Ihit “finish,” and less than a second later, my result appeared on the screen announcing that I was an Architect, or INTJ personality type. I raced to the description and skimmed the content. One thing near the top of the page jumped out at me — the statistic that females of this type were immensely rare (about 0.8%).
Instantly, I decided that there was no way I was an INTJ. It was just too unlikely.
I retook the assessment and got a different result: INTP. Since that result was more or less constant each of the eight plus times I took that assessment over six months, I figured this must be so. After all, my desk is a mess. I may or may not have brushed off the fact that I compulsively straighten papers, that all my piles of things are more or less in the same category, and I have an inexplicable fondness for alphabetical order. Sure, my things might look like a junk pile, but they’re in order (unlike the belongings of the solitary ISTP who I know).
My case for my INTP-ness was this:
- I’m chronically afflicted with non-planner-use (although I’m currently open to learning).
- I don’t like making lists (ironic, I know).
- My general environment is a cluttered stack of objects, primarily books.
So who was I really?
Searching for My True Personality Type
As I delved deeper into the world of Myers-Briggs personality types, I tried out multiple assessments multiple times and explored a few theories, including the OCEAN Scale. One day, I took an assessment I had never tried before. I thought about each question a little bit more than I had previously, still thinking that I would just get INTP like I had at least a dozen times before. It was a no brainer.
But when I saw that my result was INTJ, I was intrigued. Was this a real possibility? I scanned the description on the website. This was actually very accurate. How had I never considered this before? I had, more or less, abandoned the J trait. How could I possibly be J?
I read most of the archived articles about INTJs on gamingbrat.com and was repeatedly surprised by the accuracy of almost every single one. It made so much sense. Apparently, I fit into that microscopic percentage of female INTJs.
Mind. Blown. This explained a lot.
A Common Personality Assessment Problem
I’m not alone in what I experienced with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and other personality assessments. For some people, when they take the test, they get different results at different times. It all depends on how you answer the questions.
In fact, this is one of the main criticisms of the MBTI. It doesn’t help that there are lots of free tests online, some that are high-quality, and others that are not. Also, it can be hard to report on your own behavior. For example, we may think we despise spontaneity when really, we don’t plan a single minute of our day. According to the Myers & Briggs Foundation, the best way to determine your type is to sit down with a certified MBTI professional who can guide the process.
And, to be honest, who we are is never going to fit perfectly and neatly into one box. We grow and change over time, and often, we act a little differently in different situations.
In my particular situation, I was flipping between two very similar personality types, so my confusion was understandable. Both INTPs and INTJs are introverts, intuitive, and Thinking types. In fact, I’ve since learned that they have quite a bit in common. Are you an INTJ or INTP? Here are nine ways they’re similar.
9 Things INTJs and INTPs Have in Common
1. We’re private (but I like the word “reserved”).
INTJs and INTPs don’t need or want to spend time talking about things that “don’t matter.” Reserved is a good word to describe us because it gives the idea that we’re saving ourselves for more “important” things. It perfectly describes how we don’t want to waste our limited energy on things like small talk or socializing just to pass the time. INTJs and INTPs are perfectly happy for long stretches of time alone. If we have a book, that’s even better.
2. We’re almost “irrationally” rational.
INTJs and INTPs rigorously test out almost every idea they come in contact with. We reason out everything, and I mean everything. Although we do have emotions, usually we forget to factor them in, which sometimes causes us problems. In the right kind of world, messy emotions wouldn’t be something we’d have to deal with!
3. For us, it’s all about ideas.
Words. We use them to convey ideas and necessary information. Else, be silent. Yes, we may sometimes come across as a little too blunt or direct. But if it were up to us, small talk would be prohibited.
4. Yes, we have emotions — but they’re usually hidden.
Sometimes, when people bring their feelings into a problem, it can drive INTJs and INTPs crazy, because it makes us feel helpless. Honestly, it’s the one thing we have no idea how to deal with, although it’s something we can learn to deal with if we’re very intentional about it.
That being said, it’s extremely easy for Feeling types to misinterpret our facial expressions. We may think it’s neutral when others read sadness or anger. It can be hard for INTJs and INTPs to express their feelings, as we generally view them as private. But if you’re an INTJ or INTP, you may never have realized that until you came across those studies that say bottling up your emotions isn’t healthy — and you actually tried to show your emotions.
5. People time is haaaard.
For us, conversation is viewed as the flow of ideas, and anything less than that feels boring or unnecessary. But it can be a real struggle for INTJs and INTPs when they actually find someone they want to talk to; getting to the point of conversing without awkwardness can be painstakingly difficult.
6. We don’t fit in the puzzle.
Generally, INTPs and INTJs are not conventional. They don’t dress, talk, or act like most of the people you know. Which is fine, because they’re unique. For example, INTPs probably won’t care what they’re wearing at all; as long as their brains can properly function, what else matters? INTJs tend to shift more towards the elegant and classy side of clothing, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll see us just repeating the same thing as everyone else.
7. Already analyzed; what’s next?
The brains of INTJs and INTPs do not stop working. Ever. We analyze everything, even things that we don’t want to spend time analyzing! Although this trait can make us highly creative and excellent problem solvers, it’s not a good thing when we’re trying to fall asleep.
8. I spy patterns.
INTJs and INTPs see patterns and hidden meanings everywhere. This makes us seem very observant, when in reality, little details about our environment (like what color shirt our significant other is wearing) can escape us. The reason we pick up on these things is our intuition — and the fact that we often feel so detached from what’s immediately around us, allowing us to look upon the scene as an observer.
9. We zone out.
We daydream. We make mental lists. We can get lost in our own heads. It’s fairly often that I have to ask the person who was talking to me to repeat their last five sentences because I wasn’t paying attention.