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intj

INTJs make up less than 2.1% of the population and are the third rarest MBTI personality type.

The Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI) is a popular self-report inventory designed to identify someone's personality type and is one of the most widely used psychology tools today.

What does INTJ stand for?

Each of the 16 MBTI types consists of four letters corresponding to a fundamental personality trait for the type. Tailored questions find your combination of four sets of opposing traits—introverted versus extroverted, sensing versus intuitive, thinking versus feeling, and perceiving versus judging. INTJ stands for Introversion (I), Intuition (N), Thinking (T), and Judging (J).

INTJ characteristics

Common strengths

Clarity of thought

The INTJ is known as the architect, but some commentators also call this personality type the “mastermind.” The INTJ has formidable reasoning capabilities, including the ability to strategize and plan things far in advance.

The INTJ’s introversion means their strategizing and reasoning abilities are usually applied to ideas, rather than people: they excel in the hard sciences and in technical fields where they can completely focus on the subject at hand. However, their gifts with reason and strategy, and their visionary qualities, can sometimes even lead them into politics. They have a different approach from extroverted leaders, preferring to stay behind the scenes when they can, and feeling far less comfortable in the spotlight.

Love of learning

As an intuitive type, the INTJ is driven to understand the universe around them. They are interested in the theories and patterns behind a particular subject, not just learning by rote. In fact, one of the Architect’s most common past-times is to take up evening classes to learn more about interesting topics and pick up new skills. INTJs can be found in every school and university, inspiring others with their drive to acquire knowledge and their passion for new discoveries.

The stereotype of this type of personality is they are experts in one, narrow area of knowledge (usually technology or science), but if an INTJ is given free rein their intellectual landscape is huge: they see and explore connections between different fields of learning. Unlike some other personality types, INTJs are also not afraid to admit that they were wrong, to go back to the drawing board, and to learn from their mistakes.

Inventiveness

As the “Architect,” the INTJ plans and designs concepts using their sound knowledge base and the creative streak that comes with being an intuitive (N) personality. Architects are not as tied to tradition as other personality types, and are limited only by their own imaginations. What makes the Architect special is they also enjoy thinking about how their ideas can be applied in the real world: they are not just interested in abstract theories; they want to make genuine progress.

Thanks to INTJ personalities, great historical advances in scientific and technological knowledge have been made. Unfortunately, the INTJ’s creativity and willingness to break free from the past can cause tension and even persecution when less progressive people aren’t ready for their farsighted ideas.

Determination

What makes the Architect a trailblazer is not just their intellectual abilities, but the effort they put into turning their plans into action, with dogged courage, optimism, and quiet determination. Like other J personalities, the INTJ seeks order and structure, and is capable of organizing both their time and their ideas to achieve the result they want—sometimes having several schemes or ideas going at once.

More extroverted and fast-paced personality types may underestimate the INTJ due to their reserve, and the fact that they are willing to take time to bring their plans to fruition rather than pushing aggressively for immediate results. It might take a year, 10 years, or 20 years, but an INTJ will usually get where they want to go! And if not—they will learn from the process anyway, and won’t consider it time wasted.

Common weaknesses

Perfectionism

INTJs usually have high standards and high expectations, for both themselves and their loved ones, which can be good: the downside is it can lead to an overly critical, and even obsessive attitude, that the INTJs friends or family might find a bit intimidating at times. While INTJs are perfectionists, they rarely panic, and when things do go wrong they don’t overreact: they keep going and learn from their mistakes.

This personality type’s attention to detail is one of its defining features, but when it comes to other people, the INTJ might benefit from being a bit more easygoing and flexible.

Interpersonal skills

INTJs are interested in ideas more than people. In some ways this is a strength: they are not overly concerned with what others think of them, and they are not easily bullied, or coerced into a course of action they don’t want to take. In some contexts, these people can be a breath of fresh air. They are among the most genuine and sincere of the MBTI types. They have no tolerance for interpersonal politics, and they rarely pretend to be someone they’re not.

The Architect’s social abilities can vary hugely between individuals, but typically, their honesty means they can come across as blunt and a bit awkward. They might even appear rude, usually unintentionally. Feelers in particular may get a bit irritated by the INTJ’s lack of social graces. Architects who learn softer skills from the personalities around them might find more doors open up for them. They’ll make people happier around them and might get their ideas out there more easily.

Overconfidence

INTJs can be quite withdrawn and shy with other people, but at the same time, they often adopt a bit of a know-it-all attitude. INTJs who are young or who feel like they have mastered one particular field of knowledge, without exploring others, are particularly prone to this.

When INTJs move outside of their own comfort zone and area of expertise, and gain a bit of life experience, they usually become more humble and open to new ideas: a mature INTJ has the wisdom to realize that everyone has something to teach them that they can potentially use, whether it’s helpful in one of their projects, or something that helps them lead a happier and more fulfilling life. Intelligence and success are not always measured by technical expertise.

