It’s rare an introvert who would qualify as a fast-talker. And, like anyone else, most introverts hate to lie. But no matter how honest they are, each introverted Myers-Briggs personality type has at least one secret they’re hiding — either from themselves or others.
So what does each type “cover up”? Every individual is different, and four letters can’t encompass all that we are. Nevertheless, here’s what we think each introverted personality might need to be a little more honest about.
(What’s your personality type? We recommend this free personality assessment.)
What Each Introverted Personality Type Is Lying About
“No, that stain doesn’t show at all…”
If there was a contest for Nicest Introvert, the ISFJ would be a top contender — except that they’d probably let someone else win on purpose. ISFJs have a desire to care for the feelings of others as well as maintain a certain level of order and harmony around them.
That also means the ISFJ is the master of the white lie, for better or for worse. They’re happy to tell you that your shoes match your outfit, your new haircut looks great, and that food you spilled on yourself is practically invisible (even if you looks like you were slimed on Nickelodeon).
This is truly a double-edged trait. On one hand, it’s nice to be reassured by your friends, but on the other… well, most of us would rather know we have spinach in our teeth.
“It’s fine, it didn’t bother me.”
Everyone’s feelings get hurt, and for all the “feeling” personality types, that pain can be something they process over and over. But for the ISFP, criticism or disapproval don’t just hurt — it cuts right to the heart of who they are.
ISFPs live life in a sort of forward leap. They sense the way forward through their deep feelings and throw themselves into wherever those feelings lead them — no matter how unconventional it is. Purple hair on the first day of a new job? An ISFP can pull it off. Booking a solo trip to a city they’ve never seen? The ISFP will do it. Submitting a concept album in lieu of a senior thesis? Sure, why not.
This comes with a cost: When everything you do is an expression of your inner self, any criticism tears you all the way down. It’s a judgment on you.
But the ISFP probably isn’t one for dramatic diva-fits; they’ll leave that to the extroverts. Rather, they want to avoid making things awkward, so they may slink off to nurse their wounds alone. Sure, their strong feelings might burst through later to their partner or good friend, but often in the moment, they put on a brave face. They say they’re fine, but that’s their little fib.
If you have an ISFP in your life, remember that your words affect them more than you may realize. And if you’re an ISFP yourself, direct communication helps. Art is also a powerful way to handle those feelings — and that’s something you know how to do.
“I’ll have it to you by Monday.”
Few people are better at bringing a difficult project together than an ISTP — especially if it involves some combination of creative thinking, hands-on work, and pushing the bounds of what’s realistic. The thing is, genius takes time… and so does getting an ISTP’s attention.
Let’s be clear: When an ISTP agrees to a deadline, they don’t mean to lie. Sometimes, the idea fascinates them from the start, and their enthusiasm is 100% sincere. Other times, they try to be up-front about being non-committal, but a boss/client/friend/relative insists on a hard timeline. Sure, the ISTP figures, I’ll give it a shot.
In many tasks, however, from the simplest laundry-folding to the most complex home renovation, the ISTP will switch gears when something else becomes more interesting. It’s often not until the deadline looms that the urgency puts it on their radar again. But don’t worry. You may get it a few hours/days/weeks late, but the ISTP will make sure it’s cool.
“Who, me, lie? What’s wrong with you?”
The ISTJ is really just here for honorable mention, because the truth is, they might be the least likely of all the introverted types to actually lie. Why? Because lying is wrong, that’s why. It’s also unnecessarily complicated — two things the ISTJ hates.
The truth is, whether your outfit looks ridiculous or your date has an annoying laugh, the ISTJ will be the first one to tell you (and often the only one). They’re also more likely to cop to their own mess-ups, even if they’re pretty crabby about it (don’t worry, they’re upset at themselves, not you). The truth may hurt, but they don’t believe lying will make it any better.
Which brings me to the one exception: their favorite credo. ISTJs are fond of saying, “I’m not mean, I’m just honest.” Sorry, ISTJ, but even that saying can sometimes be a little fib — it’s actually possible to be both.
“Sure, I’ll do it your way.”
Oh, INFP. I love you so, so much.
No one else sees the world the way you do. You combine the best of everything humanity says it wants (even if it doesn’t always reward it), sincerely living life by the highest ideals and endlessly exploring new and creative possibilities.
One thing you never lie about is whether you fit in. You know you’re different; it’s a fact that sometimes feels thrown in your face, like when you see others living inauthentically or hurting others just to get ahead. You’re not programmed that way, and you wander the world like the main character in an adventure story — ready to fulfill a prophesy that no one quite believes in.
