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At first glance, the INFJ-ISTP relationship can be challenging, as these two personality types possess different strengths and weaknesses.

However, with a deeper understanding of each other, they may find that they have more in common than they initially thought.

This unique combination of similarities and differences creates a magnetic attraction between these two types, making their relationship intriguing and dynamic. However, it requires more than initial attraction for a relationship to be successful and fulfilling.

So in this guide, we will explore the INFJ-ISTP relationship compatibility, highlighting their similarities, differences, potential challenges, and how you can overcome them.

Is INFJ compatible with ISTP?

This question generates diverse opinions within the Myers-Briggs community. Some believe that INFJs are highly compatible with ISTPs, while others argue they are the worst match. In a recent survey with my INFJ audience, I asked them to identify their top three most and least compatible MBTI types. Interestingly, ISTP was the only type to appear on both lists.

The underlying reason for this phenomenon lies in the fact that INFJs and ISTPs possess the same cognitive functions: Introverted Intuition (Ni), Extraverted Feeling (Fe), Introverted Thinking (Ti), and Extroverted Sensing (Se). They understand how each other’s functions work.

However, they use these functions in a different order of preference. INFJ’s cognitive function stack is in the order of Ni, Fe, Ti, Se, while ISTP’s cognitive function stack is in the order of Ti, Se, Ni, Fe. INFJ’s first and second functions are ISTP’s third and fourth functions, and vice versa. This leads to different approaches to life and decision-making, making their relationship both complementary and challenging at the same time.

Ultimately, whether INFJs are compatible with ISTPs largely hinges on their stage of personal growth. If both types have a healthy understanding of themselves and take the time to develop their less preferred functions, they will appreciate their partner’s differences.

Learn how you can use MBTI for your personal growth.

For example, in their early years, ISTPs may be known for their blunt communication style. They often express themselves without concern for others’ opinions. Initially, they may even view the empathetic and people-pleasing INFJs as overly sensitive or weak due to their high regard for others’ feelings. However, with age and experience, ISTPs may begin to see the value in Extraverted Feeling (Fe), their inferior function. They learn the importance of taking into account the feelings of others, especially in their intimate relationships. So they will begin to appreciate the INFJs’ capacity for empathy and their ability to understand other people.

Similarly, INFJs, who are often preoccupied with their thoughts and ideals and tend to plan ahead, may initially see ISTPs as impulsive. But as they grow and appreciate their inferior function, Extroverted Sensing (Se), and the importance of living in the moment, they start to admire ISTPs for their ability to remain present and spontaneous.

Overall, while there may be some initial challenges in an INFJ-ISTP relationship, the two types can learn from each other and balance each other out. They both value independence and authenticity, which can lead to a strong bond once they understand and respect each other’s differences.

Potential Challenges in INFJ-ISTP Relationships

The biggest challenge in an INFJ-ISTP relationship may be communication. Even after ISTPs develop their inferior function, Fe, they may still unintentionally hurt the sensitive INFJ with their blunt and direct approach. Due to their auxiliary function, Extroverted Sensing (Se), they may say things in the heat of the moment without considering the impact of their words on others.

Conversely, INFJs, known for their empathetic nature, often probe deeply into their partner’s emotions and thoughts, a trait that can make private ISTPs feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable. This natural desire of INFJs to understand their partners could be seen as intrusive by ISTPs, potentially leading to misunderstandings and conflicts.

Moreover, both INFJs and ISTPs are introverts. They share the same introverted intuition and thinking functions (Ni and Ti), making them prone to drawing conclusions about one another and assuming they are correct without checking in or clarifying with each other. Especially ISTPs who prefer to keep their thoughts and feelings to themselves, may not communicate enough with the more expressive INFJ. Inaccurate assumptions and lack of clarification can lead to unnecessary tension and mistrust, potentially harming their relationship.

Another potential challenge is in decision-making. INFJs rely on their intuition and future visions to make decisions, while ISTPs are critical thinkers who rely on logic and do not plan too far ahead. This can lead to conflicts when making important joint decisions. Each type may think their approach is the better one. This occurs because individuals prioritize their dominant and auxiliary functions over their tertiary and inferior functions, which interestingly, in this case, are the top two functions of their partners.

Things get even worse when they attempt to parent one another by pointing out functions that the other finds challenging, leading to feelings of being judged. For instance, with their dominant Introverted Intuition (Ni), INFJs can often predict future issues that ISTPs might overlook. When INFJs offer advice to assist ISTPs, it might come across as judgmental to the ISTPs, like they don’t know what they are doing. Conversely, ISTPs might highlight flaws in INFJs’ reasoning when they employ Introverted Thinking (Ti), which INFJs could interpret as nitpicking and feel criticized.

INFJ and ISTP Romantic Relationship Compatibility

When INFJs and ISTPs first meet, it can go two ways. Either they are instantly intrigued by each other’s mysterious nature and want to get to know each other more, or they do not understand each other and decide to stay away.

