The Rare ISTP Female

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“It’s no use trying to intimidate me…I have no sense of fear.”
– Yulia Tymoshenko, Prime Minister of Ukraine and rumored ISTP

For the ISTP female, life can feel a little bit like falling down an unfamiliar rabbit hole. ISTP girls are often seen as “tomboyish” or “unusual” and pressured to fit into a more stereotypical nurturing role. Many ISTP women feel like fish out of water throughout their day-to-day lives and are not recognized for their unique strengths and contributions.

ISTP women comprise only 2.3% of the population. They are known for their private nature, their deep analytical abilities, and their quick wits.  The ISTP woman has an incredible number of strengths, but also some struggles that they have to deal with in a world that expects women to fit a more traditional feeling role.

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The ISTP Female and Isolation

ISTP female

ISTPs are known for being reserved and pragmatic. They make decisions based on impersonal analysis rather than worrying about value-laden or emotion-driven criteria. This characteristic alone tends to set ISTP females apart from the majority of other women. 75.5% of women in the U.S. are feeling types, which means that the majority of women are going to make decisions based on personal values and/or the harmony of others. While there’s nothing wrong with this preference, it leaves thinking females feeling isolated or misunderstood in their surroundings.

Historically speaking, there are very few ISTP women spoken of in history or in books. The ISTP woman or young girl may feel that there are very few literary females or role models that she can identify with. Many ISTPs are identified as “handymen”, and more traditional types may see the ISTP’s interests as “unladylike”. Countless ISTP women have felt pushed and prodded into a role that conforms to a more traditional feeling role.

The young ISTP girl will probably favor climbing trees over throwing tea parties, she will more likely spend her allowance on books or roller blades than dolls or nail polish. While these interests should be met with joy, many parents feel they must continue to coerce these girls to enjoy more classically “feminine” pursuits. ISTPs who are accepted and recognized for their strengths can be nearly unstoppable in their gifts, skills, and abilities.

“I’ve always felt like a failure because I can’t process emotions like my other friends do. When I finally discovered I was an ISTP I felt such a sense of relief in knowing I was just a normal ISTP, and nothing was wrong with me.”
– Kathy, an ISTP

“Draining” the Inferior Function

ISTPs can strategically use their feeling preference (Extraverted Feeling is their inferior function) however, they don’t enjoy dwelling on their own emotions for long and they prefer to make decisions based on logical analysis over values. Having to take in an excess of emotional stimulation from others can be frustrating and draining for the ISTP. Surrounded by more typical feeling females, the ISTP woman may feel overburdened by having to continually depend on her inferior function to navigate the emotional waters of her friends. Long term, the ISTP can experience stress and overwhelm as a result of heavy leaning on Fe. That said, many ISTP females enjoy relationships with feeling types as long as their friends are open-minded and don’t push them to conform to their own preferences.

Many ISTP females I’ve spoken with prefer to spend time with their male friends, where they have a much greater chance of meeting a like-minded soul. 41.7% of the male U.S. population are ST types, and it can be refreshing for the ISTP to enjoy the companionship of people who process information and make a decision in a similar way.

ISTP Female Career Field Struggles

ISTP women are often drawn to technical career fields and enjoy jobs that provide tangible rewards and physical hands-on opportunities. I found this article online that says, “But by breaking from societal norms, they find themselves in direct competition with their male colleagues. It is sad that when an ISTP woman excels at work, so far removed from traditional roles, it becomes major news, whether it is a women who gets a court order to become a municipal firefighter or a sports reporter who finds herself in a locker-room dispute. Such over-dramatization, while perhaps encouraging to other ISTP women, tends to make the individual the exception instead of the norm for a considered section of the population. Furthermore, with the media involved, sides tend to be taken immediately – men versus women — and the real occupational desire and the potential contribution of the ISTP gets lost in the process.”

ISTP women that I’ve spoken with have excelled in numerous career fields; I’ve met entrepreneurs, artists, surgeons, and auto mechanics. Many said they had to jump through several hurdles to be accepted in more male-dominated environments.

The Strengths of the ISTP Woman

ISTP females have a lot of unique gifts to offer the world. It’s really a shame they make up such a small percentage of the population because we could use more women with their strengths!

#1 – ISTPs are Excellent Troubleshooters

You’ll rarely find an ISTP woman waiting for someone else to come along and solve a problem. They are independent and excellent at getting to the root of an issue. They tend to keep a steady head in a crisis and focus on logical analysis and quick, dependable resolutions.

