INFP vs. INTJ: What Are the Differences?
by Lisa Sparrow
The difference between INFP and INTJ personality types is that INFPs are caring, day-dreaming people-pleasers, while INTJs are rational, independent thinkers. While they do share some creative traits, you wouldn’t get these two confused. INFPs are sensitive, warm types that value connection, whereas INTJs can be harsh on people they don't respect, valuing logic and reason above all.
Key personality differences explained
INFP - The Mediator
An INFP personality type is someone who exhibits strong traits of introversion, intuitiveness, feeling, and prospecting. As the name would suggest, mediators tend to approach situations with a caring and open-minded nature. A rare type, INFP individuals tend to be relatively quiet people but can be especially creative and imaginative.
Don’t be fooled by an INFP though, while they can seem quiet, their creative tendencies lead them to have passionate inner lives. Music and art can have a profound effect on the creative sensibilities of an INFP. Unsurprisingly, these artistic, sensitive types look for passionate, deep relationships - there’s nothing shallow about an INFP!
INTJ - The Mastermind
An INTJ personality type is introverted, intuitive, thinking and judging. Also known as Masterminds, INTJ personality types are thoughtful perfectionists who value their alone time. Much like INFP, INTJ is a rare personality type, so it’s not often that you’ll come across these intelligent rationalists.
While they like their alone time, don’t take them for wallflowers. Masterminds are independent, sharp, witty, and even prickly at times. Rationality and practicality sum up INTJs well. These personalities often don’t have time for frivolous things like small talk and like to surround themselves with people who think in the same way they do.
One of the great strengths of an INFP is their empathy. Mediators can easily develop deep emotional connections to others. Their emotional sensitivity means that they are highly tuned to others’ feelings and are unlikely to ever intentionally hurt someone. INFPs are also extremely generous with their time, emotions, and success - you can rely on a Mediator.
Due to their deep empathy, INFPs are also extremely open-minded. You’re unlikely to ever feel judged by a Mediator. Aside from their caring nature, INFPs are also extremely creative and passionate. This personality type is prone to daydreaming and often finds themselves in creative industries.
Masterminds, on the other hand, find strength in their rational and analytical thinking. INTJ personality types have strong rational thinking skills and so can be relied upon to find solutions to complicated problems. Because of their love of fact and reason, INTJs tend to be well-informed individuals. Masterminds will back research and fact, valuing evidence-based knowledge.
Aside from their rationality, INTJs are also extremely independent and self-motivated. They will do the work to reach their goals and won’t let obstacles stand in their way. But while they can be dedicated and steadfast in their beliefs, Masterminds also have a curious and versatile side. INTJs are open to many ideas, so long as there is evidence behind them.
With their open-minded day-dreaming nature, INFP personalities can be prone to unrealistic expectations that set them up for failure. Whether it’s a hopeless belief in romance or lofty career aspirations, a tendency to be overly optimistic and often unfocused can leave mediators disappointed. Unfortunately, INFPs are often also extremely self-critical, leading them to harshly evaluate their inability to reach lofty goals.
Because INFPs are incredibly empathetic, they can display people-pleasing qualities to a fault. This can leave them drained, over-stretched, and emotionally vulnerable.
While INTJs value evidence, that doesn’t make them immune from ego. Masterminds can have an arrogant streak, leading them to see others as inferior. This arrogance can also result in INTJs needing to complete tasks alone, refusing input or help from others. This focus on results often means that Masterminds are overly critical and even sometimes combative with others. If something or someone fails to meet their expectations, they’ll have no trouble pointing out perceived failings and arguing their point.
Emotionally, INTJs can struggle. Masterminds tend to dismiss emotions for facts, meaning they can be impatient, cynical, and struggle to understand how others feel.
For INFPs, purpose is especially important in their career. They need to have an emotional connection to their work and a moral reason for being there. You won’t find Mediators working in a job that compromises who they are. Because of this need, INFPs often find themselves in roles that leave them happy, satisfied, and loyal. Mediators do best in a work environment with freedom, positive feedback, and clear expectations.
For INTJs, challenge is key. Masterminds thrive in roles where they get to problem solve and are especially happy when they get to put their knowledge into meaningful work. They’re unlikely to seek out teamwork roles as INTJs tend to prefer to work independently. Perfectionism is the name of the game for an INTJ and as far as their work goes, they’re likely to be successful.
However, Acan struggle early in their career when they start at the bottom of the ladder. They’re not the greatest at office small talk, but with time their work record should shine through.
These dreamer types believe in true love and have high expectations of their romantic relationships. The harsh dating world can be a shock to INFPs, who will settle for nothing less than a soul mate. When it comes to friendships however, INFPs are big people pleasers who are open to everyone. These warm, accepting people look for authentic lifelong friendships and thrive in intimate social situations. Mediators do occasionally need their alone time though.
When it comes to romance, INTJs can struggle. While their pragmatic and rational approach might be useful in their career, it can lack nuance when it comes to dating. Masterminds can have unrealistic standards for their partners and struggle with romance and showing their emotions.
In terms of friendship, Masterminds might not be for everyone, but their dark humor and strong opinions mean that when they click with someone they can be fun and stimulating friends. INTJs are likely to have close friends rather than acquaintances but still value their independence. Low-drama friendships are key for Masterminds and they will gravitate to people they respect.
The bottom line
INFP and INTJ are starkly different personality types. While one values connection and social acceptance, the other values rationality and struggles to understand the point of small talk. They do both thrive in independent creative industries, but INFPs require positive feedback while INTJs need challenges they can attack. Warm Mediators and black and white Masterminds have vastly different outlooks on life.