This section Distinguishing INTJ and ISTJ is to help you verify your type if you're still unsure after doing the test and reading the type descriptions.

ISTJs and INTJs are very different personalities. According to David Keirsey’s Temperament Theory, the ISTJ belongs to the Guardian (SJs) type personality while the INTJ belongs to the Rational (NTs) type personality.

As such, there are several distinguishing characteristics of both personalities that will easily help you clarify your type.

  • ISTJs prefer to focus on the details while INTJs prefer to focus on the big-picture.

    ISTJs are systematic and careful in their approach to their work; they are detailed and take a step-by-step approach to completing their tasks. Sometimes, they are too focused on completing their tasks they do not stop to question if their work is in line with the organization’s objectives.

    INTJs are strategic thinkers; they think about the big picture; they quickly spot flaws in the current system and will point them out to others when asked. Sometimes, they are too focused on the big-picture they miss out on details in everyday tasks.

  • INTJs often meet resistance to their new, complex ideas while ISTJs seldom find disagreement to theirs.  

    ISTJs often have efficiency-based ideas. I.e., how to do the process more efficiently. Because their ideas are based on observable evidences and tangible fact, they seldom find resistance to their ideas. Although their ideas may not be adopted for other reasons, most can agree with the ISTJ’s small incremental ideas.

    INTJs brainstorm a lot in their heads. They make connections, consider possibilities, create associations very quickly and baking up new ideas in the process to come up with complex, well-thought-out solutions. However, they are often surprised by resistance to their ideas, but that is only because they did not allow input from others before coming up with the ‘finished’ product.

  • INTJs enjoy debates for the sake of it; ISTJs only debate if it is necessary and something they do care about.

    INTJs can go on a debate on practically any topic; even those they are unconcerned with. Politics, religion, culture, systems; INTJs often have an opinion on many of them and will enjoy discussing and debating countering viewpoints with another person. They can appear combative to other personality types at times.

    ISTJs seldom enjoy debates. They only debate if it is necessary to preserve their standpoint and only if they feel it is personally important to them. Most of the time, ISTJs keep silent when it is something they are not primarily concerned with.

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These differences should be sufficient for distinguishing INTJ and ISTJ. While there are other more subtle differences, the above mentioned points are the more observable differences in behavior.

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