How to Tell if You’re an ISTJ vs ESTJ

ISTJ vs ESTJ blog cover

If you’re reading this post, there’s a high chance that you’re trying to work out if you’re an ISTJ vs ESTJ personality type. These two types are sometimes confused because they share several characteristics. Both types are focused, reliable, and organized. They also have an incredible ability to plan in great detail.

But there are also some core differences between how these types think and experience the world. In this post, we explore these differences. If you’re unclear about your type, we hope this helps you.

So here are five differences between the ISTJ vs ESTJ personality types:

1. Communication style.

ISTJs and ESTJs are both direct and logic-oriented in the way they communicate. While both have strong opinions and stand up for what they think is right, ESTJs tend to be more outspoken than ISTJs.

ISTJs tend to speak in a quieter voice and come across as reserved. They listen more than they talk and sometimes drift off because they get caught up in their thoughts.

When having a conversation, ISTJs will likely use subtle gestures. In general, ISTJs will keep their thoughts to themselves when they first meet people.

It takes them a while to open up, and they can find it hard to talk about their emotions. ISTJs can need time to collect their thoughts and might not always respond in the moment.

On the other hand, ESTJs tend to speak more loudly. They come across as energetic and enthusiastic. ESTJs often use broad gestures to communicate their thoughts and tend to be comfortable initiating conversations, certainly more so than ISTJs.

In addition, ESTJs are generally more comfortable with eye contact. They come across as outgoing but they may take a while to open up.

ESTJs often clarify their thoughts by talking things through, which means their opinions may change quite literally as they are speaking.  They may restate their thoughts and will often seek input from others.

2. Making decisions.

ISTJs and ESTJs both make decisions based on what makes logical sense to them. This is because they value facts and metrics. In addition, both types feel comfortable when there are measurable milestones.

ISTJs tend to take more time to make a decision. Even though there’s a high chance that they know what best aligns with what makes logical sense to them, they prefer to take time to make sure that it’s definitely the case.

Essentially, they need to run each decision through their inner decision-making framework before coming to a conclusion. This is because ISTJs are very in tune with their inner world.

ESTJs are more likely to make a decision based on what feels most natural in the moment.

They make choices based on similar criteria to ISTJs, but they are usually quicker to come to a conclusion about how they want to move forward. This is because they feel less of a need to process their thoughts internally.

That’s not to say that ESTJs don’t think deeply. However, at times, ESTJs can be impulsive. It’s much rarer for ISTJs to make a rash decision.

3. Friendships.

Both ISTJs and ESTJs value human connection. But they tend to thrive in different situations. ISTJs feel most comfortable in intimate settings with a small number of people, whereas ESTJs need to engage with others more often in order to feel their happiest.

ISTJs prefer one-on-one interactions with people. Meeting a friend for a quiet coffee or going for a walk in the park suits an ISTJ perfectly. They need more alone time, too, and they can find large groups overwhelming.

This extends to the way they work. ISTJs often prefer to work alone, and they can find busy offices distracting, especially if they need to concentrate.

It’s fairly rare for ISTJs to strike up conversations with strangers, and they will often have a small group of close friends.

ESTJs enjoy group interactions more than ISTJs. They appreciate deep connections just as much, but they feel more energized from being in a bigger group.

If an ESTJ spends the evening discussing everyday life with a group of friends over dinner, they’ll come away feeling motivated and full of enthusiasm.

ESTJs feel most comfortable working with other people, and they enjoy collaborating. In addition, ESTJs are more likely to initiate conversations with people that they don’t know than ISTJs, and they tend to have larger social circles.

Organized workstation

4. Openness.

Both personality types are private, but ESTJs are slightly more open than ISTJs. This is especially the case when it comes to sharing their everyday lives.

ISTJs are particularly difficult to get to know. They can certainly hold a conversation when they want to, but they don’t usually give much away, particularly when you first meet them. It might almost seem like they are guarding their thoughts and feelings.

ISTJs are private, which means they are careful to decide who they let into their inner world. They aren’t necessarily shy; it’s more that they prefer to avoid spending time and energy talking about things that they don’t see as valuable or interesting.

ESTJs tend to be a little more open. They are less cautious about what they choose to give away about themselves on a more superficial level. However, they are very private about their feelings.

Of course, it takes them time to build trust with ESTJs, more so than you might think, which means they won’t be sharing their deepest, darkest secrets with you right away.

But they are more willing to talk about what’s going on in their life, how their work is going, their current goals, etc. This means it’s easier to get to know an ESTJ, at least to a certain level.

5. Solitude.

ISTJs need more alone time than ESTJs because they are more sensitive to external stimuli, such as noise and bright lights.

While ISTJs value deep connections, they recharge in solitude. Socializing, particularly with large groups or in loud places, can be exhausting for ISTJs. They can start to feel drained quite quickly. If they don’t get enough alone time, they tend to become irritable and restless.

ESTJs tend to spend more time with people and interacting with the world than ISTJs. However, it’s worth noting that ESTJs need alone time too.

Even though they are extroverts, they aren’t always people-oriented. The main difference is that they are able to spend much longer without alone time than ISTJs.

Up until a point, they draw energy from social settings, particularly if the situation involves brainstorming and discussing deep topics.

ISTJ vs ESTJ frequently asked questions

So now we have explained the key differences between the ISTJ vs ESTJ personality types. Know that you aren’t alone. It can be hard to tell the difference between these two types.

Let’s now look at some frequently asked questions about each personality to help make it clearer for you.

Are ISTJs vs ESTJs more traditional?

It’s a close call, but we have to give the edge to ISTJs when it comes to valuing tradition.

For ISTJs, tradition is all about upholding tried-and-true methods and maintaining a sense of order. They believe that if something has worked in the past, there’s no reason to change it.

ESTJs, on the other hand, are more concerned with efficiency and progress. They’re not opposed to tradition per se, but they’re more likely to challenge existing norms in favor of new ideas that might work better.

In other words, ISTJs value tradition for its own sake, while ESTJs are more likely to view it as a means to an end. So, if you’re looking for someone who will always stick to the status quo, an ISTJ is probably your best bet.

Are ISTJs vs. ESTJs more independent?

ISTJs and ESTJs are both independent compared to a lot of other personality types. They both take pride in being self-sufficient, and they can struggle to ask for help when they need it.

However, they tend to achieve independence in different ways. ESTJs are often more outgoing and assertive than ISTJs, which means they appear more independent in their actions and choices. ESTJs are also less likely to second-guess themselves, which can lead to a greater sense of confidence in their decisions.

ISTJs, on the other hand, are more introspective and thoughtful in their approach to independence. They typically take more time to make decisions and may consult with others before taking any action. However, once an ISTJ has made up their mind, they can be just as confident and self-assured as an ESTJ.

In general, ISTJs are more self-sufficient than ESTJs and need less external validation.

Are ISTJs vs. ESTJs more practical?

When it comes to the question of which personality type is more practical, it really depends on what you mean by “practical.”

If you are looking for a personality type that is good at budgeting, planning, and following through on tasks, then ISTJs are probably your best bet. They are known for their logical thinking and their ability to stick to a plan.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a personality type that is more hands-on and likely to take action instead of just talking about it, then ESTJs are probably a better choice. They have a lot of energy, and they are usually very optimistic, which can be helpful when it comes to taking on new challenges.

So, which personality type is more practical? It really depends on what you need them to be practical for.

Final thoughts on ISTJ vs ESTJ differences

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our individual ISTJ and ESTJ posts, which delve deeper into each personality type. Last but not least, you might enjoy our post about ISTJ vs. ISTP differences.

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