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  1. #1
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    Default What the hell is an INTJ?

    Okay, I've been here for a little while now, and this question has been bothering me for a long time. And that question is exactly what it says on the tin -- erm, thread title.

    There are a lot of INTJs on MBTIc. Or, at least, there are a lot of people who claim to be INTJ. Now, if we go on the premise that there are not very many INTJs, one would assume that there are just a disproportionate number of INTJs who are interested in MBTI -- which may be true. Along with that, though, are a lot of theories that many people typed INTJ are not INTJs but rather another type, and there are lots of plausible, valid reasons for this mistyping. Some of the types that are likely to be mistyped as INTJs are apparently:

    INTP
    INFP
    INFJ
    ISTP
    ISFP
    ISTJ

    So, if somebody claims to be an INTJ, they may actually be one of seven different types -- and this list includes all of the intuitive introverts, half of the artisans, and even one guardian, which according to some theory is supposed to be opposite of rationals.

    And it doesn't help that this forum is riddled with anecdotal evidence, which potentially confuses the issue even more, because INTJs are apparently so damned hard to identify. Of course there are websites on theory, but even those have their fair share of anecdotal evidence and conflicting information.

    Typology is a completely invented system, I know, so asking this question is likely asking for trouble, because on top of anecdotal evidence I'll receive I'll get a lot of replies asking 'why do you care?' and saying it's not important and not even possible to differentiate because of all the confirmation bias and other things that could easily rip application of theory to pieces.

    But I'm young and naïve so I'm going to ask anyway. What the hell is an INTJ, and what makes an INTJ not these other six types?
    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge
    Likes Ozzy liked this post

  2. #2
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    This is a good question, Haphazard. It could easily be asked about any of the other types as well, and you would not get a satisfactory answer about any of them.

    There's always an argument someone can make to show that they are their particular type. Here are some of the most common ones:

    1. Partial or total shadow manifestation -- The person can claim that stress caused them to develop and rely on functions they wouldn't naturally use, and thus changed their appearance from the default type template.

    2. Auxiliary repression/tertiary development -- Especially useful for people who are only one letter off from their desired type in testing. The person can claim that they are an example of a type that didn't get sufficient stimulation for their normal auxiliary, and developed a strong tertiary instead. So that an INTJ would seem more Ni-Fi, an INTP would seem more Ti-Si, etc.

    3. Social/family conditioning -- This is used to claim that a person's upbringing impacted their expressed type, and that if this had not happened, they would have manifested their natural type.

    The problem with MBTI is that, quite simply, too much is left up to individual interpretation, and the qualities typically assigned to types are somewhat subjective and dependent on where they seem to be relative to the observer's own predisposition. There are so many loopholes.

    IMO, this stems from MBTI not clearly defining what a type is supposed to be. Is it the manifest qualities seen within a person's personality according to a set standard or defined quality, or is it some innate quality that can have a distorted expression? Is it the observable qualities, or an unconscious tendency that cannot be so clearly defined?

    If it's an observable quality, all three of those arguments disappear, because all that matters is how they conduct themselves right now, not how they think they are inside or could have been.

    If it's indeed an unconscious tendency rather than an observable trait, the tests used and the qualities typically defined are inadequate for quantifying something so ineffable.

    If it's somehow a combination of unconscious tendencies and observable traits, it's far more complex. The tests are still inadequate, but now you have to figure out subtle systems for determining what every single expressed trait means in that particular context. This seems like it would be near impossible, and would have low potential for accuracy at best.

  3. #3
    Content. Content? DigitalMethod's Avatar
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    Of course INTJs are more likely to enjoy MBTI. Hell, look at the commune, the SJs and SPs have about a total of 5,000 posts. Now look at the NTs and NFs, 21,000 for the NFs and almost 29,000 for NTs. It is definitely a more of intuitive thing. And I think that MBTIc reflects that.

    Personally, I come here because I meet other people like me, I rarely meet others similar to myself in real life. Even though I have to admit that is probably because I am not as outgoing as most people.

    People give good advice here.

    I dunno, I never thought it odd or strange that a lot of INTJs seem to be floating around. Just more of the type to participate in forums like these.

    What makes an INTJ, I would say, is that the general description of the INTJ type fits the person more so than the other MBTI types. However, I think in the end only the person in question is responsible.
    "The life of the individual has meaning only insofar as it aids in making the life of every living thing nobler and more beautiful."
    - Albert Einstein

  4. #4
    Junior Member ssrprotege's Avatar
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    MBTI is a system; probably it is the biggest reason why it is so appealing to NT's, who love dealing with systems and finding how it can be improved.

    There will be a lot of difficulties in determining a true type, possibly for some biases of the test, and (as Athenian said) environment.

