How to tell the Difference: INTP vs INTJ

How to tell the Difference: INTJ vs INTP

Listen to them talk


INTJs talk about their thoughts / thought process (Te). They need to talk through or write down their thoughts to understand them fully. Notice how Sherlock constantly talks through his thoughts, and Hamlet is the king of soliloquies?

INTJs are usually going to be more direct and blunt in their communication, while INTPs are typically men/women of few words.

INTPs would rather think though everything in silence without the distraction of having to say them all out loud or explain them to anyone else. The worldview inside the INTP’s head usually remains a secret, not necessarily because they want it to, but because they just don’t see the point in vocalising their thoughts.


Both types can be equally logical, but they look at logic completely differently.

INTPs devise their own system of logic that doesn’t rely on facts and tends not to conform to the world’s sense of logic (Ti). They love to analyse things from all angles, whereas INTJs are more interested in using logic and information for how they can use it (Te).

An INTP and INTJ in an argument will both use logic, but oft times, the INTP will want to stop and define the terms, while the INTJ will want to simply come to a problem solution that they can use in real life. For the INTP, it’s all about the analysis itself, while the INTJ is looking at everything in terms of application.

This can, at times, make argumentation go south between INTxs. The INTJ will be frustrated because the INTP is interrupting the problem solving process to define the words used in an argument, while the INTP is going to be frustrated by the fact that the INTJ doesn’t see the point in doing so.


INTPs love to talk about their ideas (Ne). They get a certain thrill from having big ideas move through their mind, from analysing them. When they vocalise an idea, they’re not necessarily thinking about carrying it out

INTJs love ideas too, but their ideas tend to focus less on analysis and don’t exist purely for the ideas themselves as they do with many INTPs. Rather, the INTJ uses ideas to realise a specific long term vision (Ni).

INTJs don’t talk about their ideas so much as INTPs, so if you do hear them talk about a new idea, it means they’ve probably already decided to carry it out. INTPs on the other hand, are in it for the ideas, and will discuss all their ideas regardless of whether they’re going to do anything with those ideas later on. Te implements ideas, while Ti analyses them.

When it comes to INTJs, the only portion of their idea that you will actually see, is the finished product, their plan carried out. I’ll get an idea, and if I don’t see any way I could use it, I don’t bother analysing it. If I can use it, I implement it as soon as opportunity allows.

With INTPs, you’ll very likely see all the ideas, but only see half of them carried out (if even that much). My INTP dad is constantly talking about potential inventions, airplanes he’d like to build, lifestyles he’d like to have, but he’s so busy generating ideas that he doesn’t stop to think about how he’d accomplish any of them.


INTJs are reluctant to talk about their feelings and will prefer to work through hardship in silence. Other people typically have little affect on an INTJ’s feelings, they’re more in tune with their own feelings than other people’s.

INTPs ned to talk about their feelings –not as much as Fe auxiliaries or dominants, but they do need to let their feelings out. (Usually this is expressed as charisma for their ideas). INTPs are less in tune with their own emotions than they are with other people’s. They might not always recognise when they’re angry, but they’ll recognise when somebody else is angry.

When it comes to other people’s feelings INTJs don’t really empathise unless they have shared experience. At the same time, they also happen to be fairly good at figuring out people’s motivations using (NiSe).

INTPs are more likely to empathise with universal shared experiences than with individual emotions. If both an INTJ and an INTP were crying in a movie theatre, their reasons would be very different. The INTJ might cry because he had experienced the same thing as one of the characters in the film, while the INTP might cry because the he recognised suffering in another human being and had empathy for them.

Past/Future Orientation

How to tell the Difference: INTJ vs INTP

INTJs won’t really talk much about the past, but will prefer to focus on the present (Se) and future (Ni).

INTPs will be more relate past experiences to the present (Si), not to the extent of upper Si users, but they definitely do have a sentimental side to them. In the INTP, this might show up as a desire to hold on to possessions given to them by their parents, or similar tendencies of that nature.

Experience of the Physical Environment

INTJs are more aware of their physical environment than INTPs. You move their stuff, they will know about it. INTJs notice details in their environment because they’re trying to…organise themselves within their environment (TeSe). They’re going to pay attention to little sensory details that other people miss, and as a result, too much can cause them to be overstimulated. They can often be hypersensitive to loud, sensory heavy places (Se). Thus the Twelfth Doctor’s sensory overload upon regeneration…

INTPs are not going to want to…organise themselves in their environment. An INTP is probably going to have a much messier desk than an INTJ, and they’re more likely to lose things around the house (TiSi).

