N-types are not better than S-types.

Shubham (ENTP) asked: I have observed that some of my friends who are S types retake the MBTI test again and again to get a N type.eg- one of my ISTJ friend took the test almost 5 times and got INTJ once. Now whenever he meets someone he claims to be an INTJ, although he is completely an ISTJ.

I have observed this behaviour with many of my S type friends (specially ISTPs and ISFPs who sometimes claim to be ENFPs.). I personally think that there is no reason one should change their personality type or start behaving like some other type. I think that this is a result of stereotyping of Ns being better than Ss.

Have you observed a similar behaviour anytime? What is your hypothesis on why some Ss want to be typed as Ns.

Yes. Yes, I have.

The internet, and many fandoms seem to have convinced themselves that INTJs are…for some reason…the best MBTI type ever. There is no logical reason to believe that INTJs are somehow better than other types, and there are even fewer logical reasons to try to become an INTJ if you are not one.

So, why does INTJ-fetishization happen?

Because Stereotypes stick

There are a lot of negative stereotypes that have gotten latched on to each of the MBTI types, and some of those stereotypes are more flattering than others. For instance:

Si: stubborn and stuck in the past

Ni: always 10 steps ahead of you

Naturally, any irrational person would want to attach themself to the more flattering stereotype of the two, and because the internet has developed an obsession with INTJs, all the idiots who don’t know who they are want to be INTJs.

Quite frankly however, there is nothing inherently better about a well developed Ni function as compared to a well developed Si function. In fact, a well developed Si function is far better than a poorly developed Ni function.

And why is INTJ-fetishization a problem?

Because Self-deception Damages Self-Development

When you lie to yourself about who you are, you are hindering your own growth as an individual. People create illusions through which to live their lives because their subconscious minds are convinced that those illusions make life less painful. However, what those illusions actually do is further our complacency.

We tell ourselves, I have [insert flattering trait here]. I don’t have [insert flaw that you actually have here], so obviously I don’t need to change anything. I’ll just be complacent for he rest of my life and that will make me better than everyone else. I don’t need to improve.

If you’re further interested in this idea, read Flannery O’Connor’s short story, “Everything That Rises Must Converge.”

When we lie to ourselves about who we are, it’s because we don’t like who we are. And…well, if we can’t accept who we are, then we will never have passed the first step to improving ourselves.

38 thoughts on “N-types are not better than S-types.

  1. We all know what types are glorified the most, but which are hated on all the time? I’d like to do some appreciation posts (good and bad sides of XXXX’s, for example) especially focused on giving love to those types that are most dismissed or disliked. Arvid, mind if I make that a project of mine and submit the posts to you?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amen.


    And amen.

    It’s silly for people to want to be something they’re not–whether that “something” is Ni-dom, Si-dom, or whatever else.

    Also, don’t they realize that if they COULD suddenly become Ni-dominant, then by definition they would also be Se-inferior . . . and being Se-inferior has Disadvantages. I’m just sayin’.


  3. Wow. Great words. I sincerely appreciate this post. It’s strange that I never thought about people wanting to be a type they are not, but I guess I have often wanted to be an Extrovert, so it does make sense. Thanks for the eye-opener. :)

    I’m still learning about types, but from what I have seen I have come to believe that you cannot put people in a box, nor will any test ever dictate who you REALLY are. For instance, I’ve taken the test a couple of times and I am an INFP, but I also show signs of an ISFP. I think people are far too amazing and far too complex to ever fit into one type completely. I don’t know if this hinders or helps us people who wish to be someone we aren’t, but I do know brains are immaculate and there is still so much we can learn about human beings.

    Thanks again! I am really enjoying your site. You have great stuff!



    • In terms of introverts wanting to be extraverts, I think many people grow up with the mentality that introversion is actually a negative trait that they need to overcome in order to become the societal ideal, which, typically is a very confident extravert.

      And KM, I’ll let you in on a not-so-little secret, which is that I personally believe the MBTI theory to be too narrow to categorize all people. Instead, I view it more as a tool to be used for a number of things that are not actually intended to place anyone in a “box.”

      One of the main uses that I have for MBTI is maintaining consistency in characterisation for my novels.

      But in a social setting, my goal is generally to be able to quickly assess people’s thought processes in order to people I don’t personally know. At the same time, I certainly don’t consider it a universal truth.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Ita veros. Sad but true.

    Would you do a post explaining the differences between INTJ’s and ISTJ’s so that when I meet those confused people, I (and others) can direct them to your blog?


