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People with the Myers-Briggs INTP (Introversion, Intuition, Thinking, Perception) personality type are realists and truth-seekers. They have the personality of a philosopher. The Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator describes people with the INTP personality type as having an innate desire to logically explain the world around them. They are more interested in theories and abstract concepts than socializing. They are often quiet and prefer controlled environments. They are excellent problem solvers. Although these qualities may be positive, their skepticism, analytical nature, and penchant for criticism can alienate others.
INTPs are independent and strategic thinkers. They are able to create abstract models that have the ability to help others understand complicated problems. They often solve problems by pioneering new approaches to complex issues. Others may view them as detached or aloof, but in reality, they are extremely involved and focused on their interests.
People with this personality type are best known for their magnificent theories and relentless logic. Their minds are constantly active, formulating new theories and ideas. In fact, it is not uncommon for their minds to constantly ruminate throughout the day, leading to a barrage of internal, mental debates. When they talk to others about these thoughts, it is to use them as a sounding board to help them analyze a situation or develop new solutions to problems. Although they are not into in-depth or prolonged social interactions, they enjoy the company of those who share their common interests and passions. While shy at times, they can become quite passionate and quarrelsome when others do not agree with their logic. The INTP personality type accounts for approximately 3 percent of the general population, which suits them because one of their biggest fears is being ordinary or common. They pride themselves on being innovative, creative, and unique, so they do not mind being different. Their ego may be self-inflated in terms of their intelligence.
They work well in places of employment or learning, as long as it concerns subjects of their interests and if they are surrounded by likeminded individuals. INTPs typically excel in advanced classes. However, they tend to struggle in team atmospheres, especially when they are assigned to teams where one or more of the team members are not as logical or task-oriented as themselves. In addition, it is common for people with an INTP personality to overlook or dismiss facts and details they feel are irrelevant. Peers and co-workers may view these individuals as having no clear sense of direction or purpose.
People with this personality type tend to be private, unconventional, and independent people; therefore, jobs that require team work are not desirable to them. Rather, these individuals thrive in creative and innovative scientific fields. They perform well in research; medicine; accounting; law; forensics; data analysis; corporate strategies; business analysis; mechanical, electrical and software engineering; entrepreneurial pursuits; and freelance consulting. These individual work best when they are given autonomy. They do not, however, do well in situations where they are micro-managed. They love independent projects and problem-solving tasks. Most of all, they love creating and sharing their creations with others, especially those with the same interests.
If they work at relationships, they can maintain enriching connections. People with this personality tend to tolerate a myriad of behaviors, which is good for relationships, however, they often do not take into consideration the impact their words and actions have on others, especially their romantic partners. It annoys them when their partners do not share their beliefs and opinions, which is when they are most prone to say hurtful things. It is also not uncommon for people with INTP personalities to remain single; they value their independence. They do not like when people try to dictate what they do and where they go. They typically have an overwhelming need to be autonomous—free of restrictions and limitations. When a romantic relationship becomes strained, those with this personality tend to feel alienated. They also have a higher risk of becoming upset and hypersensitive, which can lead to their misinterpreting a partner’s words and actions.
Their fear of rejection may lead to their seeming shy or withdrawn when meeting new people and socializing; however, when they finally meet someone they can relate to, they become excited, enthusiastic, eager, and fun. Moreover, when they grow to be comfortable with their partners, they tend to become playful. Even so, they are more likely to wait for the other person to make the first move. People with this personality rarely partake in grand romantic gestures. However, once the connection is made, they quickly and fully commit to that person. In other words, people with an INTP personality are loyal to their partners—there is no need to worry about infidelity from these people.
They are honest, direct, and understanding, rarely demonstrating their love and devotion through gifts or surprises. INTPs have a habit of dismissing their partners’ feelings, which sometimes damage relationships. As a result, people who are involved with INTP personality types tend to get frustrated when their partners do not address their emotional needs and concerns. On a positive note, people with this personality type love to solve problems and resolve issues within the relationship.
INTPs are not emotional people, in general, but they do make good parents and friends. They are known for their devotion and loyalty, which bodes well for friendships and parent/child relationships. They encourage their children to think beyond social norms and form their own beliefs and opinions. These children tend to have more freedom and autonomy than children raised by parents from other personality types. Parents with this personality are not as demanding as more traditional parents. They also encourage intellectual thinking. INTP parents are always available, should their children need their advice, guidance, support, or perspectives. In summary, once they begin to relax, INTPs can be outstanding friends and parents.
- R. Y. Langham, PhD, Author Melissa Lavery, MS, Editor