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At first glance, one might not think that INFJ and INTP are alike.
After all, there are two letters in their acronyms that are different.
But in some areas, these two personality types have more similarities than an INFJ with other personality types.
For example, both INFJs and INTPs enjoy intellectual pursuits such as reading books, discussing theories and abstract concepts, spotting patterns more so than perhaps an ISFJ, INFP, or ENFJ. We are also more likely to explore subjects such as spirituality, existentialism, and the meaning of life as compared to an INTJ.
Both can be absent-minded, private, and withdrawn
when we are too much in our heads.
Both types are quiet and understand what it is like to be misunderstood and be an outsider. These two types are often called “the golden pair”. They complement each other, especially when they mature later in life and develop their less preferred functions.
I have an INTP friend. He’s one of the few people who I can have both a very deep conversation and a good laugh with. We share the same silly, quirky humor and jokes.
But even though our interests and behaviors can be somewhat alike, the way we process information and make decisions is quite different.
“Am I an INFJ?” Blog Post Series
This is the fifth part of the “Am I an INFJ?” blog post series. In this series, we will discuss the similarities and differences between INFJ and other personality types:
I’ll be using the cognitive function to explain the differences between the various personality types. Each MBTI type has its own unique function stack (i.e. the order of your cognitive preference). So a difference in one letter results in a different order.
If you want to learn more about the function stack, here’s the cognitive functions chart for each of the 16 personality types.
Please note I’m neither a certified MBTI practitioner nor I wish to be one. I write this post based on my insights and observation of the people around me. If you have difficulties finding your MBTI type after reading this post, you can read other articles or hire and talk to a certified MBTI practitioner.
INTP vs INFJ: What’s the Confusion?
When discovering your personality type, INFJs can be confused with INTPs because internally, INFJs think logically. Due to our tertiary function (Ti, introverted thinking), we tend to be analytical and intellectual too on the inside. INFJs are often found in jobs and professions that rely on their analytical skills such as IT coders and programmers.
Furthermore, our dominant function (Ni. introverted intuition) is not obvious and easily recognized to most people, even to ourselves. It works in the background most of the time. So an INFJ might not understand their predominant cognitive function. So if we just based our personality on our internal experiences, it will be easy to mistake our personality as INTPs.
Stereotype and social expectations
can also influence one’s view of their personality.
A male might subconsciously feel uncomfortable being typed a Feeler, while a female might subconsciously feel uncomfortable being typed a Thinker. Just like a lady I know. She insists that she’s an INFP even after a certified MBTI practitioner typed her as an INTP.
The typical stereotype and social expectation of what males and females should be can unconsciously affect the way you answer the MBTI questionnaires. When taking MBTI tests, always try to examine your own preferences separate from external influences.
INFJ or INTP?: A Quick Test
If you want a quick test and a fun way to determine if you are an INFJ or an INTP, answer the following question:
Look at your workplace, schedule, computer, or your mobile phone,
does it tend to be organized or messy?
INFJs and other MBTI types with the judging preference (i.e. J as the last letter) tend to be more organized. This is not to say that INFJs can’t be messy and untidy sometimes or INTPs can’t be neat and organized. It’s more about our preferences than our behaviors. INFJs tend to clean up their mess when they are done with them because they can’t stand having things all over the place.
Also, when I work, my folders are arranged in such a systematic and methodical manner that it can be sickening to some of the perceiving types like my INFP brother. I usually set up a numbering or naming system for files and I enjoy organizing things into categories. Even for leisure things such as the photos and apps on my phone are organized into folders or meaningful groups.
Even if an INTP is organized, they usually won’t go to that extent. They are usually more spontaneous, casual, and flexible with such stuff.
INFJ and INTP Cognitive Function
INFJ’s cognitive functions stack is as follows:
- Introverted Intuition (Ni)
- Extraverted Feeling (Fe)
- Introverted Thinking (Ti)
- Extraverted Sensing (Se)
While an INTP cognitive functions stack is as follows:
- Introverted Thinking (Ti)
- Extraverted Intuition (Ne)
- Introverted Sensing (Si)
- Extraverted Feeling (Fe)
INFJs and INTPs share the same judging functions (Fe and Ti).
However, the order is rather different.
INTPs have introverted thinking (Ti) as their dominant function and extraverted feeling (Fe) as their inferior function. They have a preference for solving problems and being analytical. INFJs, on the other hand, have a bigger preference for extraverted feeling (Fe). We tend to consider other people when making our decisions.
Also, even though both INFJs and INTPs are intuitive types. The way we use our intuition is rather different. INFJs use it internally, while INTPs use it externally.
4 Differences Between the INFJ and INTP Personality Types
1. INFJs and INTPs derive their insights differently (Ni vs Ti).
Both INFJs and INTPs are insightful. But the way we derive our insights and solve problems is different.
INFJs have introverted intuition (Ni) as their dominant function. We usually gather information with our extraverted functions and then we form a conclusion or interpretation of the event and the world based on the information we gathered.
Introverted intuition (Ni) is a function that usually works in the background. We could be doing our daily routines such as brushing our teeth and then we suddenly have an insight or an epiphany about something. The solution to our problem just comes naturally when we don’t think too much about it.
