Eight Paradoxes of the INTJ

For those of you into MBTI, my personality type is INTJ. For those of you not into personality types, this basically means I’m sarcastic, I don’t show emotion, and I plan. Everything.

I love personality type humor and pins, but so many stereotypes only show part of a picture or are just plain off. So I decided to write about eight of the paradoxes in my own life. These aren’t necessarily true for every INTJ but they will give you a picture of how my (and, possibly, other INTJs) think.

Mastermind yet scatterbrained

Take an example from the last few months. I will sit down and plan a top-secret surprise retreat for a friend. I’ll organize lodging, dates, meet-ups, and food. I’ll figure out the cost-per-person. And then lose that paper with what each person owes me and have to rewrite/refigure it out. Twice.

I’ll also put a book down multiple times a day and forget where it is. Or drive down the road and wonder if I remembered to pick up my car keys before realizing I actually need those keys before I can drive in the first place.

Caring yet distancing

I care about my people more than anyone knows. I’ll die for them or give time and money to help them. I’ll hold a door open for a stranger or pick something up for a lady who dropped it.

But humanity in general? I mean, yeah. They’re people and I guess I acknowledge them in an abstract way? But I can’t take care of all of them and I don’t try. So why even worry too much about it unless they are part of a situation right in front of me?


Is right yet can be wrong

I don’t argue about things unless I ‘know’ I’m right. This is why I tend to not argue politics because there’s so much one simply doesn’t know and so many people saying so many things. If I wasn’t a writer, maybe I’d study politics.

But I am a writer.

If I argue something with you, it’s because I know I’m right. I’ve thought it through completely. However, if you can logically prove your case and I’m convinced of it, then I will shift.

Most times what happens is that I’m able to broaden what I know and include bits of what the other person is debating into what I already know to be true.

Longsighted yet shortsighted

I think big picture and long term. I’ll move through a situation, automatically playing out all the ways it could go right and wrong, and what I would do and how it would work if any of those scenarios happened. This picture shifts by the minute as things actually do happen. Or, when someone asks a question, I tend to merge both ‘given’ answers together into a third and better solution.

I can also be completely oblivious to solutions right in front of my face. Like my nunchucks. I’d hung them behind my desk and every time one of my brothers walked into the room he’d grab them and I’d have to wrestle them away. It was quite aggravating. It took me a whole week and a half to realize I could just move them so he couldn’t find them when he walked in.

I moved them.

 Self-confident vs overthinking

So there’s this thing called being perfect. INTJs attain to that. People make mistakes, yes. But we’re much more forgiving of those mistakes in others than in ourselves.

We are quite confident we can do what needs to be done. Whatever you propose, we’re probably going to do it, because of course we can and if we can’t then we’d better learn. However, once we’ve done it, we go over it play by play and wonder what could have been done better. What got messed up? Where did we make mistakes and how can it be avoided next time?

As a side note, success in the INTJ life is pretty much how things ought to go while mistakes are counted as failures. And our minds are a constant mix of ‘I can do anything’ and ‘I actually can’t get the simplest things right.’

*eyes mind*

We have problems. But we’re still right.

Doesn’t care what others think vs avoiding confrontation

People can think what they want and be wrong. It honestly doesn’t matter. Unless it’s a very select few people, what someone thinks is immaterial to what I’m actually going to do.

But there’s no point in creating confrontation unless it’s an important topic and something I feel very strongly about. I’m already right. It’s going to take way too much effort to convince the other side that I’m right, and they don’t care anyway. So they can be wrong in their wrongness and I might restrain myself (in their sight) to keep them contented, then do what I please once I’m on my own.

In other news, INTJs are the humblest creatures on this green earth.

 Feeling emotions vs showing them

We. Feel. Things.

All the time.

Yes, INTJs feel emotions. They might suppress them because they aren’t logical or because we don’t understand them. I have a theory we might actually feel some things deeper than other people because we overthink the emotion and delve to the bottom of it—and end up throwing up our hands in despair anyway because there isn’t any logic we can ground ourselves in about said emotion.

We feel emotions, but any emotion you see on our faces will be very underplayed. Emotions are precious, private things only for those who understand us. No one else needs to know what we are actually thinking or feeling. Besides, how many people actually care?

If an INTJ opens up and shows you something about themselves, pay attention. They aren’t going to demand your attention. But if you don’t even notice, they are much less likely to ever do it again, because their assumption that it honestly doesn’t matter has been proved right.

And if it doesn’t matter, they aren’t going to break themselves further and show that side of themselves again.

 Childishness vs internal dignity

We kinda do what we want and it is very subjective in our own minds.

