The INTJ is one of the rarest personality types and one of the most misunderstood. Most people tend to think of this type as friendless evil geniuses plotting the demise of the world. This is patently untrue of course, but the stereotype persists in MBTI circles. In reality INTJs can and do have friends, and most of them don’t plot the apocalypse. If you want to know more about this misunderstood type and the types of friendships they gather, keep reading.
INTJs tend to be one of the most solitary of the MBTI types. Self-sufficiency is often a point of pride with this type, which often combines with their extremely rational mind to make them seem unapproachable. Some INTJs believe that they don’t actually need friends, preferring to exist in a world created by their imaginative, constantly restless minds. But this is a mistake. An INTJ doesn’t need a lot of friends, but if they want to grow and enjoy their lives, they do need a few people to share their journey with.
INTJs lead with the process introverted intuition. This function is always working, taking data from the present and projecting it to the future. This means that when an INTJ meets someone, they’re analyzing them and calculating whether a potential relationship would work years down the track. And if their projections are negative, an INTJ will usually decide that the friendship isn’t worth the trouble. Over time, this process becomes streamlined as the INTJ learns more about themselves, the world, and what they like. This can result in them rejecting people as a potential friend moments after they meet them. This may seem extremely premature, but to the INTJs auxiliary process, extroverted thinking, it’s just a logical allocation of resources. 1
All these barriers result in someone who is difficult to get to know. It also means that the INTJ is constantly evaluating the friends they do have, making sure the relationship is still viable. This can cause the INTJ to become very isolated, and most of them will have only a handful of friends at most. However, when the INTJ does find someone who passes all the tests, they will really put time, effort and thought into the relationship. This often results in a very deep, intense friendship that the INTJ protects fiercely and works hard to maintain.
Female INTJs and friendship
INTJs are rare, but INTJ women are even more unusual. This creates additional problems for friendships and relationships as a whole. Most women are feeler types and this fact has created a lot of the stereotypes of what a woman should be like such as warm, empathetic and socially minded. The INTJ woman is none of these, at least on the surface. This can make it difficult for INTJ women to bond with other women and even if they do they will probably always feel a little different from the rest of their group. INTJ women can overcome this by looking for other women who are intuitive thinkers, as they can create a bond with this type that will satisfy many of their needs for connection.
Friendships with NTs
INTJs usually really enjoy relationships with other NT types. With NT friends, the INTJ can be just what they are, an overly rational person who leads with their brain and doesn’t understand or really trust all the emotional input. Other NT types are also more likely to be low on emotional drama, which INTJs appreciate. NTs also look at the world through an intuitive process, which means they’re more likely to understand the INTJ and even share their way of thinking. That type of connection makes for some great, meandering, ground breaking conversations based on ideas and mutual learning. And there’s nothing an INTJ loves more than that.
Friendships with NFs
Friendships with NF (Intuitive Feeler) types are a major growth point for the INTJ. These relationship are the ones that challenge them, that introduce them to new ways of thinking and feeling and making choices. INTJs usually find NF’s fascinating. They’re like brightly colored firecrackers, brimming with emotion and life and yet at the same time sharing the INTJs intuitive way of thinking and seeing the world. Being friends with a NF type will teach INTJs how to open up and use their emotions, and their warm way of looking at the world is just what’s needed to get past the INTJ reserve and pickiness.
Friendships with SJs
There are two ways of seeing the world. The first, and the most common, is by using a sensory process such as introverted or extroverted sensing. This function takes in information through the senses and makes decisions based on that information. The second way of seeing the world is through the intuitive functions, introverted or extroverted intuition. This process takes in information and makes patterns and forecasts from it. People who use intuitive functions tend to be abstract thinkers and may even dislike thinking in a concrete fashion. INTJs definitely dislike thinking concretely all the time. It actually drains their energy.
This very strong preference is why INTJs, perhaps more than any other type, find it very difficult to be friends with SJ types. The practical, concrete minds of SJs can be grating to the imaginative, rational mindset of an INTJ, which is why they tend to look for other intuitive types when they’re looking for someone to connect to. This isn’t a hard rule of course, there are many components to friendships outside of personality theories, but generally speaking INTJs do better when they choose to befriend other intuitive types.
Friendships with SPs
For an INTJ, being friends with a SP suffers from the same problems they face with SJs. That lack of intuitive thinking is key to an INTJ, who isn’t as interested in concrete conversations as they are in speculative ones. Without that intuitive connection, most types don’t really understand INTJs and this is a real barrier to the deep friendships that INTJs prefer. A further barrier to a friendship between these types is the spontaneous nature and lack of organization that sometimes comes along with the ‘P’ or Perceiving designation. 2 To an INTJ, who prefers to organize their external world to an extreme degree, this tendency can be annoying and frustrating.
As you can see, the INTJ isn’t the tortured, evil genius of the stereotype. They’re unusual of course, that goes hand in hand with being so rare, but they can and do make great friends to those who take the time to get to know them. Once you make friends with an INTJ, you’ll find someone who considers it their duty and pleasure to devote time and thought to you, your needs, and your friendship. And once they consider you a friend, it will take a lot to make them let go of that bond.
- Thompson Jayne. “The Female INTJ’s Guide to Finding Friends Who Get You“. Jan 12, 2016. (Retrieved on Jan 2018).
- “Sensing or Intuition“. (Retrieved on Jan 2018).
- “Judging or Perceiving“. (Retrieved on Jan 2018).
- “INTJ – The Mastermind“.
- Extroverted thinking is concerned with making things work in the external world. This can be a fairly cold process, as rational data is far more important than emotional data, but it’s also highly effective at setting priorities and determining how the INTJs energy will be spent.
- The ‘P’ designation at the end of the 4 letter description stands for ‘Perceiving’. Generally speaking, people with this designation tend to have a higher tolerance for disorder in the external world as well as a fairly ordered mind, whereas people with the ‘J’ or ‘Judging’ designation are the opposite.