Four Strategies for INTJs to Become the Coworker Everyone Loves

Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on July 15, 2015

Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging—even the labels don’t make you sound so friendly. And let’s be honest, you probably aren’t going to win any prizes for being the office joker anytime soon.

As an INTJ, you’re known as the Mastermind. Your quest is to understand your subject completely while exploring all the myriad of patterns and possibilities that go with it. You think logically, deeply and with razor-sharp, inward-facing focus. You solve problems like a boss. You’re decisive, ambitious and startlingly curious, but you also don't suffer fools gladly. Intellectual superiority comes with the territory when you’re such an expert in your field.

The problem is, your coworkers don’t know you most of the time. Worse, they perceive you as blunt, cold and arrogant.

Since your career success depends on your ability to build relationships, you’re going to have to prove your doubters wrong. Fortunately, you possess all the qualities you need to lubricate the wheels of social interaction and become thoroughly likeable in the eyes of your co-workers. Here’s how:

Show Vulnerability

Vulnerability may seem completely at odds with an INTJ’s relentless pursuit of knowledge. But in fact, you are very aware of your own limitations and will openly admit when you don’t have an answer. It is only on those subjects that you have studied at great length that you, an INTJ, will express confidence in your views.

As an INTJ, you don’t engage in one-upmanship. You are willing to own up to your mistakes and this is a likeable quality. What’s more, you are so confident in the things you do know, you’re not afraid to look silly about the things you don’t (though you will try to plug those skills gaps, stat). While some of your colleagues will be temporarily dazzled by the self-aggrandizing bravado of the ESFPs or ENTJs in your team, they ultimately will come to appreciate your quiet self-confidence and genuine nature.

Give Your Sense of Humor Free Rein

The typical INTJ is drawn to dry, nihilistic humor— the sort Seinfeld threw out when he mused about the idiosyncrasies of life and perfectly captured the significance of the insignificant. But INTJs don’t just receive humor; they’re pretty good at dishing it out, too.

Humor is based on irony, and irony is based on viewing something from a unique and discordant angle, something that INTJs are particularly good at. It’s therefore likely that you possess a deadpan wit that coworkers may regard as quirky and appealing. Next time you’re talking with colleagues, inject a little ad-hoc humor into the conversation. You may be surprised at the power it has to win friends and influence people.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

While you hate idle gossip (it’s a waste of time), you instinctively ask open-ended questions that your conversation partner can answer in a thoughtful, introspective way. After all, you know what you know, but you also want to know what the other person knows. It’s all part of your desire to seek out new ideas and fresh perspectives, and on that particular quest, everything is open to debate.

Is asking open-ended questions a good thing? Absolutely. Open-ended questions get the other people to talk candidly about themselves. In doing so, they will feel like the most interesting person in the world—and they will like you better for making them feel that way.

Treat Everyone With Equal Respect

Treating everyone with respect comes instinctively to INTJs, who are very skeptical of titles, qualifications and any other type of unmerited authority. Because they reserve their respect for those that earn it, everyone starts on an equal footing.

The fact that you treat the intern the same as the CEO will go down well with most people. Simply use that amazing brain to recall the small details, like remembering the name of your coworker’s dog, and you instantly will make them feel a little prouder and a little better about themselves. And that, INTJ, makes them feel better about you.

So there you have it—four ways to boost your popularity with coworkers. What strategies have helped you connect with co-workers?

Molly Owens

Molly Owens is the founder and CEO of Truity. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley and holds a master's degree in counseling psychology. She began working with personality assessments in 2006, and in 2012 founded Truity with the goal of making robust, scientifically validated assessments more accessible and user-friendly.

Molly is an ENTP and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she enjoys elaborate cooking projects, murder mysteries, and exploring with her husband and son.

More from this author...
About the Clinical Reviewer

Steven Melendy, PsyD., is a Clinical Psychologist who received his doctorate from The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. He specializes in using evidence-based approaches in his work with individuals and groups. Steve has worked with diverse populations and in variety of a settings, from community clinics to SF General Hospital. He believes strongly in the importance of self-care, good friendships, and humor whenever possible.


K (not verified) says...

I am a female INTJ with anxiety and panic disorder. On the Big 5, my "E" was 0%. The workplace can throw so much negativity at an INTJ, I always felt like I was being punished for trying to help. Ideas to improve efficiency and reduce stress were met with accusations of arrogance. I was accused of 'not liking' people because I didn't go out of my way to make friends, and did not socialize with co-workers outside of work. Two reasons for that. One, I would rather be with kids and hubby. I see co-workers all day long. Two, they would go out drinking. I don't drink. I don't condemn them for drinking, I just don't drink myself, so going out drinking doesn't sound fun to me. On top of all that, I had very little in common with most of them. The one I had the most in common with, the common factor was that we both enjoy the band Boston. That's good for about 10 minutes of conversation, tops. I was constantly being accused of being cold, hard, stuck up and was even told that they didn't believe I even have feelings, even though I went out of my way to walk on eggshells and carefully consider every word to try and avoid coming off wrong. I stopped making any kinds of suggestions so that they wouldn't accuse me of thinking I'm better than everyone else again. They couldn't even explain exactly what I had said or done that led them to feel that way when I asked. I tried the polite stuff, asking how was your weekend on Monday mornings, complimenting a pretty accessory or good work I'd seen them do, things like that, even though I already felt so much hostility from these people that I actually had to work up the courage to open my mouth and try to build a bridge, I learned a long time ago that in an abusive environment the best place to be is under the radar. It did not seem to change anything. I had definitely shown vulnerability, they had already reduced me to a panic attack when they threatened my job for something someone else did, because I was there and should have known what was going on. Sorry, I was doing my job, which was completely unrelated to the other person's job. I could tell a thousand more stories like that, the lousy position it is to be so hated by the bosses, but they can't deny your work ethic, so they try to use that against you. I should have been doing my job AND making sure she was doing hers. I told them, they gave this girl the position, meaning they trusted her to do the job, and I followed their lead on that and had trusted her to do her job, and focused on mine. What I did not say is that I personally felt that this girl was maybe not ready for as much responsibility as they gave her. No jealousy, I DID NOT want her job, I liked the work I was doing. Why can't the quality of my work just speak for itself? Leave me alone and let me work, I'm being productive, I show up, I work hard, I took on extra projects, and did things outside my job description without complaints. SO WHAT IF I DON"T HAVE A FACEBOOK, AND WON"T MAKE ONE JUST TO FRIEND CO-WORKERS? The things suggested have never helped me, nor has anything else that I've tried. The only thing that's ever been even slightly better is working with mostly men, instead of women (yes, I know, self-hating woman, guilty as charged). Men don't mind introverts so much, they don't take it personally, they see me working and have no problem with that. They will find me polite and helpful, if quiet, when they need to speak to me about work. Women seem to take it as a personal insult when someone just wants to...scandalous idea...WORK while at...WORK instead of promptly jumping into the social scene and making friends instead of focusing on the need I was hired to meet. I thought that was a good thing, I see so many comments from managers complaining about employees glued to phones/socializing on company time. Sorry for the long rant, I knew I have been extremely confused and hurt, I guess I'm pretty frustrated and feeling pretty hopeless about the whole thing, I don't work there anymore, thank the deity of your choice. I just don't have much hope that the next job will be much better.

