Podcast – Episode 0088 – INTJ Personality Type Advice
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In this episode, Joel and Antonia dive deep into the unique challenges, needs, and desires of the INTJ personality type.
In this podcast on the INTJ personality type you’ll find:
Cassandra – Greek Mythology – Gift of Prophecy without believers.
Ability to see what’s coming down the line, but nobody cares.
Foresight is different from prophecy.
Prophecy knows what’s coming up. Foresight can predict based on observation.
Strategy: Where’s the puck going?
Cynicism comes along with an INTJ recognizing that the world doesn’t value their gifts.
Isolation, loneliness, misunderstood, separation.
Mastermind Article – “Smartest people in the room based upon analytical and linguistic intelligence.”
We as a society have decided different criteria for intelligence. Not necessarily right. There are multiple styles of intelligence. Other types outclass INTJs regarding different kinds of intelligence (i.e. kinesthetic, emotional, etc.)
INTJs are very careful thinkers. They spend a lot of time thinking about whatever has captured their interest. Because they’re careful about how they think, they are also very careful about how they articulate their thoughts. They will show up as smarter because they express their words more precisely. They encourage everyone else to be more careful with how we think.
They expend Energetic credits in thinking through things, which is why INTJs have such an Economy of motion.
Many INTJs think the vast majority of people are careless thinkers.
The driver process for INTJs is Introverted Intuition that we nicknamed “Perspectives.”
Driver – Ni
Perspectives is the ability to watch your mind form patterns over a long time.
Podcast Introverted Intuition vs Extraverted Intuition
INTJs are inside their mind all the time.
They have a sixth sense of what is coming down the pike.
Perspectives is not right 100% of the time. It is a skill that must be developed. Predictions become more accurate the more you develop the skill.
INTJs love conceptualizing what is happening next.
People who use Perspectives think about the box. It’s about meaning and meta perspectiving.
Perspective users start to realize the subjective nature of how people see the world.
The copilot process for INTJs is Extraverted Thinking that we nicknamed “Effectiveness.”
Effectiveness asks “what works?” What is the bottom line? What will accomplish the objective?
Effectiveness is linear. A step by step approach to how to get things done.
Metrics. How do we measure whether something is pass-fail?
Effectiveness Can appear cold hearted because of its way of navigating around feelings to get a project accomplished.
Break things down to component levels. Uses Humans as resources. Effectiveness is Best when emotions aren’t clouding it.
Ni + Te = Perspectives loves to predict. Effectiveness is about metrics and implementing strategies. Coupled together, these create sustainable systems.
INTJs systems are context dependent. They want to make sure no one comes along and breaks their systems.
The 10-year-old process is Introverted Feeling that we have nicknamed Authenticity.
Tertiary – Fi
Authenticity is a decision-making process that checks in with inner alignment.
How are things impacting you emotionally?
Done well it can replicate someone else’s emotions and mirror those feelings back
As a 10-year-old it isn’t a strength. It becomes solely about how things are impacting the INTJ.
It makes the average INTJ feel like a sitting duck; A childlike part of them that can be hurt.
It’s not just a recognition about how things impact you, but it’s an internalization which becomes more crippling.
INTJs struggle because they have a tendency to over rely on this process.
Driver process is Introverted – Copilot is extraverted: we need to have access to both worlds. Introverts need real world feedback to stay balanced.
Ten year old is introverted. Introverts can find themselves avoiding the outer world and staying within. So they rest on that Ni – Fi loop.
If you get inside somebody else’s perspective, then mirror their emotions it becomes overwhelming to a Thinker. So they shut themselves off and create massive distance from the world.
Why INTJs feel so lonely. Human relationships require a measure of vulnerability.
The solution is that INTJs need to become vulnerable. They will survive. They are resilient.
Pain may seem neverending, but it does fade. People can massively add to the quality of your life.
To get to vulnerability, INTJs need to use their Copilot first. Create systems and frameworks of connecting with others.
Create a social event you can feel some control over. As the host, you are the highest status person in the room, and you know everyone.
When INTJs feel out of control, they clamp down.
When Effectiveness feels good in general, it is more open to experiencing closer relationships.
If INTJs aren’t implementing enough effectiveness strategies, they’re going to feel vulnerable and out of control.
Get out of comfort zone and get into action.
Swap the feeling of vulnerability with empowerment. Empowerment comes from building things in outside world and knowing you got the world handled. Then the vulnerability fades.
Even when Authenticity is used well, and it is healthy it is very idealistic. It’s not so much about reality but conviction. This is how things should be making me feel.
Perfectionism is a running theme for INTJs because it is an idealism of the way things should be.
Idealism gets turned in on INTJ themselves, which is crippling.
The opposite is Effectiveness which is pass/fail criteria. Good is better than perfect.
Authenticity is about “does it feel good to me?” So to INTJs nothing is ever good enough. They are waiting for just the right time. Just that perfect moment to implement the ideal strategy.
INTJs should never wait for that perfect moment to act. Start acting first.
Let Authenticity serve Effectiveness.
Effectiveness forces you out of your shell. But there are so many problems when INTJs use Fi as their navigator.
The 3-year-old process is Extraverted Sensing we have nicknamed “Sensation.”
Inferior – Se
Real-time kinetic connection with the environment. Blind spot to INTJs. Sensation Usually shows up when they are Overly stressed. Causes them to Overindulge in sensory behavior.
Both back seat passengers are incredibly indulgent for INTJs: Fi is emotional indulgence, and Se is sensory indulgence.
The thing that they have to monitor themselves for is whether or not they are going to an indulgent space. INTJs need to be physically aware of their body’s needs. The body is not just a vehicle for the brain.
There are Neurons in the stomach and heart which means that the brain cells extend into our body.
A good relationship with three-year-old means you’re nourishing your body and not feeding it junk food.
INTJ women feel disconnected from other women and intimidating to men.
Thinker Women and Feeler Men podcast
25% of women are Thinkers.
When you don’t fit the ideal imprint of the average female you are not going to attract the highest percentage of people, but there are people out there that are looking for a bird of paradise just like you.
If you haven’t run into these people yet, it is because you’re not in the right place. Go beyond your comfort zone.
INTJs don’t have a lot of patience for themselves. One of the best ways to make space for others and be more patient with others is by being more patient with yourself.
Stop worrying about how you should be and be willing to fail and learn. Be the person who gets things done as opposed to conceptualizing things.
Push through the challenges. There will be waste, but action is better than non-action.
Feedback from the outside world will make you feel stronger and more empowered.
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I argue that being resistant to bonding was never a choice made because I’d been hurt before. It’s understanding most people will not be able to meet me halfway to keep the relationship interesting, nor I meet on their side long term, without feeling fake. It’s fixing a problem before it becomes one. It will hurt them because they won’t understand, and it’s a me thing. Getting close, knowing imma end it seems a little unethical and hedonistic. In that respect, yes, I’m avoiding hurt, kinda.
Otherwise, this is an adequate presentation in regards to myself.
Man, I feel like I’m even more different because ‘effectiveness’ seems like such a ‘basic level’ that feels like implementing our ideas is a basic need. The time spent on the podcast makes me think this is more of an issue than I had acknowledged. As an INTJ woman, I can relate to the ‘outside looking in’ and not necessarily fit it. And we focus on solutions, as a teen I noticed how males prefer women who are ‘extroverts’ and/or ‘feelers’ or both. I am neither, so I used my auxiliary, of extroverted ‘thinking’ in order to ‘build myself up’. It allowed me to look for the ‘right’ people myself. I didn’t need for others to get to know me first I only needed to use my intuition ‘perspectives’ so that I could approach the right people. (This also helped ‘hide’ from ‘responsibilities’ others try to delegate to me because of the ‘competency’ they recognize and we are just not interested in) It also means we know when the growth is done in between relationships we build and are willing to ‘hurt ourselves’ now for the long run goal and (speaking for myself) that is something I seriously consider
I was thinking no one should let himself be vulnerable, but I guess it’s a part of every relationship…
I am just like I don’t want to waste my time and energy by letting someone in just like that, and later regret it a lot. It’s not that I don’t let people in at all, but it takes some time and effort. And I don’t think there is more than one or two persones in your life that will do everything for you as you would for them, so got to be careful who are you letting in completely. I have a lot of people around me, friends, but I choose to relay on myself. It’s not that I don’t love them, but I’m carefull.
