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Articles > The ISTJ in Relationships

ISTJ in Relationships

Most ISTJs share a common interpersonal style and set of challenges.

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Most ISTJs share a similar interpersonal style, and this style impacts most of their relationships, including those with friends, families, work colleagues, and romantic partners.

Your interpersonal style describes your social tendencies in terms of dominance, submissiveness, warmth, and coldness. This style impacts how you interact with others, and in turn, it can affect how they act around you.

The circular graph below shows the average interpersonal style of ISTJs. The vertical, up-down axis shows their style in terms of dominance, with a highly assertive style at the top (Assured-Dominant) and a highly passive style at the bottom (Unassured-Submissive).

The horizontal, left-right axis shows their style in terms of warmth, with a cold and impersonal style on the left (Cold-Aggressive) and a friendly, empathetic manner on the right (Warm-Agreeable).

Typical interpersonal style of the ISTJ
How the ISTJ typically falls on common interpersonal dimensions

The shaded blue area shows the average interpersonal style of ISTJs across eight dimensions. Notice the areas where the blue area extends closer to the outer edges of the circle. These are the aspects that most heavily influence ISTJs’ interactions.

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To summarize the graph above, three aspects most heavily influence ISTJs’ interpersonal style:

Aloof-Introverted

  • ISTJs are realists who perceive things and people clearly, without being overly optimistic.
  • At their best, ISTJs are practical skeptics who are comfortable holding and sharing unorthodox, unpopular views.
  • ISTJs may be too skeptical and suspicious, and they may have difficulty trusting others.
  • At their worst, ISTJs can struggle to make new friends and socialize, and have a hard time showing affection and admiration for others.

Cold-Aggressive

  • ISTJs are forthright, firm, and speak their mind directly.
  • At their best, ISTJs are fiercely independent and unaffected by the thoughts and opinions of others.
  • ISTJs may be harsh, frank, or insensitive in their criticism of others.
  • At their worst, ISTJs can be overly aggressive and too eager to fight and argue with others.

Unassured-Submissive

  • ISTJs have a strong sense of duty and obligation.
  • At their best, ISTJs make modest, reliable teammates, and allow others to take the lead.
  • ISTJs may undervalue their own needs, ideas, and contributions, acting overly shy and not taking credit when due.
  • At their worst, ISTJs can be excessively submissive, ineffectual, and too dependent on direction from others.
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