Jonathan ES Lin
Life · Tech · Faith

Confessions of an ISTJ

Feb 19, 2015

Disclaimer: Well, perhaps not all ISTJs are like this. But it's true for me at least, most of the time. It may even be just me, not an ISTJ thing.

  1. When I'm engrossed in something, like when I'm actually busy on the computer, nothing goes in if you try to tell me something. I'd pay lip service a bit, but I'm really not paying attention. So please don't go mad later when I say, "I don't remember you saying that!"

  2. Relationships that don't work out hurt the ISTJ really, really badly. I suspect we ISTJs suffer the most compared to the rest of the personality types. Before making the first move, we have already invested a lot of mental and emotional energy into someone who don't even know that well. We've THOUGHT it through, gathered all the FACTS, and made sure it doesn't mess up our lives (being a J). And when it messes up, it bloody HURTS.

  3. There's one way to do anything under the sun. It doesn't matter if another way is better or faster. Unless I am coerced to try another way, there's the only way to do it. It's same operating system, same route, same method or technique. Tried and tested is better than the new trend. But once coerced (by myself or someone else), I will switch and that will be the new one way to do it. Unfortunately, this can be a problem at work, because too many people will try to chime and claim some better way, driving the ISTJ nuts.

  4. It takes some effort to ignore imperfections. That wrongly-placed indentation in the code. That spot on my shoe. That coding hack. Life is tough. There is always something wrong with everything. Have to remember not to take life so seriously. Any spottiness looms large in front of the ISTJ. And the fact that most of life's problems cannot be solved in the head like a math problem makes me really agitated and upset.

  5. It's not that I'm boring. It's just that my mind always hits against some mental barrier when trying to be more spontaneous, fun, outgoing, and flexible. I hit the barrier and can't go further. If I cannot imagine the whole new thing in my head, I don't want to go and explore. I have to understand what I'm in for first. This also happens in conversations. When the topic at hand is outside my realm, I just go blank and stop listening. I just can't take any of it, no matter how I try.

  6. I won't be the one to organize gatherings and outings. You organize, I go. I'm perfectly fine being at home although I would lament the loneliness and feel sorry for myself. But I still won't organize outings. Want to be loved but also don't want to put myself out there.

  7. I just can't for the life of me do this entrepreneurship thing. It's too unpredictable, and unpredictability is the ISTJ's worst enemy. Fact-gathering thinkers just can't take too much risk. Once bitten, I would run back to familiarity. And I also can't work on software that doesn't at least provide some highly practical function. I'm becoming increasingly skeptical about startups these days, because what's wrong with the current way of doing things? (point 3)

  8. In my weakest moments, I don't actually follow through with what I have promised, even if that is a so-called ISTJ hallmark. It makes me feel really bad, but ISTJs do fail to keep their word sometimes, especially when plunged into a crisis mode.

So these are the things I've discovered about myself. I don't like it much, but I just can't change my hardwiring to fast too soon. A girl who knows all this and still wants to be with me will be my jewel.