The Intuitive Realist: The INTJ

Writing about INTJs is something of a challenge when you aren’t one, yourself. Nevertheless, they remain among the rarest and most interesting human beings in the world worth evaluating and writing about. 

  
An INTJ is likely someone you knew at one point or another in your life. She is the friend who warned you not to make a drunken, impulsive decision shortly before you made it, anyway. He is the guy at work who cannot abide your slow, inefficient methodologies so he completely restructures your work flow so that it’s faster and less repetitive. She is the (somewhat cynical) realist who readily points out holes in your logic your friend’s logic, your boss’s logic, and your neighbor Fred’s logic. This friend or aquaintance wasn’t someone to turn to for emotional affirmation or pointless banter. This is someone you turn to when you really want or need to get things done. INTJs, being among the most intelligent demographic aren’t just thinkers, they are also doers. They are smart, reliable, honest, efficient, and creative in a way that is refreshing on many levels for many other types.

Fiercely loyal, serious in tone, direct in communication style, INTJs are a hard win but a solid win. Once you’ve won them, they are the best ally you could possibly ever have but getting to that point can be a painful, laborious process. That’s because INTJs have really high standards for themselves and for others close to them. They do not wish to see themselves as mediocre in quality nor do they wish to be sorrounded by hoards of riffraff. INTJs value quality over quantity, preferring perfection or something very close to it. 

Like the NFs I love to write about, INTJs are highly dynamic in their thinking processes, almost to the point of being paradoxical. It lends them a depth and complexity that is unusual for rational types. I affectionately call INTJs “The Pragmatic Idealists” because their pragmatism isnt your garden variety practicality but rather a work of deep conviction and creativity. INTJs don’t just ask the question “Does it work?” They also ask how it works and why it should work? They sift and filter through mountains of information, gladly tossing out the erroneous and extraneous and solidly integrating reliable information into their mental construct. If an INTP’s mental construct is made of pure electrical energy, making random lightening connections, then an INTJ’s mental construct is electrical energy protected and guided by fiber optics or copper wiring in a structured way. There are no random connections. Every connection serves a purpose and every memory or lesson learned is neatly filed away for future reference.

Another metaphor would be to say that INTJs build a solid foundation for their house (mental processes). They are less distracted and less easily influenced or swayed than other types. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage for INTJs, making nature’s proverbial compromise that they must sacrifice a bit of flexibility for a bit of strength and conviction. This also helps make INTJ the most independent type on the MBTI spectrum. Not only are INTJs decisive but they are independently so. Their decisions are not guided by social pressures, pathos, or the unsubstantiated opinion of others. INTJs make independent, critical thinking decisions which solely honors the principles of practical logic and objective truth. INTJs don’t care about popular opinion, their own personal biases, or even about being right. INTJs happily prove themselves wrong again and again through rigorous testing of the truth. Once they reach a conclusion, they can be confident that they possess truth in the purest form. 

This should not imply that INTJs aren’t emotional creatures. That depth I was eluding to earlier is a somewhat mysterious driving force for INTJ convictions. They are fumbling children when it comes to emotions, particularly strong emotions but are often remarkably genuine when it comes to their moral values. Unlike many ENTJs, INTPs, and ENTPs, INTJs in particular seem to be guided by a moral compass. There is a serious undertone to the INTJ’s main persona, which gives the impression that life is not a joke to them. INTJs do have a goofy, playful side but it is typically more innocent and childlike than the derisive humor of NTP types. INTJs do express themselves with sarcasm but it looks, sounds, and feels different than the derisive style preferred by NTPs. INTJs summon their inner child to alleviate boredom, stress, and tension. They regularly slip into carefree personas, often preferring to use puns and play on words to satiate Ni and Fi at the same time. 

Lazy Genuises

  
INTJs also alleviate stress by engaging in sensory activities. INTJ hobbies (unlike their work) are usually highly engaging for eyesight, smell, taste, touch, and sound. They’ll get into dancing, car racing, outdoor activities, sports, music, cooking, etc. INTJs rarely pursue intellectual/cerebral hobbies as a way of relieving stress, rather finding it to be either pointless or even counterproductive to that end. They do, however pursue knowledge out of curiosity and practical purpose as well as genuine excitement but those motives seem to be independent of stress relief. INTJs are excitable when not stressed, transitioning either into hyper focus or ‘big picture’ structuring by quickly running through a list of to-dos. Once dedicated to a project, an INTJ will see it through to the end, often going back to improve the end result even further.

But there’s more to being an INTJ than just being hyper-efficient and strategic. INTJs are also lazy.

Yep, lazy.

The irony is that INTJs will often put a ton of work in at first just to make sure they don’t have to put in a ton of work later. The less repitive work, the better. Easily bored, they will replicate a process only a few times before they decide to dwindle down the steps to even fewer. Lazy shits, they are but brilliantly so.

Sensitive Rationals

 

Okay, thats enough being perfect Mark Darcy

 

INTJs are also sensitive.

You heard me right. I said they’re sensitive. (Are you Rationals rolling your eyes at me, yet?)  Unlike INTPs, their TJ cousins cannot necessarily let criticisms and rejections roll off their backs. The reason is Tertiary Fi, which is an introspective function that evaluates its own self. INTJs, like all Fi users, tend to internalize things rather than experiencing feelings externally like Fe users. The result is that INTJs can take things far more personally than another rational type would. INTJs tend to experience social anxiety more frequently than other rational types and tend to ruminate on interactions with others more. INTJs are also intuitive in a way similar to INFJs. Though they prefer (and often demand) direct, honest communication, many INTJs are also sensitive to lies and subtle differences in behavior. Being devoted and loyal by nature, relationships are high cost/high investment endeavors and INTJs invest their emotions fully, making them hyper aware of any changes which might alert them to high risk situations where great loss is probable. INTJs handle pain in a variety ways however my observations have been that they either fight harder or they use the INFJ door slam method of pain mitigation. INTJs sulk in private until they’ve decided how they feel or at least how to proceed. 

