OCD. Rule-obsessed. Boring.
I just discovered one of my friends is an ISTJ (much to everyone’s surprise), so I’m freshly annoyed at ISTJ stereotypes.
Here’s some things to consider when writing an ISTJ character (Si, Te, Fi, Ne).
Inferior Ne has Weird Effects
Much like inferior Se in INFJs and INTJs, inferior Ne can make a normally straight-laced, solemn individual uncharacteristically zany around close friends. Because it’s extroverted intuition instead of extroverted sensing, this might show up as telling weird stories, blurting out ‘unconnected’ things, and generally being goofier than normal.
Around certain people, my friend gets super exuberant and stops caring about culturally accepted practices, to an extent (he once tried to throw someone over his shoulder and run).
They Can Be Sarcastic and Joking
Sensing and Te both tend to view the world in a straight-forward way. That doesn’t mean ISTJs can’t make or understand jokes and sarcasm, like some stories portray (like the otherwise amazing film The Imitation Game).
However, while many ISTJs are comfortable with being sarcastic (my friend describes sarcasm as his first language), they aren’t necessarily quite as quick to understand it (I’m the same way, though, and I’m an Ni-dom).
Mental Disabilities ≠ Type
People and characters with obsessive compulsive disorder are almost always typed as Si users, and usually as ISTJs. But there’s a difference between wanting things a certain way and having an obsessive disorder that can hinder favorite activities.
Some autism symptoms tend to correlate with superficial ISTJ traits as well, but again, there’s a difference.
When writing (or typing) a character, try to see if they have any disorders that could affect their behavior and isolate that from their MBTI type. It helps to remember that MBTI determines thought process, NOT behavior.
No One is Emotionless
The emotionless-T-type cliche is irritating, shallow, and potentially damaging to anyone who takes their type too seriously (don’t do that, guys).
ISTJs may be less openly expressive of their emotions (lower Fi), but that doesn’t mean they don’t have them. Fi feels things at least as intensely as Fe, but because it’s introverted (think: internal), it’s often not expressed, especially when lower on the stack.
This offers great opportunities for younger/immature ISTJ characters struggling to accept their emotions, or to show a well-rounded character who’s willing to open up to a few close people.
Great ISTJ Characters:
Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games; Simon Tam from Firefly; Zoe Washburne from Firefly; Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens; Eustace Clarence Scrubb from The Chronicles of Narnia
Do you have some favorite ISTJ characters?