According to the Character Analysis test I took, which is hosted by the StopGap Group, I am "ISTP" - Introvert, Sensing, Thinking, Perceiving. Following is a breakdown/discussion of ISTP. I am not so sure I agree with most of it.
Pragmatic – Strong willed – Difficult to know
Bursts of energy
The ISTP is one of the most complex of Jungian character types
moving seamlessly from quiet bystander to active participant and leader
of the revolution in one fell swoop, then back again to invisible,
apparently disinterested introvert. The self-indulgent nature of the
ISTP means that they will be full-on, or full off - they don’t do shades
of grey! The ISTP is at their best in times of crisis and challenge,
but will have little appetite for follow-through. Independent,
inscrutable and self-contained the ISTP will be difficult to get to know
as they will reveal only what they choose to reveal.
At their best ISTPs are excellent at reacting to problems or crises,
needing very little preparation and able to cut to the chase with no
preamble or discussion with others, spontaneously grasping the nettle
often to the surprise of those who had viewed them as peripheral
players. The ISTP doesn’t follow the social mores, nor do they need to
engage fully with others and this can give them a distant, aloof persona
to others who often don’t quite know where they stand.
Practical, resourceful, adaptable pragmatists, ISTPs possess an
excellent capacity for understanding how anything works, displaying
logical, detached analysis. They have incredible (often understated),
powers of observation and a great talent for logical dispassionate
analysis, and getting things to work. Since people rarely conform to
laws of physics the ISTP may struggle with interpersonal issues
preferring the rationality of scientific experiments to the
irrationality of mere mortals with all their foibles, idiosyncrasies and
irrationality. They will also be quite private regarding their own
personal lives and walk away from conflict, not from fear but as it is
just so unproductive! However this means that others may therefore see
them as thick-skinned and uncaring.
Practical, pragmatic and realistic the ISTP is self-sufficient and
very independent, only really happy when undertaking some risky or
interesting activity. Direct to the point of abruptness and tending at
times to tread on toes, the ISTP tends to speak literally showing little
concern for the impact, and they display coolness under pressure which
helps get things fixed but which may not endear them to those around
them, (even those for whom they’ve fixed something!)
Ultimately the ISTP wants to be left alone to live their lives and
do their jobs the way they see fit, rarely trying to control others and
expecting others not to try to control them. But in a crisis, or when
the situation needs in-depth understanding, the ISTP will thrive - at
least until the crisis is over!
An ISTP will be difficult to know as they will be quiet outsiders
looking in until they are ready. One they are clear on what needs to be
done, they will, paradoxically, be difficult to budge and will
potentially move too quickly without thinking through all the
The ISTP is either full on or apparently full off, and this may
confuse those with whom they work. They dislike theories and
complexities, preferring facts and data which will help get the job done
in the quickest possible time and with the minimum amount of effort.
The critical faculty of the ISTP can appear cynical or negative, as they
watch from the side-lines.
Others may be taken by surprise by someone who has simply observed
and pointed out the down-side who then suddenly becomes animated,
energetic and who makes decisions based on logic rather than peoples'
feelings. The switch may appear as from someone who is almost
exclusively listening to someone who just doesn't listen!
The ISTP has a great ability to analyse facts and store data. This
is all internalised, stored in the grey filing cabinets in the brain
until called for. Then, when someone argues with the ISTP, the facts,
data, empirical evidence, knowledge are brought quickly to bear to quash
If an ISTP is not in a position where they can make such full-on
contributions, they can sit back and criticise, citing many rational
reasons as to why they are right and the existing methods are wrong.
The independent streak in the ISTP means that they will usually
display confidence in their own abilities but this means they may also
not bring others into the decision-making process. Their desire to get a
result in the minimum amount of time also means they may overlook the
personal touch, and make them fail to see the 'bigger picture,' and so,
by quickly solving a problem, they may create another.
The ISTP is VERY difficult to know and an unusual character type.
Like their fellow SPs, ISTPs are fundamentally performers ‘T’s their
areas of interest tend to be mechanical and physical rather than
artistic like those of ISFPs, and unlike most ESPs they do not present
an impression of constant activity. On the contrary, they can lie quite
dormant, storing all the data and information in the grey filing
cabinets, saving their energy until a project or an adventure they deem
worthy of their time arises, and then they launch themselves into this
headlong and full throttle.
The apparently hyperactive state that inevitably follows is actually
much more controlled than it appears - ISTPs always seem to know what
they're doing when it comes to physical or mechanical obstacles but the
whole chain of events can present a confusing and paradoxical picture to
the outsider, especially those who’ve made up their minds that the ISTP
is just a quiet bystander!
ISTPs are equally difficult to understand in their need for personal
space, which in turn has an impact on their relationships with others.
They need to be able to ‘spread out’ both physically and psychologically
which generally implies encroaching to some degree on others’ space,
especially if they decide that something or someone else's is going to
become their next project. (They are generally quite comfortable,
however, with being treated the same way they treat others at least in
But because they need such a lot of flexibility to be as spontaneous
as they feel they must be, they tend to become as inflexible as the
most rigid ‘J’ when someone seems to be threatening their lifestyle (and
the response is usually strong and verbose which is yet another
stunning contrast to the ‘dormant,’ impassive, detached mode which
others may have observed before the backlash).
These territorial considerations are usually critical in
relationships with ISTPs. Communication also tends to be a key issue,
since they generally express themselves tersely or even non-verbally.
When they do actually verbalise, ISTPs are masters of the one-liner,
often showing flashes of humour in the most tense situations and this
can result in their being seen as thick-skinned or tasteless.
Like most SPs, ISTPs may have trouble with rote and abstract
classroom learning, which tend not to be good measures of their actual
intelligence. They tend, sometimes with good reason, to be highly
sceptical of its practical value. In terms of careers, they are at their
best in a crisis, where their natural disregard for rules and authority
structures allows them to focus on and tackle the emergency at hand in
the most effective way.
As with other SPs, ISTPs are energized by responding to their
impulses. Sport, both actual and created, appeals to many ISTPs for the
sheer sensory experience. They work in short bursts of incredible energy
with a no-nonsense realism. The uncanny troubleshooting ability which
predisposes many ISTPs to hands-on diagnostics (especially with
machinery and computers) or detective work stems from this combination.
In a team situation the ISTP will use their love and store of
knowledge to bring a clear explanation of how and why things happen,
using empirical data and evidence, hypotheses and rational thinking. The
ISTP may not be the most vocal, but when the discussions enter the
arena which holds their interest, they will become quite outspoken and
very clear thinking.