MYERS-BRIGGS TYPE INDICATOR GENERAL PROFILE
from Purdue University
INTJs are the most self-confident of all types, having “self-power” awareness. Found in about 1 per cent of the general population, INTJs live in an introspective reality, focusing on possibilities, using thinking in the form of empirical logic, and preferring that events and people serve some positive use. Decisions come naturally to INTJs; once a decision is made, INTJs are at rest. INTJs look to the future rather than the past, and a word, which captures the essence of INTJs, is builder – a builder of systems and the applier of theoretical models.
To INTJs authority based on position, rank, title, or publication has absolutely no force. This type is not likely to succumb to the magic of slogans, watchwords, or shibboleths. If an idea or position makes sense to an INTJ, it will be adopted; if it doesn’t, it won’t, regardless of who took the position or generated the idea. As with the INTP, authority per se does not impress the INTJ.
INTJs do, however, tend to conform to rules if they are useful, not because they believe in them, or because they make sense, but because of their unique view of reality. They are the supreme pragmatists, who see reality as something which is quite arbitrary and made up. Thus it can be used as a tool – or ignored. Reality is quite malleable and can be changed, conquered, or brought to heel. Reality is a crucible for the refining of ideas, and in this sense, INTJs are the most theoretical of all the types. Where an ESTP sees ideas as the pawn of reality, an INTJ sees reality as the pawn of ideas: No idea is too far-fetched to be entertained. INTJs are natural brainstormers, always open to new concepts and, in fact, aggressively seeking them.
INTJs manipulate the world of theory as if on a gigantic chessboard, always seeking strategies and tactics that have high payoff. In their penchant for logic, the INTJs resemble the INTPs. The logic of an INTP, however, is not confined to the expressible logical. Unlike INTPs, INTJs need only to have a vague, intuitive impression of the unexpressed logic of a system to continue surely on their way. Things need only seem logical; this is entirely sufficient. Moreover, they always have a keen eye for the consequence of the application of new ideas or positions. They can be quite ruthless in the implementation of systems, seldom counting personal cost in terms of time and energy. Theories, which cannot be made to work, are quickly discarded by the INTJs.
To understand INTJs, their way of dealing with ideas should be observed closely. Their conscious thought is extraverted and empirical. Hence, they are better at generalizing, classifying, summarizing, adducing evidence, proving, and demonstrating than are the INTPs. The INTJs are somewhat less at home with pure reason, that is, systemic logic, where principles are explicit. In this respect they resemble the ENTJs. The INTJs, rather than using deductive logic, use their intuition to grasp coherence.
INTJs can be very single-minded at times; this can be either a weakness or a strength in their careers, for they can ignore the points of view and wishes of others. INTJs usually rise to positions of responsibility, for they work long and hard and are steady in their pursuit of goals, sparing neither time nor effort on their part or that of their colleagues and employees.
INTJs live to see systems translated into substance; an INTP, by way of contrast, is content to design the system. In both these types, however, coherence is the master. Both internal and external consistency are important, and if an INTJ finds that he or she is in a working situation where overlapping functions, duplication of effort, inefficient paper flow, and waste of human and material resources abound, the INTJ cannot rest until an effort is made to correct the situation. Cost-effectiveness is a concept, which has a strong imperative for INTJs, who frequently select occupations in engineering, particularly human engineering. They also can be found in the physical sciences, in roles, which require development, such as curriculum building, and, in general, any job which requires the creation and application of technology to complex areas.
Fellow workers of INTJs often feel as if the INTJ can see right through them, and often believe that the INTJ finds them wanting. This tendency of people to feel transparent in the presence of the INTJ often results in relationships, which have psychological distance. Thus colleagues find the INTJ apparently unemotional and, at times, cold and dispassionate. Because of their tendency to drive others as hard as they do themselves, INTJs often seem demanding and difficult to satisfy. INTJs are high achievers in school and on the job. On the job, they take the goals of an institution seriously and continually strive to respond to these goals. They make dedicated, loyal employees whose loyalties are directed toward the system, rather than toward individuals within the system. So as they people of an institution come and go the INTJs have little difficulty –unlike the NFs, who have their loyalties involved more with persons than offices. INTJs tend, ordinarily, to verbalize the positive and eschew comments of a negative nature; they are more interested in moving an institution forward than commiserating about mistakes of the past.
