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  1. #1
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    Default INTP vs. ISFJ-- the big showdown

    This is an offshoot off my typing thread

    Since suggestions have been made for both INTP and ISFJ with a couple admitting that it was narrowed down to those two types, I thought I'd elaborate in more detail what fits and doesn't fit with these two types.


    First, the INTP description from Personality Page

    I'm not going to paste the entire description here so as to shorten the post but I will say that about 85-90% of the description fits me to a T (pun intended). I'm going to elaborate on just the parts I'm less sure about or don't quite fit here:

    *The INTP has no understanding or value for decisions made on the basis of personal subjectivity or feelings.
    --> I don't relate to this. Feelings are definitely important and weigh into my decisions. I think in general I tend to decide on logic more but there's no denying feelings here.

    *INTPs are usually not in-tune with how people are feeling, and are not naturally well equipped to meet the emotional needs of others.
    --> Partially agree/disagree. I think this was more true when I was younger. I'm not always entirely confident of my ability to correctly interpret body language and wondering if I'm missing some important clues. If the body language is made obvious though and if they explicitly tell me how they're feeling, I'm receptive to it. I'm capable of meeting others' emotional needs but would prefer not too. I don't feel confident in such situations, worry about my ability to effectively calm stressed people down or cheer sad people up. I would rather leave these sorts of things to someone else.

    *The INTP may have a problem with self-aggrandizement and social rebellion.
    --> Not true of me. If anything, I'm overly humble and selling myself short. Socially I'm not openly rebellious. I appear pretty conventional to most people, probably because a) I want to keep my job b) I desire harmonious relations with others, and C) I don't want to draw too much attention to myself.
    There are some social conventions that I rebel more silently against.

    *Exhibits weakness in performing maintenance-type tasks, such as bill-paying and dressing appropriately.
    --> Again not true. I'm actually quite good at maintenance type tasks. I keep a clean apartment for example. I pay all my bills on time and in full. The dressing part was an issue when I was younger. I used to have terrible fashion sense- I'd dress sloppily with things wrinkled and mismatched and didn't care one bit. I'm not like that anymore. I'm by no means trendy and fashion isn't a high priority but I take care to look presentable and appropriate.

    *INTP is not naturally likely to tailor the truth so as to explain it in an understandable way to others.
    --> Generally not true. This may have been more of a problem when I was younger. As I got older, I learned that some people are not as mentally quick or that my ideas are rather complex and I need to look for ways to simplify my explanations. I care about having my ideas understood properly by others.

    *They are not likely to place much value on traditional goals such as popularity or security.
    --> I care somewhat more about popularity as some of my more recent threads indicate. However, I'm not into having friends for the sake of having friends. Quality is definitely more important than quantity. Still I don't wish to be ignored and I like having my presence acknowledged. I also care a great deal about security in all its various forms: physical, emotional, and financial and work hard towards achieving greater security in my life.

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  2. #2
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    And now the ISFJ Personality Page description.

    Overall the description was about 75-80% fitting. A little less than INTP but fitting enough that I cannot disregard ISFJ as a possible type.

    To save space, I'll just elaborate the parts I'm less sure about or don't fit:

    *Respects traditions and laws. They tend to believe that existing systems are there because they work. Therefore, they're not likely to buy into doing things in a new way, unless they're shown in a concrete way why its better than the established method.
    --> Its true that I am generally respectful of most traditions and laws. However, I'm not interested in tradition for its own sake unless its got some real sentimental value to me. I'm quick to discard methods that don't work and seek to improve and change things far more than an average ISFJ would, I think. At work, I seem more receptive to changes than alot of my colleagues. For example, if we get new computer software, other colleagues will talk about how they hate the change whereas I'm willing to accept a somewhat steep learning curve if I can see the exciting possibilities it will bring. Sometimes I'm even naively enthusiastic about some new changes. Others, not so much. I don't like every change that takes place but overall, I think I tolerate change better than most ISFJs I know. On the other hand, change for the sake of change doesn't appeal to me much either. I'm most likely to want change not out of boredom but more the case of seeing that something is not currently working and seeing ways to improve it.

