So, remember how a little while ago I promised that Steve and I would do a double-whammy of posts this week into a little bit of next week? About to happen right now, my friends.
Tonight, we’re actually giving you the lowdown on Steve’s MBTI type, actually– the INTPs. They’re very similar to INTJs in many ways– generally very objective-minded, blunt, brilliant, sarcastic, loyal to friends and family, and like many Intuitives in general, highly theoretical. Like most NTs, they are unafraid to objectively debate and argue to test out novel ideas (though perhaps not quite to the extent of their Extraverted cousin, ENTP), and are constantly working on generating new theories and ideas (often getting excited about these theories and ideas in the process). They are the classic, “absent-minded professor,” but don’t let that fool you– once you have them on a theoretical roll, it can be pretty tough to try to stop that avalanche!
Here’s how the INTP stacks up:
INTP Cognitive Functionary Stack-up:
Introverted Thinking (Ti)– Unconscious/subconscious function. Rather than JUST looking at solid, concrete facts, Ti has the tendency to look more into the internal MEANING behind those facts, the actual ideas/theories themselves, although INTPs are still highly logical people. Bringing order and meaning to their inner worlds, and based on this worldview, they are inclined to view many things as personal goals or challenges– perhaps one of the biggest reasons they like to debate in an intellectually stimulating way. While they can impose rules/standards upon themselves, they are inclined to break them due to their disruptive Ne copilot. They often find it easier to use Ti to uncover what is UNTRUE rather than what IS true.
Extraverted iNtuition (Ne)– Conscious function, akin and similar to outwardly brainstorming. They may not often always have a point, while outwardly expressing Ne, but consciously works to gather data; however, unlike Se, it continuously chooses to test the data, scanning for connected relationships to other facts or consistent patterns. It helps them to remain open-minded, and grasp as many possibilities as possible. We’ll see how that comes into play in just a bit. 😉
Introverted Sensing (Si)– Unconscious/subconscious function. Uses past experience to notify the brainy Ti, while the ever-curious Ne immediately brainstorms a good solution on the spot. But more commonly, it is used to establish some sort of familiarity and routine; INTPs are more of the type to “eat to live,” rather than their “live to eat” Se cousins. However, it can work in conjunction with Ti to look even beyond the bodily senses, to something deeper within the body’s state of being.
Extraverted Feeling (Fe)– Conscious function, seldom used. Because it is the Inferior function, this makes INTPs particularly uncomfortable and hesitant in emotional situations, such as funerals. Because of the Fe’s concern of maintaining outward group harmony, they may not express their feelings to avoid general, unnecessary conflict, although they are often viewed as “artificial peacekeepers,” since it is the Inferior function, and not normally too high on their list of priorities. But in positive terms, this is sometimes how an INTP shows affection, whether platonic (as Steve does with me) or romantic– by playfully teasing in using Fe. They will often playfully call you a nickname, like “Goober,” “Dork,” etc. to show they care about you, though this can seem counter-intuitive at the time.
I know several officially untyped INTPs (namely secular authors), and 2-3 officially confirmed INTPs, two professor friends/acquaintances (surprise, surprise… “absent-minded professor,” literally, here. 😉 ), my male college Engineer buddy, and Steve. So yes, there WILL be a few(albeit relevant) examples in this post.
If they are healthy, well-functioning INTPs, they will frequently utilize a “trial and error” kind of approach in dealing with facts, theories, and ideas– this helps them root out the true from the false. They start out with their Dominant brainy Ti, then use the Auxiliary Ne to idea-seek/sort through all the various possibilities. Additionally, they’ll sometimes employ their Si if they need to see if any past experiences or past gained knowledge will affect any of said possibilities, or may even offer un-thought-of ones.
Like some FJ types, many INTPs like to teach and gift the world with their expansive knowledge on the things they know best– but that can be a hair problematic with expressing direct judgements at times. They often prefer doing so with the brainstorming-on-the-fly Ne than their Inferior Fe rabbit trails. Because of Ne, they often expect pupils to catch on to concepts fast, like they do, and to make intelligent but well-informed, accurate decisions in the classroom and in life. I saw this VERY clearly in my particular Political Science Professor Who Shall Remain Unnamed (but for you fellow G alumni, and students of that school– you KNOW who I mean!), when he taught. Some people didn’t like him because he graded very hard, and often challenged common ways of thinking in the classroom; very commonly portraying himself as– almost literally at one point–“the devil’s advocate”(causing me to initially mistype him as an ENTP, but outside his classroom he is actually quite socially awkward, and prefers solitude in his office). He is open-minded enough to give students’ political or financial theories the benefit of the doubt, and is very willing and capable to test them to see if they would actually work. He seemed to have respect for those who could toe-to-toe challenge him in return, and think on the fly a bit, and expresses his Inferior Fe in trying to be playful and pick on every single person in the room for some kind of answer or example, so no one gets left out, but also knows where to draw the line if he goes a bit far.
Speaking of the Inferior Fe, as mentioned before, many INTPs express this in a kind of light-hearted banter and teasing. My bud Steve often expresses friendship in playful jest or banter with me, and my college friend Hunter liked snarking with close friends, or playfully sneaking up on then “jumping” me if he saw me walking around nearby. But Hunter’s Fe is particularly strong, even as a brilliant INTP; he is openly kind and chivalrous to many of his gal pals, the kind of dude who’d open doors for girls or walk them back to their homes at night so they didn’t have to go out by themselves. He is as much a good sport as he is good with objective advice. Steve, too, is great with advice and is very considerate and understanding in that objective INTP way.
However, as is the case with all types, not everything comes up roses with INTPs (as many would probably tell you, themselves– it would be illogical to think otherwise, after all 😉 ). Like INTJs, the “cold logic” side of them that often smacks people first can appear as aloof, stand-offish, insensitive or rude, when they are simply stating the facts as bluntly as possible (aka, one of the reasons I get on with them fairly well. LOL.). This can rub peacemaking types the wrong way, especially since this is a type that likes to test the waters of their own ideas before deciding to set sail in them– even if that means debating the crap out of said ideas and theories in order to test them. They like to make sure things are true before committing, and are very reluctant to lie or sugarcoat, if at all. They are usually not in-tune with emotions as well as Feeler types, and this can easily lead to some miscommunication and injured feelings between the types, if not handled properly. Being Thinkers with Inferior Fe, INTPs can easily override and almost completely detach from Fe altogether, acting as though the emotions didn’t exist (and somewhat fulfilling the “cold robot” stereotype), this may be to help cope in certain circumstances, such as tragedy or loss, and help them to bounce back quicker. This can obviously seem insensitive to Feelers, who may still openly be in mourning over the event.
Famous/Historical INTPs: Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Kierkegaard, Abraham Lincoln, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, Rene Descartes