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INTJ Personality Traits, Cognitive Functions, and Characteristics

INTJ is one of the rarest Myers-Briggs personality types, also referred to as The Strategist, they make up 1.5% of the rest of the types. Each personality type has its own unique set of characteristics that define them, and INTJs are considered to be logical perfectionists with brilliant ideas. This is largely due to their combination of personality preferences and their accompanying cognitive functions.

But what exactly are those traits and how can we use them to determine the INTJ personality type and its unique characteristics? Worry not, in this article, we’ll walk you through The Strategist’s distinctive temperament, the prism of its main building blocks: cognitive functions and personality traits. We’ll also discuss in detail the most common strengths and weaknesses of this personality type and whether there are any prominent variances between the male and female representatives of The Strategist type.

Not sure about your Myers-Briggs personality type? Take our free personality test to find out!

What is INTJ?

The INTJ personality type is part of the NT Analyzer Temperament. They share this category with three other MBTI types, based on two functions they have in common – Intuition and Thinking. Personalities that fit this category are logical, ambitious, and portray leadership tendencies. They are hard-working individuals who are set to achieve their goals despite the circumstances. They are overachievers, who value competence and intelligence over everything else.

INTJs aren’t people pleasers. They’re actually reserved and detached from others. They’re truly enthused, not by small talk, but rather by having deep philosophical discussions – and they can do it for hours on end. They value the company of people who share their respect for an intellectually driven conversation and they often share their thoughts and ideas with someone they see as knowledgeable. An INTJ person has high standards – for their careers, friendships, and romantic relationships.

But why are INTJs the way they are? What is it that makes this complex personality type so different from the rest? Well, INTJs have quite a unique bundle of traits and characteristics which can explain the mystery behind their personality type. In this article, we’ll explore what drives them, what motivates and inspires them to see the world through their unique lens. If you want to find out the meaning behind INTJ, read our in-depth breakdown on the INTJ personality type.

INTJ Preferences

According to the MBTI theory, all 16 personality types are made up of concrete Preferences, which explain the attitude of each type when engaging with the rest of the world. Combined, the top four most dominant preferences create the unique four-letter name of each individual personality type. There are 8 preferences in total, divided into four groups. They are:

  • Extroversion vs Introversion — This describes how people derive their energy — either outward or inward.
  • Sensing vs Intuition — This describes how people receive and process new information — either pragmatically or imaginatively.
  • Thinking vs Feeling — This describes how people make decisions — either by logic and rationality or by subjective feelings.
  • Judging vs Perceiving — This describes people’s approach to the outside world — either in a structured or more flexible manner.

INTJs have Introversion (I), Intuition (N), Thinking (T), and Judging (J) preferences. Let’s take a look at what each of these mean:

Introversion

Personalities with the Introversion (I) preference don’t place much importance on social gatherings and communication with others. Instead, they focus their energy inward and might feel exhausted by spending time with large groups of people. They recharge their battery by spending time alone or with a handful of people they consider close. They process incoming information internally, prefer to work alone and when they do, they often produce their best work. These personalities believe intelligent people don’t have time for boredom. They are often great listeners and their quiet nature motivates others to confide in them.

Here are some of the main qualities of an introvert:

  • Quiet
  • Private
  • Independent
  • Self-reliant
  • Not socially inclined
  • Enjoys solitude
  • Calm and collected

Intuition

People bearing the Intuition (N) function are future-focused. They have grand ideas about the world and observe endless possibilities in everything. They want to constantly improve their lives and are quite the innovators. They can easily notice recurring patterns and are known to read between the lines. Instead of viewing the world at its face value, they prefer to process information through impressions. They analyze past mistakes and weaknesses and figure out ways to improve based on these scenarios. They have a tendency towards the abstract and value inspiration and imagination, especially when looking for a solution.

Here are some common Intuition traits:

  • Sees the “bigger picture”
  • Has strong insights
  • Original
  • Idealistic
  • Philosophical
  • Complex

Thinking

People with the Thinking (T) preference value truth over tact. They want to be given the hard facts and aren’t afraid of criticism. They analyze the world through logic and rational thinking; with their heads, rather than their hearts. They don’t lean on sensitivity when making decisions – they’re quite the opposite in fact. Personality types with Thinking preferences are able to give concrete advice without being affected emotionally in problematic situations. They are critical thinkers with excellent problem-solving skills, and can easily identify flaws and give insightful alternatives.

Here’s a summary of some prominent Thinking traits:

  • Thick-skinned
  • Firm
  • Critical
  • Impersonal
  • Objective
  • Rational
  • Head-strong

Judging

Personalities with the Judging (J) preference don’t judge people, what it actually means is they think sequentially. They value order and organization in their lives and approach tasks with a great sense of responsibility. This doesn’t mean they enjoy mundanity or want to be overloaded by dull and monotonous tasks. Instead, it means they have a plan for executing a task and enjoy breaking down their work into an achievable step-by-step guide. They take deadlines very seriously and are punctual at delivering their best work. People with the Judging preference enjoy to-do lists, butting dates in a calendar, keeping a bullet journal, and planning out their activities in detail. They enjoy completing tasks more than starting them and they find satisfaction in completion. They work first and play later.