V (not verified) says...

The majority of your fears are imagined(INTJs are really good at this) and these cause your external actions to snowball into something negative and in the end feed back to you, a never ending cycle where the more you try to fix it the worse it gets. As a fellow INTJ I recommend focusing on the logic of the illogical(I know what you are thinking here), what makes these people tick, what their sensitivities are, and have a mind's eye for their perspective. Once you understand where these people you will be able to formulate a strategy that enables you to act in such a way as not to cause offense but gain respect.

The workplace is like a strategy game, especially workplaces that have high socially centric constructs - this can drain INTJs much faster than others, but we still have to play because we are part of this world and it need us just as much as everyone else(if not more). It is not always who is right but what is best for the whole team. This may seem illogical to you and I but that is the way it is, so the logical action would be to either play the "game" or create one of your own.

As an INTJ you will figure this out, we can pretty much accomplish anything. The most difficult thing an INTJ will face in his or her life is romance, and you have already figured that out. The rest is icing on the cake!


Jagruti (not verified) says...

HI K, Me too an INTJ, been and often am in very very similar situations like yours.
Believe me you aren't the smartest one out there, there are people who are smarter than you emotionally (and mentally as well) who will comprehend your personality and see the softie-smartie you are, inspite of your shell and walls. Open yourself to finding those people. This will help you to stop attracting ‘victim situations’ which you currently seem to be doing.
Change of job is not going to change your circumstances. Cause you carry this mindset with you and you will bring it to any and every new situation you put yourself into. So resolve the issue of social situation in office. Take the risk. Your sensitive self is probably parched for that social acceptance.
Learn how to resolve it by challenging yourself to be accountable. Take ownership for yourself and everything that happens to you. That's the only way to become unstuck and make your world spin - there is NO OTHER WAY.
Release the pressure you are causing to yourself, hunt for resolution of both the childhood and adulthood incidences which have made you take on the habit of living on adrenal rush. There are special ways to unlearn this habit - find out about them. Unless you are liking it. But it will tire you out one day and you won’t like it anymore and it will be more difficult to get out of the habit which has been with you for so long. Don’t give up on yourself with words like ‘disorder’. It seems so final and you have opened your description with this line. I am not sure doing ‘a little’ everyday towards this will help if your situation is intense. I made changes in my life after becoming passionate (read possessed) about my own well being. I assumed I am at ground zero, actually I was at ‘below ground zero’ level and began to build from there.
Don't penalize yourself for wanting to spend time with family instead of colleagues. You lucky girl, you have a family you want to go home to and for an INTJ that is winning the world cup in relationships:) I own such a world cup. But check yourself - are you taking cover under the excuse of family to avoid people and risk of rejection?
Don’t try to be polite – It doesn’t work for me. Either I forget to be polite or I don’t care to be polite. But I do not excuse myself for unkind behavior and unkind intentions. That is the only clear glass to view any situation for me, because my problem is that correcting people in certain areas which are my forte comes very easily to me. I forget to disconnect myself and become passionately imposing on situations which are not mine to action.
I have a colleague at work, It is a delight and absolute pleasure to read his emails on handling sticky situations. He will tell what needs to be told (even if he is reprimanding someone) in the kindest way possible. He ensures that the reader is in a state to receive the message, that it does not get personal thus eliminating the possibility of him/her going into offensive or defensive but truly understands the reason of the communication which says everything that needs to be said. It is an art I have to have to learn.
You say people think of you as cold, hard, stuck up and a person without feelings. They probably don’t. Is it possible that these are your harsh descriptions about yourself. These are probably stories which we adopt as our reality and later over a period of time, we allow them to define us. It is our choice to believe in empowering truths of the same story and they won’t hold that negative emotional charge any more. With these new perspectives, it is easy to redefine ourselves.
I can totally relate with you about wanting to be under the radar, but you will be miserable if you don’t allow your light to shine. See INTJ as your strength and accept your strengths, don’t be apologetic for them and do entwine them with humility and kindness.
I can tell you that I am frightened by the thought of unleashing my potential. I know if I do it, it will overwhelm me, ask more accountability from me. But I accept that it is me and not others because of whom I hide.
If anything I have written upsets you or ticks you off, I hope it nags you and nags you and nags until you find out why it does so.
Women can be bitches but they can also be most nurturing, supportive and if you haven’t found anyone out there like that then you could you could become the first. See that is the mean me. Sorry will rephrase it.
Women can be bitches but they can also be most nurturing and supportive. Believe it and ‘the deity of your choice’ will bring such people empowering people into your life.
Another observation I wish to share with you is that the concept of friendship has become so commercial that the fact that friendship is the byproduct of emotional intimacy and not the reason for it is almost lost. So don’t worry about facebook. As long as I have a person in my life with whom I can be intimate with integrity - sometimes that person is me – I (as an INTJ) deem myself as having achieved success :)
So I doubt it will take you long to find people you can connect with. If anything we INTJs are quick with a capital Q.

K (not verified) says...

