How to tell the Difference: INTP vs INTJ

How to tell the Difference: INTJ vs INTP

Listen to them talk

Thoughts

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.

Logic

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.

Ideas

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.

Feelings

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.

Planning

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).

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

  1. Thanks for this; it really helped me get a better insight into my personality. Whenever I took a personality test I always got INTJ and just went with it. Once I did some research about what each letter meant.. whoa , whoa- whoa, organized, plans, gets things done? Yeah no. I started labeling myself as an INTP… But not everything fit. This helped me realize I’m mostly perceiving but also judging.

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  2. I’m an intp but i think intjs have more strong personalities…yes we are so good at thinking but not good in acting! intjs don’t have this weak point…we think too much! and that’s not good…

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    • I don’t know. I’m pretty terrible at acting if I’m not around people with whom I’m comfortable.

      And it would really depend on what you mean by “strong personality”

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  3. Neither Sherlock nor the 12th doctor are INTJ’s but other than that a fairly good article. A tad biased but then again thats expected given your better understanding of your own type

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  4. Interesting article. I’m new to this topic, but I must be starting to get the gist of it. Today I tried to guess the personality types of my friends and then made them take the test, and 4 times out of 5 I was right (though I do feel like it was more intuition than actual fact-based analysis.) I am supposedly an INTP, but it seems to me that my interests and talents differ from the typical INTP ones, like inventions and science. I’m more into philosophy, languages, writing and psychology, and I’m also very bad with numbers (they really just don’t interest me unless they have something to do with real life.) I don’t really have any common interests with famous INTPs, fictional or not, and I keep wondering if I really am one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • How many of the INTPs that I know are into inventing and science? Hmm…exactly one of them. How many of them are into philosophy? Almost 80% of them (probably because I meet a large quantity of INTPs in my philosophy classes).

      Never believe anyone who tells you that you can’t be a specific MBTI type simply because your interests differ from the stereotype. One of the main topics discussed on this blog is how almost every mature person (in real life) differs from the stereotypes – you can view this topic here.

      However, there is also the possibility that you’re not an INTP, and that the test was wrong (quite often, it is). If that’s the case, I’d suggest exploring the jungian functions in further depth to figure out which ones apply most heavily to you.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Well very good explanation about the difference about both types. Very clear and straight to the point. For me personally, I am split either 50-50 or 60-40 leaning towards INTP because of my manipulative tendencies when I become a full INTJ. Experience and maturity do change a person. Do you have any ideas how I can be less manipulative when conversing with some other human? I am a natural INTJ when I am alone of course, but with others I tend to change depending on the situation. So I feel insincere because it all feels superficial, being nice is very hard to do for me.

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    • What it sounds like to me is that you’re probably not split at all. Chances are, you’re one or the other, but have strong tendencies towards shadow functions.

      In terms of specifically not manipulating people, here is my advice. Develop a set of moral principles that you stick to like a life-line (non-manipulation being one). If you want to learn how to be an influential person without manipulating others, study the lives of people who embody what you’d like to become and learn from them.

      If you have more specific questions, go ahead and voice them in the Ask an INTJ section.

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  6. Yep, most of this seems pretty accurate. One thing that strikes me in all INTJ descriptions is how we’re supposed to have a huge long term plan, have our job decided when we were really young, etc. I find that that’s not necessarily true; I do have an overall “life goal” (sort of) and a few fields I would like to work in, but it’s not like I’ve decided on a specific job, have everything planned out, or anything like that. I suppose it’s because a) I haven’t learned everything school-wise yet (computer programming, waves, linear algebra, for ex. really interest me) and b) the jobs I’ve seen in the fields that I’m considering all have aspects I don’t like, and I’m sure I can find a better option. Any other INTJs feel this way? (or differently)

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    • I think the overall life goal is good enough for any INTJ. The point of comments like those is not necessarily to say that INTJs all have specific jobs picked out when they’re 3 years old, but to differentiate between INTJs and say… INTPs, who often pursue careers on a much more spontaneous basis (My INTP Dad switched majors at least five times in college).

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  7. I’m an intp and it’s a blessing but more so a curse. Do you have any idea what it feels like to have fantastic ideas that you’ve looked at from (almost) every angle only to just “let them go” into the dark reaches of the mind or stored away for “later”? Which more often than not doesn’t come.

