Social Issues

5 reasons why everyone needs an ISTJ friend

So I’ve been working on outlining a few heavy and serious posts but I have a migraine today and don’t really feel like writing about what the emphasis on procreative marriage does to Christian theology or how purity culture affected my views of marital sex, so instead I’m doing a Myers-Briggs post!

A word on personality tests like Myers-Briggs: I’m not totally convinced of how accurate these things are, but I have found the Enneagram and Myers-Briggs personally helpful. It was nice to have some parts of myself that I’ve been critical of affirmed in a positive, healing way. Some things are actual problems, and some things are allowed to be personality quirks, and figuring out the difference is a relief.

However, in all the articles I’ve seen float about the web on how awesome ENFJs are (seriously, do ENFJs own the internet, or is that just me?), or how to love your ISFP friend, I’ve never bumped into one on ISTJs. So I’m writing one. Because we’re amazing. Even if we’re supposedly the Stannis Baretheons, Owen Larses, and Severus Snapeses of the world (upside: we’re also the Spocks of the galaxy, so).

1) We’re Extremely Dedicated

One of the more complimentary nicknames for ISTJs is The Duty Fulfiller (less flattering ones, in my opinion, include The Judge and The Inspector). This comes out in a variety of ways, including the fact that we keep our promises, are among the most responsible people you’ll ever meet, and that we are reliable and dependable. But when it comes to our friends, we plain just do not give up. Ever. Once we’ve decided you’re our friend, that’s basically it for us. You’re our friend, and we will cross hell or high water for you. It might take you a while for you to cross that line from “person I don’t totally hate” to “yes take all my kidneys,” but once you do, you’ll never experience loyalty like you will from an ISTJ friend.

2) We’re brutally, terrifyingly honest

How is this a good thing, you wonder? Why would anyone want a “terrifyingly” honest friend? Well, we’re more than just straight-shooters. We don’t do cloak-and-dagger stuff, passive-aggressiveness gives us hives, we don’t leave hints and clues and expect you to just intuit what we’re thinking (the reverse is also true: if you don’t tell us something, we’re guaranteed to have no idea what your problem is). If we have a problem, we’ll either a) know it’s a big enough deal to tell you or b) swallow it and let it go.

The best thing about all of this is that you’ll never be left wondering where you stand with us. There’s no “oh you’re just saying that.” You can trust us to mean what we say. So when we say you’re awesome, we like you, we think you’re smart and pretty and courageous– it’s the Lord’s honest truth. Also our advice is awesome and everyone should take it.

3) We play by the rules

Remember all that talk about being dependable? Well, in friendships, it also means that not only do you have a loyal friend for life, you’ve also got a friend that abides by traditional social codes and mores. We value things like civility, patience, and we definitely do not do things like stab you in the back. Betrayal of any kind is anathema to everything about who we are.

Another upside is that you know we can be trusted to do our best to embody the concept of friend. We take our commitments seriously, and when we say you’re our friend, we do our best to act like it. We defend you to others who are gossiping about you. We’ll bring you chicken soup when you’re sick. If you need to us to drop everything and come right then, we’ll be there in brightest day and blackest night.

4) We see and remember everything

This is the the “sensing” part of ISTJ coming out. And I do really mean everything. Depending on the way our individual brain works, we’ll remember all the addresses of every place you’ve ever lived, all the phone numbers you’ve had, your birthday, your pet’s birthday, your mother’s birthday, the anniversary of [Important Life Event]. We know all your preferences– your coffee order at your favorite coffee shop, your favorite song to listen to when you’re angry, that poem you once mentioned got you through a hard time in your life.

We also keep track of all the wonderful, meaningful, amazing things you’ve ever done or said, and we love you for it.

Also, we know where all the skeletons are in the closet of the person you despise, and we know where the bodies are buried.

My favorite part of remembering everything is that I am a fantastic gift giver. No, seriously. I am the Best Gift-Giver In the Entire World. You exclaim over that adorable hat? We remembered that hat come Christmas. You once mentioned years ago on a whim that you wanted peonies for your wedding centerpieces? Well, if we ever have a reason to buy you flowers, it’ll be peonies.

Obviously, right along with “remembers everything” is “incredibly observant.” We notice you, and we’ve made you important enough to where we pay attention. We have a lot of things flying at us that it can get overwhelming at times, but you– you are the priority, and everything that happens to you matters to us. You can count on us to say “hey, what’s wrong?”

Keep in mind that “observant” and “perceptive” are not the same thing. We’ll notice, we just might know what we’re noticing. We’ll ask, but you’ll have to tell us.

5) We’re the best freaking planners ever

Yes this means that spontaneity isn’t really our scene. Just don’t expect us to be thrilled with anything that involves the words “carefree,” “spur of the moment,” or “carpe diem.” However, give us the time to plan for an event and it will be baller. We are the best researchers, so we will find the cutest little bistro and brunch spot you’ve ever been to. We’ll know about that tiny little hole-in-the-wall shop that has everything you’ve ever wanted inside.

When you’re with us, everything will probably go smoothly. We’ll have obsessed over every single last detail, from making sure the conversation is sparkling to every single last dietary need is met. Everything is done as far in advance as possible, and you’ll be left with nothing but bringing the vegetable tray. We’ll know exactly how much time we’ll need from getting from point A to point B, and we’ll know how to make sure everything gets there. Ever want to take your friends on a road trip? Ask an ISTJ to come with you, and you’ll have every campsite/hotel/hostel/restaurant/gas stop accounted for with six different possible routes.

And we’re introverts– so while we are the Preparedness Royalty, you know you’ll be at the center of our attention. You’re our friend, and we did it for you when we would literally rather die before doing it for anyone else.


Anyway, those are just some of my observations based on various ISTJ profiles and what I’ve personally experienced. ISTJs need all the love we can get on our moisture farms and potions dungeons.

Photo by Bailey Weaver
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