  
Social Imitators

Many INTJs have described to me many times the general feeling of disassociation they have from what they care about versus what the rest of the world cares about. There is great discrepancy there leading the INTJ to feel very much like an alien visiting earth and trying to human along with all the other human earthlings. This means figuring out what appropriate emotion to have in any given situation. INTJs have feelings for sure but they are often not what the rest of the world would or should feel. This is how the INTJ sees it, anyway as they have to watch TV and movies, post on Internet forums, and ask real life people “How should I feel about this?”. They might have an inkling like “I should be mad about this.” But then they must decide if the event is worth having the emotion, using Te to ask others for their grand expertise on the subject (someone who knows how normal people act). 

In this way, INTJs are essentially lifelong actors playing the role of a normal human being with normal feelings and reactions. If they were Fi-dominant Authenticators (like INFPs), they might feel weird about this too but they’re not and they don’t. They’re so used to it that many are scarcely even cognizant of it by age 30. Perhaps they’ve fully integrated with humans by that age or perhaps they’ve just developed lightening fast, memorized responses. I’m inclined to say it’s the second one.

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77 Comments

  1. I’m an INFJ with strong ‘T’ tendencies – about 40% T and 60% F, depending on any given day. This particularly hit home for me: “feel very much like an alien visiting earth and trying to human along with all the other human earthlings”. I often feel like I am a sociologist from some other planet, dropped here to observe Earthlings and report back.

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  2. I have taken several MBTI quizzes, and at first I thought I was an INFJ for a long time, and then it said a few told me was ISTJ, and then two more said I was INTJ. I would say I am between INFJ or INTJ (don’t really know where the ISTJ came from), but am quite unsure which one exactly I am, haha. Yours posts are really informative, though! From this, I probably sound a bit more like an INTJ (I don’t think I’m caring enough to be an INFJ . . .). Nice blog.

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    1. Well, I doubt you are INTJ. Your post was rather disorganized & prone to a “babbling” factor. I would research other possibilities.

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      1. Thanks for the input, but I don’t think it’s generally wise to type someone solely based on how they talk online. People show different sides of themselves to everyone, especially on the Internet. To make an assumption on such a basis is laughable. Would you rather I give you a bullet-pointed paper on the reasons I believe I am INTJ? If I told you a sob story of mine, would that make you want to type me as a Feeler? Typing THROUGH the way someone types seems highly stereotypical to me. After all, you’ve only seen me through the screen whereas I know my own thoughts and feelings (biased as they may be).
        Anyways, thanks for the reply. I don’t mean to criticize or argue back at you; only state my thoughts.

      2. Your reply makes this INTJ believe you are an immature individual who should stay off “social” sites. You display the worst “qualities” possible that INTJ’s are known to project – that’s not a good thing. If you were a fully developed human, including an INTJ you wouldn’t be this bad. Arrogance and false sense of superiority are not becoming. Ever.

        Could the original respondent actually not be an INTJ, most likely. As the MBTI and like tests are only reliable if a person takes them basing their answers on their baseline regular behavior. The test loses all reliability as an indicator if the test taker takes the test when they are not in their regular state of mind, perhaps they are going through life issues or they are more happy/sad than normal.

        But the thing is that you are acting as if being an INTJ is some sort of holy grail. It isn’t.

  3. As an INTJ, I think you hit on a lot of things that other personality profiles don’t. Very impressive! I hope to see more articles on INTJs from you in the future.

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  4. I agree with Kate. I am also an INTJ. This is spot on and very thorough. Excellent work, and coming from an INTJ take that as a very sincere and very rarely given compliment.

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  5. You’ve just written everything as if you were inside my mind. That’s creepy and a relief at the same time that a non-INTJ gets me.

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  6. This is so spot-on for me, it’s unbelievable. I know some people don’t buy into MBTI but as someone who is chronically misunderstood to the point I have to really consider even opening my mouth to explain myself anymore, seeing myself easily explained in an article like this is such a relief. The only thing that is off is that I do enjoy writing and some creative pursuits. I have always felt like an alien waiting to get out of this strange place where I have never been able to fit in, so that hit home, and I’m constantly asking friends how to feel about emotional matters. If I should feel the way I think I feel, if it’s rational, if it’s an overreaction, if it’s worth putting the effort into even having that emotion. I guess normal people are not like this; they just have that emotion and don’t wonder if it’s right or worth the time or energy. Sometimes it takes me days to process an event before I determine the right emotion to feel. It’s exhausting. One question I have in particular, though, is if other INTJ’s often have anger or aggravation as their default emotion (other than boredom, if that is really an emotion). I am following the comments if anyone cares to share.
    Thanks again for this piece.

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    1. Yes, female INTJ here and I too often feel vaguely angry as my default emotion. Perhaps perpetually disappointed is more accurate? Every day I wake up and the world is not as rational or logical as it should be, therefore I go through life scowling and glaring at these humans with their strange, honestly unsettling ways. Admittedly a small part is anger and disappointment toward myself for not being able to just let it go and enjoy life most of the time.

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      1. Kay, I can certainly relate to that. Perpetually disappointed is a great way to describe it, and then feeling frustrated that it even bothers me. I can completely relate. I don’t like letting others get to me, at all.

    2. Anger and frustration are my default. I think it’s because those emotions are harder to control, and easy to identify, so I feel them first before I start to process out what I’m really trying to feel.

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    3. I would say mine is frustration, like the others. We see problems and solutions as our natural setting. So inefficiency or willful ignorance makes us very frustrated.