INTPs tend to think of places in terms…not of what they look like, but what significance they have, or what memories they hold. Whenever my Dad and I go backpacking in all our favourite spots, I’m looking at it like a new place and he’s looking at it and remembering all the good memories he’s had there.


The INTJ will have lots of plans that it’s implementing, while the INTP will have lots of ideas that it’s moving past. I have an INTP friend that I go rock-climbing with from time to time and when we plan an outing, he will text me saying, “hey do you want to go climbing?” (Ne idea) and I will have to be the one to set up the plan “ok, what time?” (Te).

He’s really indecisive, so if I pick, I always like advanced notice (NiTe) and say, “how about this weekend.” If I make him pick, he’ll say, “how about in an hour?” (TiNe).

Then, even when we’re about to leave, he’s not always sure where we’re going, how long it will take us, or whether he brought everything we need because he crammed it all in the car last minute (TiNe). That’s how he likes it!

I on the other hand, keep a hiking rucksack packed and ready at all times under my bed so that I’m prepared to leave whenever necessary (NiTe). Even then, I still like advanced notice for everything. I still want to plan a hike a week in advance.

Dreams versus Future Reality

INTPs think of their future in terms of possibility and potential (Ne). They see a million different directions that their life could go and often have a hard time deciding which they want to follow (because they’re all so good!) (Ne).

INTJs view their future as a definite reality that just hasn’t happened yet and that they are responsible for making happen (Ni). INTJs usually figure out exactly what they want to be early on in life and make every decision with that end goal in mind (Ni) (example: David Tennant decided as a 3-yr-old that he wanted to play the Doctor).

In a way, INTJs feel they have a specific purpose in life that they’re meant to fill (Ni), whereas the INTP think of life in terms different ways their life could potentially develop (Ne).

65 thoughts on “How to tell the Difference: INTP vs INTJ

  1. I am an intj but i often think in my future life in a fantazy ways however I know that’s wont happen at all..actually i day dream alot.
    and yes i cry while watching movies because of the reason in this article and also when i think this movie is just damn great!
    i actually found myself too emotional to be an intj (maybe that because I’m a female intj)
    like I have no problem talking about my feelings (yet i hardly ever talk about it), I’m not so cold, I can give people the emotional support..etc
    so does that mean I’m not an intj?
    p.s (sorry for my bad english it’s not my mother tongue)


  2. Who is supposed INTP in the first picture? And while I have your attention, at some time you could type Spencer Reid from Criminal Minds?


  3. My insights about INTP:
    A.INTP prefer not to talk probably because:
    1. Talking eating the time for thinking. They think that there is always potential improvement in their current knowledge/understanding. Talking in length simply reduce their time for more analyzing time.
    2. They are afraid to be proven wrong, they don’t simply blabbering out their thought unless they are more than 9X% sure about their thought.
    3.They dont like to lead nor follow I suppose. Remember, they are the architect. They just like to analyze the ideas and thought of people who are talking.No interest in maybe leading or finding solution.
    Even if they have to talk, they talk when they want to explain something they have just comprehend or when they are being asked to speak.
    B. (next time I’ll do)


  4. Hello, I always type as an INTP but I relate more to the INTJ type. People often tell me I seem cold. My best friend stated that she thought I hated her. This was of coarse after I inquired on what her first impression of me was. She stated I seemed really cold,unfriendly and very
    inapproachable. That was mainly because I had no interest in investing myself in someone
    I thought would have no interest in me . I mean what is the point? If they don’t care why invest and waste energy without any return. I was surprised by how much we think alike and a how we can converse on almost everything . She is an INFJ, coarse we don’t agree on everything. When meeting new people I tense up and speak very little, I often look around and observe what transpires around me waiting for a time to voice my thoughts. Sometimes I do have the chance when there is a brief pause in conversation, and when I do speak I almost always get this bewildered look of she speaks and I feel as if I’m an alien from another planet being examined. Then I withdraw feeling misunderstood again for my ideas. As for the feeling aspect I try to feel very little as to keep everything well managed, as well as emotions can be manged. I always get angered when I cry because it is out of my control and I hate how week I appear to whoever I am in front of it wretchedly horrid. People always tell me it’s normal to cry and it’s “okay”. That may be but it simply feels so foreign and vile that I am so repulsed and angered when the tears continue to come without my permission. I have been told I am manipulative (so my parents tell me)and how can I be so unfeeling when they’re telling me something, that saddens them. People often ask me if I’m mad or sad but I’m just thinking. The worst part is that ,is usually when I am in my deepest moment of thought. when I am enjoying that string of thoughts and am forced to snap back. That is all I have to say do you think I am an INTJ. If you have any inquires please ask.



