Analytical brilliance. Beneath the quiet surface sits an intellectual prowess which INTPs bring to any environment in which they find themselves. They are fast thinkers and highly logical. Others may not know it since much happens inside the INTP’s own head, yet this type excels in analyzing connections between seemingly random pieces of information and finding flawless explanations to problems that disorient most other personality types.
Objective. INTPs are respected for their relentless pursuit of truth, objectivity and understanding. They make this the goal of their lives and channel their energy into rooting out errors and eliminating inconsistencies. They do this not only for their own personal enjoyment but because they see it as their main contribution to the world in whatever field they may find themselves.
Imaginative. INTPs think deeply about theory, how to understand and explain difficult concepts, and how systems and products function and might be improved. They naturally see things others don’t because they have imaginations that are actively focused and fixated on future potential and possibility.
Enthusiastic. To others, the INTP may come across as private and withdrawn but when a topic piques their interest, INTPs can be very enthusiastic—excited even—about discussing it. This excitement makes them fun to be around. In the right company, INTPs are keen to express their imaginative sense of humor, and enjoy being playful with people who they can trust.
Uncertainty. Despite their intellectual prowess, INTPs often live in fear of failure, anxious that they will overlook some critical aspect of their theory, idea or invention. This causes them to be self-conscious and to waste time and energy second-guessing themselves.
Absent-mindedness. INTPs aren’t labeled “absentminded professors” for no reason. At their worst, they tend to be scattered and disorganized. Intellectual and high-minded, they get caught up in their own brains and fail to deal with the low-level tedium of the here and now such as bills or deadlines. They may fail to conform to even the basic expectations of daily life in society.
Condescension. A significant weakness of the INTP is the tendency to be condescending and critical, either of their opponents or those who simply don’t catch on as quickly as they do. Their constant pursuit of truth and objectivity, though admirable, can also provoke brutality and impatience as they drive home their own perspective. This can be especially toxic in relationships in which logic simply does not always reign supreme.
Insensitivity. INTPs can get into trouble because of their tendency to prioritize the activity taking place in their minds over the needs of others. They comfortably inhabit the realm of their imaginations and this can bring certain problems, not least that INTPs get so caught up in their own theories and abstractions that they forget any kind of emotional consideration. Their focus on ideas and logic, and neglect of personal considerations, can easily offend.
In order to reach their full potential, INTPs should:
Develop emotional intelligence.Though INTPs can make very good friends and partners, they are not overly warm or attentive to the feelings and emotional cues of others. While emotional receptiveness and responsiveness will not come naturally to people of this type, focusing on key behaviors that help other people to feel heard and cared for will expand the INTP's ability to relate and connect.
Harness the power of relationships. Though they are naturally solitary, INTPs are not at their best when they neglect key relationships. INTPs can easily become isolated, especially if they are working on a difficult problem. While they may be indifferent to how many friends or personal relationships they have, INTPs who can learn to purposely cultivate their social and professional connections will be more successful—and happier in the end.
Bring others in. INTPs can easily find themselves rutted or caught in their own blind spots and, given the amount of time they spend in solitude, they may not regularly enjoy the input of others that can help to put them back on course. By bringing other people into their inner worlds, INTPs not only serve their relationships, they also get important feedback that can help them to clarify their high-level ideas and make them understandable and useful to a wider audience.
Think practically. This may be a challenge because INTPs are not characteristically utilitarian or particularly pragmatic. This doesn’t mean they don’t value efficiency, but that they believe in the value of thinking and experimenting for its own sake, even if there is no practical value or outcome attached to it. While we need people who are committed to taking on dream projects and experiments simply because they’re good things to do, employers may be less sympathetic. INTPs should step back and consider their projects from a practical stance. Will this idea actually work? Does it matter? Is this a product people would actually use? Does it have practical value?
Become more charitable. INTPs will always be relentless about what is right, true and logical, but can become more charitable with time and effort. This will also involve working to understand and take into account the emotional concerns of others and seeking to develop empathy and compassion. INTPs can start by trying to look at and understand their own emotions.