5 Reasons INTPs Might Seem Odd to Others—And What You Can Do About It

INTPs have a reputation for being the "oddball" personality type. They're the architects, the thinkers, and the logicians of the personality theory universe. They want to understand the world in all its glorious complexity, and love using others as a sounding board for their brilliant ideas and theories. Some might describe the INTP as the smartest personality type—rational, creative, and ceaselessly curious. Others might describe him as an insufferable know-it-all who can never admit he is wrong. One thing's for sure—the INTP divides opinion.

If you are an INTP, you already know that your everyday behavior can seem strange to others. Unconventional personalities like yours are often told that they're kooky, weird or eccentric because you're different from the norm, and people find that disconcerting. The hardest part is figuring out which of your idiosyncrasies to keep, and which to tone down a little.

Here are some of the things that might earn you the oddball label, and what you can do to overcome this problem.

#1: You are a walking, talking encyclopedia of knowledge

INTPs are all about facts and more facts. You like to be correct about things, and deal with problems rationally and logically. This can be intimidating for others to understand, partly because they can't retain as many facts as you do, but also because it's hard to hold a conversation with someone who is always one step ahead of you. It doesn't help that you don't just load your brain with copious detail, you use that knowledge to rigorously analyze problems from every angle. Others may not understand why you're theorizing even the most casual conversations, or why you're getting so stubborn about things.

How to lose the odd label: It's great that you're a walking database and that you care about enlightening people. Just take care to simplify the facts so that other people can understand them better. And learn to back away when it's clear that someone wants a quick-and-dirty solution. Some personalities can't handle esoteric concepts.

#2: You find emotions irrational and unnerving

The biggest thorn in an INTP's side is their emotions. You can get so focused on reason and analysis that you often lose sight of the human factor, and interpret emotion with the detached logic of a scientific researcher. It's hard for you to own up to feelings like anger, shame or disappointment, since your mind wants to rationalize them. When you do express your feelings, it can be like a flood with the dam breaking loose - terrifying for everyone else in the room. Or you may withdraw entirely when things get too emotional, earning you the reputation of being aloof and emotionless.

How to lose the odd label: It helps to have Feelers in your life to help you recognize and express your feelings. Your intellect can also save you, since you're smart enough to understand emotions when you see them and can think your way through emotional situations. Be present, but remain silent, if you don't know what to say. You might always feel awkward when a friend starts crying, but they'll appreciate the fact that you're there for them. 

#3: You can be cutting and passive aggressive

Ignorance of any kind annoys the INTP. You immediately turn off from people who assume they know all the facts about a situation when usually they know none of them. You're highly tolerant of difference and can be mercilessly blunt, cutting and sarcastic with those who express personal bias, irrational judgment, or insincere views. Sometimes, you might sound like you're having a joke at someone else's expense. If someone seriously annoys you, there's a risk that you'll adopt passive-aggressive tendencies such as popping on your headphones and deliberately ignoring the conversation, or not answering the phone for days or months. This behavior is startlingly odd to those who value harmony and social interaction.

How to lose the odd label: It takes more than one bout of ignorance for you to proclaim a person "stupid," and it's fair to say that when you offer criticism, you're criticizing what the person is talking about, not them personally. Even so, there's such a thing as being too honest. Learning to keep your mouth shut is helpful, and you may need to develop tolerance in general as you tend to see the criticism you offer as objective and impartial, yet take it personally when on the receiving end.

#4: You have the attention span of a goldfish

INTPs are not lazy. In fact, you're especially good at concentrating on the things that interest you and love working in the realm of ideas. The problem is, you tend to have so many ideas that procrastination is rampant. You fly off on tangents, daydreaming and mulling things over to the point where you forget the passage of time. Thinking about ideas is so rewarding that you might stop right there. To others looking in, it seems like you have the attention span of a goldfish, always flitting from one idea to the next without ever getting things done. When productivity is paramount, for example, in school or at work, your lack of follow through can come across as careless and spacey. 

