A Rare Open Letter from an INTJ

“You’re funny! I had no idea.”

“We will have to draw you out of your shell.”

“I used to be scared of you.”

These are sentences I have heard often throughout my life and I am sure than many other people like me- INTJs and similar personalities, have had to listen to the same basic statements throughout their lives as well. Just yesterday, I heard another such line. I told my mom that I was planning a few social events and she pretty much congratulated me. 
“What?” I protested. “I can be social!”

Can be. That’s the difference. When you want to be, you can be social.” 

Now I was even more confused.

“You are not anti-social, but when socializing is not your object at the moment, you are very focused, giving off a distant vibe and walking with an out-of-my-way-peasants air,” she continued to explain.

Ouch, I thought. In all honesty, I had no idea that this is how I can sometimes come across and my mother was right; it’s not that I am shy or that I am rude. I am simply focused and this is the case for most people of my personality type. I found myself wishing I could explain this to others and, fortunately, realized that with this blog, I can!

First of all, is the Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator 100% accurate? No. And do people live according to their personality combination? Absolutely not. For instance, I may be classified as an introvert, but I still love being around friends, as aforesaid. Okay, now that we have established that I do not swear by the Myers-Briggs or take it to be certain fact, here are five things that INTJs wish we could tell others:


1. We are not always the villain. 


Sure, every comic book, movie, and novel seems to cast an INTJ as the antagonist and let’s face it, INTJs can be terrible (take me when I am tired or hungry, for instance…scary…). However, we are more than the Moriartys of the world. We are not all plotting world domination. Not seriously, anyway. Jane Austen is thought to have been and INTJ, as well as C.S. Lewis and even some of the best characters dreamed up by such authors match this personality type. So if you are aware of the Myers-Briggs and meet someone who claims to be an INTJ, you don’t need to call the Avengers or try to solve a mystery before a hospital explodes because that is fiction and we are just people, not supervillains. 


2. We want to be included, but do not like being the initiator. 


As I have said now several times, I like to be social and I especially like to know that people want to be around me. I am usually too reserved to approach a group and leap into their conversation or host a party of my own, but I do wish to be a part of such things. It is a tricky spot, wanting to be a part but not wanting to be assertive. That said, it means a lot when another person takes the initiative so we do not have to, so do an INTJ in your life a favor and text him/her first, invite him/her to something, or-best of all- just talk to him/her! It will definitely be appreciated, even if the INTJ’s face remains impassive. 😉


3. We are not angry or rude: just focused.


INTJ personalities are considered “the scientist” of the personalities; people of this type, myself included, have an intense focuse that they find incredibly hard to abandon, even for a few minutes. However, if we brush past you or fail to return your friendly smile, we mean no disregard. Actually, upon realizing that I have done this, I felt absolutely dreadful and wanted to rush out and hug the poor ignored person! If an INTJ does seem unfeeling or brusque, he or she, nine times out of ten, is just deep in thought or focused on something unrelated. Do not be offended; just smile again or try again later. 


4. We are not robots.   


 I do not cry in public. Scratch that: I don’t cry in front of anyone outside of my parents and even then it is rare. However, while everyone else is sobbing at the theater while watching Les Miserables and the INTJ is sitting there apparently unmoved, it is not that he or she is heartless; he or she just processes things internally and does not feel the need to always manifest this processing as a visible emotion. Okay, that made us sound robotic, which is exactly the opposite of my point. Ugh. I’ll just say that when I found myself surrounded by crying people at the movies, I was saddened by Fantine’s plight as well, but although I yawned and thought of dead puppies and bit my cheek, I could not force any tears to fall. I felt sad too and really wanted to show some of this emotion, but beneath all of this, I could not. You see, INTJs are human too, but just do not have as easy of a time showing their human emotion. In a showdown between logic and feeling, even if feeling ought to win, we will try our best to choose logic.


5. Overthinking is just what we do.


Ultimately, I do not initiate conversations and such because I have overthought them so much that I have scared myself into not bothering. However, I have realized that the most fun I have ever had has been had when I am not thinking at all. When an INTJ chooses to ditch his or her filter, saying whatever silly comment comes to mind without fear of sounding ridiculous and hugging that friend without worrying about accidentally reinacting the disastrous Voldemort-Draco embrace (*shudders*), he or she not only has a more enjoyable time, but is a more pleasant person to be around. As I said just the other day, I can be really loud when I am comfortable, but many times I just do not know what to do due to overanalyzing and psych myself out into silence. 


There you are: five things that INTJs wish they could tell you, a sort of disclaimer and warning for this personality type, if you will. However, once more I want to emphasize that this post is based on generalities and my own personal experience; there are always exceptions. Still, do an INTJ in your life a favor and give a hug, send a text, or say hello. He or she might struggle, forget to reply, or not hear you, but it is still appreciated more greatly than you know. 🙂


      1. I wondered if Austen was an NT, as well. I always felt like she was harsh to her outside characters. They had no redeeming qualities. But she mellowed with Persuasion–or at least Anne was gentler, even if Jane hinted Anne’s family didn’t deserve her kindness. (INFJ musing here)


      2. Is harshness to outside characters an NT or NF quality? I’d think of it as a T quality, just because we tend to be harsher 🙂 but then something about it just *feels* NF. Can’t put my finger on it…


      3. Do NTs have a niggling sense of guilt and a great need to be kind to the personalities they study? That’s where much of my conflict in reading Austen comes from. I see the humor in human foibles- and I think it’s important to see the humor!- but it comes with a twinge of conscience. I almost didn’t post about the harshness, realizing that might be perceived as stereotypical of all INTJs, but decided it was worth observing. Basically, when reading Austen, I have to distance myself to shake my head knowingly at true-to-life characters; I have to turn off my “how would I feel in this person’s shoes?” Is that an F quality?
        Either way, I think Austen wrote her preference for Thinking versus Feeling when she wrote Sense and Sensibility. Marianne is swept away by emotion, while Elinor keeps hers in check. Doesn’t mean E. doesn’t have a deep well of emotion, but that she relies on her brain over her heart.
        Could Austen have fallen between the two? I wouldn’t be surprised! In wondering about that, I’d really like to know how often the T/F factor comes close to an ‘x’ in INxJ personalities. (My T/F is close.)

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Love this post. As an ISTJ, I can relate to much of this. And that last picture was spot on. Made me laugh. I over-explain and am inarticulate all the time trying to get all my thoughts out, it’s ridiculous. May I ask where you got the picture from, and may I share this post on my Facebook page?


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