To begin I will readily admit we INTJs are hard to relate to, and often the fault is our own due to our nature. But I would like to take a look at some stereotypes we INTJs garner and how these might be a little misconceived, especially in my case. There is a high chance of generalistic rhetoric, so consider yourselves forewarned (and I apologize to any of my fellow INTJs that may be offended by such statements).
Stereotype #1- INTJs shy away from public outings and would rather do activities on their own.
As is probably true of most introverted dispositions, being in public isn’t necessarily something we avoid so much as something we must maintain balance. Since we draw energy from within and most forms of social interaction sap those energy reserves, we often limit the sheer quality of public interaction to prevent an over-expenditure. Meeting a large number of new people can be particularly daunting for INTJs, as we have a tendency to absorb information at a higher rate and in vast quantities because personal details are a key component to how we tend to relate to others. That said, there are a few things people may be surprised to learn about a INTJ’s social habits. First, you might find us frequent attendees of local trivia nights, as I mentioned previously we have a keen mind for facts and this allows us to “show off” our knowledge. Second, INTJs are usually very coordinated, as our control over mind and body is closely linked to our personal journey to understand the world and therefore we tend to be naturally athletic. It is perhaps more common than people realize for us to be found playing a variety of sports, even at the professional level. Finally, INTJs tend to gravitate to a specific set of close friends and would much rather spend time with them than on our own, as we have surpassed the phase of data collection and can simply reside in the group’s presence without diverting extra energy towards learning about them.
Stereotype #2- INTJs lack spontaneity and if something isn’t planned, they have trouble processing it.
While it can be easy to feel OCD about structure and maintaining a schedule, INTJs are often very relaxed and chill people. However, due to our tendency to maintain a reserved demeanor, it is often assumed that we don’t like unexpected change of plans. Likewise, we often take initiative when it comes to planning group outings, as this allows us to feel in control of the level of our social interaction. Yet INTJs are very adept at adapting to the unexpected, as we often mirror or mimic the environment around us. I fondly refer to this phenomenon as the “chameleon effect”, as myself in particular can reflect the general vibe of a group in an effort to either avoid drawing attention to myself or to enable the group in maintaining the status quo.
Stereotype #1- INTJs are emotionless freaks that could care less about other people’s problems.
While we might be internal processors and admittedly terrible at displaying our feelings, INTJs are often some of the most emotionally intact people you will meet. Because we strive to maintain our own personal equilibrium, INTJs are capable of thinking both logically in an emotional situation and also allowing our feelings to inform our decision-making. However, when a spur-of-the-moment decision is made, we frequently choose based on rational thought, often leaving us to appear as cold and calculated. On the flipside, INTJs are good listeners by nature and, if approached by a friend (and sometimes even strangers, depending on the day) with a dilemma, are able to empathize quickly. We care deeply about those we have formed connections with and are usually more than willing to give of our time and energy if we see the need.
Stereotype #2- INTJs suck at dating.
Actually this is pretty much true, but that’s because the current form of dating within society is nothing like the cut-and-dry format we thrive in. INTJs usually know what they want, having spent long hours analyzing their likes and dislikes within as well as goals for a relationship, but frequently shy away from putting themselves (myself) on the line emotionally. This leads to a paradox of interests, as we often have a hard time reconciling the effort required to establish a relationship with the potential (emotional) cost of failure. Another strike against us is our disdain for small talk, as INTJs tend to find it superfluous. We desire deep connections, and thus can often come across as disinterested early on when dating, but those who have the patience to slowly peel back the layers can be pleasantly surprised by the devotion we show and effort we will put into a relationship.
Stereotype #3- INTJs lack initiative when it come to dating and relationships.
While it is common for INTJs to defer to the group in a social setting, within an intimate relationship we actually handle leading quite well. Since INTJs have very strong moral and emotional boundaries, we can easily set goals and structure the progress of our relationship as it pertains to those goals. Although I myself tend to look at emotional progress as the conclusion of a logical completion of certain criteria, this does not mean my feelings play little part in how I choose to build my relationships. In fact, there is a great deal of structure implied by an INTJ within their brand of romance, something that can be refreshing in a culture of free-flowing hook-ups and quasi-romantic hang-outs. Just because we are reserved when it comes to letting our feelings show does not prevent us from maintaining a relationship built on mutual respect and devotion and, most importantly, love.
Although I may have only scratched the surface, the Rational within me is satisfied with what I have produced in a short time (although I have been mentally writing this post for almost a week now). To my fellow INTJs, if you have anything you wish to add or feel I have misrepresented our kind, do not hesitate to point that out in a comment. To those who are not INTJs (which is like 90% of everyone), I hope this might shed some light on what actually goes on behind our poker face and helps you either relate to or better understand what we need in building relationships (particularly those of the romantic variety) or to encourage us to be a little more social.