How to lose the odd label: Paying attention for long periods is a skill that you must train for, a bit like training for a marathon. There are plenty of resources out there to help INTPs organize their environment and create a productive routine. For example, you might focus on smaller goals instead of the big, overarching ones. Tackling projects in small chunks will help you to stay motivated and prevent your routine-loathing brain from becoming overwhelmed and understimulated. For many INTPs, it also helps to be exposed to people who get things done - these people can stop you from sliding too far away from important goals.

#5 You couldn't give two hoots about the real world

INTPs have little appetite for the mundane aspects of life, like tying their shoelaces, arriving on time, or doing things because the world says they should. You are more likely to march to the beat of your own drum than to follow the crowd. Reality is often an obstacle to be overcome, since it gets in the way of your inner world. Left to your own devices, there's a chance that you'd become so wrapped up in your own thoughts and ideas that you'd forget the world of others—this is both a blessing and a curse. To compound the problem, INTPs are a rare breed, making up just three percent of the population. There simply aren't many people who can relate to your unconventional mindset, so it's no wonder that others think you're "weird."

How to lose the odd label: Quirkiness is the variety of odd behavior that you probably won't want to change. And why should you? Throughout history, the great innovators and game changers of this world were those who were not afraid to be different. Plenty of people will love your unconventional dress sense, your offbeat sense of humor and your brilliant, crazy ideas. Your originality is magical—embrace it!

Jayne Thompson

Jayne is a freelance copywriter, business writing blogger and the blog editor here at Truity. One part word nerd, two parts skeptic, she helps writing-challenged clients discover the amazing power of words on a page. Jayne is an INTJ and lives in Yorkshire, UK with her ENTJ husband and two baffling children. Find Jayne at White Rose Copywriting.


suraj (not verified) says...

I am an INTP, I tie my shoelaces and reach on time for appointments, but I do not do things as the world says to do, and I am the laziest person I have seen. But I can be not lazy at times doing jobs I like. All other things you said are agreeable.

Sivana Patricia Désirée Ehtridge Holler (not verified) says...

Wow! That was really good, and very true! I just wanted to say thank you for that last point, it made me feel very warm and fuzzy inside! 

shaneka murray (not verified) says...

I am an INTP and suprisingly all 5 reasons applied to me more or less.


Jessica Justice (not verified) says...

It's like you know my innermost workings!!!

This describes me to a "T".

I have always felt like the odd one out, and hate being restricted by societal "norms".

I definitely am a walking encyclopedia & my thirst for knowledge is insatiable.


Bill Bailey (not verified) says...

Hi Jayne,  Great article.  I really enjoyed it. I have now come to use my wife as the manager of my communications with people.  I hate to see people make mistakes or be self-destructive.  I have a tendancy to dispense opinion with no regard for how it would be received. Now, I run this through my wife, and she tells me most of the time to keep my mouth shut.  I identified with your advice in #2 above about having a 'feeler' to help with communications.  I identified with everything, and, I could take the rest of the day adding my thoughts.  Again, your article is muchg appreciated.  Bill

Steve Schwartz (not verified) says...

Bill, I SO hear you!  I married my opposite.  Even more so, she grew up "southern."  There's a saying I've learned:  Southerners don't talk, they visit.  When I have a business call to make, I call, conduct business, and goodbye.  When my wife places a business call, she not only conducts business, but knows someone's life history, in addition, by the time she gets off the phone.  She creates an impact and leaves an impression that my business calls do not.  And, since as an E it is more effortless for her to place calls, I, too, have placed her in charge of our communications.  Put differently, as an INTP, I'm the thinker; she's the "doer."  Usually works well.  Usually.

Alex.S (not verified) says...

I'm an INTP but I don't really agree with point no.2

I'm a more logical person but personally I still in touch with my emotions.

Patrick L. (not verified) says...

I agree. While this is known as a common misconception of the type, I wouldn't doubt that it may apply to some. But still, I couldn't see it applying to the majority of us. It is a misconception after all.

Kay (not verified) says...

