Profile by Sandra Krebs Hirsch and Jean Kummerow
INTJs are strong individualists who seek new angles or novel ways of looking at things. They enjoy coming to new understandings. They are insightful and mentally quick; however, this mental quickness may not always be outwardly apparent to others since they keep a great deal to themselves. They are very determined people who trust their vision of the possibilities, regardless of what others think. They may even be considered the most independent of all of the sixteen personality types. INTJs are at their best in quietly and firmly developing their ideas, theories, and principles.
The independent and individualistic INTJ manner appears early in life. As children, INTJs are often inwardly focused on their thoughts of the way the world is or ought to be; they enjoy day dreaming. They can be quite stubborn when information relayed to them by authorities, such as parents and teachers, contradicts what they believe. They are sure of their own belief system. INTJs are compelled to establish their own rules, boundaries, standards, and style.
Often at an early age, INTJs make a commitment to furthering their education. The life of the mind is very important to them. Examples abound of INTJs from economically or intellectually impoverished circumstances setting goals for themselves to continue in education, often earning the highest degree possible.
INTJ teenagers may be seen as serious and reserved young people who are labeled as bookworms by others. They set internal standards of achievement for themselves and often do well academically. Being sociable is a standard that they rarely think is worth their time and energy.
As adults, INTJs are focused on attaining their inner goals and standards. They set a particular course based on their theory of what ought to be. They work extremely diligently to accomplish what they feel is important. They enjoy what they do and see it as a challenge. They are not easily dissuaded and may regard others' needs and wants as an impediment to attaining their objectives.
Learning and Working
INTJs learn best when they can design their won approach and when they are able to absorb themselves in an area that interests them. They tend to focus on systems, theories, and constructs relating to universal truths and principles. They prefer challenging teachers, ones who meet their standards. High grade-point averages and test scores tend to characterize INTJs, who like rigorous academic work. Learning needs to be a creative process. Rote memory can be dull and boring for the INTJ.
INTJs are diligent in pursuing new ideas and thoughts, and they exert effort to master a given subject. This makes INTJs particularly adept in most school situations. Because of their resourcefulness, thirst for knowledge, and inner needs, INTJs tend to find ways of acquiring knowledge. They gravitate toward libraries, public lectures, courses, and other learners and teachers - sources that offer them information and direction.
At work, INTJs use their conceptual strengths to analyze situations and then develop models to understand and anticipate through relentlessly to reach their goals. They will continue on with their plans, even in the face of adversity and data that might suggest to other more practical types that their goals are no longer feasible. By nature, INTJs are independent individualists. They see their visions so clearly that they are often surprised when others do not see things the same way. INTJs are strong at critiquing and as a result tend to notice the negatives. To them, a job well done should be reward enough in itself. They may neglect to comment favorably on others' contributions.
INTJs tend to seek occupations that allow them to change the status quo and to design models to express their vision creatively. They desire autonomy and room for growth. They prefer to work in a place in which the future can be planned and where they can work for change in an organized manner.
Some occupations seem to be especially attractive to INTJs: computer systems analyst, electrical engineer, judge, lawyer, photographer, psychologist, research department manager, researcher, scientist, university instructor, and other occupations in which long-range vision is essential.
For INTJs, love means including someone in their vision of the world. INTJ men tend to be attracted to partners who enjoy living their lives with and outward vitality and zest. Perhaps it is to compensate for their internal, visionary focus that they often find partners who are more outgoing and may even run interference to help the INTJ deal with the day-to-day world. INTJ women, however, may seek someone more like themselves.
INTJs tend to have a model in mind of how their relationship ought to be. This is less a romantic vision than it is and idea that relates to how the relationship functions in a unique or special way. They tend to withhold their deep feelings and affections from the public and sometimes even from the object of their affections. They can be intensely loyal and caring, even though this is not always expressed in words. INTJs can be generous with their gifts if the gift fits their vision of what ought to be appreciated by their partner.
When scorned, INTJs retreat to their own world and may share none of their feelings with others. They may assume that there is a right way for a relationship to end and look for that. They act on the outside as if nothing has happened to them when indeed much has. They may lash out with criticisms of their former loved ones. It may take them a while to recover.
