With many years spent exploring what makes people do the things they do, I became fascinated by ‘personality types’, and how different people can grow up in similar environments and yet have amazingly different personalities. Here’s more information about me and my INTP personality.
- Great analysts and abstract thinkers. INTP personalities are great at noticing patterns and seeing the big picture. [I do love looking at the big picture of anything that interests me.] They also possess an impressive ability to jump from one idea to another, linking them in ways that usually bewilder most other personality types.
- Honest and straightforward. INTPs do not play social games and see no point in sugar-coating their words. They will clearly state their opinion and expect others to return the favor.
- Objective. People with the INTP personality are very logical and rational individuals, who see no point in involving emotions in the decision-making process. Consequently, they tend to pride themselves in being fair and impartial.
- Imaginative and original. An INTP’s mind is always working, always producing ideas regardless of whether they are likely to see the light of day. Not surprisingly, INTPs have no difficulties coming up with innovative, original solutions. [Really? Wish I could come up with an innovative, original solution that will allow me to earn money online!]
- Open-minded. INTPs tend to be open-minded and willing to accept ideas different from their own, provided that they are supported by facts and logic. Furthermore, INTPs are usually fairly liberal when it comes to social norms and traditions, judging people solely on the basis of their ideas. [And when people have stupid ideas, by God, I judge them for it. 🙂 ]
- Enthusiastic. INTP personalities can spend an enormous amount of time trying to figure out something they are interested in. They will also be very enthusiastic when it comes to discussing that topic with other people. [Much to the regret of many of my friends….]
- Absent-minded. INTPs are able to focus all their efforts on analyzing a specific idea [or interest], but this usually comes at a cost of ignoring everything else. They may be forgetful or simply miss things that have nothing to do with the object of their interest.
- Second-guess themselves. INTP personalities may be excellent analysts, but they often lack the decisiveness of J types. An INTP may find it quite difficult to decide which idea is the best one, always looking for more information and doubting their own conclusions. [Hmmm…. maybe that’s why I can’t come up with a solution to making money online, because I keep doubting the effectiveness of what I do come up with. I’ll look into that…]
- Insensitive. INTPs are likely to find it difficult to include emotions in their decision-making process, focusing all their efforts on getting the rational basis right. Consequently, they may often come across as insensitive or be puzzled when it comes to dealing with an emotionally-charged situation. [Tact? What do you mean I don’t understand tact? How do you spell that, I want to look it up…]
- Very private and withdrawn. INTPs are often reluctant to let anyone inside their minds [really, you don’t want to see what’s in there], let alone their hearts. They may often come across as shy in social settings and even the INTP’s friends are likely to have a difficult time getting to know them well.
- May be condescending. INTP personalities are usually proud of their extensive knowledge and reasoning abilities, but they may get easily frustrated trying to describe their thoughts other people. INTPs enjoy presenting their ideas to other people, but explaining how they got from A to Z is another matter. [Why can’t you see what I see, and see how the dots are connected. Sheesh!]
- Loathe rules and guidelines. INTPs need a lot of freedom and have little respect for rules and traditions which put artificial limits on their imagination. People with this personality type would rather have less security and more autonomy. [Oh yeh, baby. Story of my life.]
“Philosophers”, “architects”, “dreamy professors”… These epithets are most often used to describe the INTP personality type. INTPs love theories and believe that everything can be analyzed and improved [well, it can!]. They are not that concerned about the real world and practical things – from the INTPs’ perspective, it is often less exciting than ideas and intellectual pursuits [what is possible is far more interesting than what is]. People with this personality type have no difficulties noticing patterns where others cannot – this makes them brilliant theorists and analysts. [My career at the moment is as a Business Analyst, and I’m good at seeing patterns between systems and processes.]
The accumulated knowledge is the most valued asset of any INTP. Imagine an immensely complicated clockwork which is constantly absorbing, processing and generating all kinds of theories – this is how the INTP mind works. People with the INTP personality type possess the most logically precise mind of all personality types – they can easily notice even the tiniest discrepancies between two statements, no matter how much time would have passed in between. It is a bad idea to lie to an INTP. They may appear dreamy sometimes, but this is not because their mind is resting – quite the opposite. [I pick up on people’s lies all the time, but it took me a long time to understand why people get defensive so often when I reflect back to them what they say – no one likes being caught lying.]
INTPs are enthusiastic and impartial when it comes to dealing with problems – they drill through the details and then develop a unique approach and ultimately a viable solution. INTPs are usually very intelligent and insightful people, able to remain unbiased in any situation. They absolutely love new ideas and theories and would never miss an opportunity to discuss them with other people – however, this never-ending thinking process also makes them look somewhat pensive and detached, as INTPs are perfectly able to conduct full-fledged debates in their own heads. [Hahaha! That’s true… I spend many hours talking with myself, even laughing at my own jokes. Which can be annoying for friends when there’s a lull in conversation while I’m off in my own world and I suddenly burst out with laughter….]
People with this personality type may also find it quite difficult to explain their thoughts to others, even when it becomes obvious that their theories are not easily graspable. [How can you explain the intricacies of quantum mechanics and Many-Worlds Interpretation to someone who has trouble tying a shoelace? I just can’t.] INTPs may also move on to another topic before their co-workers or partners have figured out what the INTP wanted to say.
INTPs cannot stand routine work [it makes me want to shoot myself] – they would much rather tackle a difficult theoretical problem. INTP personalities really have no limits when it comes to theoretical riddles – if there is no easy solution and the topic is interesting enough, an INTP can spend ages trying to come up with a solution.
INTP personalities are usually very shy and reluctant when it comes to meeting other people. However, INTPs can also be very friendly and confident when they interact with people they know well or talk about things that interest them. [Out of all my introverted friends, I’m the most extroverted. It’s weird.] INTPs are flexible and relaxed in nearly all situations, except when their beliefs or logical conclusions are being criticized. In those cases, the INTP is likely to become very defensive and argue tirelessly. [You can give me an alternative opinion and I’ll listen and respect it. But when you criticise my own without offering anything better, you will certainly find me fighting for what I believe is right.]
Sharing many personality traits with other T types, INTPs do not really understand or value decisions based on feelings or subjective opinions. In their opinion, the only good solution is the logical solution – INTPs do not see a point in using emotional arguments. [However, I may come up with a logical reason as to why an emotional decision or solution is a good idea….] Such an approach preserves the “sanctity” of their intellectual method; however, this also makes it difficult for INTP personalities to understand other people’s feelings or satisfy their emotional needs.
Individuals with the INTP personality type are likely to be very open-minded and even eccentric. [That’s certainly me! I think I’m going to become more eccentric as I get older…] These traits, combined with their capacity for inventiveness and original thought, make up a very powerful mix – it is not surprising that INTPs are responsible for many scientific discoveries. An INTP is unlikely to care much about social expectations and the “usual” goals such as job security – however, they will do their best to find an environment where their creative genius and potential can be expressed. [I used to have a goal of job security, but the more I struggle with that, the more I find I don’t care about it. I certainly am looking for an environment where I can express my potential instead.]
One of the few bottlenecks that INTPs impose upon themselves is their restless fear of possible failure. No other personality type worries that much about missing a piece of the mental puzzle or overlooking some crucial fact that might lead to a better solution. Unlike their more confident INTJ or ENTJ cousins, INTPs could spend ages reflecting on their actions. Even when an INTP is arguing with someone, this should be taken with a grain of salt – they might as well be arguing with their own mind. [And INTPs are often arguing so they can work out the validity of something for themselves, as well as for the person they’re arguing with.]
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