On Differing from INTJ stereotypes

INTJ: How I Differ from the Stereotypes

Surely, you’ve looked at the personality description for your Meyers-Briggs type at one point and thought, “that’s not me. I don’t do those things.”

Well, guess what? You’re not alone. I can’t tell you how many times I look at the INTJ stereotypes and think to myself, “How can anyone assume that you must be exactly the same as all other people who share your type?”

The reality is, no two people, regardless of personality type, can ever call themselves the same. Here’s how I differ from the INTJ stereotypes.

I’m an artist.

I can spend hours drawing and painting to my heart’s content, and have been able to do so all my life. I value both function and aesthetic in things that I buy, and have a little bit of difficulty understanding how some people can be apathetic towards art…

But then I have to remember how infinite the list of things I am apathetic towards runs.

I love to swing dance.

I’ve always been passionate about classical music and jazz (okay, that fits the stereotype), but my Se also likes to dance –and old fashioned dance. For an INTJ, I tend to be a bit antiquated in my tastes (which tends to be more stereotypical of Si users).

But then, Steven Hawking loved to swing dance as well.

However, even while the interest itself doesn’t fit the stereotype at all, my motivations are strictly INTJ. A lot of people start dancing to…you know…meet people so they can date. I however, don’t date, so I always end up feeling bad for dance partners that find out my interest in them is rigidly platonic.

INTJ: How I Differ from the Stereotypes

I don’t play chess.

As a 7 year old, I did convince my Dad to teach me how to play chess, but after a while, I developed other interests, and haven’t really returned to chess since.

I do, however, like to play strategy games –and, probably my favourite board game of all is Mastermind….(yeah, I know…so INTJ).

I also like word games, but I don’t like to play them conventionally. Banana grams is all about finding the biggest word, rather than finishing the fastest.

INTJ: How I Differ from the Stereotypes

Usually, this ends in the other players forcing me to look up five syllable words in the dictionary to prove they actually exist.

I was really surprised…last time I played, they didn’t believe “quietus” was a real word…

But then… every time I call my Dad, we each give each other a “word of the day.” The last one I gave him was “pulchritudinous.”

I’m religious

I believe in God, both spiritually and philosophically. I considered atheism at one point, but eventually determined that it was too simple. If life has no meaning, I would not be asking whether it had one.

I am a philosophy minor, (english major with two minors, yes) and in my last philosophy course, we had a huge class debate over the existence of God (dividing the class between theists and atheists. I won it, with an ontological argument for God.

The more the class tried to argue that God didn’t exist, the more they ended up backing up my claims. Hilariously, the professor spent the entire period casting knowing glances in my direction whenever I had to suppress a laugh at the ludicrousy of some of the arguments that came up.

By the way, please do not attempt to debate theology in the comments. This is hardly the time or place.

I can be incredibly kind – sort of.

I believe in being genuinely sincere in everything that I do. If I don’t like someone, I don’t pretend to, but if I care about someone, I make sure to let them know.

However, I do so in…a very INTJ way, typically not through ways that are generally expected in a quality friend. My idea of sincerity does not necessarily match other people’s conception of it. I probably won’t ever return your texts or phone calls, and I may not even acknowledge your existence when we’re apart.

However, once you are my friend, I will always be your friend, regardless of whether you continue to be mine. Furthermore, I will always be honest (bluntly so), which, if you get to know me well enough, won’t bother you.

If it still bothers you, you don’t know me, and you are like this poor ENFP, who is mysteriously drawn to the INTJ for reasons not understood by either party.

ME: *says something sardonic*

ENFP: I feel betrayed

ME: …

ENFP: Now I have to find some way to offend you so we’re even.

ME: You know what this tells me about you?

ENFP: What? That I’m mad at you?

ME: No, that your love is conditional.

ENFP: And yours isn’t?

ME: There are three people in the world who have the power to offend me, and you are not one of them.

ENFP: So I could sell your soul to the devil and you’d still be my friend?

ME: Pretty much.

ENFP: Aww! I just want to hug you!