Profile by David Keirsey
INTJs are the most self-confident of all types, having "self-power" awareness. Found in about 1 percent of the general population, the INTJs live in an introspective reality, focusing on possibilities, using thinking in the form of empirical logic, and preferring that events and people serve some positive use. Decisions come naturally to INTJs' once a decision is made, INTJs are at rest. INTJs look to the future rather than the past, and a word which captures the essence of INTJs is builder-a builder of systems and the applier of theoretical models.
To INTJs authority based on position, rank, title, or publication has absolutely no force. This type is not likely to succumb to the magic of slogans, watchwords, or shibboleths. If an idea or position makes sense to an INTJ, it will be adopted, if it doesn't, it won't, regardless of who took the position or generated the idea. As with the INTP, authority per se does not impress the INTJ.
INTJs do, however, tend to conform to rules if they are useful, not because they believe in them, or because they make sense, but because of their unique view of reality. They are the supreme pragmatists, who see reality as something which is quite arbitrary and made up. Thus it can be used as a tool-or ignored. Reality is quite malleable and can be changed, conquered, or brought to heel. Reality is a crucible for the refining of ideas, and in this sense, INTJs are the most theoretical of all the types. Where an ESTP sees ideas as the pawn of reality, an INTJ sees reality as the pawn of ideas: No idea is too far-fetched to be entertained. INTJs are natural brainstormers, always open to new concepts and, in fact, aggressively seeking them.
INTJs manipulate the world of theory as if on a gigantic chess board, always seeking strategies and tactics that have high payoff. In their penchant for logic, the INTJs resemble the INTPs. The logic of an INTJ, however, is not confined to the expressible logical. Unlike INTPs, INTJs need only to have a vague, intuitive impression of the unexpressed logic of a system to continue surely on their way. Things need only seem logical; this is entirely sufficient. Moreover, they always have a keen eye for the consequence of the application of new ideas or positions. They can be quite ruthless in the implementation of systems, seldom counting personal cost in terms of time and energy. Theories which cannot be made to work are quickly discarded by the INTJs.
To understand INTJs, their way of dealing with ideas should be observed closely. Their conscious thought is extraverted and empirical. Hence, they are better at generalizing, classifying, summarizing, adducing evidence, proving, and demonstrating than are the INTPs. The INTJs are somewhat less at home with pure reason, that is, systemic logic, where principles are explicit. In this respect they resemble the ENTJs. The INTJs, rather than using deductive logic, use their intuition to grasp coherence.
INTJs can be very single-minded at times; this can be either a weakness or a strength in their careers, for they can ignore the points of view and wishes of others. INTJs usually rise to positions of responsibility, for they work long and hard and are steady in their pursuit of goals, sparing neither time nor effort on their part or that of their colleagues and employees.
INTJs live to see systems translated into substance; an INTP, by way of contrast, is content to design the system. In both these types, however, coherence is the master. Both internal and external consistency are important, and if an INTJ finds that he or she is in a working situation where overlapping functions, duplication of effort, inefficient paper flow, and waste of human and material resources abound, the INTJ cannot rest until an effort is made to correct the situation. Cost-effectiveness is a concept which has a strong imperative for INTJs, who frequently select occupations in engineering, particularly human engineering. They also can be found in the physical sciences, in roles which require development, such as curriculum building, and, in general, any job which requires the creation and application of technology to complex areas.
Fellow workers of INTJs often feel as if the INTJ can see right through them, and often believe that the INTJ finds them wanting. This tendency of people to feel transparent in the presence of the INTJ often result in relationships which have psychological distance. Thus colleagues find the INTJ apparently unemotional and, at times, cold and dispassionate. Because of their tendency to drive others as hard as they do themselves, INTJs often seem demanding and difficult to satisfy. INTJs are high achievers in school and on the job. On the job, they take the goals of an institution seriously and continually strive to respond to these goals. They make dedicated, loyal employees whose loyalties are directed toward the system, rather than toward individuals within the system. So as the people of an institution come and go, the INTJs have little difficulty-unlike the NFs, who have their loyalties involved more with persons than offices. INTJs tend, ordinarily, to verbalize the positive and eschew comments of a negative nature; they are more interested in moving an institution forward than commiserating about mistakes of the past.