WOW! Just found your podcast through this episode and must say, I am incredibly impressed with your explanation of the INTJ. Although I learned my type quite some time ago, I only began to delve further into understanding the cognitive functions about a year ago when I found myself struggling in a bout of depression and discovered I was in a loop. I was able to “hack” this knowledge fairly quickly and climb out of a place I never thought I’d be able to leave. Since then, I’ve been learning all I can about how else to utilize the understanding of how my mind functions to live better. Just as it seemed my research resources were beginning to plateau, I found this! Thank you for taking the time to truly understand and explain us. Genuinely, this is the most accurate and helpful podcast I’ve ever come across and I cannot wait to listen to the rest.
Bravo. Your INTJ analysis cuts to my quick painlessly like a good vaccine.
One very vehement objection however.
The term human resources is obscene. Concentration camp cost/benefit analysis. “Go to my right if I find some use for you; to my left if not.” Heaven and Hell Gotterdammerung BS. So much guano to be harvested and used. Not Darwinianly perfected, bright jewel human beings, each perfect for its environment. Jesus loves and accepts all, even you and me, even if I cannot.
Did you get that? Otherwise, fine and dandy. Your work is sterling.
You and yours be well.
I am 56 years old. At the age of 24, when I was in graduate school, the school had all of us take the Myers-Briggs. It was such a relief for me to learn that I was an INTJ, and what it meant. I had heard, “I just want you to be happy!”, “Why can’t you be more like your brother and make more friends?”, “Why are you so unhappy?”, “You’re stuck up!”, “Stop daydreaming and come down to earth!” all of my at that point short life. With the INTJ results, I learned that I was not unhappy (I already knew this, but couldn’t get others to understand), that I lived in my head, and that THERE WAS NOTHING WRONG WITH ME!!!
In the years since then, I’ve read “Gifts Differing” and many other sources to understand more. I’ve done a lot of suffering because of my type, especially in the workplace. I’ve discovered that when I keep the INTJ type descriptions hovering around in my head, how I respond to other people and their comments or actions is healthier, better at getting across who I am, and better at expressing what I am thinking.
This podcast was wonderful. The car helped me understand the functions much better than trying to understand, as a non-psychologist, the descriptions in “Gifts Differing”. Thank you!
As an INTJ woman, I think it is hard to find an appropriate romantic partner. I need to be in charge to feel safe, so I tend to drive away competent take charge men in early dating because I won’t let them have the control they like. However, once I have gotten to know someone and trust their judgment, etc, I want a competent take charge man. The kicker is, he has to be quite competent or I will take charge because I can’t stand to see things done badly by someone else when I know they can be done well by me. Shockingly, men find this unattractive.
I learnt as an intj that I should be always ready to expose my inner ideas to the outside world. I typically just keep my words to my own self and not share with others. I wonder if there are any intj chat rooms.
Ok that social advice gave me chills, and not in a good way. In fact it is dangerous. I have been active my whole life, trying to find people. Romantic relationships are pretty easy for me, I have been with my husband for nine years and I trust him completely. I feel so happy thinking of us. He accepts me,cheeres me on, loves me. The only person who has made me feel loved. But friendships,oh boy. They are so difficult. I have been hurt so bad, and I always end up befrending people who use me. I want friends, who are active,but preferably introverted, and it seems impossible. Perhaps I havent found my thing that empowers me, my confidence. But I cant carry this out much longer, I want to give up. And focus my energy to my marriage and career. At least they give me something back.
As an INTJ I am so glad I found this podcast and deeply moved by all the great advices you shared. Thank you!
Most of the things you’ve said in this podcast are all true, it’s totally the things have been experiencing in my all life, it’s hard to be in an environment where most of the people around you don’t understand you ,for me I am always been accused of being possessed by the demon by my family members because I’m not the kind person who is into church stuff, wherever I asked questions why the believe what they believed ,they never had a logical explanation for their beliefs,the would just reference the topic to certain vese in the Bible that totally explain s nothing at all,and if I tell them I think about the subject,they will all go like ,no stop thats not it,you are not alone ,are you?you need prayers we are not allowed to question God’s power or anything,this was the big problem for me because i like questioning everything,at school it was very hard for be to concentrate in class ,whenever the teacher was teaching I used to understand things quick and forget easily , another thing is that if I noticed that the lesson is some how kind of something that is not applicable in real life I considered that to be not useful ,I would start thinking about how it can be applied as a result how not pay attention to the rest of the lesson.i often used to ask questions that sounded to be off the topic ,all my teacher will just say that you over think to much ,so most of my teacher I viewed the like the didn’t know what they were teaching,at the same time thinking of my self being stupid.and the thought of thinking that there is something missing or a piece of information,there is a lot I want to talk about but I think how just end ,most of the things I go through in my life have been already said in podcast recording .
It was so spot on, it made me cry. I felt so vulnerable and while I hate the feeling, it also made me feel understood on a level I think I ve never been before. I ve felt lonely. Feeling understood helped.
Do you maybe also have advise on how to deal withe the intense feelings of the tertiary driver? I hate feeling those and it s the main reason to not do things.
This was the best pep talk I’ve ever had! I have been diving into the types and I tend to test “on the cusp” of T and F AND P and J. But I believe INTJ has resonated best so far, especially in the cognitive functions. The car model makes much more sense to me now. I hope to find ways to apply it to find my tribe and fuel my passion projects. I’ve been more antisocial than ever and lost when it comes to career paths. Usually good advice on getting past tertiary and inferior complexes. I find my fixation revolves around Management over Invulnerablility, perhaps as a response to work through to co-pilot Effectivness . Im obsessed with your podcast thank you so much for your mission.
I won’t spend too much time writing a reply, but this podcast HELPED. All of the challenges presented are exactly what I’m dealing with right now. I graduate in December and although I have a life plan, I’m consistently tweaking it for optimization. I needed to hear what you both said about inevitably wasting time and resources en route. It sucks, but at least I can research to create a plan minimizing expenditures as much as possible. I suppose some loss is okay and will only help me plan better in the future… The relationship part, AGH! I didn’t date in high school and after the worst relationship of my life in college, I haven’t been looking for relationships. I have resolved to being single for life and I still might, but your advice at least gave me some amount of hope… The loneliness thing! If any other INTJs are reading this, get yourself some ENTP friends. For the most part, they just seem to GET it. ENTPs are great for throwing around ideas. My best friend is an ENTP (male) and sometimes we even raise our voices at each other in debate without worrying about hurting each other’s “feelings.” Not to say we don’t have them, but all that is set aside when discussing ideas. It creates a stronger bond afterwards, one firmly rooted in the mutual exploration and getting to the bottom of things.
Very late to the table, but thanks so much for the thoughtful podcast. I still have much to learn.
I am 49 and discovered I was an INTJ three years ago. I cried when I read the type-description as so many painful and confusing past experiences suddenly made sense and I could look back with some compassion on the young girl, the teenager, the student and young (and not so young) career professional trying so desperately to make sense of her world.
Herewith some of my musings and some questions:
1. Regarding the isolation experienced by INTJ’s: I suspect that I have become so used to it and so grateful for the loving people in my life, that I don’t endulge thinking about it too much due to the emotional rabit holes I can fall into if I do. However, listening to the podcast I realised how deep the isolation runs. You mention the importance of being willing to be vulnerable in order to experience the joy of deeper connections. I believe (unless this is a blind spot for me) that I am really “stepping out” in this area. I am willing to help others “peel back the layers” but I’m just not so sure people are that interested to get beyond the surface. I cannot recall ever being annoyed with having to explain why I think what I think (its my WORLD, after all!), but its hard to do when all you get is a puzzled look and a not-so-subtle change of topic.
Considering the amount of time I spend thinking (and probably the topics I think about), being able to share my thoughts with someone is akin to sharing ME with them. If I am not able to do that (because I sense it is just way too intense for just about everyone I know), leaves me sharing only the bits that people seem able to handle and that is pretty much the “surface ME”. I want “all of me” to be able to “show up” and connect. Connection on the (for me) superficial level, does very little to break the deep sense of isolation and loneliness.
2. A question: I often feel quite overwhelmed by the sheer volume of connections and insights – I hardly manage to “capture” them (lets say, by at least writing them down), let alone, choosing which of the many to act on with Te. All seem to shout for attention, wanting to be “manifested” in the real world but which ones and where to start? This gives me a great sense of loss and frustration.