I'm pretty sure I'm an INTP, and I agree with roughly 70% of the post. However, (despite it being flattering) the thing that just doesn't make sense to me is the 1st point (walking database of facts). I really can't imagine any personality type who'd hoard facts for the heck of it. Unless they find rote memorization fun. I, personally, only care about facts on topics that interest me. For example, I'm a major space nerd (specifically manned space travel). My knowledge in this area is very deep and I know a lot of facts regarding this subject. But I know nothing about fish physiology. In fact (as much as I hate to admit it) my knowledge in fish biology is quite limited. I'm not sure if I misinterpreted what your first point meant, but I disagree with it.

Emanuela (not verified) says...

The article doesn't mention that you just spurt facts at random times, on random subjects, regardless of your interest in said subjects. It's obviously about knowing a lot about subjects that interest you. I know that it applies to me. I have lots of topics of interest and my constant researching new and interesting things and my eagerness to keep learning stuff makes me know a shitload about a lot of stuff (not about everything, obviously). If a good moment arises, I will gladly share my knowledge with other people. For instance, everyone I know, everyone I've ever worked with knows that I am very good at grammar and language and, if they have a dilemma, I'm the person they will resort to. I also remember that, when I was little, I was so passionate about the Solar System, that I knew every single planet and moon in our Solar System, including details about chemical composition, size, history etc. I have forgotten a few of those details over the years, but it just shows that, if we are passionate about a subject, we'll gather an enormous amount of information about it, making us seem like walking encyclopedias. 


_ (not verified) says...

There has been no space travel, they are all elaborate hoaxes.. Phony "space travel" is part of the giant false narrative fed to the people to keep them deceived, distracted, manipulated, disempowered, and dumbed down.

Ever wonder why Cape Canaveral is so close to the water?  The reason is the rockets go in a parabolic flight path into the water and they quietly retrieve them.

Ever think about the Challenger disaster?  That was a hoax too, the so-called victims were found alive later.

The weightlessness of the astroNOTs in these hoaxes is acheived in zero-g planes floating high in the sky, and harnesses. An astroNOT can be visibly seen pulling on his fellow astroNOT's harness wire in a video interview. The women astroNOTs' hair standing up is accomplished through putting a lot of hairspray in it.

Water bubbles have been seen in videos of astroNOTs said to be "in space", when they are really just in a water tank.

The "space shuttles" coming in for a landing that are filmed are just airplanes disguised to look like them.

Who filmed the astroNOTs leaving the "moon" (really just a set on Earth)?

The Mars rover footage showed a lizard found on Earth, so that tells you it is another hoax.

An astroNOT can be seen on a monitor in the background to be in front of a green screen in a NASA video, telling you they are fraudulent scammers.

Why did the first astroNOTs look anxious and ashamed when they were interviewed on film on returning to Earth, instead of being happy, elated, overjoyed, excited?  It's because they were perpetrating a massive deception on the people, and they never went to the moon.  Why did the astroNOTs give contradictory testimony, some saying they saw stars on the moon, and others saying they didn't see stars?  It's because they never went to the moon.


Kay (not verified) says...

ok... :'(

Kim L (not verified) says...

LOL!  You're definitely on the wrong thread for THAT sort of stuff!  I think the Flat Earth Society is what you're looking for...


Muzjik (not verified) says...

It's not done for fun and it certainly doesn't involve rote memorization...it just happens.  I say "I have an annoying Jeopardy brain that collects useless factoids".  Except, of course, they aren't useless...they get connected to each other in abstract and fascinating ways that baffle most people. 

MattaD0R (not verified) says...

Wow, I was sitting on my porch audibly laughing reading this. It's like every word you wrote came from my brain, because as an intp I'm always analyzing myself

Joshua Bray (not verified) says...

I have never heard something so acurate to me. I never understood these things and have always had a hard time finding meaningful relashionships. This makes so much sense now!

Jennifer W (not verified) says...

I an a INTP Female (curse and blessing).  This is very on point, especially about emotional floodgate.... I am good at analyzing others but when it comes to my own faults, I just can't cope.  I one day decided to become a SME in geneology (granted my profession is in IT) and I mapped 1200 people in two months.  Later I discovered I had ignored so much of my external environment during this time, which almost cost me my personal relationship...

Shell (not verified) says...