As mates, INTJs want harmony and order in the home and in relationships. They are the most independent of all types. They will trust their intuitions about others when making choices of friends and mates, even in the face of contradictory evidence and pressures applied by others. The emotions of an INTJ are hard to read, and neither male nor female INTJ is apt to express emotional reactions. At times, both will seem cold, reserved, and unresponsive, while in fact INTJs are almost hypersensitive to signals of rejection from those for whom they care. In social situations, INTJs may also be unresponsive and may neglect to observe small rituals designed to put others at their ease. For example, INTJs may communicate that time is wasted if used for idle dialogue, and thus people receive a sense of hurry from an INTJ which is not always intended. In their interpersonal relationships, INTJs are usually better in a working situation than in recreational situations. They do not enjoy physical contact except with a chosen few.
As parents, INTJs are dedicated and single minded in their devotion: Their children are a major focus in life. They are supportive of their children and tend to allow them to develop in directions of their own choosing. INTJs usually are firm and consistent in their discipline and rarely care to repeat directions given to children...or others. Being the most independent of all the types, they have a strong need for autonomy; indifference or criticism from people in general does not particularly bother INTJs, if they believe that they are right. They also have a strong need for privacy.
The most important preference of an INTJ is intuition, but this is seldom seen. Rather, the function of thinking is used to deal with the world and with people. INTJs are vulnerable in the emotional area and may make serious mistakes here.
At midlife the feeling side of personality should be given much attention by the INTJ, who can work at expanding his or her abilities to respond to wishes and feelings of others. They may also do well to turn more attention to the sensory side of their natures, attempting to get in touch with the joys of good food, good beverages, social rituals, kinesthetic experiences...and play. The "wasting" of time in play is an appropriate target as a midlife task for INTJs who can take lessons from an SP, especially an ESP, in the art of enjoying the pleasures of life.
Wishing to control nature, the INTJ "scientist" probably has more difficulty than all other types in making up his or her mind in mate selection. Even mate selection must be done in a scientific way. It may well be that the narratives, plays, and films impugning the "rational and objective" approach to mating have as their target our thorough-going scientist INTJ. Nevertheless, when young, the INTJ is attracted to the free-wheeling, spontaneous, fun-loving "entertainer" ESFP. But the INTJ requires that mating meet certain criteria, else it is not undertaken. So the INTJ doesn't often go through with what is begun by natural attraction. Since he or she proceeds in a rational and methodical way, the selection of a similar temperament is more likely than selection of opposite, following the assumption that those who are similar ought to do well together. The INTJ "scientist" is also attracted to the ENFP "journalist," probably because of the enthusiastic, effervescent, and apparently spontaneous enjoyment and wonderment this type exudes-the very antitheses of the careful, thoughtful exactitude of the INTJ.
INFJ - The Mystic
Profile by Sandra Krebs Hirsch and Jean Kummerow
INFJs are future oriented, and direct their insight and inspiration toward the understanding of themselves and thereby human nature. Their work mirrors their integrity, and it needs to reflect their inner ideals. Solitude and an opportunity to concentrate thoroughly on what counts most is important to them. INFJs prefer to quietly exert their influence. They have deeply felt compassion, and they desire harmony with others. INFJs understand the complexities existing within people and among them. They are at their best concentrating on their ideas, ideals, and inspirations.
INFJ children have two sides. They can be very much involved in the world of people, as well as quiet, imaginative, and in their own world. They are usually gentle and abhor violence. As teenager, INFJs look for a small group of people who understand and appreciate them. Without this support, they can feel isolated from others. INFJs who do not find a supportive social group may find the teen years to be somewhat difficult for them because of peer pressure to be popular and activity oriented. They are not likely to enjoy large parties, but prefer intimate groups of close and long-standing friends.
