The INFJ and ISTJ relationship is one that is relatively rare, but I’ve had several requests for an article about this pairing so I thought I’d make an effort to write something helpful about it! When it comes to type and relationships, literally ANY pairing can be successful…OR a trainwreck depending on how open-minded and respectful each partner is of the other. When you respect each other’s differences instead of seeing them as negatives, then there is huge potential for growth and happiness in relationships where there is very little type-preference in common!
P.S. If you want even more in-depth information on INFJs and relationships, careers, parenthood, and more check out my eBook: The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic
What INFJs and ISTJs Have in Common:
From a purely dichotomies standpoint, INFJs and ISTJs share two preferences; one for introversion and one for judging. This definitely helps their relationship in two different ways!
- INFJs and ISTJs both value their alone time and privacy. They will both understand the other’s need for quiet solitude and space to recharge. They are unlikely to pressure each other into attending lots of social engagements and will both give each other space.
- As judging types, INFJs and ISTJs both like to have closure on major decisions. They tend to take their relationships seriously and are (usually) more fond of long-term serious relationships than casual flings. They tend to like having relatively structured lives and having a plan and schedule for their days.
The Benefits of This Relationship:
INFJs and ISTJs are both very loyal individuals. They are willing to go the extra mile for their partners and are willing to overlook minor issues and annoyances for the sake of their long-term happiness. The ISTJ is down-to-earth and responsible, and the INFJ finds this quality comforting and stabilizing. The INFJ is visionary and future-focused, a quality that is intriguing to many ISTJs. Together, ISTJs can inspire the INFJ to not lose track of current needs and practical realities while the INFJ can inspire the ISTJ to see the big picture and new, profound ideas for the future.
ISTJs and INFJs both enjoy quiet intimacy and the “little things” that make relationships special. Whether it’s curling up on the couch with a good book together or walking through the woods at dawn, each type enjoys those little, quiet moments that can create deeper bonds and friendship. The INFJ is often impressed by the ISTJ’s attention to detail and storehouse of facts and data. Their awareness of facts, practical realism and sense of objective logic and fairness is impressive to INFJs. ISTJs are impressed by the INFJs depth of vision, insight into future implications, and strong empathy. They find themselves drawn to the INFJ’s warmth and imagination.
Together, this couple can help to strengthen each other’s weaknesses and, if they’re willing to be open-minded of each other’s different viewpoints, they can make more balanced decisions because they both have something that the other lacks.
The Struggles in This Relationship:
INFJs and ISTJs share zero of the same primary cognitive functions (their most preferred functions). As a result, they are more likely to make projections about each other and misread or misunderstand the other’s motives and intentions. Knowledge of personality type can really help this pair to understand and respect each other’s differences rather than see those differences as simply “wrong”.
The INFJ’s weakest functions are the ISTJ’s most preferred, and the ISTJ’s weakest functions are the INFJ’s most preferred. This can be a breeding ground for discontentment at times. The INFJ has to use Introverted Intuition to reach a mental “flow” state and the ISTJ has to use Introverted Sensing to reach that same relaxed, contented state. Neither is very capable of tuning into the other’s flow state or preferred information-gathering process, so they can both feel a little bored at times when their partner, in contrast, is quite excited about something.
When an INFJ wants to have a conversation, they will typically veer towards theoretical, abstract subjects and question traditions and pre-established rules. The ISTJ, in contrast, will focus more on practical realities and will value tried-and-true methods and empirical evidence/facts. They can find themselves under-stimulated in conversation because both are trying to veer into a territory that the other naturally distrusts. Introverted Intuition is the ISTJ’s “demon” or 8th function, and so they are likely to see Ni “epiphanies” as completely untrustworthy or without merit. Introverted Sensing, the ISTJ’s dominant function, is the INFJ’s “demon” or 8th function, and so the INFJ is likely to see Si impressions as debatable and untrustworthy. This can cause a lot of arguments and misunderstandings in their relationships, especially as both are quite certain of their opinions and tend to be on the stubborn side.
Ni (the INFJ’s dominant function) is quite certain about its insights and predictions and how current events will change/affect the future.
Si (the ISTJ’s dominant function) is quite certain about its own personal experience and how that knowledge through experience will change/affect the future.
Ni tends to distrust Si’s personal experience because it sees it as highly subjective, and Si tends to distrust Ni epiphanies and insights because it sees them as highly abstract and ungrounded in reality.
Struggles in Decision-Making
Similarly, when making decisions both types value completely different mental processes. The INFJ will mainly decide using Extraverted Feeling (Fe). They will tune into the emotional needs of others and attempt to maintain harmony when they decide. In contrast, the ISTJ will tune into Extraverted Thinking (Te) and assess the logical facts and realities when they decide. The ISTJ can risk seeing demonstrations of Fe as manipulative or overbearing because Fe is his “trickster” or 7th function. The INFJ can also risk seeing demonstrations of Te as forceful or overbearing because this is their “trickster” or 7th function. They can both struggle to reach agreements because the criteria they value when they decide is so different and tends to be naturally opposed.
Turning the Weaknesses Into Strengths:
The potential pitfalls we’ve just discussed for this relationship are not signs that this relationship is doomed, however! If these two types can work to respect the other’s strengths and avoid projecting negative qualities onto their partner’s abilities then there is huge potential for growth! Whenever you have two very different personalities who learn to work together those two people can grow in ways that two similar personalities never would!
For example, when it’s time to make a decision if the ISTJ and INFJ both respect each other’s feelings and thinking modes and listen open-mindedly to their perceptions, they can make extremely balanced decisions and are less likely to have biases and narrow-minded views. Two types who are extremely similar might get wrapped up in their own “bubble” and never learn to see outside of their own perceptions. This is why it’s usually extremely helpful for INFJs and ISTJs to learn about type and to learn about the cognitive functions so that they can “step in” to their partner’s shoes and appreciate their insights and viewpoints.
When it comes to conversation, INFJs and ISTJs can enjoy meaningful topics. INFJs enjoy figuring people out and learning about where they came from, and ISTJs who are comfortable in their relationship are often good at sharing stories from their past and meaningful moments they’ve experienced throughout their lives. Together they can enjoy recalling experiences that were meaningful to them, although INFJs tend to be a little less on the nostalgic side than ISTJs. ISTJs and INFJs can also find ways to combine interests so that they can have very stimulating conversations and moments. For example, if the ISTJ likes gardening and the INFJ enjoys reading poetry, they can sit outside and garden while reading poetry. There are a lot of ways to creatively come up with activities that will stimulate both partners’ natural desires and interests. As both partners get older they also develop their sensing and intuitive functions more and more. In their 50’s and onward, INFJs become more fond of sensing activities, and ISTJs become more fascinated by intuitive subjects.
Another area where this couple can thrive is in working towards a shared goal or vision. INFJs and ISTJs are both goal-oriented individuals and so if they have a common dream or ambition to work towards they often make a great team. INFJs are good at getting a clear idea and strategizing the best way to get there, while ISTJs are excellent at troubleshooting, creating efficient plans, and keeping track of the practical realities involved.
Summing it all up…
I’ve seen many happy INFJ/ISTJ couples and while this relationship may not be as “simple” as many other pairings, it has a lot of potential for personal growth and development. As long as both parties are interested and curious about each other and willing to see things from the other’s perspective they can both broaden their view of the world in profound and meaningful ways.
What Are Your Thoughts?
Are you in this kind of relationship? Do you have any tips or advice for people in this pairing? Share your thoughts in the comments! You can also discover MUCH more about INFJ relationships and how to maximize them in my eBook, The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic.
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