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 are different parts of reality altogether. 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's considerably known soulmate is the ENFP. 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 the most rare types of personalities in MBTI land, while the ISTJ is the most common. The INFJ will, and does, easily understand 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 INFJ and the ENFP might not know how to become serious, to be settled down, and practical. They both kind of suck in these departments, whether they own up to it or not. 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 more weird of souls. The weirder the better for an INFJ, but you don't have to do cartwheels and firework tricks 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 using their five 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.
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 loses and move on to find someone who appreciates them for their weird and charming behavior. Otherwise you have an INFJ who is sulking behind your back because they can't fully express themselves, and that 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 here. 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 constantly are fidgeting away 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 rational -- 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 are shy.
- An INFJ needs to be comfortable that people have pasts. Those pasts do not necessarily effect 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 for others.
Tessa on July 01, 2019:
I am an INFJ female married to an ISTJ male for over ten years. The biggest challenges are his commitment to routine sometimes frustrate me, and his objectivity make his comments hurtful on occasion; I on the other hand sometimes don't pay him enough attention and I frustrate him in what he sees as being too changeable. He is, however, my best friend, and next to me, he knows me best, even if that's a long way from my understanding of self. I appreciate his encouragement which is vital in enabling me to focus on my goals when the going gets tough. He appreciates my insights into work-related issues and my advice on how to handle them with empathy. We both value loyalty. I challenge him to be more adventurous and spontaneous, he enjoys time with me but respects my need for solitude. His stability and my impulsiveness allows us to venture through life with a more considered approach. Our teamwork allows us to do more and greater things together than we ever could apart.
Christine on April 28, 2019:
I am a INFJ female married to ISTJ male for 15 years. He is my best friend. I guess i don't really know what other people's marriages are like, but I can't imagine anyone more rock solid than we are. My husband is kind, generous, interesting, a wonderful father, and ansolutely brilliant! We are not just alike, but who would want that anyways? We compliment each other perfectly. We met and married in our early 20s and I consider our marriage to be one of the best decisions we ever made :)
Just Me on August 11, 2018:
I am an INFJ female and I am attracted, or may be in love with an ISTJ male. I like him a lot and I do think he feels the same. Although I am transparent with my feelings and emotions to him but I cannot do it full blast because I need him to commit with me first. I need commitment and security from him, so even though I attract and connect well with him, even though I know I affect him in ways he cannot control, I cannot compromise my values. It's either you take me whole or you will not have me at all. I am extremely loyal and extremely passionate. I can be extremely strong-willed also, extremely sensitive and extremely stubborn, but I love with all my heart. I am able to sacrifice and compromise for the betterment of my love ones, I am also logical at times when I really take time to analyze situations and write my plans. So when it comes to the man I want to spend my life, I have to make sure he is stable and can be committed to me.
gorgeousduckling on December 04, 2017:
I have been in love with my childhood friend i think hes an istj and im an infj. i hated him because he was so cold lol. but as the 14 years past, i grown to love him because he is good at asking if im okay, etc etc. I don't know, i just happen to love him.
I don't like to be touchy or helpful to much people, but to him i would go out of my way to do errands and small chores for him lol. He is a touchy person while, i dont like people invading my personal space. But after a long time, Ive gotten used to his.. aura? invading my personal space.. idk how to describe it haha.
Andrea Lawrence (author) from Chicago on October 18, 2017:
ISTJ and INFJ can be a tough mix. If your gut is telling you something is off, you really need to listen to that. You could potentially have cold feet, but outweigh the pros and cons. How old are the two of you? Is a more serious commitment too soon? Do you have any major red flags? An INFJ usually doesn't have a good feeling in the gut because of a red flag, so don't ignore it. Take the time to explore it.
SwissKiss on October 04, 2017:
I have a question... to Number 8 of your Pro Tips... well my boyfriend is a ISTJ (and my first ever) and my gut feeling hasn't been right since we met - it's 2 years now and it still isn't- BUT he has grown on me...
Erm... do you have any tips on how to make this feeling 'right'?
I have left him several times but we ended up back togheter because I couldn't bear it seeing him so hurt...