      • this would be great! Recently, I’ve been wondering if I am an ISTJ or if i am an INTJ with a rather decent memory and a tendency to become rather stuck in the past. My other reason for wondering this is that i sometimes “see through” things if that makes any sense, and several years ago everyone was ordering me to NEVER read between the lines EVER. Anyway, I sincerely hope I am not becoming one of the INTJ/intuitive fetish people. I am perfectly happy thinking of myself as an ISTJ, but if I am suppressing functions I actually have, I would really like to know.


      • Of course. I was not intending to imply that such a post would be written immediately.

        I sincerely hope you recover soon (and not just because I enjoy reading your posts!)


  5. Too true. Reminds me of how my ESTP younger brother tested INTJ and then ISTJ because he perceives himself as responsible, even though he’s one of the most irresponsible people I know. (And yes, I have known responsible ESTPs.)


    • That’s really interesting. My ESTP brother tested ENFP, which uses not only the exact opposite functions but also uses them in the exact opposite order (N, F, T, S vs S, T, F, N). I wonder if some types are likelier than others to test incorrectly? I’m an ISTJ, but I test as INTJ every single time. Also, I believe my mother is an ENFJ, but she consistently tests as an ESFJ. It would be fun to do a study on that :)


    • Is that sarcasm or are you trolling lol!? I have spoken one on one with a MBTI accredited professional (psychological type is all he does) several times, and he has said the following things to me over the years (based on his research, personal experience, and the research of others e.g. MBTI Manual):

      1. “ISFP’s are the most psychologically f*$%^# type.” I can personally vouch for this!

      2. “INFP’s are one of the types, along with ISFJ** that the Goddess made to be miserable.”

      While this is just characteristic of his blunt Te which can come off as exaggerating the truth, I certainly agree with the first statement and so does tons of research in the MBTI Manual, with the caveat that a lot of this research may be done by people who do not fully understand the theory underpinning the indicator they use to type people.

      In other words, one of these researchers might frequently type an intelligent ISFPs as an INTP (happened to me!) and type some other type as ISFP who shares the problems commonly associated with us. For example, we have the highest reported level of depersonalization and burnout (unfortunately VERY true in my case, my life is a constant struggle between absolute nullity and unbelievable passion. There’s no middle ground.).

      My personal experience, which can hardly be considered statistically significant, with INFPs is also consistent with his statement in that they almost always have some serious childhood trauma that makes it difficult for them to trust people (and me, because I’m a freak). I hate this because there’s no talking them out of it or helping them overcome this if they have it unfortunately. So for me it appears to be needless, senseless suffering – obviously because my Se-Ni sees their potential clear as day whilst they are stuck extrapolating off their tortured past, Ne-Si negatively influenced by Critical Parent Ni.

      I would surmise that life is the “happiest” for the types are who most represented and valued in their culture. For example, xSTJ males are quite at home in America whilst ISFPs for example are viewed as inferior, overly emotional, hypersensitive, impractical, illogical, and stubborn. And can imagine how utterly PAINFUL life must be at first (before they learn about type) for xNTJ women in America where most women are ESFJ?

      But to be honest I try to steer away from these generalizations because as an Fi dominant I have a predilection to notice exceptions to the rule (my Fi loves interesting difference) and to assume everyone’s experiences, no matter how similar outwardly, are unique in some ethereal sense that I can only intuit or “feel”.

      Me using the word “feel” reminds me of a moronic website that said, “ISFPs don’t think or even use intuition but genuinely FEEL things,” well news to you buddy it’s feeling and intuition. How can we feel something that’s entirely abstract!?!?

      **He’s comment on ISFJs should reveal to you his cognitive preferences, but in case you don’t want to play my game, INTJ.


      • In terms of the “happiest” argument, I’d agree happiness is not something that’s solely (or even mostly) dependent on personality type. There are too many other factors, financial, health and political circumstances among them.

        One out of the four ISTJ males in my family (I’m including extended family here), is an optimist and happy. Although, in juxtaposition with your comments, I suppose my disclaimer would be that only two of those ISTJs live in America (yet neither of them is the happy one).

        The ISFPs that I know (and again, these are the ones that I personally know) are generally people that I see as “too” happy, and as a result, I have difficulty spending time around them.

        So, as always, stereotyping falls short.


        • I forget where you and your family live Arvid but for some reason I have this feeling it’s in Canada, (and if not in Canada, the U.K.).