Im wish I was "creating" this issue because then I could do something about it. Jagruti, these people have told me they percieve me in those negative ways to my face. There is no delusion on that. Nor is there any desire for social acceptance from people who will say things like that but not have a reason when asked. I don't need to be under the radar unless I'm being harassed and abused. I have always taken ownership for myself and my actions, and made every effort to listen to people. Like I said, I do very well around men, but women just have a very difficult time accepting that some women aren't consumed by social pursuits. They act like they're the ones starving for social acceptance and attention, and can't understand why I simply don't care. It seems to irritate them further when they try to cold shoulder me and find that I'm actually pleased they're doing it. They appear to be deliberately trying to hurt the individual who is not interested in them. Oddly enough, romantic relationships are so much easier for me than friendships/coworking, and much more worth the effort. I stopped actively trying to make friends 15 years ago, so much emotional effort to get to know someone, time spent with that person building a bond, its just not where I choose to direct my energies. Social rejection? If that means they're leaving me alone, excellent. I believe there are good people out there, I just believe I haven't met 99.9% of them.

Guest (not verified) says...

Hi K:) I am an INTJ woman too, 24. I TOTALLY feel you more than you know! I have never been told to my face my other women at places I worked that I am not liked but I have KNOWN that I am unliked for my directness, honesty, and intellect. It does not help if you are pretty too, because other women will take your INTJ characteristics as even more arrogant (I have been told by peers I am arrogant several x). I too have always connected with men far easier! Being pretty this makes it even harder because when I was as a teaching assistant with the other 90% of TA's being women, and the 10% being men, all of them talking to me, it pissed off the other 90% of the women. I have always felt secluded and isolated from women who are WHITE. ( I am white). I suggest looking for women who are diverse because I have found great success in building relationships with women from diverse backgrounds. However this has taken me my entire life. I would find filler people for the time being such as guys at the gym or something who you can chill with and watch games (sports) or something with. That being said i totally feel you and feel your pain. I was fired from a job being told that "I am very brilliant, but have an attitude." All I can say it screw those people. Build barriers do not CARE if they don't like you. who needs them anyway? Smile when you see them (women seem to loving smiling idk). This will make you appear very friendly. If you believe in God pray to him and he will assist you with the unseen angels :)

Sorpesa (not verified) says...

Yes, all those brains and pretty too! We don't need them. They need us. Men have always been kinder to me than women.

BeckyWiththeGoodFro (not verified) says...

Love this piece of advice. I'm a 24 INTJ woman too and I find I suffer from these unwarranted accusations of feelings of superiority and pride which are almost humorous cause not only are they accurate but I find myself thinking "and so what as long as shit gets done". If moved from the point where I desire to be 'like' and enjoy my INTJ traits as it aids me sieve the wheat from the social chaff. Lol. (Excuse the dry humour). What I do find challenging is managing my finances or in better words monitoring how I use my finances. I focus more on purchasing durable techie stuff and thinking of property investments and stuff of that nature as opposed to going out and spending to enjoy life for the sake of it - which has always sounded impractical to me but I'd like to change this structured, goal oriented INTJ mindset a bit with regards to expenditure... open to suggestions if any.

truthful skeptic (not verified) says...

I 100% agree with K.  I'm experiencing it currently.  I recently started a job that is 95% white women and I'm a black (attractive with a hell of a wardrobe).  I've been kind and respectful to everyone, so I thought.  I just went through 8 weeks of training and on the last day the supervisor and manager gave me a  formal written warning?!?!  This is a job that is beneath me (i know that sounds bad, but I did this intentionally.  I wanted a no thought job so I can pursue my own blog and business after work...didn't want a career again).  They wrote that I didn't understand the material and don't  understand the customer's questions.  They went on to say I use incorrect grammar, i'm not empathetic, and I haven't mastered the position.  They presented this the very first day that wasn't a training day.  I was floored.  First,  how do you know what someone understands?  I always thought that is something that should be in the form of a question if you are not talking about yourself.  Second, (yes, i gotta count it off because I'm heated) they did not leave any room for me to make a comment  (who does that?).  Third, they both had smirks the entire time.  I have done nothing to these women.  I come to work, I do what is asked of me, I follow their instructions, I do ask a lot of questions (i like to make sure i understand), and i'm quiet.  They read it from the computer instead of making two physical copies, one for them and one for me.  I couldn't comment because I could not see what was written.  I only was able to respond after everything was read aloud.  I have never in my entire life experienced anything like this.  

I did receive a physical copy towards the end of the day in front of the entire company (open office).  I was asked to read it over, sign it, and bring it back the next day.  I could have karate chopped every single one of them, but I remained calm.  I took the sheet of lies and read it at home.  I emailed the manager and asked for a meeting with just her the next day.  I decided I would not sign such a document.

The next day, I explained that I would not sign something that I did not agree with nor do I agree with it's existence in the first place.  After training, you should be given time to implement into your everyday work what you have learned.  I was not given that opportunity.  Instead of congratulations and a vote of confidence I received a warning.  I also went on to tell her since I had been there I was reprimanded three times for things I never knew because I'm new.  I was told at the beginning they expected us to make mistakes, but now I no longer believe that is true.  I also added that any type of document that will go into an employee's file should have space for the employee to add their point of view.  She seemed dumb founded that I knew that...damn bitch, you are the underestimator (pick your chin up).  Lastly, I told her as I have been told everything I have done wrong, I have yet to receive any positive reinforcement.  In my past career I was a Sr. Mgr of Engineering (yet I do not understand customer service).  I explained when I was forced to put someone on performance review or give a verbal warning (which was skipped), and written warnings I made sure before the meeting was over I expressed what made them special to the team.  They needed to know why they received a chance to improve instead of us letting them go (an at will state).  Once again, dumbfounded she had no answer.  Now she gives me high fives and tries to make a big deal about trivial things (which is even more annoying...don't patronize me).  I'm good and annoyed and have fresshend up the resume and the search has begun and my time is limited.  I can't work for a company that would allow such foolishness and pettiness.

I get dirty looks and side eyes all day from people I have never done anything to.  I have no clue what to do, so I just stay to myself (because I don't care, I just don't understand what is the motivation behind it).

Anyway, I'm tired of typing...I hope you get the gist.

anxietJ (not verified) says...


