Three Mistakes ISTJs Make in Relationships (and How to Avoid Them!)
Responsible. Detailed. Logical. These are three words that frequently describe the ISTJ personality type. When it comes to relationships, people of this type are often valued for their level-headedness and sincerity. ISTJs are straightforward and take their commitments seriously – rarely “playing” anyone or pretending to be something they are not. They tend to create a feeling of steadiness and calm in a relationship. Today we’re going to take a look at a few specific struggles and mistakes that these types encounter in relationships so that those roadblocks can be avoided! Let’s get started.
Keep in Mind: Every individual is different, regardless of their personality type. You may have experienced all three of these issues in relationships, or you may have experienced none. Your upbringing, enneagram type, and many other factors can contribute to your health in a relationship.
#1 – Inflexibility
ISTJs like a life that flows along at a stable, consistent pace. They tend to prize routines and schedules, and they value a certain level of predictability. This can be a good thing in that it helps them to be dependable, stable, and grounded in many cases. However, in romantic relationships, a certain amount of flexibility is required (especially if the romantic interest is a perceiving type!). ISTJs can be very resistant to doing things in new ways, especially if they see no logical reason to do so. Other types, particularly NPs, tend to resist routines because they get bored and want to try things in new ways. ISTJs can feel thrown off by their partner’s way of living and maybe too quick to assume their partner is “undependable” or “flighty.”
How to Avoid This Mistake:
Compromise can be difficult, especially if you have a routine and set of habits that have worked for you for a long time. But being able to compromise for your partner allows you to show trust and selflessness. This doesn’t mean that you have to do everything their way! Make sure your decisions are two-sided – consider them when you make a decision:
- Include them in the conversation,
- Think before you speak (you usually do),
- Remember that your first choice isn’t the only choice, and
- Take a step back to assess what the damage would be if you tried something new this time.
#2 – Being Overly Private
ISTJs tend to keep their feelings and emotions tucked tightly away. They often believe that their actions are indicators of their feelings more than their words. Words can be fickle, so ISTJs don’t put as much stock in them as they do in consistent action and tangible expressions of love. They tend to reveal themselves in layers or else assume their true feelings are obvious because of their choices and actions – even when they fail to express their feelings verbally. This can confuse partners of ISTJs, and it can make them feel less valued than they genuinely are.
How to Avoid This Mistake:
Think about why you’re reluctant to open up about your feelings.
- Have you been burned before?
- Are you worried about being vulnerable?
- Are you concerned that your feelings won’t be matched or affirmed?
Some self-analysis can be vital before you open up to your partner. Sometimes there are trust issues that you need to address privately before you can begin to express your feelings. Sometimes counseling is important. Everyone opens up at their own pace, and it’s okay if it takes you a little extra time! Simply expressing to your partner that it’s difficult for you to talk about your feelings can be the first step.
As soon as you feel trust has been established, try to be up-front about what you want and need in a relationship. Express love and affirmation even if you feel like your actions make it obvious. Learn about your partner’s love language. If their love language is words of affirmation, for example, then you’ll want to be much more revealing and frequent in your words of love and devotion. Don’t assume that your feelings are evident without regular verbal confirmation of them.
#3 – Being Overly Critical
As an ISTJ, you value efficiency and logic. When you scan your environment, you can quickly pick up on details that are slowing things down or are ineffective. You also tend to be protective of your environment – wanting everything in its place and feeling flustered and even angry when someone disrupts that. While your eye for efficiency, troubleshooting, and planning can help you in the workforce, sometimes it can make you critical and irritable in relationships. This is especially true if your partner is someone with different strengths. Feelers, for example, tend to struggle more with prioritizing what’s logically effective. They focus first and foremost on values, ethics, and emotional harmony. They tend to take criticism personally and are more easily hurt by blunt critique. Because thinking and feeling types often attract, it’s important to consider your partner’s preferences before you criticize something.
How to Avoid This Mistake:
Did your partner really make a mistake, or did they just do something different? Pause before giving criticism and take their experience into account. Maybe they load the dishwasher differently because they were taught to do so. Maybe they handled a personal problem the way they did because they saw a different outcome. Make sure you’re being fair and looking at both perspectives before you offer criticism.
Secondly, give criticism with compassion. Only criticize what’s worth critiquing, and when you do so, depending on the severity of what happened, make sure you also acknowledge your partner’s strengths. If you find yourself giving ten criticisms on a typical day and only three praises, your partner will likely feel defeated. According to scientific studies, couples that stay together give five (or more) positive interactions for every negative one.
Summing It Up…
As an ISTJ personality type, you have a lot of gifts and contributions to bring to a relationship. Your pragmatic nature, loyalty, honesty, and grounded outlook on life are a beacon of strength for many. Each personality type has its potential weaknesses – so you are not alone in having potential roadblocks to avoid! If you’d like to find out more about your type, be sure to check out this article about the ISTJ personality type and get the corresponding Owners Manual.
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