INTJ vs. INFJ: What Are the Differences?
by Lisa Sparrow
The difference between INTJs and INFJs is the core values that drive them and how they come across to others. Rationale and fact are at the core of INTJs and how they approach life, but their desire for rationality can be somewhat pig-headed. INFJs on the other hand are driven by their ideals and the sense that they are making a difference. INFJ personalities tend to be warm and engaging types.
Key personality differences explained
INTJ - The Architect
An INTJ personality type is introverted, intuitive, thinking, and judging. INTJs are thoughtful, rational, and creative people who can be incredibly quick-witted. Also known as Architects, INTJs are highly intelligent and have a lot of confidence in their own abilities. Architects can come across as a little prickly, politeness and small talk are not high on the priority list for INTJs.
Skeptical is a good word to describe Architects. This personality values rationality and so these intelligent tacticians will question anything that doesn’t add up to them. This rational way of thinking also means that getting things right is incredibly important to them.
INFJ - The Advocate
Advocates have a personality dominated by introversion, intuitiveness, feeling, and judgment. While INFJs share many key base personality factors with INTJs, they’re very different people. Advocates are largely recognized for their deep nature and thoughtfulness. This rare type is driven by integrity, personal values, and their sense of humanity. But don’t mistake an INFJ for a dreamer, this personality type works practically towards their goals.
While they can show great conviction when speaking about their ideals, INFJs are often reserved and soft-spoken types. Advocates prefer to keep calm and have the people around them at peace, while you may find an INTJ winding up others.
INTJs’ rationality can be a real asset to them and it's one their many strengths. With their logical way of thinking, Architects can attack most problems with ease and relish the opportunity to learn new things and hone their problem-solving skills. Intelligence and curiosity are definitely on the INTJs’ side, and this personality loves to research and explore new ideas.
Architects also have incredible drive, and when they find an exciting project or goal they’ll put their all into succeeding. INTJs know what they need to do to reach their goals and don’t settle for anything less than perfect. Architect’s are also very independent; they don’t need anyone else to motivate them or help them get the job done.
Rather than the analytical practicality of INTJs, INFJs strengths lie in their sense of compassion. Advocates are drawn to helping people that they care about, and can find a lot of success in compassionate roles such as counseling or mentoring positions. INFJs are also incredibly insightful and often find it easy to understand the emotions and needs of others. This makes them very different from INTJ types who often struggle to understand irrational emotions.
While INTJs are led by rationale, INFJs put their principals first. Advocates, therefore, tend to shine in situations where they are living their principles or working in areas that matter to them. In such situations, they are likely to be extremely passionate.
One weakness that INTJs commonly face is arrogance. This highly intelligent and single-minded personality can have a bit of an ego. While their confidence can help them succeed, it can also leave them blinded to their faults and stop them from accepting help from others. When they do work with others, Architects can be very critical of anyone who fails to meet their expectations.
Emotionally, INTJs have quite a few weak spots. Architects often struggle with valuing the emotions of others, especially if those emotions seem unnecessary or irrational. INTJs can come across as dismissive and uncaring in this way. This dismissiveness can also carry on into romantic relationships. INTJs often find they can be a bit clueless when it comes to romance.
Quite opposite to the combativeness of INTJs, one of the main weaknesses that INFJs face is their sensitivity to criticism. Because they feel so deeply about their principles, any criticism they might face about their work or opinions in those areas is felt harshly. This passion can also lead Advocates to burnout. Because of their dogged beliefs they often feel that it is necessary to put in 110%, but that kind of work ethic can’t always be maintained.
Meeting an Advocate, you may find that they struggle to open up. While INFJs are thoughtful people who understand the emotions of others, they can be quite guarded with their own struggles. Advocates aren’t likely to reach out for help, feeling that by sharing their problems they are burdening others.
INTJs love a challenging work-life and tend to shine when they can take on meaningful work, solve difficult problems and be in a role that pushes them intellectually. Careers that allow architects to solve complicated problems are the best fit, and you’ll often find this personality working in strategic and analytical roles.
These intelligent types will do well almost anywhere but can struggle early in their career when they have to take on the boring, easy work that leaves them feeling unchallenged.
Rather than challenge being their driving force, Advocates do best in careers that align with their principles and personal values. Money and power is not a lure for INFJs, instead, they need to know that they are making a real difference and connecting with others. INFJs tend to find themselves in psychology, counseling, or coaching positions.
INTJs can be quite clueless when it comes to romance. Their rational thinking and black-and-white nature means that the ups, downs, and unpredictability of relationships can leave INTJs confused and frustrated. Dating rituals and small talk often seem ridiculous to this personality, and they need to be careful that they don’t come across as above the dating scene.
When they do find their match, INTJs foster deep and meaningful connections. Once they feel comfortable in a relationship they will become more free to grow and evolve alongside their partner. But don’t expect lavish gifts from an INTJ, big romantic gestures are not their thing.
Unlike INTJs, INFJs do not struggle with understanding the emotions and feelings of their loved ones. Advocates are especially perceptive individuals and are tuned in to how others are feeling and why.
Advocates know what they want in a partner and aren’t afraid to hold out for the right person. This caring, warm type often has strong and meaningful friendships and tends to be described as a charismatic type.
The bottom line
INTJs and INFJs differ mainly in their driving forces and their temperament. INTJs value rational thinking and can be somewhat combative in the way that they prioritize this. INFJs instead seek out meaning and connection. Passionate in this approach, INFJs give off a much warmer and charismatic impression.