ISTPs are generally extremely capable individuals who are good at most things which interest them. They are usually bright, interesting, and exciting individuals with a lot to offer. They live almost entirely in the present moment, and usually do not make commitments beyond the immediate foreseeable future. An ISTP probably coined the phrase "nothing is unconditional". They strongly prefer to take things one day at a time, rather than make long-term commitments. If a relationship interests them and satisfies their needs, the ISTP will do their part on a daily basis to keep the relationship strong and healthy. If they lose interest in a relationship, their natural tendency will be to move on.
- Good listeners
- Usually self-confident
- Generally optimistic and fun to be with
- Practical and realistic, they handle daily concerns
- Are not threatened by conflict or criticism
- Able to leave a relationship with relative ease once it is over
- Able to administer punishment, although they're not interested in doing so
- Likely to respect other's needs for space and privacy
- Living entirely in the present, they have difficulty with long-term commitments
- Not naturally good at expressing feelings and emotions
- Not tuned in to what others are feeling, they may be insensitive at times
- Tendency to be overly private and hold back part of themselves
- Need a lot of personal space, which they don't like to have invaded
- They thrive on action and excitement, and may stir things up to create it
ISTPs in Love
ISTPs can be very intense and exciting individuals. Their strong Thinking preference makes them seem rather aloof and "hard to get". Their Sensing and Perceiving preferences make them sensual, earthy individuals. These attributes frequently make them attractive to the opposite sex. ISTPs live entirely in the current moment, which makes them especially interested in new sensations and experiences. They strongly dislike routine and strict schedules, and resist being controlled by others. They are fiercely independent and need their own space within a relationship. When involved in relationships which provide for their basic needs and which present them with new experiences, the ISTP will be happy to do what's necessary to keep the relationship alive and well. If a relationship becomes boring or oppressive to the ISTP, they will try to fix it, or move on. ISTPs take their commitments on a day-by-day basis. Even if they say "I do", it usually means "I do for now". They do not like to make lifelong commitments, although they may very well be involved in lifelong relationships which they have taken one day at a time.
Romantically, the ISTP approaches intimacy as a physical act rather than an expression of love and affection. They are earthy and sensual beings who enthusiastically experience romance with all five senses. They bring spontaneity, creativity, and enthusiasm into the relationship, and enjoy new experiences. Since aesthetic beauty has such strong appeal to them, they appreciate the "setting", i.e. bedding, lingerie, cologne, etc.
ISTPs love to fix things, and may create problems in their personal relationships, just so that they can have the fun of fixing them.
They have a tendency to hold back their own views on things. They like to listen to other people's views, but are generally non-commital about expressing their own opinions. ISTPs have a habit of evading answering questions by asking more questions. This can be frustrating at times to their mates, if they are after a direct answer. The ISTP's decision making process is entirely internal, so they don't feel much need to share their opinions with others. When they are interacting with others, they are in "information gathering" mode, so they tend to ask questions rather than share views. The ISTP just doesn't feel the need to expose themselves fully to others. When it comes to intimate relationships, the ISTP has the further motivation of protecting themselves. Most ISTPs are afraid of having to deal with their deeper feelings. Since their Thinking preference dominates their personality, their Feeling side is their least developed (inferior) function. Consequently, ISTPs are usually quite vulnerable and perhaps weak when dealing with their feelings. Their habit of keeping part of themselves hidden may also serve the purpose of keeping a protective wall around their hearts.
Although the ISTP does not usually have a well-developed Feeling side, they frequently do have intense feelings for people. They can feel overpowering love for their mates, although they are likely not to express their emotions, or to express them inadequately or inappropriately if they do venture towards expression. However, unlike many of the other personality types, ISTPs feel strong affections one day at a time. One day, they may feel completely, intensely in love with their mate, and the next day they may be totally disinterested, or perhaps even ready to move on. This "live for the moment" type of approach is different from how most other types experience their feelings, and is difficult for many to understand. Consequently, the ISTP may be called "fickle" or "cold". In fact, they are not really fickle, and certainly not cold. They simply experience their lives on a moment by moment basis, and go along with it's natural flow. However, since most people need more commitment than can be offered when taking things day-by-day, the ISTP who wants to remain in a relationship will have to resolve themself towards being involved in a more traditional commitment. For most ISTPs, making a commitment to an intimate relationship will require an effort to stretch themselves outside of their comfort zones. However, those who do so will realize that they can enjoy the benefits of a strong, committed relationship and still live their lives in the present tense.