INTJ personality and emotions

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.

INTJ personality and emotionsOne 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:

43 Responses to “INTJ personality and emotions”

  1. Person Reply

    this is on point. I have very, very little emotion(none) I pretend to be sad sometimes and it bothers me that I have to force tears out of my eye’s even when I cant feel sadness (Funeral, movies, etc). I’ve been like this sense I was a kid, I would have to pinch myself or hurt myself to “cry” (smh). I’ve gotten better the older I get more I feel. I know this sounds silly, like I’m a robot or something but I’m not. I don’t show anger instead I smile with one eyebrow raise and I say a smart comment to be-little someone ( working on that too) I want knowledge and understanding, I’m power hungry (knowledge). I’m also a Christian and I know right from wrong, I know that I’m not perfect and yes I make mistakes, but I want to use my understanding and knowledge to God glory not my own. God giving everyone a gift, I’m a quick learner and taught myself how to play the guitar within a week tops. I use my gift of quick learning, quick thinking to try and help people. If it wasn’t for God I don’t know how I would be, I give him all the glory and honor. I’ve come a long way from being self centered and cocky. God is a God of mercy. I’m 22 years old, and I’m learning more and more everyday. going to school for neurology or immunology helping people is my motivation.

    • Locutus of Borg Reply

      Either you’re not an INTJ or this is proof that being one doesn’t mean you’re logical.

      • sokrates2 Reply

        Religion is mysterious. There are to this day at least one professor in philosophy – Peter Kreeft who is also Christian which I think is noteworthy. He knows logic and reason to a high degree. And Jacques Ellul was an anarchist and law-professor who studied propaganda, but he was also christian which doesn’t make sense either. Religious beliefs seem to be able to isolate themselves from some parts of reason making them invulnerable. I think its a quite interesting thing that reason and religion can coexist in a single individual, despite the obvious incompatibility. Also, makes me think of Obedience To Authority by Stanley Milgram, in which the most strongly religious and most strongly atheists both were most resistant to obey the immoral suggestions, despite religion being a very suggestive obedient thing overall. Mysterious.

  2. Feelings, from an Intj? Reply

    I usually dont write on forums, however due to a very recent experience I will. I have always been an INTJ, I never show emotion. For quite some time I wasn’t sure I had any emotion other than getting angry at the slow old guy in front of me on the road. I believe all emotion clouds rational thought, and inhibits any focus to the facts. I recently had a friend contact me. Over the past 15+ years we have been great friends, dated at one point and remained friends afterward. She married about a year or so after we went our separate ways, and I decided not to contact her for respect of her new union. Not sounding cliche, I was happy she was happy. At that point I “put the past in a jar on the back shelf” in hopes still talk from time to time. At that time I never really thought the whole situation through, and the implications it may have.
    I would like to add at the age of 35 now, I have only ever told one Person in my life “I love you” and she was that one person. In all my past relation ships, they have asked “Do you love me?” and to their dismay I have always told them “I see no point in lying, so at this time No.”
    you can only imagine how long emotional people will stay around with that. Oh and being told “I can never get any type of emotion from you” has become old and tiresome…

    After the recent contact I found out that she had moved away, And ironically enough, that triggered and emotional land slide within me, one I long since thought was gone. At that point I realized That this being one of seven people in my life that I would call a friend, and the oldest friend too, that this might all be over. Thinking the issue through and breaking it down, She is now married, our society does not allow people to communicate with past relationships, I cant call her due to my own restraints, and respect to her husband. She lives more than a thousand miles away, so Visits for me is out of the question (thats my standard, to hell with the world point of view) that would be super weird. Oh and she just so happens to be very intelligent, sharp as hell, funny, and beautiful. I have always been honest with her, She is the only person I have ever truly felt free enough to share and say anything with. knowing I may have lost that and a friend of that magnitude was devastating. Faced with that I was hit with an emotional land slide, I was not ready for. I have not felt anything even one tenth of that in more than 20 years.

