Introverts are known for being tough to get to know, INTJ’s are deemed impossible to know completely. How to get close to a INTJ…

“But most of all, and I’ve found this to be largely true for me, I intimidate people. I’m a little too intense, and real for people in general. I won’t sweet talk you, I won’t lie to make you happy, I’ll stand up against you if I don’t agree with you. I have a lot of tiny little quirks that I don’t bother hiding. I like being different and going against the flow. I’m fiery yet cold, logical but extremely passionate, practical but still dreamy. Most people get scared during the first few stages, before they’ve unearthed all the layers guarding me.” ~ Shreya Pandey, INTJ-A

Elle’s personality profile

Shreya and I are both INTJ-As, and as such we share many (not all) personality traits. I’ve been told I’m very intimidating. And as she mentions the “layers” guarding us, I’ll pre-warn you that there are so many that no one will ever peel them all away. It comes down to a few key reasons:

  • We have a very strong logical streak and that leaves us very little room for emotional interpretation.
  • Once we let you in, and that’s only with people we care very deeply about, we are vulnerable. That’s not a remotely comfortable place for us, so any action that proves to hurts us instantly creates more layers.

These traits don’t bother us, but they do make for a tough time getting to know us, or (worse) having relationships with us. Because we excel at anything and everything we want to learn, some of us are excellent communicators. If you happen to meet an INTJ that’s a strong communicator, you have a good chance at getting closer and understanding them. Here’s how:

  • Understand your personality profile and where the personalities intersect and diverge. Nothing makes communication easier when you know each person’s starting point.
  • We like bluntness, authenticity, and accountability… even if the topic isn’t fun or may hurt us emotionally. You need to speak up because we don’t read minds and we hate to assume.
  • Non-emotional topics never hurt us, even when we are wrong. We love to learn more and our goal isn’t to be right but to be factually correct. However, when we are factually correct we will not agree just to appease you. If we love you, we will attempt to educate you. If we don’t love you, we will deem you an idiot and ignore everything that comes out of your mouth forever more. Sounds harsh, but inaccuracies feel like grating nails on a chalkboard to us. We can’t listen to it.
  • We like things to be understood and resolved. So let’s say we disagreed about something… you can’t just say “I’m busy” and expect that to work. A better response would be “I want to discuss this, but the timing for me doesn’t work right now, I have some work to finish. Can we talk later?” You achieve the same thing… getting back to work… but you’ve let the INTJ know this won’t go unresolved.
  • Let’s say the INTJ is frustrating you (we are pretty good at that) and you can’t deal with the conversation now, you have two choices: 1) Create a wedge between you by just ending the conversation without resolution, or 2) Say something like “I’m very frustrated now and don’t want to talk anymore. I’d like to talk about this later.” This demonstrates authenticity and commitment to the relationship. Then again, if you don’t care about the INTJ, do option one.
  • With INTJs your actions mean everything. Not just what you say, but how you say it, what words you choose. And most importantly, how you act and react. Nothing creates a wedge and breaks down any level of a relationship more than reactive or disrespectful actions. Not. A. Thing. The INTJ is a master of absorption. So they can forgive actions if you’re sincere about regretting them, and express this with both words and actions. INTJs consider growth and learning to be fundamental elements of life… so mistakes are seen as expected, as long as they’re understood and resolved. 
  • Getting to know us, really know us, is tough. We aren’t comfortable with emotions/feelings and don’t like being vulnerable with them. All MBTI types that are “Thinkers” have this to an extent, with the INTJ being the most extreme. We are aware how tough it is, and we are open to letting you in provided we trust you. This goes back to the points above… authentic and accountable communication and actions builds trust. Once we trust you we are open to more intimate conversation. You’ll only get to know us by talking to us. We do not show ourselves via actions, not our true and deep selves. We are masters at blending in, or standing out, depending on need. So you’re going to have to have deep and arresting conversations. But not all at once, as we need plenty of alone time. It’s not easy, we know, but it’s possible.
  • We don’t want most people to know us though. It goes back to not caring about most people’s opinions. We care if it directly impacts us, or we deeply care about you. So, the only people that are likely to get to know the deeper side of an INTJ are those that the INTJ loves. And by loves, it’s usually the life partner we chose, it’s not the more generic love (family and friends).

Here are some other articles on communication:

As an INTJ, I wish you much luck and success in getting to know us. If you have a romantic relationship with one of us, I wish you more luck. We may not be easy to get to know, but we amazing partners, leaders, thinkers, problem solvers, dreamers and open to change, we love to grow and improve, we are open minded, we always push to be successful, and when we do love you, we love you with all our being.

Have questions? Feel free to contact me. And, if you’re interested in working with me, check out my coaching program.