I was just wondering if this is a common experience of INTJ’s? (A note on the writing down / capturing of ideas: usually the thought processes that lead to that moment of insight have come over such a long time and the insight itself seems so fragile and tentative that a mere short note would probably not suffice to bring the whole beauty and elegance of the thing back to remembrance at a later time. )
3. I have received feedback (from another personality type assessment) that I “intellectualise” my emotions, e.g. “does it make sense to feel this way?”, in stead of experiencing them. I would imagine this is not uncommon for INTJ’s. How does this tie in with the car model?
I think we need to better define how introverted intuition (“Ni”) works. It’s subjective to everyone so it will be experienced a little bit differently. When you guys describe Ni as pattern recognition or foresight, you’re talking a lot from the outer world perspective (i.e., how Ni appears to other people) but the NJ:s may not experience Ni this way. I.e., its hard for me to relate to an outer world manifestation of how my inner process works.
To me, subjectively, Ni is like a kind of meditation. Not necessarily meditation in the traditional sense of the word, but getting into a meditative state where your thoughts just drift away. ‘Dreamy’ is a good way of putting it. Drifting off to an alternate state of consciousness where I don’t really feel my senses and perceiving all sorts of things. Images. Theories. Future scenarios. Visions. Truths. Etc. Carl Jung used the ‘inner images’ description which also is very close to how I experience the Ni state. Too much of the description of Ni is focused on ‘possibilities’ and ‘future orientation’. Yes, Ni can sometimes plot in my head a reasonable trajectory of how a thing could develop, but it doesn’t have to be related to time like that. It would be very stressful for INTJs or INFJs to constantly be expected to plot a trajectory into the future of how something will develop. It depends on how well you know the problem, why Ni is a function of knowledge – the more you know the more future trajectories Ni will paint in your head. Ni is not purely a function that is f(time), but can also be a purely abstract function. A holistic way of thinking. Something that search for the truth, or ‘whats really going on in a situation’. Moreover, Ni can be significantly much more mystical and psychic than that. It can be visionary, i.e., clearly perceiving a desired future state, i.e., how I ‘want’ things to be. Completely irrational, no reason to logically believe in the vision, but it exists. And I believe so much in this vision, because it’s subjectively real to me, that I start pushing hard to make it happen so it actually becomes real.
Carl Jung described Ni as a process that is unconscious where we just see the end result.
Tally bah so true! I think the podcast was excelkent on so many points, but did de-emphasize the intuitive aspect, which is more than just planning out strategies with logical thinking—for many of us. You described it well.
The most relevant example right now of my Ni at work is this – and it’s not future oriented, but present and past.
There’s some functional tension between different “teams” of the organization I work for. We want to work together and MUST work together, but we struggle to do so. One team steps on the other team’s toes in X way. The other team steps on the one team’s toes in another way. We’re making some progress, but it’s a band-aid. It’s basically making some new ground rule for our working relationship: “We will include you in these decisions.” “We will consult you before making this type of announcement.” Etc.
But no one is asking, “WHY does this disconnect exist to begin with?”
There’s a fundamental difference of understanding between the teams regarding WHAT THE GOAL IS. It’s subtle. But I see it. And THAT’S the broken piece from which all the other dysfunction flows. As long as that piece remains broken, these pledges we make about our working relationship will not last. We don’t understand each other’s way of seeing the work. We don’t understand WHY the other does what they do. And we don’t understand WHY this rift exists. So the solution doesn’t address the problem.
I see it, but no one else does.
When I explain to others what I see, I get responses like, “… Hm. Dang. You might be right about that.” Or occasionally more dramatic, like, *stares across the room* *eyes getting bigger* “… Whoa. … You may be onto something.”
Yeah. I am. I know what the problem is. Many are willing to say, “Hm, that’s some good thinking!” But no one is willing to say that it’s TRUE. Perhaps because no one else sees with the perspectives function. Also, it would mean we need to have some organization-wide conversations about fundamental assumptions of the work, and that would be a headache and could hurt some feelings.
Well guess what. It’s the only solution that will actually address the problem. (There’s my Effectiveness function.) Everything else is just a band aid.
I have this HUGE thing to contribute to the organization, but no one is able or willing to receive it as good.
Here, my Perspectives function is not future-oriented at all. I’m looking at the present situation and tracing the problem backward to its abstract source. I didn’t think about it all that much. The structure of the conflict gradually built itself in my mind one observation after another, until I could see it clearly. It was 75% passive. It just happened in my mind. It’s how I see the world. To me, that’s breathing. To others, it’s calculus.
Let me help! Let me serve the organization with this ability! We can do better!
To be quite honest, though, I haven’t voiced this observation to many people – especially the ones that have power to act on it. I report directly to the head, the top of the organization. And I haven’t told him. I’ve voiced similar Perspectives-sourced observations in our one-on-one meeting, and I’ve have gathered that he’s not receptive to thinking that way, to reading the group that way, to looking abstractly. Everything is measurable, to him. That sort of observation is “neat”, but it’s not concrete. And it’s not provable. So it passes over him like a story about an imaginary friend. “That’s nice, son.” He’s a fantastic supervisor and truly means well and wants good for the organization. He just can’t see how I see. So I’m scared of sharing this brilliant insight where I’m almost certain it won’t be appreciated. There’s my 10-year-old authenticity.
Also… he and I stand on opposite sides of the fundamental philosophy divide that I see in the organization. So if the big organization-wide conversations did happen, chances are the hurt feelings would be mine. And I don’t want that, either. Because I’m right. 🙂
Thank you! As a 69 year old female INTJ I already had the front seats figured out. I personally call it, seeing the big picture. But you helped me so much by introducing me to my 10 and 3 year old selves. I knew they were there and sabotaging me, but now I know that I’m the adult in the driver’s seat and need to take charge. I procrastinate and really needed to hear, ” Done is better than perfect”. I’m also in the first stage of heart failure and really need to grab that 3 year old by the collar to do what I need to do to reverse something the 3 year old has probably caused in the first place. Aloha from Hawaii!!!
wow. spot on. always felt strange and ackward. recently I started to think I had an attention disorder. now you guys made me realize that I have a different way of thinking and mentally thriving. until now I have tried to copy ‘normal’ way of living and fallen into all the pitfalls you mention. This podcast make so much sense to me. Thank you very much. INTJ male 43
The quality of information and depth of knowledge you guys have and shared with us, is amazing….
I am really greatful for the time and effort you guys have invested in this podcast and above all for the passion you have as an Intuitive.
Thank you for this podcast.
I appreciate the comparisons you made between male and female intellectual types and their numbers.
Males may have to face unpleasant stereotypes but female intellectuals have to face solidified social expectations from their entire outside world and the sense of failure for not meeting those expectations.
A subsequent feeling of needing to apologize to everyone for not meeting their preconceived expectations that all females are emotional and impractical ensues… and is exhausting.
Isolation, though lonely, is a far lesser evil than feeling like you have to apologize for who you are all of the time to everyone.
Solitude is merely the lesser evil.
Thank you once more for the podcast. Its structure and format made it a pleasant and very mentally stimulating delivery of information.
This podcast was spot on. As an intj I resent being labeled as “smarter” than others. I do however acknowledge that I have a tendacy to think long and hard about any topic that interests me.
Most of what interests me is not feeling vulnerable. Much of my thinking goes to the areas where I need to protect myself. But not always.
When the Cassandra story was mentioned I got goosebumps. I read this years ago and assigned her character as a kindred soul.
Your article accurately articulated all that I’ve observed in my adult years in respect to the self destructive tendencies I face as an intj. You perfectly mirrored the conclusions I have reached.
I also am grateful that you have been able to unveil the romantic/idealistic side of my nature -you know, the one we try to pretend does not exist!?
I almost didn’t tune in… if this was a video rather than an audio file I would have dismissed it. I’m glad you were aware listening intently is a great avenue to reach me. Visual stimuli is distracting when learning for me.
1. ouch to Emma’s comment above. and hang in there it gets better. and find some good strong analyst friends who don’t think your a broken freak of nature to hang out with.
I haven’t been impressed with professional counselling either, or helpful family, or society in general. Our culture seems to think the whole world should be vanilla flavored people and if your not they will give you labels that tell you what you need too take out and what you need to put in to become vanilla. WE ARE NOT ALL VANILLA. And it’s a damn good thing too. Or we’d all be just as foolish as they are.