I really relate to the commenter's story. I'm an INTJ male who has developed a sometimes severe anxiety in public when I'm expected to "perform" socially-especially with more than 3 people's attention on me. I would say half the reasons could be imagined, but half are not as i often get people's comments about how offputting I seem-and this wears on me (e.g. "you're really smart but a disaster at conversation", "why don't you smile"). It's definitely worse to be paralyzed around people than to be inconvenienced by them. 

Anyways, I replied to your comment because you mentioned God. I just read that INTJ's are the least likely type to find God-well here are two of them in this comment section, despite the odds God still worked in my life and now I have no doubts He is real. Glad to see another INTJ who took a leap of faith. Being a woman INTJ of faith, you are a rare type among rare types. I'd love to hear your testimony, if you ever see this. 

Interesting that white women hate you, maybe it is a competition thing, or you present an accessible mirror to themselves ?

Guest (not verified) says...

I live with the same problems. The more I ignore their catty remarks it seems they have to raise the bar.

Sorpesa (not verified) says...

I love you, K. I would post this on my door here at the old age home, but I don't want them to find out that I LIKE when they snub me. I am almost 70 and I am still pretty. It drives the mean girls wild. I don't dare tell them all the adventures of my life. I have hung out with movie stars, lived in Manhattan and Notting Hill, been around blocks most people don't know exist. They are so full of envy already. What if they knew the truth? I self-identify as a medieval monk now. I recommend it. The longer I remain alone, the better it gets. God is great.

BB (not verified) says...

Hi K, 

I don't think you have imagined anything...those things do happen...reading your story was like reading mine...yes it's true we intj sometime imagine things in our mind as it is true that we are quite aware when this happen..unless we are in a severe stress for an extended period of time...which was not in your case...the post is quite old and i hope you have found a new workplace that fits you...and as someone said you have a family the most difficult thing for most of the Intj :D

Thank you for sharing your really helps knowing you are not the way, I too have found keeping myself out of radar as the only solution in a bad envoirement...someone said it will make us miserbale..that is true too, but it's better like that until you manage to find a better place.

Carrie Lin (not verified) says...

I have experienced a similar situation at work. I was doing my job, what I had known and been taught, it was my first time working in childcare the lady I was working with had been there for 5yrs,she would do somethings that I thought were okay because if they weren't why would she do them? I never said anything because I trusted her.When someone told the bosses about the things she did, I would get blamed as well partially. I didn't see it as fair. I didn't talk to anyone at work besides the director over our area and my Co worker, the ladies gossiped a lot, they would tell me about everything that was going on, I would hear different sides of the story but keep my mouth shut because I wasn't about to lose my job over gossip. I ended up quiting, I suppose I need a job that gets me straight guidelines and duties.

Kitty1334344 (not verified) says...

I'm really K from above, truity doesn't want to recognize me tonight. Carrie, you were right to quit, if you're not in the right clique in a female dominated place like child care (that's where I was as well, and as an atheist working in a church environment) they would have eventually come up with a reason just because they didn't like you. Not that you were the problem, they were, and I wish I could have escaped my childcare hell sooner. Between everything they put me through and the bs I have to deal with from exhusband, I am now a complete basket case with anxiety and panic attacks, plus severe depression and not even attempting to go d work anymore. I'm only 31.

Paula5964 (not verified) says...

From the way you reason and write, you are definately NOT an intj.

Kitty1334344 (not verified) says...

Thank you for your judgement. Just going based on the test results. You should consider applying with my former employer, you'd fit right in.

Nanette (not verified) says...

Hi k. I can relate and empathise with your situation. I tend to want to want to be on my own a lot as well( with my kids as I'm a single mother). Before doing this personality test I thought there was something wrong with me. Like you I have realised that I am not comfortable in 'social' situation. I hate parties and small talk. Until recently, I'm currently working through recovery from an alcohol addiction which resulted from me trying to fit in and people-please.
So my advice to you is keep being yourself no matter what. Train yourself to not care what others say. We cannot change others, but we can change the way we respond to what they do.


Debi (not verified) says...

I feel your pain! If I could offer a couple suggestions without seeming to blunt, perhaps it would be helpful.

Working with women is a bad idea because they NEVER get along. It's a lack of self confidence within them, and they are threatened easily - even unintentionally on your part. They have to socialize on the phone or out in clubs to show every one how good they are - we (INTJ'S) already know how good we are and don't need to express it that way.

Owning your own business would be a much better fit for you. You make the rules. If you are not a "people person" (as most of us are not)hire a male General Manager to enforce your rules. Mr. Personality (GM) can deal with the issues of the day - no phones while your working, need this by 2pm, you can't wear that to work, ect. I prefer military men for this position because they will get results and they are usually "warmer and fuzzier" than we would be although their tolerance for incomplete work almost matches ours. Also these types don't take it personal if employees think they are an ass. Part of the job - move on.

Embrace who you are, the rest will fall in line. Your family will appreciate you for it. Good luck.

Silk (not verified) says...

I am also an INTJ female and can relate to everything you if I wrote this myself. With the exception of spouse and kids. Consider yourself blessed.

Guest (not verified) says...

I am an INTJ. Women treat me the same way. Sometimes they go out of their way to antagonize me and all I do is work. It is like an instant hate. All I could ever conclude is management likes my work and since they are lazy it sets them off.

Tawnya Edwards (not verified) says...

Hi K,
As much as I hate to admit, I can totally relate. I've had way too many jobs over the years and have found the same problem with many of them. I work as a bookkeeper and have found this to be the most accommodating type of work for me. I sit in a cubical all day to do my work. Minimal people contact, I get my stuff done and clock out to go home to do whatever. I feel for you. Hang in there and I find hobbies are really helpful.

Guest (not verified) says...

This sounds -you sound- just like situation. My support group says that the reason why I'm resented is because I intimidate my superiors (men). My coworkers accept me for my neurotic self. I just wanted say, "Hi,".

Barry the intj (not verified) says...