ME: *scoots away from ENFP*

I suppose you could say that while I’m not nice, I’m kind. I don’t fake good manners, but I also refuse not to care about people. Honesty is far more important to me than any pretence of niceness.

It’s called emotional maturity.

When it comes to people who don’t know me very well, I do tend to act just like a stereotypical INTJ –blunt, sardonic, evasive and rude. The poor chauvinists in this world get this side of me particularly badly.

I don’t manipulate people

Unlike the INTJ villains typically associated with INTJ stereotypes, I don’t like to manipulate people. I can be very good at it when I need to be, but I also think it’s wrong under most circumstances, so I refrain from doing it unless something worse will happen if I don’t.

I don’t ever want to be manipulated myself, so I don’t do it to others. ENTJs seem to think they can manipulate me, but they always get incredibly frustrated when they fail. Then, I just sit back and laugh at their attempts…

I don’t like Maths

I was always good at maths, but I never liked it. I finished my college level maths requirements when I was 16 and determined never to take a maths class again.

That wasn’t actually the last time maths popped up in my education, however, I’m happy to say that I haven’t taken a maths class since. The only thing that can make me want to do maths is cosmology and astrophysics.

Like so.

INTJ: How I Differ from the Stereotypes

Actually, also –music is basically sensual maths if you think about it (classical music and jazz, that is), so I suppose…my prior statement is more inclusive than I thought.

33 thoughts on “On Differing from INTJ stereotypes

  1. Thank you for this article! I used to doubt about my type before I discovered cognitive functions, because majority of tests are based on those four letters and definition of the type is very stereotypical especially on czech websites, mostly because it’s focused on actions of a person more than on the actual motive behind it. For example I’m rather optimistic and I smile a lot. Even though that this amount of smiles is something that I’ve learned during my life simply because it works, it’s often spontaneous, when I’m in a good mood. I’ve been told that I’m very nice person several times, sometimes I blame my nod and smile autopilot for this, but I have light days too.
    Also I think that upbringing has much bigger influence on people’s behaviour than it’s expected, almost to the point that someone can appeal as completely different type than he actually is. Because some thoughts, habits etc. were constantly put into our subconsciousness since we were babies, mostly not even intentionally. I’ve started noticing these implied actions on myself several years ago and I’m still not finished (I guess I’ll never be).


  2. INTJ….what I consider another stereotype is the supposed always higher intelligence. How you process information, take decisions, see the reality does nothing to do with you IQ

    It is true that you “become” the best version of yourself, because the “urge” to develop yourself, learn, achieve, improve… you are constantly working on improving yourself. You do not put yourself in situations where you cannot do that. You take logical decisions.

    But it does not mean that you are the smarter person in the room. Just the most logical and analytical. Probably educated (this is more obvious now, as most of the people of my age has decided to stop educationg themselves. They are too involved in other aspect of their lives, while I continue to do so) . Thoughtful. But not “magically intelligent”. I think this is another stereotype.

    Probably because we know what we know and what we do not know, so we just speak up when we know something…? so we save the world a lot of unnecessary uneducated comments? do not know.

    Can you make a post about that?


    • Also, IQ only refers to your ability to process a certain type of information, so it doesn’t have much to do with your actual intelligence anyway. I might make a post about it except that my circumstances are complicated at the moment (read my most recent update for details).