I will walk a hotel barefoot at night and laugh at myself while doing it, but I will not engage in a burping contest with you. If I view something as beneath my dignity, I’m not going partake in it.

It doesn’t matter if you think my mismatched socks or weird outfit are beneath my dignity. If I don’t think it matters, then it doesn’t matter. If I do think it is childish, then I’ll not do it even if everyone else is.

Our internal sense of dignity is a very real thing and must be satisfied above the options of those outside of us.

Again. We are very humble creatures. As you can see from all of the above.


And there you have it. A very incomplete, partial list of eight facts about INTJs (or this one, at least). What are some stereotypes about your type that aren’t true and what is the actual truth behind them?


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  1. Most people thinks that ENFPs are happy all the time, which isn’t true. We have a million different emotions that change super quickly, and while it’s true that feeling sad makes me feel uncomfortable, I do feel it, especially if it’s to help a friend or is important for my writing. We do love feeling in general though, the deeper the better. Also, while we are extroverts, we aren’t really extroverts. We’re really ambiverts. Sometimes we have days where we’ll be going going going and riding high on social activities, but then we’ll suddenly crash and want to be left all alone with our music and books. We need introverted time to process things and recharge so that we can be the social butterflies we want to be. Another one is that we’re pretty scatterbrained, which is truuuuue… I guess… But I do have days where I feel like organizing stuff and can’t rest till things are tidy. But that may be because my mom is an ISFJ. 😆 She’s raised me well. Honestly, though, some clutter = character in my mind. 😂 “Homes are for free expression, not good impressions.”
    (Woah, that was way longer than I thought it’d be 😆 sorry)

  2. *grins* Well said. If I wasn’t an INFP, I’d be an INTJ. *nods*
    Maybe. XD Pity we don’t have a say in that, isn’t it?

    The INFP stereotypes are much too long of a discussion for a comment. I will just say we’re a lot stronger emotionally than people give us credit for. Sensitive people aren’t weak. They’re strong because they feel everything and learn to deal with it. This goes for ISFPs too. It takes more courage to be tender-hearted sometimes than it does to be closed off.

    • *grins* tell me something I don’t know. XD

    • ISFP here. Random question – are you assertive or turbulent? Because you said that waaayyy more confidently than I (turbulent) ever would. I hate hate HATE the fact that I’m sensitive. XD

    • A happy and proud INFP

      Fi (Introverted Feeling) is the most misunderstood and complicated function there is. Expecting people to understand or give you credit is not a thing to expect for. Comparing INFP’s and INTJ’s, I’ll always choose to be an INFP to know and feel everything so deeply, yet being able to think and act logically. Why should I restrain myself to inability to function adequetly on Emotional Intellect?

  3. *grins*
    I’m married to an INTJ and this seems VERY accurate to my experience with him. As an INFP though, being married to him has taught me how to think things out a bit more rationally and present my points of view better. Also, INFPs can tend to be people-pleasers. It really helps to have your INTJ sit you down and tell you, “No. Make your case. Stand up for yourself. Your feelings and opinions matter.” Especially because the INTJ really *is* always right. 😉 (Except when they are being silly and assuming every little mistake and learning experience is a failure.)

    Basically, I’m pretty sure every INFP needs an INTJ, and vise versa. 😉

  4. Corissa, Maiden of Praise

    I would say that 5 of the 8 are true for this ENFJ as well. (though as we’ve kind of discussed before, that may be partly due to my strong T tendencies XD)

  5. This is great for me because I have an INTJ MC who just doesn’t want to become real. 😛

    Stereotypes about my type, ISTP?? Ehhh… lemme think. Like, maybe that we’re all mechanics and/or MacGyver? I COULD be MacGyver, but I’m not at the moment because I’m too busy writing and working and doing other stuff. I DO have to keep active a lot, especially if I want to process anything, I can’t process super well sitting down, and I love driving cars really fast, and I love taking risks, and roller-coasters … but I’m not an amazing car mechanic. I often like to sit and pick apart how things work, and I prefer to get up and examine them after a certain point, but I’m not GENERALLY curious enough to do that … so yeah, not a great mechanic. 😉 I think I COULD be … #isnteversuperhumble

    • Ooo, ISTP. That is one type I know very little about. I generally learn about types once I get a character that is one.

  6. C.M. - II Tim. 1:7

    Love this post, Hope Ann! Thanks!!

    I’ll just add in a general end note… perhaps from a few points you described above INTJs’ main and primary sin/weakness may very well be Pride. It’s one of those “oh so subtle” things hidden beneath all the perfectionism and strategic mastermind planning but often very damaging to (my) perception and thoughts and by extension, relationships…
    What do you think?