Honestly, your workplace sounds toxic. I think you should resist any kind of effort to placate the bitches in your workplace. Pick the leader and let go on her with everything you have (verbally not physically), making sure not to swear and stay within the bounds of what is legally allowed wherever you live. Corner her mentally and tear chunks out of her mind/self esteem/sense of being. Go harder than you've ever let yourself go. If done right, that person will either quit the job, or have a breakdown, but they sure as hell won't look at you in a hostile way again. You'll have a reputation in the workplace for being a bitch, but let's face it, it's better to be thought of as a bitch than to be someone's bitch. Stand by your solid work ethic and if your job gets threatened at all sue the workplace. In the mean time, document all their behavior for legal purposes.
In any other workplace, be your easy going efficient self, if anyone gives you shit, mess them up immediately, let them know you're not an easy mark, they'll go bully someone else. The whole world is a prison, people just convince themselves otherwise. All of our eyes face forewords to judge the distance to our prey, we're all predators. It follows that you act accordingly; as though you're locked in a room with a bunch of pieces of shit that need to know you will f**k them up if they do much as look at you.
I hope this helps more than that shit about recalling someone's dogs name.

Sarah_Geo (not verified) says...

Thanks for posting.  I've been working full-time for 14 years and although I've never been popular, I too am living your nightmare.  My family blames it on my personality (INTJ) but in such a way that they suggest it is my fault.  Hang in there!  I've decided the only way out is to run my own business.

Leo6827 (not verified) says...

Hey, K. I know how you feel, evem though I still don't work (I'm a Law student). I don't know if it will work for you, but maybe you could research NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), it is all scientific, no sham. basically, it teaches you to improve your performace by "modeling" people. you can model anything from learning something knew to being more empathetic. I stumpled on it resently and am reading a book on it: Unlimited Power (here, power isn't meant as political/economic etc power, but on how to take action for you to chance whatever you want).

It's very easy to read and the is the -book on Amazon and I think on iBooks too.

Hope I was able to help. 

Travis Sparks (not verified) says...

I used to work in a similiar work environment.  My advice is leave.  Your never going to be happy their, and they only will appreciate you once you leave.  Realizing just how much you actually did.  When I left my shit job, they had to hire 3 new people to fill my position.  And from what a former coworker told me they are still no where near my level of quality.  They ask him about me regularly, which tells me they know they fucked up by forcing me to leave.  I on the other hand am in a job where I am highly valued now, my ideas are heard and implemented, and I am given the freedom I want.  INTJ are the definition of talent, and every company says they hire talent.  But how many RETAIN talent, I would venture few.  Only those with managers that know it is the employees you have to work for to retain that are truely the ones worth keeping around.

Marcos Montalvo (not verified) says...

Travis I left. Put in my two weeks but on the 7th business day I walked into the supervisors office and said I'm done with're fired. After nearly five years of bullshit enough was enough. I stayed because of certain obligations, when they were met, I realized I was free to rock the metroplex and roll my ass out of there. Free at last... free at last, thank you God for the dicipline to stay but I'm free at last. I have now the free will to blaze a new trail and do the landscaping as well. Conversation Peace.

KF (not verified) says...

I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone in your experiences. I am a 40-something INTJ female, and I related to everything you wrote regarding your employment experiences (which is a rare occurrence). I often feel like a freak employee at times, because I am so unlike the others, but I am an unusual INTJ, and that's how it is. Your story largely mirrors mine, so I won't rehash. Please know, you're not the only one dealing with the same garbage. Now, if I could only find a boss or coworkers who can appreciate an INTJ, LOL...

Daniel F 86 (not verified) says...

About small talk - Perhaps a mistake INTJs make is that we assume people don't want to talk about the subjects that interest us. Instead of small talk, I'm going to attempt 'medium talk' this week and skip the boring "how was your weekend" "how about those (insert mandatory sports team here)" and just ask an open ended question about a topic that I'm currently supremely interested in. 

For instance right now I want our department to implement inbound marketing strategy, and powered by a centralized project management platform so we work together cohesively. That would be a worthy topic of medium talk discussion! 

JM (not verified) says...

I am suffering from the same. I can so relate to all that you said. I am also having hard time impressing my interviewers. They choose less qualified people over me who can talk the talk and show emotions. I try my best to pour out all I have and its still not enough.

How are you doing now? Did you like your new job?

Sasha (not verified) says...

" The workplace can throw so much negativity at an INTJ, I always felt like I was being punished for trying to help. Ideas to improve efficiency and reduce stress were met with accusations of arrogance. I was accused of 'not liking' people because I didn't go out of my way to make friends"

K, I felt the exact same way that I was always accused of selfish and having my own agenda when I was only trying to help others. Because as an INTJ female, we can see the gap of process and help improve it so that we think it can make others less stressful, however, they considered it as a mean or our game to show we are better than them, I guess that's how some people might perceive the situation. The other thing I think it is our perfectionism doing the work, in particular, when we are not in a leadership position. We always have that tendency of continuous improvement where not everyone think like us and if the change impacts on others, they would think INTJ is control freak and intrude their territory so my current solution is focusing on more of change my own territory and if I have to work with others for change, I will get everyone together, share the thoughts and get the buy-in. 

Joe413 (not verified) says...

Hi my name is Joe. I'm an INTJ. I took the MBTI almost 12 years ago. My problem is this: I have lost two jobs in the past three years. One job was as a budget analyst where my boss would come to my desk and yell at the top of her voice for all to hear. I put an end to that by telling her that if she needed to speak to me in that tone I'd rather be in her office. What she would yell about is my work. She would send me an email stating what she was needing. I would get into her request and realize that something was missing and her request would not work. I would then redesign her request to be as close as possible to her original request. Thinking that I made an improvement on what she was asking for I would hand it in and she would become angry that it was not what she had intended. I would sit and explain it to her so she would understand how the spreadsheet worked. She would sit there and blankly declare, " I don't understand." I would try explaining it again and she would cut me off and rip my work to shreds. It got to the point that working with her would cause me a great deal of anxiety. Here I thought I was doing something to help her by improving upon her request.

The other job was supposed to have been an accounting position but it worked out to be much more administrative (answering phone, responding to voice mail, responding to emails) and the closest I got to doing any kind of analysis was highlighting the totals on the month end reports for someone else to analyze. At one point I made a mistake in saving a file on the computer. I asked my "manager" for help and let her know that this was my fault (so I owned it). Her response went something like this, "I don't believe you did this. I'm about to blow my sh*t on you!!" My problem in both instances is that I don't know how to adequately respond and defend myself from situations like this because when they do happen I tend to internalize what they are saying and, then it leads to a decline in interest in doing the work I do and working with such people. In the latter case the "manager" told me in the exit interview that "I should do something else; that I should never do accounting." I would appreciate any insights on how to deal with people and situations like this. Thank you.

