Is Romance in the Air? INFJ Meets ISTP

If you’re an INFJ, you may find yourself drawn to ISTPs. They’re quietly competent, people of few words who make every utterance worth listening to. They pay attention. They have emotional control. How refreshing!

INFJs and ISTPs have very different personalities. The only trait they have in common is introversion (I). Because both are private people, they prefer thinking about things to talking about them. They’re quiet, but their minds are always busy.

What about the other traits? First, ISTPs, being sensing (S) types, are matter-of-fact and observant of what’s going on around them. Intuitive INFJs, being more creative and less down-to-earth, are often unaware of details. They lose things like cell phones and credit cards frequently.

Second, the ISTP, a thinking type (T), makes decisions based on the facts and logic of a situation, not emotional nuances. If they’re paying to have a job done and the work is shoddy, the INFJ may worry about confronting the worker and hurting his or her feelings. The ISTP is more objective. The job isn’t satisfactory and the worker must be told.

Finally, perceiving (P) ISTPs avoid final decisions and are more comfortable when things are left open-ended. They’re casual about appointments and deadlines. They can undertake two or three projects at a time. INFJs do only one thing at a time, and they’re punctual and deadline-oriented. With their preference for judging (J), they like to see decisions made and situations brought to closure.


While INFJs and ISTPs may have philosophical differences, they can complement each other in practical ways as friends. Unlike INFJs, ISTPs generally have good eye-hand coordination and understand how things work. Faced with a car repair, for example, the INFJ can usually rely on an ISTP friend to figure out what’s wrong with the vehicle before making a deal with a mechanic. ISTPs are unlikely to be fooled by mechanics or other fixers of things. They may even be able to repair the car themselves. Because they rely on their sensing preference more than their intuition, they think problems through while working on them. Unlike INFJs, they’re not interested in theories.

When a friendship between these two types runs aground, it’s usually because of conflicts in thinking and feeling. ISTPs make decisions based on facts father than feelings and values. This impersonal approach gives them a tendency to be unaware of the reactions of others to the things they do. They may not even be clear about their own emotions. Although INFJs do examine the facts, they’re more likely to be concerned with the impact of their decisions on others. Because of this difference, the ISTP can offend the INFJs without meaning to.


When ISTPs are looking for romance they seek partners who give them freedom to follow their own interests or, better yet, share these interests. An ISTP who loves camping may persuade an INFJ of the fun of sleeping in a tent. If the INFJ shows some enthusiasm, the ISTP may acquaint the person details about types of tents, sleeping bags, and cooking equipment. Before long, the two are likely to find themselves planning a trip to the nearest state park for a weekend.

Because both types are shy about expressing their feelings toward each other in words, they look for other ways to show their affection, such as finding gifts that will please the partner. They offer to cook, run errands, and do other practical favors. They prefer to show their feelings through actions rather than words. They don’t often speak words of love to each other, because they believe that the things they do together convey the message. The way they talk about their relationship is likely to be subtle and indirect. The words “I love you” don’t come easily. It’s easier to say, “Let’s eat at this restaurant again soon.”

If one partner decides to leave the other, the rejected ISTP is quiet about his or her suffering. ISTPs don’t give up easily on their relationships unless the facts make it obvious that the partnership won’t work out. A rejected INFJ may take longer to recover from a broken romance and be reluctant to take the risk to move on.

Home Life

When an INFJ and ISTP decide to make their relationship permanent and live together, they usually find that it takes effort and patience to preserve the bond that they enjoyed initially. To avoid unnecessary friction, the two must respect each other’s ways of thinking and feeling. The ISTP should try to understand the INFJs need for emotional support. For this to happen, usually the INFJ must explain his or her needs to the ISTP and make suggestions for meeting them. At the same time, INFJs shouldn’t expect ISTPs to be their sole source of emotional support. They need to cultivate a few friends who can empathize with their feelings. It’s a good idea to spread dependency needs around.

Secrets of Success

A well-matched pair of INFJs and ISTJs can complement each other in ways that benefit them both. The INFJ can appreciate the ISTP’s ability to enjoy the details of life without over-thinking, as INFJs tend to do. ISTPs have an uncomplicated way of viewing the world. This can be a relief to the complex INFJ for whom very little is easy. The ISTP’s life is enriched by the creative, witty INFJ who is usually a pleasure to be around.


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9 replies
  1. Nickelle says:

    My husband is an ISTP and I am An iNFJ……. we’re five years married in September 2019. I can’t find why we are. We know we love each other but he doesn’t show it or speak it he just wants physical. I just want time and don’t have the health to be physical so I end up mad that it seems all he wants. I want him to take care of me in my need and to be the teammate I thought I was marrying. Literally He is like my 17 year old. And I have to get after him to do things well before he calls them “Done”. It’s clashing and I don’t know how much longer I can take it.

