I have always viewed modern psychology as intellectually flaky because, for the greater part, it has largely been contaminated by the “everybody-is-equal” la-la land of political correctness. This bias has all too often prevented tests from drawing firm conclusions and putting people into well defined categories – which I believe we definitely can. No wonder, everybody nowadays feels entitled to be viewed as special regardless of their genuine character and life achievements.
But if there had to be an exception to the rule, it would be the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). This test is rather quick and yet I found it to be oddly accurate. The conclusion is that it will definitely categorize you into one of 16 personality types.
It turns out that I am a so-called INTJ. While I was leisurely scouting the internet to find further resources about INTJ personalities, I found this profile to get lots of heat. Curiously, reading through the forums taught me that most of the hatred came out of unexplainable jealousy, to the point that some conversations where entirely fixated on the subject of people purposely trying to mimic and impersonate the INTJ traits. Imagine that.
Because true INTJs are very rare (even rarer I believe than the stats posted by MBTI), and because we are notoriously known to be both mysterious and hard to deal with, I will briefly lay out what the official characteristics are as defined by the MBTI. But especially, I will give you an insider’s look into what it truly is to be an INTJ and how you, mere mortals, should interact with us and expect from us.
So according to the MBTI, INTJs are one of the most strategically capable personality types. We are unrelenting intellectuals who revel in chess-like maneuvers. We are known to be intelligent, self-confident, rational, insightful, imaginative, decisive, ambitious, secretive, curious, cynical… You get the point: overworked psychopathic nerds. Great. Thank you.
Although it may be a cynical caricature, it does bear some truth. But I contend that the reasons why we are so intense and righteous carries a much deeper meaning that would make anyone feel dizzy by looking at just how far we push our very nature. Believe this is an overstatement? Point by point, let’s jump right in.
The most absolute respect for moral principles is the hallmark of INTJs.
INTJs are sovereign beings by design. We are extremely independent to a point of being perceived as “antisocial”. Interestingly enough, I found this demeaning description often brought up by malignantly codependent people desperately seeking to bring us back to the plantation through shaming language. But rest assured, we are B.S. proof. From a very young age, we are gifted with this uncanny sense of morality that hard wires deep in our thought processes an unwavering ability to differentiate Right from Wrong, regardless of social norms. This eerily innate comprehension of Natural Law (another article will have to be dedicated to this well-deserving notion) will be there to stay and direct our very moves and decisions throughout our entire lifetime. This is for a large part why most of us are so annoyingly successful in everything that we undertake.
INTJs are natural-born truthers which validation patterns are commanded by nothing else but evidence. We consider that just like morality, truth is everything but a relative notion. It can actually be sought after logically, ingested even if painfully, and known absolutely. We simply cannot understand the lack of courage in embracing truth. With people, we will deliver our conclusions and assertions raw and unfiltered. And we will not hesitate to judge you if your opinion deviates from what we know works, because we have studied it thoroughly and you obviously haven’t. No wonder we come off as blunt asses. Sugar-coating is not for us. We see nuances as a pitiful “feel-good” attempt to transvestite what is, and make it worthless in the end. We revel in the truth because we are not afraid to face it head-on no matter the cost. INTJs’ unbreakable self-confidence feeds off this very state of mind.
Yes, we view beliefs as debilitating pop culture that only caters to the weak minds and bloated egos in need for comforting lies. You see, people hate the truth because it involves total freedom and the dire responsibility that comes along with it. Most people will prefer the padded cushion of deception for as long as it fits within their belief system. Most people will prefer to abdicate their sovereignty to some so-called ulterior entity rather than take ownership of their existence. But regulation, safety, and slave-think are so much easier, right? INTJs, on the other hand, intuitively know that religion and government are nothing but mind-control systems whose only purpose is to be used as cope-out mechanisms for personal responsibility.
So indeed, in our sacred sovereignty, we are ultra self-confident. And yet, our egos are inversely proportional. It might even be safe to say that INTJs have close to no ego, because we know that it would constitute the highest hurdle in our quest for truth. Even if we deem you worthy of our time, we will often be intentionally provocative and polarizing. We find it amusing to see the horrified look on people’s face when we care to make an assertive comment or, worse yet, a blanket statement, no matter how true it actually is. Our self-confidence is almost systematically mistaken for cockiness or arrogance. Let me tell you one thing. Self-confidence never has and never will bring about either one. While cockiness involves embellishing or enhancing a particular achievement, arrogance involves claiming the merit for something that was not achieved in the first place. Both are foreign to the truth. And both require big egos. In other words, such behaviors therefore can not, mechanically, emanate from an INTJ mind. Period.
