9 Things ISTPs Absolutely Hate

IntrovertDear.com things ISTP personality type hates

The ISTP personality type is driven by a strong desire to solve problems in concrete ways. ISTPs are natural “makers” who enjoy taking things apart and putting them back together — leaving them, of course, a little better than they were before. Known for their high kinesthetic intelligence and cool pragmatism, people of the ISTP personality design and optimize the tools that keep the world running. Many ISTPs become hands-on innovators, highly skilled athletes, and adventurous thrill-seekers; for example, Michael Jordan and Amelia Earhart are believed to be ISTPs, among many others.

However, just like any other personality type, ISTPs have their limits. Here are nine things most people of the ISTP personality type hate. ISTPs, what would you add to this list?

Things the ISTP Hates

1. When things stay the same

ISTPs live for the moment. Unlike some other introverted types that appear detached from the present — thinking about the past, planning for the future, or simply daydreaming — ISTPs are keenly aware of their environment and their own body. For this reason, they love new experiences, especially sensory ones, and they actively seek to enjoy all that life has to offer. You might find an ISTP skydiving, indulging in a savory meal, or simply taking a corner in their car a little too sharply — just for the thrill of it.

Because they’re always looking for something new and exciting to do, ISTPs may purposely shake things up or “rock the boat” if they find themselves falling into a routine or being forced to repeatedly do mundane tasks. ISTPs absolutely hate when things stay the same.

2. All theory and no hands-on experience

INTPs, their intuitive counterparts, live for dissecting big ideas and exploring philosophical questions. But for ISTPs, life is more about what they can see, hear, touch, and experience with their senses. This doesn’t mean ISTPs never think about deep topics. In fact, many ISTPs come equipped not only with sharp senses but also with sharp minds.

Nevertheless, ISTPs are more rooted in the here-and-now, so they enjoy rolling up their sleeves and “getting their hands dirty.” Experiencing, rather than theorizing, is how ISTPs interact with the world — and how they learn best. Unfortunately for this introverted personality type, classrooms often focus mostly on theory — which is why many ISTPs struggle in school. When ISTPs can’t try it themselves, they’ll hate it.

3. Dealing with drama and messy emotions

Because ISTPs approach the world primarily through logic, they tend to get uncomfortable when they have to deal with matters of the heart. Indeed, they’re probably not the person their friends and loved ones turn to for emotional support (but when something has broken down and needs to be fixed — that’s a different story!). In fact, an ISTP personality may come across as unsympathetic or even overly blunt without meaning to.

Similarly, they tend to keep their own feelings private, often hiding them from even those closest to them. But it’s not that ISTPs are incapable of dealing with emotional matters. On the contrary, as they grow older, many ISTPs see a utilitarian purpose behind developing their emotional intelligence. Nevertheless, if an ISTP is pressured to “let it all out” or is forced to deal with a high-drama situation, they’ll hate it.

4. Feeling stuck, trapped, or stifled

Perhaps above all else, the ISTP personality craves freedom and autonomy. They wish for the freedom to change their mind (or life’s direction) when it suits them, without getting judged or fenced in by others. They dream of a lifestyle free of demanding schedules, high-pressure deadlines, and burdensome obligations. To the freewheeling ISTP, who thrives on spontaneity, these things can feel extremely stifling.

For example, if a significant other tries to get serious fast — and asks the ISTP to make a strong commitment — the ISTP might run. Or, when a job demands they follow very rigid rules and expectations, ISTPs will hate it.

5. Not getting enough alone time

Although ISTPs generally come across as quick and confident, they’re truly introverts who need plenty of time to themselves. They may spend that time in their workshop, tinkering with their latest project, or perhaps at the gym, focusing on their body. Really, anything that allows ISTPs to root into their senses — alone — will feel re-energizing. Without enough downtime, like any other introvert, ISTPs will feel frazzled, exhausted, and downright unhappy.

6. Red tape, unbending rules, and unnecessary bureaucracy

The ISTP is a quiet nonconformist. Unlike ISTJs, who feel safest working in highly organized environments and within obvious hierarchies, ISTPs may balk at corporate culture or other highly structured communities. To them, it’s all just red tape and unnecessary bureaucracy.

Of course, ISTPs understand that some level of structure is needed to keep the world from falling into chaos. Nevertheless, they’ll still inwardly hate when any person or job tries to burden them with too much of it.

7. Not being able to get up and move

Want to frustrate an ISTP? Force them to sit for a prolonged period of time in a dull gray cubicle, a packed-in airplane seat, or a classroom where a teacher is droning on and on — with no escape.

8. When people overthink things

Many other introverted types struggle with overthinking, but that’s rarely the case for the ISTP, who tends to act first and think later. Sometimes this tendency gets them in trouble, and they suffer some unintended consequences. But we can probably all agree that we’d rather have an ISTP paramedic or firefighter show up to our emergency than someone who wastes precious time pondering and plotting. Many ISTPs have saved the day (and lives!) through their quick actions. They hate it when they have to deal with people who are slow to move, act, and decide.

9. Polite chitchat and extraneous socializing

Generally, ISTPs are cheerful and easy-going, but they’re probably never going to be the most popular person in the room (and they’re okay with that). At parties or get-togethers, ISTPs are usually found quietly hanging back — or perhaps showing off their beer pong or pool table skills. They tend to feel more comfortable doing something than making small talk. 

Of course, ISTPs can learn to “do” party chitchat, just like any other type — and many of them have taught themselves strong social skills, especially later in life. However, ISTPs will probably never relish a dinner party or networking event, seeing all that polite socializing as a bit boring. When situations like these are required, they’ll absolutely loathe it. 

Are You an ISTP?

Some of these are things a lot of people will hate, and every ISTP is going to be a little different. If you can relate to most of them, however, chances are good that you’re an ISTP. 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.