Andrea is a freelance writer. She writes on topics from interior design, relationships, ghosts, to anything creative. Contact her for work.
The INTJ is one of the rarest types in the personality kingdom. We probably need more of them, though, since they are generally among the smartest and most intuitive people. This personality type is a much-needed part of your reality: INTJs can see things that the rest of us don't quite have the jewels to see.
Struggles of the INTJ
- INTJs have an overwhelming need to be by themselves. They would be happy on an island where they could think all day, uninterrupted: studying all they want, not being bothered, they could finally focus on their favorite thoughts.
- By the way, that island would always be tidy and neatly organized, and the INTJ would go to bed at a reasonable hour every night.
- An INTJ could possibly live happily on an island populated with all the other Myers-Briggs personalities... as long as interaction was minimal!
- An INTJ doesn't understand why other people can't immediately see the most logical solution to the problem at hand.
- They will always try to communicate their logical prowess, but those explanations can be a bit blunt if they're not careful.
- INTJs verbally share the wealth of their logical brains... but only complain and experience their emotions inside their heads.
- They have trouble getting into serious relationships until they're older. Many choose an independent and hermetic life for years.
- These folks love to date other INTJs, but they may also pair up with someone who has more emotional reasoning as their primary or secondary function. An INTP may get lost in the whirlwind of dating an ENFP, but that P quality can really egg an INTJ on. An ENTP might be a better match and actually, I think an ENTJ makes the most sense for a partner.
- An INTJ will become obsessive about details, like getting stuck on numbers, buttons, rows and columns, particular sounds, or repeating patterns. Observing an INTJ getting stuck on the small details can be like watching a car revving in a neutral gear.
- They know how to be a protector of people... and also how to bite into a person's ego, stupidities, and deepest fears.
- INTJs have long lists of things that annoy them.
- They have devised many unique internal systems for themselves linguistically, mathematically, and scientifically.
- If they do humanitarian work, it's likely spurred by moral ideas rather than love. Why is this an issue? They have a difficult time connecting with people and can get stuck inside their ideas of people rather than the actual flesh and blood.
- They can be a bit too systematic, to the point where creativity is lost.
- They might not be in touch with their body, but think they are.
- They may feel a strong need to only be with like-minded people.
- They may feel left out in group settings but unable to fully express why. They may want to be left out.
- They're not sure how to express their feelings because they're abstract.
- They may sometimes do something that completely breaks from their character. (Wait a minute... you can act? You write poetry? You made this painting?) They have unexpected sides, like when my INTJ friend suddenly decided to dress up like a mountain. Why?
- They can be so strategy-minded that feelings get hurt. They don't mean to hurt others, they're just sometimes extremely curt.
- They imagine themselves to be the kings of their domains, but they may come off more like chancellors or wizard-hermits.
- They may struggle with crowd dynamics.
- They have a love for ideas that can often be difficult to match. They can get lost in their heads.
- INTJs generally deal with massive amounts of introspection and self-talk.
- I have never seen someone cook in a more strange way than an INTJ. I'm not sure how that brain is processing how foods come together, but dumping a lot of paprika is usually not the best way to go. They have mad-scientist-like minds.
- They want people to make their own decisions, but sometimes they don't like or disagree with the decisions others make.
- They may suddenly disengage from group activities to go on solitary walks.
- They have strange interests in things that others don't quite understand or connect with. Niche interests, like collecting stamps or learning spells from ancient Norwegian books.
- They have a need to conquer something.... but, lord have mercy, what? They feel a large, vague, diffuse burden of responsibility.
- They may suddenly start cleaning things, and it doesn't even matter if they're dirty or not... like the baseboards or behind the TV. They have peculiar interests in cleaning, let's put it that way.
- They tend to respond to conflict with logic and reason rather than emotion.
- They don't really care what other people think that much, because they honestly think they're right.
- They are able to leave a relationship which should be ended, although they may dwell on it in their minds for awhile afterwards.
- Perfection can be their bane. They're constantly looking for it. Obsessed, I would say. But they could sacrifice too much for it—like their time, relationships, and finances.