Initially, INFJs may find ISTP’s quiet confidence attractive. ISTPs have this stoic, cool, and collected aura that is refreshing to INFJs. They speak their mind without hesitation, something INFJs might envy as they often care too much about what other people feel. Alternatively, some INFJs may find ISTPs to be rather rude and distant and this may be off-putting to them.

Conversely, ISTPs may be drawn to INFJs’ intelligence, emotional depth, and intuitive insights into people. The warmth and empathy of INFJs can be particularly appealing to ISTPs, who often do not express their emotions openly. However, some ISTPs may see INFJs as too intense. Their tendency to overthink and analyze every situation may come across as being overly dramatic to ISTPs.

However, as they get to know each other more, INFJs and ISTPs will start to realize that they have a lot in common. Both types value independence, freedom, and personal growth. They appreciate the importance of having alone time and space for themselves. Furthermore, both are curious and eager to learn, even though they may have different interests.

In a romantic relationship, INFJs and ISTPs complement each other well. They balance each other, with INFJs bringing emotional depth and understanding, while ISTPs provide practicality and logic. However, they may annoy each other at times due to their differences in communication and decision-making styles as mentioned in the previous section.

When it comes to marriage and living together, INFJs and ISTPs may face some challenges. INFJs tend to be more organized and structured, while ISTPs are spontaneous and go with the flow. This can lead to conflicts over household responsibilities and daily routines. For example, ISTPs often change their minds about things, which can be frustrating for INFJs who like to plan and stick to a schedule.

INFJ and ISTP Friendship Compatibility

Similar to romantic relationships, INFJs and ISTPs can get along well as friends but it depends on the specific INFJ or ISTP you are dealing with. Some INFJs may feel a sense of frustration or incompleteness in their friendship with ISTPs due to the latter’s reserved and detached nature. On the other hand, some ISTPs may find INFJs too intense or serious for their liking.

More importantly, INFJs and ISTPs need to bond over a shared interest or activity to maintain a strong friendship. INFJs tend to seek deep meaningful conversations with friends. These discussions can be intellectual or emotional. ISTPs, on the other hand, are more action-oriented and may prefer engaging in hands-on activities or adventures with friends.

Initially, both types might dismiss each other as incompatible or uninteresting. Yet, as they discover common ground, their friendship could evolve into a surprisingly deep and rewarding connection. For example, when I first met my twin flame ISTP friend, I assumed that his only interests were in martial arts and fitness, something I had no interest in. Over time, I discovered our mutual love for reading and his ability to engage in meaningful intellectual and spiritual discussions. It’s important to note, though, that ISTPs may not delve into topics as deeply as INFJs might, and they tend to lose interest in things quickly.

INFJs and ISTPs are often karmic partners or twin flames because they have great lessons to teach each other. Learn more about the differences between the two.

Apart from sharing interests, INFJs and ISTPs can also benefit from each other’s strengths. INFJs tend to be empathetic listeners who can understand others’ feelings without judgment. They can offer emotional support and perspective to ISTP friends who may struggle with expressing or understanding their own emotions. In return, ISTPs can provide a practical and grounded perspective to INFJs, who may get lost in their thoughts and feelings at times. ISTPs can teach INFJs to be more spontaneous, have fun, and live in the moment. They can also impart some physical skills that INFJs may lack.

But both types have to be mindful not to impose their own ways of thinking and living on each other. Otherwise, conflicts may arise, leading to misunderstandings and hurt feelings.

5 Tips for Nurturing a Healthy INFJ-ISTP Relationship

1. Respect Each Other’s Approach in Life

Often, INFJs and ISTPs may unconsciously judge each other based on their top two functions, as these functions are less developed in their partner. This behavior, however, often backfires, as it places one individual’s strengths over another’s.

For example, INFJs might perceive ISTPs’ lack of long-term planning as a shortfall and attempt to guide them. Unfortunately, their guidance makes ISTPs feel controlled or confined by INFJs’ well-meaning suggestions. INFJs must recognize that ISTPs possess the ability to plan. They simply prioritize flexibility and spontaneity over rigid, long-term goals due to their ever-changing interests. For the relationship to work, INFJs have to respect ISTPs’ spontaneous approach to life and allow them the freedom to do what they want. Without this understanding and respect, ISTPs may feel unaccepted for who they truly are.

On the flip side, ISTPs must refrain from using their logical prowess to incessantly scrutinize or criticize the INFJs’ insights or decisions. INFJs are known for their big-picture thinking and often prioritize this over details and accuracy, unlike ISTPs. Even though INFJs might not always choose the right words or articulate their thoughts in a logical sequence, this doesn’t imply that their insights are incorrect or lack value. ISTPs must learn to acknowledge and value the unique perspectives and insights offered by INFJs, even if they don’t always fully comprehend or agree with them.

