10 Things You Should NEVER Say to an ISTJ

One of the most useful benefits of understanding Myers-Briggs® theory is finding out how to have better communication with a wide variety of people. When you’re dealing with people different from yourself it may be confusing to know how to communicate effectively. Different people enjoy different topics of conversation and different types find certain phrases annoying or frustrating that other types wouldn’t mind. I’ve been going through each type to find out what words bother them the most, and now I’m onto ISTJs. I had the pleasure of speaking with over 100 ISTJs to get their opinions about communication and what words instantly make them cringe. Take a look!

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Things you should NEVER say to an #ISTJ

10 Things You Should Never Say to an ISTJ

  1. “I Can’t Help It. It’s Just How I Am!”

If there’s one thing that ISTJs can’t stand, it’s irresponsibility. Making excuses for having bad behavior or not getting things done is an instant way to get on an ISTJ’s nerves. Honesty, hard work, and following through on commitments are all a big deal if you want to get on an ISTJ’s good side.

  1. “You Should Smile More!”

ISTJs will smile if they feel the authentic urge to smile. Otherwise, it feels phony and awkward to them. It’s better to just appreciate them for who they really are in a genuine way instead of implying they should exude more outward cheerfulness.

  1. “You just didn’t try hard enough.”

ISTJs tend to be very detail-oriented and perfectionistic in their work, especially if that work involves providing for loved ones or ensuring the security of people they care about. Telling them they didn’t try hard enough is a major slap in the face for a type that focuses so much on responsibility.

  1. “Are you sure?”

ISTJs take time to reflect on the details and facts before they make a decision or speak out loud. As a result, they are usually pretty careful about what they say and are very decisive when they do actually speak up. Questioning their certainty can get tiring to them really quick.

  1. “Calm Down!”

I don’t think any type likes to hear these words, but I think they’re especially irritating to ISTJs. They think through scenarios, come up with contingency plans, and do what they can to maintain security and avoid disasters. Their detail-oriented vigilance can make them seem overly-cautious to more “go with the flow” types, but they don’t like being undermined or patronized when they’re trying to solve a problem.

  1. “I’m An (Personality Type/Astrological Sign) So That’s Why I Do X”

Personal responsibility without excuses is a big deal to ISTJs. Don’t blame your problems and weaknesses on your type, your sign, birth order, or anything else if you want to make a good impression.

  1. “What’s Wrong? Talk to Me!”

When ISTJs are feeling emotionally overwhelmed or stressed they usually don’t want to open up right away and share their deepest feelings. Pressuring them to talk when they’re sad, depressed, or angry often just adds to their tension. A better option would be to leave them a note saying “something seemed to be bothering you, if you ever feel like talking I’m here.” This shows them that you’re available and you care but it doesn’t put the pressure on them to respond right away or at all.

  1. (At the Last Minute) “Sorry I Can’t Make It!”

If an ISTJ has made plans with you, chances are they’ve given you a priority and rearranged their schedule to make it work. Last-minute changes in plans tend to annoy them. They like their alone time, and they understand if something serious comes up, but if you’re flippant or wishy-washy about your plans eventually they may just give up on spending time with you.

  1. “What’s Your Opinion On X? Wait, That’s Not Nice!”

If you’re going to ask an ISTJ’s opinion about something you can agree to disagree, but don’t argue with them about their answer or get offended when they’re honest with you. ISTJs tend to be careful with their words, but if asked for advice or an opinion they’ll tell you what they really think without sugarcoating it.

  1. “Whatever”

Passive-aggressive anger or snide, dismissive remarks will drive an ISTJ crazy. Try to be upfront and direct if you’ve got a problem with them, don’t give the silent treatment or be sarcastic or manipulative to get a response from them or punish them.

What Do You Think?

Are there any statements you would add or that you disagree with? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Find out more about your personality type in our eBook, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type.

Other Articles You Might Enjoy:

The Top 7 Gift Ideas for ISTJs

Getting to Know the ISTJ

The Timeless Power of Introverted Sensing

10 Thing That Terrify ISTJs 

Find out the worlds that REALLY gets on an ISTJ's nerves. #ISTJ #MBTI #Personality

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    1. I agree with all of this from my experience of ISTJ close friend. However, I am often frustrated and confused as he expects to be treated this way but does not treat me the same way. I’m an INFP. Any tips?
      Love your articles btw. 😁

    1. If an istj request something to be left alone it’s because they have already arranged it in their plans. Ignoring this and doing it anyway… nuclear

  1. “You just didn’t try hard enough.” I’m about to lose one of my friends because of this comment.

  2. I’ve seen not just discovered my personality type and I’m AMAZED at how on point these traits are and why I “am the way I am”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told to smile, or asked what I’m mad about when I’m not! This is just my face! Lol

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  4. Thanks for this article. Explains something that’s bugged me for a long time. In my last job I shared an office with an ISTJ. She was methodical to the max. As an INFJ I always found her somewhat intimidating. Once when I returned from leave however, from then on she was overtly hostile. I could never figure out why. Now I understand. I’m guessing that during my absence she discovered something about my work practices that weren’t in accordance with hers, so she lost all respect for my methods and ergo, me. Instead of discussing and resolving it she undermined me, including to our boss, until I couldn’t stand it anymore and eventually quit. Understanding the ISTJ really helps me realise that it wasn’t me that was the problem. (Although I’ve no doubt to this day she probably thinks she did the right thing.) And btw I never once said any of those things to her. I think it was more that she and I were like chalk and cheese and inherently agreed on very little in life or work. This has been very helpful, thanks!

  5. “I can’t help it! That’s just who I am!”

    Ugh… just no. You (probably) know that your personality is crap, others have tried to make you aware that your personality is crap, but you just refuse to accept responsibility for your crap behavior. The #1 that is undoubtedly to tick me off about other types is their astonishing ability to blame their own faults on something else. Just go away if you’re like this, please…

  6. I am highly impressed at the level of research you have done to describe the traits of a personality type. I am an ISTJ and read your articles regularly. I have never came across any article which does not match with my own traits. That’s really amazing!

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