- They have no patience with inefficiency or confusion.
Which Myers-Briggs Types Are Considered the Most Intelligent?
INTPs top the IQ charts. They're machines for intellectual problem-solving, but their emotional intelligence is weaker and interpersonal difficulty often trips them up.
The INTJ usually scores right after INTP in IQ. The INTJ is super-intelligent but doesn't like to veer from their path as much as an INTP does.
Cerebral vs. Emotional Intelligence
INTJs are less spontaneous, more grounded, and they do have a better handle on their emotions... sort of. Whether they want to admit it or not, Introverted Feeling (Fi) isn't exactly their forte. They've most likely focused so much on developing Introverted Intuition (Ni) and Extraverted Thinking (Te) that their Fi is pushed further to the back of their mind.
The INTJ's Hidden Emotions
INTJs can erupt with unexpected emotion: No one else had any clue it was coming, but the INTJ felt it the entire time. This is why INTJs make great villains—their emotions are often held back, but when they finally escape, there can be very dark, angry, and depressing repercussions.
Are INTJs Evil?
Still, they get a bad rap and are often represented as bad guys, probably because they are thinking rather than feeling. Do a Google search on INTJ villains and a number of fictitious examples will pop up, like Draco Malfoy, Emperor Palpatine, Magneto, Mr. Burns, or Jake's dad from Adventure Time.
How Do INTJ Compare to Other Types?
The INTP and INFJ are probably the most similar to the INTJ because these three types are often considered the most intelligent in the Myers-Briggs spectrum.
How Do INTJ and INTP Compare?
An INTP is free-flowing in thought, somewhat indecisive, and might sometimes lack order. The INTJ is like the INTP, but sharper and more focused. The INTJ also isn't as spontaneous as the INTP.
How Do INFJ and INTP Compare?
An INFJ will sacrifice logic for the abstract, is feeling-oriented, and is humanity-driven to the core. The INTJ are like the INFJ except INTJs know when to hit the "eject" button rather than make the sacrifices INFJ folk find so appealing (and also get wrecked over).
A Table of Myers-Briggs Types
Thinkers / Rationals
Champions / Idealists
Caretakers / Artisans
Guardians / Strategy Masters
How to Be a Good Friend or Partner to an INTJ
- Keep things clean. Dirty dishes? Do them.
- Be concise. Don't dive into the depths for no good reason.
- It's normal if they go on long walks and bike rides. Don't harass them about this too much or they'll withdraw even more.
- Play to their interests and hobbies. It's a great way to bond with them.
- Suppress or hide your ignorances and stupidities, if you can.
- Tell them you appreciate them.
- Keep things somewhat logical and orderly.
- Trust them when you can... don't be afraid to not trust them, either.
- Be honest. Don't lie. Dishonesty truly confuses them.
- Let them solve problems.
- Do what you can to help them bring out their emotions because for many INTJs, they don't have feelings down to a fine art just yet.
- They are fans of acts of service. Do something good. Help them to believe in humanity again.
- Let them be a villain for a little while. It might be more of a fantasy of theirs than you think.
- Plan ahead. Going on a date? Make plans. Impress them with how you can make plans.
- Let them lead.
Alien Maybe on July 15, 2020:
Can any other mastermind figure out why I always score 50/50 INFJ, INTJ Maybe I'm an alien from another planet.
Athena Atkinson on June 12, 2020:
This article is very true
Andrea Lawrence (author) from Chicago on December 04, 2019:
Always love hearing my observations are accurate.
Jana Greenberg on December 02, 2019:
Andrea, what a great article!
Indeed, our island would be neat and organized.
"Suppress or hide your ignorances and stupidities, if you can" - this is ABSOLUTELY AMAZINGLY TRUE
you name me laugh!
Andrea Lawrence (author) from Chicago on May 23, 2019:
Very interesting. Yes, I believe many end up in strong careers and getting high college degrees.
