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Hello, all.

I'm Jordan, and I'm an INTJ. When I first read about my type, I agreed with it completely: I value logical consistency, I excel in mathematics and science, I'm objective in my judgements, I'm skeptical, I'm intuitive, I think more about future possibilities than present realities, I'm not swayed by emotional arguments, etc., etc., etc. However, after reading more about my type and discovering that INTJs are seen as "unfeeling," "robotic," and altogether "nonhuman," I began to doubt either 1) that I actually was an INTJ or 2) that non-INTJs actually understood INTJs on a personal level. After taking several more personality assessments (each of which gave me that fateful combination of I, N, T, and J) and doing some introspecting, I decided that INTJs, though we may seem robotic and uncaring on the outside, are misunderstood and misjudged by the world on a multitude of levels. My hope in this post is to share with non-INTJs some of the deeper, more human aspects of INTJs* that INTJs rarely ever share, even with the people they love––and yes, INTJs are capable of love (gasp!), but I'll get to that later.

I'll begin by asking you to think of words that come to mind when you think of an INTJ. You may think of positive words: objective, mastermind, scientist, intelligent, leader, attentive, confident, disciplined, introspective (although some extroverts view introspecting as a negative trait for some reason). But more negative words tend to be associated with the INTJ personality type: aloof, arrogant, cold, unfeeling, perfectionistic, impersonal, judgmental, cynical, stubborn, selfish, unaffectionate, unhappy, and the list goes on and on and on. Are those negative things true about INTJs? Well, yes and no. We may appear very cold on the outside, but that's just because we reserve our warmth and affection for those who deserve it. We're introverts, and thinking introverts at that. We present a calm, somewhat aloof exterior because that's just our natural response to social settings. If you hate us upon first meeting, then obviously you're not going to like us when you get to know us. So, in a way, our coldness tests whether you're someone worth getting to know. If you're repulsed by our exterior and make no effort––and it will take effort––to get past it, then we won't make an effort to get to know you. It's that simple.

But even if you make it past our exterior, you have to earn our trust before we'll share anything with you that is sacred to us. INTJs are naturally distrusting. Why is this? Partially because we're skeptical of everything and everyone, but also partially because, as children, we were idealists. We trusted that the promises people made were true because when we made a promise, even as a child, we always meant to keep it. So we expected the same behavior from others. However, as we grew up, we became disillusioned by those we trusted. Promises were broken. We learned we had been lied to by people we loved, and that hurt. Our idealism gradually turned to cynicism, and we lost faith in people. So trust is something not freely given by an INTJ because they've learned the hard way that when you trust, you get hurt.

"Well," you may ask, "is it even possible to earn an INTJ's trust?" Yes, it is. It's very hard though. We don't let many people in, so, during the first several months of meeting you, we're analyzing everything about you so we can decide whether you're worth letting in or not. Don't get impatient, though. If you get impatient after a year of knowing us and knowing practically nothing about us, you've failed our test. It's going to take a very long time to get to know us, and even then you won't ever be able to understand us completely. So if you give up on us, you've automatically failed our test. We're only ever going to open up to those who see how arrogant and aloof we are, yet still desire to understand us. But once we do let you inside, don't break our trust. Because when we've shared our heart with you and you've broken it, we'll withdraw to some dark corner within our beings where we'll endure more pain than you can imagine. And we don't recover easily. Yes, to everyone who doesn't know us we seem the same as always: cold, critical, judgmental, analyzing, and hardworking. But in truth, we're hurting just as you would hurt if we had broken your trust––but probably more because we're perfectionists and blame ourselves for not being good enough for you or we beat ourselves up for being stupid enough to give you our trust.

