Friday, June 18, 2010

Getting Into Character: The INTP (Introvert, iNtuitive, Thinker, Perceiver)

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 INTJ's, those visionaries who devise a better way. This week we will change the last letter and how a preference for Perceiving rather than Judging can change a personality. Read on to hear about those INTPs and their contribution in helping the rest of us see truth.

Living Life with an INTP: If you live or work with an INTP you know they are on a one-person quest for truth. INTPs observe the world, looking for the flaws and pointing out errors in the things they see and hear, and in their search for truth can drive others crazy with their endless questions of "why" and "why not". Remember that they are not necessarily challenging you or being difficult--they want to know the answers and won't settle for less than the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Much of the INTPs processing goes on inside and may not be apparent to those on the outside looking in. They are reserved, detached, analytical, and skeptical. INTPs are quick thinkers who can readily point out the long-term consequences in a plan or idea, even when others can't see it. All this internal processing allows them to formulate systems, schedules, models, and frameworks concerning the world around them.
Career/Service Area Choices for an INTPINTPs enjoy studying and coming up with solutions for complex problems, reviewing past programs and procedures to make them work efficiently and timely, and creating new programs after researching and developing them. INTPs will enjoy career and service environments that allow the to work alone, guard their privacy, and have the flexibility they need to work things out to their own satisfaction. INTPs enjoy setting goals and designing rewards for meeting them. INTPs will excel at conceptualizing new outreaches, ministries, projects, and programs, but don't expect them to show up voluntarily for meetings--they tend to avoid them if at all possible. Orderly and intellectual, INTPs enjoy working and serving in environments and with people who are like-minded. Some jobs or volunteer positions that appeal to INTPs include: scientists such as chemists and biologists, engineer, artist, consultant, writer, computers--specifically programming and systems analyst, lawyer, photographer, psychologist, researcher, and surveyor.

Free Time for an INTP: INTPs enjoy spending their free time in solitary activities like reading, watching television, thinking, or playing computer games. In fact, INTPs are often very computer savvy, so many of their leisure activities may revolve around a computer. INTPs also enjoy word plays and puns. When INTPs play or engage in free-time activities with others, they may not talk a lot or pay attention to details they don't deem necessary. They enjoy games of risk and strategy like Monopoly, poker, and bridge or sports like golf. They take their risk-taking penchant to new levels in some of their pursuits such as rock climbing where they can combine taking risks with the technical aspects of the sport.Often INTPs have a depth of interest that goes beyond many of the other types.

Warnings for the INTP: Too much of any good thing can be a bad thing, so here are some things INTPs need to beware of: INTPs easily see the flaws in a theory, program, or concept. However, they need to learn how to point these out and challenge co-workers, family, and friends in a positive way. Others often see the INTP as negative, a critic, and a skeptic and frequently the INTP is unaware of how they are truly perceived by other people. INTPs need to keep in mind that not everyone wants or accepts their critiques. Lighten up and learn to keep some of your opinions to yourself. Their strong leaning toward intellectualism can make them look down on people who show their in intelligence in ways other than "book smarts". Happy to remain alone in their thought world, INTPs need to be conscious of spending too much time alone and make an effort to connect to others in their life. Making the effort to "put yourself out there", particularly with friends and family will help stop small problems from becoming bigger.
Spiritual Helps for the INTP: For INTPs who want to deepen their spiritual life, they will enjoy the more intellectual aspects of their faith. Intellectually demanding Bible studies and time for reflection, prayer, and meditation will help the INTP grow and remain engaged in the nurturing of their faith. INTPs enjoy "working out their faith" in service and worship that allows them logical demonstrations and applications for what they believe. INTPs also enjoy and benefit from spiritual mentor relationship that includes accountability.
What Others Say about the INTP: If you know an INTP, likely you use words like logical, private, original, speculative, and precise to describe them. They often exude a low-key, laid-back personality, but if you challenge what they believe as truth, you will see their "hard as nails" side come out. INTPs enjoy mastering the complex and all their intuition, thinking, and perceiving will turn outward as they seek to apply the ideas and insights they've developed. INTPs are truth-seekers of the best kind--they share their findings with the rest of the world!
Okay, who do you know that is an INTP? Let me hear from you if you are!

Next week, let's change it up by switching every letter and take a look at the ESFJ!


  1. Good description. I'm posting this after one read through without going back and analyzing it :)

    From an INTP.

  2. Dear Anonymous, thanks for reading. Celebrating you and all your strengths! :)

  3. WOW this is surprising. As an INTP I never comment unless I feel compelled to...
    I feel compelled to. =]
    Actually I do usually comment but only after re reading and analyzing the article and what I will say for up to a day. lol.

  4. My best friend from childhood is an INTP and this pretty much describes him. Don't forget chess...perfect game for INTPs.