As mates, INTJs want harmony and order in the home and in relationships. They are the most independent of all types. They will their intuitions about others when making choices of friends and mates, even in the face of contradictory evidence and pressures applied by others. The emotions of an INTJ are hard to read, and neither male nor female INTJ is apt to express emotional reactions. At times, both will seem cold, reserved, and unresponsive, while in fact INTJs are almost hypersensitive to signals of rejection from those for whom they care. In social situations, INTJs may also be unresponsive and may neglect to observe small rituals designed to put others at their ease. For example, INTJs may communicate that time is wasted if used for idle dialogue, and thus people receive a sense of hurry form an INTJ, which is not always intended. In their interpersonal recreational situations, they do not enjoy physical contact except with a chosen few.
As parents, INTJs are dedicated and single minded in their devotion; their children are a major focus in life. They are supportive of their children and tend to allow them to develop in directions of their own choosing. INTJs usually are firm and consistent in their discipline and rarely care to repeat directions given to children… or others. Being the most independent of all the types, they have a strong need for autonomy; indifference or criticism from people in general does not particularly bother INTJs, if they believe that they are right. They also have a strong need for privacy.
The most important preference of an INTJ is intuition, but this is seldom seen. Rather, the function of thinking is used to deal with the world and with people. INTJs are vulnerable in the emotional area and may make serious mistakes here.
At midlife the feeling side of personality should be given much attention by the INTJ, who can work at expanding his or her abilities to respond to wishes and feelings of others. They may also do well to turn more attention to the sensory side of their natures, attempting to get in touch with the joys of good food, good beverages, social rituals, kinesthetic experiences… and play. The “wasting” of time in play is an appropriate target as a midlife task for INTJs who can take lessons from an SP, especially an ESP, in the art of enjoying the pleasures of life.
Wishing to control nature, the INTJ “scientist” probably has more difficulty than all other types in making up his or her mind in mate selection. Even mate selection must be done in a scientific way. It may well be that the narratives, plays, and films impugning the “rational and objective” approach to mating have as their target our thorough going scientist INTJ. Nevertheless, when young, the INTJ is attracted to the freewheeling, spontaneous, fun loving “entertainer” ESFP. But the INTJ requires that mating meet certain criteria, else it is not undertaken. So the INTJ doesn’t often go through with what is begun by natural attraction. Since he or she proceeds in a rational and methodical way, the selection of a similar temperament is more likely than selection of opposite, following the assumption that those who are similar ought to do well together. The INTJ “scientist” is also attracted to the ENFP “journalist,” probable because of the enthusiastic, effervescent, and apparently spontaneous enjoyment and wonderment this type exudes – the very antitheses of the careful, thoughtful exactitude of the INTJ.
The mate of Promethean NT may well believe that the NT is quite oblivious to his welfare, and may see him as unaware of daily events, which make up the stream of homely family life. The mate of an NT may long for more frequently verbalized expressions of affection and concern on the part of the NT. The NT, on the other hand, would probably be amazed that his or her way of relating and loving is experienced by the mate as being aloof or uncaring.
NTs do seem rather cold and unemotional to other temperaments. They tend to control and hide their emotions behind an immobile facial stance, with only the eyes transmitting depth of reaction. A public display of emotion or affection is particularly repugnant to an NT.
