Friday, June 11, 2010

Getting Into Character: The INTJ (Introvert, iNtuitive, Thinker, Judger)

Today we continue our specific look at the sixteen types in the MBTI line-up. This is going to be so fun, because even if this is not your particular label, more than likely you will recognize someone you know and love revealed on the page. I need to let you know that this is NOT a professional opinion or blog—I’m just teaching you what I've learned over more than ten years of studying personality.

I’m not going to repeat my description of the dominant preferences and such, but if you haven’t been following along, go back and read the beginning of the first week’s post, which you will find under the April archives (The ESTP). I’ve highlighted the part you need to read in green, so you can easily catch up.

Last week we looked at the INFP's deep thoughts and strong feelings. This week we will change the last two letters and see what difference that makes between the INFPs and their INTJ friends.

Living Life with an INTJ: INTJs tend to be independent, solitary, insightful, planners and thinkers. In fact, some say the INTJ are the most independent of all sixteen types. Don't let their quiet and sometimes reserved manner fool you into thinking they are shallow. While they sit quietly on the outside, their quick minds are spinning, thinking up strategies and visions for making things better. INTJs want to make the world a better place by coming up with systems that challenge the way things are done, the way people think, and the status quo in general. Boundaries, and rules are important to INTJs, but they will establish them in their own way and with their own style. Visionaries, INTJs formulate possibilities for the future that often meet long-term goals, but don't always do so in traditional means. INTJs come up with novel ideas, new angles, and creative systems for getting things done in what they deem a better way. INTJs are their own person--they value individualism and they are confident in who they are as a person.

Career/Service Area Choices for an INTJ: Intellectual pursuit is important to the INTJ, so they will enjoy working in environments where people value knowledge and make informed decisions and develop strategies for the future. They will also enjoy serving in ministry or volunteer positions that allow them to plan long-range or develop new approaches. They are private people, tending to keep to themselves, so INTJs like to work alone in environments where they can think deeply and work on the big picture. The will likely balk at working with a team unless the team is coming up with a new and novel approach to a problem, situation, or long-held tradition. Outcomes are important to the INTJ, so they will need to keep that in mind when choosing careers or service opportunities. INTJ enjoy projects that involve extensive research and they may enjoy serving by developing spiritual education materials or curriculum for service organizations. Some careers that appeal to INTJs include: project managers, general managers, armed forces, clergy, counselor/spiritual coaching, designer, consultant, human resources, professor/lecturer/teacher/coach, computer systems analyst, judge/lawyer, photographer, researcher.

Free Time for an INTJ: Often INTJs choose their leisure activities by their long-term goals for themselves and what they think they should be doing. INTJs are often disciplined and organized in their pursuit of hobbies and free time activities. INTJs don't typical choose sports or hobbies that are fads. Rather, they often choose something and then stick with it for years. Frequently combining work with play, INTJs will often seek out pursuits that allow them both enjoy free time and further their long-range goals and aspirations.

Warnings for the INTJ: Too much of any good thing can be a bad thing, so here are some things INFPs need to beware of: INTJs like to keep their ideas to themselves, but they will gain the commitment and confidence of others when they open up. They are often seen by co-workers and family members as too harsh or cold. They need to consider how they are viewed by others and foster good relationships. Being quick thinkers causes INTJs to discount other's ideas if they reach them too slowly. Learn to be patient with people and really listen to their ideas. Let others help you instead of plugging away all on your own. Open up and share your thoughts, feelings, and personality with others. People will enjoy your fast thinking and innovative approach but you've got to show it to them. Remember that not all the other types see the future as you do, but that doesn't mean they are wrong. Learn to listen to people who may see things differently and admit when your view of the future is in accurate or out-dated. Share your vision, but cut them some slack if it doesn't excite them and be willing to take a fresh look rather than insist on your way. INTJs tend to view themselves as not being competent. Do your best and let go of what you can't change.

Spiritual Helps for the INTJ: As we've noted, the INTJ is very private and enjoys spending time alone. Therefore, they may benefit from periods of solitude for retreat. They typically enjoy time away in the outdoors or in sanctified settings. For this same reason, INTJs often grow spiritually through prayer, meditation, study, and reflection. Most INTJs will enjoy philosophical pursuits and seeking out their individual purpose in life. You will see the INTJ interact with other believers when they are given the opportunity to dialogue and debate their convictions and possibilities for the future.

What Others Say about the INTJ: Since the INTJ often keeps to themselves, others are often surprised by their deep thoughts and novel ideas when they are shared. They are quick thinkers and delight others when they choose to fore go their typical introversion and share their observations aloud. Logical, original, long-reaching visions, global thinking, demanding, critical, and determined are all words used by others to describe the INTJ.

Okay, who do you know that is an INTJ? Let me hear from you if you are!

Next week, let's change it up by switching the last letter. INTP's--you're up!


  1. I usually test as an INTJ. I do fit here in many ways.

  2. <3 INTJs. Just saying. Free hugs for anyone who actually happens to accept them.

  3. Wow! that was on point, it described me very well.

  4. I doubt "opening up" works for the INTJ. It's a nice little concept, but the majority of people would be offended by an INTJs critical views and sarcastic humor (I speak from experience). Rather, I'd advise to keep all thoughts to yourself, unless you know and trust the person very well. Other than that, the rest of your post seems accurate, good analysis...