Perhaps no other personality type is as mythologized on the internet as the INTJ. Everyone knows that INTJs are the “masterminds,” the cold evil geniuses who thrive on logic and have no emotions. But I know a few INTJs—one of my best friends is an INTJ and I’m also married to one—and I find this shallow definition not only inaccurate, but also a bit insulting.
Yes, INTJs are highly logical. And yes, sometimes they struggle in the people skills department. But they are far from evil. In fact, they can experience a range of deep emotions comparable to any INFJ or INFP.
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If you’re serious about wanting to invite an INTJ into your life, you must be serious about wanting them to stay. INTJs are not casual people. Here are five things to consider before entering into an intimate relationship with any INTJ:
1. Their word is their bond.
As an INFJ, I’m a storyteller. I don’t like lying, but I have been known to exaggerate certain points to get my message across. I also shy away from bluntly delivering any opinion that might hurt someone else’s feelings. But for my INTJ husband, blunt is all he knows. To him, being blunt is the same as being honest, and honesty is one of the highest values of an INTJ.
The well-known bluntness of the INTJ is one of the most misunderstood traits of their type. It’s not that they are blunt because they don’t care about the feelings of others. If they give someone their honest opinion, it’s a sign that they do care. When they care about people, they express themselves as honestly as possible.
2. Precision is non-negotiable.
When an INTJ gives you a lunch order and requests Swiss cheese on their sandwich, they mean Swiss cheese. If you get to the deli and they’re out of Swiss, do not attempt to substitute something else and hope the INTJ won’t notice or care. I repeat: never attempt to use a substitute in the hope that your INTJ will accept it as the original thing they requested.
This sounds like a little thing, but for INTJs it can be a really, really big deal. It’s not about the thing, it’s about the way you treated their request. Either you haven’t observed their preferences as carefully as they’ve observed yours (and if you’re in a close relationship with an INTJ, you better believe they’ve taken note of what you do and don’t like). Or, you jumped in and made a new decision for them in their absence. Why did they bother carefully weighing their options to arrive at the best conclusion if you were just going to make a decision for them anyway? INTJs detest when other people make decisions for them. Instead, send them a text explaining the situation and asking what they’d like.
3. INTJs can also be highly sensitive.
This might be the number one most overlooked trait of INTJs. Because they have the evil genius stereotype plastered to them wherever they go, people assume INTJs have some sort of ironclad armor against the world and nothing can disturb their cold, calculating calm. But while it is true that INTJs don’t outwardly display a whole lot of emotion, many of them are still highly sensitive people (HSPs). They might be bothered by strong scents, loud noises, and itchy tags in their clothing — and especially disruptions in their schedules and routines.
Because INTJs naturally wear a more stoic facial expression, it’s easy for people to miss the early warning signs of an INTJ/HSP meltdown (irritation, withdrawal, and perhaps even the beginnings of OCD-like rituals). For an INTJ to be happy and healthy, they need just as much soft and sensitive self-care at times as emotionally-centered introverts do.
4. They make great mates.
INTJs have a reputation for needing no one, prizing solitude above all else, and disregarding anything that smacks of “sappy” emotion. And while INTJs may not be all that adept at flirting, sending flowers and chocolates, or entering into any of the other little love games designed to sweep people off their feet, they are amazing at holding up their half of an emotionally mature, committed relationship.
INTJs are extremely loyal for one thing, and they are always willing to match their partner in forthright, direct honesty about the needs of both parties. These qualities might not seem as sexy as satin sheets, but they make any kind of romantic partnership far more sustainable in the long run.
5. INTJs have emotions. Big ones.
Many INTJs, especially younger ones, have a strong tendency to hold back all emotion. They do this because for them, emotions are private—they’re not something you share with other people. However, after doing this as a matter of habit for so long, sometimes they begin to see the emotions themselves as a sign of weakness.
Healthy INTJs become more comfortable with their emotions as they age. A large part of this has to do with the fact that their tertiary function is Introverted Feeling, and tertiary functions usually develop later in life, in a person’s 30s and 40s. But that doesn’t mean that your reliably stoic INTJ will suddenly start getting teary-eyed at sentimental commercials. Instead, it means they’ll start recognizing and processing what they’re feeling. So, while we might see a 25-year-old INTJ suppress their anger on a routine basis and end up constantly brooding with dark, resentful thoughts, the 45-year-old INTJ will examine that anger more closely to see what kind of boundary has been crossed in their life.
If you find yourself attracted to an INTJ but you’re not willing or able to accept any of the traits described above, you’re not going to be a good match. However, if you not only can accept these truths about the INTJ but possibly even share some of them yourself, the odds are excellent that you’ll enjoy a long and happy relationship with your INTJ for years to come.