    *ISFJs learn best by doing, rather than by reading about something in a book, or applying theory. For this reason, they are not likely to be found in fields which require a lot of conceptual analysis or theory.
    --> Somewhat true/false. Alot depends on what I'm learning and the context. If its a practical skill that's more physical in nature, I will need to have the opportunity to physically go through the motions to insure that I understand it properly. With other things, I'm just happy to read about it and theorize it without any practical application .

    *The ISFJ has an extremely well-developed sense of space, function, and aesthetic appeal. For that reason, they're likely to have beautifully furnished, functional homes. They make extremely good interior decorators. This special ability, combined with their sensitivity to other's feelings and desires, makes them very likely to be great gift-givers - finding the right gift which will be truly appreciated by the recipient.
    --> Again somewhat true/false. I think my aestetic sense is pretty average. I have the potential to develop good aestetic sense, I think. My family seems to think I have a good sense of what looks good together. It's never been a top priority of mine though. I hate giving gifts. Largely because I very much want the recipient to like what I gave them but yet I feel like I don't know enough about the recipient to really make a good decision. So sometimes I resort to 'safe' things like a gift certificate to a store I know they frequent.

    *Extremely aware of their own internal feelings, as well as other people's feelings.
    --> I'm extremely aware of my own internal feeling but I'm not so sure about others' feelings. Sometimes I miss certain body language cues. If the body language is obvious and the person explicitly states their feelings, I will be sensitive and receptive to the other. I will say I often have an insecurity revolving around others' feelings. For example: Are they *truly* satisfied or are they just saying that?

    *The ISFJ has a difficult time saying "no" when asked to do something, and may become over-burdened. In such cases, the ISFJ does not usually express their difficulties to others, because they intensely dislike conflict, and because they tend to place other people's needs over their own. The ISFJ needs to learn to identify, value, and express their own needs, if they wish to avoid becoming over-worked and taken for granted.
    --> Partially true/false. I have an easier time at it than some ISFJs I know. I try to be careful not to get overly involved with others as I don't like being overburdened and I like to have a lot of "me" time. On the other hand, if I don't think there is anyone else that's available to help or no one with the right skill set except for me, it can be hard to say no. I don't like to leave people helplessly 'hanging' and if I say no, I feel like I have to bear some of the responsibility for the person's problems. I know at work, I've actually been told by my boss a few times that I shouldn't be afraid to draw clearer boundaries and just flat out say "no". I work in the library and help alot of customers with using the library computers. I'm one of the more computer savvy ones and there have been times where I've been the only one on duty who knew how to do a certain thing. The problem is sometimes the customers requests are complicated and take a long time to fulfill but I tried to help them anyway rather than declining their request or suggesting they come in at a later time because they just seemed so insistent and what they were doing just seemed so important to them and there was no one else they could ask. Sometimes they were doing things considered "urgent" like applying for a job under a tight deadline.
    INtp
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  3. #3
    Honor Thy Inferior Such Irony's Avatar
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    Here's another thing I want to mention. I really *don't* want to be an ISFJ. I'd much rather be an INTP. However if I had the ultimate power to choose, I'd go with ENTJ or ENTP. I don't know if that's suggestive of type. Just because you prefer something doesn't mean you are that.

    I hope I'm not offending any ISFJs here, but I read the ISFJ descriptions and they seem so boring, like all these people do is blindly accept and follow rules and serve others without having much of a life of their own because they are spending all their time serving others. Who wants to live a life like that? Okay, I know that's being rather judgemental. I know a couple ISFJs like that but they are probably not the most psychologically healthy. I'm sure there are ISFJs who are not doormats, who have enough independence of mind to question traditions and the ways things are done. There is a lot of variation in a given type.

