The 16 Myers-Briggs Personality Types
S = Sensing Types - SJ & SP N = iNtuitive Types - NF & NT
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What Do The Letters Mean?


"The Masterminds"

Introverted, iNtuitive, Thinking, Judging

To outsiders, INTJs may appear to project an aura of "definiteness", of self-confidence. This self-confidence, sometimes mistaken for simple arrogance by the less decisive, is actually of a very specific rather than a general nature; its source lies in the specialized knowledge systems that most INTJs start building at an early age. When it comes to their own areas of expertise -- and INTJs can have several -- they will be able to tell you almost immediately whether or not they can help you, and if so, how. INTJs know what they know, and perhaps still more importantly, they know what they don't know.

INTJs are the most self-confident of all types, having "self-power" awareness. The INTJs live in an introspective reality, focusing on possibilities, using thinking in the form of emperical logic, and preferring that events and people serve some positive use. Decisions come naturally to INTS; once decision is made, INTJs are at rest. INTJs look to the future rather than the past, and a word which captures the essence of INTJs is builder - a builder of systems and the applier of theoretical models. To INTJs, authority based on position, rank, title, or publication has absolutely no force. This type is not likely to succumb to the magic of slogans or buzzwords. If an idea or position makes sense to an INTJ, it will be adopted; if it doesn't, it won't, regardless of who took the position or generated the idea. As with the INTP, authority per se does not impress the INTJ.

INTJs are perfectionists, with a seemingly endless capacity for improving upon anything that takes their interest. What prevents them from becoming chronically bogged down in this pursuit of perfection is the pragmatism so characteristic of the type: INTJs apply (often ruthlessly) the criterion "Does it work?" to everything from their own research efforts to the prevailing social norms. This in turn produces an unusual independence of mind, freeing the INTJ from the constraints of authority, convention, or sentiment for its own sake.

INTJs are known as the "Systems Builders" of the types, perhaps in part because they possess the unusual trait combination of imagination and reliability. Whatever system an INTJ happens to be working on is for them the equivalent of a moral cause to an INFJ; both perfectionism and disregard for authority may come into play, as INTJs can be unsparing of both themselves and the others on the project. Anyone considered to be "slacking," including superiors, will lose their respect -- and will generally be made aware of this; INTJs have also been known to take it upon themselves to implement critical decisions without consulting their supervisors or co-workers. On the other hand, they do tend to be scrupulous and even-handed about recognizing the individual contributions that have gone into a project, and have a gift for seizing opportunities which others might not even notice.

INTJs do, however, tend to conform to rules, if they are useful, not because they believe in them, or because they make sense, but because of their unique view of reality. They are the supreme pragmatists, who see reality as something which is quite arbitrary and made up. Thus it can be used as a tool - or ignored. Reality is quite malleable and can be changed, conquered, or brought to heel. Reality is a crucible for the refining of ideas, and in this sense, INTJs are the most theoretical of all types. Where an ESTP seed ideas as the pawn of reality, and INTJ sees reality as the pawn of ideas: No idea is too far-fetched to be entertained. INTJs are the natural brainstormers, always open to new concepts and, in fact, aggressively seeking them.

INTJs manipulate the world of theory as if on a gigantic chess board, always seeking strategies and tactics that have high payoff. In their penchant for logic, the INTJs resemble the INTPs. The logic of an INTJ, however, is not confined to the expressably logical. Unlike INTPs, INTJs need only to have vague, intuitive impression of the unexpressed logic of a system to continue surely on their way.

In the broadest terms, what INTJs "do" tends to be what they "know". Typical INTJ career choices are in the sciences and engineering, but they can be found wherever a combination of intellect and incisiveness are required (e.g., law, some areas of academia). INTJs can rise to management positions when they are willing to invest time in marketing their abilities as well as enhancing them, and (whether for the sake of ambition or the desire for privacy) many also find it useful to learn to simulate some degree of surface conformism in order to mask their inherent unconventionality.

