ISTP vs INFJ
ask: I notice the two have the same functions and they both could appear stoic and quiet. So what is the difference? Do INFJs appear warmer or something of that sort?
Uh… yeah. They do.
But it’s more than that.
If you are an introvert — any kind of an introvert — your first function is what processes information, and the second is how it either manifests (a judgment, for J types) or interacts with reality (information-gathering, for P types).
So, in an ISTP, you are going to actually see Se… as in, the ISTP interacting with tangible reality. Dealing with solid things. Hands on stuff. Being blunt and straightforward. Opportunistic. They see a chance to act, they take it. Same with the ISFPs. It’s there, why is no one taking advantage of it? I will! There is a reason ISTPs are known as “mechanical” — they are very physical, interested in actually getting their hands involved in a project. They like to tinker. Break systems apart and put them back together. Figure out work-arounds. Be actively involved in DOING THINGS. I dated one for awhile. If he went missing, I knew where he was — taking apart car engines with his buddy down the street.
Most ISTPs are pretty laid back and good natured. They are not cold, because they have Fe. But it’s low-order Fe, so it acts like a social filter more than a strong guiding force in the peacekeeping department; my guy actually told me, “I don’t like it when people fight…” but he was a bit awkward in knowing how to comfort others or deliver bad news. Our break up was … strangely wonderful. We pretty much just stopped talking to each other and went on our merry way. It was hilarious. He just decided I wasn’t for him and quit communicating with me, because he didn’t know how to break up with me without hurting my feelings… and I figured he’d decided that, so I left him alone.
INFJs are much more detached from reality in a physical sense (they live much more in their heads and are not as hands on) and more inclined toward pursuits that are less directly physical; that is not to say they won’t enjoy some of the same things, but when I’m around an INFJ (or an INTJ, for that matter), I expect it to be less about the physical moment they are in and more about the idea or concept behind whatever we are talking about. They live in the future far more often … dreaming … visualizing … imagining. I will on occasion interact with an SP who talks about the future, but it happens much, much more often with the NJ types. “Well, sure, we can offer aid NOW, but in twenty years, will this culture resent us for doing it?” (And being a sensor, my reaction is: “who cares? that is 20 years from now!”).
With an INFJ, the first thing you see is Fe. It might even be ALL you see, until they trust you. Ni-doms do not open their rich inner worlds lightly. So, you will see Fe. Social appropriateness, in terms of general demeanor, including others, and being at ease offering reassurances and comforts. And… social judgments, in terms of judging other people’s behavior as appropriate or non-appropriate given the social context and how it impacts others. They are warm but also inclined toward stubbornness, because once they have filtered through the information enough to reach a conclusion, it’s hard to shake them from that point. Ni takes over and asserts that the single truth is this.
INFJs do not engage in seizing opportunities nearly as quickly as ISTPs, and ISTPs are less socially appropriate than INFJs. ISTPs want to be liked but are not always sure how to accomplish it; INFJs want to be attached to their physical environment but often find it overwhelming.
If you want a visual representation — go watch a few episodes of Fringe. Peter is your classic smooth-talking, deeply analytical, opportunistic ISTP, and Olivia is a wonderful representation of a curious but driven INFJ. Or … go watch Winter’s Tale. Same deal. The guy is an ISTP, the girl is an INFJ. One of them is all about ideas and dreams and the other one is about doing stuff.