Kitty1334344 (not verified) says...

I wish I could help, Joe, I never could figure bosses like that out either. My anxiety has progresses to the point where I rarely eat or sleep, cannot make or answer a phone call, am terrified of women and have given up on trying to work at this time. Seeking help now, but without much hope. People freak me out. The only thing that might have helped with this boss was possibly asking for clarification of the nonsensical parts of the project before completion, but it seems like that particular boss had no clue what she was doing, what she wanted or what she was asking for. I'm sorry you had to go through that, it sounds like you tried very hard to do your job well. Best to you.

Joe413 (not verified) says...

Dear Kitty1334344,

Thank you for your comment. I'm sorry to hear that you anxiety has progressed to the point where it has brought your life to a standstill. In the past I have asked for clarification of the nonsensical parts of the project she had given me. Her only reply was "to do it"; nothing else. Everyone in my office told me that she is threatened by people that have more education than her. I have two bachelors degrees and she had her high school diploma. In fact I admire the fact that she was able to accomplish what she had accomplished. I didn't want her to think that I was trying to steal her job out from under her because I would never want to get a job in that manner. In the end though I guess pressing for further clarification helps.

Thank you.

Tatyana (not verified) says...

Exactly the same story! I was depressed at one point in my life because of my ESTP boss. Now, I am just thick headed. I find that my hobbies and beautiful children balance everything out.
Sorry to hear that the bright person like you struggles to be appreciated. Just do not give up. There is people who value our gifts.

I just want to say that I am proud to be INTJ despite social difficulties. We are great bunch of people. We just have to use our intelligence to find ways how to deal with all sorts of people.

T (not verified) says...

Hi Joe, I work in accounting too. I have had horrible bosses as you have described, but my current boss is considerably better. I think maybe it is the field that attracts these people. I work for a small company and really only work under the billing manager, different department, or the owners. Sometimes the latter and I have misunderstandings. They don't understand my job and that what they are asking is impossible to process the way they want. I do the best I can, and so far this job has been closer to a good fit. Hang in there, not all bosses are jerks!

A. (not verified) says...

Wow K! It's like reading my own story! All of you are soo like me. I believed for years I was sort of crazy. Find the tests a few weeks ago and I really can't believe there other "me" out there. I am really sorry to read you are feeling so bad. I am almost 50, 2 kids and hubby and a nightmare job. But awe and curiosity keep me going. Really hope you can work it out Katie! Thanks to you all. You made me feel quite "normal" today ;)

Phoenix Morgaine (not verified) says...

Hello fellow INTJ's!

I am a female INTJ and WOW!, the thoughts and feelings expressed in this thread are like reading my own diary.

Kitty, I'm 53 years old and for most of my life, I truly believed that I was "damaged". Depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, failed relationships, et al.

Regarding job history, there is not enough room here to list how many different positions I have held and I have been fired from many of them.

Every few years. I would re-take the test because I could NOT accept that the INTJ characteristics fit me. But something happened the last time I took it in June. All the pieces fell together and I finally understood, that for decades, I had frantically been trying to be someone that I was not. Why? Because I had a faulty belief system that my authentic self was not worthy of expression. Once I truly comprehended how rare the female INTJ personality was, ah-ha's started happening, one after another. It was so freeing to realise that I am not a damaged human being, but an integral, albeit smaller, aspect of society as a whole. It became a mission of mine to start getting to know myself better and learning to appreciate my authentic self.

During this process, I began formulating a plan to go into business for myself (a life long dream).

Then in September, I was laid off.

And do you know what my reaction was?

"Yippee! Here's my chance to do what I need to do."

I gave myself 1 month to rest, regroup and consider my options. However, it actually took 2.5 months, as I hadn't fully comprehended the level of stress I'd been experiencing.

In November, I took the plunge and launched a Life Coaching service. Doing so has required some major attitudinal shifts, bringing perspectives I'd never considered or truly valued before, but I am now happy at a core level.

Kitty. you may want to explore learning The Emotional Freedom Technique to alleviate your anxiety and depression. It has been a life saver for me and is the main tool that I use with my clients. There are many, many YouTube videos to refer to and I would strongly recommend the ones by the creator of EFT, Gary Craig or his associate Dr. Carol Look.

Honour and respect yourself folks.

INTJ's are quite possibly the cog that spins the wheel.

Guest (not verified) says...

I instantly clicked on this article but was afraid it was going to end up being "4 things that I don't feel like doing but need to in order to be successful in the corporate world". What a relief! I actually feel like I can do these things and can be (mostly) comfortable doing so. Thank you!

Jan G (not verified) says...

Hi K,

INTJ for six decades. I suggest the following process for life planning and your workplace/career. In my long experience, INTJ types do not fit well into any workplace groups or teams. Most careers available to you early in life are in workplace groups, which are is necessarily social for 99% except you. And you'll hate it wherever you land. If you are a truly a genius scientist, you'll fit in as an INTJ quite well at MIT... but in my experience and observation of other INTJ's, most of us are not nearly as smart as we think we are. But we are fantastic problem solvers and systems thinkers.

In the workplace, we are the proverbial square pegs. We have high intelligence, but mostly we just work way, way harder than others do... but we solve problems inside our private mindspace where no Boss or co-worker is ever going to understand, appreciate, admire or even acknowledge is possible. have you heard this before... "How can that work... you're only hearing this for the first time."

Have you ever been in a big meeting where the somber Team Leader announced the Big Problem... and all eyes turn to you as you sigh in disbelief? Then Mr. Leader says frostily... "Have you got something to add?"

You know what you do, don't you? You start waving your hands and delivering alternate solutions like flipping pancakes... and you don't shut up for about 5 minutes until everyone is looking at their shoes.

Of course, half the room thinks you're an idiot. The other half can see the problem isn't really a problem it's because the entrenched Systems created by the owner/managers/teams are poorly designed and the root of all the problems. Your solution involves tearing it down and using a properly designed optimal solution. It's really simple, you say.

Now, the top management like this at NASA, not so much at the commercial printing firm where your JOB is.

