What's It Like To Be an "INTJ"

A Self-Portrait Personality Type Description for INTJs**

By Linda V. Berens Ph.D. and Dario Nardi Ph.D.

Personality Type:    INTJ - Conceptualizer Director
Temperament:   Theorist (NT)
Interaction Style*:    Chart-the-Course
Likely Social Style: Analytic

How to read these Self Portrait Personality Type Descriptions

I often feel I am missing something, that I have a perspective or viewpoint that isn’t widely shared and that I am decades ahead of my time, maybe more. It’s like being caught in a time warp.

I tend to be someone who looks at all the what-ifs, thinking way ahead with a vision of things and anticipating. I’m always interested in extending myself into areas I don’t do well in. I’m a good problem solver from that perspective. I like to go through anything I can think of before I act—the implications, what others have tried before and their effect, my options and their consequences, who to mobilize and in what time frame. I like coming up with new ideas about how to approach a situation until I find a solution that feels right. And I like to think that solution will be something that works for everyone. I experience problems as challenges, not as things that can’t be dealt with or accomplished. Challenges can always be dealt with.

Personality Type Descriptions
by Linda V. Berens, Ph.D.
and Dario Nardi, Ph.D.**


I am naturally organized, structured, and analytical. If a project enters my mind it immediately assumes the form of its pieces, its basic structure, and what order— first, next, last—it will take to get it done. This isn’t something I do, it happens instantaneously without effort. Issues are multifaceted and I try to think from different perspectives, not only my perspectives but others’ too. And I’ve found it’s good to gather as many facts as I can. Sometimes there is a piece that needs to be thrown out, or maybe it’s the seed of another project.

I won’t do something if I feel I can’t do it well. I prefer trying something, then critique after the fact. I will integrate the experience and never make the same mistakes again. I am satisfied when things work well, and I like to improve people’s lives by reorganizing and introducing things in an understandable way that is explicit and clear and makes sense. Then someone else can come in and take over. I set very high standards for myself, and I believe it is possible to be competent at anything and everything I set my mind to.

I keep myself very private; that’s a part of who I am. I keep people at arm’s length. They have to gain my trust and interest. People are curious about me, I think, but only the brave try to figure me out. I feel very serious, but some I meet I just like a lot, and I can be spontaneously playful. I have a sensitivity to people and can feel warm with them, although many perceive me as intimidating, aloof or annoyed, or incredibly calm and competent about everything. People say I ask them good questions, not to make the decision for them, but to help them think through things. I look for systems that will make things better, and I am very much a person who seeks fairness and equality. People are very important, and I want to help them develop the skills they need to get on in life, whatever that means for each one of them.

There’s always something to occupy my mind or attention. I must be using my mind in a purposefully creative way, pushing the envelope with the most creatively challenging thing I can do, being the originator of a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist yet. It’s a complex world, and I believe we each should develop as complex an inner life as possible with the facility to react or initiate in a wide variety of ways. The more successful one is at actively developing all of that and having access to that, the better things can be. If something really interests me I have an incredible ability to stick with it—even though I have a larger perspective, I can be very focused and zero in on a point. I have always seen the world at many levels.

Autonomy is important, to be respected for my own thoughts and feelings, ideas and creativity. I am turned off when people try to discredit my ideas or don’t listen before they even understand, or when people don’t try to do the best they can or fight against progress. And if the emotional piece is not well managed in my life, or not compartmentalized, work is very difficult. Chitchat is tedious. I don’t know what to say, and I figure the other person isn’t actually interested in me anyway.

Over time I have built a world-view, like constructing a map of the cosmos, and from this, essentially everything is understandable and anything is possible. All the things I’ve done, have been selftaught by picking up on or asking myself good, clear, penetrating questions to expose and articulate the hidden structures that underlie the experience of living.

This concludes "What's it like to be an INTJ,"
A Self Portrait Personality Type Description.

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**The Personality Type Description shown above is wholly owned and copyrighted by the authors Linda V. Berens Ph.D. and Dario Nardi Ph.D. and is used herein with their permission.

For a complete set of Personality Type Descriptions by Linda V. Berens and Dario Nardi please see: "The 16 Sixteen Personality Types - Descriptions for Self-Discovery"

*Interaction Styles as developed by Linda Berens, is a powerful lens with which to better understand people. For a complete understanding of Interaction Styles see:
"Understanding Yourself and Others, An Introduction to Interaction Styles"

Practitioners, Organizational Development Consultants, HR Managers, Leadership and Teamwork Trainers,
click here for professional level training by Linda Berens in:
Interaction Styles, Temperament, and Personality Type