INTJ: The Architect (Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging)

An Overview of the INTJ Personality Type

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INTJ means introverted, intuitive, thinking, and judging. It is one of the 16 personality types identified by a personality assessment called the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Sometimes referred to as the "Architect" or the "Strategist," people with an INTJ personality are highly analytical, creative, and logical.

INTJ Personality Type

Verywell / JR Bee

There are two INTJ subtypes: INTJ-A and INTJ-T.

  • INTJ-A: This subtype is known as the "Assertive Architect." An INTJ-A tends to have more self-confidence than an INTJ-T, particularly when handling life's ups and downs. And if things don't go the way they expect, an INTJ-A is not likely to second-guess their initial actions or experience regret.
  • INTJ-T: Someone with this subtype is known as the "Turbulent Architect" and has a greater concern about the areas where they may fall short, whether in reality or perception. They also tend to use this concern to their advantage by pushing themselves harder and paying more attention to detail.

How Rare is the INTJ Personality?

According to psychologist David Keirsey, developer of the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, approximately 1% to 4% of the population has an INTJ personality type. (The rarest personality type is INFJ.)

The MBTI is one of the most popular psychological assessments, but critics have argued that it lacks both validity and reliability. If you take the MBTI, use caution when considering the meaning of your results.

You can learn more about the INTJ personality in this overview. However, this should not be interpreted as health, psychological, or professional career advice.

Key INTJ Characteristics

What is an INTJ personality like in everyday life? Here are a few key characteristics:

  • INTJs tend to be introverted and prefer to work alone. They're self-confident and hard-working, which is a strength. However, it can also be a weakness as they may come across as insensitive or callous.
  • An INTJ looks at the big picture and likes to focus on abstract information rather than concrete details. They also tend to be a perfectionist.
  • Someone with an INTJ personality places greater emphasis on logic and objective information rather than subjective emotions. Talking about emotions makes them uncomfortable.
  • INTJs like a world with control and order. As a result, they prefer to make plans well in advance. Some INTJs may even employ manipulation to get a specific outcome.
Strengths
  • Enjoys theoretical and abstract concepts

  • High expectations

  • Good at listening

  • Takes criticism well

  • Self-confident and hard-working

Weaknesses
  • Can be overly analytical and judgmental

  • Very perfectionistic

  • Dislikes talking about emotions

  • Sometimes seems callous or insensitive

Cognitive Functions of an INTJ

The MBTI, which is based upon psychoanalyst Carl Jung's theory of personality, utilizes what is known as a functional stack to understand each personality. Each of the four cognitive functions is either inwardly facing (introverted) or outwardly facing (extroverted), and they combine and interact in a variety of ways.

Each personality type possesses a dominant function that sets the tone for that specific type. In addition to this dominant function, auxiliary, tertiary, and inferior functions play supporting roles in making up the characteristics of an individual's personality.

INTJs rely on the following four key cognitive functions.

Dominant: Introverted Intuition

  • INTJs use introverted intuition to look at patterns, meanings, and possibilities. Rather than simply looking at concrete facts, they are more interested in what these facts mean.
  • People with an INTJ personality type enjoy thinking about the future and exploring possibilities.
  • When remembering events, an INTJ may recall impressions more than exact details of what occurred.
  • INTJs are good at "reading between the lines" to figure out what things might really mean.

Auxiliary: Extraverted Thinking

  • As a secondary function in the INTJ personality, extroverted thinking leads people with this type to seek order, control, and structure in the world around them.
  • For this reason, INTJs can be very deliberate and methodical when approaching problems.
  • People with an INTJ personality type tend to make decisions based on logic. They organize their thoughts to see cause-and-effect relationships.

Tertiary: Introverted Feeling

  • INTJs use introverted feeling but, because it is a tertiary function, they do so to a lesser degree than they use the dominant and auxiliary functions.
  • An INTJ who develops this aspect of their personality more fully pays greater attention to values and feelings when making decisions.
  • As a result, they may also feel more drawn to people and activities that are well-aligned with their values.

Inferior: Extraverted Sensing

  • In INTJs, extraverted sensing tends to be the least developed of their cognitive functions, but it does still exert some influence.
  • This function allows an INTJ to process information through their senses.
  • When this function is in play, people who are an INTJ may feel that they are living in the moment and energized by the world around them.

INTJs You Might Know

Famous INTJs through time include:

  • Thomas Jefferson, U.S. President
  • C.S. Lewis, author
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger, actor and politician
  • Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings
  • Lance Armstrong, cyclist

Personal Relationships With INTJs

People with an INTJ personality type are introverted, reserved, and spend a lot of time in their own mind. They work best by themselves and strongly prefer solitary activities to group work.

While they tend not to be particularly interested in other people's thoughts and feelings, INTJs do care about the emotions of the select group of people with whom they are close. In personal relationships, INTJs are willing to devote time and energy toward making these relationships successful.

People with this type of personality often see little value in social rituals and small talk, making it more difficult to get to know them. Other people may interpret INTJs as cool, aloof, and disinterested, which can make forming new friendships with them challenging.

INTJ Compatibility

Personality types that mesh well with an INTJ, potentially making them good relationship choices, include ENFP, ENTP, and ESTP. INTJs tend to have less compatibility with someone who is an ISFP, ISFJ, or ESFJ personality type.

Career Paths for an INTJ

When INTJs develop an interest in something, they strive to become as knowledgeable and skilled as they can in that area. They have high expectations and hold themselves to the highest possible standards.

INTJs are good at gathering information from the outside world, analyzing it, and reaching new insights. People with this personality type tend to be very analytical and logical.

INTJs value information, knowledge, and intelligence, making them excellent scientists and mathematicians. They also tend to do particularly well in fields that require efficiency and the ability to interpret complex information, such as engineering, academia, law, and research.

INTJs typically do well in careers that integrate their strong ability to understand and evaluate complex information with their ability to put this knowledge into practice. Careers that allow the INTJ to work independently and autonomously are also ideal.

Popular INTJ Careers

  • Scientist
  • Mathematician
  • Engineer
  • Dentist
  • Doctor
  • Teacher
  • Judge
  • Lawyer

Tips for Interacting With INTJs

If you have an INTJ in your life, here are tips for interacting with them based on your relationship.

Friendships

INTJs tend to be solitary and self-sufficient, so establishing friendships can sometimes be difficult. Because people with this personality type tend to think so much of the future, they may avoid getting to know people because they believe that a long-term friendship will not work out.

The good news is that while INTJs may not have a lot of friends, they do become very close and committed to those who persist. INTJs tend to prefer friends who are also introverted, rational, and low on emotional drama.

Parenting

INTJ parents tend to be thoughtful and attentive, yet they are typically not highly affectionate. They have high expectations for their kids and offer support by helping kids think logically when faced with decisions. INTJ parents encourage their kids to be self-directed critical thinkers who are capable of solving problems on their own.

If your child is an INTJ, focus on finding ways to encourage their intellectual strengths but try to find a balance to avoid excessive perfectionism. You can also help your INTJ child develop their emotional strengths and look for ways to express their feelings.

Relationships

Because they can be difficult to get to know, romantic relationships with an INTJ can sometimes falter. If your partner has this personality type, it is important to know that loyalty and understanding are important. Don't be afraid to show that you are dedicated to your INTJ partner, but also don't pressure them to spill their emotions.

Communication is critical when you're in a relationship with an INTJ. Rather than expecting your partner to pick up on your subtle cues, focus on being straightforward or even blunt about what you expect.

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Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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Additional Reading

By Kendra Cherry
Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.