INTJs are among the rarest of the Myers-Briggs® personality types, and they’re also among the most misunderstood. If you’re wondering whether or not this might be your personality type, here are ten signs that you might be an INTJ.
Individually, the signs listed in this article are true of more than one personality type. There are 16 different types in the Myers-Briggs® system and many of them share a number of similarities that can make it challenging to tell them apart. But if most of these points sound like you, then there’s a good chance that you’re an INTJ.
1) Your Mind Works Differently
INTJs are a rare personality type. Intuitive types only make up about 30% of the population, and your preference for Sensing/Intuition affects how you process the world and learn new information. A natural consequence of this fact is that INTJs’ minds work differently than most other people they’ll meet and interact with.
You’ve probably already figured that out, though. INTJs tend to think deeply about things and many are very aware of the fact that their minds work in a fundamentally different way than many other people. This difference has to do with the way the INTJ type uses their preferred mental functions.
2) You Notice Patterns and Perspectives
As an INTJ, you notice patterns (especially big-picture patterns) that other people typically overlook. Introverted Intuition (the cognitive function that INTJs lead with) is basically like advanced pattern recognition software for your brain. INTJs tend to pick up on things “behind the curtain.” And since this process works in the background of your mind, you often make intuitive leaps that you can’t explain but which are based on patterns you recognized without consciously realizing it.
Personality Hacker nicknamed Introverted Intuition “Perspectives” because it “is focused on the patterns that form those perspectives,” — our subjective beliefs, thoughts and feelings — “and over time it starts to see the ‘pattern of the patterns’.” This lets INTJs adopt a “meta-perspective” and see things from many different angles. It’s easy for an INTJ to play “devil’s advocate” in just about any argument because they understand different perspectives so well.
3) You Have A Complex Inner World
As introverts, INTJs prefer the inner world to the outer world. Though people tend to see INTJs as a no-nonsense personality type, many have a vivid imagination and a rich, complex inner world. There’s far more going on with INTJs than first meets the eye.
Having Introverted Intuition as their favorite mental process means that INTJs tend to spend a lot of time inside their heads. You approach the world from the inside-out, processing everything you learn internally in a subjective and individualized way. There’s a good chance you keep yourself amused with a witty internal monologue that you’re sure would shock and surprise other people if you shared it with them.
4) You Make Impersonal Decisions
An INTJ uses Extroverted Thinking as their preferred decision making process. This function focuses on impersonal criteria to arrive at the most logical, efficient, and effective decisions. While INTJs often have very strong emotions, they do not rely on feelings or on personal concerns when they’re trying to choose between two options or decide how best to accomplish a goal.
This trait can lead to people describing you as cold or heartless, but that’s far from the truth. INTJs feel things deeply and care very much about the people who matter to them. Their mind are wired, however, not to make those concerns their top priority when making decisions. As an INTJ, you believe the best decisions are the ones that work and which make logical sense, and those aren’t necessarily the ones that will make everyone happy.
5) You Aim for Effective Solutions
As we talked about in the last point, INTJs use Extroverted Thinking as their preferred decision making process. Personality Hacker nicknames this function “Effectiveness” because types who use it do their best to make sure the actions they take lead to solutions that are sustainable as well as effective.
INTJs are insanely good at creating effective, sustainable solutions since they use their Introverted Intuition to keep long term goals in mind and project into the future. Your solutions might be slightly less grounded in the real-world than an STJ type’s ideas (for example), but they’ll definitely be based on solid research and reliable facts. From purchasing a new cell phone to planning major projects at work, an INTJ is always looking for the most effective choice to make in any given situation.
6) It’s Hard To Make You Change Your Mind
INTJs tend to be very stubborn people, not because they refuse to see other viewpoints but because they’ve thought about their ideas so much that they have a high level of certainty that they’re right. An INTJ will be happy to argue a point with someone but, rarely expects that they’ll change the INTJ’s mind.
This point is connected with an INTJ’s tertiary function, Introverted Feeling, as well as their preferred Intuitive and Thinking functions. Your Introverted Feeling side is very much about aligning with your authentic, personal values. Once you latch onto something as deeply meaningful to you it’s often difficult to change your mind about it. It’s not impossible, though. As an INTJ you’re good at seeing other perspectives and if someone backs up their points with rational arguments and verifiable facts then you’ll probably be open to changing your mind. Eventually.
7) You Wonder Why So Many People Are Irrational
Because making logical decisions comes so naturally to you, it might be puzzling why non-INTJs so often seem irrational. Something that’s obvious to you might be completely off another person’s radar, and when you point it out they might treat you as either a genius or a crack-pot (depending on the nature of the idea/fact).
This point also relates to how differently your mind works from that of many other people. Other Thinking and Intuitive types are probably the easiest for your to understand, but you may still find them baffling at times. Feeling types base their decisions on things that seem illogical to you and Sensors perceive the world in what seems like a fundamentally different way. It’s important to keep in mind that even though people don’t all think like you it doesn’t make them idiots. It just means they have different strengths.
8) You Seem To Baffle Other People
One of the things my INTJ sister frequently comments on is that people rarely get her sense of humor. It’s dry, sarcastic, and a bit dark, and those who don’t know her well might be baffled trying to figure out if she’s being serious or not. She also seems embarrassed by how many people describe her as “smart” because from her perspective she just works hard and makes logical decisions. There’s often a disconnect between how she sees herself and how others see her.
For INTJs, the feeling that people misinterpret you is a common one. The way others see you doesn’t always match who you really are or how you’re trying to come across to the people around you. They might call you too bossy when you’re simply being confident, or label you as nice when you think you’re barely fulfilling the requirements to be a decent human being. This can be confusing for you, since as an INTJ you’re typically very honest and may not be sure why others are so baffled by you.
9) You Are An Emotional Person On The Inside
INTJs spend quite a bit of time making sure others don’t see them as emotional, but the hard outer shell is protecting a soft inside that feels things deeply. It’s very unlikely that other people will see these emotions come out unless they are very, very close to you but the emotions are there. Other might describe you as seeming apathetic or as having a “resting bitch face” that doesn’t betray any emotion other than irritation.
Contrary to popular belief, though, INTJs have strong emotions. One way this characteristic shows up for INTJs is in the high value you place on loyalty. Once you’ve included someone in your circle of friends you’d do just about anything for them. And if that loyalty is betrayed, the resulting hurt can make you cut off that person so quick you make the INFJ door slam look gentle.
10) Stress Affects How You See The Outer World
A type’s inferior function often shows up when they get stressed out. For an INTJ, this function is Extroverted Sensing. Typically, an INTJ’s stress reaction includes obsessive focus on external data, overindulgence in sensory pleasures like food or shopping, and/or an adversarial attitude toward the outer world.
Stressed INTJs might try to escape the outer world by immersing themselves in books, TV series, or video games. They might isolate themselves and fall into depression, or become angry, suspicious and hostile. On the other hand, you can learn to use your Sensing side in healthier ways through hobbies through activities like painting, cooking, or running. You might even find that you learn to enjoy the sorts of activities that get you out of your head and into the physical world for a while.
If you’re still not sure what your personality type it, I highly recommend taking the Genius Style Test by Personality Hacker. It’s free and they offer the most reliable test that I’ve found on the internet. Please note that this is an affiliate link, which means if you decide to purchase any of their products after taking the test I’ll receive a commission at no additional cost to you.
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