relationships with people with the ISTP personality type. 

They might act first and think later

ISTPs may act first and think of the consequences later. However, taking risks can sometimes get these individuals into trouble. For example, an ISTP may tell an offensive joke or abandon a significant project when something more exciting arises. They may feel they are making the right decision at that moment, but regrets and consequences could follow suit. ISTPs like to go with the flow and can quickly abandon projects. Trying to change the ISTPs' way of acting can be futile, as they are often considered stubborn individuals. 

Want to explore your personality in more depth?

How to find support as an ISTP 

Therapy may be a resource to help you thoroughly comprehend the reasons behind your actions and emotions. If you're uncomfortable meeting for face-to-face counseling, you can also work with a provider through an online platform like BetterHelp. With an online platform, you can participate in therapy from home. Your messages won't be removed, so you can keep a record of past conversations with your therapist to refer to when you want to review specific topics. Your therapist can work with you to uncover aspects of your personality you don't understand or want to know more about. Over time, you can learn to achieve greater self-awareness and use that knowledge to experience self-growth. 

An increasingly large body of evidence points to online counseling platforms as valuable tools for those who want to better understand their personality and how it affects their mental health. In one broad-based review, researchers examined the effects of online therapy on a range of challenges, including anxiety disorders, smoking cessation, and depression. Over 90 total studies, with nearly 10,000 total participants, were included in the final report. Researchers found significant support for using online platforms when administering therapy, noting that these interventions were as effective as in-person therapy. 


You may relate to the above personality traits if you have received an ISTP result on the MBTI test. However, these results can vary per person. If you are unsure whether you are an ISTP or another personality type, you can take one of the online personality tests inspired by the MBTI.  

Note that personality tests can offer insight but are not replacements for professional advice. For more information on how to relate to people more effectively as an ISTP, you can contact a qualified mental health professional online or in your area for support.

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