As an INTP, your primary mode of living is focused internally, where you deal
with things rationally and logically. Your secondary mode is external, where you
take things in primarily via your intuition.
INTPs live in the world of theoretical possibilities. They see everything in
terms of how it could be improved, or what it could be turned into. They live
primarily inside their own minds, having the ability to analyze difficult
problems, identify patterns, and come up with logical explanations. They seek
clarity in everything, and are therefore driven to build knowledge. They are the
"absent-minded professors", who highly value intelligence and the
ability to apply logic to theories to find solutions. They typically are so
strongly driven to turn problems into logical explanations, that they live much
of their lives within their own heads, and may not place as much importance or
value on the external world. Their natural drive to turn theories into concrete
understanding may turn into a feeling of personal responsibility to solve
theoretical problems, and help society move towards a higher understanding.
INTPs value knowledge above all else. Their minds are constantly working to
generate new theories, or to prove or disprove existing theories. They approach
problems and theories with enthusiasm and skepticism, ignoring existing rules
and opinions and defining their own approach to the resolution. They seek
patterns and logical explanations for anything that interests them. They're
usually extremely bright, and able to be objectively critical in their analysis.
They love new ideas, and become very excited over abstractions and theories.
They love to discuss these concepts with others. They may seem
"dreamy" and distant to others, because they spend a lot of time
inside their minds musing over theories. They hate to work on routine things -
they would much prefer to build complex theoretical solutions, and leave the
implementation of the system to others. They are intensely interested in theory,
and will put forth tremendous amounts of time and energy into finding a solution
to a problem with has piqued their interest.
INTPs do not like to lead or control people. They're very tolerant and
flexible in most situations, unless one of their firmly held beliefs has been
violated or challenged, in which case they may take a very rigid stance. The
INTP is likely to be very shy when it comes to meeting new people. On the other
hand, the INTP is very self-confident and gregarious around people they know
well, or when discussing theories which they fully understand.
The INTP has no understanding or value for decisions made on the basis of
personal subjectivity or feelings. They strive constantly to achieve logical
conclusions to problems, and don't understand the importance or relevance of
applying subjective emotional considerations to decisions. For this reason,
INTPs are usually not in-tune with how people are feeling, and are not naturally
well-equiped to meet the emotional needs of others.
The INTP may have a problem with self-aggrandizement and social rebellion,
which will interfere with their creative potential. Since their Feeling side is
their least developed trait, the INTP may have difficulty giving the warmth and
support that is sometimes necessary in intimate relationships. If the INTP
doesn't realize the value of attending to other people's feelings, he or she may
become overly critical and sarcastic with others. If the INTP is not able to
find a place for themself which supports the use of their strongest abilities,
they may become generally negative and cynical. If the INTP has not developed
their Sensing side sufficiently, they may become unaware of their environment,
and exhibit weakness in performing maintenance-type tasks, such as bill-paying
and dressing appropriately.
For the INTP, it is extremely important that ideas and facts are expressed
correctly and succinctly. They are likely to express themselves in what they
believe to be absolute truths. Sometimes, their well thought-out understanding
of an idea is not easily understandable by others, but the INTP is not naturally
likely to tailor the truth so as to explain it in an understandable way to
others. The INTP may be prone to abandoning a project once they have figured it
out, moving on to the next thing. It's important that the INTP place importance
on expressing their developed theories in understandable ways. In the end, an
amazing discovery means nothing if you are the only person who understands it.
The INTP is usually very independent, unconventional, and original. They are
not likely to place much value on traditional goals such as popularity and
security. They usually have complex characters, and may tend to be restless and
temperamental. They are strongly ingenious, and have unconventional thought
patterns which allows them to analyze ideas in new ways. Consequently, a lot of
scientific breakthroughs in the world have been made by the INTP.
The INTP is at his best when he can work on his theories independently. When
given an environment which supports his creative genius and possible
eccentricity, the INTP can accomplish truly remarkable things. These are the
pioneers of new thoughts in our society.
