When you and your friend are having an argument, you are likely to go to an INTP for advice. Why? They are probably the most logical person that you know. Your INTP friend can help both of you see “the other side” and come up with a compromise that makes both parties happy in the long term. Your INTP friend is also the person holding you and your friends back from making some pretty stupid decisions.
We all need an INTP friend in our life. Not sure if you are an INTP, and ENTJ, or another combination of these crazy letters that we call Meyers-Briggs Personality Types? Don’t worry. This series breaks down all of the personality types, the strengths and weaknesses of each one, and basic stats that may blow your mind.
Not sure if you're an INTP? Learn more about the Myers Briggs Test to find out!
What Does INTP Stand For?
Before we start, let’s get a basic understanding of what makes an INTP an INTP. What are all these letters for, anyway? INTP stands for introvert, intuition, thinking, and perception. When you combine all of these tendencies, you get “The Logician.”
I is for introvert (as opposed to extrovert.) An introvert is more likely to be focused on their internal thoughts and feelings, rather than outside stimulation. Introverts are not necessarily shy, but they do gain more energy from reflecting on their own feelings than by surrounding themselves with other people and external stimulants.
N is for intuition (as opposed to sensing.) This indicates that a person makes judgments based on their intuition instead of the sensory information that is presented in front of them. They are more likely to rely on the impression they get from something than more “literal” data. Think of it as preferring the abstract to the concrete.
T is for thinking (as opposed to feeling.) People who lean toward thinking over feeling draw conclusions from the head rather than the heart. They are more likely to make a judgement based on thoughts, perceptions, and analysis instead of where their emotions are leading them.
Finally, P is for perception (as opposed to judgment.) Although “judgers” tend to enjoy structure, people with perception in their personality type are likely to keep their options open. They logically see all of the possibilities in front of them, and know that there is always more to learn about a situation. This is one of the reasons why an INTP keeps an open mind. They know, logically, when another person may have a different perspective or that there is always another way to look at a problem.
It’s hard to lose a proper argument with an INTP. They naturally see the world through a logical lens. They aren’t going to step away from logic just because they feel a certain way or because they want a certain outcome. INTPs are so logical and rational that many “emotional” types can get frustrated with them. In the end, they’re usually right.
Functions of INTP Personality Type
The dominant or primary function of INTP types is Introverted Thinking (Ti.) Introverted thinking is based on logic but applied to individual situations or subjects. Instead of looking at the bigger picture, an INTF will use this logic and reasoning in their own lives. This leads to a stronger sense of self-control and discipline, helping them achieve their personal goals. An INTP isn’t going to be the type to buy a planner and never use it. They will only buy it if it makes sense to buy a planner; when they do make the purchase, they will use it.
Every personality type performs other functions that shape, but not necessarily define, who they are. The auxiliary function of INTP types is Extraverted Intuition (Ne.) INTP personalities are very open-minded, as their Extraverted Intuition has them constantly willing to learn from their own experiences and insight from those around them. They seek answers from their inner world to help them understand the bigger picture but rarely reach a firm conclusion. INTPs are great resources for self-help authors and programs. They know them all, and are more likely to use a self-help author’s advice!
The tertiary function of INTP types is Introverted Sensing (Si.) INTP types possess a certain restlessness, and their introverted sensing allows them to find relaxation by connecting with their physical body. Their physical surroundings are less important to them, and they benefit from activities that promote physical self-awareness (yoga, meditation, etc.) Namaste!
Finally, the inferior function of INTP types is Extraverted Feeling (Fe.) While INTPs can be very introverted, they will open up around people that make them feel comfortable and understood. However, they would rather look towards logic and reasoning over emotions in the face of conflict, making it harder for them to get close with others. Don’t be offended if your fellow INTP doesn’t invite you to join their morning run, or turns down the office happy hour in order to go home and feed their dog.
Examples of Real-Life INTPs
In one of Kathy Griffin’s book, she tells a story about Tina Fey that is a classic example of what makes her an INTP. Griffin was at a “typical Hollywood party.” She thought it would be funny to go around to everyone and greet them by saying “congratulations.” Pretty much everyone in the room said, “thank you,” making assumptions of what Griffin was congratulating them for. She noted that Tina Fey was the only person to respond to Griffin’s “congratulations” by saying, “for what?”
Other famous INTPs include
- Albert Einstein
- Abraham Lincoln
- Sigourney Weaver
- Thomas Jefferson
- Jane Austen
- Dwight D. Eisenhower
- Google co founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin
- Meryl Streep
INTPs are not limited to one job. Their strengths and functions give them the ability to thrive in any position they choose, whether it is more creative or scientific. INTPs make great architects, engineers, and writers. No matter what they choose to do, however, they make sure to approach each task with logic.
INTP Strengths and Weaknesses
How would you describe an INTP? Well, you’d start by saying that they are very logical thinkers. But logic isn’t the only trait that an INTP can claim. INTPs are likely to be described as:
- Fast thinkers
- Highly analytical
All of these strengths are what make someone like Tina Fey excel in comedy. She’s quick on her feet, allowing her to shine in an improv scene. Her imagination runs wild, but the choices she makes in writing and acting are still relatable and logical for the context of the scene and the audience watching.
INTP politicians also excel. You want a political leader to see issues objectively. Someone who brings emotion into their decisions doesn’t always make the best decisions. INTPs in the STEM field, especially pioneers in the STEM field, also rely on their strengths to become very successful.
But no personality type is perfect. Here are common “weaknesses” that may be used to describe INTPs:
- Uncertainty, fear of failing
- Condescending and critical
Logical, disciplined thinkers aren’t the people you want to choose to sneak into a bar or deal with a rowdy group of people. This is why it’s so important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of all personality types. INTPs may be a great person to have on your brainstorming team when a problem arises, but they aren’t the best person to “break the news” to people who the problem is affecting.
Working With INTPs
INTPs approach romantic relationships seriously and very straight-forward. They also appreciate romantic relationships that allow them to have space to explore their own thoughts. It’s challenging to build a good friendship with INTPs, as they see these relationships as a nuisance. However, when they do form friendships, they are likely to last.
Don’t expect an INTP to cross boundaries at work or let a person cry over something silly. They’re not great at that. Their logic, ability to organize, and objectivity don’t make them the cuddliest teddy bear of a pal, but they do thrive if they are given a task to complete at work or at home.
Basic Stats About INTPs
INTPs are a pretty rare group of people. They only make up a little over 3% of the general population! Men are twice as likely to be INTPs as women.
Want to connect with your fellow INTPs? Reddit has an entire subreddit dedicated to INTPs!
INTP-A vs. INTP-T
I just told you a lot about INTPs, but before we wrap things up, did you know that INTPs can be in one of two groups? In recent years, another letter was added to each of the 16 personality types, further defining the types of people we work with, live with, and love. Let’s break down how assertive and turbulent types contribute to INTPs.
Assertive INTPs, or INTP-A, have a sense of confidence that will not waver from the influence of outside factors, and prefer to keep their goals on track with the original plan. Assertive Logicians don’t let other people drive their opinions, which can cause them to create distance with people in their lives and relationships.
On the other hand, Turbulent INTPs (INTP-T) allow opinions & approval to guide their ideas, to gain approval from others around them. This makes INTP-Ts more flexible problem solvers, but their dependence on outside approval may hold them back from progress if they find themselves waiting for others to reveal their opinion.