9 Things ISTJs Absolutely Hate

IntrovertDear.com ISTJ personality type signs

The ISTJ personality type is driven by a strong sense of responsibility. ISTJs firmly believe in keeping their word and upholding their commitments — even when it comes at a personal cost to them. Known for their practical logic and tireless work ethic, people of the ISTJ personality type help keep things running smoothly. At their best, ISTJs have been a stabilizing force in the world; for example, George Washington is thought to have been an ISTJ, among many others.

However, just like any other personality type, even duty-driven ISTJs have their limits. Here are nine things most people of the ISTJ personality type hate. ISTJs, what would you add to this list?

Things the ISTJ Hates

1. Doing a sloppy job

As an ISTJ, responsibility is rarely a burden to you. In fact, it’s just more proof that you’re the right person for the job. Conscientious and committed, there are few people who work harder than you do, whether it’s on the job, in school, or as a parent. And your sense of practicality paired with your sharp eye for detail makes you a quick problem-solver. Because you pride yourself on doing a good job, you hate it when circumstances force you to give less than your all. Similarly, you hate when others — especially your colleagues, employees, or kids — do a sloppy job.

2. Having to entertain impractical ideas

Unlike their intuitive counterparts the INTJs, who are more concerned with big-picture strategizing and easily get “lost in their heads,” ISTJs have two feet planted firmly on the ground. Rooted in the here and now, they focus on the present and pay keen attention to what’s going on in their immediate surroundings. They seek practical, concrete solutions to problems. 

For these reasons, they have little patience for vague, half-baked ideas or imaginative flights of fancy about what could be done. An ISTJ might entertain these discussions, all while quietly forming an actionable plan in the back of their mind. However, they’ll still hate having to sit through lots of empty talk.

3. When there’s no clear structure

As a sensing and judging personality type, ISTJs seek clear structure and order, especially on the job. They like to know exactly what’s expected of them, and they value doing things “by the book.” When it’s not clear who’s supposed to do what — or even what’s supposed to happen — ISTJs will hate it.

4. Dealing with those pesky, messy emotions

Because ISTJs approach the world mainly through logic, they tend to feel uncomfortable dealing with emotional matters. That includes other people’s feelings, but especially their own. Quiet and reserved, they tend to keep their emotions to themselves, often hiding them from even those closest to them. 

It’s not that ISTJs are incapable of dealing with matters of the heart. In fact, as they mature, many ISTJs eventually see a utilitarian purpose behind addressing emotional issues, and they learn how to better do so. However, if an ISTJ is pressured to “let it all out,” or is forced to deal with a highly-charged emotional situation, they will inwardly hate it.

5. Not getting enough solitude

Although ISTJs tend to come across as competent and confident, they’re truly introverts who need plenty of alone time. They may spend that time in their garage, tinkering with their car, or on the couch with a good book or their favorite TV series. Without enough solitude, like any other introvert, they’ll feel irritable, tired, and just not like themselves.

6. Breaking rules

The ISTJ is a rule-follower, almost to a fault. They know that rules and structure are crucial to keeping organizations (and homes and societies) running smoothly. Sure, no rule is perfect, and sometimes they should be challenged (through the proper channels, of course). However, if everyone went around bucking the system just to satisfy their own needs and desires, it would be chaos. In positions of power, ISTJs are loathe to bend the rules for others — and even more so to break rules themselves.

7. When people don’t keep their word

If an ISTJ says they’ll arrive an hour early to help you set up for your party, they’ll arrive an hour early. If they promise to have the report on your desk by Thursday morning, chances are good it will be on your desk Wednesday night. ISTJs follow through on their word, perhaps barring only medical emergencies or natural disasters! People of this personality type pride themselves on being consistent and reliable, and they hate it when others talk a big game but can’t be counted on.

8. Incompetence

Generally, the ISTJ is a jack-of-all-trades. If something comes with a manual, you can bet that an ISTJ can figure it out. They take a serious approach to whatever task they set out to complete, and they value doing things the “right” way — sometimes to the point of stubbornness. For this reason, ISTJs often rise to managerial positions or positions of authority on the job. At home, ISTJs are likely the ones keeping everything running smoothly for the family, coordinating rides to soccer practice and dutifully getting the car’s oil changed every three months.

ISTJs understand that not everyone is as meticulous as they are — and that’s okay. But what they can’t stand is incompetence. If you’ve ever seen an ISTJ deal with a customer service representative who isn’t doing their job well, or a boss who knows less than the ISTJ does, you’ll understand exactly how much ISTJs hate incompetence.

9. Frivolous socializing

You’ll probably never hear an ISTJ called “the life of the party.” At social events, ISTJs can usually be found quietly hanging back — or perhaps somewhere helping out. They tend to feel more comfortable getting something useful done than making lighthearted chitchat with people they don’t know well. Of course, ISTJs can learn to “do” small talk, just like anyone else — and many of them have developed strong social skills, especially later in life. However, ISTJs will probably never revel in a party or networking event, seeing all that schmoozing as frivolous. When situations like these are required, they will absolutely hate it.

Are You an ISTJ?

Some of these are things a lot of people will hate, and every ISTJ is going to be a little different. If you can relate to most of them, however, chances are good that you’re an ISTJ. Want to be one hundred percent sure? There’s an easy way to find out: Take this free personality assessment from Personality Hacker and see your personality type in minutes. 

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Jenn Granneman is the founder of IntrovertDear.com and the author of The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World. She also cohosts The Introvert, Dear Podcast and blogs for Psychology Today. For most of her life, Jenn felt weird, different, and out of place because of her quiet ways. She writes about introversion because she doesn’t want other introverts to feel the way she did.