Many INFJs who have the opportunity to gravitate toward higher education where they often find their niche. With their intellectual bent, they are led to endeavors that allow them to deal with theory and complexity. Professors often spot their intellectual inclination and encourage it.
INFJs often settle early into a career choice and diligently apply themselves to the career's requirements. This same diligent pattern applies when selecting other important things in their lives, such as where to live, who to marry, and what activities are worthy of their dedication.
INFJs have an internal picture of how they would like their work to contribute to the general good. If they are in an appropriate career area, INFJs may reap the rewards of their insight and hard work. Because of their future-focus, their people orientation, and their push toward task completion, they may rise to positions of responsibility.
INFJs have a strong love of learning, and they tend to do well academically. Through persistence, diligence, and conscientiousness, they complete their assignments on time. They are likely to enjoy research and will go great lengths to find answers.
INFJs enjoy investigating the possibilities and meanings beyond the actual facts and realities. Reading holds a particular fascination for them because it allows them to have quiet reflection time and engages their imagination. They also like the written word (and rely on it more than the spoken word) since it is usually better structured and more coherent with a ready-made framework.
INFJs write and communicate well because they want to formulate their ideas clearly. They place high regard on their reader and audience. They seek to communicate their ideals to others. When their ideals need to be championed, they speak up in an enthusiastic and impassioned way.
As students, INFJs prefer learning from teachers whom they both like and admire, and who give them personal attention. INFJs are often 'model' students. They are quiet and orderly, reflective and thoughtful, and sincerely want to please their teachers and learn the right thing. They learn best from others but want time to assimilate material by themselves.
INFJs will go beyond what has been presented and often mull material over in their minds. Occasionally they will discuss ruminations with others in order to learn even more. They particularly like the more conceptual and theoretical classes, therefore, higher education is comfortable to them.
INFJs tend to be devoted to what they believe in and seek work where their needs, values, and ideals can be deeply engaged. They move on the wave of their inspirations and are determined to see that their values are worked out in their lives. They will work toward their goals individually and, when needed, will put together a team of other highly dedicated people like themselves. They are personal be with others, working with integrity and consistency, and they follow through on their commitments. INFJs, while concentrating on what is important to them, may ignore the political ramifications of their actions. They can be surprised by the necessity of being political and usually resent that aspect of organizational life. Being able to talk honestly and comfortably to people at work is much more important to them than 'playing games.'
INFJs orient themselves toward their goals using a personal, values-based framework. They do not 'advertise' their values and priorities because they believe in harmony and positive relationships. However, one would do well not to underestimate the amount of perseverance, energy, and time INFJs give to their priorities. What they do, they do with an almost religious intensity.
The INFJ external environment may be only partially organised. Their internal environment, by contrast, is anything but haphazard. Their ideas need to fit into a coherent whole that has the pieces in place. Organization of the internal world takes precedence over organization of external world.
INFJs prefer occupations that focus on the big picture, involve conceptual awareness, and lead to a better understanding of the spiritual, emotional, or future needs of people. They want their work to have impact and meaning and for it to bring them admiration and respect.
While INFJs can and do enter all occupations, some are more appealing to them than others. These include clergy, education consultant, English teacher, fine arts teacher, librarian, psychiatrist, psychologist, scientist, social worker, and other occupations that allow INFJs an opportunity to make their own creative contribution.
INFJs lead through their quiet yet persistent and determined effort toward long-range goals for themselves, others and their organizations. In working toward their vision, they win cooperation rather than demand it. INFJs work to make their insights real and are able to inspire others with their ideals. They use a low-key, soft, yet intense and determined course of action. When they do not directly lead others, they may still act as facilitators between people. In meetings, they focus on both people and new ideas.
Leisure-time pursuits for INFJs are often solitary or involve the company of others who are particularly important to them. Sitting around with dear friends discussing feelings can be very special to INFJs. INFJs are likely to have friends of long standing rather than make many new acquaintances. They may meet with their friends fairly consistently to share what is happening in their lives. It is sometimes difficult for others to break into this circle. These deep friendships are important, even though INFJs may not share much directly about themselves.