Andrea Lawrence (author) from Chicago on May 22, 2019:
Yes, I'm not sure what I was thinking with the cooking comment. I date an INTJ and his cooking is brilliantly precise.
Todd on May 22, 2019:
This is insanely accurate. Well done!
Would love to see a post on the common life paths of INTJs. Since we're all so similar and apparently predictable, there must be some common life paths that play out for INTJs.
Jess on May 19, 2019:
Couldn’t have agreed more except for point#17. We are actually really good cooks and not weird at all!
Andrea Lawrence (author) from Chicago on May 16, 2019:
Always glad to hear this is accurate.
Jim on May 06, 2019:
This is the best synopsis i have ever read on the INTJ. I am an INTJ. with a 60/40 split on the I VS. E, but routinely score virtually no points other than in the NTJ categories, on multiple tests, over a decade long.
I particularly liked your use of the word addictive with respect to the intuitive aspect of the personality type. I have grown to rely heavily on this capacity, usually but not always to my advantage.
My IQ is distinctively high, my EQ is horribly low. I am 58 and STILL do not understand why people dont routinely use or favor deductive or inductive logic. Executed correctly, they are infallible.
I am sometimes referred to as a genius savante...not intending a compliment, more in the inexplicably bright but clueless vein.
Sam on May 06, 2019:
Number 16 got it right.
This is a great article mate.
Ayesha Arshad Arain on April 28, 2019:
This right on the level where it made me laugh and scared as well. The accuracy. Lol. Accuracy. Thank you for the article!
Студия веб-дизайна CentroartsAktuelle Verkehrsmeldungen und Stauwarnungen - tz online on February 01, 2019:
Andrea Lawrence (author) from Chicago on September 12, 2018:
This is true. INTJ do come out of nowhere with a giant fire.
khampakone on August 27, 2018:
Over the weekend, my SO told me, "Good god, your fire is real. Like a campfire, takes a long time to start but it becomes a freaking furnace!" then I read this about the villain! on point.
Landry Boggess on June 13, 2018:
This is hilarious but I believe that all problems can be overcome, problem is that my body doesn't always react the way I want it to. So I'm now working out. I plan most things. Dating is a land mine field for this reason. God I hate emotional stuff, ending now.
Laurie on March 23, 2018:
Number 8 might just be a coincidence, but I have carpal tunnel syndrome (problem with my nerves). So weird...
RenCat on March 15, 2018:
It is super true about the cave (of thoughts). I guess we should feel very proud about it as not many other personalities have it. :)
Astrophysics on March 06, 2018:
By God, you just explained my whole life in a post. AND HOW THE HECK DID YOU KNOW I HAD A CAVE!
Militaryhorsegal on January 23, 2018:
I'm very similar in that I am INTJ but always end up with only 1 more on the J side than the P side.
Andrea Lawrence (author) from Chicago on January 11, 2018:
This can be a good thing; it might mean you're more balanced. INTP and INTJ are going to separate by their functions. So you may want to see where you score highest.
dominate: introverted intuition
secondary: extroverted thinking
tertiary: introverted feeling
auxiliary: extroverted sensing
dominate: introverted thinking
secondary: extroverted intuition
tertiary: introverted sensing
auxiliary: extroverted feeling
KailynBean on January 10, 2018:
This article describes me so well it is scary. I do have a question that I need answered though. I tested neutral on the P/J letter on the test. I showed no preference. What does this mean?
Andrea Lawrence (author) from Chicago on January 04, 2018:
That is weird. My college roommate who is an INTJ loves Idiocracy.
You can't make a "P" person a "J" person. You'll have to accept this about your partner. You'll actually hurt them if you get upset with them over how they take their time to handle projects, questions, and so forth. If you can accept that what they're doing has great results, this will help. You may need to be the internal clock and sometimes be the one making the decisions to move things along -- if they ask for more time to ponder, etc., try your best to accept this. Getting upset about it is something you can control. Let them be who they are and try to help them thrive and see where their interests fall. INTJ can't convert an INTP into an INTJ, remember that, cut your loses their, and enjoy your spontaneous and brilliant INTP -- they know some things you do not, as much as that might sting to hear.
