5 Signs That You’re an INTJ, the Logical Introvert

IntrovertDear.com INTJ signs logical introvert

I’d pushed my luck trying to make it in Advanced Trigonometry. The litany of formulas, sines, and cosines had finally gotten to me. Confused and bewildered, I turned to my friend, Tim. “How do you do this?” I asked.

Tim looked up, smirked, and replied: “Do you want the strategy Mr. Peters taught us, the fun one I made up, or the shortcut?” I couldn’t even understand one strategy, and he was making up new ones!

During his senior year of high school, Tim registered for the Advanced Placement Physics test, wanting to earn college credits. Unfortunately, his teacher accidentally signed him up for the wrong version of the test. When the test day rolled around and Tim received his assessment book, he didn’t recognize the problems or formulas, but he went to work anyway and ended up doing well enough to pass and earn the credits he’d wanted.

Tim excelled in academic environments and garnered some of the highest accolades without even fully applying himself. When I learned that Tim is an INTJ personality type, everything started to make sense.

Are you an INTJ personality type? Taken as a whole, here are five signs that you are.

1. You make decisions using logic, data, and cold, hard facts.

What you’ll notice first about an INTJ is his or her logical mind. While not all INTJs are born mathematicians like my friend Tim, they all express their thoughts via Extroverted Thinking (Te). Te is a mindset, or cognitive function, that’s first and foremost concerned with the cold, hard facts. It’s unbiased, data-driven, and efficient. When INTJs harness Te and combine it with their intuition, they can design a strategic process, organizational hierarchy, or system better than anyone in the business.

My educational psychology professor was an INTJ, and the system he designed was his course. Like a true intuitive, he’d reverse-engineered his lessons and our assignments by starting with the end goal, what he wanted us to learn, and working backward. The syllabus, lesson plans, homework, and assessments—everything—were thoughtfully and logically woven together. I’d never taken a class that made so much sense before in my whole life.

INTJs use their logical minds to solve simple problems, too. One INTJ I met organized his dorm room to keep uninvited guests from disturbing his privacy. He sketched out a diagram and turned his bed, dresser, desk, and whatever else was available in the room into a natural barricade.

2. You’re a walking library on the topics that interest you.

When an INTJ lets you into his or her world, you’ll gain a new appreciation for his or her genius. INTJs are among the most well-researched, resourceful people on the planet. They’re walking libraries on the topics that interest them, and they’ll spend hours devouring books, courses, podcasts, and internet articles when given the opportunity.

This is largely because an INTJ’s dominant mindset is Introverted Intuition (Ni), which thirsts for knowledge and seeks to understand the world and why it works the way it does. Ni users thrive when they have opportunities to focus for extended periods of time on one subject, and INTJs are no exception. It’s a small wonder that many of them are experts in their subject area.

While INTJs have wide and varied interests, many enjoy reading up on the latest tech gear, researching personal development, learning computer science, following the stock market, studying psychology, and interpreting what’s happening in the political world.

INTJs generally excel in math and the sciences. Some make great writers, theorists, and even artists. But all INTJs are thinkers, which explains why many end up with jobs in academia or as CFOs or COOs.

3. Your creative, intuitive nature makes you an idea machine.

INTJs see patterns and possibilities that the rest of the world misses. This is true of one of my INTJ blogger friends. She loves to review her blog traffic statistics and split test different Facebook ads. When she’s analyzing and interpreting data and using it to project future trends and possibilities, she’s at her best.

But there’s another side to her, one that comes alive when she’s writing blog posts. She loves to create and innovate, and this is true of most INTJs. Their Ni makes them veritable idea machines. They love to have a hand in launching a new business venture or introducing a new system, and they are constantly thinking of ways to do things better.

INTJs’ intuition and creativity show up in other ways, too. Some INTJs are gamers who develop detailed virtual worlds. They focus less on logic and numbers and more on storyboarding and imagining.

I recently learned that my childhood neighbor is a professional set designer for a large theater in our area. He harnesses his creativity and computer animation skills to craft detailed stage setups. When an INTJ pairs his or her Ni with Extroverted Sensing (Se), he or she can be an adept artist with an eye for beauty.

4. You have high standards for yourself and others.

Like all NT personality types, INTJs demand competence from themselves and others. They have little patience and tolerance for anyone who doesn’t take his or her work seriously, and they expect others to strive for excellence. Because of this desire, INTJs sometimes come across as critical and insensitive, but it’s important to remember they hold themselves to the same high standards.

And to their credit, while some INTJs may be overly critical, they’re exceptionally open to feedback from others. They seldom take it personally but, instead, listen and use whatever they think is helpful to improve their already formidable skills and abilities.

5. You secretly have a sensitive, thoughtful side.

While INTJs sometimes get a bad rap for being critical, they have a sensitive, considerate side too—especially with close friends. INTJs can be some of the most attentive listeners you’ll ever find. And when you’re ready for it, they’ll give you honest, objective feedback.

