What it means to be an INTJ

I always knew I was a bit different, but I didn’t really know why or to what extent.  When I came across this personality test, it provided me with great insight about who I am.  Introverted Intuitive Thinking Judging (INTJ) happens to be one of the rarest personality types, accounting for only 2% of the population.  No wonder I felt so alone.  INTJs are imaginative realists, grounded optimists, an oxymoron.

When I was growing up as a child, I always thought I was a little odd.  I would often curl up with a book instead of play with other children (whether they were classmates or cousins).  It seemed like too much effort to make small talk with other children and pretend to like the same things they did.  When I tried to force myself to be social, I would ask myself, “why do I want to talk to them or play with them when we don’t have anything in common?”

I was alone a lot, but rarely lonely, because I enjoyed my own company.  I would often talk to myself or create stories with my stuffed animals.  They were my best friends, even though I did have real friends at school.  I also noticed that I was often happy, but never ecstatic.  I was often annoyed, but never furious.  It was like my emotional spectrum ran from 4-7 instead of 1-10.  People wondered how I remained so calm and I wondered how people could be so emotional (especially over little, unimportant things).  I always thought I had put an emotional wall around myself to protect me from getting emotionally hurt (as my parents used to argue a lot in my younger years).  Now I’m not really sure if that mechanism is part of nature or nurture, or both.

Growing up, I didn’t like people who lied or acted fake to accomplish their own agenda.  It seemed immoral and pointless to me.  I also never understood why my parents would bicker over the smallest things, or why people would stop being friends with someone just because another friend was no longer friends with her.  I was never into fads either.  I didn’t buy Nike or Fila, Gucci or Louis Vuitton just because it was popular.  I didn’t watch popular movies just because everyone raved about it.  I didn’t buy an I-Phone just because everyone has one.  My current phone allows me to text, call and go online.  Why do I need an I-Phone?  It doesn’t make sense to me, it’s not logical.

In school and in life, I didn’t have too many friends, just a few kindred spirits that I could relate to.  They were people I could truly be myself around, without the need for small talk.  Whether I was being silly and acting like a child or being serious and discussing the meaning of life.  Whether in a friendship or a relationship, I was looking for an “intellectual soul mate.”  I didn’t like to sit around and engage in gossip.  I much rather spend time speculating about things, drawing, watching movies, sharing good stories, or playing boardgames.

Post high school, I didn’t see my friends on a regular basis.  Outsiders often thought it was weird when they found out I only saw my friends every few months, but it felt perfectly normal to me.  I enjoyed my independence during my time away from them, and when we got together, it always felt comfortable, as if we just saw each other yesterday.  Engaging in social activities for extended periods of time seem to suck the energy out of me, so I enjoy having low maintenance, but valuable friendships.

Another weird thing, I’m not a hugger.  I feel odd when people hug me, but I’ve gotten better at receiving and giving hugs now.  I also tend to avoid emotionally charged situations.  When someone is extremely emotional, I absolutely feel clueless.  I don’t know what to say or how to act.  I’m literally frozen with confusion.  In times of conflict, I often speculate about how I feel and why things turned out that way and write long letters to people instead of talking to them face to face.  It seems cowardly to me too, but at the same time, I feel like if I talked to people directly before sitting down and analyzing the situation, their emotional outbursts (whether it be body language, tears, screams, silence or tone of voice) would stop me from saying what I really need to say because I would freak out and lose my courage.

As you can guess, relationships didn’t come easy for me.  I started developing romantic crushes as early as 4th grade, but I never had the courage to voice my thoughts, so nothing ever happened.  I think boys may have been intimidated by my intellect and lack of social skills as well.  I didn’t have a boyfriend until college, and was completely clueless.  In the few relationships that I had, my partner often felt that I wasn’t “caring” enough.  It’s true, I didn’t know how to express myself.  In the movies,  I would often see men and women throw themselves at each other in a heated moment of passion.  I often wanted to feel that way, but I just never did (maybe because my emotional spectrum stops at 7).

I cared about my partner, I enjoyed talking to him, spending time with him, and cuddling with him.  I thought about him and texted him everyday, wasn’t that enough?  Isn’t seeing him once a month good enough for a beginning relationship that is slightly long distance?  Apparently not, apparently it is normal for dating couples to want to see each other every single day.  Don’t they have other things to do?  Other goals to achieve?  Don’t they need personal space?  Those were the thoughts going on in my head, but all I said was “I care about you.  You know that.”

It was only until I got older that I was able to recognize why I chose the paths I chose in romance.  I realized that freedom and trust meant a lot to me.  Anyone who tried to control me (in any way), tried to change me, did not trust me and demanded for my time was not the right person for me.  I needed the relationship to be a partnership that allowed me to dream and grow and be myself.  I, in return, will give them the same respect and space.  Anything else would suffocate me.  I loved this sentence from the report because it explained my thoughts perfectly, “while INTJs may never be fully comfortable expressing their feelings, and may spend more time theorizing about intimacy than engaging in it, they can always be relied upon to think out a mutually beneficial solution to any situation.”

For a period of time, I felt jaded and gave up on love.  According to the personality report, that’s when INTJs are most attractive (in their natural element).  In this time of my life, I did find my current boyfriend and soulmate, which was unexpected and unintentional.  He shares my Intuitive trait, but balances out my other traits with Extraversion, Feeling and Prospecting.  With his help, I have become more social and expressive.

In the career world, I like working alone or in small groups.  Often I find it hard to delegate work because I have trust issues.  I tend to do the work myself just because I know it will be done to perfection.  I never believed in sucking up to my bosses or engaging in small talk with my co-workers.  Thus, I was never good at networking, which I really need to work on.  On the other hand, I did believe in hard work and dedication.  I admire people who take initiative.  When there was something I strongly believed in, I would speak up, even if it went against the beliefs of my superiors.  I didn’t like the spotlight, but I liked sharing my ideas and seeing them come to life, so it’s not surprising that I am working as a Project Manager.

I’m not a parent yet, but I am a littler nervous about it since children often desire love and emotional support, which is not one of my strengths.  However, I will strive to give my future kids whatever support they need and encourage them to think for themselves.

While I will never be comfortable with “truly public displays of emotions,” I found a way to channel my emotions through poetry, writing and art.  I hope that you enjoy my blog and my post.  I recommend taking the Personality Test for yourself 🙂  Please also note that as an INTJ, I don’t do small talk.  If I ever liked or commented on your post, I meant it from the bottom of my heart.  If I haven’t liked or commented on your post, it could mean that I haven’t had the time to visit your blog as of yet, but will someday.