This brings me to an important topic: feelings. "What? Feelings? But INTJs are unfeeling machines placed on this earth to to be ridiculed by those of us who have feelings." That seems to be the dominant opinion. But it's wrong. INTJs have real, genuine feelings. We feel very deeply. It's because our feelings are so deep and close to who we are that we don't share them with anyone. We'll share some of them with those closest to us, but our deepest feelings are ineffable. I think if others could step inside us and think the thoughts we think and feel the things we feel, they would collapse under the pressure and confusion we experience every single minute. What sorts of things does an INTJ feel? You should know that we're terrible at communicating emotion, but I think our deepest feeling is the desire to be understood. We want love. No, I'm not talking about the romantic ideas of Nicholas Sparks. Love to an INTJ is about understanding your significant other and being understood by them. It's about finding someone you can trust and sharing things about yourself with them that you would never tell another human being. Sadly, not many people want to understand us. INTJs aren't very lovable. And the knowledge that people have to try to love us is, though we won't ever tell you this, heartbreaking. We wonder what's wrong with us. We ask ourselves how we can improve so that people will want to love us. But in the end we realize it's because of who we are. Most people would rather love someone who bubbles over with emotion than someone who thinks through everything, including love.

In the end, we feel alienated. We want to be accepted, but we aren't willing to turn off our minds or compromise on our beliefs in order to please others. Often, we feel despised, misunderstood, and completely and utterly alone. That's why we're cold. We've simply given up on trying to fit in. We've accepted that we can't change, and we shouldn't have to. Some of us have found someone who wants to understand them. Others have had their trust broken so many times that they've simply given up on trying to find someone who will love them for who they are. But all of us want to be understood. We just don't know how to.

*Note: My findings are based solely on my own personal experience and may not reflect the views of all INTJs, but I do think many will find that they are able to relate in some way or another.
 

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Thank you

I can't even begin to explain how grateful I am for your post. It sums up everything that I've been feeling and thinking about since finding out I'm an INTJ (female) only that I could never have put it into words as well as you did here.
Just like you I questioned if I actually was an INTJ. While most characteristics absolutely suit me (all of those you listed) a lot of what I read about our personality type, whether it was coming from INTJs or non-INTJS seemed so superficial I couldn't relate in any way to most of it. It seemed to me like people had created this simplified idea of either themselves or other INTJs. The only times that I could relate to the type as presented on the internet was when people described INTJ friends they had.
And it kind of makes sense in the way that they actually know the person which I know from experience must have been the result of a long process of getting to know each other.
Growing up friendships didn't mean as much to my peers as they did to me (and they still don't). They would get along with a person one day while ignoring them on the next. That concept just never worked for me. I wanted to be appreciated while appreciating the other person. I wanted unconditional trust and respect. I wanted mutual understanding without or little words. I wanted friendships or just one that last years if not a life time. I think it was at the age of ten when I became disillusioned and kind of ashamed of "wanting so much" from someone.
I felt like a freak for not knowing how to have fun in the way my peers did. I was never depressed or overly emotional but I had so much stuff to talk about. All sorts of stuff but not what everyone else was talking about.

Acting and pretending to be someone I'm not or at least hiding most parts of my personality is incredibly exhausting and frustrating.
Being at parties or around people I feel like all I'm doing is trying to not stand out and just tell everyone what they want to hear or not talk at all.
Not because I'm ashamed of myself or insecure but because I don't want to waste my thoughts and or my energy as I know whenever I open up in the slightest I'll regret it afterwards.
I guess I've accustomed myself to not 'getting rid' of all my thoughts. It's all up in there every minute of the day except when I'm asleep (I love sleeping). It's really not that dramatic. I just feel like I've got so much love and attention to give but no one wants it.
I've always been popular but in a very respectful way. It's like people don't know how to deal with me. They like me for my attitude. I seem extremely calm and easy going on the outside. I'm also very tolerant and let every one do their thing. Unlike what I've read about other INTJs I hardly ever look down on the people around me. All this 'I don't talk to you because you're too dumb to understand my extraordinary intellect' tumblr crap doesn't apply to me at all. I'm very aware of my strengths as well as my weaknesses and my confidence isn't based on some false assumption that everyone around me is beneath my dignity.
In fact, even though I'm thinking non stop my thought process tends to be extremely uncoordinated and messy. It's like I can't come to any conclusion with any thought because there's always a new thought coming in disrupting what I was thinking about.
So, even though apparently my IQ is pretty high whatever that means, I often feel like most of what happens in my brain doesn't make any sense or doesn't lead to a great or any conclusion. I know a lot of people who are much more linear and straight forward thinking and I often wish I was the same.
Even though I've got a lot more to say I'm gonna stop here for now.
It feels good reading about someone whose thoughts are so similar to mine. And to be honest, if my feelings and thoughts mean that I'm no INTJ then I'm perfectly fine with that as well.
Thanks again.
 