I am big into self help stuff… Briggs Meyers, Tony Robbins, LDS general conference have been the most helpful for me.
2. When you guys were talking in the podcast about seeing where the puck is going to be… I thought that’s interesting to be able to see where it’s going to be. But the thing that really gets me excited is when you can plan out ahead of that to the point where you can now see the puck where you want it to go. That’s when I suddenly jump up and start celebrating. Then people think I’m weird or too reserved because I’m not freaking out over having just made a goal. When really I just did my celebrating 10 minutes ago before anyone else knew what was going on. A.k.a. when y’all thought I was crazy, nope not crazy, just way ahead of you.
INTJ women unite!!! (even though our personality type makes that tough to accomplish 😉
I am so endlessly grateful to find this information, and to see comments from so many people who experience the world in the same way I do. I am a bit late to the game but still feel this knowledge, even of the negative aspects or challenges of this personality type, can only be empowering to me from here on out.
I felt for most of my life like my brain (which, as an INTJ, defines my identity more than anything else) was like a tool. My brain was a phillips-head screwdriver, and everyone else was wielding flat-heads. From a distance, and without prior knowledge that these kinds of differences exist, it looked to me like I had the same tool everyone else did, but I was struggling to make mine effective, while they were all getting the job done easily and quickly.
This put me through a whole range of emotions, everything from anger to resentment to hopeless confusion, self-blame and even a disorientation from self — something like an out-of-body experience but for the mind, wondering if I really even was who I always thought I’d been. Maybe, I thought at one point, I am really just a terrible person, and all my past displays of empathy/compassion/well-intention were somehow imaginary.
It was easier for me, and the people around me, to think of my tool– my phillips-head– as being broken because it didn’t work like theirs, rather than to imagine that it wasn’t ever supposed to accomplish the same task. As an example, even my mother, who undoubtedly loves me, reinforced this feeling of lameness, of being somehow broken because my head wasn’t the same shape, in that she would become angry with me whenever I cried because she thought I was faking it to manipulate her. My emotions, which felt so real as to be almost physically tangible, looked calculated and inauthentic to her, probably because I turned them in towards myself more often than expressing them outwardly. She planted the idea in my head that I might be a sociopath.
Now I can finally say with some confidence (forgive the cliche) that I AM, in fact, a soul whose intentions are good, and that I HAVE actually been misunderstood for most of my life.
It always felt very self-indulgent to me when I’d begin to wonder if I really was fundamentally different from anyone I’d met in my entire life. It is childish, on some level, to imagine ourselves as special like the protagonist in a story, the ‘chosen one,’ because the real world is not Harry Potter– still, I think if someone had approached me and told me I needed to go to wizard school because there was a prophecy about me, I would not have been surprised. Not because I’m better than anyone, but because there had to be some explanation for my difference. There had to be someplace where the screws would only work with phillips-head screwdrivers, right?
I became deeply disheartened when my inability to ‘fit in’ with most women led me on a quest for so-called ‘self-improvement’. I say so-called because most of the advice I found was not geared towards improving who I was, it was about changing who I was or denying it on some level. The world in general is much more likely to answer the INTJ’s ‘why am I like this’ question with the suggestion that we are mentally ill, emotionally underdeveloped, suffering from PTSD, etc.
I’ve even had a ‘therapist’ suggest that I might be struggling because I’ve always been subconsciously attracted to the same sex (nothing could be further from the truth). There seems to be an assumption that the source of our unhappiness is that fact that we are hiding something, lying to the world and ourselves about some deep dark secret. Everyone, from my mother to a professional counselor, had trouble taking what I said at face value when I was being fully honest.
Any other INTJ’s out there struggle with the nearly constant suggestion that we should be talking to a professional about their issues, only to find the professional’s lack of authenticity makes them feel even MORE isolated? I definitely believe therapy/counseling is effective and necessary for some people, but for ME, I actually felt it did a bit more damage to my psyche and I almost wish I hadn’t ever gone down that road. Suggestions of prescription drugs especially, to manage my anxieties and sleep issues, felt like being hammered into a round hole to break off my square edges.
INTJ woman here – and I found this podcast almost uncomfortably accurate. Really great, insightful stuff.
As an aside re:impatience, I don’t know about other INTJs but I really think that part of my tendency to become impatient with people has to do with that social prediction ability that comes with the Perspectives process. Energy is always already at a premium for me and then many of the conversations that I have to have – either to be polite or in order to get information into people’s heads – are so easy to predict that I have to expend energy literally just waiting for them to say the things I know they’re going to say anyway and catch up with me partway conceptually.
It’s like hanging out with a little kid who always wants to watch the same movie you’ve already seen, over and over again. It’s exhausting because you already know what’s going to happen, but you can’t *leave* – you just have to sit there, waiting for it to play out, when you could be doing something that isn’t sucking energy out of you. And you want to skip the in-between steps, but other people can’t do that so you just wait and wait and wait.
In support of this, I very *rarely* feel impatient with friends who are Ne even when they have tremendous energy I could never match – they generate new thoughts and content and connections so quickly (and those things are so valuable to me) that there’s no sense of wasted energy and time.
Seriously – this is the best comment ever. Both the “watching a movie over and over but having to stay to the end” and the Ne friends generating thought quickly. Thank you Alexis!
I’ve listened to this podcast before–maybe a year ago. Listening to it again, now, I’m noticing how these ideas have played out in my life even more. I’ve been going through a time of big transition lately, which seems like a relevant contributing factor in seeing my life more clearly, seeing how my difficulties may be expressed through the lens of cognitive function and personality type. Listening to the podcast this time around, it was clearer to me how identifying as a Highly Sensitive Person is very much in sync with the car model of the INTJ, especially the authenticity piece. The whole idea of being in a position of vulnerability and not being a very strong place as far as living into my co-pilot is especially relevant. I’ve experienced my authenticity as horribly overwhelming, mirroring other people’s emotions while not feeling like I have solid core in myself. Another way to see it is, I’ve very inexpertly functioned as a feeler, which resulted in feeling caught up in a hurricane of external and internal emotional and physical stimulation, barraging my poor ten-year-old. Long story short, I’ve experienced and lived in a depressive state most of my adult life. Lately I have been using my co-pilot more, putting myself out in the world, not like in big business-y ways as discussed in the podcast, but just–volunteering, attending classes and trainings, etc., and I feel so much stronger and more competent. I feel the truth of the statements made in the podcast around that subject–my authenticity is supported rather than made the authoritative ruler. And I’ve gotten wonderful heartening feedback from other people about my contributions as I call forth my strengths (sometimes clumsily, sometimes with more success), practicing my effectiveness, which helps me set aside, little by little, feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy. Intentionally practicing self-compassion and self-acceptance has helped tremendously, too.
I’ve also more proactively been taking care of my “kids” (ten and three-year-old functions), in the ways described above, and also attending to my physical needs–prioritizing my health by exercising regularly, eating well, getting enough sleep, daily jounaling, keeping a tidy, quiet, and aesthetically pleasing home environment, getting outside in the sunlight and fresh air, and dancing–connecting with other people through low-stakes joyful physical movement.
I think that I have important work to do in this life, and I need to have all of my passengers (cognitive functions) on board and needs tended to to live into my purpose well. This statement is representative of where I am right now–I’m noticing it because even a year ago, a month ago, I was in a very different place with my overall well-being. (Because–divorce! Relationships are effective and brutal teachers, even as they’re ending/after they’ve practically reached conclusion.)
What an awesome podcast! So very insightful, empathic and useful. Thank you ?
Another excellent podcast from two very insightful people. As an INTJ I have felt lonely all my life ( I am now 65). Although in the past 25 years I have realised I prefer to be alone a lot, as long as I have one or two good friends to see sometimes. I agree with some of the comments about being self-employed ( even if in addition to having a paid job) as it gives the self-created structure we need to feel comfortable, but can feel disappointing if we get too few takers for our services.
Even though I mostly feel OK about myself, I often hunger for more real people to connect with at a deep level, intellectually or emotionally. My current boyfriend has a huge circle of friends, and I dread the events they have as there are few in the circle I would normally choose to socialise with ( mostly Ss of one type or another, ISTP etc).One thing that helps me here in Germany is to stay open to new things: I picked up a contract to teach at a uni on an international program which also gave me access to professional develop,ent programs for uni staff…great place to meet smart people. Also when previously living in Australia I was involved with a Buddhist group…Buddhism is not a religion ( INTJs are the least likely MBTI type to be believers), but the Buddhist groups tend to attract thinkers who are not afraid of the unusual. I also did some amateur theatre…you get the sense of satisfaction from a result with feedback ( applause at the end of the play), and introverts make great actors ( we can focus and easily put on a character.
