On Being a “Nice INTJ”

“How are you an INTJ? You’re too nice!”

This was said to me by one of my friends the other night while we were talking about the Myers-Briggs types. I know she meant well by it, I wasn’t offended by it, and I’m certainly not here to dispute the validity of it. However, what she said made me think, and I believe it’s evidence of one of the biggest misconceptions regarding INTJs and the Meyers-Briggs personality types as a whole.

I’ve written about something similar before when I ranted about INTJ representation in fiction and how I was tired of being cast as the villain. Stereotypically, INTJs are callous, arrogant, and overall unkind people. As I stated in that earlier post, this stereotype is actually very rarely the truth, but how can that be? If INTJs are supposed to have these traits of fierce independence and confidence, how can they be kind? I’m not gonna pretend I have all the answers, but I’d like to provide a few thoughts on the matter.

First, someone’s Myers-Briggs type only shows a part of their personality. Really, this is the case with any personality test. You can do the MBTI, Enneagram, your Hogwarts house, D&D alignment, whatever – no matter how scientific these tests are, they can never describe all of the intricacies of someone’s personality. At most, they’re meant to help you understand your own natural tendencies and help you grow as a person. They’re not meant to be labels that you identify yourselves as.

Let me give you an example: I have three friends who are also INTJs, and overall, we have some pretty basic similarities – we’re all studying the same subject at school, for starters (and all of us wear glasses, but I don’t think that has to do with personality). However, there are also some differences that make us distinct from one another. Friend 1 is more extroverted than I am, and Friend 2 is more introverted than I am. Friend 1 also appreciates physical contact, while Friend 2 and Friend 3 are very adamant about personal space (I end up somewhere in the middle). And, even though we may all be studying the same subject, we have different career aspirations. Overall, we do have many similarities, but there are also differences because we are different people, but the MBTI isn’t going to tell you that.

Going from there, a person’s maturity often influences how much they reflect the stereotypes of their personality type. As a general rule, INTJs tend to be weaker when it comes to emotional situations, but over time, we can learn how to handle our emotions in a healthy and productive way. This goes back to personality types only showing us our natural tendencies – INTJs have a natural tendency to look at things from a purely rational perspective and “lock up” their emotions, but that doesn’t mean they can’t change over time.

Second, personality types aren’t related to a person’s morality. Yes, certain traits can be good or bad, but in general, there is no personality type that is objectively superior or inferior to another (despite what the internet may think).

There are certain traits that, when taken to the extreme, can lead to a person doing bad things. Perfectionism, a common INTJ trait, could lead to someone doing very bad things under certain circumstances, but in normal situations, it just means we get really frustrated when things don’t go exactly right. In the same way, ENFJ is a type commonly seen in “good” people, and they tend to be charismatic leaders. However, that trait could be twisted into bad stuff under the right (wrong?) circumstances.

Personality types have strengths and weaknesses, they’re not “good” or “bad” most of the time. We all need to be careful that we don’t let our strengths become our weaknesses (e.g. confidence becoming arrogance), and we need to develop our weaknesses so that we can be better as people.

Now, to answer the “kindness question” my friend asked me.

We know that personality types doesn’t describe a person’s entire personality, and we know that types aren’t related to someone’s morality. With that in mind, it’s clearly possible for INTJs to be good and kind people, but how? Here’s my theory:

INTJs stick to their principles and are not easily swayed. If you want to change an INTJ’s mind, you need to provide them with some pretty strong evidence, especially when you’re challenging one of their strongest beliefs. Because of this, the things that INTJs learn at a young age often stick with them, particularly when they internalize these things and believe them themselves rather than just believe them because their parents told them to.

For me, I was raised Christian and taught that kindness is important. Since then, I’ve adopted this teaching as my own, and I stick with it. Therefore, even though I’m an INTJ, I’m not usually a jerk to other people, especially without reason.

Another thing that might come into play is the INTJ’s idea of loyalty and friendships. Many INTJs (and other MBTI types as well) are very choosy in who they invest their time in. If you manage to become friends with an INTJ, they’re pretty much gonna stick by you for forever (they just might not text you for weeks on end… sorry guys). We treat those in our “inner circle” with respect and kindness, which could also answer the “kindness question.”