So rest assured that we will always be honest with you and ourselves. Honesty is not even a line of conduct in our case, it is raised as a mandatory value that we simply can’t help but excruciatingly apply no matter the consequences, even if at our own expenses.
INTJs are said to be masterminds with generally higher IQs. Although it might be the case, I contend that the value of our minds resides less in how fast it runs rather than our ability for holistic intelligence. Let me explain. INTJs are logical beasts by birth. As a small kid, I can remember spending hours upon hours in refining my architectural creations using Lego bricks. I was totally lost in working on symmetry, adjusting balance and proportions, and optimizing my supply of bricks. Suffice to say that from the get-go, INTJs condition themselves to only consider a topic from a reasonable standpoint and drill into it until it goes out of style. This, however, may result in quite a massive left-brain imbalance.
That is where the magic takes place. While our mastery will first be drawn to excel in problem-solving, our intellect will eventually make us feel unfulfilled. We will intuitively sense that something is missing like it occurred to me in my late teens. Knowing is not enough. As explained above, because INTJs have close to no ego, we will not hesitate to shatter our certainties, including those that were taught and given to us as dogmas. We will improve upon them and even deny the relevance of past knowledge if needed. In doing so, we will remodel our thought patterns around a more creative purpose using our right hemisphere. It is this awakening that will unleash the true power of an INTJ.
This holistic turn will then compile both the ability to understand what is and the capacity to create what could be. This drastic transition will have us set aside the books for a while after recognizing that this base body of knowledge, although required, should not be ingested further lest sterilizing our mind. Instead, we will funnel our full brain power into creating our masterpiece which will take the form of an original and massive innovative breakthrough in solving a particular problem. Most importantly, we will apply the related wisdom to it. That is the application of this new method, our own, into the physical plane.
To this day, I cannot see this trait in me abate a bit. I can testify that an INTJ mind is set on high-performance mode all the time. We are constantly running at a high vibratory state of consciousness. It is like we live a double life experience, but not a bipolar one. Rather, both our reason and spirit run contiguously and complementarily at all times. Our reality is enhanced in that way. Ideas and concepts constantly get entertained and toyed with. I must admit that it may get overwhelming sometimes. For some it may be a curse, but for us it is the fuel that makes us so capable.
INTJs are master long-term planners who will stick with the program until completion, no matter what it takes. At a young age, we already have a rough life path in mind that we will keep perfecting over time until we determine precisely what will bring us the highest freedom and happiness indeed. We frame a general strategy, a timetable, intermediate goals and contingency plans until the game is on to the finish line. INTJs do not know what half-way means.
So from that point forward, nothing and no one will ever get in our way. We become obsessively driven to the point that addiction and compulsiveness barely come close. We eat, drink and digest our target from breakfast to dinner to the point that our behavior may even appear from outside as borderline with the Asperger Syndrome – although it fortunately isn’t.
The early years of our lifetime endeavor are usually spent single as we barely leave any time for ourselves. Hell, we are building our masterpiece. These are the moments in our existence when we demonstrate the most egregious beast-like willpower. INTJs know sacrifice like no one else. We are the antithesis of this society of free shit, entitlement and instant gratification. The basis for this mindset is that we deserve nothing for being, but only for doing. In the effort, we are fierce, consistent and tenacious. In the output, we are ambitious, exacting and perfectionists. You will never see us stress out or rush, however. What we do is scarier. We never stop. We may fall, we may cry, we may be raging over everything and everyone. But in the end, we never – ever – fucking stop! We strive to make every freaking day count if only for the slightest extra achievement. We leave no room for doubt because we are prepared. And most of all, you have absolutely no idea about how judgmental, stringent and downright despicable we can be with ourselves when we fail at achieving a certain landmark. We are a self-standing motivation powerhouse.
As super high achievers, we are the kind of ascetic maniacs who will optimize every effort that we expand. In other words, we do not care about the form that our execution process will take for as long as we maximize its efficiency and productivity. Aesthetics and social grandiloquence be damned.