    I think partly why the ISFJ descriptions hold far less appeal than the INTP or other NT ones is because ISFJ is such a common type. According to the MBTI form M data, 1 in 5 females is an ISFJ and around 13% of the general population. If it sounds rather generic its because it could apply to a huge number of people. The INTP description feels more 'special' somehow, probably because it is a rarer type. Also, the way the ISFJ descriptions are worded make them sound like boring, bland people. They are probably not written by ISFJs but rather someone's conception of an ISFJ.

    Maybe this points away from me being ISFJ; maybe it doesn't. I wonder how ISFJs view the ISFJ description. I know some who are quite happy being ISFJ.

    ISFJ just doesn't seem like the time to make history and just blend in. If I'm ISFJ, I'm an atypical one because I don't want to just blend in unnoticed. I want to stand out more (in a good way of course). I remember reading Neidnagel's Brain Types book and I don't think there were any exemplars of famous ISFJs. ENTPs on the other hand had a huge list.

    Here's another thing. I use alot of Ne- at least I think I do. Correct me if I'm wrong. I feel too Ne to be ISFJ- it's their inferior function after all. I do though, relate somewhat to the description of inferior Ne in ISFJs- catastrophizing and imaging horrible possibilities. Overall though, my demons are more in the Fe arena than the Ne arena.
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  4. #4
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    Originally posted by SuchIrony
    I hope I'm not offending any ISFJs here, but I read the ISFJ descriptions and they seem so boring, like all these people do is blindly accept and follow rules and serve others without having much of a life of their own because they are spending all their time serving others. Who wants to live a life like that? Okay, I know that's being rather judgemental. I know a couple ISFJs like that but they are probably not the most psychologically healthy. I'm sure there are ISFJs who are not doormats, who have enough independence of mind to question traditions and the ways things are done. There is a lot of variation in a given type.
    Very true. ISFJ are no more doormats than INTP's are robots. Fe is not about conforming blindly to the will of others nor is Si about follwing all rules and traditions without question. Personally I never really did like any of the descriptions all that much.

    Anyway in that regard I think that function wise, your probably an INTP with a very well developed Si and Fe, which may be why you sometimes seem to be ISFJ.

  5. #5
    Senior Member INTP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuchIrony View Post
    Here's another thing I want to mention. I really *don't* want to be an ISFJ. I'd much rather be an INTP. However if I had the ultimate power to choose, I'd go with ENTJ or ENTP. I don't know if that's suggestive of type. Just because you prefer something doesn't mean you are that.

    I hope I'm not offending any ISFJs here, but I read the ISFJ descriptions and they seem so boring, like all these people do is blindly accept and follow rules and serve others without having much of a life of their own because they are spending all their time serving others. Who wants to live a life like that? Okay, I know that's being rather judgemental. I know a couple ISFJs like that but they are probably not the most psychologically healthy. I'm sure there are ISFJs who are not doormats, who have enough independence of mind to question traditions and the ways things are done. There is a lot of variation in a given type.

    I think partly why the ISFJ descriptions hold far less appeal than the INTP or other NT ones is because ISFJ is such a common type. According to the MBTI form M data, 1 in 5 females is an ISFJ and around 13% of the general population. If it sounds rather generic its because it could apply to a huge number of people. The INTP description feels more 'special' somehow, probably because it is a rarer type. Also, the way the ISFJ descriptions are worded make them sound like boring, bland people. They are probably not written by ISFJs but rather someone's conception of an ISFJ.

    Maybe this points away from me being ISFJ; maybe it doesn't. I wonder how ISFJs view the ISFJ description. I know some who are quite happy being ISFJ.

    ISFJ just doesn't seem like the time to make history and just blend in. If I'm ISFJ, I'm an atypical one because I don't want to just blend in unnoticed. I want to stand out more (in a good way of course). I remember reading Neidnagel's Brain Types book and I don't think there were any exemplars of famous ISFJs. ENTPs on the other hand had a huge list.