Coldness

Another stereotype of the INTJ is that they can be rather icy. This might be a matter of perspective: INTJs are the last people to be melodramatic, and they don’t wear their hearts on their sleeves, but most INTJs are honest, respect people at a basic level, and care deeply about their friends and family. Few people are as passionate as the INTJ when discussing an idea or project that has really captured their imagination.

The INTJ and those close to them should remember that just as feelers in the MBTI system can be objective when the situation calls for it, thinkers can also factor people’s feelings into their decisions. Other types are often inspired and engaged by the INTJ’s innovative ideas, so the INTJ may be able to appear a bit more “warm” by genuinely listening to other people’s ideas in turn, and appreciating them too.

What are the hobbies and interests of INTJs?

Just like other introverted personality types, INTJs often enjoy hobbies that allow them to express their creativity. They also like pastimes where they can pursue their interest in more technical or niche topics.

  • Photography
  • Painting or sketching
  • Astronomy
  • Computer programming
  • Crafts, such as jewelry making
  • Electronics
  • Gaming
  • Gardening
  • Cooking and baking
  • Reading
  • Games such as chess, Sudokus, or crosswords
  • Martial arts
  • Sharing their knowledge—for instance on Wikipedia or Reddit

Interacting with INTJs

A tip other types might find useful when interacting with INTJs—whether it’s at home or at work—is that you can stop trying to read between the lines. INTJs say what they mean and mean what they say. Interestingly, for personalities who are supposed to be less attuned to people, INTJs actually have a very good radar for manipulation, and they can see through it easily. Don’t bother trying to play mind games with this type of personality. You will always know where you stand, and they expect the same of you.

If you work with an INTJ, be prepared for an honest and blunt appraisal of what you’ve done, and don’t be afraid to give the same back in return. However, you should never let yourself get into a position where you’re accepting or doling out personal abuse. INTJs are usually aware of the difference between accurate and objective feedback and deliberate bullying.

In a relationship

INTJs tend to be quite clear about what they want from a partner, sometimes to the point of having quite a scientific list of what they want, and will pursue their ideal until they’ve found the perfect person. The INTJ’s thorough approach to getting to know a potential partner might put some people off. They sometimes even have a set of questions and topics they want to talk about, rather than letting the relationship flow organically.

Once they’ve found a partner, healthy INTJs are deeply committed, loyal, and quietly caring. They will use their own ability to reason and plan to support their partner, and their partner’s dreams and ambitions. While an INTJ can do well with an extroverted partner, it’s very important to them to have their alone time: and since their ideas are so important to them, it’s best if they have a partner who encourages, or is at least open, to the INTJ’s master plans.

Living with an INTJ

INTJs are judges, so they like their living environment to be fairly tidy and ordered. They plan household chores ahead, and appreciate it if you pull your weight when it comes to housework. An interesting positive aspect of living with the INTJ is their eternal optimism: the INTJ always has a lot going on and is never bored or depressed for long.

Sex

When it comes to sex and dating, INTJs are usually honest with their partners about their intentions, and don’t give or like to receive mixed messages. In general, this type takes their relationships quite seriously, preferring to commit completely to their partner. The INTJ is a type that wants honest, open communication: they will become wary and may pull away if they believe their partner is lying or hiding something from them.

Potential challenges

The INTJ tends to enjoy robust debate, which can be daunting to personality types who put a greater emphasis on harmony. If you’re a feeling type, the Architect may accidentally upset you by criticizing something you really care about. If you’ve known your INTJ for a while, you’ll probably realize that generally speaking, they probably didn’t mean any disrespect, and they might not be aware that they’re upsetting you. Communicating calmly with the INTJ and talking about exactly what the problem is from your perspective can help resolve situations like this.

INTJs can be a bit blunt, and this is something else feeler personalities might struggle with. Remember the Architect might not be happy about something you’ve done, but they still care about you. That said, if you’re having real issues getting on with an INTJ, for instance, if they’re constantly criticizing you or controlling what you do, it might be a good idea to take a step back and look at the situation. If your partner is absolutely unable to see things from your point of view, and keeps hurting your feelings after you’ve explained to them how upset you are, their Myers Briggs type might not be the problem.

Relationship compatibility

Any two healthy MBTI types can make a relationship work, but two of the best matches for the INTJ are the ENFP and the ENFJ. The INFJ can benefit from these types’ openness, tolerance, and warm, carefree attitude to life, and will appreciate the ENFJ’s good organizational skills. The INTJ’s thinking function will ideally balance out their feeling partner, and both people will learn a new way of looking at the world.