Therefore, does it come as a surprise to anyone that INTJs are NOT good team players. Or rather, yes we are. But only if we take over the whole team. Will we do it out of megalomania? Of course not. We don’t care about social recognition. In fact, if we had a choice, we’d rather be left alone to do the job. The reason why we will take over is simply because (1) we likely do not trust you at face value, (2) more often than not, admit it, your lazy ass will be more than willing to leave it all to us, and (3) we do not want our name to be put on a job that does not meet our standards. So if early in that group work session you hear someone be overly “kind” in offering to do the job for everyone, trust us, we are not being kind. We are just being INTJs.
Well, for starters, is there really such a thing as social “life” given the average brain-dead quality of acquaintances available out there? I know people will immediately label us as pedantic condescending fucks. But honestly, who wants to spend an hour with retards doing small talk and frying our brain cells over the latest gossips? Not us. What is more, whenever someone tries to raise the bar, we will likely not initially jump in. Instead, we will sit on the sidelines and observe the quality of the debate. If we assess that the brainpower on display is below what we may bring to the table, or if we determine that the people involved are simply in for an ego contest, don’t count on us to chime in. We will not try to stubbornly counter your flawed logic because you wouldn’t recognize it if it hit you like a freight train anyway.
One word about the famous INTJ “death stare”. It is not an urban legend. Reality is that we have very little tolerance for idiocy and sloppy people. In case you ruin our day because of some dumbass move on us, the luckiest way that you may have us deal with it will begin and end with a rant that we will keep for ourselves. The unluckiest way is to have us tell you face to face to just screw off and leave it up to us. In any case, you will get the death stare. And there is not a myriad of interpretations to it. It simply means: “Are you kidding me? What are you, retarded?”. That’s right, we just can’t fathom how it may even be possible to be like you.
INTJs are scarce with their time because, you know, we have better to do than socializing. No, seriously. We can definitely be socializing. I promise, some people have seen it happen. But there must be substance and purpose in front of us to do so. One of the most glaring reason why INTJs seek company in such small doses is that unlike the average person, we have built an entire self-sustaining validation system for ourselves. Our benchmark for confidence is no what people think of us, but what we have achieved in life and nothing else. We dismiss social status as nonsense and only take roles seriously. So in the end, what exactly should be our need for norms, fashion, brand names, and social recognition in general? That’s right, we do not need anyone’s external validation to feel right. So what you know about us has to necessarily be an understatement of what we truly are, have truly achieved or are truly capable of. We will gladly appear as losing even if we are winning. We just don’t give a fuck to advertise it all in the first place. We merely make it all run like clockwork.
So indeed, INTJs are often known as hermits. We seek to protect our sacred privacy with the most definite resolve. We are notorious homebodies who consider their lair as a launching ramp for whatever endeavor they need to study for first. It is true that we will dodge just about any invitation that we receive. In fact, don’t bother inviting us in the middle of the day or even week. We will politely decline and no amount of insisting will make us come. We have our plan already set by the time we get up. We are extremely routine based because we understand that success is doing the same thing that works, again and again, beyond the point that it bores us to tears. But, let me reiterate, we seek to achieve one thing per day as if we feel the urge to justify our very existence to ourselves. Nothing will derail the plan. Today, every day, we are on a mission. Got it?
Here is a tip. The best way to meet an INTJ might as well be to just corner one at his place and bust the door open. But as counter-intuitive as it may seem, we are known just as much as we are elusive. Our achievements will always do all the talking. We lead by example and our reputation runs before us. One thing that has always startled me is how many times I have run into people that seem to know me even though I can’t even remember having ever met them anywhere. This awkward moment when someone breaks out the “Hi” and I’m like “Hiiii….???”. Then I keep walking asking myself for a good minute who the heck it was. Not to ever get the answer.