AMG on December 22, 2017:
I was laughing out loud and cringing at the same time when I read this.
Its kind of a relief to know there are others like you, right? ...even if they are villans! Ha.
So, one of my favorite movies is Idiocracy, I OBSESS over things I care about, my younger bothers and sisters always told me I was mean growing up (I'm nicer now!) and yes, I do care about dust on base boards!
I am engaged to an INTP, does anyone have any tricks to handle the "P"? We analyze, dream and have wonderful banter. I love him, but I swear, his indecisiveness, and lack of finishing projects is going to be the death of me!
Andrea Lawrence (author) from Chicago on December 19, 2017:
I have studied Myers Briggs way too much.
Julia on December 15, 2017:
Struggle #22: How did you know this INTJ woman likes the Old Norse poem Hávamál (which is basically an ancient Norwegian poem about magic)? Way to tie into #21. Thanks for this fun and eerily accurate article.
Andrea Lawrence (author) from Chicago on December 08, 2017:
So glad you like my humor! It has taken a number of years to cultivate. I would love to be the clown in the mirror cleaning the back of the TV for you.
nenet on December 08, 2017:
I had so much fun reading this article and just love your style of wrting. The way you inject humor in describing the weird characater of an Intj. It felt like i was looking in the.mirrror and saw a clown a frowning clown cleaning the back of the tv ..such a good laugh so Thank you
Andrea Lawrence (author) from Chicago on June 19, 2017:
MBTI is fantastic! It does take some time to really learn it as it can be complicated, but the more you learn about it, the more you'll have clarity. I haven't found a personality mapping that I like more than this. Although, some people don't like hearing about it and won't want to learn it to a high degree. So don't push your luck there. ;)
bz92 on June 19, 2017:
It's really funny. A ENFP friend has told me about mbti test and I, as INTJ woman, have decided to take it to learn something new (but without any trust in psycology). Now the more I read the more I must confess that all this things suit perfect to me... Now I want everybody to take the test, so I can analysed their results and better arrange them in my mental schemes!
Andrea Lawrence (author) from Chicago on June 16, 2017:
We must get you a supply closet or place of some sort for your projects. It is nice to keep an office just as an office.
Andrea Lawrence (author) from Chicago on June 16, 2017:
I see that fun is a priority. I'm wondering if this is type related or uniquely you. Hmmm.
Holly on June 15, 2017:
As one commenter said below: "cleaning is boring but organizing is fun"! I totally concur. Although, I can sometimes find it relaxing to clean, if I can get lost in my thoughts or listen to a really good podcast while cleaning. That's fun. It's not that I dislike cleaning, it's just that there are several other activities I adore and that seem much more worth my while. If I'm not already engaged in a hobby or researching something, then I do like to clean. It's just that I'm usually engrossed in something I find more fun.
Holly on June 15, 2017:
Yeah, I'm in my head doing important things there WAY too much to worry about doing the dishes every day. I SO WISH I had a spouse who would do them for me though. My kitchen would look and smell so much nicer then. :-)
Interestingly, though I don't scrub baseboards or even sweep the hardwoods much, I am very good about routinely keeping the fridge cleaned out (wiping it down, throwing out old stuff, etc), keeping up with laundry and keeping the house generally organized and tidy. The only thing I've noticed that is difficult is that I get an idea where I decide to plan ahead for a project and I start saving up materials (like toilet paper rolls or plastic soda bottles, gardening materials, hobbies, etc.) and that overflows my dining room table, looking messy. I need an extra room for my projects. I can't put that stuff in my office. My office is too full of my big desk, computer equipment, book cases, comfy chair and office cabinets (for printers, binders, office supplies, etc.). That is pretty much where I live. I love that room. :-)
Andrea Lawrence (author) from Chicago on April 29, 2017:
Hi, Tracy. I don't know what you are saying, but best of luck to you!
Tracy on April 27, 2017:
I'm now without hope.