One word of solace to young INTJs: we naturally go through some type development as we age so much later in life the feeling and sensing become less scary!!
I really want to thank both of you for the gift of this podcast, God bless you both.
I’ve been reading up on Myers-Briggs for three weeks, thought I was INFJ but then discovered it was INTJ just a few days ago.
Re-listened to your podcast today and took notes. It was very emotional, because it struck home so deeply… the isolation, the fear of getting hurt…
The depth of your insight is not something I have had access to before, despite counseling and therapy. I believe that this knowledge can be a platform for me to push forward out of my comfort zone and into Effectiveness a you elegantly discussed and I hope that this will allow me to be more effective in my life and have higher self esteem.
I am an INTJ currently going through some stress. Due to this stress I have become highly sensitive for external disturbance, especially sound. It drives me crazy, sometimes I wanna shout.
I listened to this podcast expecting to find strategies of coping with my inferior Se, hoping to get to know how and why it affects me the way it affects me. However, I was disappointed how little was said about the most ambiguous for the INTJ thing.
You spent vast majority of the time on Authenticity explanation, yet it was filled with repetitions and also it is not as alien to us as Se.
Wow! Spot on podcast. Everything said resonated with me. I’ve been in the process of trying to figure myself out because I’m tired of the status quo I’ve been maintaining for too long. Recently took the M-B test and found that I’m an INTJ, to my relief it explained so much. As a result of my searching I came upon this website and will keep coming back because it’s reinforcing that I’m on the right track and very encouraging. Thank for putting this out there for all who want to understand not only themselves but the others around them also.
I’m a woman, i’m 37, INTJ and I’ve found about Meyrs-Briggs personality test last year.
I’ve found a lot of answers abut my personality that i never had the chance to understand and it has helped me since I took the first text. I took 5 so far from 3 diferent sites, and only one gave me InTP result.
Now, I understand INTJ personality doen’t mean that that person is the most inteligent. But It should mean hard worker and improved person in many campus.
I can’t understand how can I have this particular rare tipe of personality and not beeing a sucessfull person.
I have a lots of ideas every day, I think a lot about every thing and most the time I feel compeled to start projects, but its so rare to finish somenthing I’ve started especialy if it doents looks like the image I had in mind before. I’ts so rare to start anything also…
I feel I am a very lazzy person, some times I feel I’m worthless. And hey, I do have feelings. I think my main goal in life is to find tue and eternal love, but I fail a lot in relationships.
I dont know… is it possible to be a INTJ and have no interests in self improvement… for the last years my happiness is staying at home whatching movies or reaserch stupid things online and I feel sad cause I would like to work on my projects but I feel I’m blocked some how.
Never had told this before, thank you for reading it.
Hi Joel and Antonia,
I’ve been listening to your podcasts every day on my morning commute, and it’s been really impactful on my life. I’m a young Millenial INTJ and I’d like to provide some input into how I’ve metricized social situations. It started with the book SuperBetter: The Power of Living Gamefully. https://www.superbetter.com It takes a goal (that may usually be considered abstract or unmeasurable) like socializing, and turns it into a game. Level 1 may be text someone you want to hear from, level 2 text someone who wants to hear from you, and level 3 text someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. This really appeals to my Effectiveness function while still compensating for my vulnerable Authenticity function. (The book has many other examples like Worst Case Scenario Bingo). I just wanted to thank you for delving into cognitive functions as much as you do, because I would have never sought to metricize emotions on my own. I’ve liked being able to make emotions measurable and into a concrete goal to systematically reach. Also, to other INTJs, I think the book I mentioned is a great resource to improve yourself, metricize Authenticity, and improve Effectiveness. (Side note: the whole Part 1 is interesting but not necessarily related to what I’ve mentioned).
I’m with you – have no issues seeing people are a resource (ENTJ female)
I am 38 years old and probably and INTJ. After suffering the whole life for having distance and keeping distant from people, Just recently I have discovered that one reason is the vulnerability caused by letting others in or rather replacing me and then losing myself. It is even worse with intimate people, as the vulnerability is more and the worst is the result which is no result which gets clear when there is an objective because when I am not there what could happen and in fact the alliance would disappear I would say in best case!
You have nicely and explicitly explained it in the podcast you emailed along with the loop between the driver and 10 year old in your car model. It made me sure and more importantly shed light on the matter. I wish I could have known it earlier. The podcast was really insightful.
I am extremely thankful.
I only recently found out I am an INTJ from your website and after listening to this podcast I felt as if you were perfectly describing me.
Lately I’ve been feeling unmotivated and extremely alone (how I often feel surrounded by my college student peers who seem have no interest in discussing complex ideas, only what happened at the party last weekend). While listening you added that when our Fi and Se seem to take the wheel, it can be damaging and set us back. I realized now that that is exactly what I’ve been doing and why I haven’t felt in control in a few months. Nothing makes me feel better than when I’m creating something, building or leading and seeing my results take place. When I’m in control of what is going on, how you described the difference we experience when we are the hosts versus when we are a guest was incredibly resonating for me, that is when I fly, when I’m at my best because my mind is anazlying what’s going on around me or what is going to be the outcome, I already have decided those things when I’m in control.
I’ve always been told that I seem wiser and beyond my young 21 years, that I think in ways and understand things in a way that takes some people their whole lives to understand. I’ve always felt my intuition very strongly, and it’s kind of funny when you spoke about a sixth sense because when I was a child I always wondered if I really did have one, almost as if I had powers that other people didn’t. Now I realize that it’s just how my mind works. I just discovered your website a few days ago, and after listening to this podcast I’m so excited and interested to listen to more and gain more insight on myself and my mind. Thank you!!
Seems to me some people are under the impression they are INTJ’s when they are not. Quite innocently so. But some are playing the part of an INTJ, and are not aware that a real INTJ sees right through their lie.
This can happen with any type, honestly. I think people just see certain characteristic within themselves that happen to mirror the experience of another type. With guidance and training, we all can find our accurate type eventually. =)
Two things stood out as sounding INFJ rather than INTJ.
Hosting a party? More suitable to an INFJ, especially for the reasons it was recommended (control who they interact with/is invited, etc.).
An INFJ is the one far more likely to put up a barrier to prevent taking on the emotions of others. The INTJ is building a wall to prevent accidental exports/immigrants. Vulnerability avoidance, as you’ve mentioned elsewhere on the website.
The advice to engage more in the extroverted functions is great, of course, but the how/why could’ve been tailored better. There is a certain need to actually engage the real world at some point, as well as iteration, but the presentation leaned a little heavy on the extrovert button. Also, sometimes pondering the same information over and over will do you little good and intaking a wider range will be of use.
Using the favored car model – make sure the three year old is fed, entertained/distracted, and has had pee breaks or you’ll be in for an annoying ride.
My INTJ boss has organized our department’s year-end dinner party for our executives where we all dress up and meet for a nice evening of fine dining and conversation. She does the organizing and then stays in one place to eat and “converse” with those at her table. She does this so flawlessly, it’s easy to miss she’s not an NF. It’s a muscle that INTJs can develop given the right circumstances.
Crystal, this is so true. We INTJs can learn and develop these”muscles” just as you describe. We have the determination and will power to make it so. What is important to factor in is that these are learned skills, not innate natural skills that come so easily to other types. Yes, I can become a charming event hostess and make sure everyone else has a great time, but after I am done with the event, I make sure that I have “me” time to recharge my batteries since extroverted activities drain me, rather than recharge me. When I do these kinds of activities, I make sure to recruit trusted allies who are extroverted feeling/sensing members of my tribe to support me. Then I can relax and actually enjoy and have fun. 🙂
I really appreciate and admire this entire website and what you have going on here. It has been immensely helpful for my personal growth!
