Which one is which?
Profile by David Keirsey
INTJs are the most self-confident of all types, having “self-power” awareness. Found in about 1 percent of the general population, the INTJs live in an introspective reality, focusing on possibilities, using thinking in the form of empirical logic, and preferring that events and people serve some positive use. Decisions come naturally to INTJs’ once a decision is made, INTJs are at rest. INTJs look to the future rather than the past, and a word which captures the essence of INTJs is builder-a builder of systems and the applier of theoretical models.
To INTJs authority based on position, rank, title, or publication has absolutely no force. This type is not likely to succumb to the magic of slogans, watchwords, or shibboleths. If an idea or position makes sense to an INTJ, it will be adopted, if it doesn’t, it won’t, regardless of who took the position or generated the idea. As with the INTP, authority per se does not impress the INTJ.
INTJs do, however, tend to conform to rules if they are useful, not because they believe in them, or because they make sense, but because of their unique view of reality. They are the supreme pragmatists, who see reality as something which is quite arbitrary and made up. Thus it can be used as a tool-or ignored. Reality is quite malleable and can be changed, conquered, or brought to heel. Reality is a crucible for the refining of ideas, and in this sense, INTJs are the most theoretical of all the types. Where an ESTP sees ideas as the pawn of reality, an INTJ sees reality as the pawn of ideas: No idea is too far-fetched to be entertained. INTJs are natural brainstormers, always open to new concepts and, in fact, aggressively seeking them.
INTJs manipulate the world of theory as if on a gigantic chess board, always seeking strategies and tactics that have high payoff. In their penchant for logic, the INTJs resemble the INTPs. The logic of an INTJ, however, is not confined to the expressible logical. Unlike INTPs, INTJs need only to have a vague, intuitive impression of the unexpressed logic of a system to continue surely on their way. Things need only seem logical; this is entirely sufficient. Moreover, they always have a keen eye for the consequence of the application of new ideas or positions. They can be quite ruthless in the implementation of systems, seldom counting personal cost in terms of time and energy. Theories which cannot be made to work are quickly discarded by the INTJs.
To understand INTJs, their way of dealing with ideas should be observed closely. Their conscious thought is extraverted and empirical. Hence, they are better at generalizing, classifying, summarizing, adducing evidence, proving, and demonstrating than are the INTPs. The INTJs are somewhat less at home with pure reason, that is, systemic logic, where principles are explicit. In this respect they resemble the ENTJs. The INTJs, rather than using deductive logic, use their intuition to grasp coherence.
INTJs can be very single-minded at times; this can be either a weakness or a strength in their careers, for they can ignore the points of view and wishes of others. INTJs usually rise to positions of responsibility, for they work long and hard and are steady in their pursuit of goals, sparing neither time nor effort on their part or that of their colleagues and employees.
INTJs live to see systems translated into substance; an INTP, by way of contrast, is content to design the system. In both these types, however, coherence is the master. Both internal and external consistency are important, and if an INTJ finds that he or she is in a working situation where overlapping functions, duplication of effort, inefficient paper flow, and waste of human and material resources abound, the INTJ cannot rest until an effort is made to correct the situation. Cost-effectiveness is a concept which has a strong imperative for INTJs, who frequently select occupations in engineering, particularly human engineering. They also can be found in the physical sciences, in roles which require development, such as curriculum building, and, in general, any job which requires the creation and application of technology to complex areas.
Fellow workers of INTJs often feel as if the INTJ can see right through them, and often believe that the INTJ finds them wanting. This tendency of people to feel transparent in the presence of the INTJ often result in relationships which have psychological distance. Thus colleagues find the INTJ apparently unemotional and, at times, cold and dispassionate. Because of their tendency to drive others as hard as they do themselves, INTJs often seem demanding and difficult to satisfy. INTJs are high achievers in school and on the job. On the job, they take the goals of an institution seriously and continually strive to respond to these goals. They make dedicated, loyal employees whose loyalties are directed toward the system, rather than toward individuals within the system. So as the people of an institution come and go, the INTJs have little difficulty-unlike the NFs, who have their loyalties involved more with persons than offices. INTJs tend, ordinarily, to verbalize the positive and eschew comments of a negative nature; they are more interested in moving an institution forward than commiserating about mistakes of the past.
As mates, INTJs want harmony and order in the home and in relationships. They are the most independent of all types. They will trust their intuitions about others when making choices of friends and mates, even in the face of contradictory evidence and pressures applied by others. The emotions of an INTJ are hard to read, and neither male nor female INTJ is apt to express emotional reactions. At times, both will seem cold, reserved, and unresponsive, while in fact INTJs are almost hypersensitive to signals of rejection from those for whom they care. In social situations, INTJs may also be unresponsive and may neglect to observe small rituals designed to put others at their ease. For example, INTJs may communicate that time is wasted if used for idle dialogue, and thus people receive a sense of hurry from an INTJ which is not always intended. In their interpersonal relationships, INTJs are usually better in a working situation than in recreational situations. They do not enjoy physical contact except with a chosen few.
