I = Introversion | N = Intuition | T = Thinking | J = Judgment
INTJ is one of the 16 classifications of personality type co-invented by Isabel Myer Briggs and her mother, Katharine Cook Briggs. The “I” stands for introversion and its opposite “E” is extroversion. Eight of these personality types are classified as introvert. The other eight are extrovert.
The underlying difference between an introvert and an extrovert is not only the desire but the need of spending a lot of time on their own. It’s how we re-energise and reconnect. In an INTJ’s alone time we are being constructive. Planning the future, overthinking, questioning why things aren’t happening fast enough, writing to-do lists, creating poetry, expanding our thoughts, reading, listening to or playing music and sometimes even taking a solo road trip.
Introverts prefer to shop online. No crowded shopping malls. No interruptions. We avoid queues and masses of people. Music festivals and large gym classes are out of the question. If we do go, there’s a definite need for an indefinite amount of “adjustment time” to build up the courage, energy and enthusiasm to attend.
Adjustment time also applies to invites. Impromptu outings are frightening and overwhelming. Within the adjustment period there are a lot of questions regarding details of the event as well as the usual coercion inside ourselves.
“What if someone talks to me? What do I say? How do I talk about the weather? I don’t even know what’s in fashion, what’s trending or which celebs are in the limelight… Who is Kim Kardasian anyways? What is she famous for again?”
Once in attendance, the plan of attack is to find a small group of familiar people who are on the outside edge looking in. This way no one can creep up from behind for unexpected interaction. Positioning yourself in clear view of the door for a sneaky exit. Or if the social gathering starts at 7pm, there are a myriad of excuses to head off by 9pm. A headache. A busy day tomorrow. Fingers crossed. Next issue…
“What to wear?”
The cupboard is neatly organised consisting of all sorts of beloved black clothes. There is that one coloured dress hanging there, never worn. It gets tried on. Eek! Too far away from the comfort zone and gets hung back up while thinking,
“One day I will be confident enough to wear that dress”.
On the topic of comfort zones, an introvert is really only themselves when they are on their own or within a small group of close friends. A number you could easily count on both hands. In this environment we open up, talk and contribute to the chit chat. It feels safe.
My solitary bubble is serene. I am never bored. If I invite someone inside, I generally want them to leave again soon after. Those who are given more than a few hours of my time really mean a lot to me.
I used to think I was a major procrastinator which others may have labelled as laziness. I now appreciate that an introvert doesn’t make a move until the idea is well thought out and agreed upon within our own mind. It may take weeks to get to this point, and now that I have arrived, there’s nothing to stop me from achieving my goal. Potentially this could be confused with being stubborn. I see it as being focused and driven.
As an INTJ, I have been blessed with uncanny organisational skills, attention to detail, the ability to see improvement and finding solutions. The flip side to this is the “feeling” function is not very well developed. I find it very hard to communicate because I am generally not seen as a “warm” person. More often than not, I can offend people with what I have to say or at least how it has been said. Trust me, I am not doing this on purpose.
INTJ’s will have rehearsed a thousand times over in their minds about how eloquently they want to deliver what they want to say. It never comes out how it echoes in the mind. Time and time again this happens no matter how hard we practice. It feels as though our brains aren’t connected to our mouths at all. Writing down thoughts and communicating in this manner is so much more successful.
INTJ’s make great solo travellers. Why? Because going somewhere knowing nobody is a blessing and gives a sense of relief and freedom. It would be highly unlikely to run into someone you know and then be pushed into the awkwardness of conversational small talk. 6 hours to pass by sitting alone at an airport is nothing. A 14 hour train ride? Bliss. There are thoughts to be thought about some more. Ideas to explore. Books to read. People to watch. Music to listen to and yes, the headphones are definitely in.
When travelling, and even in everyday life, every interaction with a human has a purpose, for example, asking for directions or advice. The rest will be worked out on our own because we are independent and resourceful. There is nothing worse than getting trapped in a one way conversation about someone’s bad knee when the only information you want is what time the next train leaves and from which platform.
Throughout my life, I feel I have been misunderstood. Told to speak up. To smile more. To wear more colour. To be less me. I felt like I was forced to be like “everyone else” in an extroverted world in order not to be targetted. It’s a constant battle. These days, I know more and value my quirkiness. Did you know that only 26% of the world’s population are introverted? 2% of these are classified as INTJ and only 0.8% are female. I am part of a minority group. I really am a rarity.
I will leave you with this quote written by Nishan Panwar. It could be applied to any of the 16 personality types. His words of wisdom are,
“Be you, the world will adjust.”
It’s one of my favourites.