  3. I agree I think those stereotype are superficial and don’t go to the underlying characteristics of the INTJ temperament. I don’t think of INTJs on those actions but on a way of thinking and approaching life. And that can be reflected in all sorts of action. I think of INTJ by how we carryout our Ni (problem solving, making sense of things, finding insights, inconsistencies), being direct, practical, no BS, we conform to things that make sense to us not just because. Also, “not being in tune with society” whether we try to be or not, like we missed the memo somehow, I guess it’s because we focus on the subject matter not the people ( at least I do).
    1- Like you I’m an INTJ that loves to dance (all kinds) and yes I’m not at the dance floor to connect with anyone but to dance, so talkers be aware it disrupts the dancing, If I wanted to talk I wouldn’t be on a dance floor… When I dance I do think about the dance steps and what I’m doing and want to do next, maybe other dancers don’t I don’t know
    2- never been interested in playing chess, don’t know why, though I approach life like a chess game, always thinking ahead
    3- I believe in God, but I’m very rational about it and can analyze the reason why I believe and what I get out of it quite detached from emotions. I think only rationals can think about religion without getting too black and white.
    4- I hate fakeness and find it the most hurtful thing someone can do, unlike most of society who things is better to lie to be kind. If a guy I don’t like likes me I think the best thing I can do for him is tell him I’m not interested instead of leading him on, this way he won’t waste his time. That is being considerate, not heartless, I would think
    5- I feel deeply for people, doesn’t mean I need to have them around me or talking to them all the time or most times. It’s just a feeling of good will in my heart for them, and when together yes, we’ll have great time but out of sight out of mind. I feel quite contempt having that person just being in my heart, while my brain finds something else to enjoy. 6- being an artist, I think great art is not just aesthetics, but understanding the essence of things, as well as show the inconcistencies in our society. So Ni is a great thing for an artist to have. And yes maybe the art of an INTJ will deal less with the feelings of individuals and more with the meaning of life or who knows, but we need all kinds of perspective and lenses even in our art. I’m sure your art is very philosophical (not obvious, there’s some hidden meaning) with a dose of practicality.


  4. Yes!!! I am so glad someone confirmed this fact! I once joined different INTJ groups on Facebook and I eventually got sick of people whom I think are actually not INTJs (well, of course there were some that were real) and are just trying so hard to act like the stereotypes making others appear like they are not INTJs if they don’t act the same.
    I’m an INTJ and I too am religous because I see truth in my religion. And I loooove truth! I’m a Latter Day Saint by the way.
    One other way I break the stereotype is the fact that I always like to be with and joke (mixed with a bit of sarcasm) around people even though it drains me. I just take some time alone to recharge afterwards. Lol
    Thank you for this article!


  5. Finally, someone states it. Every type has more that don’t fit the stereotype at least in part if not half of the time. I’m an INFJ who actually talks my theories & ideas with a small, very select group of people instead of completely keeping it in my head like the stereotype says INFJs do. I also like to be somewhat physical not out of necessity but out of just liking it. It just depends on what it is. I also prefer to show evidence for my gut feelings instead of just saying I feel it. I just say my theory then get the proof to back it up instead of expecting people to just take my word for it & letting it drop.

    I’m wondering if a lot of the confusion in the stereotyping by many is the misunderstanding of the functions. There’s also the possibility of also mistaking learned behavior as someone grows up for their natural inclinations. For example, someone introverted thinking might have been forced into being more extroverted by a parent (accidentally or purposely) so they learned to wear the mask of extroversion so well that many think it’s their natural way of being. Or, someone very sensitive & empathetic with feeling might have been forced to repress their emotions & empathy to such an extent that it appears their natural way of being when they display that aversion to expressing emotion & empathizing with others. It’s fascinating how many people love to label & categorize to such an extent that they show themselves wanting to put everyone in these little, select number of boxes & don’t mention the ones who don’t exactly fit in those said boxes.


    • Misunderstanding has a lot to do with it. Many people, when they don’t understand the functions, can at least understand the stereotypes and apply those stereotypes to behaviours they recognise in others. While this isn’t necessarily a good strategy with regards to accurate typing, it does happen more often than not.

      Learned behaviour is also a definite factor that people often ignore. In fact, just before responding to your comment, I moderated another one clarifying an issue of learned behaviour.


  6. As an INTJ, what I find interesting about all the comments here is that none of these traits are necessarily out of the realm of even the most textbook INTJ personality, they’re all just further down the functional stack. I feel like INTJ people who like Math enjoy it because of what they can do with it (Te) not for the beauty of Math itself (that seems INTP). So, I like Math in the context of Engineering work, but generally hated my Math classes, which were abstract and unencumbered by reality. That follows for any type of science and technology. The love of art and dancing could be an Se trait coming to life. In my free time, I dance all the time. I’m actually a competitive ballroom dancer. Loyalty and an unwillingness to manipulate are also traits I share, which I think are part of Fi. Interestingly enough, I have never read any profile of the INTJ that mentioned manipulation as a dominate characteristic of our type. I’m typically too unaware of the feelings of other people to be able to figure out that they’re upset, much less manipulate them, which is why I laugh every single time people bring this up as a stereotype. I sometimes am able to predict how they’ll act in a given situation, but manipulation is far more active and emotional. Again, MBTI experts never mention this except in reference in to literary villains, so there you go. Interestingly enough, I actually do believe in God, and while my belief in a deity has only increased as I’ve gotten older, my skepticism towards organized religion has increased too.