INTPs live rich worlds inside their minds, which are full of imagination and
excitement. Consequently, they sometimes find the external world pales in
comparison. This may result in a lack of motivation to form and maintain
relationships. INTPs are not likely to have a very large circle of significant
relationships in their lives. They're much more likely to have a few very close
relationships, which they hold in great esteem and with great affection. Since
the INTP's primary focus and attention is turned inwards, aimed towards seeking
clarity from abstract ideas, they are not naturally tuned into others' emotional
feelings and needs. They tend to be difficult to get to know well, and hold back
parts of themselves until the other person has proven themselves
"worthy" of hearing the INTP's thoughts. Holding Knowledge and Brain
Power above all else in importance, the INTP will choose to be around people who
they consider to be intelligent. Once the INTP has committed themself to a
relationship, they tend to be very faithful and loyal, and form affectionate
attachments which are pure and straight-forward. The INTP has no interest or
understanding of game-playing with regards to relationships. However, if
something happens which the INTP considers irreconciliable, they will leave the
relationship and not look back.
- They feel love and affection for those close to them which is almost
childlike in its purity
- Generally laid-back and easy-going, willing to defer to their mates
- Approach things which interest them very enthusiastically
- Richly imaginative and creative
- Do not feel personally threatened by conflict or criticism
- Usually are not demanding, with simple daily needs
- Not naturally in tune with others' feelings; slow to respond to emotional
- Not naturally good at expressing their own feelings and emotions
- Tend to be suspicious and distrusting of others
- Not usually good at practical matters, such as money management, unless
their work involves these concerns
- They have difficulty leaving bad relationships
- Tend to "blow off" conflict situations by ignoring them, or else
they "blow up" in heated anger
INTPs as Lovers
"To love means to open ourselves to the negative as well as the
positive - to grief, sorrow, and disappointment as well as to joy, fulfillment,
and an intensity of consciousness we did not know was possible before." --
INTPs approach their intimate relationships quite seriously - as they
approach most things in life. They take their vows and commitments seriously,
and are usually faithful and loyal. They are usually pretty easy to live with
and be around, because they have simple daily needs and are not overly demanding
of their partners in almost any respect. While the INTP's internal life is
highly theoretical and complex, their external life in comparison is usually
quite simple. They like to keep the complexities of their external world to a
minimum, so that they can focus their brain power on working through their
theories internally. This makes them very straight-forward, honest lovers, with
a love that is quite pure in its simple, uncomplicated nature.
Although they choose to keep things straight-forward in their relationships,
this does not mean that the INTP is lacking in depth of feeling or passion. The
INTP is very creative person, who has vivid imaginations. They can be very
excitable and passionate about their love relationships. Sometimes, they have a
problem reconciling the exciting visions of their internal worlds with the
actuality of their external circumstances.
Sexually, the INTP usually approaches intimacy with enthusiasm and
excitement. Some INTPs play down entirely the need for sexual relations in their
lives, but most use their rich imaginations and child-like enthusiasm to make
the most of the moment. The INTP will usually be experiencing the moment with
vivid intensity inside their own minds, although this may or may not be apparent
to their partner.
The largest area of potential strife in an INTP's intimate relationship is
their slowness in understanding and meeting their partner's emotional needs. The
INTP may be extremely dedicated to the relationship, and deeply in love with
their partner, but may have no understanding of their mate's emotional life, and
may not express their own feelings often or well. When the INTP does express
themselves, it's likely to be in their own way at their own time, rather than in
response to their partner's needs. If this is an issue which has caused serious
problems in a relationship, the INTP should work on becoming more aware of their
partner's feelings, and their partner should work on not requiring explicit
positive affirmation to feel loved by the INTP.
INTPs do not like to deal with messy complications, such as interpersonal
conflict, and so they may fall into the habit of ignoring conflict when it
occurs. If they feel they must face the conflict, they're likely to approach it
from an analytical perspective. This may aggravate the conflict situation, if
their partner simply wants to feel that they are supported and loved. Most
people (and especially those with the Feeling preference) simply want to be
encouraged, affirmed and supported when they are upset. The INTP should practice
meeting these needs in conflict situations.
Although two well-developed individuals of any type can enjoy a healthy
relationship, the INTP's natural partner is the ENTJ,
or the ESTJ. The INTP's
dominant function of Introverted Thinking is best matched with a partner whose
personality is dominated by Extraverted Thinking. The INTP/ENTJ match is ideal,
because these types shared Intuition as a common way of perceiving the world,
but INTP/ESTJ is also a good match. How
did we arrive at this?