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Good descriptions. I do have feelings as well even though they are often buried to the general public. I'm a little older than most INTJ's on the forum (late 30's), and have come to realize a few things about my more idealistic younger self.

1. In order to develop relationships with others I first needed to stop being as judgmental as I used to be. Everyone has good and bad points, if you look for the bad you'll find it, but if you look for the good you'll also find that. Focus on looking for the good. I have never had a single relationship where there wasn't a hint of bad, if you turn people away at the first hint of trouble you'll never have a solid long term relationship, you just have to minimize that part of your relationship.

2. Disappointment = Expectations - Reality. Work on setting realistic expectations and your disappointment levels with others will go down. Learn to simply enjoy what others have to offer while realizing there are likely to be some negative aspects of the relationship that will just need to be managed so that they are minimized.

3. Risks are inherent in life. Our goal should not be not to take any risks, but merely to minimize them. Without taking any risks by putting yourself out there for people you may not be hurt as often, but you will also take a long time to develop any substantial relationships.

Good reading
The Speed of Trust Speed of Trust™ Book Summary | Speed of Trust - FranklinCovey

The 3rd function develops in mid life but will never be as strong and the first 2 functions. For most people, the tertiary function will always be weak. It's something you can not depend on.
In mid life it does add it's characteristics to the dominant and auxiliary.
For INTJs the 3rd function is Introverted Feeling (Fi).
For the INTJ, the Fi helps them empathize with others. INTJs can be cold and distant until Fi develops. Then they might become more sensitive to other's feelings. The INTJ might even want to spend time helping people, either by coaching, or volunteer work. Something that was unthinkable in the INTJs early life.
When you reach out to help someone, you first offer the help of your auxiliary function and then you bring in the tertiary function, which as we pointed out may not be all that well developed and dependable.
For the INTJ, the Introverted Feeling (Fi) will be called upon along with the Extraverted Thinking (Te).
Cognitive Functions - A Simple Explanation
 

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Is funny, as the person who know me the most make fun of how emotional I can be. I have very intense feelings and he doen't even know half of them. Most of the people see me as a cold person, but they didn't make the effort to really know me, and as you mentioned, "they failed my test".

I was a very interesting reading.
 

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Thanks for the fantastic post. Almost nice to hear from a kindred soul.
 
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Beautifully written. Speaking for myself, an apparent lack of emotion does not mean a lack of emotion. Quite often, they're difficult for me to pinpoint or express. My emotions are deep and vulnerable and tie in to my very core values, and I will only share them with you if you have earned my complete trust. My INFJ mother thinks it's very unhealthy to hold in emotions like I do. At first, I laughed at the thought of being able to identify and express my emotions. Now I'm not so sure she was wrong. Perhaps we need to feel this emotional vulnerability with a few select people, because that's the only time I feel like I'm truly connecting with others. Real love is selfless and vulnerable, is it not? Maybe I wouldn't find friendships so dissatisfying if I learned to trust those people with my deepest motives and values.

Thinking back, I can pinpoint specific events that caused those walls to go up between others and any emotions. I was quite expressive in my early childhood, but I eventually learned that other people were usually not able to relate to what I was expressing. The things that I found lovely or profound or dismaying were difficult to communicate, and my efforts were rewarded with confusion or boredom. So I gradually stopped trying to express those deep things that were most meaningful. Although I didn't want to keep those expressions to myself, it was easier than trying to communicate only to be misunderstood.
 

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Great post. You managed to express in words something that I've never really been able to. I feel my feelings very very deeply but I usually don't have words for them and I don't like to try to express them, it always comes out wrong. I never considered that because my emotions are so deeply inside of me and so personal that I would, therefore, have a difficult time talking about them. I always thought I just wasn't explaining myself well and would end up frustrated because I felt that the other person just didn't seem to understand how much I felt.