Screw the jobs, that's my advice. Work for yourself. You'll love the independence and the income. Here's now to get started:

+ Locate that special area of your mental gymnasium you visit often. You know, the mindset of activity that is always your go-to place for Thinking and Problem solving. The one special are you LOVE.

+ Look for a way to translate your special expertise into a valuable service. Not just business services. Every human endeavor has potential for needing your expertise as a solution.

+ List all the groups needing your service. Sort out the profiles in these groups who obviously need what you offer. Sort again to find any "Bleeding neck" profile for problems needing a solution.

+ Even you don't find a bleeding neck, contact a few of them via email and offer to "connect" them to a confidential solution to their bleeding neck problem. Don't give them your phone number. use only email. In emails, give examples of spectacular solution results around their unique profile.

Finally, try this process to gain influence. I know you can solve their problem in about 5 minutes but do not under circumstances do that. Shut the F**k Up in those emails. Write your 5 page email and then delete it. Now write a very brief email! and You only send URLs to specific information that will lead any intelligent person to create a positive solution. Give solution examples with the URLs. That's it.

Communicate only with emails, no phone calls. Give them lots of hints... just read this and read that... the solutions are in there at URL1, URL2.

They will ask a lot of questions in Reply emails. Don't provide direct answers, just say Yes, that is weasily workable using this resource URL3

Just send them more URLS to information. Pretty quickly they will insist you talk to them on the phone/skype. Don't. Email back and tell them you have long experience with XYZ expertise. And if their boss needs you to take an in-depth look at their problem, we can have a 30 minute conference sall. Only talk to the boss.

From that point on, communicate only with the boss... the decision maker. He'll ask you how much? You give him a flat price 5 times more than you think it's worth. You'll be floored when they say... "Okay, but how can you do this for only $XXXXX?"

Now, you'll make a lot of mistakes dealing with clients, but it gets easier. INTJ types are naturals to be freelance consultants... and everyone lives in a moshpit of global opportunity, so its not a problem communicating. You can have clients anywhere!

Fodder for dreams K...
All the best, Jan

Sorpesa (not verified) says...

You should have told this to Mr. Spock. That's why he was on the Enterprise--to consider the feelie-wheelings of grown people who are addicted to emotionalism and believe we all must pander to that. It is not up to intelligent people to accommodate the unintelligent. The unintelligent should find some other line of work. Stop telling INTJs that we are the ones who need to adapt. You have your priorities wrong. It's like those people who keep talking about introverts as if shutting up and minding your own business is a flaw. Next time you are having a feeling about the way someone is NOT treating you, recognize that as a clue that you need to do some work on yourself.

Jan G (not verified) says...

Perhaps I wasn't clear or perhaps you didn't get my message, Sorpesa.

You wrote: "Stop telling INTJs that we are the ones who need to adapt. You have your priorities wrong."

I agree with your conclusiion! However, I'm not telling INTJs to adapt to the workplace... I'm saying INTJs have opportunities to get out of the workplace and not worry about adapting.

You wrote: "It is not up to intelligent people to accommodate the unintelligent. The unintelligent should find some other line of work."

True INTJ's are one of rarest types. I must be a bit older than you... in my long experience... if you think the world is going to adapt to you and your brand of intelligence, you're in for a hard uphill battle. Good luck with that. INTJs are mavericks and lone wolves... we walk alone, that's just the way it is. Some INTJs manage just fine in a workplace where they are left alone to do what they do and come out of the Cave with solutions... but that is rare indeed.

Jenny T-S (not verified) says...

WOW! I totally relate to EVERYTHING being said about INTJs, especially with regard to the work place.
I am stuck in a position (NOT what I was told I would be doing when hired, but the job market is TIGHT right now.) with a lot of ENFP, ESFP types - I know because I gave them ALL Tests! I do a GREAT job - except for the people part. It isn't that I don't like people, it's that I mostly want them to go away so that I can work! I have been "talked to" several times about how I relate to other people.
(If I were not so good at everything else, I'm sure I would have been let go long ago.)
Anyway, the last time I decided to accept the challenge, and being familiar with the Myers-Briggs assessment, went that route. Everyone loves knowing about themselves. Especially when I also printed off a Star Wars spoof of Myers-Briggs Types: Which Star Wars Character are You? (They're all obsessed with Star wars.) Apparently, I'm the really bad guy - Palpatine. Since I helped most of them to score their tests, I readily found out a lot about them. Now, I'm online figuring out how to deal with people based on type.
It is a totally "mastermind" sort of thing to do.
* * * *
Other things that work at work:
My trick when people ask how I'm doing is to just turn it around and ask them. It's NOT a real question anyway - just a social nicety. And, WE ALL KNOW that "FINE" is NOT an answer!
I am really good at remembering names and facts about people - like the names of their kids and dogs.
Every now and then I make brownies or cookies for everyone - bribes help!

Diana Mann (not verified) says...

I work in higher education in a community of 250,000 that is still primarily white, conservative, religious and into football. I am an INTJ who is white, female, 59 years old, diversity tolerant, not into sports, visually talented, non-religious and slightly paranoid (anxiety depressive).

Part of my problem is my own hard wiring and behaviors. I am always in trouble for being caustic, ironic, irreverent, "weird," and not a team player, but I am technically great at my job, and occasionally someone thinks I am hilarious, so I squeak by, but not unscathed. I will never be promoted or rewarded into higher management, only grudgingly kept on because my technical skill level is high and no one else knows how to do what I do.

The other part of the problem is environmental. Most of my co-workers are women, and they were taught in this conservative part of the country that 'being nice' is more valuable than being good at a job, authentic, ethical, fair, tolerant, intelligent, almost anything really.

I was even told once that we can't say the very word 'Problems' at work and should only say 'Opportunities.' How can we ever resolve conflict in a healthy way if we can't even acknowledge problems? Reality is still real, isn't it?

I have been able to adapt to some extent by using humor and smiling a lot, but ultimately my true nature comes out when I have to get the job done and I'm busted again.

Being me is not an excuse to be a jerk, but I do try to accept myself for who I am without berating myself too much. I change the little bit that I can. For example, I now know that if I get an email that is offensive, I will get super hot angry for a period of time so I never email or speak to that person for at least several hours to a day. Then I draft my response, let it sit, edit it down, and finally it sounds normal, or what I think normal is supposed to sound like.