    • M says:

      Hang in there babe…im the same way but with patience and prayer and looking to some thing other than our istp to complete us we can make it…we need to complete ourselves so it’s easier to say “whatever” when we’re tempted to freak out

    • Unknown says:

      Hi I’m a female istp. I’m sorry to hear that. I don’t know if infj doesn’t feel good with physical contact. i have infp best friend, she’s sometimes wants to hug me too. She also don’t need much words to understanding me. Our silences just comfortable and she’s don’t mind if I don’t have something to say. I often feel infj too often hide his/her feelings, it’s really complicated for me.

    • ISTPride says:

      “Take care of me” and “teammate” are very different things.

      Have you ever been on a team?

      Your post makes you seem like a taskmaster with little to offer but your needs.

      I’m guessing he’s not particularly happy either. ISTPs just stick around longer than we should because we turn cynical, especially when burnt out by energy vampires.

  2. B says:

    My partner is an ISTP and I am INFJ. I’m going through big changes in my life and long distance is so hard for me. I tend to have very strong emotions and my partner seems to give little care to how I’m feeling and refuses to discuss their own emotions. I’ve given everything I can to be understanding but they haven’t in any way responded to my attempts to make conversation. I don’t know what to do, I want to make it work but we’ve been fighting so much more than I want.

    • beaconadmin says:

      You gave a perfect description of my ex-husband’s and my marriage. His face remained impassive during any discussion of feelings and he spoke in quiet monotones. I felt so starved for affection and emotion that I finally left him. I still keep in touch with him after forty years, and he hasn’t changed a speck. It was a sad but necessary move on my part. As they say, you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear!

  3. Abs says:

    I’m an INFJ and my boyfriend is the ISTP, this is our 6th year together. At first it was amazing with the opposite attraction and lots of physical things we both enjoyed, as time progressed the differences started to show. For a long time it was all friction, he was convinced we were incompatible and I was just confused. A big stressor entered into this mix – me choosing to build a business instead of the stability and security of a job – stress enough that we broke up. We both attempted to move on by dating other people we saw as the solution – he a girl with a good job and me a more sensitive guy. But we really couldn’t stay away – kept in contact, and ultimately got back together. This time around, we both put more effort into making things work. I had to learn that though I’m an emotional person he is not responsible for them, and I had to understand he is actually deeply emotional but keeps it all in. As in more comfortable expressing my emotions it’s deeply frustrating to me, but it’s selfish to expect him be what he’s not. He has his moments when something triggers him to express himself and it usually comes out in anger, so though he may think he’s being factual, I see it as hurtful and tactless. This is was an issue for me until I realized he doesn’t have the skills to deal with his emotions and I love him enough to make that allowance for his outbursts, but still try to teach him better ways to coping mechanism. I’m not trying to make him better for me, but for himself and if he’s better for himself; then our relationship is benefited. He on his own part gets out of his comfort zone for me too, he has way more emotional conversations than he can handle, he spends more together time, we talk for hours on end through the day, he makes time for me though he is busy at work, supports my dream even if there is no result yet which is difficult for him to process, he listens to me complain even if it annoys him, he lets me get my way most times and he has learned to express his feelings in a really good way out of nowhere. I still struggle with giving him space because I want to smother him all the time, but on days he needs his time alone, he makes sure to always check on me to know he’s still there just in his own world and I’ve learnt to keep myself busy with activities I enjoy and when I get back he tells me he missed me. It’s taken a lot of hard work and commitment and adjustment to get to this point. My advice to other INFJs is to realize you are responsible for your emotional needs not your partner and you also have to learn that an ISTP will respond to your love, just in their own way and you have to understand what that is – my boyfriend is constantly worried if I’ll be ok financially, he buys me gifts that I want, he buys me little gifts to make my day easier, he sends me things to help with my business, he advices me against friends and situations that he knows will be bad for me but I don’t see. It may not be what I originally thought I wanted in a man but he is s good man and he is good to me and I’ll be good to him so we have a really good joyful peaceful kind relationship.

    • beaconadmin says:

      Thanks for this insightful contribution. It contains a lesson we could all learn—taking responsibility for our own reactions and emotions and giving some space to the other person.

  4. Allison Fosheim says:

    I enjoyed this article except for the fact that it leans too heavily in favor of ISTPs. For example, in the friendship section it glorifies the ISTP strengths while failing to mention what the INFJ brings to the table. It’s also filled with subtle suggestions about what INFJs need to change. I’m going to take a wild guess that the writer is an ISTP (or similar personality). I would like to have seen a more balanced article.


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