Because of the NT’s distaste for stating the obvious or being redundant, the NT is apt to verbalize expressions of affection rather infrequently. To other types this seems cold and miserly, and they often are hurt by the withholding. To the NT, stating what is already established is raising doubt where there is none. The commitment has been made; the position has been taken. And the commitment stands until notified. Therefore, clearly, it is unnecessary and inappropriate to restate the established and obvious.
In establishing sexual relationships NTs are not likely to give in to impulse, getting involved on a spur-of-the-moment basis. Rather they are likely to think through relationships carefully, giving prolonged consideration to projections. Once the matter is thought through, the NT is ready to proceed with investing in the relationship. If it does not work out, the NT is likely to shrug his or her shoulders and turn away, perhaps with only mild regrets. Once an NT has made a decision, however, a change of heart is not likely to occur on his or her part, provided, of course, that a response has been forthcoming from the recipient. And, in all likelihood, the NT will develop the relationship as he or she has conceived it. If the situation calls for a long-term commitment, a long-term commitment is made. If the situation class for a short-term commitment, a short-term investment is made. A peculiar dynamic is here likely to occur: When the NT’s inte nt is a long -term commitment, this fact is not likely verbalized, since for the NT, this intent is obvious. But if the relationship is to be short-term, this fact is likely to be verbalized, just in case it is not obvious. NTs are likely to honor a personal commitment once made, even though the relationship was not consummated as satisfactorily as anticipated. Nor is the NT likely to verbalize any disappointment or dissatisfaction if such is the case.
The NT mate is not apt to hold mates responsible for discord; usually the burden of doing whatever needs to be done will be seen by NTs as their own responsibility. The NTs, as a group, do not thrive on conflict at a personal level. They do enjoy intellectual dispute, but quarreling on an emotional level is something NTs find destructive; generally an NT will walk away from this kind of interaction.
NTs often have a curious amorality related to the generally accepted standards of sexual behaviors. The rules of society have little pressure for NTs, but their own idiosyncratic standards of conduct do. These usually have been carefully considered, and are followed with or without society’s approval. The sexual ethics of an NT are generally his own; they may or may not conform to the general morals of sexual behavior current in any given time.
Establishing a sexual or social relationship with an NT, especially introverted NTs usually requires more investment of time and energy than with other types. This is especially in contrast with SPs, who are more ready to establish relationships. Often, types who are not NTs are unwilling to invest the time and energy required to relate to an NT. Even the extraverted NTs, although apparently easy to get to know, are actually fairly difficult to understand, for the personality structure of an NT is characteristically complex and, at times, even convoluted. Friends and mates of NTs repeatedly express surprise at a facet of character they find in the NT, one that had not been apparent previously.
Female NTs, in particular, are apt to have their sexuality overlaid with intellectualism. Their preference for the logical can obscure expressions of their feelings, which may or may not be well developed. If not, the NT female may have difficulty with organic responses unless her partner takes the time, makes the efforts, and understands the necessity of making a sexual approach through mutual exploration of intellectual concepts. It is unlikely that an NT female will be sexually stimulated by a partner who is not her intellectual equal. Male NTs have a somewhat different expectation concerning intellectual equality. The preference here is for equality at most and some – but not too much – inferiority at best. Obviously, this places the intellectually gifted female in a position of limited appropriate NT choices.
In any event, both female and male NTs can bring to a sexual relationship a willingness to explore possibilities of erotic arousal. If they have so marked it out as one of their areas of competency, NTs can be quite expert in sexual technology. They are very apt to possess skill in both the physical and psychological logistics involved in sexual intercourse, and to understand well the necessity for this relationship to be based on a wide variety of common interests outside the bedroom. Unlike the NF, who might consider it unromantic to study carefully scientific treatises on sexuality (e.g., Masters and Johnson, 1966), NTs would be likely to do so, finding it relatively easy to translate these objective findings into creative sexual, sensual behavior.