For INFJs, 'still waters run deep.' They tend to become attracted to someone special and prefer this one deep relationship over many superficial ones. The depth of involvement and feeling that the INFJ has toward loved ones is only partially communicated outward. At times, when alone, INFJs become truly in touch with the depth of the love they have for their partner. They may not openly demonstrate or even verbalize their intense feelings. INFJs often have an ideal standard of what love is. They hold to their ideal and are disappointed when, inevitably, their relationship and/or mate reveals flaws. INFJs enjoy sharing activities like a regular 'date,' revisiting the place where they first met their mates, or doing other symbolic things that help to continue and confirm the existence of the bond that they feel for their partner.
INFJs want to give love and to be loved. They enter into relationships just to be cared for, even when the person is not right for them and they suspect it. However, when they meet that special person, they are quick to get into the relationship and make it a serious one. They will end their other relationships in order to pursue their loved one. They become very focused, intense, and direct in that pursuit.
INFJs, when scorned, take it personally and retreat inward. They may obsess about the relationship and their role in its failure. One INFJ explained, 'people can do the most outrageous things, yet I blame myself for triggering their behaviour or not recognizing it. I see myself as responsible for relationships. Other people can dismiss them --- I'm not able to.' INFJs may blame themselves and experience a period of mourning. If they do not marshall their resources, externalized their feelings, and take risks to move on, they may experience a long periods of self-examination.
Profile by David Keirsey
INFJs focus on possibilities, think in terms of values and come easily to decisions. The small number of this type (1 percent) is regrettable, since INFJs have unusually strong drive to contribute to the welfare of others and genuinely enjoy helping their fellow men. This type has great depth of personality; they are themselves complicated, and can understand and deal with complex issues and people.
It is an INFJ who is likely to have visions of human events past, present, or future. If a person demonstrates an ability to understand psychic phenomena better than most others, this person is apt to be an INFJ. Characteristically, INFJs have strong empathic abilities and can be aware of another's emotions or intents even before that person is conscious of these. This can take the form of feeling the distress of illnesses of others to an extent which is difficult for other types. INFJs can intuit good and evil in others, although they seldom can tell how they came to know. Subsequent events tend to bear them out, however.
INFJs are usually good students, achievers who exhibit an unostentacious creativity. They take their work seriously and enjoy academic activity. They can exhibit qualities of over-perfectionism and put more into a task than perhaps is justified by the nature of the task. They generally will not be visible leaders, but will quietly exert influence behind the scenes.
INFJs are hard to get to know. They have an unusually rich inner life, but they are reserved and tend not to share their reactions except with those they trust. Because of their vulnerability through a strong facility to introject, INFJs can be hurt rather easily by others, which, perhaps, is at least one reason they tend to be private people. People who have known an INFJ for years may find sides emerging which come as a surprise. Not that INFJs are inconsistent; they are very consistent and value integrity. But they have convoluted, complex personalities which sometimes puzzle even them.
INFJs like to please others and tend to contribute their own best efforts in all situations. They prefer and enjoy agreeing with others, and find conflict disagreeable and destructive. What is known as ESP is likely found in an INFJ more than in any other types, although other types are capable of such phenomena. INFJs have vivid imaginations exercised both as memory and intuition, and this can amount to genius, resulting at times in an INFJ's being seen as mystical. This unfettered imagination often will enable this person to compose complex and often aesthetic works of art such as music, mathematical systems, poems, plays, and novels. In a sense, the INFJ is the most poetic of all the types. Just as the ENTJ cannot not lead, so must an INFJ intuit; this capability extends to people, things, and often events, taking the form of visions, episodes of foreknowledge, premonitions, auditory and visual images of things to come. INFJs can have uncanny communications with certain individuals at a distance
INFJs often select liberal arts as a college major and opt for occupations which involve interacting with people, but on a one-to-one basis. For example, the general practitioner in medicine might be an INFJ, or the psychiatrist or psychologist. As with all NF's, the ministry holds attraction, although the INFJ must develop an extraverted role here which requires a great deal of energy. INFJs may be attracted to writing as a profession, and often they use language which contains an unusual degree of imagery. They are masters of the metaphor, and both their verbal and written communications tend to be elegant and complex. Their great talent for language usually is directed toward people, describing people and writing to communicate with people in a personalized way. INFJs who write comment often that they write with a particular person in mind; writing to a faceless, abstract audience leaves them uninspired.