    • It definitely sounds like you have an inferior or tertiary F function, but I’d have to know more about the rest of your thought process in order to estimate your type. Your writing is organised in such a way that Te seems very likely, but I don’t want to judge that from just a single paragraph.

      My suggestion would be to look at each of the bullet points in this post and try to determine which jungian functions you use. For instance, look specifically at the differences between Te and Ti, or Fe and Fi and ask yourself which ones sound most like you.


  5. Combining this and your article on the sympathetic intj, as well as what I’ve read on intjs insecurities on vulnerability, is it possible for an intj to use note fueled by se to mimic fe (conformity to others standards and ethics), forming many social masks and learning to value fe to fit into society (as a survival strategy). Being nice is a default mode for me now, as a result. Maybe my whole typing is wrong. Ive gotten xnxp and inxx and isfp in many functions test. I wonder if I’m a enneagram 5w4 rational. I find difficulty in naturally relating to others emotionally but find I can understand them easily. Sad to say I find it hard to cry at funerals, even of people I’ve known or family of friends. Humor isn’t my strength. Dealing with others I’ve learned through observation and mimicry in life and through a childhood obsession with realistic fiction. As a high school female my interests have substantially changed to nonfiction based things. I love puzzles (all kinds, always did) but also have been raised on music. Piano and art always mentions emotions, so I think Fi was developed early that way too. Ive never been clear on the what Ni is though, which is where my type confusion lies. Memory is somewhat weak and I’ve always been clumsy it may not be enough info, but I’d appreciate help on clarifying if I’m an NP or and NJ. Thank you.


  6. Sherlock is an INTP.

    The guy is a slob (in every version) . Moriarty is your Judger (or type-B).

    Rule: Think of P as people who exhibit Type-B behavior & J as Type-A behavior.
    1) At Home: If the guy lives in filthy, dust, or disorganized surroundings, they are Type-B (and a Perciever).
    2) In an office: P is for piles.
    3). J is for organization. They would never live in a s#it hole. They are the type of people that, at the end of the day, their desk is left immaculate.

    Moriarty is an INTJ. He easily manipulates Holmes. Moriarty, basically, sticks his hand up Holme’s a$$ and uses him as a puppet. INTJs are the ultimate strategist; they treat the world like a chessboard.

    INTPs like Holmes. Challenge others to think. As Holmes would say, “elementary.”


    • P is not for piles. Ti is for piles. J is not for organisation. Te is for organisation.

      INTJ ≠ master manipulator. INTJs do not all think that the world is a giant chess game. Some of us have…you know, jobs, or two jobs, and homework, and well…schiße to do that gets in the way of playing chess (if we even like chess, mind you).

      Lastly, don’t make the mistake of typing a character purely based on behaviour without also considering their motivations.


    • As an Intp I can say we can cry at a movie. We could just not physically do it in front of another person. Kinda like the whole if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it does it make a sound.


    • I’m an INTJ and the only time I’ve ever cried in a movie is when watching a movie were the dog died soon after my canine childhood companion died.


      • I cried once- more out of fear than sadness. There was a shark attacking the main character, and I’m terrified of the sea and the monsters who dwell there.


      • Watched The Hunger Games at some point, already surprised myself seeing how sad I got over the scene with Rue and the flowers. Saw that there were a bunch of Futurama episodes I hadn’t seen, figured it might be a good distraction.

        “Hmm. Decisions… Well, I love dogs, and I love dinosaurs. ‘Jurassic Bark’ it is.”

        Probably the most I’ve ever cried from something on TV. Wouldn’t surprise me if they added ‘not tearing up over ‘Jurassic Bark’ to the Macdonald Triad or something.


  7. Though I was curious about this exact comparison I am now left even more confused as I relate to exactly half of the INTJ listed and half of the INTP. Or perhaps I’m even more sure that I am in fact 50% INTJ and 50% INTP. hahah is that even possible?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “INTPs are more likely to empathise with universal shared experiences than with individual emotions. If both an INTJ and an INTP were crying in a movie theatre, their reasons would be very different. The INTJ might cry because he had experienced the same thing as one of the characters in the film, while the INTP might cry because the he recognised suffering in another human being and had empathy for them.”

    This is an interesting idea, but I don’t find myself exactly doing this (I’m INTJ). When I cry during movies, I find myself mostly thinking “This is sad” or (worse) “Ow! ow! ow!” It’s not compassion for the characters, per se–it’s usually that the situation as a whole has blown me over. From a function-based perspective, maybe I am being imaginatively pulled into the world of the film through Ni, and then my Fi makes me react as though I was injured in some way. But I don’t cry because I necessarily find commonality between my real-life experiences and the experiences of the movie characters. That happens very rarely.

    Liked by 1 person


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