      I am content when everything is flowing along. I don’t have any other overwhelming emotional modes.

      I will have to say females have commented on my lack of emotional display. With males the ones who were interested in me have gotten really upset at me because they couldn’t read me so they kind of got to their wits end – they could have just asked me point blank.

      I had something happen where I couldn’t understand the extreme emotional reaction, so I went to a therapist. And here’s where it gets funny…..

      …so she asks me to keep a diary, and as I have reactions, associate an emotion to them. I literally couldn’t think of any. So I had to email her and ask her to email me a list of emotion words. I wasn’t all that satisfied, so I sent her back an edited list. My vocabulary was much more refined in terms of emotion it seems. Hers were a bit rudimentary and crude. But she let me keep “bereft”.

      Speaking of which, do other female INTJ’s experience jealousy or envy? I don’t seem to. Wasn’t sure if that was my special weirdness or not.

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      1. I am INF the last one being equally P and J
        and recognize myself in the readings of both here
        I have also been puzzled by the absence of jealousy I have experienced … I have had 3 husbands and remained friends with each … I have always believed that if he could be happier with someone else then he should go … And further that our purpose is to increase happiness and decrease suffering wherever we are …
        Stranger in a strange land? Definitely.

      2. Aggro/frustration mix would have to be my default. The world is full of people and things that aren’t maximizing their efficiency, effectiveness, etc. and it’s aggravating…actually, the realization that I can’t improve everything I see that needs improving is what’s truly aggravating. The question about jealousy or lack thereof is extremely interesting. I had to think about that quite a bit after I read it to find my truth, and it seems to be less about jealousy and more fear of loss and being hurt.

      3. My default is probably perpetual frustration/annoyance. Like you, I don’t seem to feel jealously. I’ll spend hours and days trying to understand what I’m feeling but it usually turns out being disappointment or annoyance at another person for not living up to my standards. This is followed by annoyance/frustration at myself for having high standards.

      4. I don’t experience jealousy or envy. I’ve long ago reasoned people have their own strengths and weakness which serve a purpose to their existence. If a person wants to be with me, it should be because they want to and not because I’m better than the others out there. If they’d rather be with others, no problem. It doesn’t make me inferior. It’s all about preference. Most of time though I’d say, it’s their loss not mine.

    4. I am a female INTJ and, yes, I am easily annoyed but, I would say my default is apathetic -so much so that others mistakenly label me as clueless- with a tinge of anger. Clueless? Quite the contrary.This article is one-hundred percent spot-on and as I read more replies around the web from other INTJ’s, the alien feeling I have had my entire life becomes a bit more bearable knowing I am truly NOT the only one.

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    5. Hmm…anger or aggravation as the default emotion…I’d say boredom was closer to the mark, but it does depend on where I am. In my personal time, I really just do whatever I want so I would not be bored or aggravated. At work, except when it’s too busy for me to feel anything, I would describe my default emotion as bored or mildly irritated. Perhaps the reason you see your default emotion as being anger or aggravation is if people often make you wait, waste your time, ask too many favours or stretch you to do things you don’t want to do or feel uncomfortable with. Any one of those things make me angry/aggravated and if it happened often enough, perhaps that would be seen as my default emotion. Hope this helps.

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    6. Hello Melissa.

      I am an INTJ & I absolutely have issues with emotion recognition, emotion authentication & emotion regulation. You asked if other INTJ’s often have anger or aggravation as their default emotion. I can not speak for others, obviously, but I default to anger, frustration & aggravation quite frequently. I have been working on these knee jerk reactions towards others & their behaviours for years, and it is difficult at times. Not so much because I am overly concerned about hurting their feelings, but because there have been a few embarrassing situations where my initial reaction of annoyance was incorrect & the person I was talking with actually had knowledge on the subject. I appropriately apologized (sincerely – I was sorry), but I would prefer if my coworkers didnt think I was a complete bitch, lol!! Makes the work day a tad more pleasant if everyone doesnt hate you!

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      1. I can relate very strongly to that. I began seeing a therapist for a while who helped me see that beyond the personality type, I have complex PTSD and my flight vs. fight instinct is usually turned on. Obviously, I lean toward “fight.” I think prior to the PTSD which I believe started at 14 (I’m 32 now), I was much more of a fleer than a fighter. Even though I burn more bridges than I care to admit, and I write people off *very quickly* if I think a) there’s no chance they’ll ever understand me b) they don’t have substance c) they will waste my time, I also don’t want to be seen as unapproachable or a total bitch. Despite my type, I have a sense of empathy from my master’s degree in social work, but I use it sparingly. If I take on too much of other people’s “stuff,” I stop being able to think clearly. And thinking clearly is important to me. I have noticed I need to not have such quick knee-jerk reactions like you mentioned, because I have been wrong a few times lately as well. Thankfully, people who know me well enough will accept “Sorry I was a bitch” as an appropriate apology 😉 Thanks for your thoughts. Take care of yourself!

