Welcome to yet another document about INTJs.
Numerous INTJ resources are available on the web, but they are all descriptive (telling you some things about us) without being particularly prescriptive (instructing you on how to deal with us). So we – a bunch of INTJs – decided to rectify that situation by providing you this convenient, handsomely designed, and eminently well-written instructional guide. Targeted towards the friends, co-workers, and relatives of INTJs, this handbook is intended to provide you with the understanding necessary to make your interactions with us go smoother, and to surround you with butterflies and sunshine.
Okay, our integrity demands we admit the real goal is to make life easier for us. Since only about 1% or 2% of the general population are INTJs and we’re a pretty reclusive bunch, we’re probably a mystery to you. Consequently you don’t really know how to interact with us, and many of you tend to annoy us. Hopefully this guide will help alleviate that. We just thought if we made it about you and your needs you’d be more likely to read it. You needy bastards.
Since numerous detailed INTJ type descriptions are already available on the web, we’ll just hit the high points here:
We are visionaries, strategic (and compulsive) planners, big-picture thinkers, complex problem solvers, adept decision makers, conceptualists, theorists, and pattern recognizers – in short, we are “masterminds” [insert evil mastermind laugh here].
We don’t do feelings.
We use critical thinking, reason, and logic. We have a tough time with people who make decisions based on emotions, and we can often come across as blunt and cold because we ignore the feelings of others. But on the plus side, we take criticism well since we have no feelings to hurt.
We live inside our heads.
We frequently zone out. We get lost in thought and spend much of our time inside our heads. If our immediate reality becomes boring, we will retreat into our minds, and you might have to shout our names repeatedly to get our attention so we will come out again. And no, sorry, but you can’t come into our heads with us. You wouldn’t last five minutes there. You’d be driven insane by the nonstop cacophony of overlapping voices madly free-associating from one idea to the next.
We are self-confident.
No type is more self-confident than the INTJ. We have a very keen awareness of our own knowledge and abilities, and – more importantly – of the limits of our knowledge and abilities. Consequently we can come across as arrogant sometimes. This is your problem to deal with, not ours, since it is a problem of erroneous perception (yours).
We are aloof.
Because we are somewhat detached from reality, because we are introverted (we find interacting with people to be tiring and tiresome), because we are very private, and because we are impassive, we tend to come across as rather reserved and aloof. Okay, we actually are reserved and aloof.
Conversing with an INTJ
Do’s and Don’ts (mostly Don’t’s):
DON’T ask one of us a question unless you really want a truthful answer. We will not sugarcoat it for you, and we don’t tell white lies to spare anyone’s feelings. Do you really, truthfully want to know if those jeans make your ass look fat? Normal person’s response: “Um, no, you look fine. Really.” Honest person’s response: “Well… maybe a different belt would help?” INTJ’s response: “No, it’s not the jeans that make your ass look fat; it’s your fat ass that makes your ass look fat.”
DON’T express an opinion to us unless you are prepared to back it up with sound arguments and well pedigreed facts and evidence. Otherwise do not be surprised when we logically shred your opinion for you and hand it back to you in tatters.
DON’T be repetitive. We have absolutely no patience for that. There’s no need to cover old ground, and we heard you the first time, unless we were zoning out. And if we were zoning out it’s probably because you started repeating yourself.
DON’T take 100 words to say what could have been said in 10. Content-free speech will cause an INTJ to zone out faster than repeating yourself.
DON’T engage us in “small talk”. Keep in mind that you are competing for our attention with all the voices in our heads, and they are bound to be far more interesting than you. The voices are constantly regaling us with things like anagrams of Wayne Newton (Wanton Weeny, We Annoy Newt, New Yawn Tone, …) and candidate titles for parodies of “Carry On My Wayward Son” (“Cary Grant Was Six Foot One”, “Curry On My Egg Foo Yung”, …). Do you really think your talk of the weather or your six year old’s soccer league is going to be more compelling than that? Please. Be realistic.
DON’T look at an INTJ in bewilderment when he/she discloses an idea to you. Yes, it may have required a double somersault of imagination to reach their conclusion. Ask them to take you through it step-by-step; they will happily oblige. Ideas are of ultimate importance to an INTJ, and it is a compliment for them to share their ideas with you. Similarly, failing to give due attention to an INTJ’s idea is a high form of insult.
DO… um… well, we thought there should be at least one “DO” but we can’t think of one. Oh, how about this: DO keep it short.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Where can I find an INTJ?
A: We INTJs are über-introverts, so we prefer asynchronous and semi-anonymous forms of communication. We get most of our socialization through internet forums and Usenet newsgroups. Look for us there.
Q: Can I become an INTJ?
A: Unless you are born an INTJ, your only hope is to find a genie lamp while strolling on the beach, rub it, and make a wish. You can fake being one of us by burying yourself in a mound of books, nerding out on a favorite subject (like quantum mechanics, not needlepoint), wandering around by yourself, not giving a damn what others think of you, etc. If this sounds like too much work, just try doing a good robot impersonation.
Q: How can I break up with my INTJ?
A: Tell us the truth. We’ll reply, “Sure, why not?”, and go on with our lives.
Q: My INTJ is trying to take over the world. Should I be concerned?
A: Remember, he’s trying to take over the world for the betterment of everyone and everything. Just go ahead and let him. He’ll be happy and the world will be a more organized and efficient place.
Q: My INTJ just told me I’m retarded. Should I take offense?
A: You probably are retarded, by our standards. But don’t take offense. Our standards are so high that even we don’t meet them. We judge ourselves more harshly than we judge others.
Q: My INTJ isn’t sensitive to my feelings. Should I take offense?
A: We aren’t even sensitive to our own feelings. Why should we be expected to be sensitive to yours? We won’t even try to fake it. Insincerity is a pet peeve of ours, and anyway, it would ruin our reputation if we ever showed emotion.
Q: Why doesn’t my INTJ ever show emotions or feelings?
A: Because he doesn’t have any. Actually, that’s not strictly true; it’s just that we tend to get emotional about things you might not appreciate. INTJs have been known to cry during the liftoff scene in “Apollo 13”, for example, and there are also many touching moments in some of the Star Trek movies. An INTJ may also smile or laugh at random for no apparent reason; probably one of the voices in his head just made a good joke.
Q: My INTJ doesn’t care about me any more after he tried to explain his idea and I didn’t listen. What should I do?
A: Ideas are of prime importance to INTJs, and disregarding or not listening to our ideas is the highest form of insult. Although INTJs do not hold grudges, neither do we go out of our way to associate with people who don’t give serious consideration to our ideas. You’ll be in damage control mode for quite some time, fighting an uphill battle to get back into our good graces.
Q: My INTJ won’t talk to me. What should I do?
A: What subjects are you trying to talk about? Most INTJs hate gossip, and all of us hate talk of relationships. We also don’t do small talk. Try quantum physics, psychology, or some other deep (but non-touchy/feely) topic. If all else fails, try email instead.
Q: Why does my INTJ keep correcting my grammar?
A: Probably because you are being grammatically incorrect. The next time you tell your INTJ that you’re going to “try and [do something]”, prepare to get bitch-slapped. It’s “try to”, not “try and”. And there’s no such word as “irregardless”. Words have specific meanings, and language has specific rules; please abide by them. And don’t even get us started on your contextually ambiguous use of pronouns.
Q: I have this REALLY good idea… should I tell an INTJ?
A: Sleep on it… for a week or so. If it’s still so appealing, sleep on it for another week. Then maybe run it by one of us and we’ll pick it apart for you. Your idea is more likely to survive our scrutiny relatively unscathed if you have actual logical arguments and sound evidence with which to back it up.
Q: Is it dangerous to annoy an INTJ?
A: First we will ignore you, then we will launch a volley of extremely witty but esoteric insults that will probably go right over your head, and finally we will just engage the “nod-and-smile” autopilot and go back to ignoring you. Best to leave us alone at this point. If you push us too far we may blow up your head with our telekinetic abilities. So, yes, it can be dangerous to annoy an INTJ.
Q: What are the pet peeves of INTJs?
A: Thanks for asking. Our pet peeves are:
- We dislike surprises.
- We hate having decisions made for us. We’re INTJs; nobody is more qualified to make decisions than us.
- We dislike getting gifts, as it burdens us with the need to reciprocate.
- We hate small talk, gossip, and relationship/people talk. Really anything mundane is beneath us.
- We get particularly annoyed by attacks on our intelligence, competence, and integrity.
- We hate it when people try to manipulate us.
- Insincerity and lying.
- People interfering with our alone time.
- People who are chronically late.
- People who talk incessantly. We will just engage our “nod and smile” autopilot and mentally go somewhere else.
- People who are stupid, arrogant, opinionated, and/or closed minded.
- Crooked/badly placed pictures.
- Superficiality (body piercings, pimped out cars, brightly colored anything).
- Salespeople. INTJs are immune to emotional manipulation and have zero tolerance for lines of bullshit.
- Incorrect grammar and word usage.
- People who waste our time (see Salespeople, people interfering with our alone time, etc.).
Q: My INTJ keeps disappearing. Is this normal?
A: Yes. We need our “alone time” to recharge, more so than any of the other introverted MBTI types. Being around people for very long sucks the life force out of us, and we sneak off to be by ourselves whenever our “low battery” warning light starts to flash. (And in those cases where we can’t disappear physically, we will retreat into our minds.) Consequently we have great stealth capability; we can sit in a corner, observing while being unobserved, and we can escape, unnoticed, when we’re ready to move on.
Q: Why can’t my INTJ remember anything?
A: This is normal. Most of us INTJs are very forgetful. We have too much going on in our heads at any time to remember a lot of new stuff. Also, we zone out and go into autopilot mode quite frequently. We often won’t remember where we put our car keys because we weren’t “there” when we did it.
Q: My INTJ employee consistently strolls into work an hour late and leaves an hour late, every day. He/she seems to make their own hours, however the job gets done rather well. Should I feel disrespected?
A: Time is relative to the INTJ, and getting the job done right is paramount. We do not like wasting our time, so we will often adjust our schedules accordingly to miss AM and PM rush-hour traffic. The more traffic we miss, the more time we have for books, movies, video games, books, message boards, books, etc. You should feel disrespected, although it has nothing to do with them not honoring your work rules; it has to do with them not thinking you are particularly smart or competent. If you were smart/competent, you wouldn’t be going on about getting your wittle bitty feewings hurt by your disrespectful but high-performing INTJ employee.
Q: My INTJ is very pedantic.
A: Strictly speaking, that’s not a question.
Q: Dammit, see what I mean?
A: Yes, the irony was not lost on me as I typed the previous answer.
Q: And sarcastic as hell, too.
A: Sarcasm is a free public service we provide to those within earshot. No need to thank us. We also do irony, hyperbole, word-play and puns, one-liners, quick-witted observations and flippant remarks, and abstract and deep philosophical insights on nonsensical themes. Our sense of humor tends to be dry, warped, and morbid, and not everybody “gets” us.
Q: Why does my INTJ just “shut down” at the end of the day?
A: Our minds are always buzzing with plans and theories, and we cannot voluntarily get it to stop. But even an Indy 500 car will coast to a halt after it runs out of gas. When we are very tired our brains slow down, and we become normal or even a bit retarded. If we start asking you to repeat what you just told us but more slowly this time, and/or if we can no longer perform simple routine tasks like computing an orbital transfer burn or finding a memory leak in 10,000 lines of C++ code, you know it’s time for us to call it a day.
Q: Why is my INTJ so… well, so freakin’ WEIRD??!?
A: It’s probably just a side effect of the way our brains work. Many of us tend to be rather obsessive-compulsive, for instance ordering our cd’s, dvd’s, and books by genre then alphabetically (by title for dvd’s, by group then title for cd’s, and by author then title for books, except for series which must be kept in appropriate serial order). Most of us have other quirks as well, e.g., always eating M&M’s in a specific color order, naming our children in alphabetical order, etc. It’s a small price to pay for genius, really.
Q: Why does my INTJ just start nodding and smiling after we’ve been talking for a couple of minutes?
Q: I said, WHY DOES MY INTJ START NODDING AND… Oh I get it, you’re being sarcastic again. Does it ever get old?
A: [ hey, more Wayne Newton anagrams… We Want On Yen, Ant On New Yew, Way None Went… ]
Q: Hello? Are you going to answer any more questions?
A: [ … “Hair Salon For Stray Nerd Nuns”, “Larry Moe and Curly’s On”, “Karaoke’s Not That Fun”, “Harry Potter’s Gay Stepson”, … ]
Q: Asshole. I’m outta here.
A: [ works every time ]
Special thanks to Doppelbock and the members of INTJ Forum that compiled this handy manual.