MBTI: The ENTP and ISTP Team-Up
There are a lot of interesting dynamics in Type interactions and certain writers tend to go for certain pairings. As previously written, INTJ and ESFP together seem to be a pretty explosive combination that can garner a lot of attention when done well.
Another duo that can make for an interesting story is the ENTP and ISTP. While the two appear to be nothing alike, their preferences can make for plotting that’s equal parts brains and action.
Brains and brawn, the ENTP and ISTP aren’t two types of MBTI anybody would generally think of as a team yet we see it all the time. Generally found in the action-oriented stories, one takes care of the dialogue and often times the story, while the other makes good on the action. There can be interchanging on both sides as to who does what but one type will usually have more in a single department than the other. You can guess who usually does what out of those.
And I’m sure you guessed it, but let’s go over it anyway or this article will be really short.
The ENTP is known for a quick tongue that doles out their sharp wit and when placed with the ISTP, they’ll also be the ones with the goal. Or at least the meat of the tale. This goal will usually be a bit mischievous in nature and it’s this reason the story is the way it is- you’ve got to have another type that’s just as willing to go along with the plan that the ENTP wants carried out. From this, the ISTP makes sure the action is taken care of and to finish it off, the two are perfectly paired to point out the others’ shortcomings along the way.
As mentioned in the INTJ/ESFP article, Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn as a duo usually create an aggravating positivity explosion and their partnership is meant to inspire those around them. The ENTP and ISTP however, may or may not have a real lesson to learn but might end up helping supporting characters anyway, many times on accident.
To clarify, Wilson and Vaughn are not INTJ in their pairings and while they may or may not be ESFP, a similar comparison to the one above was made in that post also, not an effort to type them.
But while the INTJ and ESFP are so different it hurts, the ENTP and ISTP characters actually have a lot in common and more than is readily apparent. For instance, both share the Introverted Thinking function (Ti) and Extroverted Feeling (Fe), although the ENTP’s is tertiary and the ISTP’s is inferior. With the ENTP and ISTP sharing a need to dissect and analyze as Ti has users do (ENTP’s Ti is auxiliary, the ISTP’s is dominant), their actions and ideas, motivations and goals will rarely involve “getting the girl” or have them in scenarios where a romantic interest of any kind is involved. This doesn’t there won’t be romance in any stories featuring this pair, but that it will take a backseat to the jokes, action, violence, etc.
The above description is also played up to by the two’s lower feeling functions as well. With a high preference for thinking and lower preferences for feeling, there’s a reason these two are combined and it will often be a from a writer that doesn’t have a Nicholas Sparks adaption in mind.
Take King Schultz and Django Freeman from 2012’s Django Unchained. While one is talkative and always has a goal in mind (Schultz), Django is quiet and only speaks reactively. His real strength comes from his ability to act efficiently in the heat of the moment. With a little help from the slightly offbeat Schultz, Django recognizes his potential for a career in bounty hunting and exceeds in it. Whatever scheme the ENTP gets the ISTP involved in, the ISTP will usually end up showing more proficiency in that particular field than the ENTP.
And even though the main storyline becomes Django and Schultz creating and acting out a scheme to get Django’s wife back, that’s Django’s motivation rather than the focal point of the film.
And why does the entire movie happen in the manner that it does? King’s love of competition. Rather than a much more straightforward and simplified plan, he goes for one that’s as theatrical as it is cunning- a ruse; pretending to be interested in Mandingo wrestling. And it’s partly why the last thirty minutes of the film happens the way it does. SPOILERS AHEAD IN THE REST OF THE PARAGRAPH! Once Django and King are found out, King just can’t bring himself to shake hands with his childlike winner, Calvin Candie, and ends up shooting him instead of having defeat rubbed in his face anymore.
As King puts it, “I’m sorry. I just couldn’t help myself.” This act leaves Django to carry on the story and leaves us with the all of the action that ensues.
With that being said, it’s not always as black and white as “ENTP has the plan, ISTP shoots people.” With ENTP’s lead function being Extroverted Intuition (Ne, Possibilities and immediate ideas), the ISTP’s dominant function is Ti and their auxiliary is Extroverted Sensing (Se, Impulse and Immediate action) which can give the two a mutual respect of the others’ strengths that the opposing user themselves does not have. The ISTP can admire the ENTP for their love of in-the-moment ideas but does not necessarily wish to see things in the same light. The ENTP may respect the immediacy of the ISTP’s actions and thoughts but still prefers their naturally eccentric way of doing things. The strengths can be their own but they can also complement the other.
Depending on the type of story, you may get duos that double as rivals. Or rivals that discreetly have to acknowledge their competitors’ competence because they can’t do what the other excels in.
In the end, you can get nice balance of action and comedy, where bickering between the ENTP and ISTP is just as common as getting along. The audiences can enjoy either character for their own reasons without necessarily dealing with the formulaic storyline of two characters finally getting past their differences- because the bickering is what makes it fun.
More examples of ENTP and ISTP team-ups:
Star-Lord and Gamora/Drax (Guardians of the Galaxy)
Bill and Budd (Kill Bill)
TARS and Cooper (Interstellar)
Ed and Spike (Cowboy Bebop)
Iron Man and Black Widow (Specifically The Avengers films)
Deadpool and Wolverine
Saul Goodman and Mike Ehrmantraut (Breaking Bad)
Gyro Captain and Mad Max (Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior)
Tyrion Lannister and Bronn (Game of Thrones)
Benji Dunn and Ethan Hunt (The Mission: Impossible films)