Humans are fixated on this shit---- and not what will save them.
Humankind has been usurped by stupidity.
I Cannot insert my link- I'm shut out of this site. Russia, unit
Simon Traversy on March 30, 2017:
I'm actually learning Norwegian and Old Norse so this dude is right on the money... I can also death stare someone to a point of total incapacitating
JL on March 13, 2017:
Just read and enjoyed this list again. It's fascinating. I've realised all my little spaces I retreat to are ... my caves! My wardrobe, my favourite cafes, the shops I browse in which are large enough I get left alone. Even my public transport ride to/from work whilst wearing headphones. And yes, departing from group things to be alone. Tolerated a group trip in Japan for a half day each day but had to break from the group with some weird excuse for the rest of the day, just to be on my own and enjoy navigating alone.
Ash on March 06, 2017:
I found myself to be exactly as described in every detail.
Charlie on February 25, 2017:
I wonder how many INTJs have Attention Deficit. As a female, I can definitely relate to the INTJ ADD and paying attention to the details.
Wallace on February 21, 2017:
The clean thing is me. I may drop something on the floor; or look for I've misplaced, see dust, and then I have a cleaning project!
Brynja Knapp on February 10, 2017:
I live in a home with a husband ENFP and teenager INTP. They are KILLING ME! It is all I can do to not scream CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN! Its breaking my will to live....
Andy on January 26, 2017:
Wow, I didn't believe it. No I don't have much of a choice. ..
It's okay. According to this, they need us. Then again, i've always felt that way : )
Andrea Lawrence (author) from Chicago on January 25, 2017:
We all have to work on strengthening our weaknesses. See it as an opportunity for growth and enlightenment. Not caring about the emotions of others could cause them to distance themselves from you and the you would be remiss their perspectives. Sometimes we have to pick our battles when things are wrong -- consider the consequences, consider what is necessary, consider how to tell people how to correct it in a way that doesn't just peck at it but benefits the big picture. Macro > micro. And you should be easier on yourself. At the end of the day you only have you, and self love and learning more about yourself will cause you to see and understand things far greater than you expected. Love, light, and prosper my friend. You can do amazing things in this world -- especially with an INTJ gifting.
BasicR on January 25, 2017:
I am an INTJ (sometimes a bit P) and work closely with an ESFP. I just had a review at work. A nice review. I was told that I "need to be easier on myself because I don't have to always get it right, and to be easier on others about them not getting it right'.
I understand what they are trying to tell me. But I simply CAN NOT let things go when they are clearly wrong. It drives me insane.
Also to be more "emotionally supportive to our service users."
Sigh. This is not playing to my strengths, but I will certainly try, even if it's just to 'prove them wrong'. :-)
Andrea Lawrence (author) from Chicago on December 19, 2016:
Glad to know this hit a chord. :)
JL on December 19, 2016:
That's very funny about the base boards, although we call them skirting boards in Australia. I actually didn't just clean mine, I had the paint colour computer matched and touched them all up. They look beautiful. No one else here cares though. I'm trying to think less by doing hands on household jobs, such as gardening and cooking, but then things perhaps sometimes become a little extreme...
Andrea Lawrence (author) from Chicago on October 10, 2016:
People have been conflicted with my note of keeping things clean in the INTJ mindset -- I think it depends on how high your J score is, but I have definitely witnessed the INTJ madness for a clean environment.
Megan on October 08, 2016:
An ISTP (I don't really see the traditionalist or ISTJ in that role) has issues with order, but not like an INTJ would be hyper focused on one dirty item. Dishes and baseboards, if noticed, will be stared at continuously by me until something is done. Even if I must suggest impromptu cleaning at a friend's generally immaculate house to "help out." I do hate cleaning unless my mind is busy contemplating something or I have music...organization however, that's beautiful.
Duirc on September 29, 2016:
OK, I'm halfway through the list but I have to comment on what I just read (#17), "dumping a lot of paprika is probably not a good idea".