I discuss my feelings more now when I want to, especially being in a solid 3 year relationship with an INFP. But every time I start talking about how I "feel" I still get that nagging thought in my head that I sound stupid, my feelings are invalid/stupid, and/or that what I'm saying to the other person sounds like complete gibberish. Historically, that thought has been a reason for me to decide it's better off staying in my own head and not trying to express how I feel to anyone ever. As I get older, I understand the need to discuss emotions more, especially in a relationship. It still isn't easy and it makes me pretty uncomfortable but it's nice sometimes to be able to put words to how I'm feeling.
Most of the time I'm in my head and my physical body almost feels like a secondary machine to my mind, it just kind of follows me around. So when I feel emotions in my body, my brain goes from 0-100 in less than a second and I start panicking because I don't want to feel like that. I'm discovering now that it's okay to have feelings and sometimes you have to just let them sit with you while you keep going about your business. It's not the end of the world anymore.
 

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I second all the notions.

Thinking about it, my parents weren't verbal with how they felt for us (their kids) although it is no question that they love and care for me and my brothers. I patterned after their behaviour as one can predict--monkey see monkey do (ironic cos I'm not a monkey). I was on the early part of my teens and I didn't understand the many forms of love (i.e. romantic was different from parental). I felt unloved, love as defined by Walt Disney. My first time opeming up about my feelings were towards my parents. I told them how unloved I felt in an unloving way. I was reprimanded so badly. I realized that bottling up my emotions was the best thing to do for me and the people concerned. It wasn't.

My current problem is that I want to be able to trust more easily because my distrust is taking its toll on me.
 

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I have lately realized that I am an INTJ. This is a surprise to me. Why? Because I hardly see myself as cold and unfeeling. This self image may not jive with what others see me.

Also, growing up, I was not interested in science and math. I could handle math and biology but I found chemistry and physics tiring. My fav subjects are history and language.

The above were the reasons why I didn't see myself as an INTJ (I thought I was an INFJ).

It took a nagging feeling and someone here pointing something out for me to start questioning my type. The feeling part I identified as Fe is actually Fi. The sense of a bull in the china shop growing up should fit most INTJs. I got punished by my parents way more than my two brothers solely due to the lack of reading emotions. My mom was mad as hell and I had no clue, continue making havoc.

What I am saying is, not all INTJs are stereotypical robot working in STEM field. My work is real estate related, which is great for Ni-Te-Se.
@jordancox
Thank you for sharing your journey. Wish you a bright future and much luck in finding love, friendship, and career path. Hope to see your more here in the forum. :)
 
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I absolutely relate to this feeling. I oft think about my emotions and my failure to display the truly vulnerable ones. I refused to cry in front of my wife for 3 years... I did not cry for my moms passing until 6 years later. I looked at my internal fabric of ideas and associate those feelings with weakness, not that they are weak but rather allowing another to view my vulnerability and have credence to undermine my confidence is frightening. In order for me to remain internally consistent I had to hide those feelings and I could not deal with them when presented to me. I suspect at the time my value and essence had to remain constant or I would appear as two halves of myself. The thought of being a hypocrite leaves a horrible taste in my mouth. Ill never forget my wife's face when she saw me cry. I had just caught her in her infidelity and she exclaimed how I was so distant and cold subject to my own world. I was completely floored as I suspected that she recognized my work and consistency as my display of love. She(ENFP) absolutely did not and asked why I was the way I was. I'm sure she expected some over dramatic childhood experience for my reason. Instead I cried and had to tell her that I could not relate to her intellectually and in my journey for perfection, curiosity and mastery I picked up projects which I could fine tune and perfect in some regard. She looked puzzled and didn't understand to one iota.

I know the daily struggles of being an INTJ. The systematic prowess which we posses allows us to apply it to any and all things being able to relate previous systems to the next one furthering our understanding of consistency. Applying these systems to the foundation of Logic and Transcendental principals is gripping and wondrous often portraying aloofness. Oh how I long to meet a mate who values consistency and principal! That has always been my biggest struggle; remaining consistent out of principal and objective reasoning so as not to dabble in arbitrariness and subjectivity.