Here are some common Judging traits:

  • Analytical
  • Efficient
  • Orderly
  • Controlled
  • Decisive
  • Scheduled
  • Structured

INTJ Cognitive Functions

Each MBTI type also has a set of additional four hierarchical Cognitive Functions. These are expressed by a combination of a preference supported by the way an individual expresses their energy – either inward or outward (through Introversion or Extroversion). These functions have an individual order for each personality type, from the most dominantly expressed, to least commonly used in their day-to-day lives. The first two are the most frequently used by the type, while the latter two are used in specific situations and scenarios.

For the INTJ type, these traits follow the order:

  • Introverted Intuition (Ni)
  • Extroverted Thinking (Te)
  • Introverted Feeling (Fi)
  • Extroverted Sensing (Se)

In the following text, we’ll explain how these four cognitive functions help shape the Strategist type.

Dominant Function: Introverted Intuition (Ni)

Introverted Intuition (abbreviated Ni) is a cognitive function relating to the individual’s ability to process information about their surroundings. People with this function process data through impressions and possibilities. They have a great ability to absorb heavy amounts of complicated theoretical material. MBTI types with the Ni function can have a gut feeling about the turnout of a situation. Although, they might struggle a little to elaborate on how they reached that conclusion. The truth, however, is that they have excellent skills of deduction and can easily interpret events.

Because of their constant subconscious calculation of probabilities, personality types with Introverted Intuition as their dominant function are constantly leaning on thoughts about the future. It is a defense mechanism and a way of survival – having an understanding of potential problems makes them well-prepared for future surprises. A side effect of this function is that people with Introverted Intuition are prone to be more distracted in the present. Thankfully, they are excellent strategists and learn quickly from their mistakes.

Auxiliary Function: Extroverted Thinking (Te)

Extroverted Thinking (abbreviated as Te) is a cognitive function related to the way a person makes judgments. Most commonly, it means that the person carrying this function has a logical and rational decision-making process. These people are typically unfazed by external influences or emotions and can maintain a solid focus on a task. People with Te also handle arguments and criticisms very well, looking at the issue at hand from a pragmatic standpoint.

Extroverted Thinking is an INTJ’s auxiliary function, meaning it’s used more often than its tertiary and inferior functions. The INTJ personality type relies heavily on organizing and categorizing information when forming arguments.

Tertiary Function: Introverted Feeling (Fi)

Introverted Feeling (abbreviated Fi) is a cognitive function corresponding to an individual’s decision-making process, as well as where they place their true values. This function has a lot to do with individuality, independence, and authenticity. People with this function are confident, in themselves and their feelings, know how to practice self-love, and have strong opinions. They have a profound sense of justice and can form incredibly strong connections with people, not many though, for they believe a friend to everyone is a friend to no one.

If you’re a true INTJ you may be asking yourself, “okay, so up until now Pmax has stated I am logical and unfazed by emotion, and yet I still have a Fi function? How does this all add up?” Well, this being a tertiary function, it is not as often used by the type, but is still present in certain situations, as opposed to the vigors of day-to-day life. This function enables INTJs to form a desire to connect with people who share similar values. It’s almost like a radar, able to quickly detect a person’s honest character and hidden potential.

Inferior Function: Extroverted Sensing (Se)

It might sound contradictory, that INTJs have both Extroverted Sensing and Introverted Intuition. Don’t worry there’s no mistake in the text. For an INTJ, Extroverted Sensing is an inferior function that is used the least out of the four, it’s considered the “weakest”. Only some of its tendencies may be present during critical situations. People with the Se function are focused on the present moment, they don’t dwell on the past, and they rely on their five senses in order to receive information about their surroundings. They can be great drivers, focused on the present, aware of their surroundings. Similarly, they have the potential to play sports, they can be great athletes, etc. In some cases, Se can come into play in severe circumstances, or even emergencies. It gives additional physical awareness and good coordination skills, when under pressure.

INTJ Strengths and Weaknesses

To sum it all up, INTJs are ingenious, brilliant, and dedicated individuals, who have strong insights and intuition. They are self-confident and knowledgeable. Elon Musk, Isaac Newton, Arnold Swartzenneger are just a few examples of famous INTJ representatives (by the way, you can check out our article on INTJ famous people for an extensive list of celebrities, leaders, and characters who share this type!). But what qualities do they share exactly? What potential strengths and weaknesses does the INTJ type have?