I am still tasting the goulash soup I made earlier. To quote my favourite recipe - with which I have absolutely no quarrel - "You can never have too much paprika". Now you may be talking about smoked paprika and I'm talking about sweet paprika - but I'm loving that warm glow.
Andrea Lawrence (author) from Chicago on August 06, 2016:
@Dr CHE Sadaphal
The stare will come in good time, I'm sure!
CH Elijah Sadaphal from New York, NY on August 06, 2016:
If there is anything an INTJ enjoys doing its accumulating knowledge. This hub has succeeded in fueling the mental machine.
Although, I haven't mastered the INTJ stare as of yet ...
Andrea Lawrence (author) from Chicago on February 02, 2016:
@mindaugas then I recommend employing two INFJ types as friends... although they may stare deeply at each other and scare you.
Mindaugas on February 02, 2016:
Damn, pretty much spot on!!! But the friend part :D since im already half INTP half INTJ, INTP's dont help
xxanerchek on November 21, 2015:
A frighteningly accurate article. I was 'diagnosed' INTJ a year ago after family members begged me to do the test...
Andrea Lawrence (author) from Chicago on November 01, 2015:
You'll find a way, life finds a way...
Dea on October 31, 2015:
It's really interesting article. Now i know why i am not always in the same page with the crowd.. i will need to learn further effective communication and lower down my standard (i dont know know if i could do that or not)..
Nancy on October 13, 2015:
But it IS important to clean behind the TV! I mean you'll know it's there which creates even more mess in your mind...
Greg on October 10, 2015:
The INTJ is strong with this one...
yeti-intj on August 24, 2015:
Cleaning is to boring, but organizing is cool.
Andrea Lawrence (author) from Chicago on August 23, 2015:
A lot of great writers are INTJ... and are a sarcastic bunch.
Ruth on August 23, 2015:
I always knew I was different (esp for a female) and when I took the test and read the description of an INTJ I was freaked out. So nice to know there are others :) Any other INTJ's love clever (word play etc.) & sarcastic humor?
Clicki on August 14, 2015:
This is a great list. I relate to so many of these. Not all of these will apply to every INTJ, because we all have different backgrounds as far as being raised.
Especially cleaning, I clean to think, when I clean I am not just cleaning but processing things.
Its only been really the past couple of years that I really started getting into personality test, and how I think. I always knew I was different from other girls, I never realized just how different I was.
I enjoy reading about types and characteristic of different types, i do recognize that some of the characteristic I only marginally relate to. Some are a lot stronger there others.
Andrea Lawrence (author) from Chicago on August 12, 2015:
I'm glad the explanations are helpful! I'm betting if you're getting an exact split with your feeling / thinking then those are your middle functions. There's usually more discrepancy with the dominate and inferior functions. This means you're probably an information gatherer as opposed to a judger (this doesn't have to do with J/P, I know confusing). If introversion-sensing dominate a personality, a person seeks information primarily. Thinkers and feelers are more judging. J/P has to do with how people perceive deadlines, cleanliness, time, maintenance, etc.
It's nice when feeling and thinking are balanced out in the middle. That makes you more adaptable and malleable for a variety of problems and situations. If you know for certain what your E/I and N/S are, that will help you at least narrow it down to two personalities. How? There's 8 functions and 16 personalities, each function only dominates 2 personality types. So if you have introverted intuition you're either INTJ or INFJ.
RedElf from Canada on August 12, 2015:
Most interesting. I've read several in your series on Myers Briggs types. I am a perfect split F/T, (they come out with exactly the same value every time :)), so I really appreciate your explanations. Nice work!
Mari Biemond on August 10, 2015:
Julie-only until you notice how dirty the base boards really are. . . .
Julie on May 30, 2015:
The whole clean freak thing sounds more ISTJ to me. As an INTJ, I'm too busy planning things to worry about the baseboards.
Fred Arnold from Clearwater, FL on January 15, 2015:
Good article. I found it funny that I just started the semester at college and in one of my classes we did the survey to find out where you stand. I got INTJ haha. Coincidence, I think not!
Keep up the good work!