Other times, they’re just fun to be around. The same psychology professor I mentioned earlier took time out of his busy schedule to visit my dorm room and teach me how to tie flies for fly fishing. He also showed me how to cast and included me in his fly fishing trips both near and far. I knew he was smart, but I soon learned that he was super thoughtful—and a mean cook with a dutch oven.

Befriend a quality INTJ, and you won’t regret it. 

Still not sure of your personality type? Knowing your personality type can help you leverage your natural strengthsand grow. Take a free personality assessment here.

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Read this: 7 Secrets About Dating an INTJ Personality Type

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  • Marcia Yudkin

    I do not understand what in the world is “extroverted” about logic. Could you please explain that? Everyone I know who is a master of using logic is introverted. In addition, logic forces you to look within rather than outside of yourself.

    • Bo Miller

      Extroverted thinking is one of two thinking-oriented cognitive functions in Myers-Briggs personality theory. (The other is introverted thinking.) The “extroverted” in extroverted thinking means that this function, or way of thinking, is concerned with organizing and directing the outside world through systems, hierarchies, and data-driven measures. The word also shows the direction or focus of the user’s logic which is on people and the outside world, rather than self-control, deep, conceptual thought, and situational strategies (an inward focus…).

      Introverts certainly use logic well. It’s just that some introverts use extroverted thinking whereas others use introverted thinking. Does that make sense? It’s a lot to wrap your mind around at first.

      • Marcia Yudkin

        Thank you for your explanation of this rather advanced jargon. In future, it would be helpful for you to either explain your non-common-sense terminology or provide a link to an explanation. As an INTJ trained in philosophy, there is nothing outward-looking about logic to me, but I see that this is just a matter of your (or someone else’s) definition. Whoever made up this distinction should have used different terms than introverted/extroverted for it, in my opinion, because as is, it invites confusion with one’s overall introverted/extroverted personality.

        • Marisol

          It’s extroverted in the sense that you have to go outside yourself, versus internal fantasies.

  • Rachel Leigh Smith

    #3 is absolutely me! I’m a creative INTJ, a romance novelist and a crafter, and I actually tend toward introverted thinking. I can see where problems are pretty easily in most cases, but I don’t always know how to fix it. I also enjoy the process of tracing the problem to its root. Some of my biggest thrills in life have come from tracing down a problem on my computer, all by myself, and fixing it. Like when my Netflix suddenly stopped working.

    I want to know why when it comes to things I’m interested in, and I enjoy finding out those whys. I’m reading a history of ballet right now, thoroughly enjoying all the “why” ballet is the way it is, why certain movements exist, why countries have distinct styles, etc. Watching my Nutcracker DVD this year, of a performance using most of the original choreography, was a new thrill, because I understood WHY some of the moves and sequences exist. Putting those things in historical context gave me a new level of enjoyment.

    I hate being given a list of something that must be done in that order. In the past, lists like that have legit infuriated me. I prefer to do it my way, which is more efficient for me. I also don’t make lists of any kind, except grocery and a packing list once a year. Even with a grocery list, I’m just as likely to go without it. I also make a bad employee, because the boss thinks I’m goofing off when I’m really figuring things out my way. So I work for myself, quite happily.

    I also create my own internal frameworks that inform how I see the world. Particularly as a writer. I reject all of the plug-and-play type models because they don’t work with my process. They take all the fun out of discovering how things will happen, and then going back to fix things to make it all work. I have my own framework that I can apply to whatever I’m writing, and even reading.

    I’m also always looking for connections and patterns, and will see them where other people don’t. The downside to that is I can make a pattern even when there isn’t one. I’m the weirdo who can amuse myself tracing patterns on a floor, or ceiling tiles, and looking for the places in mosaic tile where it didn’t get lined up right.

    Data is incomprehensible to me. Spreadsheets are the stuff of nightmares. A decision made solely on logic and facts? Not coming from me. I play out scenarios in my head and make the decision most likely to bring me the one I want to happen. The only thing I plan out in detail is my annual writers conference trip. But even it’s not the level of detail an extroverted thinker would consider adequate. I’m not a super organized person, either. Not obviously anyway. It makes sense to me, but not to anyone else.

    I’m also very stubborn, don’t require the outside world to make logical sense, don’t care to impact/live/participate in the outside world, value truth, despise hypocrisy, and I prefer ideas to reality. One of my happy places is the Magic Kingdom, because it’s all about ideas and the imagination. There’s no room there for reality.

    • Bo Miller

      Fascinating! Thanks for sharing, Rachel. Loved reading your comment. 🙂

  • Patrick Clawson

    Sometimes, this website scares me. Somebody has been watching me and taking careful notes. Wow, what a perfect description of who, what, and how I am! Also, why so many people around me (especially my ESFJ wife) thinks I’m somehow magical. This personality type isn’t called “The Mastermind” for nothing.

    • Bo Miller

      Glad you connected with the post, Patrick!