ISTJs can be recognized by the simple fact that they will be infinitely better at storing facts than you, while remaining unable to process them into larger truths. While this turns them into an impressive storehouse of knowledge (especially dates and chemical equations, which tend to stick to the ISTJ like Elmer’s Glue Papier-mâché), don’t rely on the ISTJ to strike out creatively. (Then again, don’t rely on anyone, except the occasional INT. And maybe an ISFJ. Or perhaps an INF…. On second thought, fine, rely on a few people. Just remember: The fewer humans you require to function at full capacity, the better. More people will lower your capacity, not increase it.)
Anyways, back to ISTJs.
In many ways, they are conventional (a positive quality according to society, but we disagree with that), and at worst they make no sense. They may jump to conclusions without an accurate knowledge base and enjoy tormenting you with the chaos that ensues. ISTJs fervently conform to social standards and guidelines, which they see as logical, and they enjoy maintaining established norms and systems. Conversely, INTPs generally prefer to question everything (and I mean EVERYTHING), rather than let society tell us what we should/shouldn’t think/do.
Nevertheless, ISTJs can make interesting friends. As conventional as they appear to be, there is something profoundly intelligent and unique about them. But perhaps that comes from them being human, like the rest of the populace. You really wouldn’t know.
The run-of-the-mill ISTJ can be identified by their profession, which will likely be research-based, detail-oriented, and completely disconnected from the real world. Look no further than the fields of chemistry, biology, engineering, and physics, and you are likely to find ISTJs hard at work, creating abstractions that likely have no tangible connection to important INTP conundrums like How Long Can I Stay Alone in My Basement Without Anyone Noticing?, Will This Cup of Coffee Allow Me to Function at a Higher Capacity?, and Ew, Human, Get Away from Me.
Despite these disconnects between the two types, ISTJs are largely seen as positive contributing members of society. This is, generally speaking, a good thing, since they are thought to make up around 13% of the population (source) – the largest type of them all.
You may not appreciate ISTJs’ propensity for the mundane, but factor in the creativity and uniqueness of human nature, and you may get along with a few of these creatures. Who knows, you may even become friends – and I can guarantee those ISTJ friendships will be among the most interesting and strange you’ll ever have.
Stay tuned for ISFPs and Other Social Chameleons, coming (hopefully) soon to an Ethernet port near you.