So we may indeed be introverts. But our inner world is massive and equally fulfilling. We may prefer to be mostly alone but trust us, we are never lonely. Many will gladly take the shortcut in tagging us as psychopath because we seem to lack empathy. But here’s the deal. INTJs indifference is directed solely towards mediocre people whose ego is so calcified that they can’t seem to accept the truth and change for the best. These people alone will take our heat. Parasitic behavior pushing losers to envy, mooch off and encroach upon the freedom of worthy individuals viscerally disgust us. On the contrary, we will do anything to support and protect someone genuinely deserving. In fact, this is one of the ultimate goals that we set in our lives, helping and donating for the morally worthy and able. Because we know how badly successful people are suppressed by today’s society, we make it a duty to realign the world where it should be for the benefit of the bravest. This is the INTJ way to contribute to society.
In case you do manage to make friends with an INTJ, congratulations. INTJs have very few friends, but they are friends for life. We do not collect Facebook contacts for personal gratification. And especially, we are not putting ourselves out there to win a popularity contest. We do not collect “friends” that we will never see again or that will clog our phones for the sake of showing off.
We are extremely selective. In the first approach, INTJs tend to leave a lot of room for people’s arrogance. And most people tend to fill the void rather quickly. Yes, we can spot your bullshit a mile away without you even realizing it. This first screening is crucial in our assessment of whether or not you are genuine and you deserve any further attention. This drastic way of weeding out people as well as our ability to spot your ulterior motives make us absolutely immune to any social manipulation.
We are very picky indeed. But our close friends are here to stay. We do not talk much. But when it comes to it, we are the most reliable friend that you will ever have. For example, when still in college, I can remember driving through 4 states and back in a single weekend to just show up at a friend’s birthday party. We will always be there when you need us. And you will likely have the keys to our home. But because we are so exclusive, we keep our friendships very scarce. It is our way to ensure the highest quality of attention that we can provide to you.
On a daily basis, friendships with an INTJ are a rollercoaster. Because we are not too keen to get close, you will usually have to deal with our dry and cynical humor. So insecure people better stay back, you won’t stand a minute. Our wit is like no other. We always tend to see the most ridiculous angle to a wacky situation. And trust me, we will raise it to your attention until our laughs can no longer be contained. And we will go at it ten times a day, about anyone and everything. We know no taboo.
One last thing for you my “friends”. Please do not touch us. No, it is not because we won’t let you make complete connection with us that you should feel the urge to touch, pull, rub, hug, or squeeze us like plush puppets to compensate for that fact. We are not the tactile ones with acquaintances. For all of the above, we have our exclusive relationship to fulfill us at that level. Thank you.
So here goes.
A lot has been written about INTJs and relationships. While I would agree that INTJs’ characteristics seem to oppose a lot of contradictions against the popular conception of love, our ideal relationship and the way we intend to nurture it is absolutely whole, unique and intense.
Because we are exclusive and careful, we do not spend away ourselves easily. Now don’t get me wrong, we are not stuck up asexual monks and nuns – actually, quite the contrary. We just keep it for our partner, that’s all. So don’t expect one-night stands, threesomes and other meaningless exchanges of fluid with us. It just won’t happen. Likewise, we highly advise you to not try to show off or put on a chameleon act to try and lure us in. Seduction is an art of deception which intricacies we don’t fully grasp. Yes, we are a little bit clumsy that way. You will only manage to annoy us. We will cut your crap right ahead and discard you. Same with flattery, nope, doesn’t work. There is only one way to an INTJ’s heart, it is through the head. And to get up there you have to have all substance and no fluff. So to all of you pseudo pick-up artists, don’t waste your time with us. Move on to an easier, gullible target.
Yes, all we want from you is honesty. Because in the end, based on your actual morality and talent, WE do the choosing. You don’t. Try that, call or email us. If we merely respond, odds are that you are on the right track. Because yes, we will simply avoid you if we despise you. So please do not worry about whether or not we feel something. If we happen to get there, and it may or may not take time, we will go straight up to you and word it so bluntly that you may actually think that we are joking. Quite the opposite actually.
Relationships are no joke for INTJs.
First and foremost, INTJs put Trust with a capital T as the cornerstone of their relationship. So much so that hearing from an INTJ say “I trust you” is not only similar to, but it is exactly equal to saying “I love you”, just with a little more tact. You have to understand that INTJs never give away much at first sight in general. We are very secretive. But when we do open up, we do it entirely and exclusively with one person whom we will have probed and come to the absolute conclusion that she is worthy of our trust. We have no middle-ground when it comes to love.