INFJs make outstanding individual therapists who have the ability to get in touch with the archetypes of their patients in a way some other types do not. The INFJs are also the most vulnerable of all the types to the eruption of their own archetypal material. As therapists, INFJs may choose counseling, clinical psychology, or psychiatry, or may choose to teach in these fields. Writing about these professions often intrigues an INFJ. Whatever their choice, they generally are successful in these fields because their great personal warmth, their enthusiasm, their insight, their depth of concentrations, their originality, and their organizational skills can all be brought into play.
At work as well as socially, INFJs are highly sensitive in their handling of others and tend to work well in an organizational structure. They have a capacity for working at jobs which require solitude and concentration, but also do well when in contact with people, providing the human interaction is not superficial. INFJs enjoy problem-solving and can understand and use human systems creatively and humanistically. As employees or employers, INFJs are concerned with people's feelings and are able to provide in themselves a barometer of the feelings of individuals and groups within the organizations. INFJs listen well and are willing and able to consult and cooperate with others. Once a decision is made, they work to implement it.
INFJs are generally good at public relations and themselves have good interpersonal relations. They value staff harmony and want an organization to run smoothly and pleasantly, themselves making every effort to contribute to that end. They are crushed by too much criticism and can have their feelings hurt rather easily. They respond to praise and use approval as a means of motivating others, just as they, the INFJs, are motivated by approval. If they are subject to a hostile, unfriendly working condition or to constant criticism, they tend to lose confidence, become unhappy and immobilized, and finally become physically ill.
As mates, INFJs are usually devoted to their spouses, but may not always be open to physical approaches. They tend to be physically demonstrative at times, but wish to choose when, which is when they are in the mood. This maybe quite confusing to an extraverted mate. Often an INFJ's expressions of affection will be subtle, taking a humorous, unexpected turn. INFJs need and want harmony in their homes and find constant conflict, overt or covert, extremely destructive to their psyches. Their friendship circle is likely to be small, deep, and longstanding. As parents, INFJs usually are fiercely devoted. A female INFJ, particularly, is linked to her children in a way different from the other types: with almost a psychic symbiosis. This deep bond can create an over-dependency that can be unhealthy for both mother and child. At the same time, INFJs tend to be good friends with their children, while firm in discipline. They usually are concerned about the comfort of a home and most especially the comfort, physical health, and emotional well-being of both mates and children.
At midlife an INFJ can best continue developing the thinking function in the form of logic and the pursuit of theory. The pleasure of taking a theoretical model and applying it to a situation may be a source of interest which an INFJ may have been neglecting. While continuing to pursue the person-to-person in feeling-type relationships, at midlife INFJs may want to get more involved in working with NT's, who offer a dimension not dominant in NF's and vice versa. Carefully providing for rest and taking care of physical health is vital to the INFJ at all times, and mandatory from midlife on.
The oracular INFJ may opt for the inventive ENTP, but also may go for a different kind of contrary, namely the ESTP. The ESTP and ENTP, to the casual observer, look pretty much alike. Charming, suave, urbane, humorous, witty, fantastically easy to approach, venturesome, even reckless. But one is out to invent, the other to promote; this is no small difference. It takes an inventor to make a mousetrap, it takes a promoter to make an enterprise. To succeed, the promoter has to be, in the best sense of the word, a con artist. He must be able to get people's confidence. Now why would a meaning-giver INFJ be intrigued by an entrepreneur ESTP? Because he wants to help the entrepreneur find his soul and his significance in the scheme of things. Similarly, why is the INFJ attracted to ENTP? Because he wishes to rescue this iconoclast from his seeming folly (and let's face it, most inventions are abortive, or still-born).