12 type secrets of the INTJ personality

INTJ
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Comprising only 2 percent of the adult U. S. population, the INTJ is a rare personality type that has a unique set of skills and abilities. People who identify as this type are analytical problem-solvers who naturally see the “big picture.” INTJs are eager to improve processes and systems with their original ideas. They have a knack for seeing possibilities for improvement, whether at work, at home or in themselves. Like their type “cousins” the INFJs, INTJs often become catalysts for real change. Whereas INFJs desire to better humanity, INTJs strive to improve systems. (Not sure what your personality type is? Take this free, quick personality test from our partners at Personality Hacker.)

Here are 12 less obvious aspects of the INTJ personality type:

1. They’re smart. Really smart.

INTJs tend to be life-long learners who are enthusiastic collectors of knowledge. You may find them reading non-fiction books, watching documentaries or conversing with those who they see as their intellectual equals. In fact, the INTJ is one of two types with the highest college GPA, according to Truity.com. (The other type? The INFJ.)

2. Their intelligence can be a double-edged sword.

INTJs are walking think tanks who streamline the world, writes personality profiler Antonia Dodge, co-owner of Personality Hacker. People of this rare personality type excel at developing long-range strategies, designing complex systems that can be replicated and finding any weaknesses in infrastructure. Unfortunately, our society tends to marginalize problem-solvers who ask us to overhaul the way we do things, because true solutions take time and require a painful transitional period. Living in a world that seems short-sighted can make INTJs jaded and cynical. On the job, they may feel like their true talents are being wasted.

3. INTJs just ‘know’ things.

INTJs use their dominant function, introverted intuition — which is their main way of taking in and processing information — to form impressions and develop theories. This function works passively and subconsciously, which means INTJs often know something without really knowing why or how they know it. This results in sporadic “aha!” moments, as introverted intuition suddenly reveals an idea or connection to them, seemingly out of nowhere. The challenge for INTJs is to translate their amorphous revelations into more rational, communicable forms, writes Personality Junkie blogger Dr. A. J. Drenth.

4. They can be perfectionists.

Valuing quality and accuracy, INTJs strive to constantly increase their competence. They work methodically and systematically on tasks, and they’re often perfectionists with very high standards of performance for themselves and others.

5. As introverts, they need downtime to recharge.

When they get talking about a topic that interests them, INTJs can appear to be extroverts. In reality, INTJs are true introverts (defined here) who must frequently spend time alone to recharge their “batteries” and do what they do best, which is reflect, analyze ideas and make connections.

6. INTJs think critically and clearly.

People of this personality type tend to thoroughly examine information they receive. They think critically and clearly, and for INTJs, the true test of an idea is if it will work efficiently and effectively in a given context. They are generally quite curious about the world around them and want to know the guiding principle behind what they see. Often they have ideas about how to do something more efficiently, and they’re more driven by outcomes than personal feelings.

7. Female INTJs smash gender stereotypes. 

The INTJ personality type is rare, but to be a female INTJ is even rarer — only 1 percent of adult U. S. females identify as an INTJ (3 percent of males are INTJs). Both male and female INTJs tend to be reserved and analytical rather than chatty and emotionally expressive, so female INTJs may feel like they don’t fit the stereotypical expectation of femininity. Friends and family members, who may not fully understand the INTJ personality, may prod female INTJs to “just smile more and loosen up,” or they may question the INTJ’s lack of emotional exuberance. In reality, there is nothing wrong or lacking with the female INTJ’s communication style — instead, it is the natural way for the INTJ to be.

8. INTJs are selective in their relationships. 

INTJs value intelligence and authenticity in their relationships, and they are actually much more sensitive than they appear, writes Dodge. For this reason, INTJs are highly selective about the friends or partners they bring into their life. When it comes to romance, INTJs often have clear ideas about what makes for a solid relationship, and they are often unwavering in their pursuit of this ideal, according to Truity.com. They can be almost scientific in choosing a mate, and they often have a rigorous list of requirements their partner must meet.

9. INTJs need partners who give them space.

INTJs make loyal and devoted partners in romantic relationships, but they are highly independent, so they value partners who give them enough space to pursue the interests that are important to them.

10. INTJs may struggle to act.

This is because their dominant function, introverted intuition, is a perceiving function, not a judging function. Perceivers feel more comfortable taking life as it comes, while judgers tend to actively shape their lives, relationships and environments. “More proactive types, such as ENTJs, might even deem them somewhat lazy or apathetic,” writes Dr. Drenth. “But calling INTJs (or INFJs) lazy is to miss the point of what it means to be a Perceiver. Since INTJs’ first and foremost job is to Perceive rather than Judge or act, functioning in a passive mode of perception is actually their most authentic form of ‘work,’ work that can ultimately be of great benefit to society.”

11. Many INTJs have made incredible contributions to society.

According to Truity.com, famous INTJs include Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Bill Gates, Dwight Eisenhower, Alan Greenspan, Ulysses S. Grant, Stephen Hawking, John Maynard Keynes, Ayn Rand, Isaac Asimov, Lewis Carroll, Cormac McCarthy, and Sir Isaac Newton.

12. Real personal growth happens when INTJs turn their theories into action.

INTJs are wired to be agents of change, so producing ideas and developing theories without actually implementing them feels unsatisfactory. The way INTJs can grow and develop themselves on a personal level is by actually putting their theories to use. “When an INTJ gets into action and begins reaching mile markers, their concepts are no longer abstractions. They can be vetted, improved upon, test/iterated,” writes Dodge. “But most importantly, the INTJ is making an impact on their environment, which may be one of the most satisfying things they experience.”

Image credit: Deviant Art

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Read this: 21 Undeniable Signs That You’re an Introvert


Jenn Granneman is the founder of IntrovertDear.com and the author of The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World. She also cohosts The Introvert, Dear Podcast and blogs for Psychology Today. For most of her life, Jenn felt weird, different, and out of place because of her quiet ways. She writes about introversion because she doesn’t want other introverts to feel the way she did.