I also bond with a few allies at work, which helps get me through the days.

I still do wish at times I knew what it was like to always know the right thing to say at work or how to say the wrong things just right.

marcos (not verified) says...

Okay, I'm INTJ, I get that but how does being ADHA work with INTJ

Marcia Reisz (not verified) says...

Wow, I wish I'd access to all the INTJ info that's available now. When Ijoied the workplace back in the early 80s I learned that I was much differen than most people, especially the other women I worked with. I looked down on gabby, emotional people. I enjoyed the men's company much more. I wondered what was wrong with me that I was so out of place. I labored under the conclusion that I was deficient in the emotional arena until my mid-thirties when I found out about MBTI. It was a complete paradigm shift. I finally knew that I was OK... just very different. I even started understand Fs. I eventually realized that I would need to create a personality to use when I was outside my head. It seemed like a sell out, dishonest and a rejection of my true self. But if I wanted to function at work, ouside of work and have any kind of relationship with my family, I had to do it. In the last 30 years, I learned to work with people, guessing their type and communication appropriately. I found that the personality I projected became somewhat true. I was exercising my non-preferred characteristics. It wasn't a false me, but a real me that needed to be worked out. While I still hate interruptions, talking on the phone, and gabby people, I've honed my intuition about people. I've learned that if I don't feel like talking to someone, I'll ask about them. Most Es and Fs love to talk about themselves. That way I don't have to talk. All I have to do is wait until they run out of steam. I've learned to paste that plastic smile, use "happy eyes", and nod at the right time.  It was difficult and tiring but with practice it gets easier. And I have developed some pleasant relationships. Making their life easier makes my life easier.

Rin (not verified) says...

I'm a female INTJ and am having a very hard time with my job at the moment. I wish I'd have had more info about myself and my personality back in college when choosing a major and getting a job after. I'm not in the right field for my personality at all. I'm an administrative assistant and I'm nearly in pain everyday, mentally and physically. 

I love solving problems and researching things, but my current position does not allow that and it is actually discouraged. I try to help and come up with better ways (more efficent ways) of doing things and am shut down repeatedly because "the old way is fine." I'm treated like I'm stupid and have been reminded a few times that I am not the boss and if I don't like how the company is run then I can leave. The only reason why I'm still in this horrid assistant job/field is because I've come to the conclusion that I don't want to work for anyone anymore. I just don't know what I can do yet for a career working for myself. I love to write, but that's always a hard way to go to make money. 

It's too bad more workplaces don't value the positives that INTJs bring to the table. I'm tired of being shut down and told that my offers to be efficent are unwanted.

marcos (not verified) says...


Now that you have learned more about yourself, your personality why do you choose to stay in an enviroment where you are so unhappy and unappreciated. I'm an introvert and ADHD . Life hasn't been easy but when it came to working with people there are two things I can recall doing, I always blew my competitors away and never did I ever let people disrespect me. I'm certain they did it behind my back but never did I allow them to do it directly to my face. I'm a person of commitment and I'm loyal but you treat me like shit and we're done. I fired my boss when I was accussed of falsifing documents, no proof and no apologies. I put in my two weeks and walked away with no prospects. three weeks later I got hired on with their competitor, better wages, benefits and a class A organized company. I also service boats on the side which I love and been doing for many years. I took a risk in my faith and ran as fast as I could. When I was asked by co-workers whom I was going to work for I simply replied...I'm moving forward. If you are not supporting children nor taking care of a parent. What's there to loose. People do it all the time. Enjoy creation, be creative and create. Is this where you want to be next year , five years from now...well...

LyRaiTh (not verified) says...

I am a female INTJ and I have been through the same experience you have been, K. I was the head of a rural clinic from Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo Island (a caribbean island), and both female and male coworkers thought that I had an attitude, and that I should stop using my brain and just use my beauty to make people like me. That pissed me off, too bad for them I decided to continue being competent and effective in my job. The nurse even tried to convince the community into demoting me, which she did not achieved as I was complimented by my superiors for my good job. Production increased 8 times during my management, to the point that they would rather get rid of her than me, but getting rid of her was hard due to her politician relatives, so she kept her job. I was too much for the staff, said the employees. I asked them what was the part that was "too much" for them, and they answered that my personality was too strong and intimidating, that they looked like less besides me. I answered that I just do my job, and told them that they should just be themselves around me as long as the job gets done (and done right), I told them that I am just like everyone else, just that what I think and say are solid ideas and arguments that I will not ignore without valid reasons. Of course, some employees passed the majority of the time doing nothing, so of course even the neighbor's cat looked more competent besides them. The contract was for 1 year, so when it was time to leave the clinic, the superiors offered me a higher salary if I stayed as the boss of the clinic, which I refused because it did not go with my life plans nor did I liked the work environment, it needed too much improvement and the employess were not ready nor willing to improve. Months later, the community called me telling me that the clinic was doing terrible, production decreased, every boss they hired quitted within 2-3 months, and asked me to return. But I had to refuse again, this was not a matter of pride or arrogance but convenience. That job was not for someone that wanted to achieve economic stability nor will it allow you to grow intellectually and as a person. Today my job is way better, it allows me study and improve professionally, at the same time that supports me economically.

K, I don't know if your current job is finally fulfilling for you, I didn't told you the whole story (the parts where I was discriminated and abused heavily during two previous jobs) because this comment is long enough already, but I just want you to know that you don't need to change drastically just to accommodate people's preferences, please keep being the great woman you are, you will eventually find people that can get along with the way you are.

I wish I could chat with you using WhatsApp or Skype, I have never met other INTJs, I wish I could have a conversation with all the INTJs that have posted comments in this website.

I apologize for any grammar mistakes, English is not my native language, any correction is truly appreciated.

MissDisplaced (not verified) says...

So many INTJ Females!  So we must not be all that rare. 

I'm so glad I found this because I see myself in so many of these comments and the way we all seem to have difficulty fitting in at work (praised for the quality your work until you get disliked for being truthful) and then suddenly you become the Worst Worker in the World for refusing to be pounded into their mold.  

Why can't they just leave us alone? To, you know, WORK? 

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