    7. Yes! Famous INTJ’s include writers C.S. Lewis and world-improver, religious whistle-blower, Martin Luther (German, c. 1520 A.D.). Writing seems to be a Great way for people to understand the depths of our thoughts perhaps because our research (mental & otherwise) is thorough, and we want to precisely wordsmith our messages to convey the right thoughts. I LOVE creativity as a hobby… I make personalized greeting cards which are full of meaning, colors, art, photography, texture, learning-messages and Humor!! I have found amazing truth in the Bible that is rarely shared in the churchy environment and am writing about it… patiently, thoroughly… a little bit like a religious whistle-blower (following in the footsteps of Martin Luther on a much smaller scale). I love E.E. Cummings (INTJ/FJ) because he bastardized Spelling and Words to make each word reflect the exact message he was conveying! My fave: “Mud-lucious and Puddle-wonderful”. We ARE NORMAL… but rare, so we are gems who have FAR fewer people similar to us… thereFORE, we’re difficult for the “masses” to figure out (so they say we’re “not ok”). The “masses” see so many people similar to themselves that they assume the rare ones are Not normal; we shouldn’t perpetuate that language (imo). We’re rare gems… with several rough edges. Every MBTI has “issues” that are helpful for that person to work on… to fit in…. but NOT to change who they are. Aliens, Yes! (See 1 Peter 2:11-12… it’s Very difficult but OK to be an ‘alien’… perhaps it’s a challenging Honor!). Exhausting, Yes! Improving on the anger thing, yes! When you latch onto a topic you can’t let go of, research & write! It could take years or decades for the result to be up to your own standards, but that’s the beauty of being precise and creating a Lasting work, a Lasting message! Good to hear thoughts and share with the group!

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  7. I just want to say that your comments about the dissonance between what we care about and what the world cares about are spot on for me. In the recent past I’ve had to wonder if there is something wrong with me for not caring about major political issues (which way to vote in Scottish Independence referendum and the recent EU vote), along with having to ask people if I’m actually okay in the head for not feeling grief at the passing of my grandmothers exactly six months apart from each other.

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    1. I can relate to those things. I just don’t get upset at natural events like death. But also having a religious backbone, I believe there is some sort of existence after or temporal one. So I just sort of give it a moments thought and hope they had a good productive life and wish them well in the next. Otherwise I’m wholly detached about it.

      Politics which are mostly self-interest shenanigans bore me. But events like the refugee crisis coming out of the Middle East, economic colonialism in Africa bother me. I see broken systems that put vulnerable people at the mercy point. While those with power considers their self interests first, willing to turn their backs at the most human moment possible. That type of stuff makes me viscerally angry.

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  8. To Melissa S. — yes, my default is a neutral/negative mood more often than a positive one and I’m generally coming from a place of “no” , even if I change my mind later!
    The aggravation you mention I can relate to. My family has always thought that I was grouchy and impatient (and I totally can be) but a lot of the time it is because I already know how I want something done or someone is talking too much. I hope you can relate to that too! Thankfully my husband is so easygoing that he just takes it in stride.

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  9. Another INTJ female here. Actually, I was one point away from INFJ, so I really understood the part about relationships. When I was married to a controlling, mentally abusive man, I continuously upped my game to try to improve our relationship until something snapped, like the slamming of a door, and we were done. In relating to INTJ emotions, people expect me to be angry with him, or that I should get even by dragging him through the mud or taking him to the cleaners. I do not feel angry with him. I feel free, I feel glad, but I don’t feel angry and I definitely don’t want to hurt him back. People don’t understand this so we just end up changing the subject. As for general mood, replying to Melissa B, my most prevailing mood is boredom, as the article says. But I also feel frustrated, more than angry or irritated, when I say something and people react as though I’ve said something completely opposite to what I meant. Or when people don’t understand my brilliant ideas. Or when someone doesn’t take the time to explain their actions, decisions, or answers. If someone says no because X,Y, Z, I just have to find fixes for their objections. But when someone says no because it’s not right for these reasons, I fully understand and drop the matter. I don’t know why I need that. Here’s one more thing I deal with, and I want to know if it’s an INTJ thing or if it’s just me. Sometimes, I find I just need to be alone. I’m not upset or angry. I can be quite happy. Yesterday I tried to make plans with four different people because I was feeling fine. Suddenly, I felt nothing different accept that I needed to be alone. If I don’t indulge this feeling, if I force myself into social situations anyway, I start to become stand-offish and moody to the point that people become impatient, offended, or snap at me to behave. I’ve learned just to indulge this weird feeling and avoid the negative consequences of socializing. Now that I’ve written a post longer than the original article, let me end it here.

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    1. Yes! A thousand times yes! I am a relatively anti-social introvert, so sometimes the need to be alone just because hits me like a wave. If I don’t get the satisfsction of said alone time I tend to make everyone around me miserable because I shut-down. I work a very public social job, so I have to be “on” a lot so it’s absolutely horrible and I need a lot of alone time before I feel as close to human as I ever am to be around others.

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    2. INTJ’s are introverts who need like a week alone to be functional again (unlike other introverts). Just a day off isn’t enough for us. We need a day off from our day off. Having standing outings helps a lot with socializing (for example, dinner date every other Friday or once a month drinks with a specific group) is also a standard, so that you can mentally prepare for the event and give yourself enough alone time before and after to charge.

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      1. Amen! Need prep time for social events, and regularly scheduled weekly (or less frequent) events are Best!!!

  10. Adequate. I won’t say it’s impressing because it’s not. What I actually feel is more specified than all the said things. Darker, colder and more contradictional. But still an interesting read nonetheless.

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  11. I’m an INTJ and I really appreciate your job in this article, I hate when people describe us as totally villains, indeed we are very cold and rational but we love some people and we like having fun! I don’t think anger is my daily emotion, I actually get mad many times but hardly get really angry, I would say my daily emotion is no emotion! I feel I’m whole and happy, I’m just cold, I don’t like to show my feelings everywhere and I select the people I want to spend my energy with… Being an INTJ doesn’t mean that we are “walking lemons” or serial killers.

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    1. My best friend told me the other day, “You are a really kind and great person, but I wouldn’t to be your enemy!” And I think selecting the people you focus your energy on is, at heart, wise! Given that we don’t have that much energy for extroversion and social behavior anyway. I have about 4 outings coming up in the next 3 weeks and I’m already nervous! I have to think more strategically. But when I do go, I have sooo much fun and then feel hungover for 3-4 days and want to be 100% left alone. Exhausting!