INTJ Strengths

  • Comfortable with difficulties and challenges

One of the main strengths of an INTJ is their ability to overcome any difficulty. They want to be challenged – otherwise, what’s the point? INTJs have never been famous for following the herd or picking an ‘easy’ lifestyle. They have time and again proven to themselves (not to others) what they are capable of. This might sound exhausting to types who don’t share this thinking, but those who truly understand INTJ ideologies know that ‘ordinary’ isn’t an option for The Strategist.

  • Calm and collected

INTJs tend to keep away from obvious emotional expressions. They prefer to keep their feelings hidden because they understand the manipulative power they possess. Emotions are a key to understanding the thinking of a person, and INTJs aren’t that willing to give this ammunition, especially to someone they don’t trust. This makes them excellent opponents, especially in strategic games, as an INTJ’s motives can not be read easily. They are also great at working under pressure, they rely on their rationality, as opposed to their feeling nature when solving a problem.

  • Superb strategists

Have we stressed this enough? No? Okay, so INTJs are always at least one step ahead. They know how to get out of a sticky situation and how to turn chaos into the best outcome in any given situation. They can be supreme manipulators if they want, though they’d usually excuse themselves by saying they have more important things to think about.

  • Natural leaders

Combine the traits above and you have the ideal candidate for a leadership position. INTJs shine the brightest when given the opportunity to exemplify these qualities. They are meant to be on top of the food chain, and usually, they prove to be just and resourceful leaders. They also don’t mind following someone’s lead, provided they are someone an INTJ can truly support.

  • Independent

Unlike many other types, INTJs have no trouble being alone. They enjoy their own company and can rarely get bored being by themselves. Not to mention they like to study and practice their favorite hobbies alone. They are of the view that flexibility comes from a state of detachment from distractions. Many other types confuse this trait with being anti-social, when in fact, INTJs are simply self-sufficient.

INTJ Weaknesses

  • Reserved or detached

Yes, INTJs truly know how to get their head in the game. But sometimes they can go a little too far in their own worlds and start to detach from their friends and even society as a whole. INTJs need to remind themselves that “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. It’s good for INTJs to find friends that have similar values and attempt to spend time doing their favorite activities.

  • Bored with mundane or routine activities

Even though this MBTI type has endless potential, a famous INTJ weakness could be their inability to stick to a schedule. That’s okay – we all have weakness after all, and INTJs sooner or later realize this weakness of theirs. But until then, they might find it difficult to understand why they don’t have the patience for certain activities. Or they might find they’re not fit for positions such as accountants, librarians, or in human resources and etc. INTJs need an abundance of exciting and new opportunities to maintain their interest in a profession or hobby. They want to make a difference in their workplace and to have a special role within a company. Professions like systems analyst, engineer, or architect are complex enough to keep the interest of the INTJ personality type.

  • Impatient

INTJs have the ability to absorb complicated information easier than others. Sometimes, they can get frustrated when they don’t see the same quality in those around them. They can become impatient with colleagues that struggle to perform a task or take longer to learn a new skill. They also have a disregard for inefficiency, so if they see that in a subordinate, they might have very little patience with their attitude.

  • Have extremely high standards for themselves

It might seem like having high standards for yourself is a good thing, however, the constant fixation over being the best, or being perfect can quickly lead to burnout. INTJs need to be careful of that – they should realize they are more than capable of achieving anything they set their mind to. But they should also try to stick to the motto “nothing in excess” to avoid disappointment and pressure.

The Difference in INTJ Male and Female Personality Traits

There aren’t many significant differences between the female and male representatives of the INTJ type. Generally speaking, studies show there are significantly more male representatives of the type (a grand total of 83%), while INTJ women take up the lesser portion (17%). There is some stigma around the reasons behind this statistic such as women are generally more irrational as opposed to males. Now whether that’s true or not, is not our job to state. We would simply like to note down the obvious differences between the two.

INTJ Male

Statistics show 1 in every 40 males is an INTJ, and they are often the Thinkers, outnumbering females 5 to 1. They might be more in tune with their logical and rational side. Here are some male INTJ traits you might know:

  • Can be more arrogant compared to female INTJs
  • They can be overly critical and yet can quickly dismiss input from others
  • They tend to value their own opinion over that of other people
  • Intolerance over other people’s weaknesses
  • Uninterested or unaware of how they come across to others
  • Unsure how to act in situations that require tact or empathy
  • Better at maintaining focus in comparison to their female counterparts

INTJ Female

Again, statistics show 1 in every 200 females in an INTJ, they are often the Feelers of the type. They are the least common type-gender combination. Here are some traits worth knowing about the female INTJ:

  • They can be easily hurt but would avoid expressing their emotions
  • They tend to internalize any disagreements they may have
  • Having the ability to see a problem from many perspectives, they may blame others for problems in their own lives
  • May have an intense and quick temper
  • May hold a grudge, have trouble forgiving others
  • Tend to be more in tune with their Te function