INTJ personality

It’s lonely at the top, and being one of the rarest and most strategically capable personality types, INTJs know this all too well. INTJs form just two percent of the population, and women of this personality type are especially rare, forming just 0.8% of the population – it is often a challenge for them to find like-minded individuals who are able to keep up with their relentless intellectualism and chess-like maneuvering. INTJs are imaginative yet decisive, ambitious yet private, amazingly curious, but only if their interest is piqued.

INTJ_1With a natural thirst for knowledge that shows itself early in life, INTJs are often given the title of “bookworm” as children. While this may be intended as an insult by their peers, they more than likely identify with it and are even proud of it, greatly enjoying their broad and deep body of knowledge. INTJs enjoy sharing what they know as well, confident in their mastery of their chosen subjects, but owing to their Intuitive (N) and Judging (J) traits, they prefer to design and execute a brilliant plan within their field rather than share opinions on “uninteresting” distractions like gossip.

A paradox to most observers, INTJs are able to live by glaring contradictions that nonetheless make perfect sense – from a rational perspective. For example, INTJs are simultaneously the most starry-eyed idealists and the bitterest of cynics, a seemingly impossible conflict. But this is because INTJ types tend to believe that with effort, intelligence and consideration, nothing is impossible, while at the same time they believe that people are too lazy, short-sighted or self-serving to actually achieve those fantastic results. Yet that cynical view of reality is unlikely to stop an interested INTJ from achieving a result they believe to be relevant.

INTJs radiate self-confidence and an aura of mystery, and their insightful observations, original ideas and formidable logic enable them to push change through with sheer willpower and force of personality. At times it will seem that INTJs are bent on deconstructing and rebuilding every idea and system they come into contact with, employing a sense of perfectionism and even morality to this work. Anyone who doesn’t have the talent to keep up with INTJs’ processes, or worse yet, doesn’t see the point of them, is likely to immediately and permanently lose their respect.

Rules, limitations and traditions are anathema to the INTJ personality type – everything should be open to questioning and reevaluation, and if they see a way, INTJs will often act unilaterally to enact their technically superior, sometimes insensitive, and almost always unorthodox methods and ideas. This isn’t to be misunderstood as impulsiveness – INTJs will strive to remain rational no matter how attractive the end goal may be, and every idea, whether generated internally or soaked in from the outside world, must pass the ruthless and ever-present “Is this going to work?” filter. This mechanism is applied at all times, to all things and all people, and this is often where INTJ personality types run into trouble.

INTJs are brilliant and confident in bodies of knowledge they have taken the time to understand, but unfortunately the social contract is unlikely to be one of those subjects. White lies and small talk are hard enough as it is for a type that craves truth and depth, but INTJs will go so far as to see many social conventions as downright stupid. Ironically, it is often best for them to remain where they are comfortable – out of the spotlight – where the natural confidence prevalent in INTJs as they work with the familiar can serve as its own beacon, attracting people, romantically or otherwise, of similar temperament and interests.

You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.

Harlan Ellison

INTJs are defined by their tendency to move through life as though it were a giant chess board, pieces constantly shifting with consideration and intelligence, always assessing new tactics, strategies and contingency plans, constantly outmaneuvering their peers in order to maintain control of a situation while maximizing their freedom to move about. This isn’t meant to suggest that INTJs act without conscience, but to many Feeling (F) types, INTJs’ distaste for acting on emotion can make it seem that way, and it explains why many fictional villains (and misunderstood heroes) are modeled on this personality type.

If you would like to learn more about the INTJ personality type and its traits, download the INTJ In-Depth Profile – a 70+ page guide covering a number of diverse topics. Otherwise, please keep reading:

Some famous INTJs:
Vladimir Putin, President of Russia
Augustus Caesar, Roman emperor
Paul Krugman, famous American economist
Rudy Giuliani, former New York mayor
Donald Rumsfeld, former U.S. Secretary of Defense
Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State
Samantha Power, diplomat
Lance Armstrong, bicyclist
Richard Gere, actor
Hannibal, military leader of Carthage
Arnold Schwarzenegger, actor and former California governor
Thomas Jefferson, former U.S. president
John F. Kennedy, former U.S. president
Woodrow Wilson, former U.S. president
“Walter White” (“Heisenberg”) from Breaking Bad
“Gandalf the Grey” from The Lord of the Rings
“Katniss Everdeen” from The Hunger Games
“Hannibal” and “Clarice Starling” from Silence of the Lambs
“Professor Moriarty,” Sherlock Holmes’ enemy
“Gregory House” from House M.D.

303 Responses to “INTJ personality”

  1. Juan Reply

    Everything mentioned was accurate. The only thing that really caught my attention was that we have a “dark side”, that is frighteningly accurate. But as time passes I wonder if this dark side is what makes the INTJ as effective as possible. It makes me wonder if this quality is somewhat inevitable. I would really like to know more about this thing that trait that I will not lie. Is highly prevalent in my character structure than most. I would like to hear any ideas or opinions about this quality that most won’t elaborate on.