“Being thrown into the deep end is the best way to do something.”
– Anna Kendrick, a rumored ISTP

#2 – ISTPs are Physically Adept

Not all ISTPs are athletes or warriors, but many of them have great physical coordination and awareness. Dario Nardi, a UCLA professor who has done studies on the neuroscience of different personality types, has said that ISTPs are the most adept of all the personality types at integrating visual-kinesthetic data. Nardi says that they use brain regions that give them sharp object identification skills and motor skills such as aim.  The ISTP female is often able to perform “handyman” tasks without much trouble and has a certain grace and coordination that makes her excel in athletics, art, dance, or in medical or technical career fields.

#3 – ISTPs Are Non-Judgmental

While ISTPs may not seem especially warm or exuberant to everyone, they can actually be very open-minded friends. They like to take their time before making judgments and they prefer to “live and let live.” You’ll rarely see an ISTP gossiping about someone or talking badly behind someone’s back.

#4 – ISTPs Have a Logical Focus

ISTPs lead with a mental process called Introverted Thinking (Ti). They are quick to understand logical principles and enjoy expanding their knowledge base and organizing and classifying an internal library of solutions and facts. If you want an unbiased, logical perspective on a decision, the ISTP is the one to go to.

“A bit of logical thinking gets me through something particularly hard…Then I recover very quickly. I’m not a ‘dweller.”
– Emily Blunt, a rumored ISTP

#5 – ISTPs Are Realistic and Down-to-Earth

The ISTP female is an extreme realist. She takes what is and makes the most of it, often seeing opportunities where others don’t. The ISTP is aware of what’s needed in the moment, what makes the most practical sense, and how to invest her energy wisely.  This down-to-earth realism is often matched with a witty, clever sense of humor.

“I think my head’s on pretty straight, and I’m pretty realistic about things.”
– Scarlett Johansson, a rumored ISTP


In Conclusion…

ISTP women may have a tough road to travel to reach understanding and acceptance from their peers and families. However, with their own self-acceptance and confidence, they can be much-needed forces for improvement in the world. Their quick-wits, their logical thinking abilities, their realistic focus and overall resourcefulness make them intriguing and impressive individuals.

Find out more about your personality type in our eBooks, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type or The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic. You can also connect with me via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!

Sources (Book links are affiliate links):

The Art of SpeedReading People: How to Size People Up and Speak Their Language
Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type
Neuroscience of Personality: Brain Savvy Insights for All Types of People
Nurture by Nature: Understand Your Child’s Personality Type – And Become a Better Parent

Get an in-depth look at the strengths and struggles of the rare #ISTP woman!

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  1. Another ISTP female sitting here with my printer in pieces because it wouldn’t turn on and I want to know why. If your lawn mower breaks, I’ll have a go at fixing it for you, even if I’ve never taken one apart before. Growing up I was labelled a tomboy, always preferring to hang out with the guys (and still do). Can’t stand vapid parties, air kisses, and social schmoozing. One of the fastest ways to frustrate me is to put me in a brainstorming group – let’s go already. Because I get bored sooooooo easily, I need work high in random variety that includes an adrenaline kick, and I thrive in activities that seem high risk to everyone else. Need someone to drop everything right now and pop over to the other side of the world to complete a task? I’m your person. Seriously, my bags are packed – hire me.

  2. Omg. Love it… me too! I think i ONLY LIKE fellow ISTP women who rock! All this time not liking girly girls or girly guys yet attracting them like flies. Now, i feel more inspired to meet more like minded ISTP folk.

  3. Oh my goodness! This is priceless. I was raised in the south and everybody in my family was an SFJ. My dad was very supportive though. When I was 10 years old I changed the tire on his car when it was flat without any help or instruction. Then I got into riding horses so I was outside all the time. As a teenager I started jumping horses and I jumped as high as 6 feet so that fit my need for excitement and adventure. I’ve had so much trouble getting along with women though, Especially my sisters. I’m 65 years old now and I understand things a little bit better but I still live in the south and I really can’t relate to very many women although that’s all that I’m around now. Learning about type saved my life literally. Boom suddenly my life made sense. I got into type very deeply and was always surrounded by NFS at conferences, meetings etc. I can smell SFJ a mile away and I stay away from them. There is no hope. I can’t tolerate the J when it’s packaged with the S and the F.
    I was a stay at home mom until I got divorced at 38. Then I went to nursing school. I became an RN but quickly switched to travel nursing. That fit me just fine. A three month commitment and I can schedule a six week vacation after the end of that three months if I wantEd to. I Was on the code team and loved responding to emergencies. And I felt I was very good at that. Also was good at hands on things medically.
    I love type so much I became certified and my best friend and ENFJ and I started a consulting business. I thought he took too much time to explain things and he thought I Was a pro at only saying as few words as necessary.
    Thank you Susan for doing an excellent and correct job with you site!