It does describe me. I just don't care if people see me as odd. And I get sick of descriptions saying that INTPs are "baffled" by emotions. Emotions don't bother me. As the description notes, I'm only annoyed when people don't see their own bias and irrationality. Emotional arguments annoy me. I am an empathetic person and almost the go-to friend for those who need comfort and insight. I don't mind the genuine emotions of others as long as they don't expect me to mirror them (and judge me if I don't). I'm not a fan of the fake emotions used as social currency though. I also fancy that I understand my own emotions quite well. True, I probably do analyze them and try to make sense of them, but I don't invalidate them. I would say the behavior of being puzzled by others' emotional responses and detaching from and invalidating my own emotion is stuff I grew out of by my teens. Maybe it's because I'm a woman, but I also simply don't think that INTPs must be emotionally dense. That's more of a misunderstanding of Thinking vs Feeling.

COMMODITY52 (not verified) says...

Beautifully said.  It's always for the INTP to dumb down and let everyone get a chance.  How about others step it up a bit and work harder and think before they pulverize someone else's  space.

Only the INTP should change behavior or else they are odd.  Everyone else is a delicate Snowflake and should keep it real.

64CAD says...

This article is quite accurate. However, some small parts do not describe me, and I am an INTP. The first point described me, the second, fourth, and fifth described me to some extent, and the third point not as much. That's all I have to say.

Shmuck98127432423012391023123 (not verified) says...

Well, if i dont tie my shoe laces then they're going to fall of and im going to have to walk bare foot and i dont want to do that. Well if i dont arrive on time i might get fired or i might miss an important lesson in class or i might miss the begining of the movie making it harder for me to understand whats going on and being confused for some time and kind of wasting my money.

Trinity (not verified) says...

this is so true, thats me right down to a "T".  its nice to know i'm not the only one

ALISSA (not verified) says...

As an INTP with a natural stern look, I don't feel that people like me and in fact, stay clear of me. In lecture halls, people never sit next to me as though an imaginary wall has been set around me. In reality, I'm goofy and eccentric when left alone. I crave human interaction in my lonely dorm and find myself talking in the air to someone imaginary, usually about ideas that are gushing out of my head desperately needing someone to listen and respond to them. This makes it hard to focus in my studies as I'm always in my fantasy world of adventure, peace and calm discussions. I hope to get out of my head someday and live more in the present and perhaps be more of a people person

ALISSA (not verified) says...

As an INTP with a natural stern look, I don't feel that people like me and in fact, stay clear of me. In lecture halls, people never sit next to me as though an imaginary wall has been set around me. In reality, I'm goofy and eccentric when left alone. I crave human interaction in my lonely dorm and find myself talking in the air to someone imaginary, usually about ideas that are gushing out of my head desperately needing someone to listen and respond to them. This makes it hard to focus in my studies as I'm always in my fantasy world of adventure, peace and calm discussions. I hope to get out of my head someday and live more in the present and perhaps be more of a people person

JDIEQZX (not verified) says...

This really is a great article, for helping the INTP to get along with others. The problem is, if the INTP is truly knowledgeable, as stated in the article and dealing with others who either have no facts or misinformation or lesser amount of information, if all the intps and intjs constantly hold back to appease others the effect would be to severely limit the transfer of knowledge from one to the next.


It would also have a detrimental effect on the intps ability to think, constantly pulling your punches is not a great way to exercise your body or your brain.


 I'm not saying the article doesn't have tremendous Merit, but I think it should be used cautiously.


One way to keep from fighting and to stay intellectually active is to try to debate or deal with people that are experts in a topic that you are not an expert in


In effect, giving them the big advantage, just try not to cover things that they don't understand in other topics.

msande02 (not verified) says...

Thank you, interesting, extremely accurate(in my case) and it helps to "ground" me. To those who take offense just try and take a step back and remember these are generalizations meant to help and enhance ones understanding of ourselves and our relation to those around us.

Blog on!

Mary (Not INTP) (not verified) says...

Honestly i don't see how this traits make them weird. It makes them special and really cool in my eyes. But then again i'm 13. Eiter way i think INTP is the coolest personality and would like to be friends with one. Also in 5th grade there was a guy in my class who kinda is a INTP. I really liked him and thought he was pretty cool.

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