    Other things to Consider: Could there also possibly be a gendered component to the way we express our type because of social conventions, etc.?


    • Yes, actually the point I was trying to make by writing this post is exactly what you’re saying –that a textbook INTJ doesn’t necessarily equate to a stereotypical INTJ.

      Generally, INTJs with more strongly developed lower functions fit the stereotypes much less than INTJS who are less mature and tend to fit the stereotypes more.

      Yes, societal gender roles probably have impacted the way people express their type. I’m not sure how that would apply to non-binary people like myself, but I can see how it would be a definite problem for F-type men and T-type women.


  7. I am an INTJ female, and I would definitely agree with most of what is posted here.

    I haven’t met a religious INTJ before (granted, I’ve not met many INTJs). Although I wouldn’t call myself religious, I hesitate to call myself an atheist. Agnostic would be the better term. Although, I would definitely identify as “culturally Hindu.” While I’m quite skeptical about the existence of a higher power, my interest in Hinduism both academic and cultural. I’ll participate in the festivals and go to the temple with my parents. I even attended a religious summer camp at one. Hindu philosophy is quite fascinating.

    I’m not a swing dancer, but I am a Bharatanatyam dancer, and have been dancing since I was 5. It’s quite the stress reliever. Much more interesting than using the gym, and frankly there are fewer people I have to deal with (ah there’s the stereotypical INTJ coming up).

    Although I rarely get emotional, I do get emotional when dealing with chauvinism, racism, prejudice, etc. Unfortunately, I often have to deal with those things because I live in the middle-of-nowhere, U.S.A. Thankfully I attend college in a more cosmopolitan area.

    I don’t like math. Never have. I’m good at it, but it’s just a means to an end for me. The end being chemistry. There you have it…a science major who dislikes math. That can’t be helped, I suppose.

    I am relatively kind to idiots and do treat them with a basic level of respect. Unless of course they’re just asking for my montage of esoteric insults.


    • Ooh. Bharatanatyam dancing. Now that I cannot do, but it sounds excellent.

      Middle of nowhere USA has a lot of chauvinists? Interesting, but I suppose it would make sense if that means farming areas.

      Esoteric insults are the best, especially when you can pass them off as “compliments.”


      • Interestingly enough, I was forced into dancing by my ESTJ grandmother. But after I had my first recital, I began to really enjoy it. Some of the best dancers can go for almost an hour. I’m afraid I can barely manage 20 minutes.

        There is a lot of corn. And the smell of methane is pervasive.


  8. I heartily agree with what you’ve said. Everyone has their differences, and it’s nice to be able to celebrate and explore those differences. It’s what makes everyone uniquely them. Additionally, I wanted to thank you for that that beautiful statement that you made: once you are my friend, I will always be your friend, regardless of whether you continue to be mine. It touched me personally.


  9. I agree with this post. I also believe in God (I am a Christian in fact), I play instruments and love music, and I can be very nice to people sometimes and am not always straightfoward.
    But in other ways I am totally your stereotypical INTJ.


  10. I have found my people!

    It was amazing to read this and all of the comments because this is exactly me. (Except I actually don’t/can’t dance at all but)

    Another huge difference I have from the stereotype is that I give people compliments all the time. Even people who I barely know.

    I do conform to most social niceties, and actually sometimes cringe when other people don’t. (Not saying thank you is a big one)

    I am an artist and a writer and a musician. I love to compose music and write poetry and plan a million novels and paint and doodle all over everything and read read read.

    Science isn’t my thing, but I’m good at it. Same with math.

    I actually am not very good at keeping a straight face and giggle as a symptom of nervousness (which I hate.)