    Here's another thing. I use alot of Ne- at least I think I do. Correct me if I'm wrong. I feel too Ne to be ISFJ- it's their inferior function after all. I do though, relate somewhat to the description of inferior Ne in ISFJs- catastrophizing and imaging horrible possibilities. Overall though, my demons are more in the Fe arena than the Ne arena.
    too much text in this topic to read all, but what you said here about not wanting to be ISFJ because of its description, personally i dont understand why the heck are you talking about this. what you want to be has nothing to do with what you are and some profile doesent define you.. this makes you seem more Fe than Ti

    i get that you are most likely thinking this kind of like that you might want to be what you truly are. you should consider that if you are ISFJ, you might want to be INTP because INTP has strength in what you have weakness in.

    how do you know that you use Ne that much? its the EP function for ISFJ, so when you use external perception you use Ne. but how can you be sure that you use Ne alot? it could be easy to get Fe Si mistaken for Ne. because N comes from unconscious, so its hard to see where did the connection between some external things came from, now when you use dom Si and this connection between some external things came from past experiences, you use the dom Si so fluidly, that it kinda like just pops in your mind without having to think about it, just like Ne popping out from the unconscious without having to think about the connections all that much. then there is this basic human psychological factor where people cant really see their own psyche all that well.

    edit.
    one example of this Ne Si thing would be when i was making tea in kitchen and there was this documentary coming from tv and i just got this feeling that it would end pretty soon. i didnt see it from the beginning, so i couldnt know that it would end because it had been going on for so long that it would end soon. when i got back from kitchen the program lasted about minute or two and ended. i started analyzing this thing how i knew that it would end and came to conclusion that it was because how the program changed from the story teller(or what ever its called) to different scientists speaking. but i havent payed any attention to this kind of thing before, so i didnt have a clear(that i could recognize consciously) structure of this sort of thing.
    Im not sure how much Ne or Si i was using on this, its pretty much impossible to say. but understanding the system a bit and knowing my function strengths(Ne around 40 and Si around 25-30), its fair to say that i was using more Ne than Si.
    i think Si dom would have clearer understanding on why the program is going to end, without having to analyze/trying to figure out it later. this Ne Si thing is basically seeing the connections from outer world and comparing it to the storage room in inner world. Si dom would have better access to this storage room, but weaker understanding of new connections. but this sort of example that i used could be figured out by both dom Ne and dom Si, so analyzing this sort of things could give you more understanding on if you are INTP or ISFJ
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  6. #6
    Honor Thy Inferior Such Irony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by INTP View Post
    too much text in this topic to read all, but what you said here about not wanting to be ISFJ because of its description, personally i dont understand why the heck are you talking about this. what you want to be has nothing to do with what you are and some profile doesent define you.. this makes you seem more Fe than Ti

    i get that you are most likely thinking this kind of like that you might want to be what you truly are. you should consider that if you are ISFJ, you might want to be INTP because INTP has strength in what you have weakness in.
    I have alot of the INTP strengths in addition to the ISFJ ones, making it confusing.

    Not wanting to be a certain type, I agree doesn't sound very Ti like. It's like I get these strong feelings and impressions associated with different types that can be hard to shake.

    I was thinking it could also be an Fi thing. I'm quite sure now that I'm not an Fi type but Fi has its own internal set of values and I could see them 'valuing' one type over another.

    Quote Originally Posted by INTP View Post
    how do you know that you use Ne that much? its the EP function for ISFJ, so when you use external perception you use Ne. but how can you be sure that you use Ne alot?
    I think alot about different possibilities, make lots of connections and inferences. Like- it could be this, this, or this without definitively settling on just one.