INFJs rely more on their intuition,
whereas INTPs rely more on their analytical mind.
INTPs, on the other hand, love to think and analyze. They derive their insights through skepticism and logic. Usually, they don’t believe ideas on face value. Instead, they will try things out and test all the different ideas or combinations against their internal logical structures to figure out what works best.
INTPs analyze ideas, beliefs, and situations to find the truth and develop unconventional approaches to life. INFJs can analyze too but we feel tired of analyzing after a while due to our lower preference for introverted thinking (Ti). We rather have our intuition tells us the answers.
2. INFJs and INTPs interact with people differently (different order of Fe and Ti).
INFJs are empathetic and sensitive to other people’s feelings and needs. Sometimes, we are so sensitive that we are easily affected by other people’s emotions and opinions of us or we end up with an empathy burnout.
INTPs, on the other hand, don’t care what other people think of them. To them, taking the logical path is more important than pleasing other people. In fact, they are so much in their analytical space that they might be insensitive to others without realizing it.
INFJs desire emotional connection,
while INTPs look forward to an intellectual debate.
INFJs often feel lonely because we lack the meaningful, emotional connection we desire. We want someone who we can trust completely and be authentic with so that we can share our deepest emotions and thoughts with them. Unhealthy INFJs can appear clingy and needy if they keep demanding attention and want others to understand them better.
Both INFJs and INTPs have a tendency to keep their feelings close to them. However, INTPs usually feel uncomfortable talking about emotions, even with their close friends. First of all, they are not very aware of their own emotions and tend to neglect their emotions. Second, they are more private than INFJs. For someone who is pride themselves for being logical, they also feel somewhat embarrassed expressing their emotions. So even their close friends might not know how they feel.
Instead, INTPs are more likely to be energized by an intellectual debate and discussion. They enjoy exploring and refining their ideas through debate and will correct the inconsistencies and discrepancies in your statements. INFJs, in contrast, might find these “debates” and “correction” rather argumentative and nitpicky.
Even though both are introverted types and enjoy solitude, INFJs in general want more social interactions as compared to INTPs.
3. INFJs and INTPs deal with information differently (Ni vs Ne).
Once I was talking to my INTP friends and we were discussing the books we are reading. I have the preference of reading everything on a subject or from an author before I move on to the next, while my friends have the preference of sampling different subjects. He will read one book from an author and move on to the next author.
INFJs prefer a depth of information
while INTPs prefer a breadth of information.
This is due to the difference in our intuitive function (Ni vs Ne). As mentioned before in the INFP vs INFJ post, personality types with Ni preference use their intuition in a convergent manner to develop one, profound insight. On the other hand, personality types with Ne preference use their intuition in a divergent manner and are fascinated by having many different ideas.
Gathering all the information on a particular subject helps us come out with deeper and more refined insights. That’s why INFJs prefer self-help books that focus on a particular subject. INTPs read a wide genre of books and are usually very knowledgeable in many subjects. They love information. If you ask them anything, they probably can give you some information or at least point you to some resources.
INFJs, on the other hand, feel overwhelmed with a large amount of unorganized information. We are also so focused on their areas of interest that we might be oblivious to certain topics. And that also explains why sometimes, we are so quiet and can’t get into group conversations with others. We have no idea what they are talking about!
4. INFJs and INTPs have different intentions in the way they act (Ni vs Ti).
When INTPs perform an action, they usually have a reason why they do so. They might not tell you the reason or they might not have to think about it because it’s already established as part of their internal, logical structure.
So if they empathize with you, that’s because they have established this is one of the good ways to show care and concern to their friends. For example, they might think, “Listening and give other people attention makes others feel loved. I want to show love to my friends and partner. That’s why I’m willing to be patient and hear them out, even though my mind is telling me what they are going through is totally illogical.”
INFJs act intuitively usually without reason,
while INTPs’ actions are usually backed up by reasons.
INFJs, on the other hand, tend to act on their intuition. A lot of our actions are not backed by reasons and logic. When we empathize, we just do it naturally. Of course, that’s because we have a higher preference for extraverted feeling (Fe) than INTPs.
But for most other things, we don’t have a particular reason why we acted in such a way too. We just based our actions on our intuitive knowing.
For example, I might just leave a group of friends or not approach someone if I don’t have a good gut feeling or vibe. I don’t have a reason other than I don’t feel good being there and I don’t resonate with their energy. This might sound totally illogical to other people.
So as a type who prefers extraverted feeling (Fe), I might come out with some reasons to explain my action so as to make the other person feel at ease. Sometimes, this also puts me at ease. I find reasons so that I don’t feel guilty about leaving anyone behind and following my intuition.
However, most of the time, I act based on my intuition (Ni) first, then find reasons (Ti) to back up intuition. INTPs, in contrast, act based on their logic (Ti) first, then check it against their past experiences (Si).
If you want to learn how to love yourself as an INFJ, be sure to download my free eBook, Self-Acceptance for INFJs.
Featured Photo Credit: Andrea Piacquadio