          It’d be interesting to see a comprehensive list of countries and their culture’s “Type”. For example, many Asian cultures are introverted, Japan is oft listed as ISTJ, America ESTJ, Ancient China INxx, etc.. And then with this in mind, actually do a study where we test this theory.

          If your preferences do align with your culture’s “Type”, how happy – perhaps content is a better word, happy seems too abstract – are you, and if you aren’t what are the most significant reasons for not being content for those types. I’d be interested in seeing how say an ISTJ might feel discontent in America or the most common/ valued type from where you’re from (I’m gonna go with U.K.) might feel dissatisfied with life. What if this dissatisfaction could be linked to a particular function!? Or attitude preference! Oh I’m getting excited now!

          Well so long as it isn’t obvious like the Anima/Animus, which is more personal than say individual type vs. group type dynamics. I don’t know, but there might be some non-obvious discovery here.


        • Yes, I do live in the UK.

          I had not actually thought about this idea before, but it would certainly be very interesting to explore further. I’m not exactly in a position to research it at the moment, but if you’re interested, I’d be open to reading anything you’d like to write about it. Culture and MBTI is something that I do think probably has a correlation of some sort, and I’d be fascinated to find out how that plays out.


      • In my point of view, Fi is a very difficult to master function. If you let Fi overwhelm you, it can damages you very bad for a long term (I’ve been stuck in a Fi/Si loop for almost a decade, no joke).
        You said: “[INFP] always have some serious childhood trauma that makes it difficult for them to trust people.”
        That’s true, I know it for a fact. No need to experiment a trauma, any wound can deeply affect a young Fi dom. Young Fi doms are the most fragile and sensitive human beings.
        This is the reason why there are so many unhealthy xNFP out there.

        In my opinion, the most hard paths are the most rewarding.
        If you want to be an healthy INFP, you have to cross the desert, you have to embrasse complete loneliness. But then, when this desert will be a part of your past, you will discover how strong you are.
        Healthy INFPs are strong people. An healthy INFP can face real simple happiness and say: “OK, hapinness is just that. OK then, I can stay happy all my life, no problem, I don’t want more than this.”
        When you are an healthy INFP, you always know when “this is enough” because you have already been far behind this invisible line.

        I think that if you want to experiment deep hapiness, you have to know what is deep sorrow.


    • I thought at first that I had to be an INFP, but I was typing with letters as opposed to functions. *shrug* I guess INFP has negative steriotypes all it’s own. I know I’ve heard a lot of people talk about how Fi doms are artsy, sensitive, and too-easily offended. Guess people want to be types that are Te dom or aux more, due to how great those types are at organizing.

      Personally I think IxFPs and ExFPs rock.


      • My ENFP sister is my favourite person in the entire world, so I agree with you.

        I think part of the reason that Te gets so much excitement from people who don’t have it as an upper function is that most countries (at least in the western world, I’m less familiar with the education systems elsewhere) expect students to acquire organisational skills from a young age and as a result, we learn to perceive organisation as an ideal to which everyone should strive.


        • Yeah. And then there’s the fact that everyone is expected to be just emotional enough, but not too emotional, at the same time. Especially guys, for some reason.


        • Oddly enough alot of my closest friends in the world are ENFP’s and I myself am an INTJ and I have seen a pattern of INTJ’s and ENFP’s getting along pretty well.


  6. If people who fetishize INTJs and want to be one understood just how frustrating and exasperating it can be as an INTJ to interact and connect with people, and how alienating it can be, they probably wouldn’t so keen on being one. And that’s just one of the downsides most INTJs have to deal with.


    • True true, being an INTJ is so glorified in the media that people squeal over characters like Sherlock (who are walking, talking stereotypes), but they would be the first to call you out for being a douchebag in real life.

      Prime example, my friends all love Sherlock. But after watching it suddenly I am ‘just trying to be like Sherlock, but just being a douchebag’ when I am blunt or I don’t pick up on social cues or I wear a trench coat (even though I was these things long before Sherlock even started). People don’t realise how difficult it can be to be an INTJ in real life, if they did, they’d drop their obsession with it really quickly.


      • Your friends are being passive-aggressive over a silly fantasy. Don’t let yourself be offended by immature behaviour and inaccurate judgements of who you are.

        Unless clearly laid out on the table, no one can actually know why you think and act like you do, and anything emotionally thrown in your direction in this manner is a problem about them (envy?) and their perceptions, and not you.

        Liked by 1 person


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