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If you’re an INTP personality type, you’re a highly rational and fiercely independent person. You may feel different from others because your personality type is actually quite rare—INTPs make up only 3 percent of the population (female INTPs are even rarer than males). Like the famous physicist Albert Einstein, who is thought to be an INTP, you’re drawn to the discovery of subjective truths and universal law. It was Einstein who said, “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”

Are you an INTP personality type? Here are 12 signs that you are. (Keep in mind that typology describes general personality characteristics. Your background and experiences make you an individual, so you may not relate to every point but nevertheless be an INTP. Try our quick, free test to learn more about your personality type.)

1. You’re a seeker of truth. You wish to uncover the underlying universal law behind everything you encounter. To you, life is a complex puzzle to be solved. You’re especially fascinated by what motivates others and makes them tick.

2. You take intellectual matters seriously. You devour books, articles, and podcasts on the subjects of philosophy, religion, psychology, evolutionary theory, and anything else that interests you. Isabel Briggs Myers, who helped create the Myers-Briggs personality system, wrote in her book, Gifts Differing, ”INTPs are perhaps the most intellectually profound of all the types.” But the cultivation of knowledge is not all a solemn matter for you—you’re intellectually playful, quirky, and open-minded. You have an almost child-like awe and wonder of the world.

3. You make decisions by asking, “What makes analytical sense?” You value logical thinking more than emotion. For example, you’re more persuaded by an argument that is based on research rather than one that uses emotional or inspirational appeals.

4. But it’s not that you don’t have emotions. It’s just that you place them at a lower priority than rational thought. You’re actually quite genuine and personable when you feel comfortable with others. Sometimes you worry about how others will take something, so you don’t share your true thoughts and observations out of fear of hurting their feelings. You’re flexible and open-minded, so you rarely get angry, but when you do, others should watch out—you can be a powder keg of an explosion.

5. You can quickly locate any logical inconsistencies in a belief system or argument. You’re always noticing when information doesn’t add up. You can easily poke holes in others’ arguments or beliefs. When you express what you see, others may think you’re criticizing them, but to you, it’s not personal because you’re simply trying to get at the truth. You want accurate information yourself, so you figure others do, too.

6. As an introvert, you don’t let everyone in. You may conceal part of your personality—your highly rational and cerebral side—and only a few people are granted full access to your private inner world. You tend to vet others before letting them see the real you. However, once you sense that someone is no real danger, you can develop intimacy at a surprising speed.

7. You’re indifferent to the particulars of everyday life. You don’t care for small talk or discussing the everyday matters of people’s lives. Gossip doesn’t interest you. Sometimes you struggle to connect with others because you have no desire to play social games. Yet when someone gets you talking about a topic that interests you, you can become quite loquacious.

8. You may struggle to find a career that fits. You dislike corporate culture and the organizational life. If you keep your highly cerebral side private, you may feel that others don’t recognize your true competence and knowledge. Many INTPs find satisfying work as freelancers or entrepreneurs because they prefer to work outside the system.

9. You’re so independent that sometimes you wonder if you actually need other people in your life. But you do. Your independent projects only take you so far, and you may eventually realize that you feel empty without a few close connections. You value partners and friends who are intelligent, creative, and open-minded. Ideally, your closest intimates are people who share your specialized interests, so you can co-explore truth together.

10. You like simple living arrangements. You prefer living on less rather than more. You may shy away from serious financial obligations, like buying an expensive home or taking out loans, because you fear these will diminish your sense of freedom.

11. You’re suspicious of conventions and you’re far from traditional. Highly individualized and independent, you’d rather reason out your own way than go with the crowd. In fact, you relish breaking apart conventional ideas that others take for granted. You don’t understand how anyone can hold onto theories or ideology that have been proven illogical.

12. At your best, you change the way reality is perceived. Along with Einstein, the famous philosopher Socrates was probably an INTP. With their ideas, these men have changed the way whole societies see reality, showing that mature INTPs can be powerful thinkers.

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Showing 18 comments
  • Mika Williams
    Reply

    I find this very fascinating, For a long time (12 years) I thought I was an ISTP but just recently I have realized I am an INTP. Whenever someone talked about ISTPs I never connected with it but now it makes MUCH more sense. I still am confused about one thing though… I’m friends with an INFP but even though we are one letter off we seem TOTALLY different. She thinks everything should be supported even if they have no facts, she believes that everything has a purpose, she is really calm, she hides all of her emotions, she loves every personality type. I hate it when people say stuff that isn’t supported by facts, I believe that some people are idiots and make stuff that is stupid, I am always thinking of new things and tight, all of my emotions are slapped on my face, I dislike some ENFPs, INFJs, and some ESTPs. Can someone explain why we’re so different?

  • ELIZABETH
    Reply

    That was really fascinating. I think that I never had the issue you had with feelers. I highly respect feelers (My mother is a brilliant ENFP and I do mean brilliant) . She’s one of the most intelligent people I know. I just feel like an alien even among other INFJ’s. I think I naturally build cognitive distance when discussing topics and I love debate. Like debate on science and important issues is a gladiatorial sport for me especially online. I spend a lot of time in my driver state and I think that Ti blends in with Ni for me in a way that is just not the norm for many other INFJ. I think I mistook Ni for Ti when I was torn between an INTP or INFJ. Also, INFJ’s are rare and it’s common for people to insist that you are mistyped if you typed yourself as an INFJ. I thought maybe I messed up since my experience is just so far from other INFJ’s in a meaningful way.

