Would you like to make this site your homepage? It's fast and easy...
Yes, Please make this my home page!
INTP - Introverted iNtuitive
A Love Of Problem-solving
If any type personifies the absentminded professor, it would likely
be the INTP. Their inner reflectiveness -- Introversion -- enables them
to explore all the imaginative possibilities their iNtuition preference
provides. Their objectivity (Thinking) demands the analysis of all that
information, and their open-ended and flexible attitude (Perceiving)
prompts them to be responsive to whatever new data present themselves.
Such a combination of preferences keeps the INTP caught up in the
paradoxical goal of always trying to make a coherent whole out of an
endlessly proliferating amount of data. Whether it's an article,
drawing, a plan, scheme, thought, or theory, the INTP struggles to fit
all its pieces into a complete picture that keeps expanding with the
continual discovery of new pieces. As a result, all thoughts, ideas, and
plans, however final they seem, are subject to last-minute changes when
"new data," from either internal or external influences,
become available. This is very exciting to INTPs and very frustrating to
others, especially those with a preference for Judging.
Their own worst critics
To arrive at what seems like perfection, only to have it challenged by a
new insight, is at once exciting and challenging to INTPs. As a result,
they are their own greatest critics and pride themselves on being
the first to knock down their own theories or correct themselves with a
better word or improved idea. The quest for
flawlessness, cleverness, competency, conceptual perfection, and self-mastery
is a driving force for INTPs. When maximized, however, these goals can
become tiresome, self-punishing liabilities.
Taking things on
Any project, from fixing a leaky faucet to writing a business plan to
taking a vacation, presents itself as a mental challenge to the INTP,
who thinks through every stage of the task at hand, from beginning to
end. Such thinking may well involve computers, drawing boards, resource
books, and anything else that will help the INTP focus the project and
create a plan open-ended enough to allow for improvements. Once such a
plan has been developed, either on paper or in the INTP's mind, a
considerable amount of energy must then go into critiquing and improving
the "rough draft." This process, which may go on for hours,
days, even weeks, is always more exciting, challenging, and stimulating
to the INTP than actually doing whatever needs to be done. Sometimes,
once an INTP thinks a project through, he or she may lose interest in
it, for in the mind of the INTP that project has been completed -- even
if that's the only place it exists. Indeed, when INTPs are
conceptualizing -- and they usually are -- it can be difficult to
interrupt their high power of concentration.
Gender issues are especially pointed for the INTP female. While all
of the internal conceptualizing, however misunderstood, may be tolerated
in a male, society is less likely to tolerate the same characteristic in
a female. The absentminded professor is another image more conventionally
male than female. This creates at least three special problems for the
INTP female: First, women historically have not
been looked upon as the architects of much beyond their own homes and
families. The constant desire to make life conform to a theoretical
model, while true to the INTP preference, flies in the face of
traditional female roles. Second, conceptual originality is similarly
not a traditional female trait. Some INTPs, asked the time of day, would
be tempted to expound on the philosophical meaning of time; this
eccentricity in a man may be looked upon as the result of
overintelligence, in a woman it may result in her being labeled
"dizzy" or even "dumb." Finally, the Thinking
preference of INTPs directly counters most females' scripting to be
subjective, soft, and caring. Even worse, when an INTP female's feeling
side does surface, it often does so with intensity, an outpouring that
can be frightening to both herself and others.
Relating with others
In relating to an INTP, male or female, expect an intellectual
challenge. Words spoken and thoughts shared with an INTP will be
construed as an invitation to expand, clarify, argue, and rethink.
Though less immediately reactive then their ENTP relatives, they are
sure to be thinking about and rehearsing a response that will cause all
involved to reevaluate the issue at hand. Such discipline and rigor
brings growth and new direction to a relationship. But social deftness
and poise are generally secondary to an INTP's intellectual pursuits. As
a result, when INTPs are absorbed in thinking or questioning, they can
often appear hard to reach, at best, or even downright rude, to those of
a different type.
Parenting for the INTP is seen as an opportunity to help young minds
develop and grow. Very patient and accepting of differences in children,
INTP parents want their children to grow up enjoying, expressing, living
through independent thought. Clearly preferring a child to develop
"mind over body," INTP parents have an amazing tolerance of
and support for each child's pursuit of his or her own course. If
anything, they may be too nondirective of their children's development.
It is an INTP model to open new possibilities for the child by
*suggesting* -- not demanding and rarely imposing -- alternatives to
whatever thought or action the child may be pursuing; if the
alternative is not adopted, the typical INTP response is simply --
"At least I tried.". But sometimes children, even when they
seem rebellious or uninterested, welcome a parent's pushing and imposing
new ideas. Those who do are out of luck if they have INTP parents, for
"pushing" and "imposing" are two words foreign to
Jack/Jane of all trades
It is a live-and-let-live life-style for most INTPs. Study, follow
one's inspirations, master the situation, then move on to some new
"problem." At times, their love of problem-solving may
overshadow their other inclinations. So, for example, while not
particularly mechanically inclined, they may find the challenge of
repairing a broken appliance totally consuming, and be willing to expend
great bursts of energy to master the situation. Having mastered it, they
will instantly move on to something else. They are the quintessential
Jacks (or Janes) of all trades and masters of none.
As children, INTPs can be viewed variously as socially shy or terribly
argumentative, with little in between. In school they may be seen as
unfocused, pursuing too many things unrelated to the curriculum. Worse
yet, they are seen as raising the wrong questions at the wrong times,
although this may be more a reflection of a teacher's rigidness than a
student's disorganization. Still, the INTP's behavior can be seen as
disruptive, particularly in females. The result, inevitably, is that
INTPs must work harder than most to tolerate and survive grade school.
When they are successful, they will likely thrive in college. The inquisitiveness encouraged in higher education is the
INTP's dream come true. For INTPs, whatever the subject, the joy
is in learning.
Family events for INTPs are generally fun because they are opportunities
to explore what make such events and people tick. While an INTP may be
remiss in remembering anniversaries and belated in honoring them, such
events are considered important and the forgetfulness is inadvertent.
At the very least, family occasions offer material for thought about the
meaning of life and its place in the sequence of life. As an INTP grows
and matures, even bedtime may seem a stepping-off place for exploration,
because it opens the door to dreams, which provide more opportunities
for understanding and growth.
Work that does not involve intellect and the opportunity
for mastery soon becomes drudgery for INTPs. In fact, if a job doesn't
afford the INTP such challenges, he or she will be better off seeking new
employment. Otherwise, on-the-job listlessness will result, over the
long term, in stress, accident proneness, and overall poor performance.
Later in life
Senior years for INTPs ought to afford time to theorize and dream with
much less accountability. During some of that time INTPs may experience
more Extraversion and subjectivity (Feeling), which may be simultaneously
scaring and quite exciting. As that phrase passes, the INTP will settle
into a senior citizenship of developing new thoughts and ideas to present
to younger generations.
Famous likely INTPs include Linus of Peanuts comics fame (who
brings rationality to absolutely everything in the world and intimidates
everyone with the universal questions he ceaselessly raises); C. G. Jung
(whose revolutionary and complex theories of personality were
comprehended by few, although his intent was simply to raise questions
for all to explore); and Albert Einstein (an intellectual Goliath who
devoted his entire life to exploration and questioning, and yet was
known to show up at a dinner party having forgotten to wear pants).