INTJ: Our Emotional Response Path

And they say INTJ’s are without emotion, ha! We have them, we’re simply selective in how we nurture and share them.

So you have, or want, a relationship with an INTJ (platonic or romantic, it’s the same path with us)… here is what we look like emotionally:

  1. Apathy. If you’ve never known an INTJ you might find this odd, even mysterious. We don’t give a crap about most things. Those things, and people, we do give a crap about have evolved further along our emotional path. But everything and everyone starts off here. we evaluate your worth to our lives… it’s not as negative as it comes across, it’s very logical to us. We have limited resources (time and energy) and we choose very carefully who (and what) will consume any of it. Most things, and people, remain in this category indefinitely.
  2. Amusement and/or alignment. This is the first stage in which our attention is gained. We saw something that we found captivating. Something entertained us or we found an alignment that was beyond the norm. This is very rare, so when we see it we love to explore more. We are inquisitive, curious, and we don’t mind conflict. This is the first emotion in which we explore more, and bask in the feeling for a while. This is a very light level of emotional response. Most “friends” and co-workers would be found in this category (if they get here at all). If we learn something we find distasteful or find ourselves no longer aligned, we quickly move back to apathy.
  3. Connection. Some people might call this “liking someone or something” and we will use this term in general conversation because we know how weird we sound simply saying “I connect with you.” This state contains our favorite hobbies, interests, and if we’re lucky, our careers. Connection (to humans) holds a wee bit more power over us, for two reasons: 1) It’s so rare for us to sincerely connect with someone. Most humans stay in the amusement/alignment category (if they get there at all), and 2) Although we’re intrigued by our new human connection, we aren’t comfortable with the higher emotional investment. The Connection state can last months, or longer. Deep and close platonic relationships remain in this category  (until they don’t and they go back to apathy).
  4. Trust. This is our absolute deepest emotional state and the one that very few people will ever have with us. To trust someone (and we are of the mindset that you should trust no one) one must consider that person fully authentic. Speaking for myself as an INTJ, authenticity is rare. It takes a lot of conversation aligned with action to move me into Trust. Remember this is a path, so I’m already aligned and connected, so things like morals and values have already been assessed. Trust to an INTJ is what others may call “love”. This is deep and consuming for us. It’s uncomfortable at first, as we feel vulnerable. But, as an earlier article states, we are fearless, so once we determine Trust we are all-in. Most INTJs have very few relationships at this level within their entire lives. One might think family or those we’ve dated fall into this category, but they don’t. We are creatures that attempt to fit in at times, and we are good at ensuring our comfort when we can’t change a circumstance… this will often appear as Trust in someone close to us. But it will not be. If we haven’t told you some of our deeper vulnerabilities, you’re not trusted. Sadly, our Trust only goes so far. No one will every know us completely. This goes back to the “trust no one” premise and “all humans lie”… we can’t get over that logic and truth, thus our trust only goes so far.
  5. Emotions one through three can terminate quickly and return to apathy immediately upon acquisition of information that no longer aligns with our needs and your worth. However, Trust is more difficult for us. If we Trust you, most mistakes and all areas of personal growth are accepted and supported by the INTJ. We love learning, and we especially encourage those we trust to be better people themselves. One does not betray our trust by not agreeing with us, needing to mature in one way or another, or taking some frustration out on us. We are highly resilient. However, once betrayed we have a tough time maintaining Trust and after a few betrayals we release said Trust in you. For those who love the INTJ bullets (hahahaha)
    1. We solve puzzles. So we’d like to know why we misplaced our trust. Although we might be able to figure it out, it’s highly unlikely we will. You betrayed our trust so now you’re unreliable and unauthentic. This tears us apart most… an unsolved puzzle. This sub-stage could last a few days, maybe a few weeks, but eventually our brain takes over and we move on.
    2. Pissed. Yes, Pissed is an emotion for us. Most people think we’re pissed most of the time, and yes we can be temporarily pissed at a situation. Let’s say Pissed also means Disappointed mixed in with some Frustration. We will feel Pissed once we let go of the puzzle and notice that we’re disappointed in you and frustrated with ourselves for ever trusting you in the first place. This is less of a you sub-stage and more of an us one. We reevaluate how we assess trust and how we could have spotted your disorders sooner. Disorders? No, this isn’t cruel or hateful, this is logical. If we had Trust for you we were open to you having many faults. We were open and supportive of you learning to grow and be a better person. We supported things like work priorities. We are INTJs after all. We had one requirement of you, be authentic. You failed.
    3. Apathy. We don’t stay in Pissed for long… yup, you guessed it, because we don’t find value in it. Once we feel apathy towards the one we gave Trust to we no longer have any emotional connection. We feel good, and whole again.

INTJ’s are not robots, so we feel frustration, joy, disappointment, contentment, as well as a whole plethora of human emotions. We just don’t stay within an emotional response for long… not even joy. We think and value logic. It’s a gift and a curse (hahaha). I read this meme that would be appropriate:

I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. But I drink coffee, so fuck them.

Like any personality type, one should appreciate who you are while always growing and developing to be a more optimized person. Anyone with emotional maturity and good communication skills will be successful within their lives and the relationships they choose to create, regardless of personality type. One thing a mature INTJ does not do is fear their emotional responses. They understand them to be a state of action, not a state of being.


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

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