But when I started reading more about INTJs, I began to realize that the kind of isolation I sometimes felt (and felt unable to express) even when surrounded by people I cared about had roots in my personality type.
16 Personalities says this about INTJs:
It’s lonely at the top, and being one of the rarest and most strategically capable personality types, INTJs know this all too well. INTJs form just two percent of the population, and women of this personality type are especially rare, forming just 0.8% of the population – it is often a challenge for them to find like-minded individuals who are able to keep up with their relentless intellectualism and chess-like maneuvering. People with the INTJ personality type are imaginative yet decisive, ambitious yet private, amazingly curious, but they do not squander their energy. -16 Personalities, “INTJ”
I’ve always been involved in different social groups. In high school I was co-captain of my JV basketball team, secretary of student government, and spent my time making films with friends. At USC, I’ve led different teams of people on various film projects and I’ve been extraordinarily lucky to be able to surround myself with inspiring individuals. On the surface, my life seems unaffected by my INTJ type.
But why are INTJs also perceived as distant? Why can we master career goals in a heartbeat but struggle when it comes to personal relationships? How do INTJs approach writing, and is introversion an advantage?
The INTJ Conflict: Rationalism Vs. Emotion
I’ll be honest: even simply admitting feeling lonely or sad in any context feels like an act of extreme weakness. (Even now I’m expecting my future self to smite me as I type for posting anything remotely personal on the internet of all places.)
Fiction is one thing: writing about con artists who rely on anything besides their feelings to get by is easy since it’s make-believe.
There’s a reason the characters I’m drawn to are lone wolves, architects of grand plans, protective of their feelings since they see emotions as a liability. That’s why I write about spies and con artists and warriors and thieves: these are all people who prize rationalism over emotion to stay alive.
It’s not life or death for me, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find me telling you about past heartbreak or rejection. For the USC screenwriting program, we had to write an essay about our most emotional moment. I wrote about taking care of sick kittens through the Arizona Humane Society’s Foster Kitten program, which I did for three years in high school. I wrote about how one morning I went to go give one of my favorite three-week-old kittens her medicine and found her, cold and lifeless, in her little bed I had made for her. I cried when I wrote that, and never showed it to anyone other than the anonymous decision-makers who decided to let me into the screenwriting program.
It’s a rational decision to keep things from people: I don’t tell people my problems because it’s better to deal with them myself instead of burdening others, which can make me seem distant.
INTJs and Love
When you break things down by logic, they make sense. I can create solutions and navigate tricky situations to get my shows on the air and projects approved, but when it comes down to discussing matters of the heart? Forget it. Human nature doesn’t break down like career goals or steps to solve a problem. I’ll over-analyze the situation to pieces until I’ve given up and moved on, returning to my work.
All roads lead back to my work, and sometimes, it’s hard to see that any other path.
I’m lucky to be with someone who understands and accepts this about me — and who is as much of a workaholic as I am.