Like I said, I don’t have all the answers, these are just some thoughts as to why INTJs can be nice. We’re not monsters, guys. In fact, no human being is limited by their personality type – it doesn’t determine how good or bad of a person we are. The choices we make and the way we treat other people is what’s important, and your personality type isn’t an excuse.


Readers, what are some misconceptions about your own personality type? Have you ever been asked, “How can you be X type?” I’d love to hear about your thoughts and experiences as well, so please drop a comment below!

Have a great week!

5 thoughts on “On Being a “Nice INTJ”

  1. This is really well thought out and interesting!
    I’m an ISTJ, so I would get stereotyped as being a workaholic, narrow-minded, and a killjoy. The stereotypes are very annoying when people put too much store by them.
    Incidentally, the protagonist of my WIP is an INTJ. I wouldn’t say he’s nice exactly, but that’s because he’s self-centred because he’s immature and not down to his personality type.
    Thanks for the great post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for reading! My roommate is actually an ISTJ, and I certainly don’t think she fits those stereotypes either.
      It’s interesting that your protagonist is an INTJ – that’s something we don’t see too often! I do think it’s okay for characters to “fit” the stereotypes sometimes, especially when it’s meant to show their growth. I’d be interested to see where your character’s journey takes him!
      Thanks for reading!

      Like

  2. Thank you for making this, as an INTJ with all the stereotypes plastered over the internet it left me thinking I could possibly be an INFJ..just because I have morals.I knew that personality type and morals had nothing to do with each other but it still left me questioning so thank you for this reassuring article.

    Like

  3. this is absolutely true!! i am a female intj myself and can’t stand people always stereotyping my type as heartless, unkind, insensitive and arrogant.
    i too really value kindness since i was little and am never rude for no reason, especially with people i don’t know/know little as anyone expect a stereotypical intj to do. i’m the most polite person i’ve ever met and even if my default expression is a constant scowl or the famous death stare, i’m not ashamed to smile to people and i often do as a sign of kindness and respect even randomly at complete strangers, yet i have very few friends and still feel uncomfortable socializing. i despise arrogance with my whole self: i can’t stand arrogant people and thus am never arrogant myself except some very very rare and isolated cases.(and that’s not even arrogance it’s more of heavy stubbornness when i know i’m right about something)
    i am very intolerant in logical contexts and am very tolerant and empathetic in ethical topics & in general when talking about living beings lives.
    i always treat people with kindness and i believe everyone deserves it, i’m very idealistic and i don’t hesitate to fight for what i think is right even as a protagonist/leader (for example i am an environmental activist since i’ve learned what environment is) AND i’m still an intj.
    people should really learn to distinguish education and politeness from personality, even if some traits of some types may be suitable/likely to have certain consequences, not everyone is the same and the thing the mbti have only 16 types for the whole world populations certainly means that they’re only some sort of guidelines that 1-should not be taken literally, 2- have a huge margin of difference within the same category.
    politeness and personality are two different and separated things. one of my closest friends is an infp who never hesitate to be rude when gets pissed yet no one would expect an infp to be rude, another friend of mine instead is most likely an estp/esfp and becomes extremely polite and reserved when in front of elders, teachers and anyone she keeps respect for. and these are only two of the possible endless examples.
    but the thing that hurts me absolutely the most is when people carelessly say that intjs are insensitive.. everyone who ever got to know me and especially my family would probably choose extreme sensitivity and emotivity as my main internal feature (and that shouldn’t be nothing surprising since as wonderfully explained in the article intjs have FI: introverted feeling).
    yes, i am rational, i take decisions basing almost only on logic, i value evidence over sensations, i’m super reserved and avoid spending my time with people/activities i don’t judge worthy (first of all small talk) but nothing of that has anything to do with sensitivity. sensitivity doesn’t apply to how you appear to/deal with people, sensitivity is something that purely relates to our inner self, in my opinion it has nothing to do with mbti types either.
    i have 8 infj and 2 isfj friends and only one of them(infj) is as sensitive as i am.
    another common misbelief is that intjs are workaholics. that’s actually very incorrect. for the most intj people are actually very lazy, they tend to reduce efforts at the minimum and their natural strategic skills help them working smarter and not harder. their working energy is more similar to short waves of iperfocused work rather than long diluted sessions of slow work. they also really tend to get bored by everything very quickly and that could be the main reason.
    so please everyone stop making assumptions based on stereotypes only. some of them might be lighthearted and funny to joke on, others might truly hurt people.

    Like

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