As parents, INTJs are dedicated and single minded in their devotion: Their children are a major focus in life. They are supportive of their children and tend to allow them to develop in directions of their own choosing. INTJs usually are firm and consistent in their discipline and rarely care to repeat directions given to children…or others. Being the most independent of all the types, they have a strong need for autonomy; indifference or criticism from people in general does not particularly bother INTJs, if they believe that they are right. They also have a strong need for privacy.
The most important preference of an INTJ is intuition, but this is seldom seen. Rather, the function of thinking is used to deal with the world and with people. INTJs are vulnerable in the emotional area and may make serious mistakes here.
At midlife the feeling side of personality should be given much attention by the INTJ, who can work at expanding his or her abilities to respond to wishes and feelings of others. They may also do well to turn more attention to the sensory side of their natures, attempting to get in touch with the joys of good food, good beverages, social rituals, kinesthetic experiences…and play. The “wasting” of time in play is an appropriate target as a midlife task for INTJs who can take lessons from an SP, especially an ESP, in the art of enjoying the pleasures of life.
Wishing to control nature, the INTJ “scientist” probably has more difficulty than all other types in making up his or her mind in mate selection. Even mate selection must be done in a scientific way. It may well be that the narratives, plays, and films impugning the “rational and objective” approach to mating have as their target our thorough-going scientist INTJ. Nevertheless, when young, the INTJ is attracted to the free-wheeling, spontaneous, fun-loving “entertainer” ESFP. But the INTJ requires that mating meet certain criteria, else it is not undertaken. So the INTJ doesn’t often go through with what is begun by natural attraction. Since he or she proceeds in a rational and methodical way, the selection of a similar temperament is more likely than selection of opposite, following the assumption that those who are similar ought to do well together. The INTJ “scientist” is also attracted to the ENFP “journalist,” probably because of the enthusiastic, effervescent, and apparently spontaneous enjoyment and wonderment this type exudes-the very antitheses of the careful, thoughtful exactitude of the INTJ.
Profile by David Keirsey
ENTP’s wish to exercise their ingenuity in the world of people and things. Found in about five out of every hundred people, ENTP’s extravert intuition; thus they deal imaginatively with social relationships as well as physical and mechanical relations. They are very alert to what is apt to occur next, and always sensitive to possibilities.
ENTP’s are good at analysis, especially functional analysis, and have both a tolerance for and enjoyment of the complex. Usually enthusiastic, ENTP’s are apt to express interest in everything, and thus are a source of inspiration to others, who find themselves caught up by the ENTP’s enthusiasm. This type is delighted over many things and so is easy to please, often showing the effervescence of their NF counterpart, the ENFP. The ENTP is the most reluctant of all the types to do things in a particular manner just because that is the way things always have been done. They characteristically have an eye out for a better way, always on the lookout for new projects, new activities, new procedures.
ENTP’s are confident in the value of their pursuits and display a charming capacity to ignore the standard, the traditional, and the authoritative. As a result of this open attitude, they often bring a fresh, new approach to their work and their lives. The ENTP is a keen judge of the pragmatics of both the social and the mechanical, and may become expert at directing relationships between means and ends.
Where the introverted NTP sees design as an end in itself, the extraverted NTP sees design as a means; the end is the invention that works, the prototype that is replicable. Ideas are valuable when and only when they make possible actions and objects. “It can’t be done” is a challenge to an ENTP and elicits a reaction of “I can do it.” They are not, however, the movers of mountains as are the INTJ’s. Rather, the faith of the ENTP’s is in their ability to improvise something, and they display an unusual talent for rising to the expediency of a situation. Superficially, ENTP’s resemble ESTP’s in their derringdo. But the focus of the ENTP is on the competency and the sense of power this gives, rather than on the feeling of freedom of action experienced by the ESTP.
ENTP’s can be fascinating conversationalists, able as they are to follow the complex verbalizations of others. They may deliberately employ debate tactics to the disadvantage of their opponents, even when the “opponents” are close associates and valued friends. ENTP’s are the most able of all types to maintain a one-up position with others. They value adaptability and innovation and thus respond quickly and adeptly to another’s shifting position. They may even be several jumps ahead. The ENTP, talkative and motivating, is often the life of an enterprise. The ENTP can be an entrepreneur and cleverly makes do with whatever or whoever is at hand, counting on ingenuity to solve problems as they arise, rather than carefully generating a detailed blueprint in advance. A rough draft is all that an ENTP needs to feel confident and ready to proceed into action, counting on the ability to improvise as a situation develops. Because of this tendency to depend on ingenuity and improvision, they may neglect very necessary preparation at times. After repeated failures in situations where improvising has met with defeat, the ENTP may develop ways of avoiding such situations as a substitute to thorough preparation.
