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  1. #1
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    Default ISTJ or INTJ? How can you tell the difference?

    From what I have read and learned so far these types are drastically different, yet depending on what test I take or what mood I'm in I will get one result or the other. Usually the result will be ISTJ, but often enough it will show up as INTJ. From reading the description of the ISTJ, it seems like the type I would more desire to be, however I can see myself in both descriptions.

    The IxTJ are all very strongly expressed nearing 80-100% depending on the test. However I will usually get a weak to moderate S and if not, a weak N.

    What would be the main difference between the two types? What would be seen as the main distinguishing factors?

    I believe that the main questions that sway the results towards N are if there are any questions about the "big picture" or planning ahead and thinking of possibilities or the ways things might unfold.

    Thanks in advance, I am curious to hear what people have to say.

  2. #2
    Supreme High Commander Andy's Avatar
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    You are probably an ISTJ then, given that:

    1) Many tests over diagnose people as NPs/NJs.
    2) ISTJs are more common than INTJs anyway.

    However, to answer your question, the two types can be quite similar. ISTJs lead with Si, of course, which is a function that concerns itself with certainty of knowledge. ISJs feel a need to be sure that the information they use in discion making is as acurate as possible. If a given idea/fact is only speculative, they tend to remain suspicious of it until more evidence has been found. Given that facts are usually easier to verify than ideas or principal, ISTJs tend to pick up a lot of factual knowledge, but a well proven idea is just as valuable to them.

    ISTJs will often role such information around in their heads, making sure that they have everything straight before they do something. They will mentaly go over a to-do list or review what has happened to them to find out what caused them to fail/succeed for future referance. Primary Si has a strong feature of planning a head and ISJs usually like to control all available factures to assure success and (perhaps just as importantly) avoid failure. This will often make them rather cautious.

    It is also this need for certainty that makes ISJs seem rather backward looking, because it is in the past that certainty lies, not in the future, which is always a bit hazzy. Speculations on what is to come often have fuzzy character to them, which makes them unappealing. ISJs usually prefer to look at past events and extrapolate forward, choising the path most likely to bring success and minimise the hazards.

    INTJS use Ni, which is in many ways the brother of Si. However, while Si concerns itself with the concrete ideas of what works and what is known, Ni leans towards less well defined principals. I said Si is concerned with certainty of knowledge... Ni is concerned with certainty of understanding. INJs feel the need to make sure they understand the principals of how things work, even if the details are a bit unclear.

    INJs will often roll ideas around in their heads to make sure they understand them back-to-front and up-side-down, trying to pick out all possible causes and ramifications. It is this that gives INJs their reputation for looking at things from unusual angles or finding new perspectives - it's just a result of how much time they spend thinking about them.

    INJs like to know what might happen before they do something, but unlike the ISJs they aren't motivated buy a need to be sure about things. Thus, they are far more likely to pick out one of them many possibilities they've found and decide that they like that one best, then proceed to try and make it happen. Consequently, INJs are more likely to pursue goals that seem unlikely or strange to other people.
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  3. #3
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    Nice explanation. I've wondered for a while if my grandfather is ISTJ or INTJ. It seems that based on your description he's a ISTJ.
    INFP 4w5 so/sp

    I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas;
    they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.

    - Emily Bronte

  4. #4
    Member Srho's Avatar
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    Think about it this way.

    Suppose you are arguing with someone, trying to convince them that one of your positions is right. We all do it sometimes, no fingers pointed. Do you tend to use traditions and logical structures built up with time and empirical evidence, or do you tend to bring up new angles, insights, and ways to conclude evidence? Once you're out of the argument, do you tend to not think about it but maintain the position that they're just wrong, or do you re-roll the ideas through your head to make sure they are sound while continually getting mad at them inwardly? If you chose the second answer of each of those questions, you're probably INTJ, otherwise, ISTJ.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Srho View Post
    Think about it this way.

