The INTJ personality type is perhaps the most enigmatic and controversial of all. Idealistic visionaries, unemotional robots, brilliant strategists, socially awkward geeks, fearsome debaters – these are just a few examples of the numerous labels that INTJs seem to be able to get.
There is usually little middle ground with strongly expressed INTJ personalities. Other types either find their quirkiness mysterious and attractive, or feel uncomfortable and get offended. The INTJs themselves are either proud of their traits and wear them like a badge, or see themselves as eccentrics and do their best to mimic the behavior of other people, trying to blend in. These attitudes soften as people grow and develop, but they tend to be very black-and-white at a younger age.
One of the most significant sticking points is the INTJs’ handling of emotions. Most INTJ personalities pride themselves in remaining rational and logical at all times, seeing most emotional displays as a sign of weakness and irrationality. As people with this personality type also tend to be very honest and straightforward, it is no surprise that they are often seen as insensitive. Some INTJs may go even further, claiming that they have no feelings or emotions at all, and that anyone who does is weak and irrational.
Ironically, INTJs can be just as emotional, if not more so, than any other personality type. Everything depends on how we define and handle emotions – for instance, there is a world of difference between breaking down in public and simply being thoughtful or amused. For most INTJs, public displays of emotion are outside of their comfort zone and consequently they will do their best to restrain themselves. However, this does not mean that INTJs have no feelings – rather, they tend to be good at channeling their emotions and using logic to keep them in check.
One of the reasons behind the cold exterior is that people with the INTJ personality type tend to be very proud of their knowledge and abilities – revealing emotions or even acknowledging that they exist may be a frightening prospect, especially if the INTJ in question is younger and secretly not as confident as they would like to be. In such cases, the INTJ will shield themselves with coldness and rational arguments, allowing their Thinking trait to act like a protective big brother to the weaker, less developed Feeling trait.
Second, logic and rationality play a dominant role in the INTJ decision-making process – feelings usually only come into play when their Thinking trait cannot come up with a rational solution to a difficult problem. To give an example, if an INTJ is upset, they will not need to tell everyone around them that they are upset – on the contrary, they will focus on identifying why they are upset and then coming up with a logical solution to their problems. Alternatively, they will channel that energy into something productive.
That being said, emotions will always influence the decisions that the INTJ is making, at least to some extent – it is impossible to separate the two, even though most people with the INTJ personality type try hard to make decisions and solve problems without involving their feelings. How we process is also how we feel, and how we feel is also how we process – this applies to INTJs as well. However, people with this personality type find it quite easy to deal with those emotions internally, without exposing them to the outside world, and this is why they may radiate that aura of logic and detachment.
The point is, INTJ personalities can be very sensitive and have very deep feelings. Even though these emotions will be shielded from the public view by their Thinking trait and will (usually) not be the deciding factor in the INTJ decision-making process, this does not mean that INTJs should be seen as, or should aspire to be, cold-blooded and insensitive geniuses living by the mantra that emotions are for the weak. This is not the case and is not going to happen.
If you would like to learn more about the role emotions play in the INTJ thought process and personal development, download the INTJ In-Depth Profile – a 70+ page guide covering a number of diverse topics. Otherwise, please keep reading: