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Articles > The ISTP in Relationships

ISTP in Relationships

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

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Most ISTPs 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 ISTPs. 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 ISTP
How the ISTP typically falls on common interpersonal dimensions

The shaded blue area shows the average interpersonal style of ISTPs 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 ISTPs’ interactions.

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


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


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


  • ISTPs are assertive, competitive, and like a good challenge.
  • At their best, ISTPs are bold and confident leaders who are willing to take unpopular action.
  • ISTPs may be overly proud, boisterous, and willing to manipulate others to achieve their goals.
  • At their worst, ISTPs can be narcissistic, overly focused on their own needs, and lack empathy for others.
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