    I always worry about other people’s feelings, probably to extensively, and what other people think of me.

    My theory is that everyone here just has actually developed their Fi.


  11. I’m also a non-stereotypical INTJ.

    It’s not that I abhor math, I’m just not obsessive about it enough to be a mathematician. My last math class I was Algebra II and I don’t even use all that I’ve learned in real life application (so I’ve forgotten a good bit of it).

    I’m also an artist. It’s always been a thing I’ve done, so I’ve gotten to be very good at it. I can start a drawing or a painting and get so absorbed in it that I forget to eat or use the bathroom when needed until I’ve finished. Function and aesthetic are what makes the perfect design, so I value both.

    I don’t play chess, although I used to. The reason why I don’t is the same. I found other interests, although I do enjoy strategy games. I am loathed for every game of Monopoly.

    My interest in dance sparked when I started going out with my more socially active friends. I figured if I was to go out, I should know how to dance a bit, and I do enjoy it when I do (which isn’t often). I haven’t tried swing dancing, but I have no doubt I’d enjoy it.

    I also don’t like to manipulate people for the same reasons, though I’m very good at it.

    I have an IQ of 131 (as far as my last IQ test says), which means I’m not a “genius”, just gifted (again, as far as the IQ test says.) However, IQ scores aren’t always consistent and I don’t even think they’re the most accurate ways to measure intelligence.

    I can also be a bit goofy at times, but this is really only with family or really close friends. I’m not serious all the time, although I do get comments about the ‘death glare’, even from family members.


  12. I don’t fit all the stereotypes, either, just a few. I haven’t had a math class since Algebra II, my junior year of high school, unless you count a semester of Formal Logic in college that was really just Propositional Calculus in disguise. I don’t hate math; it just doesn’t excite me. I love to quilt, and to design my own, but doing the geometry for fabric requirements is the most boring part of the entire process. Easy, but boring.
    According to my husband, I haven’t a single romantic bone in my entire body… this after I told him giving me a a new box of personal protection ammo for my carry gun would be a far lovelier gift than a bunch of flowers that would be dead in a week. The ammo says, “I love you and want you to be safe.” The flowers… don’t.
    I have feelings… approximately two of them. They are frustration at stupidity, and amusement at various foibles. Anything else is generally a waste of energy. Actually, frustration is a waste of energy, and the fact that I cannot always control it pisses me off. So maybe that’s three.
    If God doesn’t exist, life has no meaning. Therefore, I want God to exist, but I am currently unable to feel any faith in said existence, only hope. I dislike this condition. I would love to hear an ontological argument for God’s existence.
    I detest the manipulation of people, and hold in contempt those who engage in it. If you are too stupid to accept an idea on its own merits, then you deserve what happens to you when you make your decisions/choose your actions based on your emotions. Attempt to manipulate me and I will either laugh in your face, or turn it against you. I do go along with the social niceties, but only because it is more efficient to do so than to violate them and have to deal with the mess when other types’ heads explode over it. This is also the reason I try to refrain from speaking aloud all the dryly sarcastic comments that occur to me.


    • THIS.

      I have feelings… approximately two of them. They are frustration at stupidity, and amusement at various foibles. Anything else is generally a waste of energy.”

      I’d love to share my God argument with you, except that I resolved a long time ago to keep this website separate from my academic and professional writings (for privacy concerns – surely any other INTJ can understand that). This is as much as I’ve agreed to say about it in the past.

      Epistemologically speaking, I’m a skeptic. I believe nothing can be “known” with absolute certainty, but that given probable evidence to believe, beliefs should and ought to be adopted due to human inability to withstand perpetual and complete doubt. The God argument is my probable cause to believe.