2. Communicate Openly and Honestly

Communication is key in any relationship, but it is especially important for INFJ-ISTP relationships. Both INFJs and ISTPs tend to keep their thoughts to themselves, which can lead to misunderstandings and resentment if not addressed. Both parties need to communicate openly and honestly about their thoughts, feelings, and needs. This prevents any miscommunication.

INFJs must learn to express themselves clearly and directly without expecting ISTPs to pick up on subtle hints or read between the lines. It is also important for INFJs not to overthink. ISTPs are honest and direct communicators. They usually say what they mean, so there’s no need to read between the lines. If they are not expressing their emotions, it means that the ISTPs don’t know what they are feeling or they are indifferent to the situation. They don’t think it matters enough to bring it up in a conversation. Also, sometimes they may not feel comfortable expressing their emotions. In such cases, INFJs must be patient and understanding and not force them to open up.

On the other hand, ISTPs need to work on actively listening to the INFJs without getting defensive or shutting down. INFJs often have the desire to express what they feel to their intimate partner. They are not being dramatic or trying to start an argument. They just want to share their emotions and thoughts with you and be heard and understood. This is actually a sign of trust and vulnerability from the private INFJ. They are not blaming you or asking you to fix their problems. ISTPs must learn to create a safe space for INFJs to express their emotions without judging or offering solutions unless asked for. Otherwise, the INFJ may start to withdraw and not feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings with you in the future.

3. Find the Right Balance

INFJs and ISTPs value each other’s presence, yet achieving a harmonious balance in their relationship is crucial, particularly regarding their auxiliary functions. The second function for one type corresponds to the fourth (inferior) function of the other, which is often engaged under stress. If you are using your auxiliary function with your partner, they may feel stressed and overwhelmed.

For example, INFJs enjoy going on adventures with ISTPs, exploring the world, and seeking new experiences. But INFJs will feel overwhelmed when ISTPs are too spontaneous or unpredictable, changing plans at the last minute. INFJs prefer to stick to a schedule and plan. If you need to change the schedule or ask them out, you have to give them advance notice. Even a day or an hour for them to process the changes will make a big difference.

On the other hand, ISTPs appreciate INFJs’ empathy and warmth. They love that INFJs are non-judgmental and listen to them attentively. However, ISTPs may feel overwhelmed when INFJs constantly probe and try to understand their emotions. ISTPs may struggle with identifying and expressing their feelings, so being bombarded with questions can make them feel uncomfortable or stressed out. Instead, INFJs can give ISTPs space and allow them to process their emotions in their own time.

4. Engage in Shared Activities

Both INFJs and ISTPs are independent and value their alone time. They tend to be lone wolves and have no problem doing things on their own. However, this can also be a problem in their relationships, as they may become too distant and disconnected from each other.

To combat this, it is important for both INFJs and ISTPs to engage in shared activities. This can be anything from trying a new hobby together, going on trips or adventures, or even just spending quality time together doing mundane tasks like cooking or watching movies. By engaging in shared activities, they are not only strengthening their bond but also creating new experiences together.

They can also blend their passions creatively. For instance, INFJs often prefer deep conversations with their partners more than ISTPs, who are inclined towards physical activities. Rather than limiting interactions to just conversations in a cafe or engaging solely in physical activities, couples can explore a mix of both. Engaging in shared activities like hiking while chatting or discussing topics during house chores can enhance the connection. This approach allows both INFJs and ISTPs to experience the best of both worlds, strengthening their bond through common experiences.

5. Develop Your Weaker Functions

The INFJ-ISTP relationships can benefit greatly from both partners embracing their weaker functions. For INFJs, this means developing their Introverted Thinking (Ti) and Extroverted Sensing (Se) functions. For ISTPs, it is important to work on their introverted Intuition function (Ni) and Extroverted Feeling (Fe) functions.

Improving your weaker functions doesn’t require mastery or constant focus. It simply means that you become aware of them, understand their value, and work on improving them. For example, ISTPs can start by being more reflective and introspective about how their words and actions affect others. Similarly, INFJs can work on embracing spontaneity and living in the moment. This approach to personal development not only contributes to a well-rounded personality but also fosters better relationships.

INFJs and ISTPs will have a greater appreciation of their partner’s strengths and may even let down their ego to learn from each other. This willingness to learn and grow together can further strengthen the relationship and create a deep mutual understanding.

Final Thoughts

INFJs are strong in areas ISTPs are weak in, while ISTPs are strong in areas INFJs are weak in. This complementary dynamic can be a source of strength and growth for both partners.

However, this relationship will only succeed if both parties are willing to communicate openly, embrace their differences, and work on personal growth. With the right balance of understanding, respect, and effort, the INFJ-ISTP relationship can be a unique and fulfilling experience for both partners.

Find out the compatibility of INFJ with other personality types: