INTJ in Relationships: The Individualist
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What is an INTJ?
INTJ stands for:
The INTJ’s combination of logical and intuitive thinking can make them seem like geniuses. They see how everything is connected, can make very accurate future predictions, and have a great imagination. Emotions, however, are something of a mystery to them. They don’t tend to express their feelings, and usually aren’t sure what to make of the feelings of others. This means they can come across as robotic or aloof – and unlike some other types, who merely present a cold mask, the INTJ genuinely doesn’t see the value of emotionality. However, to their inner circle, they are dedicated. This rare type aims to be a great friend, family member and/or partner, and they are incredible problem-solvers!
As introverts, they enjoy time alone and prefer a smaller circle of friends. Their intuitive trait means they focus on gut feelings and patterns. They are thinkers who value logic above emotion, and judgers who enjoy structure and organisation.
INTJ Common Traits
- Highly intellectual ‘bigger picture’ thinkers
- Intuitive with strong gut instincts – always analyzing and predicting outcomes
- Can seem aloof because they are typically not preoccupied with emotions
- Competitive and determined
- Dislikes small talk and falseness
- Less serious than they seem (can be playful and fun)
Along with their four-letter description, each MBTI type has a ‘function stack’, which goes into more detail about how their specific personality type works. The INTJ function stack includes Ni-Te-Fi-Se.
Introverted Intuition (Ni), the INTJ’s dominant function, spearheads the INTJ’s ability to ‘predict the future’. Ni is always analyzing and thinking ahead, creating solutions to problems that may not have even arisen yet. INTJs live in their world of future predictions more than reality, so they can seem a bit oblivious to the world around them. Ni, being directed inward, is slow to act. INTJs take their time to process information before making moves, and others might see them as inactive, but they’re doing a lot of work internally. They don’t just look at facts – they want to know how things work and what they mean. Ni also gives INTJs a strong memory (almost photographic), with the ability to recall facts and past events easily and accurately.
Extroverted Thinking (Te), the INTJ’s auxiliary function, is the process that makes them come across as aloof. While their intuition and inner world are kept to themselves (Ni), their judgements are directed outward (Te). Therefore their structured thinking style is the first thing most people notice about them. Te loves organization and numbers; if something is linear, structured, and ‘makes sense’, the INTJ will be comfortable. They don’t like things to be vague, and with their ability to predict outcomes, having measurable goals is very important. They learn constantly – including learning from mistakes and taking failure and criticism in their stride – to continually improve their systems.
Introverted Feeling (Fi), the INTJ’s tertiary function, is an internal process that helps the INTJ decide how they feel. Although they are primarily thinkers, Fi gives them gut feelings if their logic has come to a potentially incorrect conclusion. With their feelings directed inward (and with Ni and Te preceding Fi) INTJs are not preoccupied with emotions and don’t care to share them. They prefer to keep their circle small, caring for only a few people and disliking large social gatherings. But to those they have ‘let in’, INTJs are very dedicated.
Extroverted Sensing (Se), the INTJ’s inferior function, can help to keep the INTJ grounded. Being their weakest function, INTJs become drained when interacting with others or the outside world too much. However, if they can develop this function, they can live in the present more – balancing their dominant Ni, which can keep them up in the clouds. With Se being concerned with the physical, INTJs can be very alert and skilled with their hands.
So, now you know what an INTJ is, how does this relate to their relationships?
INTJ Relationships: Communication Style
INTJs see small talk and politeness as a waste of time, and don’t typically communicate with people unless there’s a reason to. They like to get straight to the point, speaking bluntly rather than using social cues. This, paired with their strong introversion, means they can struggle to make new social connections. The unexpressive INTJ can be seen as cold and unempathetic, but although they don’t spend their time catering to others’ emotions, they care deeply for the people in their chosen circle.
The INTJ is logical and has clear expectations of how things will play out – careers, relationships, events, etc. They are highly loyal, and often traditional, in relationships. It’s important to clarify changes or deviations from the norm with an INTJ, because they will expect things to remain the same (and may not notice if something has shifted emotionally in a relationship).
In a conversation, people might be surprised at how the INTJ plays devil’s advocate, or otherwise brings up information to round out the conversation. They find it important to see all perspectives in a scenario to fully understand it. INTJs can come across as know-it-alls, but they just like to share their knowledge. Because of this, they also aren’t afraid to tell you if they think you’re wrong. Know that they do this from a place of caring, not to hurt feelings.
INTJs aren’t quick to anger and don’t engage often in conflict. They stay independent, keep their emotions private, and don’t take things personally. But in debates, INTJs can be so certain they’re right that they’ll argue tirelessly. It’s important to keep this in mind when in a relationship with them, because disagreements in values or processes might cause big problems.
INTJs can become uncomfortable in situations that require an emotional response, because they need time to decide how they feel about things. This might mean that in an emotional conversation, they go silent or ask questions to take the attention off of them as they think of what to say. Conversely, INTJs can talk at great length about subjects that pique their interest. They like to think aloud, happier to discuss the more logical concepts they’re thinking about. However, sometimes they struggle to communicate their abstract inner world effectively to others, and feel frustrated when people don’t understand them.
When it comes to criticism, INTJs pay little attention; they’re not easy to offend. They like to do things their way, even if authority says otherwise (they’re rule followers as long as they can understand the advantage of the rule). Because of their stubbornness and surety that their way is the correct way, they won’t waste time justifying themselves to others.
Communicate better with an INTJ by giving them time to process new ideas, especially emotions. Never push them to share their feelings, and don’t expect empathy or interest when you share yours. Don’t take their aloofness personally, as this is not meant to be rude – it’s simply the way they are. Keep conversations concise, sticking to facts. INTJs are highly solution-focused people and love conversations when they’re asked for their insights regarding a problem.
INTJ Dating and Compatibility
The INTJ’s difficulty in making friends and overall lack of care in regard to relationships can make romance difficult. Once the relationship is established, they’re very devoted and loyal – but it takes a lot to get to this point. They aren’t romantic people and don’t prioritise relationships unless they really care for someone. They’re looking for a strong partnership, with two people who bring strengths and intellect to the table, more than a romantic, emotional relationship. They want to get to know you in-depth, not just on the surface, and many people can be scared off by their intensity and honesty.
Although they’re honest communicators, you can’t pressure an INTJ to show their emotions. For people who need a partner who is clear about how they feel, a relationship with an INTJ may be strained. Their focus on logic over emotions can make arguments difficult, because although they may see a clear solution to a problem, they may not realise their emotional partner just wants to be heard. However, INTJs wants to work through problems with their partner and will make the effort to come to a solution.
INTJs are independent and want their partner to be the same. This doesn’t there will be a lack of affection – they still want quality time and an intimate, caring relationship – but co-dependence will stifle them. Bridging barriers in expectations and communication styles can be a big task when cultivating a romantic relationship with an INTJ, but if it’s worth it, it’s worth it, and you’ll gain a loyal and devoted partner. They show their love through actions, being strong caretakers who take notice of your needs and are willing to do their best to fix your problems.
INTJ Top Romantic Matches
All Myers-Briggs types can establish good romantic relationships with maturity and good communication, but some types are more likely to be drawn to each other based on compatible traits.
INTJs will struggle in relationships with more emotional, abstract types, because the expectations and needs won’t be compatible. Their independence means they will likely feel smothered with a partner who is co-dependent or needs a lot of time together. Types such as INFJs or ENFJs, who crave deeply emotional relationships and see the world very differently, are the least likely to be a successful match.
INTJs are likely to thrive in relationships where both partners are independent, but come together to bring complementing strengths. They enjoy a partner who has a similar communication style, and is intellectual. In fact, the intellectual connection is sometimes as important, if not more, than an emotional/romantic one. The best match for an INTJ is therefore likely to be an ENTJ. They are also non-emotional, intellectual thinkers, who like to put ideas into practice and are not sensitive.
Some other good matches:
- INTJ – the similarity with a partner of the same type can increase understanding and expectations for the relationship (but the inflexibility of both partners could cause issues)
- INFP – great communication is possible between these types, although INFP’s emotionality may cause friction with the less-emotional INTJ
- ENFP – both intellectual and creative; the extroversion of the ENFP can balance INTJ’s introversion – as long as they can overcome this difference
INTJ Relationships: Parents & Children
INTJ parents are traditional, always ensuring their children’s needs are met. They fulfil their physical family role, applying their strong problem-solving to parenting. However, because they see emotions as a low priority, they don’t tend to be very affectionate. If the child has a problem, they are much more likely to help them logically find a solution, than comfort them.
They teach their children to be intellectual and independent like themselves. INTJ parents can be confused and even angry when their child acts illogically or unpredictably (for example, having a tantrum). But this is a regular part of childhood, and the INTJ parent must learn to deal with all behaviour in a way that works for both them and the child.
They give their children freedom, but with that comes high expectations to take care of themselves and make the right choices. INTJs teach their children rules they believe are important (not necessarily to follow the typical rules of society) and expect them to have the same beliefs and values. INTJ parents are organised and structured, giving their children strong routines. The children – especially as they enter their teen years – appreciate this healthy blend of structure and freedom.
It’s important for all in the family to learn each others’ communication styles, as well as how their emotions work, to promote understanding and harmony. INTJs, not being great listeners or emotionally available people, as well as being stubborn and set in their ways, can struggle with this. But they typically learn to manage due to their dedication to their family.
As a child, the INTJ tends to have a great awareness of the world around them, thinking deeply and analyzing from an early age. Parents of INTJ children should encourage them intellectually, and not push them emotionally. However, helping them find healthy ways to express and feel their emotions can be beneficial. INTJ children, just like adults, need intellectual and creative stimulation. They don’t like to be smothered and they dislike rules they don’t understand. Giving them space to analyze, understand, and learn, is key.
See our list of books for the INTJ Personality Type that can help you with relationships and other life aspects.
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