The Rare ISTP Female

“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

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  1. I’m wondering what being emotionally abused by mother (mostly constant criticism & non-acceptance) and two husbands (gaslighting, withholding, & demanding) would do (did) to an ISTP female. I’m also an Enneagram 5.

  2. I don’t know if I am one for sure but I know that if I met an ISTP I would LOVE them! I do know for certain I have some ISTP in me, and reading this I relate to the whole thing. Two stereotypes for girls/women is either the usual pretty feminine girl, vs a Tom boy. I’m not either. Just because I don’t want to go to the nail salon or I want to just stand in the rain or sit at my desk reading or crafting doesn’t mean I’m a Tom boy. I’m an in between. I still have girly characteristics, and I’m obviously still a girl, but I don’t try to hang out with the boys all the time (actually, I keep away from them. Unless they come to me, little to no interaction).

  3. ISTP, enneagram 4w5 here. Learning to Fe is a skill that I had to learn in order to reach my goal of peace and happiness. Not being in my ego makes me weak to emotional manipulation, but I can’t love with myself if I’m not caring for others, I feel it is my responsibility, so I cannot choose to shut off Fe and live in Ti/Se, even though life would be easier that way. I never did like “easy,” easy is boring.

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