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    • I have not personally experienced it…but my INTP Dad…

      Oft times, I’ll commedere one of the ideas he spouts out and pursue it until it’s finished. Then I’ll go and show it to him and he looks at me with a twinkle in his eyes and says, “That’s brilliant! How’d you think of that?” and I’ll say, “you did.”

      Then he gives a melancholy smile and I know he’s thinking about all the things he hasn’t done that he wanted to do with his life. He’s got a deep sadness about him that stems from this.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I did that for a while, mostly because they ideas I have are usually untestable, and not many of the people I know both can and will engage with me on them. But recently, I have decided to create a blog for them, so I will be able to develop them. I would recommend you do the same, if you have time. It really helps you follow your ideas through to the end, even if you have zero followers (I’m already experiencing that benefit, and I haven’t even posted anything yet), and then you have all of your great ideas recorded, so you can go back to them later.

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  8. I’m an INTP and you did a really good job describing me haha. I am actually really forgetful and seems to be “not there” most of the time

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  9. Well made, but I think it is a bit too biased. I don’t think you did justice to the intp personality type.

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  10. Somehow i find it hard to not see this as INTJ propaganda. It almost seems as if it is a desperate attempt of an INTJ to validate his existence.

    ps. im an intp and let me tell you i am going to make a better site than this any decade now (among other things).

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    • I, Arvid Walton, having validated my existence, do submit myself unto INTP sovereignty and surrender myself for disciplinary action. (This agreement is contingent on said INTP’s ability to carry out disciplinary action and to handle the scheduling besetting the rulership).

      I can imagine you walking in into an art museum, looking at an abstract painting and commenting, “That’s easy. I could have done that” To which I would respond with a casual, “Yeah, well you didn’t.”

      Liked by 2 people

      • Well i guess I should have known you would take it the wrong way. You are after all an INTJ. That last line quite absolutely rendered the whole thing as a joke. Read it carefully. And I would also like to say this- I have five friends, all of whom are different NT’s, an one INFP, and all of them are very certain that their personality type is the best among all. Staying in the midst of their constant argument, and throwing an occasional punch myself, (u knw, NT’s) has not taught me which one is best but it did show me that its very much a matter of who’s asking.

        PS- maybe you should add that intj’s have a sense of humour slightly better than an old mouldy potato’s, while intp’s would gladly sacrifice themselves for humour’s sake. (well, most of us)
        pps- I still think Einstein’s an intp.(c’mon man thats my trump card.)

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        • Actually, my response was strictly sarcasm as well.

          Personally, I don’t believe that any one of the MBTI types is better than any other. I try to avoid bias in my writing, but the fact that I have more direct experience in the INTJ realm does show (I’ve simply got more examples to pull from for INTJs than other types). I do think individual people have the capacity be greater than other individuals, but as a whole, no profile of people is better than any other. Every MBTI type has it’s strengths and weaknesses, and each can be sour to listen too if immature.

          As for Einstein, I’ve read far too much of his work… but hey, you’ve still got Rene Descartes on your side, so what’s there to quibble about?

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        • Really? Descartes was an INFP? I had typed him as an INTP, but I don’t know a whole lot about him, so it was more a stab in the dark than anything, and I’m just happy I grazed him.

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  11. Hello,

    This was a really good, enjoyable read – as a plus, it was bang on in pointing out what seemed like a blurry line to me.

    Though most times, the test places me in INTP, I’ve found myself somewhere between the ‘P’ and ‘J’, and often agreed with Js as much as I do with Ps (at times, I incline more towards Js). So, this article has been an interesting insight.

    I especially like that you’ve attached examples to all points of differences, and I
    could relate to all of them.

    Thank you so much! :)
    Shalini.

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  12. Great post.

    I am borderline INTP/INTJ. Sometimes P – 55, sometimes J – 45.
    I’m a counsellor and a thinker.

    My mother is the poster girl for an INTJ, so maybe some of that tendency is family of origin stuff.

    Anyway, found your blog on Pinterest. Great work.

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  13. This was actually a weird read for me, since I always test on the border: INTP with a 1% greater preference for P than J. I understood half the INTJ bits, and half the INTP. Great article. It helped me understand the difference of INTP and INTJ better.

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  14. Asking questions are actually fastidious thing if you are not understanding something fully, but this post provides fastidious understanding even.

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