    • Eh, it’s not very subtle. XD. And yes. It can be one of the stronger temptations we struggle with. Well… I feel like pride is something most people struggle with. But what form it takes depends on the person/type a little.

  7. This. THIS. THIS IS IT.

    *sends post to all the people who don’t understand me*

    Honestly, I relate to every single thing here. I feel like INTJs in particularly are very suceptible to stereotyping and being misunderstood, simply because we ARE so closed about how we think. I’m constantly trying to explain to my sister that just because I don’t care what the common crowd thinks of me doesn’t mean I don’t care about my appearance at all (I just value my own opinion over that of people I don’t know or respect), or just because I don’t act on emotion doesn’t mean I never feel anything.

    Success in the INTJ life is pretty much how things ought to go while mistakes are counted as failures. And our minds are a constant mix of ‘I can do anything’ and ‘I actually can’t get the simplest things right.’

    *clutches head and groans* This has caused me so many problems… We just have this tendency of being good at everything we try our hand at (*humble cough*), so when we’re NOT, it’s like… *tremulous whisper* …I have let myself and my entire future down. 😂

    • just because I don’t care what the common crowd thinks of me doesn’t mean I don’t care about my appearance at all (I just value my own opinion over that of people I don’t know or respect)

      ^This. So much. So humble. XD

      And yeah. The whole deal about mistakes being failures… I only just realized it was a thing not long ago. And that not all people did it…

      • Aaah! I agree with this so much! I’m also an INTJ, and I find that everyone thinks I’m really random and weird, and yet I make perfect sense in my mind! Aaah! SO GOOD! Wow. I personally am very modest, so I wear high collared shirts and stuff, and yet I shower once a week and care little about so called ‘beauty’ that others care so much about.
        Recently, I have ‘given up’ on caring about others too much, so although I am nice and stuff, I find that things that bug most people don’t bug me whatsoever. I use the analogy of a pebble in a river: unmoving in the things that matter to me, yet when I don’t care so much, I just go with the flow.
        Thank you so much for writing this! This is just my feelings in words! Thanks for writing this!

  8. This is perfect Hope!

  9. I’m an INTP, and according to the 16 Personalities web site (on which I took the test), my type is supposed to be very logical and thus great at math and science. Well, I may be more logical (though also idealistic and sometimes a bit unrealistic in my extreme perfectionism), but I do NOT like math or science, and neither am I great at them. My type likes to solve problems, and I do–just not math or science; I want to solve people problems, even though I’m not much of a people person (though you wouldn’t guess it when I’m with people I feel actually care about me).

    • My dad is an INTP and he’s the same way – he doesn’t like math and science, because he isn’t able to be creative with them really. He is logical and loves to solve problems, but he prefers people problems to the mundane impersonality of numbers.

    • Mmm, makes sense

  10. Oh my goodness! I am an INTJ and this is so accurate! I finally understand why I do some of the things that I do! Thanks.

  11. THIS. *strokes blog post like Gollum* As a fellow INTJ, I can confirm that this is the most accurate post on the Internet (and the most decent…usually INTJs are depicted as weird robots on all the personality type lists *rolls eyes*). I’ve done…probably 100% of these things. More recently, I had to shop for a new car, and the obvious thing to do was research every brand, make, and model per year within my budget, any recalls and typical mechanical failures before going to car lots. Could I find that list when I started looking for cars? Nope.

  12. Hi Hope! Glad I found your blog!

    I’m pretty sure I’m an INFJ. I haven’t done a ton of research about it, however, because my husband, (who refuses to take the test, but I think he’s an INTJ, though he could be a INTP as well.) doesn’t believe in the validity of the MBTI test, probably because of the misconceptions and mistakes people make when they assume things about you based on these four letters.

    But one thing I’ve heard about INFJs are that they are supposed to be really perceptive about people and able to somehow know things about them without needing to be told.

    I. Am. Oblivious. to people sometimes. AND YET, I have been known to be able to figure out some people when their own children couldn’t. It’s weird, and unpredicatible. But because my personality type is SUPPOSED to be able to do it ALL THE TIME, they expect me to, and then they don’t tell me things, because they assume I already know. And that makes me feel a little hurt, actually, because it just means they don’t know me either. And for some reason, I like people to know things about me. But not everything.

  13. As a fellow INTJ, I can tell you: you absolutely nailed it with this! 😂 I am these opposites all the time.

  14. Just thought I’d let you know this post was in an INTJ Facebook group I’m a member of. 🙂 As a fellow Realmie and since I follow you on Facebook already, I was confused when it came up in a different group! So, your post is getting around! Also, I didn’t know you were a fellow INTJ, so…solidarity. True thoughts here. 🙂

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