Whiiiiiiich brings me to your situation at work (or anytime you’re a teammate). I know you strive to be honest always, but you sneak in a little white lie. It goes like this: “Okay, if you insist, I’ll do it the way you asked.”
You have the best of intentions. You know you’re supposed to go along, get along. But you and I also know that the chances of you really, actually doing it their way are slim — either your creativity will take over, or you’ll feel resentful and rush through it without doing your best work.
So, what’s an INFP to do? Well, if it’s a work thing, a lot of times it seems like you have no power. In other words, doing it differently will get you fired. Here’s where a little forwardness can help: “I know you have a reason you want it done that way, but I think I’m onto something. Let me give you my best work by trying something new. If you don’t like it, I promise I’ll fix it.”
Another option, of course, is to try their way and see if it’s more interesting than you thought. Just make sure you have someone to vent to afterwards.
“Sure, I’m happy to listen… AGAIN.”
INFJs are walking contradictions. They’re introverted but people-focused; nearly clairvoyant about others but never done figuring themselves out; calm on the outside but awash with emotion on the inside. All these traits come together into perhaps the biggest contradiction of all: They fight endlessly for others, but at times, struggle to stand up for themselves.
That leads to the one lie every INFJ has told at some point in their life: Please tell me more. INFJs are the go-to counselors and advisors in their friend group, their workplace, and all too often, for perfect strangers who happen to sit next to them on the bus. Combine this with the fact that INFJs are sensitive introverts who often absorb emotions from others, and it can all be too much.
Make no mistake! INFJs actually enjoy providing emotional support, often taking intense interest in the lives and wellbeing of others. But when people come to them again and again and again, they get backed into a corner where they can’t get what they really need — some time to themselves.
INFJs, this little lie of yours is a gift you give to others. But give to yourself, too. You don’t have to say yes to every person in need — and if you can’t say no, you can at least tell them you need time first.
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“It’s everything or nothing.”
There might be no one on earth who has a clearer view of the big picture than the INTP.
We’ve all heard that cliche about blind people touching an elephant. We all know we only have a little piece of the puzzle. But there’s also someone who can sit back and intuit what all the other pieces look like — and that person is an INTP.
That big picture viewpoint, however, can be deceiving, because it means INTPs are prone to one of two pitfalls: cynicism, or promising the world.
INTPs promise the world when they see the whole picture, envision what’s possible, and then sell people the idea that it’s a sure thing — while hand-waving all the challenges of making it real. INTPs get cynical when they see everything possible and realize how far the rest of humanity is from ever getting there.
These two patterns seem totally opposite, but they’re both reflexes of the same thing: the all-or-nothing thinking that comes with having a huge vision.
And the thing is, when an INTP does this, it’s not really so much a lie as a miscalculation (which, for an INTP, is almost worse). The truth is, even the grandest vision will maybe only 80% come to pass, and that’s if it gets all the hard work and dedicated time it requires. Nonetheless, it will almost definitely not be a complete dud, even if most people are more stay-in-the-box oriented than you, dear INTP.
But you already know this. So next time you aim for the stars (okay, so in five minutes), remind yourself: a mere moonshot is a good first step.
“I’ve got it all under control.”
INTJs, you’re not going to like this, but you’re fond of saying you prefer the blunt truth — so here it comes. I’m an INTJ myself, so I get it. Our plans actually are very good, our systems actually do work. Heck, most of us are either killing it in our chosen field for exactly this reason or ready to stab our eyes out with a fork because we can’t find one. single. employer. who values our ability to mastermind.
So relax. We know we’re good.
But we also have a blind spot, and all too often, that blind spot is our own happiness. As an INTJ, I’ve sometimes wondered if I’m even capable of being satisfied and happy like other people, no matter how much I achieve. But the truth is, of course I can; masterminding just isn’t the way to get there.
Our personal lives — and happiness — are messy things. You think you want x, but when you get it, x isn’t what you expected. Or you finally find the partner who checks all your boxes only to realize… you’re just not that into them.
The way to find happiness, I think, is (unfortunately) to look at which feelings you want, and to plan toward those — not toward specific outcomes. Want a sense of freedom and security? The promotion might just eat up your time or add to your anxiety. Want to feel loved? Finally getting married might do it — but maybe a fluffy thing like self-acceptance is what really gets you there.
Sorry, INTJs, but emotions are part of the meat robot you’re trapped in.
It’s okay to mastermind the metrics, of course. I absolutely believe that INTJs can achieve the fitness level, sleep habits, or work/life balance they set their mind to. But don’t think for a second you have it all under control. You can control everything except how you feel about it, and that — for better or worse — is the one place where you sometimes have to try, you know, letting go.
You might like:
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