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    1. I don’t think lazy as in layabouts. But rather we HATE repetitive activities because they are mundane. We live for unique problems to solve.

      So anything that has to be done over and over again gets on our every last nerve. We are then driven to come up with an automation to take care of that task. Because we sure as heck don’t want to do it – laziness. 🙂

      On one occasion I had to collect data for a pilot project from end users. I did not want to have to copy paste over from whatever format they sent me the information, I did not want large files coming via email, and I wanted to control how some sets of data were described. So I designed a form, with certain fields fixed choices, the information was transmitted back to me purely as data, which I opened into a database. It required minimal touching on my end. However the building of the form and testing it was some work. But it was fun.

      One thing I know is if I don’t have fresh problems to solve no matter whose it is, I just become desperately bored, annoying and even more sarcastic. In any organization I’ve worked in people always come to me to fix things or train them on something.

      The sad thing I find is working in companies where people are satisfied just doing the grind. I can’t conceive of being that way.

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      1. I completely understand why you would hate doing just the daily grind 😦

        I noticed that with my INTJ ex, his least favorite part of any MMO was grinding for gear. He would just code something to do it automatically for him while he slept. Haha.

      2. When I started reading the article, I immediately thought that you might have been involved with one, since you are not one yourself.

        I am a INTJ female who just learned about it and it’s fascinating to read all those articles about me and my behavior. I feel less awkward. People don’t get me and relationships are definitely not easy. I am curious to know what’s the INTJ demographic in Africa …

        I really loved your article, it’s very informative, like you studied me for a while. Thank you culturaldisasters.
        I opened a blog some time ago but never wrote, now I know why I feel the need to do it and why it takes me quite some to start penning.

        Happy New Year

  12. I spend many idle hours rehearsing scenarios to give myself some “quick draw” emotion-mimicing responses, so that last bit rang true for me. I’ve lost many a friend who was creeped out about my “robotic” or “ice queen” manner, however they did not contribute to my life so I don’t really miss them. Thanks for providing an article to prove we’re not all sociopaths.

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  13. Another INTJ female here, and I concur, you’re spot on. Thank you. For many years I thought there was something terribly wrong with me; turns out I’m perfectly normal, albeit very unlike most people I meet. It’s nice to know my ‘quirks’ are not entirely unique. I think.

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  14. “Lazy shits, they are but brilliantly so.” LOL! Really awesome — spot on. But I think we’d prefer the term “efficient.” LOL! Great job. I wish my s.o. got me this well.

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  15. This is creepily accurate! I love how you went so much deeper than most of the other articles on INTJs tend to do. We aren’t all villains or sociopaths! We are the most idealistic Rationals. Thanks for giving the world this gem.

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  16. This is the most spot-on INTJ descriptor I’ve ever read. People that have known me my whole life wouldn’t be able to describe me nearly as thoroughly as this post. The statement ‘INTJs are essentially lifelong actors playing the role of a normal human…’ I couldn’t describe myself better!

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  17. Alll of this is me. I LOVE my alone time, I’m usually mad/pissy AND my boyfriends latest way to describe me is ” my human is a dick but I love her.” I’ve been called a ice princess my whole life because I’m not overly emotional. I just dont see the need for it honestly. Last but certainly not least I love/crave the brutal truth when I do have to interact with people.

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  18. Lazy – that’s funny. I hadn’t realized that was an unconscious aspect of the meticulous pre-planning and herculean efforts put into the genesis of a project, but it tests out: “If I put a maximum of effort into garden design and set-up, it will mean a lot less time weeding later”. Hahaha. Oh well. It works. I will, however, have to reflect on the moral implications of any laziness, unaware of it as I may have been.

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  19. I think this is the single-most accurate description of INTJs that I have ever read. Thank your for this. I feel understood for once.

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  20. It’s have to simply agree with the others, which seem to primarily be female INTJ’s as well. It’s nice to see a more well rounded description of this trait set, which isn’t so keen on boasting about the emotionless genius/villain persona.

    I think there is definately a very strong moral/ethical underpinning to this trait group as in the INFJ. This probably has to do with both groups having a missionary like zeal to fix things at a systemic level.

    I suspect that if you took people in both of these trait groups and put them in psychoanalysis, you’d find in early childhood event(s) or circumstances that fundamentally pushed them into being fixers. In a unique way, they seem to be able to understood the issue and had the ability to recognize that there was a solution to the root problem. Very cognizant at a young age.

    At any rate, I noticed I don’t have much range of public emotions. Annoyance and non-emotion are my primary settings. Privately or with people I really know, you get annoyance, frustration, and the irritating OMG HAPPY DANCE TIME. I really feel sorry for those who have to endure the last one. It’s something that would get me in the bloopers reel of “So You Think You Can Dance”.

    I’m not a crying type, I can’t pull out the waterworks at the generally socially expected intervals. I find it more productive to be solution oriented rather than publicly grieve for whatever it was. In terms of death, I see it as part of the human lifecycle, so old people dying isn’t a big deal. Violent deaths make me think of how to best societally prevent these scenarios. Basically when everyone is crying over spilt milk, I’ll draw create a container that prevents spillage. Which of course sometimes has a very odd reaction from everyone else who doesn’t understand why I too am not standing around crying over said milk.

    Especially as a female INTJ outside of work I feel very out of place and developmentally so much older, that I don’t fit in. The nice thing is that I like most others in this trait group are perfectly happy with our own company for long periods of time. I do love my arts, crafts and cooking, which is done with INTJ fervor when I get down to it. But I do wish people would stop coming to the idiotic conclusion that I am asexual or lesbian because I don’t date. It’s just not that productive as most males except the feely ones (NF’s) get freaked out by us. And it’s just a disconcerting experience most of the time.