    Despite these, I don't necessarily believe that how one's psyche works will change. I may develop repressed cognitive functions because of environment, but I usually use those undesired functions to defend my psyche. If one thinks how they use cognitive functions, the type will become clearer. My both parents are sensors, one almost in the border, another a strong one. If I use preferred Ni, they dismiss my comments nonsensical. Because my parents emphasized the importance of taking advantage of my past experiences, I was encouraged to use Si. My tendency to answer the 'implication' of a question was moderated as well. When I take a CP test, I get average or good use for Si. However, that didn't "convert" me into an ISTJ from an INTJ. No matter how my family indirectly forced me to use Si than Ni (or Ne), I always score high in Ni and Ne than Si.

    I acknowledge shadow manifestations are another good possibilities, yet I have some reservation on this. Furthermore, the CP's they use are generally primitive - they help one recognize their shadows, not necessarily their types. It will be clear that if they read the type descriptions, they will realize it is not true. Also, not everyone is stressed out, like all the time.

    These are some reservations I have. Good post, though, Athenian200.

    -------------

    (Digression here)

    Psychological theories have their own limitations, so the most important thing is to how to take advantage of them in an effective way. Don't just use MBTI as a reference point; use other typological theories, such as Enneagram and socionics. If you increase a number of conceptual viewpoints, you will get a better picture of your psyche.

  5. #5
    Senior Member htb's Avatar
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    Try building your understanding empirically, operating on the assumption that one or more members psychologically and behaviorally reflect what INTJs, theoretically, are.

    I submit Wolf to most closely match the archetype, accounting for what appears to be a mutual overlap between INTJ and ISTJ. Use his posts on this forum as a primary/secondary source.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Cality's Avatar
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    You seem to be quite sensitive for an INTJ, haphazard, aren't you?!

  7. #7
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cality View Post
    You seem to be quite sensitive for an INTJ, haphazard, aren't you?!
    What does this have to do with sensitivity?
    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

  8. #8
    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haphazard View Post
    What does this have to do with sensitivity?
    Very little... with the exception that it's either tertiary Fi or you've been mistyped. Sensitivity by itself tells you nothing.

    Athenian: Excellent post...

    MBTI is about "best fit" type... You can't expect one INTJ to be exactly the same as another. I have no answers for you hazard... only that this is something you have to determine yourself.

  9. #9
    Senior Member FallsPioneer's Avatar
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    Similar to you, I had an existential crisis about what an INTJ is or what they are supposed to be, and it led me to create this one topic about how INTJ's usually behave because I couldn't understand the mass amount of inconsistencies between INTJs. I saw things in profiles that weren't clicking with me, and it wasn't doing much to quiet my own insecurities and search for an identity. I was totally distraught. However, I also saw myself trying to become an INTJ...so I was doing myself in.

    I began to understand my type as this: a set of preferences for certain behaviors. The keyword there is preferences. People are bound to exhibit all sorts of behaviors common to other types throughout the days. It's the nature of being human-having the capacity for all sorts of behaviors and emotions and talents, whatever our natural inclinations may be. I figure INTJs are more fussy about being INTJs and what they're supposed to be because we're anxious and think about stuff like our identity in relation to a system. =\

    Have you ever watched the Pirates of the Caribbean movies? Think of MBTI like the Pirate code. It's not a set of rules...it's more like a bunch of guidelines...or in essence, a rough sketch of different kinds of people.

    Remember: there's no such thing as a human-shaped box.

    (minus coffins. Oh yeah, I'm a pretty sensitive INTJ too.)
    Still using a needle to break apart a grain of sand.

  10. #10
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    The problem with MBTI is that, quite simply, too much is left up to individual interpretation, and the qualities typically assigned to types are somewhat subjective and dependent on where they seem to be relative to the observer's own predisposition. There are so many loopholes.

    IMO, this stems from MBTI not clearly defining what a type is supposed to be. Is it the manifest qualities seen within a person's personality according to a set standard or defined quality, or is it some innate quality that can have a distorted expression? Is it the observable qualities, or an unconscious tendency that cannot be so clearly defined?

    If it's an observable quality, all three of those arguments disappear, because all that matters is how they conduct themselves right now, not how they think they are inside or could have been.

    If it's indeed an unconscious tendency rather than an observable trait, the tests used and the qualities typically defined are inadequate for quantifying something so ineffable.

    If it's somehow a combination of unconscious tendencies and observable traits, it's far more complex. The tests are still inadequate, but now you have to figure out subtle systems for determining what every single expressed trait means in that particular context. This seems like it would be near impossible, and would have low potential for accuracy at best.
    What is a political party? All the members are supposed to have the same philosophy right? Well they still argue and debate and disagree. Has there ever been any grouping of people where they all agreed and it didn't seem distinctly inhuman?

    All a type is supposed to be is a rough guide to how people act, think and reason. It's not supposed to be exhaustive or precise. It does help though to understand that some people are ENFPs and others are INTJs not so you can regurgitate the title or any of the preferences but so that you know where you can be blunt, where you need to be sensitive, whether to take that last point made as a personal insult or just a brutally delivered "hint".

    If language is only 20% of communication then how complex is communication and why can it not be all encapsulated precisely into words without making a book about it (ie too unwieldly to refer to as a guide whilst navigating other issues)?
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

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