    It may sound like I never moved on, and that is just not the case, she is one of the most influential people in my life to date. (sorry Tesla, Einstein, Feynman, and Darwin)
    If you ask why we went our separate ways I would say at the time, we lived too far away and the distance was too much of a burden. ant Our time together was too short.
    I accept they way things turned out, I do believe everything in our universe has its course and this is just another path that will lead to the next chain of events.
    I have had some time to think this out and grab those feelings that somehow spilled out. They are put back on the shelf and when I get some time I will carefully go back and examine the jar with those feelings for further clarification and to better understand them. I will add I am glad I am not the only INTJ “robot” that this has happened to..
    I live in my head and this time the voices could not help me, I need to figure this on out on my own.

  3. N Reply

    (I am a female INTJ teen btw) I don’t seem to fit in with the way that most other INTJs are viewed by other people, even my closest friends don’t know what I’m actually thinking or feeling most of the time. I have a bad habit of playing the “dumb-blonde” to comfort those around me so that they don’t realize my true nature. I find it easier to come up with a faked emotional response so that people won’t question me, and to give myself more time to rationally go over a situation in my own mind. People usually “leave me alone” after this, but are left with the impression that they know me way better than they actually do, often viewing me as “scatter-brained” ar “spazzy”. Do other INTJs do this, or is it just me?

    • L Reply

      Dear N, I think that as you grow older you’ll become more confident in your INTJ personality. Many people often think they know me well also, when I feel that my inner-self is still very hidden. In the future you won’t feel the need to pretend to be someone you are not or act in a certain way to conform to society’s expectations. I do beleive this is normal in your teenage years when you (as I did) feel that you don’t fit in quite as well with other students. Perhaps you don’t feel you are as outgoing or ‘fun’ because you are rationalizing and thinking so much? Sometimes you may think of so many things it can be perceived by others as ‘scatter-brained’. As you mature I think you will internalize more of this and become more confident in your own personality. Because of your ability to rationalize, you are probably very good at giving advice :)

    • Rose Reply

      (female teen) No I do it as well. When I’m around other people–especially in crowds–I fake the emotions to keep people happy. It’s irritating, but it’s better than the strange looks you get when you say what you really think. The looks are kind of funny actually… but it alienates people fast, so I keep it in. Most people are probably under the impression I’m a ditz, nobody knows what I’m really thinking most of the time.

  4. Lukanfox Reply

    I think that a lot of the misconceptions that we INTJs tend to have about ourselves and our emotions is due to the simplistic way that the Thinking vs. Feeling dichotomy is phrased in most descriptions. Having a Thinking preference doesn’t have to mean we don’t feel emotions (and yes, in certain cases it can mean that, but there aren’t many Thinkers who actually feel no emotions inside); it just means that our way of handling emotions is more analytical, rather than sentimental in nature.
    Conversely, being a Feeler doesn’t mean that a person can’t handle their emotions logically (though, again, in a number of cases in can mean that, but they are rare in reality); it just means that they use their sentiments as the basis for their reasoning, rather than the other way around. Discussions and debates between NTs (Rationals) & NFs (Idealist) can be just intellectually stimulating and emotionally restained as those between NTs, if both participants have mastered the use of their emotions.

    Exactly as the article above says, our emotions can be very powerful indeed but we have a different way of processing them. Particularly when it comes to the discussion of ideologies (political, economic, social, religious, etc.), we can have very strong emotional attachments to our ideas and belief systems. But we tend not to display it in our body language and tone to the extent that Feeling types do, and we tend to focus on how we can fix our problems more so than how we feel about them, even if those feelings are quite strong.

  5. SL Reply

    I have just recently learned my “type” and started to look into it. I feel vindicated knowing that I’m not just strange in my part of the world. It all happens in my head and everyone around me thinks I’m unfeeling and cold. Thanks for posting this, I appreciate it.

  6. Jidoja Reply

    When I was young I felt very little emotion even when my sister died. I found myself not shedding a single tear. As I’ve gotten older I specifically trained(at least attempted to train myself) myself to feel more emotion and to be more attuned to how people feel because I see the benefit in it.
    BUT I feel a whole lot better knowing I’m not the only one sometimes it can seem that way. This description while when I read it and examine myself rings so true I have never thought about it in the way this describes.

  7. L Reply

    I’ve hidden behind logic and action to cover emotional vulnerability for as long as I can remember. While I am emotional with a select few people, I certainly don’t go flinging my feelings about. It’s a matter of a lack of trust rather than a lack of emotion. If you have proven yourself to be a lasting and trustworthy friend it’s easier for me to show you my emotional underbelly.