This podcast in particular has helped me figure out that I’m an INTJ. I previously thought I was an INTP until I read your article on the differences between the two types. One aspect you covered that resonated with me especially is the 3-year-old Se in this type. I played soccer my entire life until I quit my Junior year of college. I loved soccer as part of my own identity and developed somewhat of a reliance on it to feel valued and accomplished. Growing up in a big Catholic family, I felt misunderstood and neglected unless I was playing soccer. In college, I had a traumatic experience with the team and coaching staff (mainly with/because of the head coach) and quit after years of struggling with the decision to stay or leave. My family, the people I was told to love and trust, exuded a message to me of pushing through the pain and playing soccer even though it was so traumatic. There advice was based on the fact that I was already there and had only one more year until I was done with college (the athletic scholarship I had was helping me pay for college). I took that advice until I could bare it no longer and quit. This traumatic experience surrounded by the emotional abandonment I felt from my family has strongly influenced me. As an INTJ, I not only see how it affected me in college, but the implications it has had on my entire life. Now I am going through EMDR treatment, a form of therapy for those with PTSD, to contain that pain in the timeframe that it happened rather than how it’s affected my life in its entirety as well as on a daily basis. Now, I basically refuse to take care of my body. However, this podcast, and the connection that you’ve shown me between my physical self and my emotional and mental self is, without a doubt, a good seed that I’m sewing into my perspective of myself. I know that there are more connections to be made between the deconstructed representation of this type and my current battle with PTSD, and I plan on continuing to work through them.
Thank you for everything you do here!
If anyone has any input or relation to my experience, your feedback is so welcome.
Read “Eastern Body, Western Mind”. And good luck.
I enjoyed the podcast. I can see that when I was younger (late teens) and my plans didn’t work out my 3 year old would take control. After a period of time the driver would regain control, but unfortunately, sometimes the 3 year old creates a deep and wide mess that is not very cleanable and you end up living the results the rest of your life.
Great podcast! I enjoyed it immensely and plan on listening to it again. I have to say that this is one of the first INTJ things that hit the nail on the head for me. I related to so much of what you said– it described much of what I’ve felt inside but have had difficulty expressing. I too just found MBTI recently and it has been such a help for me. All of these years I’ve thought there was something wrong with me socially. I couldn’t figure out why I was making connections between things and thinking in a way that was so different from other people– why couldn’t people ever see what I saw, whether it’s an ideal or an outcome? This has been such a big help to me to be more accepting of who I am and more accepting of other people. The points on Fi really resonated with me too. I agree with what another poster said, that as an INTJ woman you can be forced to use Fi a lot, especially if you have women friends who are feelers. I think this does happen to the point where Te can be smothered or used less because it isn’t always welcomed in particular kinds of social circles.
The best pointer I got from the podcast was to structure and host your own social events where you have some control. I’ve been thinking exactly the same thing…I was organizing events for another group and I was being asked to do things that didn’t feel natural to me. I felt like I had to walk on eggshells. I didn’t feel like I could express any irreverent thoughts for example! 🙂 I appreciate harmony, but sometimes this
function can go overboard in groups forcing everyone to be the same.
On INTJ women finding relationships – I’ve learned to embrace my nerdiness. In a professional environment, I milk the image for all its worth! I’d use the horn – rimmed glasses and the pinstriped suit to my advantage when I had to “go out and get the business” as a business owner. If nothing else, I looked like I knew what I was talking about. I think we INTJ women can effectively exploit that
“brainy image” without appearing dowdy or unfeminine and that can be attractive to certain men.
As a female INTJ in crisis I found parts of this podcast very painful but oh so true. After over 50 years I have only just discovered MBTI and the INTJ type and it is an epiphany more me having blamed myself for all these social shortfalls.
Such a comfort to read other INTJ’s comments on their battles and to know that we have so much in common. I am dumbfounded about finally after all these years finding there are people who see the world the way I do. I can’t say how that touches me having felt so alone for so long.
Knowing that the poorly developed authenticity is why I feel so deeply but have cannot manage my feelings so they overwhelm me, has given me a whole new perspective on that problem aspect and some new ideas on how to find a better way. I always thought I was just too empathic but I see now that that is the ‘internalising’ of others feelings and not having coping mechanisms for that.
I shall watch this podcast again and read the comments and it is a great help in a terrible time.
I find that I have patterns of using my perspectives and effectiveness to tackle a huge project followed by years of hiding out and conserving my energy. I have the freedom to do this as my husband is the primary breadwinner of our home. But, this podcast helped me to realize how unhealthy it is for me to hide out for so long. I truly am energized and made to feel more confident when I am working passionately toward building something. I guess it’s time to get back out there…
I really appreciated this. It was very telling on the interactions of the functions, and some I have been implementin for sometime, others I’ll have to try. The part about patience and being willing to make fail is completely true. It’s something I’ve began pushing myself towards a couple years ago and I’ve grown by leaps and bounds since. The part about the tertiary causing an idealized sense of self explains alot as well. The emotional self indulgences does seem to gender a strong sense of unhealthy, unproductive perfectionism. I stalled out on my art for years because of this, but as soon as I reached for external sources and accepted failure I’ve very quickly reached the level I’ve always strove for and am now working into the professional realm of art with it. I also like you pointing out that neglecting the lesser functions entirely isn’t healthy either, I just went through a phase were I had spent so much time working on contracts and illustrations and taking no time to relax I burned myself out, I hadn’t stopped to play a video game in months, and staying up for 30+ hours at a time working on a picture wasn’t unheard of, so where as you shouldn’t indulge them you can not ignore them either. So I really enjoy your work keep it up.
I’ve been on the fence regarding my type. This podcast reeled it in for me. Thanks!…Well I am off to have some “INTJ time”… in a corner away from distractions to reconcile all this 🙂
This comment is in regards to my ability, as an INTJ, to let other people in. As a child, approximately 5 years of age, I told my mother (single mother) that I could not love her because I knew that some day she would pass on, and how could I allow myself to love someone who I knew was going to die and leave me. She responded by saying that we should love someone all the more, as time is precious. I have always struggled with allowing others in but have always been drawn to those who I perceived as needing my help, i.e., those I deemed as the innocents such as mentally incapacitated children and adults, young children prior to the development of conscious cognition, single mothers, and the minority groups or those deemed to be different (especially the LGBT community). That being said, as a child and young man, I struggled with severe anger issues, and this anger was translated into extreme protectiveness over those that I did allow in. I am thus more or less, an INTJ alpha male, without the machoism and high fives in the locker room. This however, is an immense struggle for me, as others upon first blush perceive me to be one of those who “fit in” when in truth I have never fit in anywhere.
I rather think an INTJ male has no choice but to be alpha, based on our naturally cynical view toward arbitrary authority. Of course, for us that sometimes means we’re the alpha in a wolf-pack of very few…or 1. 🙂
Shawn, to me the other choice is the outlier. No need to be either alpha or beta.
Hi Joel and Antonia,
I’ve been listening to your podcast for awhile now and I love it! Your description of it being my intuitive fix during my morning commute is a very accurate description of what I feel when I listen to them. I listened to this podcast especially today and I was surprised when I could relate to it quite precisely. Especially about the being in Think Thank type careers.
Now, my confusion begins when I start to wonder why it relates to me. I have known that I have been a male INFJ for some time who’s in the scientific field, although I’m beginning to pursue more of my artistic side by switching careers and going to an art school. But I was wondering if its because I’ve surrounded myself with people who’s job is to think in the same manner that is similar to an INTJ.
I am pretty confident that I am not mis-typed since I feel so deeply and have done an extensive research on INFJ personality(ranging from forums to your podcast/website) I empathize with people a lot. I love coming up with solutions and listening to people’s problem and counseling them.
I was just wondering, could it be a combination of me being male(what the world expects me to act), being in the sciences where analytical thinking is required and an INFJ’s chameleon like quality can make me or other INFJ’s come off in the world as being more of a thinker? I have noticed that I would end up taking on people’s thought process and using them as my own. For example my friend is an INTJ and I would talk to her for a long time about my concerns and what I was feeling at the moment and she would give me a systematic feedback. Eventually when we are away I would end up talking to her in my head as a way of reasoning out with myself certain scenarios that I would otherwise feel too emotionally charged to handle. I felt as though I was absorbing her thought process. But this is just one example as I am also surrounded by professors who have been my mentor and I wanted to know if you two also think that this is plausible or could be what is happening.
I just wanted to say, thank you so much for the podcasts. I can take a lot of the concepts and relate them so much to different topics and that’s something I get excited about.
