Andrea has a background in astrology, Myers Briggs, and pop culture, with expertise in relationships and dating.
These two seemingly introverted and clean personalities might seem like a match made in heaven, but their functions are all over the map — in fact, they are opposites in a lot of ways. The INFJ is dominated by introverted intuition while the ISTJ is dominated by introverted sensing.
They have secondary and tertiary functions that are flipped — the INFJ prefers extroverted feeling and the ISTJ prefers extroverted thinking. They get along even though they have different methods for gathering and processing information.
Why might these two seemingly different personalities get along and take up a large portion of MBTI boards?
The ISTJ is an upside-down ENFP. The INFJ often falls for the ENFP: the match is considered divine.
The ISTJ has the same functions as an ENFP but in the opposite order. Where an ENFP is weak, an ISTJ is strong. INFJ is already a firecracker of ideas, emotions, and innovation. It helps to have someone who is more grounded, and also more common.
The INFJ is one of the rarest types of personalities in MBTI land, while the ISTJ is the most common. The INFJ easily understands the ISTJ — while the ISTJ can still, and forever, find the INFJ mysterious. These are the qualities these personalities are seeking. INFJ will find some familiarity with ISTJ that they feel for ENFP, except toned down. This can be comforting because albeit there is chemistry with an ENFP, the connection can be too wild.
The INFJ and ENFP can avoid practical matters like the plague, leaving many chores unfinished. The INFJ is one of the weakest J personalities. They’re not obsessed with cleanliness like other J’s, like ENTJ, ESFJ, etc.
ISTJ offers a more steady relationship for INFJ. They tend to be loyal, good with money, and have high standards and ambitions for themselves. There is also a large variety in this group. It leaves a lot of wiggle room for both mundane and weird souls.
The weirder the better for an INFJ, but you don’t have to do cartwheels and swallow swords to intrigue them. INFJ is a relationship seeker, and they want someone who is loyal and committed. ISTJ wants to be pulled out of their simplicity and into something more — but they don’t exactly like making the effort.
This pairing is good if one person needs someone up in the air and the other needs someone who is grounded. There may be some confusion as to how their partner makes their conclusions, but both are information-seeking personalities. They like to gather information before acting, even if one prefers to look at patterns and the other prefers to use their senses.
It’s going to be easier for the intuitive personality to understand the sensing personality. Learning and integrating pattern making is not a skill set that’s easy to master, especially if it isn’t already in your stack of cards.
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The INFJ and ISTJ may struggle to communicate and may need more time than usual to come to conclusions as a couple. An extroverted personality can sometimes be better at initiating and discussing life’s problems, etc. Introverts tend to linger in their thoughts and introspection. The bonus here is that you have someone that’s roughly on the same page, and most likely won’t wear you out with their charisma.
Introverts love having extroverts around, and though the INFJ is a low-to-mild introvert, they do have a deep love of privacy and figuring things out their own way.
Let the INFJ be Weird
ISTJ will need to be careful to cater to the INFJ’s abstract thoughts. INFJ personalities really want to share some of their off-the-wall observations, whether about flying unicorns saving Russia or how Stephen Hawking is wrong about basketball — the INFJ needs to have these conversations.
If you were to cut them short, or tell the INFJ you’re not interested in these narratives, the INFJ may cut their losses and move on to find someone who appreciates them for their weird and charming chatterings.
Otherwise, you have an INFJ who is sulking behind your back because they can’t fully express themselves. Their secondary extroverted feeling function demands that they let out their wacky side.
Both Need Structure and Clean Environments
INFJ does prefer a clean, functioning environment. They’re okay with a few messes here and there, but it is hard for them to sustain a long-term relationship with someone who can’t handle their own garbage. They’ll start to get disgusted, annoyed, distracted, and offended. This is why the INFJ and ISTJ are a good mix. The INFJ needs someone who is balanced — not too messy and not too clean. They’ll think something is wrong with you psychologically if you are constantly fidgeting with all the cleaning supplies.
Middle Functions Work Well Together
The ISTJ will like the INFJ for its profound reasoning and loyalty. INFJ tends to end up being a pious individual, a role model for all. ISTJ would like someone who does have strong maintenance in their social affairs and isn’t just three sheets to the wind.
ISTJ doesn’t want a rocky relationship, or really, rocky anything. They like their affairs in an orderly fashion, not having problems with work, family, or their hobbies. These two will get each other on a gut level and will enjoy having someone that doesn’t completely mirror them. Neither are terrible at either kind of T or F function— they can both use feelings and thoughts evenly.
Of course, they may have a preference for one or the other, but it isn’t near as drastic as the gap with intuition and sensing. It isn’t always easy dating someone with complete opposite dominate and inferior functions, but it might be easier for sensing and intuitive types to get along than having an opposite feeling-thinking dynamic.
Having feeling and thinking at the top makes for a more verbose person, whether arguing or fleshing out their emotions. Intuitives and sensors tend to be… especially if they are introverts… more quiet. It’s because they need to gather information, not just project it. Extroverted sensors and intuitives try to spark a stimulus in order to gather information and understand it. This can be helpful for introverted information gatherers as it will help pose questions and bring things to light.
Some Pro Tips
- Let the ISTJ (or the stronger financer) take control of the budget, and even teach the INFJ better spending habits and how to monitor their funds.
- When it seems to be abstract, bizarre, or theory-based — let the INFJ take the wheel. They can creatively get to a proper solution. They are empathetic and make for great counselors.
- Go on quiet dates, not loud ones with too much variety that gets you both distracted. Too much stimulus can be the bane for introverted information seekers; they’ll enjoy the date, but they might not be getting a direct dosage of who you are.
- Make sure to make time for each other and not just your hobbies or introspective/meditative time.
- Don’t be afraid that your relationship progress might be slower than other couples. You have personalities that don’t like to rush and screw everything up into a big, nasty, and prolific mess.
- It’s okay if the ISTJ doesn’t understand the INFJ from time to time. The INFJ wants to be enjoyed. Keep asking questions to try to understand.
- It’s okay if either one of you is shy.
- An INFJ needs to be comfortable that people have pasts. Those pasts do not necessarily affect you. If you feel in your gut that things are not right, then don’t hesitate to break up. If you’re not feeling that gut feeling, give the person a chance.
- ISTJ personalities will grow on you more and more.
- INFJ is most likely to be a psychic personality. They can see and understand things that don’t come easily to others.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2016 Andrea Lawrence