    I can’t really identify how I make decisions it’s like a really complex process where I take into account a lot of things trying to balance what’s good for me, what’s good for others, and what’s logical. I may actually be using harmony a lot, but I think it’s on an unconscious level for me. I think I will need to work on using harmony on a conscious level. One of the things that stuck with me from the blog post is this description for an INFJ that’s spent a lot of time in academia : ” If coupled with self-discovery, this function may feel like it is the dominant because it gives Ni its voice and allows their previously unconscious mental processes to come to light. If the INFJ engages in intellectual pursuits such as Academia, his/her tertiary function will get the opportunity to flourish and may feel indistinguishable from Ni.” . For me, I believe partially because I had to lean so much on Ni and Ti in the hard sciences Ni and Ti are almost indistinguishable at this point in my life. The key to figuring out that I was in fact an INFJ was looking at how I approached the subjects I was studying. For me, I while I was fascinated with these subjects I continue to see the knowledge I learn as a tool for making the world a better place. I love learning new things for it’s own sake, but most of the time I have a goal in mind when I am learning new things. I think I am both an INFJ and an enneagram 5 and this is how the enneagram 5 manifests for me as an INFJ.

  • ELIZABETH
    Reply

    Hmm I seem to have answered my own question. I think the test is right I am an INFJ, but I’m an enneagram 5w4. I’m also an academic having spent 10 years studying chemistry, mathematics, and then computer science. This means my Ti is highly developed https://psyphics.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/infj-vs-intp/ . I believe I am what they describe as a logical feeler. A good example of this is Noam Chomsky.

    • Charis Branson
      Reply

      Hi Elizabeth! I was an INFJ who identified as an INTP for a long time. Here is a couple of articles I wrote on the subject:

      //personalityhacker.com/harmony-secret-weapon-infj/
      //personalityhacker.com/feelers-dilemma-accepting-feelings/

      It is very common for people to spend so much time in their tertiary function that they can actually demonstrate that function as a dominant strength. In reality, though, if you were actually around someone who had that function as a legit strength, you would notice a difference in the way they wielded it compared to you. As a tertiary, it will never be as strong as someone who has it as a dominant. And for INFJs, it ends up being a bit of a pain point.

      I’m glad you reached your own conclusion on this. In a podcast comparing and contrasting INTPs with INFPs, Antonia made an interesting observation: “INFPs often mistype as INTPs. But INTPs never think they are INFPs.” I think the same may be said of INTPs and INFJs. There are a lot of INFJs who may think they are INTPs, but it rarely (if ever) happens in the reverse.

  • ELIZABETH
    Reply

    This is so accurate it hurts. I tested as an INFJ three times on your test, but all of these are spot on. Do you think it would be possible for a female INTP with highly developed Fe to mistype as an INFJ. I am very logical, but I’m also very compassionate and empathic towards people and humanity as a whole. The common denominator on every personality test I have ever taken is the value for Ti is through the roof. I wander if Fe/Ti/Ne can mimic the effect of Ni/Fe which might explain how I tested as INFJ. Though the arguments that are the most powerful are the ones based on research and logic as well as including a heavy dose of ethics or emotion for me. Ethics matter to me.

  • Sheila
    Reply

    Is it possible that many of these characteristics fit also for INFJs (maybe aside from especially 3 & 9)?

  • Carlo
    Reply

    So true. Also you tend to value facts over feelings. And you are easily distracted when doing mundane tasks, but laser sharp focus when engaging in something that interest you or you find intellectually challenging

  • Fleur
    Reply

    I find that traits 2 and 6-11 also fit the INTJ personality type. I thought INTJs ans INTPs were completely different but it turns out maybe they aren’t.

    • Antonia Dodge
      Reply

      Both types use very different cognitive functions, but the results are often similar. Same emergent, different system.

      -A-

  • Kimberly Koonce
    Reply

    That’s me to a ‘T’.

  • Kim
    Reply

    That is me.

  • Shasta
    Reply

    Hmmm. Don’t think so. I’m not rational or logical.

    • Antonia Dodge
      Reply

      As those are the core characteristics of the type, if you’re neither rational or logical then either you’re in a really bad space and should probably make some serious changes in your life, or you’re not an INTP.

      The former is something that is a major red flag, the latter is totally fine and an easy mistake to make. For example, I find many INFPs identify with INTP when they’re still parsing out the differences between Introverted Feeling and Introverted Thinking.

      -A-

    • Nemesis
      Reply

      Your comment is gold. 9 out of 10 people around me bore me to no end. Their meaningless silly chit chats, their silly social games and protocols and the way they judge everyone and always seem to misunderstand people they don’t ‘get’ is so boring and annoying.

  • Eric Westfall
    Reply

    13. Most people bore you. You find the average person has interests far from your’s, and an approach to those interests that is equally different. On the flip side, a very few people absolutely fascinate you, and you tend to bring your childlike wonder and play with them.

    It’s related to #7, but somewhat different.

  • Angela
    Reply

    Brilliant! Keep ’em coming..

    -rare female intp

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