Paul's Perambulations a personal blog

February 8, 2011

INTJ Myers-Briggs personality. Who, me? Does this make any sense?

Filed under: Education,General — admin @ 8:02 pm

I hesitated to post my Myers-Briggs personality measure, thinking it might be egocentric (there are enough of those blogs around) and because I don’t put much weight on personality testing. But if Myers-Briggs measures can lead us to consider (or reconsider) some aspects of ourselves, they can be of value.  And recently I had reason to consider that perhaps I really am INTJ and not always the sweet, agreeable guy that I tend to think I am.

I hold some strong beliefs/principles/hypotheses (take your pick of word choice) that in some cases lie outside the cultural mainstream (see pacifist realism on this site).  I also strongly identify as an educator and a social scientist (the hypothesis-testing, data-driven, laboratory-based variety).  At the same time I think of myself as a romantic in close personal relationships. I consider the first time Fran and I met — a rainy-night hike in the woods — to be one of the great romantic encounters. On the other hand, when at a later time we were composing our marriage vows, I explained why I would never promise to love her. She understood my position completely, but explained that she preferred to make a promise simply for setting a goal. It’s interesting that this would be a “match” for Myers-Briggs.

I first discovered Fran at, where she identified herself as INTJ (along with saying “serendipity rules” and ”risk taking, not thrill seeking,” while I’m “Chance favors the prepared mind.”)  I was a bit bothered by Fran’s apparent ignorance of the fact that there is no external validation of the Myers-Briggs test and that it is based on sloppy and popularized Jungian theories. Perhaps ironically, her test scores turned out to be in fair agreement with my own later assessment of Fran (sloppy doesn’t necessarily mean erroneous).  Thus I felt a need to take this test myself, before saying too much more. Surprise to me — I was INTJ also (although my score on the J category is less than Fran’s). When I examine the Myers-Briggs questions themselves (a necessary step) and consider that I might have answered some differently at different ages, it makes me reflect on how we change over a lifetime. Myers-Briggs measures are attitude and not behavior based. How do we change over a lifetime in our tendency to put attitude into action? I think that Fran has mellowed somewhat with age and parenthood. I don’t believe that she is as “ruthless” a character as she likes to believe (although I realize that saying this is like waving a red flag in front of her). On the other hand, I may be having less inhibition and thus be less concerned about maintaining some of the behavioral niceness/considerateness that was important in my family upbringing as an accompaniment to our sometimes radical thinking. This upbringing was radical not so much in political or leftist terms per se, but for being atypical/counter-culture on account of being highly principled and “liberal” in the true sense of the word.

This INTJ topic came to mind after a recent email exchange with an online friend regarding what I saw as her two different lives, public and private, and my implicit suggestion that she should do something about this discrepancy. She readily acknowledged that there were two personas involved (good insight) and that she had made her peace with this (and was doubtless somewhat annoyed at my intrusive “helpfulness”). Maybe this supposedly thoughtful and deliberate Quaker is becoming as uninhibited and “ruthless” as Fran claims to be. Maybe Fran and I will be meeting in the middle.


  1. “The unexamined life is not worth living” Socrates

    ”Lose discrimination, and you lose life’s only purpose.” Bhagavad Gita

    Comment by admin — February 8, 2011 @ 8:02 pm

  2. INTJ (Introversion,Intuitive, Thinking, Judgment) — COPIED FROM INTERNET SOURCE:

    INTJs are strong individualists who seek new angles or novel ways of looking at things. They enjoy coming to new understandings. They tend to be insightful and mentally quick; however, this mental quickness may not always be outwardly apparent to others since they keep a great deal to themselves. They are very determined people who trust their vision of the possibilities, regardless of what others think. They may even be considered the most independent of all of the sixteen personality types. INTJs are at their best in quietly and firmly developing their ideas, theories, and principles.

    Hallmarks of the INTJ include independence of thought and a desire for efficiency. They work best when given autonomy and creative freedom. They harbor an innate desire to express themselves by conceptualizing their own intellectual designs. They have a talent for analyzing and formulating complex theories. INTJs are generally well-suited for occupations within academia, research, consulting, management, science, engineering, and law. They are often acutely aware of their own knowledge and abilities—as well as their limitations and what they don’t know (a quality that tends to distinguish them from INTPs). INTJs thus develop a strong confidence in their ability and talents, making them natural leaders.

    In forming relationships, INTJs tend to seek out others with similar character traits and ideologies. Agreement on theoretical concepts is an important aspect of their relationships. By nature INTJs can be demanding in their expectations, and approach relationships in a rational manner. As a result, INTJs may not always respond to a spontaneous infatuation but wait for a mate who better fits their set criteria. They tend to be stable, reliable, and dedicated. Harmony in relationships and home life tends to be extremely important to them. They generally withhold strong emotion and do not like to waste time with what they consider irrational social rituals. This may cause non-INTJs to perceive them as distant and reserved; nevertheless, INTJs are usually very loyal partners who are prepared to commit substantial energy and time into a relationship to make it work.

    As mates, INTJs want harmony and order in the home and in relationships. The most independent of all types,[16] INTJs trust their intuition when choosing friends and mates—even in spite of contradictory evidence or pressure from others. The emotions of an INTJ are hard to read, and neither male nor female INTJs are apt to express emotional reactions. At times, INTJs seem cold, reserved, and unresponsive, while in fact they are almost hypersensitive to signals of rejection from those they care for. In social situations, INTJs may also be unresponsive and may neglect small rituals designed to put others at ease. For example, INTJs may communicate that idle dialogue such as small talk is a waste of time. This may create the impression that the INTJ is in a hurry—an impression that is not always intended. In their interpersonal relationships, INTJs are usually better in a working situation than in a recreational situation.

    To outsiders, INTJs may appear to project an aura of “definiteness”, of self-confidence. This self-confidence, sometimes mistaken for simple arrogance by the less decisive, is actually of a very specific rather than a general nature; its source lies in the specialized knowledge systems that most INTJs start building at an early age. When it comes to their own areas of expertise — and INTJs can have several — they will be able to tell you almost immediately whether or not they can help you, and if so, how. INTJs know what they know, and perhaps still more importantly, they know what they don’t know.

    See also

    Comment by admin — February 8, 2011 @ 9:00 pm

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