ENTP’s can succeed in a variety of occupations, as long as the job does not involve too much humdrum routine. At this point, they become restless. If a project in which they are engaged is no longer challenging, they tend to lose interest in that project and fail to follow through-often to the discomfort of colleagues.
Seldom are ENTP’s conformists. ENTP’s enjoy outwitting the system and use rules and regulations within the system to win the game-whatever it may be. They understand well the politics of institutions and deal with these realities very well, always aiming to understand the people within the system rather than to judge them. ENTP’s are good at innovative projects and can administer them well if dull routine is not involved. They usually are outstanding teachers, continuously devising new participative ways to make learning exciting for the students. As an employee, an ENTP may work against the system just for the joy of being one-up. For ENTP’s, to be taken-in, to be manipulated by another, is humiliating; this offends their joy in being masters of the art of one-upmanship. ENTP’s are the natural engineers of human relationships and human systems. Their good humor and optimistic outlook tend to be contagious, and people seek out their company.
As mates, ENTP’s tend to create a lively living environment. They are gregarious, laugh easily and often, and are typically in good humor. Orderliness in the routines of daily living is not apt to inspire them; they usually solve this problem by mobilizing those around them. Tom Sawyer illustrated this talent when he solved the problem of getting Aunt Polly’s fence whitewashed. Life with ENTP’s is likely to be a daring adventure; they can lead families to physical and economic dangers. ENTP’s improvise to remain unaware that they do not have the necessary knowledge of the situation to ward off such dangers.
If the mate of an ENTP is not competitive, he or she is likely to find the one-up/one-down transactions somewhat wearing. If the mate is competitive, the result might be conflict. Although usually good providers of economic necessities, ENTP’s at times engage in brinkmanship with their careers, placing them in jeopardy and behaving as if unaware of the consequences; they may thus offer unnecessary challenges to those who have power over their professional success. When challenges elicit negative responses from superiors, ENTP’s are apt to react with delight at having an opportunity to improvise a solution to the crisis and, more often than not, they succeed in doing so.
ENTP’s are likely to have all sorts of hobbies and to be experts in unexpected areas, but they are not apt to share these hobbies with their mates or children in the sense of teaching them. In fact, ENTP’s may be very inconsistent in the attention given to offspring. Usually, it is feast or famine. ENTP’s have a lively circle of friends and are interested in their ideas and activities. They are usually easy-going, seldom critical or nagging. At their worst, they can show undependable, fickle characteristics and may be rather easily discouraged.
At midlife ENTP’s can allow their tendency to experiment recklessly to get out of hand and may destroy or discard the work of half a lifetime, both in personal relationships and in careers. Energy spent in sorting out priorities and values may be a good investment at this time. Developing an increased awareness of emotional reactions and expanding the intensity and range of these through self-development work may be something ENTP’s might want to consider at midlife. An increased repertoire of introverted-type activities; for example, gardening, painting, or reading may be a source of pleasure to ENTP’s.
The inventive ENTP finds in the ISFJ a neat complementarily for his enterprise, for in the ISFJ he finds the supreme conservator. The conservator, broadly conceived, is morally bound to ensure the material and legal welfare of his or her charge. The inventor, also broadly conceived, is bent on replacing whatever tools, operation, or enterprise now exists with a better one. Out to exercise his ingenuity in bettering things, the ENTP is of necessity iconoclastic and tends to be so seen. So he can get into a bit of trouble with the elders, who usually are not all that pleased to see their tried-and-true tools, operations, and enterprises blithely set aside for the ENTP’s better mousetrap. The ISFJ, mated to this inventive rascal, takes on the task of squaring things with the establishment.
The ENTP also may be attracted to his opposite on the N side: he approaches the INFJ. But the INFJ is humorously and preposterously different from the seemingly similar ISFJ. In the INFJ lies the soul of the “author”-the meaning-giver, the mystic, the oracle. Perhaps the INFJ is a conservator of the soul, a sort of messiah. At any rate, there is something about the “author” (very broadly conceived) which the ENTP covets. Prometheus had to pay dearly for giving fire to man. The Promethian ENTP may figure that, though his INFJ mate may not rescue his body from the vultures, at least the INFJ might rescue his soul from Hell.