I first discovered the MBTI types three years ago, and since then I have learned and been able to grow from knowing my type. The most difficult part of being an INTJ, however, is not learning how to understand yourself, but getting others to understand you.
When I was younger it was easy for me to understand someone. Almost automatically knowing if this person was trustworthy, or friendly, and while I didn’t have a name for it then I do now. It was my introverted Intuition, or Ni function. Something that I didn’t learn until later was difficult for people to do, came so effortlessly to me.
In this series there will again be two parts, this post will include a brief overview of the functions, and what they mean to me. The second part will go more in depth of how INTJs understand others, and hopefully how that can give a bit of insight into how others can understand us. The four Functions are:
- Introverted Intuition (Ni)
- Extroverted Thinking (Te)
- Introverted Feeling (Fi)
- Extroverted Sensing (Se)
This function notices patterns, and asks questions. Ni is where the ideas come from, INTJs take in information from around them, and then produce ideas internally. This is the main function affecting how we think, it leads our mind and is what I believe sets us apart from others. Not only because we can think like this without being conscious of it, but also because we can, on a certain level control it, and look for certain details presented to us.
I myself upon meeting someone have purposely looked for wedding rings, predicted age, made note of body language (I should also mention I take an interest in psychology). I do sometimes think this comes across as strange, creepy even, but it allows us to understand the world better, knowing that a single person we encounter is never the same. I think because of our Ni function, I understand how diverse this world is and I recognize individuality. But I also see the patterns, I see the actions and then foresee the consequences.
This brings me to the next function,
This function takes the ideas and that data INTJs gather and analyzes is and then organizes it into systems. As PersonalityHacker.com so nicely put it, Te asks “what works?”
For example, when I meet someone, my Ni takes in the details, and then my Te makes the decision of whether or not I can trust this person, if a friendship or other kind of relationship is possible.
I have to say, I am very proud of the fact that I can able to do this. That I not only examine information, but almost always plan to do something with that information. I turn research into blog posts, ideas into stories, and a boring school assignment into something I’m interested in.
I only recently realized how interesting this function truly is, because as rational as INTJs are, we are also highly creative and imaginative. Interior Design and organizing has always intrigued me, and sometimes I’ll be able to think of or sometimes even dream of a room or home. And I’ll actually draw out a basic floor plan of the space I imagined and be able to picture it almost exactly. It is however rather disappointing because I rarely see the idea through to a finished product.
Image Source: MBTI Function Worst Fears
This is where our emotions come in, while I have talked about this before in a previous post (INTJ’s and Emotions), I will say it again. INTJs still have emotions; we feel very deeply, we just don’t always express said emotions. And most of the time can’t understand why others are able to express them so outwardly and strongly.
My sister for example, is an INFJ, and she has always been known to be the more emotional one. She has very strong emotions and expresses them in a way that sometimes overwhelms me. What helps is that I tell her we need to take a step back, discuss how we feel after the good long cry and actually do something about it.
And as an INTJ that’s the best thing we can help you with, you have a problem, and we’ll do everything we can to fix it.
But in the end, when faced with emotionally difficult situations, it’s about “what feels RIGHT,” (source). Yes we know when we should follow our brain, but we also know when we should follow our heart (it may take us a while, but we’ll get there).
Lastly, is the Se function. Which I will admit, I’m still working on. Even when I was doing the research for this post, the Extroverted Sensing descriptions I couldn’t quite grasp. So from my little understanding of this function I took it to mean that the Se helps us stay in the moment and appreciate it, instead of moving onto something else we can analyze.
INTJs are rare and widely misunderstood, but what makes us a little weird is what makes us unique. I pride myself on being different and not wanting to conform. To live my life the way I want to and not how someone else dictates it. INTJs value deep, meaningful connections, and while those connections are as rare as we are, when they do come along in our lives it’s freeing. There have been maybe two people that have truly understood me, and like everyone else it’s nice to feel appreciated for just being you.
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