INTJs have a drive to completion, always with an eye to long term consequences. Ideas seem to carry their own force for INTJs, although they subject every idea to the test of usefulness. Difficulties are highly stimulating to INTJs, who love responding to a challenge that requires creativity. These personality traits lead INTJs to occupations where theoretical models can be translated into actuality. Teamed with an INTP wh ois the architect of systems, the INTJ provides dimension to an organization which insures that the work of the INTP does not gather dust on library shelves. INTJs live to see systems translated into substance; an INTP, by way of contrast, is content to design the system.

INTJs can be very single minded at times; this can be either a weakness or a strength in their careers, for they can ignore the points of view and wishes of others. INTJs usually rise to positions of responsibility, for they work long and hard and are steady in their pursuit of goals, sparing neither time nor effort on their part of that of their colleagues and employees.

Fellow workers of INTJs often feel as if the INTJ can see right through them, and often believe that the INTJ finds them wanting. This tendancy of people to feel transparent in the presence of the INTJ often results in relationships which have psychological distance. Thus colleagues find the INTJ apparantly unemotional and, at time, cold and dispassionate. Because of their tendancy to drive others as hard as they do themselves, INTJs often seem demanding and difficult to satisfy. INTJs are high achievers in school and on the job. They make dedicated loyal employees whose loyalties are directed toward the system, rather than toward the individuals within the system. So the INTJ has little difficulty with people who come and go at work, unlike an NF would (NFs have more of their loyalties involved more with people rather than offices).

Personal relationships, particularly romantic ones, can be the INTJ's Achilles heel. While they are capable of caring deeply for others (usually a select few), and are willing to spend a great deal of time and effort on a relationship, the knowledge and self-confidence that make them so successful in other areas can suddenly abandon or mislead them in interpersonal situations.

This happens in part because many INTJs do not readily grasp the social rituals; for instance, they tend to have little patience and less understanding of such things as small talk and flirtation (which most types consider half the fun of a relationship). To complicate matters, INTJs are usually extremely private people, and can often be naturally impassive as well, which makes them easy to misread and misunderstand. Perhaps the most fundamental problem, however, is that INTJs really want people to make sense. This sometimes results in a peculiar naivete', paralleling that of many Fs -- only instead of expecting inexhaustible affection and empathy from a romantic relationship, the INTJ will expect inexhaustible reasonability and directness.

As mates, INTJs want harmony and order in the home and in relationships. They are the most independent of all types. They will trust thier intuitions about others whem making choices of friends and mates, even in the face of contradictory evidence and pressures applied by others. The emotions of an INTJ are hard to read, and neither male nor female INTJ is apt to express emotional reactions. At times, both will seem cold, reserved, and unresponsive, while in fact INTJs are almost hypersensitive to signals of rejection from those for whom they care.

As parents, INTJs are dedicated and single-minded, in their devotion: Their children are a major focus in life. They are supportive of their children and tend to allow them to develop in directions of their own choosing. INTJs usually are firm and consistent in discipline and rarely care to repeat directions given to children - or others. Being the most independent of all types, they have a strong need for autonomy; indifference or criticism from people in general does not particularly bother the INTJs, if they believe that they are right. They also have a strong need for privacy.

Probably the strongest INTJ assets in the interpersonal area are their intuitive abilities and their willingness to "work at" a relationship. Although as Ts they do not always have the kind of natural empathy that many Fs do, the Intuitive function can often act as a good substitute by synthesizing the probable meanings behind such things as tone of voice, turn of phrase, and facial expression. This ability can then be honed and directed by consistent, repeated efforts to understand and support those they care about, and those relationships which ultimately do become established with an INTJ tend to be characterized by their robustness, stability, and good communications.

INTJs are idea people. Anything is possible; everything is negotiable. Whatever the outer circumstances, INTJs are ever perceiving inner pattern-forms and using real-world materials to operationalize them. Others may see what is and wonder why; INTJs see what might be and say "Why not?!" Paradoxes, antinomies, and other contradictory phenomena aptly express these intuitors' amusement at those whom they feel may be taking a particular view of reality too seriously. INTJs enjoy developing unique solutions to complex problems.

INTJs are also NT Conceptualists

What Do The Letters Mean?