    Quote Originally Posted by INTP View Post

    edit.
    one example of this Ne Si thing would be when i was making tea in kitchen and there was this documentary coming from tv and i just got this feeling that it would end pretty soon. i didnt see it from the beginning, so i couldnt know that it would end because it had been going on for so long that it would end soon. when i got back from kitchen the program lasted about minute or two and ended. i started analyzing this thing how i knew that it would end and came to conclusion that it was because how the program changed from the story teller(or what ever its called) to different scientists speaking. but i havent payed any attention to this kind of thing before, so i didnt have a clear(that i could recognize consciously) structure of this sort of thing.
    Im not sure how much Ne or Si i was using on this, its pretty much impossible to say. but understanding the system a bit and knowing my function strengths(Ne around 40 and Si around 25-30), its fair to say that i was using more Ne than Si.
    i think Si dom would have clearer understanding on why the program is going to end, without having to analyze/trying to figure out it later. this Ne Si thing is basically seeing the connections from outer world and comparing it to the storage room in inner world. Si dom would have better access to this storage room, but weaker understanding of new connections. but this sort of example that i used could be figured out by both dom Ne and dom Si, so analyzing this sort of things could give you more understanding on if you are INTP or ISFJ
    Interesting example. I do what you're describing as well. I don't think I'd spend a whole of time on thinking why the program was going to end but if I really thought about I could give you reasons.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member INTP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuchIrony View Post
    I have alot of the INTP strengths in addition to the ISFJ ones, making it confusing.

    Not wanting to be a certain type, I agree doesn't sound very Ti like. It's like I get these strong feelings and impressions associated with different types that can be hard to shake.

    I was thinking it could also be an Fi thing. I'm quite sure now that I'm not an Fi type but Fi has its own internal set of values and I could see them 'valuing' one type over another.



    I think alot about different possibilities, make lots of connections and inferences. Like- it could be this, this, or this without definitively settling on just one.




    Interesting example. I do what you're describing as well. I don't think I'd spend a whole of time on thinking why the program was going to end but if I really thought about I could give you reasons.
    ofc you got INTP strengths if you got good Ti and Ne.

    but you know not all connection makings are from Ne, Ne makes the connection unconsciously. like when i just knew that the program will end soon, it was my unconscious that made the connection between the things that led me thinking that the program will end soon. because the connections were made unconsciously, i only had the feeling that the program will end without knowing why. naturally i can go back and analyze where did this come from etc and even understand it fully, but its because of Ne that makes me need to go back. people who make connections without Ne, using Ti for example would see why these things are connected, because they would reason the connections consciously before coming into conclusion that 'ah here is the connection between these'. so not all connection making comes from Ne, Ne is just unconscious connecting, while other connection makings need more or less conscious efforts.

    the deal with that program ending thing, is that i didnt have to think about if it will end or not, i just suddenly got this feeling that its going to end soon, so i hurried with tea brewing, just in case.

    its pretty much impossible for me to say if you are an ISFJ or INTP, you just need to figure it out by yourself. have you looked into roles of the functions and thought how the roles fit to you? also have you made some tests about functions strengths?
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  8. #8
    Certified Sausage Smoker Elfboy's Avatar
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    I'm still feeling an INFJ vibe. do you have any cognitive function tests results?

  9. #9
    Honor Thy Inferior Such Irony's Avatar
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    I've taken the test a few times now and typically, I average the following scores on each function:

    Ne: 40
    Ti, Si, Fi: 35
    Te: 30
    Ni: 25
    Se: 20
    Fe: 15

    I would expect the Ni and Fe to be a lot higher if I was actually an INFJ.

    I don't think some of the questions for Ni and Fe are very good. Especially the Fe ones. I could strong introverts not relating to some of those even if they have good access to Fe.

    I'll try to write more about this later.
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  10. #10
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    Have you been to INTP Central? Spend a week or two posting there, and you should have a better idea of whether you are INTP. It's like being steeped in INTPness, and you'll either relate (at least somewhat) or know for sure that you can't relate.

    Another thought. My roommate is ISFJ, and we get along amazingly well...there are many areas in which we approach things the same way, and she's only J-like about a few things. Not a strong J at all, or just J in ways that don't really affect other people. She's not boring in the slightest, and she's extremely intelligent and has her own opinions about things. She doesn't blindly follow tradition. Before she took the test, she thought she was INFP. She's definitely ISFJ, though.
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