Thanks for the comment Nino! It is very common for men to identify with the Thinking process, especially in a world that seems to overvalue male thinkers and female feelers. Environment can also be a strong influencer. If you are surrounded by Thinkers, you will spend more time using and practicing that analytical ability. I’m an INFJ too, but my Thinking process is stronger than my feeling process because my dad was a strong thinker. (I keep thinking he might have been an INTJ, but I’m not sure.)
I hope that answers your question. 🙂
Relationships are not very predictable (driver seat) and horribly inefficient (passenger seat), at least from an INTJ’s point of view. It should be no wonder we INTJs may run into trouble in this area. When we throw caution to the wind, strap on idealism and then let the 10-year old have some say in the direction the vehicle is going with regard to relationships, it can feel a little too paint-by-numbers – and the last thing an INTJ “Houlden Caulfield” type of personality wants to do is be “phony.”
After a few fender-benders, the INTJ may give up entirely until the next overwhelmingly seductive Authenticity challenge comes along. And there he goes again, throwing himself into passions he’s ill equipped to sustain.
Undoubtedly this is a problem I have struggled with.
When an INTJ can’t predict or guarantee the results of an endeavor, he may not find it worth pursuing after the first couple of tries. This isn’t just a “vulnerability avoidance” issue, though that certainly factors in. I can’t speak for others, but I’m more afraid of the potential to have spent entirely too much personal capital (time, energy) on something unpredictable and inefficient only to have it die on me because I failed to find the pattern in time. An INTJ finds it hard to admit and face up to failure in anything.
I think Randy is right – dogs seem the perfect companions for INTJs because they are attentive, efficient, and operate holistically on patterns we easily identify with. Cats are unpredictable; dogs are reliable and have lighter expectations.
People just don’t seem as reliable overall, so we may have a harder time bonding with them.
I found your response to hit the nail on the head with interpersonal relationships, especially relating to romantic relationships.
They are incredibly frustrating in the sense that I can never predict if they’re going to work out. So far none of them have! But the kicker is that when I’m in them I always see potential for them to work out and live as though they are going to (which leads to devastation when it doesn’t, and consequently shoring up stores for the next strain of attacks). My mind has entertained the idea of never engaging in those types of endeavors again, but I know that I want to keep myself open to the possibility should one arise again.
So it’s the conundrum of how much time and energy to invest in a scenario that is by nature wildly unpredictable. The only solution I have come up with so far, is to try and pay attention to my intuition through the entire process. If something keeps showing up on the Dopplar, then I should pay attention to it. Second, throughout the process, with experiences that are uncomfortable or entirely unpredictable by default, I have to ask myself if this is something worth sacrificing my comfort over. Even if it blows up in my face, will I be okay with the fact that I invested XYZ? I think that helps alleviate residual stress if/when something blows up in my face because the decision to be at peace with the result has already been made. The only thing now is to implement being at peace….Eventually. 😉
Anyway, this is something I’ve been thinking about recently, and I’m glad you brought it up because I think it’s a sticky situation for many, if not all of us.
You both nailed it Shawn and Kylie. We value our time and energy because we’re so powerfully driven toward other pursuits. And though our biology also drives us toward coupling-up, in the back of our mind, we’re keenly aware of other personal, seductive, meaningful pursuits usually intellectual, scientific, artistic or…
But as an older INTJ, I don’t regret any former relationships even though they all were, by some definition, train wrecks. I had so many extraordinary experiences outside my normal realm that I would never trade those period.
I learned just this past Monday that a former partner of 17 years passed away at the age of 52. We were a highly productive couple building new homes, advancing businesses and even starting a few of our own. We traveled a lot, by most standards, and we loved and we fought.
She first came down with cancer at age 39. We were breaking up then but we didn’t know she was riddled with illness. The fact is that we can never know where our energy is best spent – we only think we know. And by relaxing that intuitive muscle even by just a bit, we possibly open the door to a more fulfilling life despite if or how a relationship MIGHT end.
I was highly invested in my next two mates too but both ended spending time in psychiatric hospitals. And while everyone else typically abandoned them, I did not. I adored those ladies and we had great fun together. I don’t regret those investments either. They opened up my heart first and then my mind. Seriously, in hindsight (intuition in the mirror) not a bad place to have been.
I really enjoyed this comment, Randy! We learn something of value from everyone who enters our lives – good or bad.
I recently had someone remind me of this when she pointed out that I have the quickest vetting process of anyone she knows. I quickly determine if someone is, or is not, worth my time. The problem with this is that I decide most people aren’t worth my time, so few people are allowed in.
We can’t learn if we aren’t being tested, and other people force us to grow, change, adapt, compromise, or implode. One way or another, we are changing. 😉
That is a great observation Shawn. I guess I was always partially aware that I would evaluate how much time and energy a relationship is taking compared to the projected return over time. That must seem awfully calculated to others.
I remember vividly observing when my mother died quite young, that she had put up with an enormous amount of crap over her life for a relatively poor return especially given how short it was. Since then I will sometimes quite quickly end relationships if I observe that someone is wasting my time. Integrity rates very highly.
Which just reminded me of an observation of a passage I found from Shakespeare many years ago.
The world is full of self important people trying to take something from you; power, time, money.
When they tell you their stories remember these words used by Macbeth;
‘Spoken by an idiot full of sound and fury, signifying nothing’
The other part of it is also what you observed, the fender benders can take a bit of straightening out. :o)
Thanks for the great advice on especially Fi! Focusing on the Te when feeling like a sitting duck and being stuck sounds like a very good idea. I can see that I am in a place right now where that advice should be implemented much more than I already do and in all aspects of my life in order to move on and develop into a better version of myself. In general as an INTJ female I find your INTJ descriptions the most accurate I have come across. So thank you for that, too.
Thanks Julie! I’m glad you find the information helpful! 🙂
I’m so pleased that you mentioned Gardner.
Fantastically done! I found myself nodding in agreement with nearly every discussion point the two of you brought up and your concurrent observations and suppositions.
Loved the Cassandra reference!
Your discussion around the seductiveness of our Authenticity process was especially poignant. I know I fall into that trap A LOT (as I’m sure we all do). I’ve been trying out various strategies for greater mindfullnes – journaling, etc. – but it’s been a “two steps forward, one step back” kind of process where your advice for Patience, especially with myself, really becomes compelling.
Thanks Catlyn for the feedback and kind words. Hope we see you around the Personality Hacker community.
One thing that I think gets overlooked is the attractiveness of our Authenticity process in particular for INTJ women.
Because “Thinking” in general is not a well-socialized trait for women, I find that in order to have friends for most of my life, I’ve developed my Authenticity much more than my Effectiveness. What do you think?
No-one put me in charge of projects until the last few years; I’ve been trying to socialize with other people for many more than that. To the point that I didn’t realize I was INTJ until recently; I’ve always scored as an INFP or INFJ, and it took someone listening to me and telling me I am *not* a Feeler to make me re-evaluate.
Wow Poppy! Congratulations on finally finding out your type. Now you can really start exercising that copilot. I think you will find your quality of life vastly improved now that you can rest into your gifts.
I’m sure you did develop your Fi. Similarly, I thought I was an INTP for years and just found out I am an INFJ. My Ti is way more developed than your average INFJ. I don’t think that is a bad thing either. It keeps me pragmatic. 😉
I’d agree with that. Socially, we’re more often rewarded for using our Authenticity rather than our Effectiveness.
I grew up with an INFP father. We remain very close to this day and his feeler influence has definitely left its mark for the better! So I’d like to believe that my Authenticity is more developed than the average INTJ but who knows? … maybe that’s just my Authenticity confirming what I want to believe about myself 😉
First I want to say that I did not receive an email when this anticipated podcast was posted so, I’m a bit late to the table and more than a bit surprised to see that no one else has yet posted. Having said that, it’s now time for my long-winded riff:
As a somewhat experienced INTJ, having traveled about the sun more than 58 times, the following is my perspective on interactions with the ‘outside world.’ Frankly, I see my own head as part of that world. And putting my hard-worked ideas into the outside world is what I so desire but too often those ideas and solutions are subjugated by petty favoritism or other office politics, unfounded fear of change, ego-maniacal idea-stealing types, etc. So rather than drop out of the outside world, my solution has been to start my own small businesses often while holding down a full-time job. Admittedly, none have lead to major financial success but to date, I’ve had no failures either and essentially, I’ve bought over twenty years of freedom from the typical work-a-day grind. To many stubbornly independent INTJs, that IS success!