    Reply

  21. As an INTJ, I appreciate your analysis. However, you have several spelling errors that distract from your content.

    As a constructive criticism, I recommend you correct those and I believe your work will be more effective and convincing.

    Best wishes.

    Reply

  22. Another INTJ ice queen here, and I approve this message.
    It would be great if you could update your post with that non-jealousy thing regarding significant others, since that seems to be a recurring theme with us. I might get jealous if another girl is smarter than me (and then befriend her so I can learn from her) but being jealous of a woman because my husband thinks she’s hot? No way. I’m probably the one who alerted him to that hottie’s hooters in the first place.

    Reply

  23. * enJOYed [sic] 🙂 the article and the comments! INTJ female. Our fast, furious, complex, efficiency-oriented projects meant to streamline mundane tasks prove that we are not lazy. Will someone please streamline the chore of “dusting” without elimination of every knick knack we own!?! 🙂 I’m still working on that one.
    * Let us please remove the terms “villain”, suspected “sociopath” and “not normal” from our INTJ lingo! Other ‘types’ have more (%) people who share their personality. We are “fewer”, “rare”! 1 out of 1,000 right? For us girls, it might be 1 out of 5,000 depending on the article or study. We’re seen as “not normal”, needing to adapt and needing to change only because there are fewer of us who share this type. We need to know that we are talented, “rare gems”. . . few and far between.
    * We need to set up socializing circles for INTJ’s. Our topics will be amazing. Did you know that INTJ C.S. Lewis was in a think-group. There’s an “NT” social group in my area, but it’s not in the cards since I’m happily married.
    * Socializing: I also need 5 days off and 1 day on. I had to tell one girlfriend that I need to reduce her “luncheon” time from 3 hours to 1.5 hours! I almost blew a gasket on that 3 hour lunch. It was aMAZing how she strung out meaningless topics the lasts 2 hours! However, when I run into an INTJ once every 10 years, I can talk for hours!
    * Perhaps more INTJ’s will gravitate to my Love (obsession) for Christianity! Did you know that INTJ atheist C.S. Lewis became a Christian as a result of his quest for facts!?! Did you know that INTJ (German) Martin Luther bucked (intended word, but similar words work as well) the religious “system” to get the Truth to the common people, and he translated the Bible from incomprehensible Latin to the language of the people. Can you imagine how careful that INTJ (M.L.) was to be sure that each & every word was the most perfect translation possible!?! We are writers! God doesn’t need to create a million people to take on the churches… it only takes 1.
    * Be a writer!
    * Love our hobbies!

    Reply

    1. Fellow INTJ and Christian here. When I became a Christian I felt like it put much of that “outsider” feeling into perspective and helped me understand myself more. Just wondering of you also have had that revelation?
      Did not know that CS Lewis was an INTJ, I am also a big fan. Enjoyed your comment!

      Reply

      1. YES! I nearly flipped over when I read the Bible verses about being an ‘alien’ and a ‘stranger’ (1 Peter 2:11-12 and Search ‘Bible stranger alien’). It’s AMAZE-ing! Then, (German) Martin Luther (c. 1525) became my role model because he was SO STUBBORN about the TRUTH in the Bible that was being hidden from the people for monetary gain, that he risked his life over & over again to get the TRUTH to all the people (finally translating the Bible into native languages, German for him, so that everyone could hear the REAL Word rather than the made-up version which sucked every penny out of the peasants to go to build the coffers/cathedrals in Rome.

        I’ve added “whistle-blower” to our INTJ list because we (I) don’t care about burning many bridges if there’s an important topic that is being wrongly portrayed (especially when it’s by lying and/or for political reasons). We’re (I’m) not out for ourselves, but interested in doing what is RIGHT, especially in process-improvement and significant concepts.

        Also, Biblically, “do not be anxious about anything!” If God values each person as a GEM, then all INTJ’s are also GEMS, made to be EXACTLY as we are. If we are rejected or ridiculed (as Jesus was, also!), we can do 2 things: 1) Say, as Jesus did, “Forgive them for they know not what they do”, which is SO TRUE (that is meant to be a little funny) and 2) We can turn over each problem (and problem person) on an imaginary platter and hand the problem over to Christ to take care of for us. Just hand them over. Perhaps one of the “crosses that we carry” is the anger issue because we have to learn to let it go, turn it over to Christ and NOT create “strife”. Difficult! But we’re up for the challenge, right!?!

        Another helpful Christian concept for me is that we are Already in His Kingdom… right now while on earth. There are people who say they are Christians because they go to church (yet Jesus will say, “I never knew you” at the pearly gates – Mathew 7:21-23) and there are true, genuine Christians around the world who are part of His Kingdom. He specifically made INTJ’s to fulfill our purpose!!! So research, learn, perhaps spend alone time doing things like writing (a message to the world in His Name!), share with me other Reasons why our MBTI Type plays a special role in His Kingdom. There are a lot of MBTI types that are VERY unsuitable for very important “work”, but they are good at other things, especially the social & talking things. INTJ’s are GREAT at certain things… meant to spend more quality time contemplating “everything” and then sharing it via writing?

        Another fun thing: Did you know that the name ‘Barbara’ means “foreigner”? Try being a foreigner AND an alien all at the same time. Ha!

        Sorry for the delayed response. I hadn’t clicked on the ‘notify’ button below my reply.

    2. I read about Lewis being an INTJ and being an atheist before becoming a Christian. However, I never made the link between the two.
      One of my uncle never understood how I could be so independent and a “pragmatic idealist” but still remain a devoted Christian. Now it better makes sense to me as well.