You are absolutely right with the intense feelings we actually do have to share but finding the one who will understand or who will respect our emotions is so rare. It is as if our feelings grow exponentially with each idea we wish to share but finding someone to understand, take interest, or add to is just so few and far in between. These emotions just grow and grow like rare jewels we wish to give to our mindmates. I suspect when our ideas and emotions are in concordance with another mate it makes for an incredible relationship. Needless to say My wife and I are now separated after forgiving her of her infidelity she trodden underfoot my forgiveness and trust yet again with adultery. I can only critique myself through it all as I should have known...
 

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Hi Guys,

I have been struggling all my life finding who i am and what purpose i have in my life. Being distracted to so many things in life has made me confused what to do next. To cut story short, I did my engineering in electronics, worked as geophysicist in oil exploration, then moved to data analyst, then quality and now looking for IT as a programmer. Is this because i couldn't find opportunity in one profession so i jump to next one. the above professional story is for last 10 yrs of my life.

Initially it feels exciting being jack of all trades but if you are master of none then how will you survive in this competitive world. Can someone please help me with some counselling or be my mentor for rest of my life.

Cheers
 

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ENTP's are the original jack of all trades.

I will be your Sempai, if you need. I'm no cakewalk, but at the end you will have mastered interpersonal relationships, social dynamics and possibly advanced shitposting.
 

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I agree with many of these posts. I think a very large reason why intjs are extremely reserved is they are often rejected or shunned as kids and even as adults. The way I naturally spoke was not inherently very interesting or relatable which resulted in people tuning me out. This started when I was young (eightish) as I noticed peers as well as adults regularly turning their attention elsewhere. Over the preceding years I tried many things including talking fast so as to get the info across before the listener lost interest, changing how I acted and thought so the material I naturally wished to convey was more relatable and interesting, and just saying nothing. It's the same now in that many people don't wish to converse or can't relate when I naturally express myself. Point being, maybe my situation described above isn't an isolated occurrence, but regularly contributes to the reserved shell intjs are famous for. Your thoughts?
 

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I barely read halfway. Why ? because as a INFJ smiting everyone with my Fe... I know this. I know INTJ have deep feelings , their Fi. They are unable to express them or the way they express it is... unemotional (low Fe) It makes me laugh. I cannot imagine myself saying "... words are weak and imprecise..." or "...Terrible human experiences with this type..." but it made me laugh hard. Those are INTJ words.

Do you know what is the issue with INTJ ? you test on purpose. There are topics made my INTJ as "test test"

Your own words:

"If you get impatient after a year of knowing us and knowing practically nothing about us, you've failed our test. It's going to take a very long time to get to know us, and even then you won't ever be able to understand us completely. So if you give up on us, you've automatically failed our test."

I know you test people. I understand why you do it, but it makes me upset regardless, because I'm the one being tested and I might fail the test without knowing that was I being tested and had no idea what to do to get 100% score.
This happens because INTJ will say "loyalty is the most important thing to me" and maybe it would be better to say "I have problems trusting people, because I was hurt before. I was loyal to someone, I sacrificed my time and the other person didn't share my views" or read a book titled :

"How to express my feelings without sounding cold" = Using Ti learn how to express Fi with Fe not with Te.

Do you know development phases 1-3 of INTJ ? I nearly nothing, how much do you know ? how much do you think other people know ?

All I know for sure are my phases as INFJ.


Your post was inspired by your Fi and the fact that other people follow their Fi and that they cannot understand you, they don't know what you feel inside because of the way you express it.

Did you read this ?

http://personalitycafe.com/intj-forum-scientists/802073-what-primary-functions-people-do-you-have-most-trouble.html

"I really enjoy being with my INTJ friends. That visionary Te is magnificent." - Vunar

This article is a proof of your Fi and Te

Do you like answer based on Fe - Ti ?

Maybe next time try my approach and see the results, if it is possible for you to do so.

If you're curious about Fe then I recommend that you read this Thread made by me:
http://personalitycafe.com/infj-forum-protectors/818626-how-many-feels-can-you-identify-explain-out-114-a.html

Some more of my advice here:
http://personalitycafe.com/infj-forum-protectors/818618-lonely-infjs-conversation-thread.html

I might know what is in your head: "the other 15 personalities... they don't understand how it is to be INTJ". When I came to PerC I had a thought "I want to understand how it is to be INFJ" now I know much more but my thoughts are different. Now I think "I wonder if I would be able to understand other 15" I'm focusing on INFJ , INTJ and soon I want to start INFP (My GF of 9 years, I know her very well but I believe the knowledge about INFP will benefit me, it already did because I had 6 tough weeks and PerC was here for me.) You know yourself, do you know everyone else ?