Trust has such an importance because it underpins all the ways through which an INTJ relationship will be flowing and worry-free going forward. Our goal here is to make our relationship a sanctuary for the feelings, a haven for the mind. An INTJ lover indeed carries zero emotional insecurity within his relationship. Once the decision is made, we will never look twice, backpedal or doubt our partner. It means that we will do whatever it takes to protect the independence of our second-half just as much as we protect our own. Want to go out to a party on your own? No problem. Want to go on a trip with your friends? Go ahead. The key here is that INTJ relationships are so trusting that we get fusional to a point where applying any shape or form of control over the other is not only not needed, it is absurd and unacceptable. There is no power struggle ever taking place here. And because we are so self-confident and trusting, jealousy is also a foreign concept in the way we will handle you. Imagine that, we will act and give you the respect to treat you like a responsible adult!
INTJs tend to steer their relationship like a business. Now before I hear the horrified screams, let me explain. INTJs have a deep sense of selflessness. It implies that we feel this constant push to add value not only to our relationship, but to you as a person. We want to become a valuable complement to your fulfilment and feel that you can be an asset to us as well. Yet, we will do whatever it takes to not remain for too long on the receiving end of the relationship in case we ever have to rely on you for anything. We will do whatever it takes to not become a liability for our partner.
That equal-stance logic involves a few extremes that we often fall victim to, however. First, if we have a problem, we most likely wont tell you unless we absolutely believe that you can either do something easily or you should know because it will ultimately affect you. The bottom-line is that we may wait until the breaking point before we bring it up, which is not always the best idea. This leads me to the second point. Because we are convinced that we have to put out at least as much as what we expect from you, INTJs will tend to constantly outdo themselves in order to make your life better. Bring two INTJs in the same room and you will find them trying to one up each other to improve each other’s lives. While the result is awesome, I promise you that it will get exhausting.
But you get the point, INTJs are drama-free creatures who are too smart to not understand that the cancer of any and all relationships stems from a sense of entitlement over the other. We believe that everything can be sorted out logically, and we will not entrench in assumptions and cowardly silence in case of trouble.
Now it is said that INTJs are well-known for remaining single. Then why is it that we seem so fit – logically-speaking – for a relationship? I have a very clear explanation for it. The fact of the matter is that most of the time, we are only single by necessity. Yet, few people seem to understand that it has nothing to do with social isolation. As I explained above, thanks to the sheer amount of time that we spend perfecting ourselves, INTJs do attract a lot of people without even trying. No, most of us are single because unlike most others, being in a relationship because we fear to be lonely would be self-destructive. Yet, how many couples that I know are in this situation? We will not seek a relationship by default either because we somehow need to carry social status. We do not give a damn.
Rather, we will choose to stay out of relationships if it involves compromising with our standards, under any circumstance. We will not entertain toxic, value-extracting parasites of any kind. And yet, it seems that the screwed up, empty crowd has this innate ability to gauge how much they could potentially milk out of us to try and fill the bottomless pit of their insecurities. Rest assured, it will not happen. We have a kill switch that will go off invariably at the slightest hint of craziness.
But if we are in a relationship with you, you will not need to wrong us more than once. We view betrayal as the ultimate disgrace. And trust me, we will be ferociously vindictive if it ever happens. Yes, it is downright immoral to not stand up for yourself. There would be no apologies or excuses. From one day to the next, you would be gone from our lives. Straight and clear.
In the end, as INTJs we have this non-delusional comprehension that finding the right partner will be a tricky task. However, as pragmatics, we will also be able to seize the ball when the opportunity arises. And if we try, find the wrong person, and fail, we will do what we have always done for anything in our lives. Stand up and keep looking for a better prospect until we find the right one.
As to the question that we keep getting: “How come someone like YOU can still be single?”. I have only one answer to it. It so happens that someone like US has grown a fucking spine. You see. And more than knowing what we want, we know what we don’t want.
Love to us is the most intricately counter-intuitive challenge to take on, because it is one where for the only time in our lives, we want to feel right by actually not steering the boat alone. We want to abandon ourselves in the feeling not to ever look back. And this can only be possible with the right person.
And to leave it with a smile, here is the one real-life rant that you will constantly hear from my mouth.
“This is evidence-based truth. Your beliefs are irrelevant. Get as offended about it as you like.”