      Thank you for encouraging me to write, indirectly …

      Happy New Year

      Reply

      1. I’m religious, which makes me have more in common with INFJ people in many ways. I think it also goes to an increased capacity for empathy/emotional intelligence as well. It balances me out, so that the INTJ characteristics aren’t as sharp and socially detrimental.

    3. As I read your reply I was awestruck for a moment that you brought up Martin Luther as I bought “Here I Stand” months ago and just started reading it last night. I can barely put it down! He and I have the same birthday and looks like other things in common.
      God made each of us with abilities and talents designed for a unique purpose that only we can fulfill. I went through a time when I was quite down on myself; being one who is exhausted so easily by socializing, I could not see how I could fulfill the Great Commision. One day as I was reading Daniel and God gave me the revelation that it took time and years of study for Daniel to be equipped for the good work he did. I could read and study all day and be exhilarated at the end and that is a gift from God that he has and will use now that I am consciously walking with him everyday.
      I find myself in constant prayer for help with my disposition to be annoyed with people, and that I can have a critical heart at times. I struggle with it. Then I remember HE WILL FINISH THE GOOD WORK HE STARTED! I am also deeply comforted that I am justified by my faith in our Lord Jesus and that I have him as my comforter and my advocate.
      Agree whole heartedly with the whistle blower thing and I have a very low tolerance for people who seem to be complacent about the truth.
      I too find writing to be such a great help and Philippians 4 is one of my [many] favorite passages of scripture.

      I could go on but my phone is majorly on the fritz right now and my 2 year old just woke up!
      Look forward to hearing from you again!!

      Reply

      1. Luther’s life is an Incredible Action-Adventure tale (as per the book)! I didn’t expect Luther’s late years to be bittersweet, mostly sweet; I won’t spoil it for you!! The movies on his bio don’t do his life justice.

        The Bible seems to support the fact that it takes a lot of years before each of us is ready to make a meaningful contribution (by His definition, which is what matters). You mention, Daniel… also Noah, Abraham, Moses & so many more were often late in life (wisdom & experience!) when we read of their contributions/importance.

        God made so MANY socialites and very few INTJ’s. On purpose! He’s probably shaking His head that INTJ’s are trying to be like the butterflies when it was His plan for us to be like INTJ’s… scholars, scientists, researchers, analytical writers. Let’s not ever feel guilty for being selective about how seldom we choose to socialize (and with whom). That’s “society” (the world) telling us what’s normal, but not what we’re made for (fearfully & wonderfully made!)

        The Great Commission! 3 recent revelations: A. There are a LOT of electronic ways to interact. In this blog… your messages have been truly helpful to me (along with the others)! I like Pinterest. There’s an INTJ photographer that I recommend following, Trey Ratcliff (from Dallas, lives in New Zealand with his family of 5). Another blog that I’ve enjoyed (although in slightly broken English on occasion) is INTJvision dot com. Let me know of other ideas! B. We are socializing without knowing it: each cashier, the dentist, the receptionists, etc., etc. It’s easy for me to “shine a light” in those circumstances. C. Christians want “to DO” something important for God; however, the Bible ‘proves’ that each person is approached BY God with their individual assignments. Keep busy doing things you enJOY (a big hint from God) and you might be building a ‘unique’ combination of skills required for some important task for Him at some point (soon or in eternity). Most Bible ‘heroes’ have a very short window of importance (except for Jesus and a few others). Rahab is a great example…an ancestor of Jesus! We contribute a little here & there and then God takes care of the hand-off to the next person. God is THRILLED by the faithful & true “little bit”! He’s not looking for a big splash! However (!!!), a parent (!!!) makes a HUGE (!!!) contribution to God’s Kingdom…. each and every ‘quality time’ moment. THAT is a full time Great Commission task!!! However, don’t grade your Christianity or parenting on Believing vs. Non-Believing children…. just lay the foundation, pray and have genuine Faith that God (not you) will make it happen for them… at some point in time (according to His time, not ours). Your children’s values (via your teaching, love & patience) will impact Millions of people over time. That IS a Big Splash… each moment! 🙂

        I struggle with these things also! I pray for people who have ‘evil’ tendencies… that they will turn to Jesus, and I visually turn them over to God on a platter.. Let Go, Let God. Worse is an ‘unloving’ (mean!) professed Christian – I pray that they grow in God’s ways and visually hand them over on a platter, also! I try to be nice to them but I don’t invest my time in them (Paul might disagree!?). Exhausted, less so (by socializing less). If INTJ’s are so rare that we need to find like-minds via a blog, then the blog is surely from heaven. 🙂

  24. I think this is a very accurate description from an outside perspective. In that sense, yes this is spot on. In a way it also emphasizes how misunderstood we are, while some items were very accurate, some were not at all…Which is ok, I would even go as far to say that it should be expected due to the rarity of our type.

    For example, my hobbies are not sensory in any way. But I do need to sulk alone until I decide how I feel. Another example, yeah direct communication is preferred but I also take into account the likelihood of direct advice being taken constructively by the person. In short, I won’t waste my time giving someone direct advice who I know is not likely to follow it. In that case I would rather observe and take mental notes on how the actual outcome contrasts with my initial internal prediction.

    All in all this was a good read.

    Reply

  25. This is very accurate for me for the most part as well. I suspect that the aspects that don’t fit me as well are likely due to my being almost balanced between I and E. I’ve always considered my hobbies to be a bit of an odd quirk, for instance. Scenario paintball is a wide departure from the usual activities and passions people associate with INTJs, but as sports go you’d be hard pressed to find one that more thoroughly engages your senses. And then with cooking I pick up the one sense paintball doesn’t stimulate.

    The feeling of alienation that many commenters above have agreed about is relatively less for me, though certainly still present. I’d hazard a guess that my extrovert aspects somewhat mitigate it, while my Christian faith lends perspective as a couple of others have mentioned. Though that’s not to say that I don’t often find myself shaking my head in bafflement at the petty, illogical, or pointless things people do.