INTPs as Parents
"You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable." -- Kahlil Gibran
INTPs love and respect Knowledge, and want to pass their jewels of thought
down to their children. Their greatest goal and satisfaction as a parent is
seeing their children grow into independent, rational adults.
INTP parents are likely to encourage their children to grow as individuals,
rather than attempt to fit them into a preconceived mold. They will stress
autonomy through the children's growth. They're likely to respect their
children's opinions and wishes, and allow their children to have a voice and
presence in the family.
The INTP parents are likely to be pretty laid-back and flexible with their
children, sometimes to the point of being relatively "hands-off" with
regards to the day-to-day issues. They're likely to count on their spouse for
providing structure and schedules. Since the INTP themself does not live in an
overly structured or organized manner, they're not likely to expect or create
this environment for their children. If their spouse is not someone with the
"J" preference, their children may suffer from a lack of boundaries.
This is something the INTP should pay special attention to. Growing children
don't know Right from Wrong, and so benefit from having their parents define
these boundaries for them.
In spite of their relatively unstructured approach to parenting, INTPs take
their role as parent very seriously, and are likely to put forth much effort
into doing what they feel will be most effective in helping their children grow
into independent, wise adults. INTPs enjoy parenting, and get a lot of fun out
of their children. They're also likely to be very proud and loyal parents.
INTPs may have a problem meeting the emotional needs of their children.
Although they generally are deeply caring and supportive individuals, the INTP
does not always pick up on emotional clues. A troubled child of an unaware INTP
parent may have to result to drastic "attention-getting" tactics to
get their parent to understand their emotional difficulties. If you find
yourself in this situation, you may find that expressing some of your own
emotions will do wonders for your child, yourself, and your relationship.
Although it may not be possible for you to suddenly be "tuned in" on
what your children are feeling, at least you can let them know that you care.
Children of INTP parents generally remember them respectfully and
affectionately as loyal, fair, and tolerant parents, who care for them a great
deal, although they don't often show it.
INTPs as Friends
INTPs are likely to have friends who share their interests and pursuits.
Since the INTP loves theories, ideas, and concepts, they are not likely to have
much patience or understanding for people with the Sensing preference, who are
not usually comfortable with abstract conceptualizing.
Whether you're a young adult trying to find your place in the world, or a
not-so-young adult trying to find out if you're moving along the right path,
it's important to understand yourself and the personality traits which will
impact your likeliness to succeed or fail at various careers. It's equally
important to understand what is really important to you. When armed with an
understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, and an awareness of what you
truly value, you are in an excellent position to pick a career which you will
INTPs generally have the following traits:
- Love theory and abstract ideas
- Truth Seekers - they want to understand things by analyzing underlying
principles and structures
- Value knowledge and competence above all else
- Have very high standards for performance, which they apply to themselves
- Independent and original, possibly eccentric
- Work best alone, and value autonomy
- Have no desire to lead or follow
- Dislike mundane detail
- Not particularly interested in the practical application of their work
- Creative and insightful
- Usually brilliant and ingenius
- Trust their own insights and opinions above others
- Live primarily inside their own minds, and may appear to be detached and
uninvolved with other people
INTPs have a special gift with generating and analyzing theories and
possibilities to prove or disprove them. They have a great deal of insight and
are creative thinkers, which allows them to quickly grasp complex abstract
thoughts. They also have exceptional logical and rational reasoning skills,
which allows them to thoroughly analyze theories to discover the Truth about
them. Since the INTP is driven to seek clarity in the world, we have a happy
match of desire and ability in this personality type. INTPs will be happiest in
careers which allow them a great deal of autonomy in which they can work
primarily alone on developing and analyzing complex theories and abstractions,
with the goal of their work being the discovery of a truth, rather than the
discovery of a practical application.
The following list of professions is built on our impressions of careers
which would be especially suitable for an INTP. It is meant to be a starting
place, rather than an exhaustive list. There are no guarantees that any or all
of the careers listed here would be appropriate for you, or that your best
career match is among those listed.
Possible Career Paths for the INTP:
- Scientists - especially Physics, Chemistry
- Strategic Planners
- University Professors
- Computer Programmers, Systems Analysts, Computer Animation and Computer
- Technical Writers
- Lawyers / Attorneys
- Forensic Research
- Forestry and Park Rangers