    1. Thank you & thank you once again. A ISTP Lady (as a mate) is like finding a “Perfect Bird Point– Paleolithic Tool” while popping brush for Doggies in a 7000 acre range back pasture on a cold windy winter day. I am forever pulling it out of my pocket in amazement, wonder & deepest of life’s appreciation in ‘awh’, of the craftsmanship & utility it affords our relationship investments!

  4. People need to understand that the ‘mechanics’ in this case is not literal but more metaphorical. I feel that ISTPS are stereotyped as handymen or sports people all the time. The mechanics in which ISTPS are inclined could have a general and symbolic meaning. n ISTP may for example be horrible at sports or handy crafts but perfect at painting or photography. Therefore his inclination is to the ‘mechanics’ of art, or languages, or dance o r singing or the mechanics of anything that interests them. I dont know why all ISTPS are supposed to be handy crafts people or specifically athetes. They can be anything they want.

    1. I so agree with you. This overreliance on mechanic is what makes the testing mistype ISTPs. I am good with my hands so I’m always making clothes through different methods at different periods in my life but I have realised that I have a knack for structuring language and categorising concepts into categories in order to enable others use them more efficiently. I am currently studying for a PhD in communication and I am terrifically good with remembering communication theories and how specific theories fit specific circumstance in specific contexts and how a little change in a variable requires the application of different sets of communication theories. I realize that I am able to do this so efficiently because of the ISTP’s troubleshooting and problem solving ability that stems from our ability to absorb information from our environment. Coupled with the tertiary intuitive function, high absorption of sensory data can yield very accurate predictions for the future. Sometimes, it feels almost as if I’m a prophet. This is strongest trait and I have always wished an article would explain to me why I’m able to do such things. I love baking and tweaking recipes. I design and see clothes during my leisure periods even though I’m in the academia. However, due the assumption that ISTPs don’t like theories my ability with theories always gets me mistyped as INTP

  5. Agreed, as a non-athletic ISTP the majority of the ISTP personality description suits me and then many career suggestions and hobby examples are like “what?” although I can see how I might do well in such fields. I would think that many ISTPs make choices based on a primary factor of interest, otherwise there might be a sense of being stuck. In my case, interests include writing, arts & crafts, photography, baking, song-writing, etc. which happen to be 100% based on my personal interest in the creative arts which serve as powerful expressive outlets of my inner self(nothing to do with adhering to the bulls*** traditional female role). Will however admire fellow ISTPs who excel in being a mechanic, athlete, handyman, etc. perse. Currently studying foreign languages ’cause I can see a somewhat more stable future by applying my language skills as opposed to confining myself to marketing my creativity, though interpretation of languages also requires creativity in terms conveying information and selection of words for example.

  6. Susan, just a note to share. “You make the Difference” in my quest to better understand & not alter the dancing candle light glow of my Rarest of ISTP Female as she & we make a go of this time around on this 3rd Rock from the Sun. Keep on keeping on! I truly better understand & appreciate your investments as I journey onward through the Fog of life. . VIRTUS JUNXIT MORS NON SEPERIBET -14*

  7. My life sucks becouse i am ISTP, i want to fix thing, i want to know about electronics, electricity and other kinda things, but i was raised without a father, and all my family doesn’t suport me in this way, they all wants me to be aphotecary, it’s fucking boring, I hate my life.

  8. I am glad to read articles about ISTPs. I now have better understanding why I tend to fix our light bulbs on my own than wait for male family members to fix them for us. I also noticed how the world loves to befriend me but I couldn’t seem to reciprocate to all of them, leaving me with only a few trusted good old buddies. People love to come to me and confide. The problem is, when I’m in need of advice, no one seem to satisfy my intellectual needs. People come to me for band aids, betadine, cotton balls but when I ran out of stock, it’s rare to find someone who could give me another. I am still single in my late 30s, dating sites don’t seem to work out. I don’t enjoy the routinary “hi” and “hello” conversations, I prefer meaningful and deep conversations so I guess I’ll only find a soulmate with an old male friend but I only have a few of them and most of them are married already. I love to bake and cook but I tend to often break recipes and go on my own taste. During younger years, I preferred sitting beside my aunt who’s a dressmaker and watch how she sews clothes or feed and babysit my youngest sister rather than sit in the study room and work on my assignments. I love being in front of my laptop and chat with friends than going out to meet them in fancy snack shops. Ah, the wonders of being an ISTP… 💪😄

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