Study-Study-Study then Test-Test-Test. Any interesting new subject is verrry seductive. INTJs are known as a Jack of all Trades because we study and test relentlessly. I’ve been a certified auto mechanic for 11 years, a certified vocational instructor in neon glass blowing for eight years, a self taught publisher that lead to a multi-year gig as a magazine columnist, a self taught and certified computer repairman, a self taught screenwriter that garnered some Hollywood attention, a self taught network manager, a self taught… well, you get the idea. Unfortunately for those that don’t study and test harder than INTJs yes, we can become rudely impatient and that’s not fair. But it’s not because we think you are stupid or dumb (though we may call you that), it’s because we want you to know what we know in all its beauty but too often only what is wanted is the ultimate short answer even further abridged. And that is what is frustrating to us… completely dismissing and dissing the beauty.
However, please also know that we are seldom impatient with someone genuinely interested in a subject that we have invested so much ourselves in. Indeed, we can light up and become an animated, extroverted educator in those rare but exciting occasions. And upon the occasion that someone studied upon a topic even more than we, get ready to run because we can quickly become your most enthusiastic pupil. And so, if you know we are definitely wrong about someone or some topic, just say so then back it up. Back it up with sound reason or knowledge and you will find us to be a strong and eager ally.
In any relationship, personal or business, we often instantly recognize when someone is trying to emotionally manipulate us even in the slightest (not that we can’t be fooled). But when we call out the manipulation, or the attempt immediately and obviously fails, we feel the push-back, the rejection no matter how slight. In those times, I’m certain we sometimes too quickly and too negatively judge a potential relationship based upon these little rejections because they don’t feel little to our underdeveloped Fi. They feel huge! Then we typically withdraw to lick our wounds, sometimes for days, before venturing out only to find our timing for redemption has expired. And this is where our blunt responses come back to bite. If we learn this when we are young, we can learn to curb our curt judgments for our benefit and the benefit of all.
As for the anti-social aspect of our personality, and I have heard that aimed right at me, my broader experience has been that people often approach me with their issues, even strangers in malls. It’s like I have ‘Counselor in Training for Free!’ tattooed on my forehead or maybe it’s just have that calm INTJ face. And while I don’t mind comforting someone in need, I don’t like being someone’s perpetual go-to guy just because they aren’t better managing their own relationships or emotional situations. Too often and for too long, what some consider socializing appears to us as relentless emotional venting about each other and situations when we’d rather be intellectualizing over some recent find in science or some new topic we just studied or, yeah, I know… some other thing that seems utterly unexciting to most other types. And for many of us, that’s where our loneliness lies. Now I don’t know how emotion-venting socializing feels to other personality types but for most INTJs, I think it feels outright taxing… right Dr. Sheldon Cooper? And yes, we are aware that we sometimes emotionally vent too. But there’s a kind of bonding that doesn’t seem to happen for us like it seems to for others.
I remember reading that not only are INTJ types most likely to bang their head, because they aren’t living outside of their head, but also that they are most likely to lose their keys because they weren’t there when they put them down – they were inside their head flipping new data with old to see if there’s a new way of looking at things. Nonetheless, funny factoid that for me is oh so true.
Internalization of Emotion – Yes sir! Before learning of MBTI, I was in a meeting with a crisis counselor and an ISFJ friend (she was the patient) and the counselor had me explain to her that it sometimes takes me a few days to ‘know’ how I’m feeling. Absolutely true. I sometimes know I’m feeling something but it’s nebulous and until it rises from the depths, I’m often baffled about what to do, if anything, about how I think I might be feeling. But listening to music, doing a little aerobics or taking nature walks help me to faster vent those shadowed feelings and get on with things in a more balanced manner.
And also yes! Healthy versus unhealthy Se. My beloved pooch could pull me out of my head or out of sadness and into the moment with a long wanting stare or a just a well-placed whine. The next thing I knew, she had me walking on the beach or playing hide-n-seek games in the dunes, even meeting strangers so they could pet her. And boy, did she teach me patience. I recommend a dog for most INTJs at some point in their life. Dogs can ‘get’ us in ways others don’t seem to and put us in healthier situations we would never ever even think to put ourselves in. Hence the feeling, I suppose, that they get us.
There’s a lot of recent neuroscience/neurobiology enforcing MBTI and blending it with other models too. Definitely a potential go-to place for younger INTJs hoping to find a rewarding and expanding field then possibly even encountering an empathizing mate. It’s how we INTJs roll in the shire 🙂
Fascinating and inspiring comment. Thanks, from one INTJ to another.
And thanks for the thanks, George. We INTJs are few and far between so, a high-five now and then has real meaning.
Thanks Randy! My husband is an INTJ and I have always loved how animals are drawn to his subterranean compassionate nature. When we were dating, it was how I knew I could trust him. As an INFJ, trust and safety is very important to me. Whenever we have to put suffering animal down, I’m the one who holds the animal until it takes its last breath, while my husband has to leave the room because he can’t handle the emotions coming up. He has way more patience and compassion for animals than people. 😉
You are a great companion for your INTJ husband, Charis. And ‘subterranean compassionate nature’ is a terrific description. My INFJ buddy finds trust very important too and it seems difficult for him to find. I was overwhelmed but stared into my dog’s eyes when she was put down a few years ago. I made a promise to care for her to the end and hard as it was, I was there for her. Ugh, still hard. Darn tertiary Fi! Me, two female assistants and my then girlfriend all shared tears. Only the caring but analytical male doc was dry-eyed. Anyway, thanks so much for the insightful podcast and the comments too.
Thanks Randy! I think INTJs and INFJs are pretty good teams overall. INTJs are incredibly loyal once you capture their hearts. And that is a nice place for an INFJ to rest into. The INFJ will need some patience as they strip away the INTJs armor, but the effort is well worth it. The problem with your INFJ buddy is that finding INTJ females is much harder – but they are out there and the ones I’ve met have been pretty awesome.
This is a moving comment, Charis, and one that touches me in particular, given my resonance with animals and their love for them. I find it really painful to be with dying animals but as I have become more adept with this, one of the most precious things with me is to have the honour of holding them through their final breaths..I find this easier with natural death than being put to sleep at the vets for some reason. I remember someone bringing me her animals every time they were sick or dying and one day I asked her what that was about and she said ‘you somehow just know how to sit with’
Thanks Leighah! Randy made an interesting comment that I am going to practice from here on out. He spoke of looking into the eyes of his pets as they took their last breath. I can see the value of that for their sake. It seems like it may be more painful for those of us saying goodbye, but our pets last look of the world should be of love.
As an INTJ, I just had to chime in and say that I do not relate to the animal-love very much. I am definitely far more compassionate about humans–although it is humanity in the abstract, rather than as individuals!–than I am with, well, dogs.
In fact, I tend to be suspicious of most dog-lovers, who are not Cesar Milan, especially when they start rhapsodizing about the special bond that they have with their pets. It just seems like projecting thoughts, feelings, and rationale on a creature that can’t talk back and refute your conclusions.
Thanks for writing that Randy. As another INTJ I found it very validating.
The comment on dealing with animals was interesting. I find I can often approach animals that other people are scared of, or would not otherwise be approachable.
It’s an incredible planet we get to share with all these amazing critters, Leo. I’ll never understand animal abusers. Keep on INTJing!
You are spot on! Thanks for sharing your insight. I am INTP but completely relate to and reosnate with everything you’ve mentioned. Thanks again!
I sometimes test INTP but it seems we’re all a parcel of rainbow even within our own type. I also like to think that with experience, maybe, just maybe I learned to round off some of my sharper corners. Glad you could relate, Nicole 😉
INTP/J (Fi/Fe and Ni/Ne struggle is real) here
I love animals. I cannot stand for a moment to watch animal torture. I’d sooner wipe out humanity than the rest of Earth’s fauna. So I guess that’s my INTJ showing huh ;P
Animal lovers unite!
I am really interested in the part of your post mentioning that young intjs hoping to find a rewarding career can try blending mbti with other models(such as MI Theory or enneagram). Mainly because I was just thinking of doing just that! And am an intj too.
However lately I’ve been stuck in a rut. Although I recently graduated with a bachelor’s in cognitive psychology and two language minors, I’ve been feeling somewhat unmotivated. Mainly because I know mbti, and those other models mentioned don’t have much respect in the psychological community. I’m having trouble finding grad programs that would support this type of research. Do you have any advice on what first steps I could take in finding a program supporting this line of work?