The INTJ can also do well with the INTP, INFP, or INFJ, who share their introverted nature and passion for ideas, or their extroverted counterpart the ENTJ. The INTJ may struggle to connect most with the “SF” personalities, who can seem both unimaginative and irrational to the Architect.

As a parent

Architects might struggle with some aspects of parenthood, but their determination will see them through: once they commit to having a family, this personality type is all in. Architects can make great parents, instilling into their children a love of learning and a passion for the world around them, and teaching them to take responsibility for themselves from a young age.

Architects see in their children the adults they will one day become, and they see their role as sending them out into the world fully equipped for everything life could throw at them. They are not overly strict, but they do expect their children to handle their freedom responsibly. All parents need their alone time sometimes, and this is particularly marked with the INTJ (particularly if they have a household of noisy children!).

Architects also take pride in their own control over their emotions, so they might need to remember sometimes that it is normal for children to experience strong emotions and try to express them, and not get too frustrated by tantrums, crying, and misbehavior.

Architects who are having problems connecting with their child sometimes become aware their child needs more emotional support than they would naturally think to provide. They will try to improve their approach and sometimes read books and articles on how to better connect and engage with their children.

During conflict

INTJs are good at establishing order, routines, and structure, and have a knack for problem-solving, always a valuable asset for a parent to have! They will cope with parent-child conflicts pretty well, and are not afraid to dole out tough love. As their children grow up, the INTJ will give them more freedom, and treat them more as they would treat adults.

As a friend

When INTJs make friends, they’re often friends for life: this personality type is loyal to a fault and stands up for those they are close to. When it comes to other people’s personal lives, Architects usually don’t offer unsolicited advice, but when their friends do ask for their opinion, INTJs will be there with well-thought-out suggestions.

Due to their focus on logic and their objectivity, they can make an excellent sounding board for a feeling personality. INTJs are very honest with their friends and very loyal: they take their relationships seriously, and won’t neglect or ditch a friend for no reason. If you have an INTJ friend, remember to look after them when they need it, too!

Career path

INTJs tend to thrive in stem (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects, but they can be successful in a range of other areas, including the arts. Just like INFJs, INTJs tend to stay away from work that is purely hands-on: their love of theory, analysis, and ideas means they may get bored in a physical trade. INTJs gravitate towards jobs that give them autonomy and allow them to solve complex problems.

Jobs that require soft skills, such as being a doctor, might be a challenge for the INTJ,but if they have enough goodwill and passion for a particular job, they can often still make it work. Jobs that require a high level of interaction with other people and no opportunity for complex thought—such as a salesperson—probably won’t appeal to the INTJ at all.

The most important thing, for this personality type, is to feel challenged, and they also enjoy having a degree of independence in their jobs. Self-employment, or aiming towards a management position in an industry they care about may be good options for the INTJ. Like all introverts, INTJs do best in a quiet environment where they can really concentrate on the task at hand.

Popular INFJ jobs and careers

  • Engineer
  • Computer programmer
  • Writer
  • Lawyer
  • Doctor
  • Surgeon
  • Project manager
  • Accountant
  • Mathematician
  • Academic
  • High school teacher
  • CEO of a business
  • Marketing manager
  • Architect
  • Scientist

Celebrities with the INTJ personality type

INTJ personalities are found across the board: this type tends to do well in politics, athletics, and the sciences. However, they can also be found in the arts, philosophy, and psychology.

Politics

  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Woodrow Wilson
  • Dwight Eisenhower
  • Hillary Clinton
  • Julia Gillard
  • Vladimir Lenin
  • Augustus Caesar

Science

  • Stephen Hawking
  • John Nash

Philosophy

  • Frederic Nietzche
  • G.W.F. Hegel
  • Jean-Paul Sartre
  • Heraclitus
  • Martin Luther

Athletes

  • Lance Armstrong
  • Martina Navratilova
  • Bobby Fischer

Writers

  • Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll)
  • Sylvia Plath
  • Ayn Rand
  • William F Buckley
  • Sun Tzu

Actors and directors

  • Jodie Foster
  • Stanley Kubrick
  • Dan Akroyd
  • Russell Crowe
  • James Cameron

Musicians

  • Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Glenn Gould
  • Erik Satie
  • Elvis Costello

The bottom line

INTJs, also known as the Architects, are introverted thinkers and judges, and one of the rarest MBTI types. The INTJ has a combination of tenacity, focus, and intelligence, as well as a love of learning and the world around them, that will take this personality type far in whatever they choose to do. If you’re an INTJ, know that you have amazing gifts, and don’t be afraid to embrace your soft side from time to time!

If you are lucky enough to have an INTJ in your life, you might find you have someone to discuss the ins and outs of the universe with—or if that doesn’t appeal to you, maybe just appreciate their intelligence, ingenuity, loyalty, and calm determination.

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