    • Alden Reply

      That’s interesting. Personally, as a INTJ, I lie all the time – even to my family and friends, I do feel guilt – but I tend to rationalise such decisions.
      Perhaps, your trait of honesty comes from your family environment or even something form your past – memories can substantially change a person. Naturally, I can delve into the Nature and Nurture argument of your trait, but I’ll probably end up covering arguments you already know.

  2. Akro Reply

    Well. This is helpful, and it certainly explains a lot.
    In fact, it is hauntingly accurate. I actually understand now why I find it so hard to connect or forge friendships to people, as I find most people uninteresting, which I guess is down to the rarity of other INTJs and other analysts in general.
    Unfortunately I am female which means I am constantly approached by others wanting to ‘gossip’, therefore I prefer my own company, or that of my family who tend to be either INTJs/INTPs. I guess it’ll be he only way I can get intelligent conversation until I can meet some fellow INTJs. *Sighs*

    • Juan Reply

      Nice. To tell the truth there is nothing better in life than having a good conversation. Albeit a conversation with someone that is to an extent competent. Also those who gossip tend to disgust me; considering the fact that they could use that wasted time to do something productive.

  3. Robert M Reply

    I have to admit, I never really felt personality tests such as this were very useful (I mean, why do I need to take a test to tell me what I already know about myself?). However, I did find the description of an INTJ right on the money for the most part with how I tend to be. As a writer and editor, I found it interesting that it described fields such as Engineer, Analyst etc. as I am primarily a creative/artist type. On reflection, though, I realized that my approach to creativity is extremely analytical. I am always compelled to examine my creative endeavors from a 360 degree view—which only seems logical to me. People who are overly emotional are difficult to deal with. I have had to work on my patience with these types (and I have a lot of them in my life). When confronted with extremely emotional people, I find myself getting annoyed as from my perspective, they ought to be able to exert more discipline and self-control over their emotions. As mentioned in the INTJ personality type, I get extremely annoyed with individuals who have minimal or cursory knowledge of a subject, but wish to engage me in areas of knowledge that I happen to know a lot about. One of the biggest challenges for me has been to keep my mouth shut around dysfunctional people who are spouting out things that I know to be nonsense (not to mention flat out wrong), in order to maintain harmonious relationships with them (mostly inlaws and certain friends). Juan, above mentioned the “dark side” to the INTJ personality. I definitely can relate to this. What actually helped me master this part of myself, strangely, was reading Juliet by Marquis de Sade. Sade was actually a complete rationalist, and there was this one section where he described a series of rooms a person could go through, each room being more extreme in nature than the next. Depending on one’s sense of morality and beliefs etc. one could know the depth of their dark side by how far into these series of rooms they would go. After I realized how far I would hypothetically be willing to go—where my limit was at—I somehow was okay after that. It was as if I knew the depth of this darker aspect of my personality, and where the limit was at. Once I knew the limit, I was fine with anything up to that limit. Before I explored this whole subject mentally, the darker aspect was rather amorphous, and being amorphous, it would make me uneasy. Now I feel that I have integrated my light and dark sides and come to a healthy balance. The key for me is always balance. I have learned to value and trust intuitions and feelings, but before I take action on these intuitions/feelings, I have to think everything through in great detail, and it must all make sense, and be viable in the real world. If it doesn’t pass the real world viability test, I won’t proceed.

    Anyhow, it was interesting to see all the famous INTJs listed. Caesar. Kennedy. Gandalf. Interesting. Human kind is an interesting experience in the universe. Too bad human nature tends to be what it is. These days I tend to focus on what occurs in the natural course of my life, rather than all the media hype/crap. It’s much more rewarding just to enjoy my everyday life instead of allowing my emotions to get riled up by what I read/hear about in public/the world at large. For me, it’s about choosing the world that I want to live in—the people and places that work for me—and allowing the rest of the world to just do what it’s going to do.

  4. SuE Reply

    Hello everyone,
    I am a fellow INTJ with a prominent I followed by J. Always wondered why i was so different and was frustrated sometimes as a teenager why i wouldn’t fit. But simply refused to believe that i was anyway less. Guess i am a truly an INTJ.
    Also i noticed how this column has maximum responses, even if INTJs are not considered big on sharing. Guess its not everyday that we land in a place where we expect to be understood, it’s a classic example of how INTJs show keep interest in conversations that fulfill both their interest criteria and meet their intellectual standards.

  5. shane Reply

    I agree.. that was my first thought when I came to the results of this test. How great for my initial personality type to align with those psychopathic monsters. Personally I think I’d probly have a hard time getting along with other people of this exact personality type. Arrogant stuck up robots really irks me…

  6. L Reply

    It was off putting, but realize that there are many monsters in history who did absolutely horrible things based on hate – which is a feeling attribute. People like Hitler, KKK, and most extremist groups are based on feelings of hate, something most INTJ’s don’t find logical. Ours may be more well known (read: successful), but I guarantee every other group has their monsters too.