You can read my open letter here:
http://personalitycafe.com/infj-forum-protectors/46418-dear-subject-inserted-sincerely-personality-type-269.html




@Merov
I want to learn more about shitposting, because so far I was just improvising. Maybe there are proper techniques that I could use to base my shiposting abilities. Maybe we can shitpost together at some point in time and learn from that experience. I just read again your post and the edit... made me laugh out loud.

Vunar
 

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"INTJs are naturally distrusting. Why is this? Partially because we're skeptical of everything and everyone, but also partially because, as children, we were idealists. We trusted that the promises people made were true because when we made a promise, even as a child, we always meant to keep it. So we expected the same behavior from others. However, as we grew up, we became disillusioned by those we trusted. Promises were broken."

So well said. No one can describe INTJ's distrusting better than this. :)
 

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"I think our deepest feeling is the desire to be understood. We want love. No, I'm not talking about the romantic ideas of Nicholas Sparks. Love to an INTJ is about understanding your significant other and being understood by them. It's about finding someone you can trust and sharing things about yourself with them that you would never tell another human being."

Another excellent definition about INTJ and love from the original post here. :)
 

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@Vunar

Thank you so much for suggesting to understand the other 15 MBTIs! Understand other personality types can help improving communication.

I am actually studying MBTI and on my way to understand them. MBTI is helpful to get a quick categorization of people, but still people are coming from different background. Do keep in mind there are various presentations of each type.

I understand both INTJ and INFJ often feel lonely, and not understood. We both have high standard for ourselves and others. We both have high level of intuition, which makes us see abstracts that others don't see. My explanation for this loneliness is that it comes from not be able to be understood by sensors (75% of the population) so we turn inward to enjoy our peace.
 

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@MetaMD

This article is about both INTJ and INFJ.

Just change INTJ to INFJ....

and each opinion about INTJ ... "we are too cold" .... into INFJ.... "we are too warm"


""INFJs are naturally distrusting. Why is this? Partially because we're skeptical of everything and everyone, but also partially because, as children, we were idealists. We trusted that the promises people made were true because when we made a promise, even as a child, we always meant to keep it. So we expected the same behavior from others. However, as we grew up, we became disillusioned by those we trusted. Promises were broken.""



""I think our deepest feeling is the desire to be understood. We want love. No, I'm not talking about the romantic ideas of Nicholas Sparks. Love to an INFJ is about understanding your significant other and being understood by them. It's about finding someone you can trust and sharing things about yourself with them that you would never tell another human being."

Same but different... just like me and my INFP GF. I don't feel much inside, but she feels everything.

That is why it is very very easy for me to understand INTJ


 

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@Vunar

Thanks for pointing out the similarity between INTJ and INFJ! I also sensed this similarity a while ago. The interesting thing is INTJ and INFJ feel the same treatment from this world, but get it through different communicating approach. LOL I guess how we arrive the decision to interact with this world is independent from cognitive perceptions. This is why there are 4 determining factors in MBTI.

"INTJs and INFJs are naturally distrusting. Why is this? Partially because we're skeptical of everything and everyone, but also partially because, as children, we were idealists. We trusted that the promises people made were true because when we made a promise, even as a child, we always meant to keep it. So we expected the same behavior from others. However, as we grew up, we became disillusioned by those we trusted. Promises were broken."

This is due to our Judging information perceiving approach. We come to a conclusion that distrusting makes sense to us when we have been mistreating as idealists. Judging is about arriving conclusions.

"I think our deepest feeling is the desire to be understood. We want love. No, I'm not talking about the romantic ideas of Nicholas Sparks. Love to an INTJs and INFJ is about understanding your significant other and being understood by them. It's about finding someone you can trust and sharing things about yourself with them that you would never tell another human being."

I personally think every one want love despite their personality types. It is just this wanting is particularly strong in introverted intuiting judgers like INTJs and INFJs because it is harder for us to find that particular partner to understand us and fit our ideals.
 
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