“Perception involves all the ways of becoming aware of things, people, happenings, or ideas.
Judgment involves all the ways of coming to conclusions about what has been perceived.
If people differ systematically in what they perceive and in how they reach conclusions, then it is only reasonable for them to differ correspondingly in their interests, reactions, values, motivations, and skills.”
– Isabel Briggs Myers
I am an INTJ Female
Having known a handful of INTJs, including one other female INTJ, I think I’ve got our lot figured out.
As an INTJ female myself, my first encounter with MBTI types resonated so strongly that, 5 years later I’m still utterly fascinated by the results.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a personality test based on the practical application of C.G. Jung’s theories regarding analytical psychology.
By identifying basic preferences of each of four dichotomies found in Jung’s theory of types, the MBTI test taker will be presented with any of 16 different personality types.
My type is considered uncommon, with an estimated 2.5% of the population displaying this personality type.
Even more uncommon in women, it is estimated that INTJ females make up less than 1% of the entire population…
Maybe this is part of the reason why it struck me as so meaningful then, and remains a treasured piece of knowledge for me now.
I love categorizing, finding patterns, and developing organized systems, and these are all hallmark traits of the INTJ type.
To discover the name for my personality type and to read about my strengths and weaknesses was like finding the user manual for my life –
A practical approach to dealing with myself that simultaneously affirms my individuality and gently guides me to develop my weaknesses.
For those that fear MBTI will try to lock them in a box that could limit their potential, nothing could be further from the truth.
Yes, I typed as an INTJ strategist years ago and still get this result today, but having this knowledge has actually made me more aware of the parts of my personality that sometimes seem stifled.
For example, there are times I might resemble the driven ENTJ or the artsy INFJ, depending on the circumstance.
But those are not my natural tendency.
Although it’s good to be flexible, it’s not sustainable to live in other personalities for too long.
INTJs in Relationships
In typical INTJ fashion, I’ve lurked through many of the forums dedicated to MBTI personality types and how they interact with one another.
I’ve noticed that some types hate INTJs, while our more compatible counterparts are endlessly curious and even full of admiration.
They want desperately to know what the INTJ female is like, because they’ve never met one.
(How could they? She’s probably at home where she’s most comfortable!)
If you’re curious about what a relationship with an INTJ woman would be like, I can at least share my own perspective.
She’s not the perfect woman, nor is she the perfect INTJ – the INTJ woman is a startling mix of strength, intellectual depth, and softness.
The best lover for the INTJ female would have to be whip-smart, honest, creative, and easy-going; it’s been said that this personality type needs a ‘mind mate’ first and foremost.
While she’s not the most expressive woman, she’d steal loving glances just to see him commanding attention, charming and extraverting the room.
Due to the combination of intuition and thinking, she is a character with an imaginarium for a mind and the useful ability to strategize and execute on her creative ideas.
But don’t be intimidated!
The INTJ woman is too preoccupied with compulsive and systematic excellence to compare her apples and his oranges.
What matters is that he makes her feel something, adding color to her precise designs (and it wouldn’t hurt to keep her laughing.)
If I could give advice to a man courting an INTJ female, it would be this:
- Do define the relationship early, because ambiguity is just going to make her crazy on the inside (though you probably won’t pick up on it.)
- Do appreciate her for her low-key emotions while they last, because there will come a day when she will need to unload her intense feelings – don’t worry, she’ll be back to normal soon.
- Don’t tell her to ‘just trust you.’
- Don’t change plans too often or have any kind of emotional outbursts – she doesn’t have the patience.
Her needs for closure require sterile answers in black and white.
There are no gray areas, no detail overlooked, and no miscellaneous observations.
And yet, maddeningly… love only ever exists in gray areas, in the moment, and in what is shared.
Which is why now I want to turn your attention to my inferior function, extraverted sensing.
INTJ’s Functional Stack
Intensity interwoven with introversion make her formidable, but every Myers-Briggs personality has it’s weaknesses.
The type indicator test does more than identify your preferences regarding introversion/extraversion, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling, and perceiving/judging.
Your personality type also reveals your dominant, auxiliary, tertiary, and inferior cognitive functions, which can be very illuminating as to why people struggle in certain areas of life and not others.
For an INTJ, the cognitive functions are as follows:
Dominant: Introverted Intuition (Ni)
Auxiliary: Extraverted Thinking (Te)
Tertiary: Introverted Feeling (Fi)
Inferior: Extraverted Sensing (Se)
It may seem complicated at first, but once you read about type theory more, I promise this starts to make sense.
Basically, these can be interpreted to mean that this type feels most comfortable approaching the problems of life using introverted intuition and extraverted thinking.
Introverted intuition involves visions and ideas about the future while extraverted thinking involves making objective decisions based on logic (behaviors we might traditionally associate with masculinity.)
Meanwhile, introverted feeling is relatively underdeveloped in INTJs and extraverted sensing can be borderline dysfunctional.
Introverted feeling involves interpreting one’s own emotions and extraverted sensing relates to feeling grounded in the physical realm (women are often naturally better at these things.)
Inferior Grip – Extraverted Sensing (Se)
I have struggled with inferior Se for as long as I can remember – sometimes I get stuck in what is called a ‘grip experience,’ where my repressed inferior function begins to disrupt and dominate my behavior for days or weeks at a time.
When I get in one of these ruts, you could start to see the symptoms of an unhappy and unhealthy INTJ (assuming I allowed you to observe me.)
Some of my personal coping mechanisms, which I now recognize as unhealthy extraverted sensing, included smoking pot, binge eating the same food over and over, and excessive jogging.
It’s not all bad of course…
I’ve observed a few healthy Se habits in myself too, like my stylish way of dressing, creative makeup skills, and how I like to sometimes sit in the dark and listen to music.
There are, however, a few more healthy ways that I’d like to start exercising my inferior Se via hiking to absorb the beauty of nature, weightlifting, and yoga in the hopes that I can avoid the grip of my inferior function in the future.
The Bottom Line?
A scientist and a lady, the INTJ woman is as blessed as she is damned.
Jung’s theory of types may not be a perfect system, but it has been quite accurate in my experience, and it’s particularly useful for rarer types that don’t feel like they quite ‘fit in.’
An introverted, intuitive, thinker, and judger is different enough as it is, but to be a woman with INTJ tendencies in our society is a decidedly bizarre experience.
I’m still figuring it out as I go, but if I could give advice to other women of this type, it would go something like this:
- Don’t try to change yourself, because you have innate strengths and abilities that the world needs.
- Do find ways to stay in touch with your feminine side – balance is key.
- Don’t compare yourself to others – you’re likely so quirky that there’s not really a fair comparison to be made with other women or even other INTJs.
- Do date extraverts and intuitives, because they will help you enjoy the outside world but they will still be fun to talk to.
- Do double-down on your strengths – life is so much better when you do the work that comes naturally to you.