Outside the bedroom, NTs seem to have more difficulty than others types in engaging in play. They are, on the whole, apt to be rather serious, finding it amusing to dialogue at what they might call “seventh plane of irreality,” a pastime which other types are apt to find rather dull. For the NT, the amusing and humorous is usually subtle and, more often than not, based on a play on words. They especially enjoy humor, which contains an unexpected double meaning, but – unlike the SPs and, at times, the SJs – they do not enjoy ribald sexual stories or practical jokes and find the recounting of both somewhat offensive, especially in mixed company.
A few deep relationships are the usual pattern of an NT’s emotional history; promiscuity is typically regarded with distaste. The experience of partner swapping is apt to repel an NT, who would, in all probability, find this experience psychologically scarring. The NT mate is not likely to discuss past personal involvement’s with a mate or with others and almost never discusses a mate with friends.
Sensuality begins for an NT in the imagination, as it does for an NF; both types are capable of nuances of appreciation of the erotic, which those with S preferences might find irrelevant or even unfathomable. As a sexual partner, an NT can be highly creative, imaginative, and exciting. The degree of satisfaction for an NT in a relationship will be correlated with the depth of the relationship. Still, mere sexual release is sometimes seen as necessary, particularly if sexual tensions are getting in the way of important work. In that event, the tension is cared for with dispatch and as conveniently as possible.
NTs tend to be relatively uninterested in acquiring wealth and as mates, therefore, tend to be satisfied with modest comfort. Possessions as an end in itself seems not to motivate NTs; rather, enjoyment in the beauty of an object, pleasures of design and building, pleasure in elegant functioning in possessions all motivate an NT. A vintage car, a classic airplane, an elegant art object, owned or not, give pleasure to an NT. This characteristic NT trait – enjoying without needing to possess – often causes mates who do not share this detachment some impatience. The NT’s usual disinterest in acquiring material wealth beyond that necessary for reasonable security and comfort can also provide some dissonance in the mating relationship. Although an NT periodically is inspired to acquire wealth, this urge seldom lasts long enough to acquire that fortune. The NT’s attention quickly turns once again to the theoretical, and the monetary interest in becoming wealthy dissipates – only to return from time to time with the same result.
NTs seldom, however, lose interest in owning books and knowledge; these hold their interest year after year, and an NT's home is likely to be well lined with books. In fact, the non-NT mate of an NT often perceives the NT as directing exclusive attention to the world of theory and techniques, at the expense of giving sufficient attention to the mate. Although NT’s may seem oblivious to the home life going about them, they usually show interest when these events are brought to attention. NTs are somewhat vague about social time, especially the introverted NT’s and may be unaware, unless reminded, what hour, and day, date, or season it is. This can lead to difficulty in the mating relationship when the mate is a type to whom anniversaries, birthdays, and the like are important.
Both NTs and introverted NFs tend to develop intimate relationships rather slowly; intellectual development seems to proceed at a faster rate than does social development. For both NTs and NFs, communications sent through the physical relationship are apt to become more and more complex over time, with their approaches to the sexual encounter threaded with subtleties and symbolism. The sexual act is usually given meaning beyond mere release from sexual tension. Sexual contact for the introverted NT may be less frequent than for the extraverted NT. Routines of daily living, such as working – especially if these daily routines are fraught with conflict – can be quite repressive to the emotional and sexual readiness of the NT, especially the introverted NT (as well as the introverted NR). NTs may engage in the sex act as a profound expression of love, or, at the opposite extreme, as an act of self-humiliation and self-denigration, resulting in disgust for self.
NTs usually take family responsibilities seriously, particularly their own responsibility to members of their family, including their parents. They are, however, often perceived by members of the family as having more psychological distance between themselves and others than do other types. The NT tends not to “own” the behaviors (or body) of his mate as might other types. The errors of others, whether family members or not, are not the NT’s errors, and are handled objectively. The NT’s own errors are those which are inexcusable, and unforgivable. Parenting is usually a pleasure, therefore, for an NT, who seems to watch the growth of children (and a mate!) with joy but as somewhat of a bystander.