    Suppose you are arguing with someone, trying to convince them that one of your positions is right. We all do it sometimes, no fingers pointed. Do you tend to use traditions and logical structures built up with time and empirical evidence, or do you tend to bring up new angles, insights, and ways to conclude evidence? Once you're out of the argument, do you tend to not think about it but maintain the position that they're just wrong, or do you re-roll the ideas through your head to make sure they are sound while continually getting mad at them inwardly? If you chose the second answer of each of those questions, you're probably INTJ, otherwise, ISTJ.
    Option 1, I like to reference how Ive seen something done successfully in the past or reference expert opinion.

    However afterwards I will go over the argument again (and again) and question my ideas to see if I might have been wrong. I have no problems admitting I'm wrong. (on the rare occasion that it occurs) :P. I spend a lot of time going over past events in general though, replaying them, seeing how they could be improved.

  6. #6
    Cheeseburgers freeeekyyy's Avatar
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    One problem with differentiating INTJ and ISTJ is that a lot of people conflate Si and Te. When the "outside-the-box" aspect is overemphasized in INTJ, it can cause confusion. INTJs are not INTPs. Te needs a box to work from to make judgments. Ni provides this box just as well as Si does. The only difference is that the Ni box is more malleable. It shifts things around more. I've heard people say that INTJ and INFJ are most like each other, but I think INTJ really have more in common with ISTJ, and the same goes for INFJ and ISFJ.
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  7. #7
    IRL is not real Cimarron's Avatar
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    Thumbs up for Andy's description! Thanks for taking the time to write that.
    You can't spell "justice" without ISTJ.

  8. #8
    Senior Member INTPness's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy View Post
    It is also this need for certainty that makes ISJs seem rather backward looking, because it is in the past that certainty lies, not in the future, which is always a bit hazzy. Speculations on what is to come often have fuzzy character to them, which makes them unappealing. ISJs usually prefer to look at past events and extrapolate forward, choising the path most likely to bring success and minimise the hazards.
    Sounds kind of like my ISTJ friend who is in a serious relationship and they are planning on getting married next year. He has struck out in love before - it hasn't gone well for him. So, he was telling me that he has some smaller issues (not dealbreakers, but major annoyances), with the girl and I asked if he had brought those things up to her and talked about them. He saidl, "No. I'd rather play it cool now, keep things smooth, go ahead and get married, and then once we're married (or "locked-in"), then it will be more appropriate for me to stand up to her on these issues.

    It's clear to me that he's afraid that it will go like it did the last few times if he speaks up. And he's "working backwards", as you mention. He wants to get married first, then work out the issues. As opposed to putting everything out on the table before the big day. It seems to foreign to me to do it this way. Doing it this way, I would get to the wedding day and then be thinking, "Oh man, I never brought up those issues, now I've got those to worry about."
    NTJ's are the only types that have ever made me feel emo.
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  9. #9
    Carerra Lu IZthe411's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Srho View Post
    Think about it this way.

    Suppose you are arguing with someone, trying to convince them that one of your positions is right. We all do it sometimes, no fingers pointed. Do you tend to use traditions and logical structures built up with time and empirical evidence, or do you tend to bring up new angles, insights, and ways to conclude evidence? Once you're out of the argument, do you tend to not think about it but maintain the position that they're just wrong, or do you re-roll the ideas through your head to make sure they are sound while continually getting mad at them inwardly? If you chose the second answer of each of those questions, you're probably INTJ, otherwise, ISTJ.
    I do all of those, actually. I don't think that's a Ni or Si thing that you are talking about- merely internal reflection. If anything, me as an SJ will use the underlying principle supporting the structure/tradition and apply it to the situation we are discussing. As long as it's a more objective thing. I find it hard to argue with someone in matters of Fi- where either side can be correct, and it comes down to personal preference.

  10. #10
    Carerra Lu IZthe411's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wannabepl47 View Post
    Option 1, I like to reference how Ive seen something done successfully in the past or reference expert opinion.

    However afterwards I will go over the argument again (and again) and question my ideas to see if I might have been wrong. I have no problems admitting I'm wrong. (on the rare occasion that it occurs) :P. I spend a lot of time going over past events in general though, replaying them, seeing how they could be improved.
    You and me both! LOL

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