Myers-Briggs and Dating: The Care and Keeping of INTJs

Myers-Briggs and Dating: The Care and Keeping of INTJs
Photo: Grosescu Alberto Mihai/REX/Shutterstock; Lindsey Lanquist.

Scroll To See More Images

My relationships with INTJs occupy a very special place in my heart, due to the fact that half of them are my closest allies and the other half have been actual nemeses, popping up throughout my life in a very Batman villain-esque way. Of all the Myers-Briggs personality types, INTJs might be some of the easiest to spot. Known for what I would call an almost sharp sense of introversion, INTJs are usually whip-smart, highly invested in their interests (some of which you will probably never ever find out about), and don’t really see any point to consulting others before making their choices. If you’re out somewhere loud with a group of friends, spot the INTJ deciding, quite suddenly and without any discussion, to just completely yeet the eff out of there to go do their own thing. There’s a reason the type is nicknamed The Mastermind; it’s not hard to picture your average INTJ happily absconding to a remote lab to do a little plotting in solitude.

For those of you who get caught up on the letters of the Myers-Briggs, INTJ stands for Introverted, iNtuitive, Thinking, and Judging. What those four words boil down is basically: This type draws energy from being alone, they much prefer big-picture and future-oriented thinking to getting bogged down in boring details, they don’t necessarily depend on their feelings for game-time decisions and may prefer just looking at what “makes sense,” and they’re all about structure and planning over improvisation.

Contrary to popular belief, the big T “Thinking” in this type (as opposed to F for “Feeling”) doesn’t mean INTJs don’t have emotions; it just means they might not be as in touch with them as other types and may not be well practiced in relying on (or even checking in with) their feelings on short notice. You’re far more likely to hear an INTJ say that they don’t know how they feel about something than that they don’t know what to think about it. It’s not uncommon for INTJs to need a little time and space to even figure out what it is they’re feeling, which sharply contrasts with your average F types for whom emotions are a first language.

Self-sufficient internal processors who treasure their independence and personal space, this type can get a lot of flack (from me) for being cold and rigid. However, the protective shell these hermit crabby types build around themselves also means that, when given, an INTJ’s trust makes an extremely rare and precious prize. There are few things as rewarding as being allowed a glimpse inside an INTJ’s brain, which, chances are, includes a lot of thoughts on how the world could be run better (by them), plus a couple dozen plans for future projects. If you’ve got your eye on an INTJ, what probably hooked you was the fascinating conversation (INTJs tend to be extremely well-read, knowledgeable and incisive, making them very fun to talk to), their unique and visionary outlook, and their decidedly mysterious nature.

So, you’ve got a relationship with an INTJ in your sights. Good on you! INTJs can be hard nuts to crack but truly, where’s the fun in an easy nut? Here’s a few pointers to win (or keep!) your INTJ’s affections.

View this post on Instagram

#introvertproblems #INTJ 📷 @squaresayings

A post shared by Anuschka Rees (@anuschkarees) on

They Can Be Squirrelly—Plan Accordingly

INTJs occupy an interesting cross-section of personality traits: They love learning new things and exploring, but they also hate surprises, being surprised and anything surprising.

Having been in a friendship with an INTJ since the fifth grade, I’ve been brushing up against this particular quirk for most of my conscious life. I remember many a conflict in middle school when my best friend Shelby would get shifty and anxious if I told her we were doing something later but wouldn’t say what (or if she got any inkling that there was any sort of “winging it” in her future). Specifically what she said was, “I don’t care what we’re doing, I just want to know where it’s happening and when and in what order so I can prepare for it.”

This is about as INTJ as it gets. They’re pretty averse to things being sprung on them, particularly if what’s being sprung involves something out of their comfort zone. If you polled 1,000 INTJs about their ideal birthday celebration, I’m betting 0 percent would answer: “I’d love to get home from work and find that my significant other has assembled 50 of my friends and acquaintances to jump out at me and expect me to convey my best surprised face and then talk to them for 3 hours.”

Some things INTJs tend to avoid—or at least need a heads-up to prepare for—include large crowds, improvisation under any sort of pressure, and anything that puts them in the spotlight or requires them to practice a skill they haven’t perfected. On the plus side, dating an INTJ is actually pretty easy once you know this about them. Try taking them somewhere quiet like a bookstore, library, hike or a place that’ll feed their thirst for knowledge—like a museum or a historic site. If you go with the latter, just make sure you establish there’s no pressure on them to produce reactions, thoughts or opinions (once they get comfortable, I promise you’ll get more of these than you know what to do with). A comfort with silence won’t hurt either.

No Sudden Movements

Remember the part in Pirates of the Caribbean where Captain Jack Sparrow tells Orlando Bloom’s character (whose name I can’t be bothered to remember) that he spent three days standing in the surf waiting for some sea turtles to get acclimated to his presence so he could ride them to safety? You’re Captain Sparrow, and your INTJ is that sea turtle. Try not to do anything unpredictable, presumptive or dramatic around them—at least at first—and remember that INTJs consider people to be strangers far after the point that most types would call someone a friend.

Don’t take liberties or try to rush into anything. If an INTJ isn’t ready for intimacy, they will retreat to the depths at the first sign of danger. If an INTJ tells you a secret, take it to your grave, because privacy is pretty much an INTJ’s favorite thing. For this reason, INTJs also make some of the most solid confidantes on Earth: Their tight-lipped privacy policy will cover your secrets, too.

It might be surprising for some people that a type known for aloofness also places a premium on feeling safe, but this type really does flourish the most when they feel secure and unthreatened by any outside forces. The trick here is to remember that you are an outside force, at least at first, so give your INTJ some time to acclimate to the idea that it can be the two of you vs. the world, instead of just them.

