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How to Tell if You’re an ISTP vs. ESTP

If you’re reading this post, there’s a high chance that you’re trying to work out if you’re an ISTP vs. ESTP personality type. These two types are sometimes confused because they share a number of characteristics. Both types are resourceful, logical, and easy-going. They like to take life as it comes.

ISTP vs ESTP blog cover

If you’re reading this post, there’s a high chance that you’re trying to work out if you’re an ISTP vs. ESTP personality type. These two types are sometimes confused because they share a number of characteristics. Both types are resourceful, logical, and easy-going. They like to take life as it comes.

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 ISTP vs. ESTP personality types.

1. Communication style.

ISTP compatibility, relationships and love

ISTPs and ESTPs 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, ESTPs tend to be more outspoken than ISTPs.

ISTPs 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, ISTPs will likely use subtle gestures. In general, ISTPs will keep their thoughts to themselves when they first meet people.

Nonetheless, they are genuinely curious about other people’s points of view, and when they are interested in a topic, they will ask a lot of questions. ISTPs can need time to collect their thoughts, and they might not always respond in the moment.

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

In addition, ESTPs are generally more comfortable with eye contact. They come across as friendly, even though, in reality, they may take a while to open up.

ESTPs often clarify their thoughts by talking through things, 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.

ISTPs and ESTPs both make decisions based on what makes logical sense to them. This is because they have strong opinions about how things should work. In addition, both types have a deep need for things to be “correct.”

ISTPs tend to take more time to make a decision. Even though there’s a high chance that they know what 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 framework of knowledge before coming to a conclusion. This is because ISTPs are very in tune with their inner world.

ESTPs are more likely to make a decision based on what feels most natural in the moment. They make choices based on criteria similar to ISTPs, 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 compared to ISTPs. That’s not to say that ESTPs don’t think deeply. However, at times, ESTPs can be impulsive. ISTPs can make rash decisions, too, but it’s a rarer occurrence. 

3. Friendships.

Both ISTPs and ESTPs value deep, meaningful connections. But they tend to thrive in different situations. ISTPs feel most comfortable in intimate settings with a small number of people, whereas ESTPs need to engage with others more in order to feel their happiest.

ISTPs prefer one-on-one interactions with people. Meeting a friend for a morning bicycle ride or going for a walk in the park suits an ISTP perfectly. They need more alone time, too, and they can find large groups overwhelming.

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

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

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

ISTP compatibility, relationships and love

If an ESTP spends the evening having fun with a group of friends, they’ll come away feeling motivated and full of enthusiasm. ESTPs feel most comfortable working with other people, and they enjoy collaborating.

In addition, ESTPs are more likely to initiate conversations with people that they don’t know than ISTPs, and they tend to have larger social circles.

4. Openness.

Even though it can take time for both types to truly open up, ESTPs are more open than ISTPs. This is especially the case when it comes to sharing their everyday lives.

ISTPs 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. ISTPs 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.

ESTPs tend to be more open. They are less cautious about what they choose to give away about themselves.

Of course, it takes time to build trust with ESTPs, 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 passions, etc.

This means it’s easier to get to know an ESTP, at least to a certain level.

5. Solitude.

Woman hiking

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

While ISTPs value social interaction at times, they recharge in solitude. Socializing, particularly with large groups or in loud places, can be exhausting for ISTPs.

They can start to feel drained quite quickly. If they don’t get enough alone time, they often become irritable and restless.

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

The main difference is that they are able to spend much longer without alone time than ISTPs. Up until a point, they draw energy from social settings, particularly if the situation involves doing physical activities such as playing team sports. When ESTPs are in social situations, they can be very charming.  

ISTP vs. ESTP frequently asked questions

So now we have explained the key differences between the ISTP vs. ESTP personality types. Even for those who have explored personality types in depth, it can still 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 ISTPs vs. ESTPs more independent?

ISTPs and ESTPs are both fairly independent compared to a lot of other personality types.

However, they tend to achieve independence in different ways. ESTPs are often more outgoing and assertive than ISTPs, which means they appear more independent in their actions and choices. They have a constant need for exploration and stimulation. ESTPs are also less likely to second-guess themselves, which can lead to a greater sense of confidence in their decisions.

ISTPs, on the other hand, are more introspective and thoughtful in their approach to independence. They pride themselves on their self-sufficiency and typically take more time to make decisions.

However, once an ISTP has made up their mind, they can be just as confident and self-assured as an ESTP. On balance, ISTPs are more independent than ESTPs.

Are ISTPs vs. ESTPs better at solving problems?

The debate over which personality type is more logical, ISTP or ESTP, has been raging for years. Both types are known for their quick thinking and practical approach to problem-solving. However, there are some key differences that set them apart.

For one, ISTPs are more likely to take a step back and observe a situation before taking action. This allows them to gather information and consider all the options before making a decision.

ESTPs, on the other hand, are more likely to take immediate action without stopping to think things through. While this can sometimes result in impulsive decisions, it can also lead to quick and effective solutions.

So, which type is more logical? It depends on the situation. In some cases, ISTPs will have the advantage of being able to take a more measured approach. However, in other cases, ESTPs will be able to utilize their quick thinking to find a creative solution that ISTPs might not have considered.

Ultimately, both types are highly logical – it’s just that their logic manifests in different ways.

Are ISTPs vs. ESTPs more spontaneous?

Both ISTPs and ESTPs are two of the most spontaneous personality types. They prefer to keep their options open and play things by ear.

However, on balance, ESTPs are more spontaneous. They live for the moment and are always up for anything – whether it’s trying a new restaurant or going on a last-minute road trip. ESTPs are also quick thinkers and are very good at improvising on the spot.

ISTPs, on the other hand, tend to be a bit more laid-back and easy-going. They’re not necessarily opposed to spontaneity, but they don’t jump at new opportunities in the same way that ESTPs do.

ISTPs are more likely to take time and think things through. So, while ESTPs may be more likely to spontaneously jump out of an airplane (with or without a parachute), ISTPs are more likely to plan out a motorcycle tour around America.

Final thoughts on ISTP vs. ESTP differences

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

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