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

An Overview of the INTJ Personality Type

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INTJ (introverted, intuitive, thinking, and judging) 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 INTJ personalities are highly analytical, creative and logical. According to psychologist David Keirsey, developer of the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, approximately one to four percent of the population has an INTJ personality type.

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, be sure to 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

  • INTJs tend to be introverted and prefer to work alone.
  • INTJs look at the big picture and like to focus on abstract information rather than concrete details.
  • INTJs place greater emphasis on logic and objective information rather than subjective emotions.
  • INTJs like their world to feel controlled and ordered so they prefer to make plans well in advance.

INTJ Strengths

  • Enjoys theoretical and abstract concepts

  • High expectations

  • Good at listening

  • Takes criticism well

  • Self-confident and hard-working

INTJ Weaknesses

  • Can be overly analytical and judgmental

  • Very perfectionistic

  • Dislikes talking about emotions

  • Sometimes seems callous or insensitive

Cognitive Functions

The MBTI identifies preferences in four key dimensions: 1) Extraversion vs Introversion, 2) Sensing vs Intuition, 3) Thinking vs Feeling and 4) Judging vs Perceiving. As you can tell by the four-letter acronym, INTJ stands for Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, and Judging.

Based upon psychoanalyst Carl Jung's theory of personality, the MBTI also utilizes what is known as a functional stack in order to understand each personality. Each of the four key functions is either inwardly facing (introverted) or outwardly facing (extroverted). For each personality type, these different cognitive functions combine and interact in a variety of ways.

Each type possesses a dominant function that sets the tone for that specific personality 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 four key cognitive functions:

Dominant: Introverted Intuition

  • INTJs use introverted intuition to look at patterns, meanings, and possibilities. Rather than simply looking at the concrete facts, they are more interested in what these facts mean.
  • People with this personality type enjoy thinking about the future and exploring possibilities.
  • When remembering events, they 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 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 this personality type tend to make decisions based on logic. They organize their thoughts in order 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.
  • Those who develop this aspect of their personalities more fully pay 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, this tends to be the least developed of their cognitive functions, but it does still exert some influence.
  • This function allows people to experience process information through their senses.
  • When this function is in play, people may feel that they are living in the moment and are energized by the world around them.

INTJs You Might Know

  • Thomas Jefferson, U.S. President
  • C.S. Lewis, Author
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger, Actor & Politician
  • Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings
  • Lance Armstrong, Cyclist

Personal Relationships

People with this personality type are introverted and spend a lot of time in their own mind. INTJs work best by themselves and strongly prefer solitary work to group work. While they tend not to be particularly interested in other people's thoughts and feelings, they do care about the emotions of the select group of people to whom they are close. In personal relationships, INTJs are willing to devote time and energy toward making these relationships successful.

Other people often interpret INTJs as cool, aloof and disinterested, which can make forming new friendships challenging. People with this type of personality often see little value in social rituals and small talk, making it even more difficult to get to know them. They tend to be reserved and prefer to interact with a group of close family and friends.

Career Paths

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 they 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. They value information, knowledge, and intelligence and make excellent scientists and mathematicians. They 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


Tips for Interacting With INTJs

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. Parents with this type of personality 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 your child's intellectual strengths, but try to find a balance that avoid excessive perfectionism. You can also help your child develop their emotional strengths and look for ways to express their feelings.

Relationships:

Because INTJs can be difficult to get to know, romantic relationships 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 also critical. Rather than expecting your partner to pick up on your subtle cues, focus on being straight-forward or even blunt about what you expect.

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Article Sources
  • Hirsch, S. K. & Kummerow, J. (1998). Introduction to type in organizations: an individual interpretive guide. Palo Alto, California: Consulting Psychologists Press.
  • Keirsey, D. (1998). Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence. Prometheus Nemesis.
  • Myers, I. B. (1998). Introduction to Type: A Guide to Understanding your Results on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Mountain View, CA: CPP, Inc.