INTJs, more than any other type, need time and solitude to decide how they feel about things and don’t always feel like opening up a conversation until they’re sure where they stand. This means that attempts to pry responses out of them before they’re ready, especially if they involve the INTJ’s feelings about something, can be met with defensiveness or just silence. An INTJ will have no problem telling you to back off when pressed, but this is usually because they literally don’t have an answer for you yet. Your instinct might be to assume they know exactly how they’re feeling and are simply refusing to voice it, or that they’re hiding something. But almost always, they simply don’t have their statement thought out yet and it feels impossible to talk about things that are difficult or personal to INTJs without preparation.

Plus, most INTJs would rather die than have to go back on their statements later and risk being called out for it.

Be Flexible with Your Affection Expectations

Most INTJs have an incredibly low margin for physical touch, and they’re not the gooiest characters, so don’t take it personally if your INTJ isn’t gushing all over you on day one. Chances are, verbal affirmations and affection aren’t their default means of interacting with the world, so if these are your love languages, be patient and give them a lot of margin to adapt.

If you’ve been with your INTJ, for a while don’t be afraid to gently but clearly communicate your needs for affection if they aren’t being met. Letting others into their inner sanctum isn’t always comfortable for an INTJ, so always tread lightly with your criticism. However, your average INTJ is always happier with hard data, and chances, are they’ll appreciate having a clear idea of what you want.

Without much to go off in terms of verbal affirmation, you may be wondering, how do I even know if my INTJ likes me? The answer is they probably like you a great deal if they’re bothering to interact with you in the first place. INTJs are not the most diplomatic type and have no qualms walking away from conversations or people they don’t find compelling. So if your INTJ continues choosing you over the opportunity to sit alone quietly in a corner somewhere, it’s a pretty great sign.

Know How to Talk to Them

Sometimes, especially in group settings, trying to strike up a convo with the traditionally quiet INTJ can be intimidating. But, you’ll have some of the best conversations of your life with INTJs if you know how to approach them. Inquisitive INTJs spend a lot of time on their own reading up on their interests and storing the information away like dragons with gold—only in this case the gold is “a lot of facts about Pre-Industrial Russia,” or some other seriously niche interest.

Being internal processors mean they don’t feel any sort of urge to share their findings with anyone else, but that definitely doesn’t mean they’re opposed. Ask your INTJ about their interests, or what they’ve been reading lately, and watch them talk with you for hours. An INTJ is never more charming than when they’re given a chance to talk about a subject they love, and you’ll never walk away from a conversation with an INTJ without learning something new.

A warning to the sensitive: INTJs love arguing and don’t see it as anything to get upset over. Most of them don’t default to hedging with the sycophantic phrases the rest of us use to get through life, like “I see what you mean,” or “Maybe we’re both right.” They really don’t see any reason to compromise on even the most trivial details. And don’t even think about taking a stance you haven’t thought through in the presence of an INTJ, because it’s not in their nature to let you off the hook with a shoddy argument.

View this post on Instagram

#prideandprejudice #mrdarcy Mr. Darcy: INTJ (NiTeFiSe) NiSe: Darcy is usually ten steps ahead of the game with regards to knowing what will happen next, but tends to get caught up in his visions as opposed to enjoying the present moment. His focus is narrow and he prioritizes to prevent the potential tragic consequences that he foresees occurring as a result of current events. He hates crowded places, by which he get overwhelmed occasionally. He dislikes  conventional parties, small talk and pretty much anything that requires him to converse amiably with other human beings. Yet, he has a profound understanding of other people and can size up their character very quickly. He’s rather prideful, but is able to come to terms with his judgements. . TeFi: Mr. Darcy likes to take the initiative and isn’t afraid to influence other people’s affairs in order to make sure that they’re safe in the long-run. He doesn’t talk a lot, but when he does, he’s usually blunt, direct and abrupt. Jane reports: “Miss Bingley told me . . . that he never speaks much unless among his intimate acquaintance. With them he is remarkably agreeable!” He may not be a people person, but he knows how to orchestrate other people and organize efficiently, often without their knowledge. Darcy is firm and determined in his decisions. Quote: Caroline Bingley: “Will you not join us, Mr. Darcy?” Mr. Darcy: “You can only have two motives, Caroline and I would interfere with either. (...)Either you are in each other's confidence and have secret affairs to discuss, or you are conscious that your figures appear to the greatest advantage by walking. If the first, I should get in your way. If the second, I can admire you much better from here.” . Feel free to ask questions and comment below! [INTJ 5w4] #mbti #16personalities #intj #intjlife #mbtipersonality #myersbriggs #psychology #introvertlife #intuitives #nt #entj #intp #entp #enfp #infp #enfj #infj #mbtimemes #intjproblems #intjmind #intjthoughts #infjproblems #intjfeelings #mrdarcyforever

A post shared by INTJ (@stereotypical_intj) on

Overall, INTJs can be one of the more challenging types to get close to, but putting in the work to get to know them can result in extremely tight-knit, honest, and rewarding relationships. Trust from an INTJ is usually more earned than given, but that makes intimacy with them its own special gift. Sure, every once in a while, they might completely vanish to their room/the library/a Unibomber-type cabin in the middle of the woods that only they know about for a bit, but if you give an INTJ their space when they need it, they’ll pay you back with appreciation, attentiveness and thoughtfulness when you’re together.

They’re some of the quirkiest people around, but that’s exactly the thing that makes them so delightful.