  13. I am an INTJ female, and as far as stereotypes go here is some that, I don’t fit.
    A grammar Nazi while I have gotten better still not my strong suite despite the fact that I love to read and write. (Ironically, my husband is more the grammar Nazi he is an INFP- makes for an interesting life at times, but we think a lot a like)
    Not romantic – I can be a very romantic and sentimental person, although most people don’t see that side of me. Really, my husband is the only one to truly see that complete side of me. Mainly because he brings it out in me.
    No feelings/don’t cry – As my husband puts it I am a deeply emotional person, I just hide it very well from people. While I don’t cry where most woman would tend to cry, I do cry, I choose to do so in private and rarely has anyone seen me cry. I have to truly trust that person to do so in front of them and open up to them. My husband says I am the most logical woman he has ever met, it does tend to throw him for a loop when my feelings do show themselves.
    I am a religious person, I have faith, but like most INTJ I had to prove that having faith was in fact not just a leap of faith.
    I don’t manipulate people – I despise it actually. And when people try and manipulate me, that is the quickest way to lose my trust and be marked forever as untrustworthy.
    I do have a kind/nice side, but only really show it to those I trust and care about. Other people just get the cold, aloof side of me.
    Antisocial – I am not antisocial, just pro solitude. But seriously I just choose very carefully whom I chose to associate with.

    I like many of you want to smash the stereotypes into the ground.


  14. One INTJ stereotype I don’t fit is the smiling I suppose. I was surprised to see so many memes with the same poker neutral face captioned with all sorts of emotions for INTJs. I am kind of goofy and clownish at times, and I can gesticulate a lot to exaggerate a point. I’ve learned to feel comfortable doing it. But it was a learning process, because people have pointed out I was so “negative” all the time, or looked sad. I guess having relaxed features while lost in thought must have given off that sort of impression.

    I love art and drawing. I never tried dancing but I did attend swing class to draw the people there :P No chess like you, love puzzles and word games, math is a tool but not an interest (general relativity is more fun, but had to learn new math for it though). Manipulation is a tremendous screaming no. It’s eerie when one realizes the easiness with which it could be done…

    I believe in ‘God’ but I’m not religious (i.e. I don’t do the rituals or protocols associated with it).

    I want to smash the INTJ stereotypes on most days, the moment I found out about them (i.e. about 2 weeks ago). At the same time, I fit so many of them. Love-hate. Booh.


  15. I am an INTJ, married to an ISTJ. We swing dance, we are religious (I’m into philosophy & theology), I refuse to manipulate, and I give compliments and perform many social niceties because it’s how one communicates that one is actually kind. I also am known for my smile and laugh. I was an English major and never into science or math. But I love being non-conformist where I’ve chosen to be, and I think not taking anything personally is one of the biggest strengths of an IxTJ.

    Now I classically homeschool my five kids, 4 of whom are Fs (INFJ, INFP, & 2 ESFJs), poor dears with 2 Te parents.


  16. Interesting article! As an INTJ I don’t necessarily fit all the stereotypes either. I think my biggest thing is I have so many interests. I love singing, gardening, interior design, etc. which differs from the stereotype of being interested only in mathematics and computer science. (although that is my major but then again I hate it) And unlike the unwavering non-conformists type, I do go through all the social niceties but simply to avoid wasting time being reprimanded for not following the social order. I’m not willing to waste time to prove a point. But great read, I’ll certainly be glad if all INTJ stereotypes vanish!


    • Interesting! I’ve been reading up on the differences between contributor INTJs and perceiver INTJs (might interest you if you want to look it up). The main difference is that perceiver INTJs have an arcane sense of morality that makes them loath social niceties and feel guilty if they perform them. Contributor INTJs do carry them out (as you said you do).


      • My best friend is a contributor INTJ, while the other INTJ I’m friends with is a perceiver. It’s interesting to observe the differences between them!

        Do you any experience with or insight on other intra-type dichotomies (for lack of a less divisive term)?


        • Yes, I’ve encountered this dichotomy before, however I do think it’s a bit black and white. As a kid I would have fit perfectly into the perceiver INTJ category, but now I can find many connections in my behaviour that fit both explanations. I suppose you could say my natural state is perceiver, but I’ve slowly evolved to adopt contributor traits over time (because I’ve realised that life for contributor INTJs is not only pleasanter, but much more efficient).


  17. I’m not surprised in the least. I think MOST real life INTJs look similar to this description, but the stereotypes…well, I’m trying to help them die slowly.

    Seriously though, you should learn how to swing dance. It makes all of life better.



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