    I found the bit about us being lazy to be rather amusing in its accuracy. Even two years later I consider my biggest achievement in my current job to be creating a set of easily repeated excel formulas that reduced eight+ hours’ worth of grindingly repetitive data entry each month to a bare ten minutes of work. I’d say creating them was also the most fun I’ve ever had at work too!

    One section that surprised me by nailing something I’ve been trying to quantify myself was being sensitive/intuitive within my closest relationships. My wife is an INFJ, and though I don’t feel that I understand most people very deeply I can consistently sense her moods with an ease and clarity that surprises us both. She can attest to my affection for puns and plays on words as well, haha. The aspects of ruminating on interactions and sometimes taking things more personally than other rational types definitely fit me too. Emotionally charged political debate, for example, will either ruin my mood for most of the day or will quickly send me running to avoid letting it do so.

    Reply

  26. INTJ female here. It almost feels like I got shipped to the wrong planet. The most frustrating part for me is that I am saying precisely what I mean, and yet people do not seem to take my or my word at face value, nor do they want me to take them at theirs. That is no way to interact! And being the first to call something is utterly frustrating. I liken being an INTJ to being a canary in a coal mine. We see the pitfalls first, we give the first warnings, the heads up, only to watch our warning and advice go unheeded. Then when exactly what we said would happen comes to pass, everyone acts surprised, like we didn’t warn them! But do they take that into account the next time….nope. And being as independent as I am has been hard for some people to understand, especially my female friends. Luckily, now I understand myself well enough to be picky about who I even let in my circle.

    Reply

    1. Yes yes yes and yes! I feel exactly the same way. My circle has grown so much smaller, a lot of it because they just refuse to believe I say exactly what I mean, all the time. I’m not holding anything back; I’m not gossipping; I’m not “too good to be true” (because I am bluntly honest). When you are friends with me, I will be 100% loyal and trustworthy, but if you aren’t as straight-forward, honest, and trustworthy, I am OUT.

      Reply

  27. Another INTJ female. Loved the Tesla quote – so me. I can have a deadline looming in days and everyone is running around doing “make busy work” and they can’t understand why I am not. I am busy testing it through in my head. When I have figured out all the kinks, variables and permutations, then I will start my build. And this applies to whether I am writing code or making a dress. Just so me.

    Reply

  28. I’m an INTJ female and I really liked this article, even after looking through it a second time, there was nothing I felt to be really inaccurate. A few points that really hit the mark for me was the part about having social anxiety- which I truly believe I would not have if my brain didn’t insist on going over every conversation I’ve ever had. I also find that the “social imitation” I use is a huge contributor to that social anxiety. I use it a lot at work- I work in hospitality and tend to need to slip into a false work persona almost every day. This persona is necessarily very open, friendly and communicative…and I cringe internally every time I think back to conversations I have had whilst at work. Did I reveal too much about myself…that person looked shocked after I said this etc. I feel like we are forced to behave and (pretend to) feel a certain way even if our true feelings are vastly different and this causes us to create persona’s around people we can’t let our guard down with and this is really contrary to our love of honestly and directness…

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  29. Another female INTJ here. Have known this for almost 30 years, before it got to be such a popular thing to know your MBTI. Every test I’ve ever taken labels me an INTJ to an extreme degree. 100% introvert/ 75 % intuitive/ 75% thinking/100% judging. I agree with the other comments here. This is one of the best descriptions of our personality type that I have ever read. I have known only one other INTJ in my life–a female as well. Always felt like an alien…efficient (lazy)…incredibly sensitive…SO spot on. I’m really not fond of people in general. Very few are deserving of any second thought from me. Sounds so arrogant, but yes, we put a lot of effort into the relationships we deem worthy. There’s only so much of us to go around and only 24 hours in a day!

    Reply

    1. Being married to one I totally get it. It can sound arrogant but you’re really not. Just different. He doesn’t really like anyone either. So then people want to impress him and be his friend and that just annoys him.

      Reply

  30. So I am married to an INTJ and this is very accurate. Safe to say INTJ’s are complicated and a bit of a contradiction. Can be the biggest jerk with the kindest heart. I say that with a smile. In our house we always say things like ” show it to daddy he can fix it, or he will figure out how to do it”. Basically, everyone needs an INTJ on your team even if he seems annoyed a lot of the time.

    Reply

  31. I am an INTJ female and this article describe me so much, put a smile in my face. I am on my mind 30’s now, and according to the test I’ve taken, I am an assertive INTJ, I can said that I mastering the art of putting mask depend on to whom I talking to, eventhough after long meaningless chit chat I’ll be completely unavailable for the rest of the day which is sometime it is hard for people I dearly love. And before 30, I was consider myself insensitive blunt and quite hard for me to understand why people upset with the thing I was saying, which was I just trying being honest and all I saying was fact. It is quite funny to remember it now, Since I found that Iam an INTJ just few monts ago.

    Reply

  32. “…..trying to human along….” OMG you totally get us. This article is amazing – Thank you. I’ve read tons about INTJ’s around the web, but this totally nails us. I remember once having a rare disagreement with my husband at a family event and my mom pulled me aside and kept trying to tell me to (paraphrasing) just go along to get along and I replied to her, “Mom, if I’m crying, it must be really bad – because I don’t cry easily. Why can’t you see the reasons of why I’M upset over this – over what HE did?!” I will usually be angry before I cry – simply because NO ONE ELSE sees the logic of my problem. And it is infuriatingly frustrating – especially when it’s your mom that doesn’t get you in situations like that. There I go….trying to logic away emotion. See what I mean? Thank you for understanding us and articulating what we cannot. 🙂

    Reply

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